Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Hair powders

Regarding a previous post on hair volume, someone asked me to develop more on hair powders — which are the best, what's the consistency like and how well do they work.

Well, I've chosen three of my favourites to compare. First of all, I should really address the major concern when it comes to these products — do they really disappear on the hair? Yes, they do! Even though the consistency may change between them and some require a bit more work to massage it in, they do vanish quite easily.
They're fairly easy to apply, as well. Just dust a bit of powder directly on the roots and massage it in. Voilà!

Let's start with label.m Resurrection Style Dust. In terms of texture it's the least sticky from the bunch. The actual consistency reminds me of fine table salt and has to be worked in a bit more carefully. It provides body and consistency too, not just volume. I'd recommend this particular product to normal/coarse hair types, since it has to be worked in a bit more.
Second in line is L'Oréal Professionnel Super Dust, a very fine powder — reminds me of powdered sugar, actually. It's very sticky, so it creates loads of texture even in fine, slippery hair. The best quality of this product is the foolproof application. If it's your first time trying something like this or, if you don't get on too well with styling products, this is for you! Also provides an unbelievable matte texture.
To finish up, let me introduce you to the very hyped up — for good reason — Schwarzkopf Professional OSiS+ Dust It. This is a great all rounder. If you're a professional, add this in your kit. It'll work great on all hair types, it's very buildable and allows you to control the amount of volume and texture you put in. It's very fine, not as fine as Super Dust, but still... Plus, offers a lot of body and feels like there's more hair "naturally".
So, pick the right one for you and start rocking that big messy hair!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

A farewell to milk | Lactose-free lifestyle

Growing up I didn't hear much about lactose intolerance. There were occasional mentions on TV, but I never really given much attention to the subject.

My grandma used to say that she had trouble digesting milk, but I just thought "must be an elderly issue"... Plus, she always pourred a dash of milk in her tea.

In my early twenties, I experienced my first symptoms. I could swear my appendix had bursted. It was such a sharp pain and I looked overly bloated all of a sudden.
Most of the times I just felt sick and bloated. The pain fluctuated, depending on what I ate and how much. After a few months, I discovered that I had lactase deficiency, a.k.a. the enzyme that digests lactose.

Let's just say that cheese and ice cream are a no-no. They're the worst! Of course, besides the obvious dairy-based products, I found out that lactose was in most processed foods and "hidden" in a lot of dishes — just think about Italian food!
What I am able to digest is natural or greek yogurt. I believe the probiotics help with lactose digestion.

Luckily, there are lactose-free alternatives nowadays: milk, cheese, cream, ice cream, butter and yogurt. Other alternatives are based on soy, oats or almonds. I suggest testing a little bit of everything.
Pay attention to what you can actually digest (some people just have trouble with milk) and try new products, until you find something  you like. And if you just can't live without the real deal, there's always Lactaid Fast Act!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

MAC concealers

The first trip to a MAC store can be an overwhelming experience. A lot of friends tell me they're still intimidated by the huge selection of products, the myriad of shades and the similar black packaging.

MAC Select Moisturecover  |  MAC Mineralize Concealer  |  MAC Studio Sculpt Concealer
MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer  |  MAC Select Cover-Up

I believe it's important to do your own research, at home, before going out and searching for a specific product.
Take concealers, for example. There are so many textures, finishes and levels of coverage to choose from. Also, the packaging can be quite important, depending on your method of application. Do you worry about bacteria? A squeezy tube would be the ideal choice. Want to save up time? A doe-foot applicator will be your bestie. The key is to make a list of your priorities and check which product ticks more boxes.

If it's essential to keep the skin looking fresh and healthy, more than a totally opaque coverage, go for Mineralize Concealer — or Select Moisturecover, if your skin is really dry. I love wearing this under the eyes during winter months. Being more emollient, you'll need to touch up after a few hours.

When looking for a perfectly opaque, matte coverage for dark circles, blemishes or even tattoos, try Studio Finish SPF35. The formula is a bit waxy, so you'll need to warm it up a bit on the skin, in order to blend it perfectly. It does dry matte, so looks a bit darker afterwards — do test it in the store to check if the shade matches, as you should anyway. Prepare to be amazed by the lasting power and the level of coverage.
Another good option would be Select Cover-Up, a liquid camouflage that looks very natural on the skin. The ideal method of application (for most concealers, but specially this one) is patting or stippling on the desired area and blending outwards, to create a flawless finish.

This post reminds me that I need to sort out my concealer drawer. It's fair to say I have too many concealers...

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hair | Easy volume and texture

Backcombing is a thing of the past. Nowadays you can get a myriad of products to achieve big hair with a lot of texture.

TIGI Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo
Schwarzkopf Professional OSiS+ Dust It Mattifying Powder
Batiste Dry Shampoo Medium and Brunette Hair

Dry shampoos are the number one go-to, since the oil absorbing powders provide a matte texture.
For brunettes, there are new formulas out there with almost invisible powders or, on the opposite side of offerings, a few coloured powders and sprays.

Matte powders that allow you to dust directly onto the roots are more effective when the main goal is instant volume. Simply massage them in and you'll get a massive head of hair!

The key is to work mostly on the root area, not only for volume purposes, but also to prevent even more damage to the lengths and ends.
On the plus side, you'll get one more day without washing and styling!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

CHANEL Beauté Initiale Eye

It's always hard to review eye creams, especially if that is your problem area, because most of them don't live up to their claims. Luckily, there are good ones.

Around last year, I went to Sephora to purchase a new eye cream, because the one I was using dispensed its last dose that morning. Since it didn't perform too well, in my opinion, I wanted to try something new. I can't remember the true reason behind my decision to purchase CHANEL Beauté Initiale Eye, but that's what I took home in my black and white bag. I hope it didn't have anything to do with the beautiful packaging...

It's supposed to banish puffiness and dark circles, while smoothing the first fine lines. Since there's no product that can diminish my circles, lets analyze the other actions:

PUFFINESS | The pale pink cream/gel hybrid provides a cooling sensation that calms down puffiness and brightens the eye area.

FINE LINES | This line is meant for young skins, so don't expect major results from it. Nowadays, I would choose a product from the Sublimage range, for example. I think it does a good job on young skins, especially if the eyes aren't your problem area.

Bottom line: I really do believe in eye creams. Even if you're young, you should prevent against the first signs of aging. This is a good eye cream to do that job. I like the fact that it has a pump — way more hygienic — and dispenses the right amount of product each time. Makes the eye area look more awake, radiant and energized.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Review | Make Up For Ever HD Microperfecting Primer

Fan of primers? Do you use them on a regular basis, or do you skip them due to lack of time?

My combination skin fits more on the dry category, so my primer of choice is usually moisturizer. Not an overly thick texture, like you'd apply at nighttime, but something than provides deep hydration while absorbing quickly, making your base glide over. This is essential for me, because foundation and dry patches don't look good together...

I haven't tried many complexion primers, but whilst going through my make-up drawers, I found these HD Primers from Make Up For Ever, in Neutral and Caramel. The first is great for all skin tones and Caramel is ideal to warm up darker ones, or, mixed with the Neutral, to provide a slight bronze glow.

Other colour correcting shades in the range include: Green, to neutralize redness; Blue, adds radiance to fair skin; Yellow, lightens dark complexions; Pink, brightens the complexion; and Mauve to counteract sallow undertones.

Being oil free, this gel formula can be used on every skin type, from dry to oily, providing lightweight hydration and making the base last longer. But, for me, its most important task is helping the base just glide over it. Perfect finish!

The application is quite easy and quick: simply apply a couple of pumps with fingers or a brush of choice, before your foundation. The alternative method is mixing it with the foundation, achieving a sheer coverage. Oily skins just need a fine dust of powder on top.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Top picks | Net-A-Porter autumn 2013

As promised, here's part two of my top picks from the autumn 2013 collections, this time from Net-A-Porter. You know, that dangerous site that sells amazing designer clothing and accessories.
By the way, if you don't live in the UK, you can get the new Charlotte Tilbury make-up collection here.
So, without further ado, meet my selection:


Let's start with a bright hue, shall we? This season is all about making a statement with outerwear, and let me tell you, you won't go unnoticed wearing this beauty.  |  Next, a khaki and black textured-leather biker jacket, an essential piece that goes with any outfit.  |  Addicted to skinny pants? Well, they go nicely with this leather and wool-blend felt cape (that has a little hint of cashmere). How cool does it look?


Would I prefer spiked studs? Sure. But this is a very close second to that dress worn by Cara at the Met Gala. Plus, I'd feel more comfortable with this neckline.  |  Ooh! This burgundy dress is a beaut! Just click on the link (in the caption above) to take a closer look at the amazing detail.  |  A twill dress with many, many herons would typically scream "girly" or "cute", but the clever choice of dark and sophisticated colours balances the look.


White dress, black opaque tights, standard.  |  For the urban girls out there: get a leather dress. You'll be amazed by how often you'll end up wearing it. Just make sure it fits perfectly.  |  Can you guess my favourite colour? I believe this item wouldn't be here if it came in different shades, only.


Fan of black? And lace? This top combines both and features a nude lining at the front and the back, making it more practical. Combine with skinny trousers to balance the feminine look.  |  One of the major trends this season happens to be my fave: the tartan. This interesting version was created "by folding the original design into small overlapping pleats."  |  Another example of macramé lace by Christopher Kane. A more toned down and casual version for daytime.


Grunge style? Metallic painted effect? That's the recipe for the perfect pair of skinny jeans. I'm keeping an eye on this brand...  |   I have many pairs of skinny jeans with zips. Still, I'd like to ad this coated number to my collection. The shade is quite interesting, reminds me of those nail varnishes that are almost black, but not quite.  |  I know, I know, it's a controversial item. But this bold print will add some excitement to an otherwise plain outfit.


These leather shorts can go from summer to winter. The neutral shade is an ideal choice when pairing with pretty much anything in your closet.  |  Not a fan of bold prints or colours? These silk shorts are subtle, yet have an interesting detail up-close.  |  On the other hand, the more noticeable contrasting panel on this stretch skirt, allows neutral-lovers to make a statement.


If you found the mini office bag too mini, this textured-leather tote might be an option. The golden chain makes a nice contrast against the rich berry shade. Find more colour options on the Michael Kors website, including this khaki number.  |  A versatile bag that suits every occasion, from daytime to casual dinners.  |  Basically, an upgrade from the office bag, if it fits your budget...  |  There's always a Skull clutch that stands out, and this season, this is the one. Take a closer look at the Swarovski crystals and gold beads.  |  The happy collaboration between Zanotti and Rubik resulted in this black suede clutch, clearly inspired by 70s rock glam.  |  This brick leather clutch is the perfect addition to the urban girl's closet.


The square heels with small gold studs are just too cool.  |  This shoe style is one of my go tos for daytime. Love the lace over nude leather.  |  You don't have to read the caption to know they're Miu Miu...  |  This season's version of Tribute Two in a lovely burgundy shade. You won't see me wearing 6 inch heels very often, but I'd definitely wear these.  |  The contrast between the mute matte dark-grey and the industrial shiny silver cuff says it all.  |  The cone heels are glamourous and quirky at the same time. There's a good combo.


I regreted not getting a wide-brimmed hat last year. Getting one (or two) this year, for sure.  |  My favourite shape when it comes to sunglasses, paired with a gorgeous texture.  |  Because I love snakes and statement necklaces.  |  Who doesn't want to look like Karl? Ideal for autumn, but I'll be needing some finger protection during winter months...  |  Karl. Kat. Key. Ring. Need I say more?

Monday, September 09, 2013

Top picks | ZARA autumn 2013

With the new season fast approaching, it's time to start browsing through the new collections. I love shopping the new collections — less chance of my size, or preferred colour, being sold out. How irritating is that?
This post will feature my current favourites from ZARA and the next post will present my top picks from Net-A-Porter, so keep your eyes peeled for that one!
For the time being, here are the pieces that caught my eye:


Couldn't be more excited with the autumn/winter trends this year. Gothic style, deep jewel tones, graphic prints, different textures... The list goes on and on. The 3 garments above have some sort of detail in the lapels, which I appreciate, like a contrasting shade or texture and even a lack of one!


Three dresses, covered on the front, with a short hemline. Typical "me"...
The shape can vary from loose-fitting to curve-hugging, highlighting a special detail on the back, like a beautiful bow, or on the hem. Already sorting through my opaque tights collection...


Sheer, sheer and... sheer. I freakin' love the first sweatshirt. The sheer and opaque stripes on the sleeves are brilliant!  |  The lace panels on the sides and the back of the green top, along with the more opaque straight-cut panels, make the perfect union between delicate and tough.  |  The final option is just obvious, if you know me. Peter Pan collar? Check. Black and white contrast? Check.


The toned down shades and the slight transparency combined, create the most stylish plaid ever.  |  Coated red trousers: just because.  |  The final piece is a bit of luxury found on the High Street: a pair of trousers composed by cotton on the outer edge and soft leather on the inside. They come with a higher price tag, of course...


Keeping up with the leather theme, this mini skirt with zips is the most versatile addition to any Autumn/Winter wardrobe. It can dress up a T-shirt or tough up a more feminine or dressy shirt.  |  The middle one, is a stretchy skirt — love the fact that it's navy, instead of black — with coated panels, making it more interesting, texture-wise.  |  The striped shorts are the cutest! I think they make the look more girly, without being too feminine.


Thinking if I should purchase this mini office city bag in burgundy. It's very clean and simple, but this shade adds something special to it.  |  Speaking of colour, the green and cream colour-block messenger bag, with a lovely golden chain, makes quite a statement.  |  (One of) the top trends in boots: the cutout. Either you love it or you don't...

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Review | Clinique All About Eyes Serum

Being prone to allergies and sleepless nights, I'm definitely used to having puffy eyes in the morning.

A product like Clinique All About Eyes Serum is the ideal solution for this kind of issue, thanks to its cooling metal sphere that applies the oil-free serum directly on the under eye area. Provides an instant cooling and hydrating effect, which helps to reduce bags and puffiness quite quickly, brightening the overall appearance.

The formula with caffeine, antioxidants and botanicals soothes and relieves these less-than-glamorous concerns. I'm not sure if it helps to reduce "temporary" dark circles, since mine are here to stay, but I believe it might be beneficial over time, due to the caffeine content.

I have to say, there's no better feeling in the morning than applying this cooling serum with its metal sphere. You'll feel immediately awake and ready to face the day!

It's excellent for all skin types, non-irritating and ophthalmologically tested. Can be applied AM and PM, or whenever you feel like reapplying. I prefer to use it just in the mornings, under my eye cream.
Mine is clearly running out. I'm sure it'll manage to jump into my shopping bag quite soon...

Monday, September 02, 2013

Wishlist #4 | Charlotte Tilbury Make-up Revolution

Being obsessed make-up — enough to channel it into a career — I always admired Charlotte Tilbury's work. I especially love her rock chick look and the feline eyes.
So, needless to say, I was counting the days until her make-up collection launched on

The first item to jump into my wishlist was Charlotte's Magic Cream, obviously. The Treat and Transform Moisturizer SPF15 is Charlotte's best kept secret. Everyone, from models to regular clients, become obsessed with this magic potion. It's a mix of patented anti-age ingredients, a hyaluronic acid booster and floral extracts that lift and transform tired skin. Basically, it brightens and plumps the skin, providing a radiant look and a better canvas for make-up application.

Next up, Brow Lift in the shade Brooke S. I love making-up all the facial features, but I especially love brows. Full, strong brows can really frame a face. If I'm ever going for the no make-up make-up look, I always make sure the brows are sculpted. This 3-in-1 product features a brush on one end, as per usual, a highlighter to apply under the brow, for a lifting effect, and the actual cream-pencil product in a slanted tip — to fill in any gaps, recreating fine hairs. It looks similar to Tom Ford Brow Sculptor, with a friendlier price tag.

Continuing with the eye theme, the Luxury Palette in The Dolce Vita has amazing shades. It might be the first palette where all four shades are equally beautiful. Each palette's shades are divided in 4 categories: Prime, Enhance, Pop and Smoke. So, you'll actually end up using all four shades in the same look, which can be more subtle, for daytime, or more smokey.

For lips, my favourite from the whole collection was a typical "me" shade: K.I.S.S.I.N.G. in Night Crimson. The anti-oxidant formula protects from UV damage and external pollution, keeping the lips soft. By seeing it in action in her videos, these lipsticks are evidently creamy and highly pigmented.
I'll add more shades for sure...

And, finally, a mini selection of brushes. The Powder & Sculpt Brush is great to contour and highlight the face, due it's soft pointed tip. To get the perfect grungy look, use the Eye Smudger Brush, for a close smudging action. The Eye Blender Brush is ideal for a quick wash of colour or to blend any shade effortlessly.

By the way, don't forget to watch Charlotte Tilbury's videos on her YouTube channel, where she does her 10 iconic looks, with easy to follow, step by step instructions.
Now, excusez-moi, while I try not to purchase the entire line...

Monday, August 26, 2013

YSL Touche Éclat | It's a highlighter, not a concealer

I remember like it was yesterday: I was about 12, perusing the shopping centre and stocking up on some new seasonal items with mum, when we decided to make a stop at Sephora to get my first YSL Touche Éclat. She thought I just liked to carry that beautiful gold packaging in my bag...

My inspiration came from reading Vogue magazine one sunny afternoon, where I realized that this was the secret weapon of many celebrities, so I thought: if I can only pick one thing, it's going to be YSL Touché Éclat clickable pen. Needless to say, mum faced quite a challenge when trying to leave the store.

Admittedly, I went through these faster than the speed of light. Okay, I might have exaggerated there, but you get the idea. I was actually using it as a concealer — gasp! I cringe everytime I look at old photos... Only when I started high school I discovered actual concealer and the power of correctors, which in my case, having dark circles, was a life changer.

A highlighter is a great product to have in your beauty stash, but if not applied properly, it can cause cringe-worthy moments like these... The trick is to avoid covering the whole under-eye area. Instead, strategically place in the inner corners — where it's always darker — providing an instant lift and a brighter appearance.

To sum up: if you're prone to dark circles, use this after concealing; if you have a bit of darkness or puffiness on the inner corners, use this alone just on the inner corners. Whoa! Immediate radiance...
The many uses of this "magic" pen don't stop there. Apply on tops of cheekbones and the bridge of the nose to sculpt; a bit on the chin, brow bones and the cupid's bow to highlight. The instant luminosity provided by this cult product looks good in person and amazing in photos.

I believe this is an essential in every beauty bag. When using this for the first time, prepare to click, click, click many a time, until the product comes out through the brush...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hand creams | Clarins, Caudalie and Butter London

I like reading/watching these types of product comparisons. Battles, almost. Though, let's not call it that...

Most people in my life find skincare boring, like a chore. Usually, I notice that the ones who love make-up recommendations (to the point of purchasing that particular product immediately) don't really welcome skincare recommendations with open arms. It's almost like I'm telling them to clean up their room when they're watching TV. Of course, this usually happens with facial products. Deliciously scented body items are a whole other story...

So, let's start comparing these hand creams. First up, Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream, which isn't deliciously scented by any means, but I guess that's a good thing — you don't get sick of it!
I'd recommend this for sensitive, dry or mature skins. It forms a protective barrier around the skin, but absorbs quickly and doesn't feel greasy. With an added benefit of protecting against spots.
I chose a pack with 3 mini sizes (30ml each), to take up less space in my beauty bag. Well, I just love minis.
This cream really delivers a good dose of nourishment to the cuticles, thanks to the sesame oil in the formula and the packaging fits into a more sophisticated category.

The next product really surprised me, in a good way. After I finished my Soap & Glory Hand Food (review here), I thought no other hand cream could match it's level of performance. Or fragrance... Until I purchased Caudalie Hand & Nail Cream, by chance, because I had forgetten to bring a hand cream. Madness!
To start off, the scent is absolutely delicious. I was expecting it to be similar to Beauty Elixir, but it actually has a sweet orange scent. And I'm usually not a fan of fruity scents in beauty products, but this is gorgeous.
Besides it's anti-oxidant properties, it makes my hands feel protected — ideal when the skin feels really dry and tight, due to exposure to AC or more extreme weather conditions.
The formula with grape seed polyphenols, shea butter, grape oil and avocado extract (besides the obvious, sweet orange), has the perfect texture — not too thick nor too fluid — and absorbs rapidly. Truly softens the cuticles and its nourishing power lasts for a long time. Plus, being a Caudalie product, it has no parabens, mineral oils and so forth.

To finish this category, I chose a product that was sitting in my drawer for ages, waiting to be used. In fact, I think it's been discontinued... But I was able to find it in Harvey Nichols, here.
Butter London Mistress Luxury Lotion, a very fluid lotion with a champagne fragrance, which is supposed to be very subtle, like a mistress. Well, I don't think it's that subtle. It's kind of an old-school "grandma" scent — you either like it or you really don't.
The packaging is very pretty, as are all Butter London products, with a vintage feel and very feminine colours.
The formula contains vitamins A, C, and E, chamomile and lemon balm. It is vegan and paraben free.
Being very fluid, feels like you're pouring foundation on the back of your hand and gets used up far more quickly. Absorbs almost immediately and it's not the most nourishing formula, but feels nice and hydrating upon application. I tend to use it very often so it ran out pretty fast.
Now, on the hunt for a new cream...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Review | Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation

During warmer months, I love wearing make-up on the eyes and on the lips, but when it comes to the face, it's a whole other story...

Except when the product is as lightweight as Diorskin Airflash Spray Foundation. This has to be the lightest, the most fluid formula, that perfectly mimics the skin's texture. If you love CHANEL Vitalumière Aqua Foundation for it's undetectable quality, then you'll love this. Even though the CHANEL one has more coverage, you can definitely build up with this formula.

My shade is Medium Beige 300, and, I should point out that (at least) this shade does oxidize a little bit during the day. But don't worry, it's not too obvious. You can only notice it when inspecting closely on a mirror. My advice is to use it sparingly and blend out the edges.

You might observe, in the photo above, that the mist is so light that you can barely see it, but trust me, it dispenses quite a lot of product without you noticing it — and it's quite messy! The best way to apply this foundation, in my opinion, is by spraying it on a buffing/duo-fibre brush and blending it out from the center of the face. You'll feel an immediate cooling effect, from the moment the foundation comes into contact with the skin.

If you do choose to spray it directly, make sure that you don't spray too close — at least 30cm afar — and protect the hair with a turban! If this method works for you, then you'll have the base done in a few seconds! How awesome is that?

A quick note: the one I own has a navy cap, but now you can find it with a silver one. I believe it's the same formula, they just updated the look to match the new Airflash products - CC Primer (a colour correcting primer) and Matte Touch (a finishing powder).

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Autumn | Looking forward to...

As I'm already preparing to embrace the next season, which happens to be my favourite, when Autumn comes I'm looking forward to:


. Finally moving to LONDON and meeting new people (yadda yadda yadda);

. Attending an awesome HALLOWEEN party;

. Seeing THIRTY SECONDS TO MARS at the O2 Arena;

. Wearing boots and my favourite LEATHER JACKET again;

. Having BURGUNDY shades in my make-up.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Hair colour | Grey hair

Even though I make an arduous effort to hide it, I'm going to reveal it here: I'm going grey. And no, it's not a recent event. In fact, my first grey hair made an appearance when I was eleven. Soon after, the rest of the crew followed. At the moment, besides those scattered strands, I have a full-on Stacy London-esque grey section of hair, on the front.

I thought that having blunt bangs would help to prolong the interval between colourings, and it did at first, but as the grey section expanded it's territory, it managed to conquer the top hairs in my fringe, becoming perfectly visible.
Having dry hair and being sensitive to dyes — and yes, I do use products like INOA — the four-week period between camouflage jobs was short enough for my capillary health, so I was determined to find temporary solutions to continue to mask my secret until the next root touch-up.

I found quite a number of solutions for this issue: sprays, powders, creams... Some perform better than others, but I didn't find the perfect formula just yet.
When it comes to sprays/coloured dry shampoos and powders, they're not ideal unless you benefit from the matte effect they provide. In my case, they make my hair look dull and the coverage is way too sheer for my dark brunette mane.

The creamy formulas that come in a tube form and usually carry a spooly or a doe foot applicator, provide a better finish compared to powders. The one I'm using at the moment is L'Action Cosmetique Bye Bye Grey Hair in Dark Brown. Apply it directly to grey roots and wait a few minutes to dry. I like to brush it carefully afterwards, so it looks more natural (less crispy). FYI, it only lasts until your next shower and not 3 to 10 days, as stated in the label. The coverage is medium to full, depending on the shade.

I'm hoping to find a better formula in the the near future — I'll keep you posted.
Until then, will continue to use this cover-up during the last couple of weeks that precede the next colouring.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Styling a fringe | bangs

You see all of these great icons sporting an effortless fringe — Zooey Deschanel, Katy Perry, Lily Allen, Audrey Hepburn... — and you think "all I need to impart that sort of look is cutting a bit of hair across the forehead". The question is: can you actually manage it at home?

This question seems to cross our minds every time we consider a new haircut, and sometimes it stops us from getting the style we always wanted. Well, don't let that happen. If you really want something, learn how to get on with it.

Let's start with something simple today: fringe (a.k.a. bangs). Most people do struggle with this particular style, because of it's common issues: it parts in the middle or it's not laying flat (or maybe it's laying too flat?). One lesson well learnt, for me, was: put down the flat iron! A hair dryer is the right tool for this job, but bare in mind, timing is everything.

Before we get to the styling bit, let's analyze the cut, shall we? Make sure you let the stylist know if you want straight across bangs or rounded ones, a long fringe that completely covers the brows or a short vintage-looking one. Also, decide beforehand if you like the longer bits on the sides. And, with thick hair, make sure there's some thinning out action.

Right, now that the cut is sorted, let's get on with it. Get used to blow-drying your fringe right after the shower. This is especially important if your hair isn't naturally pin-straight or if you have any whorls (cowlicks) at the front.

To get right into the roots, dismiss that rounded brush. Pick up a fine tooth comb — making sure it has soft rounded edges, to avoid any damage on the scalp — and comb the hair from side to side, with the nozzle of the dryer on top. Not too close, though!
Drying in different directions "disorients" the hair parting (or the whorl), making it fall straight down to the front.

Before drying the hair, if you usually apply any sort of styling cream, do apply a tiny bit on the fringe (avoiding the roots) in order to get a polished result. And don't forget to spritz some heat protecting spray!
If you find that your cowlick is very persistent, and it tends to lift back up when the hair cools down, wear a hairband right after styling it, for about 10 to 20 minutes, until the hair sets.
And, when you just don't have the time or the patience to manage it, simply braid it or pin it back!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Review | ghd IV Styler hair straightener

Heat styling... If there's one major addiction I can't live without, it's a hair straightener. I know, I know, it's very unhealthy and brings high levels of damage to your locks, but I truly dislike my hair without any sort of heat styling.

Now, if you're familiar with my previous posts, you might have learnt that my hair is very frizzy and unruly. And there's a lot of it! I don't really mind the shape itself — straight, curly, wavy, it's all good — but the texture bothers me. The shaft is quite thick and unmanageable, so I find that a little heat application makes it look softer and healthier, actually.

For those who have a lot of hair, you know how great it is to be able to control the volume. I like it on the roots, not on the lengths. Triangle mane, anyone?
Of course, I do my best to protect it and to prevent any future damage, especially since I'd rather keep my locks on the longer side. Always use heat protecting products that are especially conceived to use with high temperatures. There's a few good ones, but I found myself really hooked to the ghd's own Heat Protect Spray. Also, do treat your hair to a weekly (or twice-weekly) intense nourishing treatment. This will actually help to repair some of the damage and provide further protection.

Until 2012, I've had multiple models of BaByliss heat tools, but having read such good recommendations, I caved and got a ghd IV Styler. From what I understand, the temperature in this particular tool is 210º C, which made me a bit skeptical in terms of results — I was used to the very high 230º C temperature! But, let me tell you, even with a lower heat it didn't disappoint! If it's possible to achieve the same sleek, straight and long lasting results with fewer degrees, why not? Plus, the appliance has rounded edges that allow you to create impeccable curls.
Of course, I was intrigued when, after a few months, ghd released a new model, Eclipse, featuring an even lower temperature (185º C) and promising to "deliver the best and fastest results yet". Does it actually deliver? I'll stick to my IV Styler, for now, but I am curious to try it...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Summer faves | Beauty, fashion and random

This post is long overdue. I had started a draft for about a month or two, but somehow forgot to finish it! Okay, here we go, my absolute favourites for summer 2013 — the crème de la crème of beauty, fashion and some random bits:


Base  | Estée Lauder Daywear B.B Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Cream in Medium
Lipstick  |  Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet in 43 La Favorite
Nail varnish  |  Bourjois So Laque Ultra Shine in Bleu Model
Perfume  |  Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne Eau de Parfum, which is getting really close to its last spritz


Shoes  |  Zara Spiked Ballerina (These are from last season. Alternatives here and here.)
Bag  |  Miss Sixty (Alternative from Guess, here.)
Sunglasses  |  Diesel wayferer style
Clothing  |  Ted Baker Playsuit With Bow Detail


Food  |  Besides watermelon or the occasional Calippo, spinach and mushroom quiche, with a wholemeal crust
Drink  |  Chilled green tea with lemon
TV show  |  True Blood, of course
Books  |  George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, on my tablet
Activities  |  Going to music festivals!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Top picks | Net-A-Porter summer sale

Take a look at my favourites from the Net-A-Porter sale. Bare in mind that your size might not be available — a common misfortune during sale periods — and a particular item could be sold out by the time you click on the link. Sorry 'bout that! Nothing new if you have purchased anything discounted in the past.
Some garments are not reminiscent of summer, exactly, but I always like to think ahead and start adding to my autumn/winter wardrobe. Okay, let's scroll down to find my top picks:


Markus Lupfer sequined merino wool dress £75  |  Catherine Malandrino feather-trimmed stretch-satin jersey and chiffon dress £190  |  Isabel Marant Dreamy studded stretch-leather mini dress £762  |  Christopher Kane cracked leather dress £598.50

Between wool, sequins, feathers, leather and studs, I think there's something for everyone's taste. Red leather might not be your cup of tea, but don't worry, there are plenty of options to choose from. Funnily enough, the length remains identical.


Theory Yaisa leather-sleeved ponte blazer £318.50  |  R13 moto leather gilet £390  |  Proenza Schouler basketweave tweed jacket £655  |  Etro satin-trimmed cotton-blend tweed jacket £250.50

chic khaki blazer with leather sleeves looks great paired with a loose shirt, leather trousers and a statement necklace. Plus, two combination jackets that really make a simple outfit more interesting, and a leather gilet thrown in the mix. Why not?


DAY Birger et Mikkelsen Day Liquid slub-twill tapered pants £80  |  Joseph matt stretch-leather skinny pants £556.50  |  Isabel Marant Devin embellished stretch-leather shorts £276  |  T by Alexander Wang leather shorts £278.60

At the moment, I'm really into these relaxed-fit trousers for summer. Honestly, skinny leather pants are my thing, so had to include those. Since there weren't many offerings in the pants department, I decided to included a couple of shorts as well: neutral colours, studs and leather, of course.


Balmain striped stretch-denim mini skirt £634  |  Alexander McQueen fluted crepe mini skirt £232  |  DAY Birger et Mikkelsen leather and suede mini skirt £60  |  Rag & bone Renard woven-striped leather skirt £370

Black and white stripes and zips as part of the same garment? Had to include it, obviously. In addition, you'll find a nude skirt with some movement on the bottom — a crown pleaser, I'm sure — as well as a combination skirt and a pleated leather one.


Four choices, each one with a particular texture and visual effect. Usually not a Missoni fan, but I really liked the print on this top. The second offering is a more interesting version of a blouse I already own — collar and all — and the other two are just my usual go to pieces, really.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Review | b.right! Radiant Skincare by Benefit intro kit

First of all, how cute and retro-looking is Benefit's packaging? And in dinky little mini bottles? Anything that comes in a miniature version is adorable, isn't it?
This limited edition 6-piece intro kit from Benefit's b.right! skincare range, contains a cleanser, an exfoliator, a toner, a facial emulsion, a face cream and an eye cream. Oh, and the scent... Aah! A very fresh and clean cucumber fragrance.

I'll start with the first step, the cleanser: Foamingly Clean Facial Wash. The word "Foamingly" in the name put me off, because I never tried a foaming cleanser that I liked. The thing is, I like my face to be perfectly clean, but I don't enjoy that tight feeling that these types of cleansers provide — a.k.a. squeaky clean. I'll stick with my balm and cream cleansers, instead.

I usually prefer chemical exfoliants to physical ones, with Glycolic and Salicylic acids, but I do try some once in a while — like Korres Wild Rose Exfoliating Cleanser, which is really delicate and does an amazing job at cleansing the skin.
b.right! Refined Finish Facial Polish has quite a grainy texture. In fact, I feel that the grains could be smaller, so that the product would work in a gentler manner. Having said that, this product does take care of dull skin, improves dry patches and provides an overall radiant finish. With natural clay and seaweed extract as a part of the ingredients list, this formula does the job when it comes to purifying the skin. I like to massage it in, very gently, and then leave it on for a couple of minutes before rinsing, enhancing the final result.

I love hydrating toners, they're so soothing and relaxing, especially when they carry a gorgeous scent like b.right! Moisture Prep Toning Lotion. The consistency is just perfect: not too watery nor too thick. Just right. Smoothes the skin and works as a primer before moisturizer, helping to improve its benefits. Benefit's benefits. Sorry, had to say it.
Anyway, having a look at this product's ingredients, I realized that most of them really do belong in the moisturizing and soothing categories: glycerin, oat extract, aloe leaf extract... Oh, and I should mention that this is the kind that you pour in a cotton pad and sweep all over the face, instead of spritzing, in case that's a deal breaker for you.

Triple Performing Facial Emulsion is an oil-free facial sunscreen lotion, with broad spectrum SPF 15. A good one to apply in the mornings, if you're on the look for something lightweight, soothing and ideal for dehydrated skins. Works well under make-up and did I mention, has a lovely smell? The sun protection might be enough during winter and if you work indoors, though I wear a base with SPF on top.

b.right Total Moisture Facial Cream is a heavy-duty, concentrated face cream, ideal to use when your skin is feeling tight, dull or uncomfortable. I like to use this at nighttime or properly taking advantage of its hydrating formula after pamper sessions. During application, your skin feels immediately quenched, soothed and spoiled, really. With an exclusive tri-radiance complex, that aids in the process of developing the skin's own reserves of water and reinforcing the skin's moisture barrier. If you have trouble with a particular foundation that doesn't sit well on those irritating dry patches, use this as a primer. Works perfectly.

I saved the best for last. A proper eye cream for dry skins: It's Potent! Eye Cream. Aah, the eyes... The real problem area for me. Not only I have to deal with concealing and brightening (seriously) dark circles, but my skin gets really dry. The eyes really do show everything, whether you're sick, tired, upset... So, before considering the proper camouflage, think about prepping the area with a nice, potent cream. The peptide complex in the blend helps to rebuild skin's elasticity and a mixture of hydrating botanical extracts protect the skin from free radical damage. Amazing during winter months or to prevent dryness caused by air conditioned areas. I'm getting my hands on a full-sized pot of this!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

The beauty bag | Summer heat update

Current location? Lisbon, Portugal. Temperature? Very warm. So, naturally, the contents of my beauty bag have changed.

First of all, I've decided to edit and simplify this group of products. Meaning, I'm not carrying around 10 lippies anymore. Whether you're going to a festival or just commuting in a crowded bus with broken air conditioner (lovely), you'll want to make an effort so that your make-up don't melt off your face.

The key to choosing the right products is testing their longevity. Usually, spotting the expression waterproof or long lasting on the label is a good sign. Some ranges I really like, especially for this type of hot and humid weather, are Urban Decay 24/7 and Make Up For Ever Aqua. They stay in place all day (and night), so you can just apply them in the morning and forget you have make-up on.

The current face division consists of Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil in NSA, to conceal dark circles and redness around the nose, and Chanel Natural Finish Pressed Powder in 30 Naturel, to mattify the T-zone. If I feel like wearing any sort of base, I'll go for MAC Face and Body Foundation in C5 — entitled as the perfect base for warmer months, thanks to its water-resistant quality. A teeny tiny dab of Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Cream Blush (in the shade 4 Walk of Shame) on the cheeks, provides a healthy glow. It doesn't contain shimmer, but gives a soft-focus effect.

To frame the face, I apply a bit of M.U.F.E. Aqua Brow in 25 Ash, using a slanted tip brush (like MAC 208). It is unbelievably good at filling in sparse areas or even drawing in full brows, when they fit in the very fair category or, even when they are virtually non-existent. Naturally, an essential part of my kit.

In the eye department, a swipe of Rimmel Scandaleyes Stick in Bad Girl Bronze on the lid, blended in with fingers or a fluffy brush, makes a good base. To define the lashline, a quick application of Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes does the trick. The shade Pearly Brown 2L gives a softer look, but you can just go for Matte Black 0L to intensely define the eye. For mascara, choose a formula that doesn't smudge on you. Usually, I don't have an issue with this, so I rarely wear waterproof formulas. Having said that, I really like Make Up For Ever Aqua Smoky Lash.

To finish off the look, a long-lasting lipstick does the job. My most reached for have been Burberry Lip Velvet in Rose Azalea No. 308 (love that shade) and Aqua Rouge liquid lipstick (in 2 Rosewood).
On dry lip occasions, I reach for Clinique Chubby Stick (in Two Ton Tomato), of course.

Some other essentials that jumped into my beauty bag are Caudalie Beauty Elixir (gotta have a refreshing mist on hand), Japonesque Blotting Paper Pouch (does what it says on the tin), Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream and a mini perfume atomizer or rollerball, in this case, Burberry Body.