Thursday, 20 November 2014

Balayage Hair at Pimps & Pinups

I hate hairdressers, period.

Ever heard of those girls who don't get their tresses chopped for years, YouTube the trim job at home and end up with orange ends that they call 'ombre'? Yes that's me, hello! 

Not that I've ever had a disastrous session at the salon that's put me off but just the constant fear of looking like an orangutan walking out of a salon, I've mostly avoided them for half of my life. 

Until one day I realised I just needed to fork out a decent amount and head out to a place that had unanimously fabulous reviews. Of course, my first choice was social media sensation Nicky Lazou who's usually globe trotting the world balayaging locks to perfection but considering she lives a good 3-4 hours away from me, I decided against it quite reluctantly. 

With an album full of Guy Tang inspired hair transformations, I plonked myself onto a chair at Pimps & Pinups which almost seemed like a glamorous unisex barbers. A hairstylist named Lori, who by the way has a gorgeous dip dye attended me and actually told me my inspirational hair images were achievable. I won't lie but it led to a little happy dance.

I wanted a balayage of course. The last time I asked for a sunkissed dip dye at a high end salon, it was a sunflower colored infestation on my pitch black locks, no thank you. This time I wanted more opacity in the colour, less concentration and a dreamy blending. My only brief was, 'ash brown or blonde' with an emphasis on ash.

After three and a half hours to be precise and bleach, toner, mask and blow dry done and dusted, Lori told me this was the 'ashest' they could go on my extremely dark hair. The result was a golden ash blonde with no hints of pesky yellows and ginger. For just around a £100, the results were impressive on my thick mane which took quite a few stylists to handle. 

The salon atmosphere was brilliant - all smiles, lovely coffee, unexpected fleet of bankers and businessmen and great music. Most importantly, extremely skilled staff who exactly know what they are doing. For the first time in my life, I cannot fault a salon. Quite obviously they've bagged themselves a customer for life.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Shu Uemura Shupette Collection

If you're looking for cute, quirky collectable make-up products then Shupette by Shu Uemura will be your best bet. When kittens (that too Mr Lagerfeld's own!) and Karl Lagerfeld come together, I feel there couldn't be a better collaboration for Shu. It's a playful collection, so don't expect it to be a make-up artists dream, loaded with full on pigmentation. An easily wearable collection, it's great for everyday wear. Having said that, it is slightly pricey but as I said, if you're looking for a Christmas present for a fashionista who is inspired by Mr. Lagerfeld or someone obsessed with make-up and kittens, then this would make a perfectly apt gift idea. 

The eye shadow trio is nicely pigmented, with a sheer to medium throw on colour and a slightly glistening finish. The shadows go on smooth and last for a good few hours. The lip trio on the other hand is gorgeous! The shades are well picked for A/W, the pigmentation is really nice and the finish is lush and glossy, two thumbs up. If you're like me and don't like to make a mess of all your full sized lipsticks in your handbag, then this lip trio is a lovely one to have handy for on the go pout perfection. It's a universal fact that Shu Uemura lash curlers are the very best in the industry, even amidst pros. A nice touch to this one is added charm containing Shupette artwork. If you're looking to buy one for a lash lover or thinking of refreshing your decade old tool, this is the time to invest in a cuter one. 

The collection also has some gorgeous wacky lashes for the festive season and a lovely make-up bag which you need to check out next time you're in Selfridges. If you were to get at least one thing from the collection, I'd say get the lip trio or the eye lash curlers depending on what you'd use more of. Oh and based on my recent travels with bulky and heavy make-up stash, I'd like to mention the packaging is very travel friendly.  

Monday, 10 November 2014

DHC Pore Cleansing Oil

DHC is a brand most familiar with their skincare and most of all their cleansing concoctions which are a backstage and make-up artist favourite. I have always loved their Deep Cleansing Oil which comes in a clear bottle but with their latest release, they have really upped their game and come out victoriously in the skin scrubbing department.

Compared to the Deep Cleansing Oil, the Pore Cleansing Oil is considerably less oily, meaning perfect for combination skin tones who want a deep clean. It doesn't leave behind a greasy film at all. I also feel the oils used in here are gorgeous for the skin such as avocado, coconut, grape seed, olive and so on. Having tested it on a full cakey face of make-up, it victoriously dissolved layers of foundation, concealer, lipstick and mascara.

For a double cleanse, slap it on the skin one more time for some squeaky clean action. I am not sure how it's worked in making my pores look smaller but it's surely done a sterling job at keeping breakouts and skin inflammations at bay. It's light, serum to oil like formula makes it a perfect contender all year around. It's gentle, suitable for sensitive skin and surprisingly potent at the same time.

For £25 a pop, I think Caroline Hirons would approve?

Organic Surge Super Rich Body Butter Lavender Meadow

Now I am not a huge fab of body butter like products and would rather prefer myself a light lotion like consistency but come Winter, itchy skin and pesky flaky bits demand for something richer. As always, a hydration potion from Organic Surge lands on my doorstep. This time around, it's scented with hints of soothing lavender and sweet geranium and packed with delicious shea and cocoa butter goodness. Of course it's great to slather on during the night, especially on feet and elbows which need extra nourishment but I sometimes also use it to shave my super dry legs which can otherwise look parched using other shaving products. This leaves skin looking glossy, naturally supple and healthy post shaving. Genius! Perfect to dive into before a festive night out next month, especially if you're planning to show skin. Be it DIY reflexology sessions, body brushing for some much needed detoxification or Monday mani's, I use this baby for almost everything. It's a tub that doesn't really leave my bathroom and fills in all hydration and massage needs.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Vichy Idealia Life Serum & Eye Contour Idealizer - The Perfect Combination

I've always loved Vichy's serums and their Life Serum is my favourite of the lot. With the right amount of slip, a breathable texture and easily absorbable formula, it's a lovely one to smother on be it day or night. Use it to perk up the skin in the morning followed by a quick skin tapping massage routine by Lisa Eldridge or use it as a pampering treat at night to nourish fatigued skin. 

It's more a morning serum as it has that lovely pick-me-up finish that reflects light off the face and imparts a subtle radiance. Perfect for oily-combination skin, the serum is like an oxygen mask for my face after going through a tonne of the city's polluted air. What's new from the brand is the Eye Contour Idealizer. Although I don't see any contouring, anti-ageing benefits to this, I feel it's a great booster for young, tired eyes. 

Containing light reflecting particles and a lovely, hydrating formula, the concoction is energising and fresh. If you like light eye serums and gels, this is a great one to try. Also sneakily helps at camouflaging those pesky under eye circles with it's illuminating finish. Overall, if you suffer from dehydrated, combination skin that's young, fatigued and needs a pick-me-up, these two products are easily the best out there. 

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum In Oil

I have always been a fan of serum and oils to apply at night but never gotten on really well with any particular brand or type of product. They have either done nothing spectacular for me, leading me to forget about them and letting them gather dust until rediscovered again or they've broken me out into a cluster of white heads the very next day. This, fortunately, did none of that. Often raved about by bloggers, skin experts and magazines, this is apparently the star product from The Body Shop's Vitamin E range. Although I've heard the entire range is to die for and is full value for money, even better, this baby here can give fifty quid serums a run for their money. 

Loving myself a good old bargain, I slathered my skin in this quenching formula for a good few nights and guess what, I think I'll repurchase for life! I don't quite get the name 'serum in oil' as I feel they are already similar textures but regardless, I do get what they're trying to say. Some people like light weight serums in the evening and some, hydrating oils and this hits the perfect balance between both. You only need one drop from the dropper and it's enough to cover your face and neck. With the amount of slip it delivers, it calls for a quick 3 minute face plumping facial at least. 

The serum is lightly hydrating initially and is great for getting rid of taut skin or any dry spots instantly. I love how it leaves skin looking well rested, plump and nourished in the morning. As if I've just started eating clean, drinking detox teas, working out and indulging in regular facials - life cheat much? Hah! It's got a high dose of wheatgerm oil which is packed with anti-ageing benefits, antioxidants and a bunch of vitamins. Once on, you don't need any more skincare on top of this for the rest of the evening. For £13, I seriously think they've got the price wrong for this one. Add this to your serum collection even if you have combination-crazy skin like myself. It will work just as well.

KIKO Luxurious Make-up Collection

KIKO's make-up collections since the past few months have been spot on. From pigmentation to presentation, they never fail to make an impact. This Luxurious Collection is quite a universally likeable one in the sense that it's not about fuchsia or neon colours but more about luxury and sophistication. The colour palette used in the collection is muted and neutral yet high gloss and shine to add warmth and light to the face. It's about getting that expensive looking, glossy skin and glistening, shimmering eyes without a splash of obvious colour. 

What you need from the collection is the Luxurious Face Brush. With it's pale gold handle, dip dyed brush hairs and uber soft touch, it's all you'll want to use on your face. It makes rest of my brushes feel prickly on the skin and makes me rethink if I really need to invest in new ones, possibly from KIKO? We shall see. My Christmas wish-list hasn't kicked off yet. 

The regal looking Precious Illuminating Bronzer is also something you'll need to check out from the collection. Featuring an array of tan shades with a dash of pale lavender splashed in, it's the perfect face brightener for Autumn/Winter. You can use it to lightly add shadows under the cheekbone but sculpting the face isn't it's forte. Use it as a tool to add warmth, colour and radiance to the face, to lift it up when looking sallow or pale. I'd recommend using it as a finishing powder if you're looking for something light-weight with brightening properties that would also add a touch of warmth. 

As for the Magnificent Highlighter pen, it's surely not my favourite from the collection. Although packaged beautifully, it oozes out a glittering and shimmering concoction that's tad too strong for my liking. Maybe a great one for photo shoots, Asian weddings and editorial work as it does dry to a demi-matte, satin finish but not something you can slap on your face seconds before leaving home. Makes a stunning brow highlight for the evenings though. Might work on the collarbone and shoulders for the festive season!