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Makeup tips

Your Eyebrow FAQs Answered

The eyebrow is truly having its day right now, especially with all the mask wearing. When people can only see part of our faces, it’s only natural we want those parts to shine! So, while some people favour the more natural eyebrow look and have used this last year without their usual brow appointments to let the natural ones grow back in, some have been trying to groom and shape them themselves. It may not have always ended up going as well as planned, so sometimes… it may be best to leave that part to the professionals. But, if you are impatient like me and want to try your hand at getting those eyebrows back into shape (carefully – no one wants to end up with the disaster of the nineties and barely-there brows!) you might have a few questions before you start.

WHAT IS THE BEST HAIR REMOVAL TECHNIQUE FOR EYEBROWS?

There are plenty of ways to rid yourself of unruly or unwanted eyebrow hair, but some methods are more painful than others and some are just not as kind to the skin as others. The real recommendation is that if you don’t really have to remove it, then don’t bother putting yourself through the potential soreness as the skin around and under the eyebrows can be susceptible to damage and minor infection if hair removal isn’t done properly and with care.

If you still want a little tidy up or reshape from your technician, have a look at your options for eyebrow hair removal:

Plucking – This one is probably the most common and seems like easiest to do, but also so easy to get wrong, and not to mention how sore it can leave your eyebrow area afterward. It can be easy to get carried away with tweezers and always just go for one more hair until you then have to even out the other side and so on. It’s a battle you may not win and waiting for eyebrows to grow back in can take a lot of time.

If you must reach for the tweezers it’s best to only use them to remove the odd stray hair and give your brows a little tidy up, not to reshape them altogether. Always pluck your eyebrows after a hot shower or after holding a cloth soaked with hot water to them. This opens up the pores and softens the skin making for an easier plucking experience. Not only will it hurt less but it will also do less damage to the skin. Check your tweezers are new and in good condition. Older tweezers may have lost their shape/grip and blunt tweezers will find it hard to grab the hairs properly to remove them in one go. Again, your pain threshold will thank you later, and you won’t be at risk of infection from using old or dirty tweezers. Aloe Vera gel will also be your best friend after plucking your brows, so apply a little of this to the freshly tweezed area for a soothing and cool feeling.

Threading – This one is definitely best left to the professionals unless you are fully used to do this to yourself already. This is an old method of hair removal and involves as it says in the title using a few threads and working them in a motion that pulls the hairs away from the follicle in a few goes. It is painful to those who haven’t done it before, but most people who have been threading for years say that the pain lessens and becomes easily bearable. The results can last from 6-10 weeks when done properly and that will always make the pain more bearable anyway, as who doesn’t want to be in a position where you don’t have to worry about those pesky brow hairs for a couple of months!

Waxing – this method is definitely the most painful, but easily delivers the best results. Waxing is always a good idea before going on holiday, but due to the sensitivity of the skin it’s not recommended to step out in the sun for one to two days while the skin calms down. As waxing removes all the unwanted hairs in one go by applying a sticky substance and then being torn off in one quick move, it tends to get hairs from the roots, so it means even longer is needed until the next appointment. People who regularly get their eyebrows waxed say that the hairs grow in finer afterward too, so it doesn’t need so much upkeep in the meantime. Treat the skin with care after a waxing appointment and don’t apply lotions or creams straight after to make sure that the skin doesn’t pick anything up or get clogged with things that can cause irritation or infection.

Shaving – An absolute last resort for eyebrow hair removal, and simply because it can be so difficult to target specific areas and it doesn’t last very long at all. Although it is constantly said that shaving doesn’t mean hairs grow back in courser or thicker, when it comes to your eyebrows you are removing hair above the skin and follicle so it can leave blunt evidence of hairs which can end up looking unsightly. You can also easily nip or cut yourself with a razor and being so close to your eye, this method is probably not recommended for eyebrow hair removal.

WHAT HELPS EYEBROWS GROW BACK FASTER?

Not everyone struggles with eyebrow hair removal and in fact for a lot of people the problem comes in growing them back. As mentioned with the more aggressive forms of hair removal, the follicle itself becomes a lot weaker meaning that when you decide it’s time to reshape or grow in your eyebrows once more, it can be a lot harder.

When we subject our eyebrows to years of plucking, tweaking and makeup use, it can have long-term effects that sometimes seem irreversible, but it is important to remember there are ways to get those follicles going again, and those little eyebrow hairs wanting to grow back. There are natural methods that some people swear by, that help to encourage regrowth of eyebrows and strengthen the follicles.

A healthy and balanced diet is always a good way of growing and strengthening follicles, as hairs are mostly made up of proteins, they need to replace lost ones in order to maintain healthy growth. The same for C vitamins that can be found in leafy green vegetables and fruits. Beans and lentils as well as fresh fish and nuts can provide the body with long energy bursts and the resulting proteins can help with hair growth, and in this case eyebrow growth.

Castor oil has been linked to hair growth for many years and has been used as a hair regrowth remedy to treat eyebrows and eyelashes in more recent years. All it takes is a small amount of castor oil on a cotton bud applied to the eyebrows, especially focussing on the areas where hair is sparse and then just waiting for the results of hopefully faster regrowth and shiner eyebrow hair.

Other remedies include eyebrow serums, which are similar to eyelash growth serums and aim to help eyebrows grow back faster, stronger and more lustrous in colour. XBrow eyebrow serum is one that contains natural and botanical extracts associated with hair growth and follicle repair as well as being kinder to the skin around and under the eyebrows can show results in a matter of weeks.

IS MICROBLADING A GOOD OPTION?

The idea of “tattooing” your eyebrows on seems like genius, doesn’t it? Waking up in the morning and not having to do a thing to your eyebrows to get ready, knowing that they look amazing all the time seems like heaven. But is it for everyone? Maybe not. If you have naturally full eyebrows anyway, but the shape bothers you then microblading isn’t going to be your best option, it is best suited for people with sparse eyebrows or who have trouble growing them back, or for people with uneven eyebrow shapes, microblading can be a great way to correct them and not have to worry about them much afterward.

Microblading is relatively pain free and isn’t as invasive as tattooing although it does involve some very small needles and someone with steady hands. It takes a great deal of technicality to microblade someone’s eyebrows so it should always be done by someone who is professionally trained with the proper equipment. The results can be so natural looking that it is only under close inspection that anyone would be able to tell, so this is a huge bonus for those who struggle on their own eyebrow journey.

The important thing with anything that involves creating small openings in the skin is that it needs time to repair itself. So it can be sore and cause minimal scarring initially while it heals. If you think microblading is a good option for you, always take the advice of the trained person with regards to aftercare and follow instructions through fully so that you get the best end result and end up with gorgeous looking eyebrows.

SHOULD YOU RESHAPE YOUR OWN EYEBROWS AT HOME?

If you are thinking of reshaping your eyebrows at home, the best advice here is don’t do it! We are all born with an eyebrow shape that sits at a certain position on our faces and it can be very difficult to know what will work until the job is done. Considering that they can take a while to grow back in, this could be a mistake you will end up regretting and struggling to hide for some time if it goes wrong.

There are some shapes that flatter different faces and some eyebrow shapes that are more universal and suit everybody, so the best thing to do is go for a consultation with a trained professional who will talk you through the steps and delivery a shape that works really well with your features and to compliment your shape.

WHAT SHAPE EYEBROWS SUIT EACH FACE SHAPE?

There is no set template for eyebrows as it can depend on the face shape as to what is more flattering. This doesn’t mean you have to get your eyebrows reshaped to match the criteria, but you can achieve temporary looks with clever makeup to be able to see what suits you and feel confident all day.

Round face shapes – This shape tends to suit a higher arch to help lengthen the face and create more dimension to the middle of the face. Clever shading with makeup by using darker tones to fill in the arch will create emphasise and take focus away from rounder lines.

Oval face shapes – This shape can pretty much get away with any eyebrow shape, low arches and flatter lines work just as well as softer arches and higher arches. Rounder eyebrows are probably the thing to avoid as it will only highlight the oval shape of the face and lift the eyeline higher up than desired.

Heart face shapes – Elongated eyebrows with soft arches work really well to break up angular lines and create a really flattering shape at the right place on the face. Depth in tone isn’t so necessary with heart-shaped faces as they tend to flatter all styles anyway and don’t need to add different tones to create dimension or it can create too much emphasis on the brow.

Square face shapes – The thing to avoid with square shaped faces are high, angular arches and thinner eyebrows. This draws attention to the angular lines instead of softening them. Softer, low arches are good as they look more natural.

Diamond and long face shapes – The goal with diamond or longer face shapes is to add width to the face and the way to do this is with longer, flatter eyebrows. Adding high arches will elongate the face and draw attention to the angles, so draw eyebrows outward, keep them on the fuller side and keep arches short and more toward the outer edges of the eyebrow.

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Makeup tips

Minimalist Eye Makeup

Trends in makeup come and go quite fast and sometimes by the time you’ve caught up with one, it’s already old news. This is why the classics will never die and a lot of people don’t want to spend their money chasing a fad that will only last a couple of months. But what constitutes a classic? Most of the time it’s makeup that has been around for a long time, is convenient and easy to wear.

Minimalist makeup can fall into the classic category as it doesn’t involve too many variants on colours or styles and can be worn by anybody. You may be thinking that your eyes deserve to be bold and beautiful and that you actually enjoy the maximum effect of geometric shapes, different tones of eyeshadow and lashings of mascara, but stick with me here, just because minimalist eye makeup is a classic, it doesn’t mean you can’t get adventurous with it. Especially when wearing a mask and your eyes are the only focal part of your face.

How do you prepare your skin for minimalist makeup?

This is simple – create a clean and clear base that isn’t distracting or too chaotic so that your minimalist makeup is the thing that stands out.

Wash and cleanse your face every single night – This is important for minimalist makeup as the face tends to collect all kinds of dirt and grime from makeup and even just being outside and any build up of this can cause breakouts and blemishes that just get in the way of your look. Remove eye makeup with a remover like micellar water and a cotton pad. Micellar water breaks down the particles in makeup to make even the most stubborn products disappear with ease.

Next, cleanse your skin with a water-based or foam cleanser to get deep into the skin and pores, keeping it clean and clear overnight.

Don’t use thick moisturisers – The aim is to hydrate your skin and to smooth it out, not to cake it with thick oily product that ends up sitting on your skin making it feel greasy and harder to apply makeup. Some night-time or intensive moisturisers can be great if you have problematic skin, just make sure you wash it off in the morning and carry on with your regular day moisturiser for that smooth appearance, ready for minimalist makeup.

Try not to coat your face in heavy concealers and foundations – Especially if you don’t really need it. It can be tempting to get caried away with foundation and almost becomes a habit in wearing so much of it, that the thought of only using a thin layer scares you. But remember if you want your eyes to stand out with minimalist makeup, you can’t make the thickness of your foundation the main focus.

Use a colour corrector to even out the skin tones under your eyes with the rest of your face – Some people are blessed with naturally even skin, but for a lot of us, there tend to be darker or bluer shades under and around the eyes where the skin is thinnest (and maybe from tiredness!). So, if this is you, find a colour corrector that works well for the shade that is darkest under your eyes. If it’s more purple, invest in a yellow toned colour corrector or CC cream and if its blue, invest in a more orange toned one. When you apply your foundation gently over the top, it creates a balance and an even palette ready for your minimalist eye makeup.

Finish with a light powder if needed, but don’t go overboard – If you have any fine lines or wrinkles, the powder tends to highlight them more and become cakey in the cracks. Powder is best used around the T-zone and best avoided around the eye area where the skin looks so much better dewy and smooth for eye makeup.

How do you prepare your eyes for minimalist makeup?

So, now that the skin is taken care of, it’s time to prepare the eyes. A blank slate is always needed for eye makeup, so as above, prepare the eyes by cleansing all makeup or build up first.

Start with your eyelashes – Minimalist makeup requires a bit of a ‘less is more’ approach to eyelashes, so before you go reaching for an extravagant set of false lashes, consider other options for bold but classic eyelashes, like an eyelash growth serum. When you use a serum formulated to help your eyelashes grow faster and longer, you start to realise that a big false set may not be necessary. It can take a few weeks to see results but in terms of making minimal makeup a classic and not just a trend that will pass by this is really fitting.

Give your eyebrows a quick tidy up – Don’t get too tweezer happy or you’ll regret it when they don’t grow back in so quick and you’re left with barely there, or worse, uneven eyebrows. But getting rid of a few strays from the edges and giving them a brush with your spooley can go a long way with minimalist makeup. An eyebrow serum will also help them look shinier, fuller and with deeper colour so this could be a great option for long-term use.

Use a primer for your eyelids – This helps the makeup glide on easily and stay put all day once it’s on there. There’s nothing worse than doing your makeup and it starting to gather in the creases or even start sliding off your eyes halfway through your day.

Invest in some new eyeliner – To carry off minimalistic eye makeup you need to have a great tools to make it look clean and crisp. If you use liquid eyeliner, check that your brush is still in good condition and not frayed at the ends for precise application and if you use pencil eyeliner, keep it sharp and clean for a great makeup look.

What minimalist makeup styles look great?

As I said before, minimalist makeup can be made to look quite graphic but with clean and simple lines that do all the talking. It doesn’t have to be all clinical and cold and can instantly be turned into a classic that will be your staple style for years to come.

The classic cat-eye – This one will always be around and can be a huge contributor to minimalist eye makeup when executed well. You don’t need to use a lot of eyeliner or worry about creating a bold shape, just take it down a step by following the direct upper eyelid line and drawing out into a simple but sharp wing with minimal curve. It can take practice to get it right if you haven’t done a cat-eye before but once it’s on point, you’ll never look back.

For hooded eyes, try the bat-wing method – It can give the perfect illusion of the cat-eye. This is becoming increasing popular as people are realising that you don’t have to have one type of eyelid to pull great makeup styles off. This involves drawing a line over the lid as normal, but for the wing creating a diamond shape that resembles an actual bat wing when the eye is closed, but when it’s open, it connects to the line on the upper lid for a smooth cat eye appearance. Team this with some simple mascara for a minimalist eye-makeup look.

Try the fox eye – This is extremely minimal but has maximum effect and is a welcome change to the standard cat-eye if you are looking for something a different but that packs a punch. The fox eye is similar to the cat-eye but is about elongating the eye with thin brush strokes of the eyeliner starting from the centre or outer corners of the eye and lifting the wing into a higher and straighter point. It can be finished off with a small, downturned stroke at the inner corners of the eye near the tear ducts to compliment and complete the look. This can change your whole face shape when executed well and only requires a small amount of colour eyeshadow to keep it minimalist.

Go for graphic lines – Eyeliner doesn’t just have to be used for wings and cat-eyes for minimalist makeup, and if you need a little bit more adventure, then graphic lines could work for you. You don’t want to go too heavy with your applications and you will need a steady hand to draw in sharp lines but think about lifting your cat-eye a few millimetres from the edge of your eye lid, so it almost looks like it’s floating. Or even draw the shape of your cat wing but don’t fill it in for a bold statement. To take it a step further but still in keeping with minimalist trends, switch up your normal black eyeliner for a bright red or green/blue for that extra pop of colour – no eyeshadow needed. This is where that primer will come in handy, making sure your lines don’t shift throughout the day.

Keep eyebrows sleek and shiny – So, in preparation for minimalist makeup you will have given them a little tidy up, but to start to bring the look together it calls for some sleek eyebrows that are bold enough to frame your face but not takeaway from your eyes. Eyebrows don’t have to be stuck to your face, but a light gel to keep the hairs brushed outward and some tint or pencil to create a light shape will do wonders for this minimalist makeup style.

Use one statement eye colour – Being bold with colour is still minimalist as long as its kept monochrome and matte to complete the look. A simple sweep of bright pinks, greens or blues will be enough to make a statement while not overpowering the face. Teamed with sleek cheeks and black eyeliner, minimal colour offers just enough for those who can’t bear to bare!

Keep mascara simple – Yes, we all love our lashes to look long and full, but sometimes it can be too much if you don’t know when to stop. Keep a few different mascaras in your makeup kit so on days where you want to go minimal you are prepared. A simple lengthening mascara will do the trick, in a black or deep brown to keep it looking natural. If you are all about the fox eye try a mascara hat feathers your lashes and with a thick wand to help you brush your eyelashes outward and upward to follow the same lines as your eyeliner. You can pull off plenty of trickery with mascara, just apply it layer by layer if you want to build it up a bit more, but make sure it isn’t an old product that will start to clump your lashes together or leave dry residue.

Nude lips will compliment a minimalist look – Ok, so this isn’t about eye makeup, but you can’t finish off the face until you are happy with every aspect. Lips that are smooth and shiny without too much gloss will work really well with minimalist eye makeup, so taking care of them with an intensive care moisturiser or repair balm will be enough to keep your face looking fresh, but for a pop of colour try a pink lip stain and lightly brush it on with special focus on the centre of the lips instead of lining them. Or keep colours nude if you want full coverage so this doesn’t take anything away from your eyes.

Minimalist makeup doesn’t have to be boring or too simple, it just takes a bit of practice to know what suits you and how to execute the look with ease. The key is in keeping the face fresh and clear, but this doesn’t mean that you should shy away from colour or a bit of contour to define your cheeks and eye area.

You could always skin on the eyeliner or the eyebrows if you really want to keep the look minimal and focus more on your eyeshadow colour and mascara to achieve the look. Instead of chasing the trends of full makeup, smoky eyes and glittery shadows, try and set your own by using these classic examples on a look that will always be modern and fresh.

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Makeup tips

Getting your Body out of Lockdown Mode

It’s the time of year we’ve all been waiting for; springtime is upon us and will hopefully be filled with sunnier days and cheerier moods allowing each and every one of us to start emerging from these wintery days of lockdown and severe lack of sunlight, and when it does happen we need to be ready. Ok, so we may be a long way off complete normality, but now the days of socialising with friends, holidaying on the beach and enjoying some much-deserved catch-up time with family is on the horizon, it’s really time to start getting our minds and our bodies back into shape.

I don’t know about you, but the slightest hint of freedom had me filling up my online shopping carts with clothes and accessories that I know have no chance of fitting me just yet, but instead of feeling the usual distain of complete hopelessness, I’m feeling unusually motivated to work on myself and get back into a vaguely acceptable condition for those long days of sun and laughs, wearing my new outfits and shoes that I definitely should be wearing in before braving the great outside.

So, it’s going to take a bit of work for many of us, but with greater days ahead and time on our side, this should be a fun time to get to know ourselves again and get back into our normal routines, and even discover some new ones along the way!

MENTAL PREPARATION

So, where do we start? On top of the physical preparation, we must make sure that our mental wellbeing takes a priority too. For many people this last year has been a lonely one, with little or extremely limited time outside, and no visiting the people that mean the most and seeing the usual places that make life normal. We have to try to remember that everyone is in the same boat and are all equally looking forward to better days, but for some it may not be as simple as that. It will be common to have feelings of anxiety in joining the world again, so as much as you may be excited to see your best friends, it is important to let them also decide when they are ready to join you at their own pace.

Life as we know it may not ever go back to normal completely, and it can get overwhelming for a lot of people to accept changes in how we socialise. Prepare yourself for this by setting your own realistic expectations, so you don’t feel let down or saddened by the new normal. Jetting off on holiday without masks, or pre-drinks at the airport may not happen just yet, but we will get there in time, it’s just about the baby steps to get back into a social mindset, and a great place to start is by getting your body back into a normal routine. When you look the part, it is easier to feel the part.

DETOXES AND DIETS

All kinds of diet fads present themselves to us through different mediums and all promise to help us lose belly fat in 6 weeks or feel more alert by drinking a celebrity-endorsed tea for a month. The truth is, only you know how your body works and how it responds to different diets, not all of them suit each person’s lifestyle or body shape and it’s important to remember that in the countdown toward lockdown lifting.

There are things that do work though, and without having to change much in your existing routine you can incorporate a few things just to make sure your body is healthy, which is definitely more recommended than a crash diet in a bid to lose unwanted pounds. I honestly think that sugary snack sales at my local supermarket have probably gone through the roof due to my insatiable hunger for chocolate and all things sweet, and while I know this cannot continue if I’m ever going to fit into my new jeans, I also know it won’t do my body any good to cut food out completely.

So the change comes in switching up my sugary goodies for healthier ones, that way I can still snack at intervals in the day, but know I’m actually doing my body a bit of good in the process. A handful of blueberries and some almonds gives just enough sweetness to trick my brain into settling that craving, but also provides the body with the energy it needs to fuel my needy vessel for a few hours before dinner time.

As a source of fibre and protein the nuts pack a punch, so you don’t actually need to eat too many of them to get the benefits from them, and blueberries are loaded with vitamin C and potassium for all-round good health. Known for their antioxidant properties as well, berries are great for keeping the body clear and boost the immune system.

The great thing about this tiny change in diet is it doesn’t take a lot of work and is majorly beneficial, once you start to see a few changes just from cutting sugar, it makes adding more healthier options to the diet that much easier. Green vegetables, fresh fish and steamed rice has never tasted so good!

WORKING OUT

This is the one you’ve either been missing or dreading, there’s no in-between. So many people have used their time away from the world wisely, keeping on top of daily 5k runs, exercises at home or following daily online videos in a bid to shed some lockdown weight. I applaud all those who have made the effort and are on track to come out of lockdown looking and feeling fantastic, you’ve set the bar and should be so proud of your achievements.

I, on the other hand, fell out of love with exercise as the winter set in and let all those hours of hard work getting into shape last year fall by the wayside. But it’s ok! Everyone is going through something different right now and just because some of us lost our fitness mojo, it doesn’t mean we can’t get it back, and with the weather slowly starting to join or side, exercise will feel a lot more normal once we get back into it.

The trick is to start slow, as much as we all want to see results over night, it doesn’t work that way, and in the end we will just put strain on our bodies that can cause injury or fatigue. The idea is to fall back in love with exercise again, not loathe and resent it, so start by stretching and doing some warm-up exercises to see where your body will let you go and where is going to need a little more work.

Stretching is vital before every work out anyway, so get into the habit of working those muscles and limbs and feeling loose before you exercise. If running was your thing, don’t try to hit the 5k straight away if it’s been a while, a short jog will be enough to assess your current abilities, and you can push your limits further with each run.

Don’t neglect weights and resistance training for your arms, stomach and chest. Cardio is fantastic for losing pounds, but weight training helps you build muscle and can actually be better for your metabolism with a slow burn. Whichever way you choose to do it, try and find a way to make sure you stick it out this time, perhaps some friendly competition, create a fun playlist that matches your speed and lasts your desired work out time, and always allow your body to cool down and rest when it needs to.

SKIN CARE

One thing we could all do with right about now is some serious Vitamin D! The colder months of winter are already enough to contend with, but not being able to go out and about too much is depriving our skin of all-natural sources of oxygen and vitamins that can help with a healthy complexion. Sure, it’s a wonderful feeling being wrapped up nice and warm in comfy loungewear all day, but if you’re anything like me, you’re using these layers to hide what’s underneath and it’s about time to shed the hoodies and joggers and look at getting that skin nice and ready in time for shorts weather!

Exfoliation is a great place to start, and I know I’ve missed numerous occasions where I should have been taking great care of my skin, so this next time is going to feel fantastic. A good body scrub followed by some soothing serum and a hydrating moisturiser should be enough to do the trick, but it’s really about getting the body and mind ready for the lifting of lockdown so it’s important to put aside some proper pampering time to get the job done and not rush it.

The next thing to do is concentrate on the face, and I like to treat myself to a nice cucumber mask every now and then, but if it calls for a charcoal or even more sticky methods then so be it! The good thing about lockdown is not needing to wear makeup every day, for which my face is grateful for the breather, but soon I’ll be back to my usual suit of armour and will need to make sure my face is ready for it. The tip here is to keep the face hydrated and protected against the sun. SPF is your friend in these upcoming months of endless sunny days outside, so don’t forget to apply it before the war paint goes on.

NEW PRODUCTS

Out with the old and in with the new! As this is going to be a brand-new day for all of us, it will feel so much better to start afresh and make sure that that kit full of open but mostly unused makeup isn’t going on your skin. That can only mean irritation and we want to look our best, remember! But it isn’t just about replenishing our makeup and brushes, this summer calls for trying out some new products that will contribute to our feelgood goals.

Take the eyelashes for example, unfortunately for a lot of us, hair beauty salons have mostly been closed or unavailable over the past few months, so we’ve been letting our eyelashes loose in all their natural glory – or the opposite in my case. Without the joys of eyelash extensions to help out, it may be time to take matters into our own hands with an eyelash growth serum. After years of mascara use and eyelash curling, the last few months have probably helped give our eyelashes a well-deserved break, but they certainly do leave something to be desired. An eyelash growth serum can help give them that extra boost in length as well as some much-needed strength and shine. When an eyelash serum can turn drab and weak looking eyelashes into those of a goddess in a matter of weeks, it’s time to get applying so that our eyelashes are fully ready for lockdown to be lifted.

NEW WARDROBE

Yes, it’s time to start planning your summer wardrobe and putting those winter coats away. Obviously, in my case, I do have a few areas I want to tighten up before I go buying clothes a size down, but that won’t stop me from purchasing some summery slides or flattering bodysuits. Time to get out of those comfy joggers, incorporate some colour into your life.

I don’t care what anyone says, a shopping trip is does more for the endorphins than most exercise and when we finally have an excuse to look and feel like ourselves once more, there’s no time like the present to treat yourself to a well-earned spree. Even if it is online, is there really a better feeling than a delivery waiting at your front door? I don’t think so!

So, here’s to lockdown (and our spirits) being lifted once again and to ourselves for dealing with life fantastically in unprecedented times full of uncertainty. We’re all doing a great job and must remember to remind ourselves of that. It’s time to really give our bodies and our minds the treatment they deserve for helping us through this last year, so let the fun commence!

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Makeup tips

Eyelashes – How to Turn up the Volume

Ever noticed how much someone’s eyes stand out when their eyelashes are on point? Whether they are natural or some kind of extensions, when they are done up they always look great and give me massive eyelash envy. I want to be part of this crowd so desperately, with full and voluminous eyelashes that can be the envy of others. If you’re with me, stick around and we can explore the options together.

Eyelashes have been seen for centuries as a sign of beauty and even the history books mention how they were enhanced to display someone status even dating back to the Ancient Egyptians. All this fuss for a bunch of hairs over the eyelid? Believe it or not, eyelashes are a lot more important than just signs of beauty and serve a purpose in everyday life without even knowing it.

Our eyelashes are there to protect the eyes from falling debris and dust that may try to get closer to the eye and as they are really sensitive like the whiskers on a cat, they offer our eyes a reflexive action to shut as soon as danger is near. Of course that danger means dirt or particles and it would already have to be extremely close before the eyelashes can tell. But that’s what they do, so wouldn’t it be better if we could always have longer and fuller lashes to help ward off the dangers from a little further away?

Adding more volume to eyelashes benefits our eyes, but let’s face it, we just want them to look amazing. When our facial features look the best they can we feel great in ourselves and it can give us a certain confidence that helps us shine each day. So, what methods are there to turn up the volume on our eyelashes and how easy are all of the options?

Mascara

This one is the easiest and most obvious choice to pump up the volume. Accessible to most people and sold at beauty counters and online stores, mascara has long been a favourite for many women in terms of enhancing our eyelashes without having to go through weird procedures and spending too much money.

Mascara is always a good option for people who like a less permanent method of eyelash enhancement but want to really go bold with them. It has been around since around 4000BC if records serve right and was used on the eyelashes as a substance called kohl to darken the lashes, thicken them to protect from the blinding sun, and to ward off evil spirits and protect the soul. I don’t know how much soul protection modern mascara offers, but it certainly warms my soul to know I can enhance my eyelashes with only a few simple steps!

There are so many different types of mascara around now though that knowing which one to use if you haven’t already got your favourite firmly secure in your makeup kit can be a nightmare. The best thing is to work out what you’ve got and what you want and find a way to do this with what is on offer. Thicker wands for fuller lashes are great for depositing more mascara onto each lash and give that thicker and voluminous appearance. Finer wands with firmer bristles tend to help wit separating and lengthening, which can be a blessing if you already have full lashes but need a bit more definition.

Coloured mascara is also an option, although is more saved for special occasions or makeup gurus. Eyelashes tend to have quite a bit of colour in them anyway, so depositing colour on top may not always have the bold effect as a simple black mascara, but for more natural lashes that are full of volume, a deep brown really does the trick.

False Eyelashes

Another less temporary option for eyelashes with a bit more volume is the false lash. This has method has been favoured by so many over the years as it does a bit more than mascara, doesn’t always cost the earth, and as long as you have a steady hand and some patience, a bit of practice would make applying false eyelashes the easiest option for eyelash enhancement.

Originally patented in 1911 by a very savvy Canadian lady called Anna Taylor, false lashes were created using a crescent-shaped strip of fabric with small pieces of hair attached to them. The glues and adhesives were not regulated back then so it caused a lot of swelling and irritation in the wearers. This was thankfully something that was sorted out as the years passed.

Starlets of Hollywood and women who yearned for some glamour started to wear false eyelashes in a bid to get longer, fuller lashes to get the huge, doll-eyed effect. Over the years, the make up of eyelashes evolved and synthetic fibres were used to get the same durable but sturdy shape of a real eyelash and to keep the products affordable enough for everyone.

These days, magnetic eyelashes are becoming more and more popular as they don’t need to use any glue or adhesive and can be removed painlessly with no damage to the existing eyelashes or follicles in the process. The great thing about magnetic eyelashes is that they can be positioned and repositioned as much as you want until you are happy with their placement and the amount of volume you are getting from them.

False eyelashes also look a lot more natural now than they ever did and even come in individual pieces to attach to the eyelid as you desire, so layering is an option in areas that are a bit sparse in the eyelash department!

Eyelash Serums

Still relatively new to the world of eyelashes but playing as equally an important part in enhancing eyelashes in a safe way is eyelash serum. It may take a little longer to get the desired effect, but it can really be worth it for naturally long and voluminous eyelashes that don’t need false sets in the future.

Eyelash serums work by depositing growth promoting ingredients into the root of the hair and the follicle to prolong the growth and transition stages of the eyelash cycle so that not only do they add a few more millimetres onto the individual lashes but boost the volume in having more eyelashes in place at once.

As they do tend to fall out regularly and only about 50 out of your 200 eyelashes are in the growth cycle at any one time, you won’t ever experience a full set in one go. An eyelash serum helps to close this gap a little bit and doesn’t harm your eyelashes in the process.

It usually comes in a small tube and can be applied with the thin brush included to the upper row of eyelashes only, after all makeup is removed and the face is cleansed of daily dirt or particles. Our bodies work best in terms of growth and repair at night-time while we rest, so this is the best time to apply the eyelash serum. Keep the applications regular and you should start to see the results of thicker and longer eyelashes in just a few weeks.

Homemade Remedies

There is always plenty of talk about different homemade concoctions for eyelash growth, including different ingredients and extracts that you can find at the back of your kitchen cupboards, and while they may work for some they may not work for others. But when we’re talking about volume, and getting those lashes looking thick, there has to be something that will work.

Castor oil has long been a favourite of many for hair growth, and the trick with this is that promoting growth leads to more eyelashes at once so you can get that thickness you so crave. When eyelashes look thin it is usually because of gaps where lashes tend to fall out before their time, so you never get that naturally full set that you see with false eyelashes. Certain oils like castor oil or olive oil are made up of fatty acids that deposit onto the hair to make it shinier and stronger. It is essentially food for your eyelashes and with regular application it can improve the quality of your lashes in a few short weeks.

Petroleum jelly has a similar effect to the castor and olive oils and helps to strengthen lashes and protect them at the same time. It has been said this stuff works really well in addition to your mascara to keep your lashes from getting dry and brittle. Just apply a small amount with a clean mascara wand and then your regular mascara over the top for a healthier approach to makeup. This extra layer also adds to the effect that your eyelashes have more volume than normal and can intensify the colour too for a bolder look.

Eyelash Extensions

Patience waiting for serums to work and searching for the right homemade options may not be your preferred option, in which case trusty eyelash extensions could be your way to volumized eyelashes. Just be prepared for a bit more of an expense and a fair bit of upkeep to make sure your eyelashes always look how you want them to.

Eyelash extensions can be a long process to apply as each new lash has to be applied individually so you will need some patience for this, but the results do look amazing. The lash fibres can be synthetic or natural and a glue adhesive is used to attach each new lash in a way that doesn’t look too over the top, but like they have naturally grown in themselves.

The good thing about false lashes is they are created bespoke to each wearer and a good lash technician will talk you through what to have and how to have them so that they don’t end up looking spidery and have more of a wispy vibe. The addition of these extensions will give you fuller and thicker looking eyelashes in just a couple of hours and as your natural lashes grow out they will require appointments regularly to keep them filled in. They also look great without lashings of mascara, so this is a step you don’t need to worry about if you’re considering lash extensions.

You can always use a serum in conjunctions with your eyelash extensions as long as you double check with your technician or make sure that there are no oils that could stop the adhesive from holding. This way your natural lashes will remain strong for the extensions and you should see vast improvement with their quality, and then who knows? Maybe you won’t need extensions anymore!

Lash Lift

This hasn’t really been a thing for too long in comparison to other eyelash enhancement methods, but it doesn’t make it any less effective. Unlike adding lashes to your existing set, a lash lift changes the shape of your natural eyelashes – essentially a perm – and lasts around 6-8 weeks with proper care.

A mould is created, and your lashes are fixed in place to it in an upward position, usually with a keratin-based solution that can make even the straightest eyelashes curve into a more desirable shape. It can be an uncomfortable experience but as long as you get this done through a professional it is quite safe and can boost your eyelashes in ways you didn’t think were possible. So, in terms of volume, the lash lift depends on the natural fullness of your eyelashes in the first place, and although for some it may be enough just to have eyelashes that curve upward instead of falling flat, for others a bit more volume is needed.

A lot of conditioning is involved to get your lashes into great shape during the process so that they aren’t damaged or at risk of breaking and then a tine is added to further enhance their appearance. This tint is what boosts the colour and gives the appearance of fuller lashes. It can be quite pricey to go for a lash lift, but you know where you stand with your natural eyelashes and you can carry on wearing mascara over the top for further volume boosted eyelashes.

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Are Those Beauty Products Really Helping You?

You know that old saying “less is more”? Have you ever wondered how true that is when it comes to your beauty products and makeup? It can be hard to keep up with what’s “in” right now, and even more difficult to know if the new recommended product is to add to your beauty routine, or to replace something from it.

Well, we also have beauty and makeup influencers telling us how we should be doing our makeup and what we should be avoiding, which can be really helpful when they provide a diverse range of advice for different skin types and tones, face shapes and hair/eye colours, but sometimes confusing when they mention a new product that you didn’t know you should be using.

I suppose we all know eventually, after plenty of trial and error, what works best for our own faces, for example people with sensitive skin would more than likely go minimal in terms of skin products but may go for maximum effect on their eyelashes. The aim is always going to be looking like our best selves while feeling like ourselves too. There is no point in adding in a new makeup item if you aren’t going to benefit from it or feel confident wearing it.

So, lets see how we can decide if less really is more, if those products are really necessary, or if sometimes we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of a good thing!

Do you need Moisturiser?

Depending on who you ask, moisturiser is either a necessity or a pointless marketing ploy to get you to part with your money. Many dermatologists say that moisturising your face is something you should do every day, while others say it can be detrimental to apply it to your skin every day and that the skin eventually gets used to being given moisture and stops producing its own.

But the majority say that moisturiser is essential in some form, but not to overdo it with too many ingredients and products that could be drying or actually rid the skin of its own nutrients. What the skin needs is SPF, and unfortunately it is hard to come by a highly protective sun cream that doesn’t leave residue or oil on the skin. It can become near impossible to wear makeup and SPF lotions at the same time, so moisturisers with SPF were invented. If you use these, be sure to check that the SPF is high and when you wear it, apply it evenly for full coverage.

As far as moisturiser goes though, using the right one for your skin is important. If you have dry skin you need something that is going to target those areas but without becoming too dependent on it and always switching it up for something lighter as your skin improves.

Wearing moisturiser at night is another debatable topic. While the skin has a chance to repair itself and stay clean and clear at night, for some people this is where the problems start, especially depending on the climate or environment. If it is especially dry, your skin might need that bit of help to stay hydrated, but make sure you cleanse regularly to avoid unnecessary breakouts.

The verdict? Moisturiser in the right context and with non-dependant use should definitely help your skin and is a great addition to your beauty routine.

Do you need Anti-Aging Creams?

Similar to moisturiser, many dermatologists agree that anti-aging creams are just adding too much to the mix and many of them may not even work. But there are so many of them available, there must be some rhyme and reason to it, otherwise it wouldn’t be a such a money-making industry. The thing with anti-aging creams is they are also targeted at certain demographics, so by the time you think you need to use them the damage has already been done.

The best way to fix wrinkles is to prevent them in the first place, and although all skin is susceptible to aging, we are in control of how fast this happens by what we do and the way we look after it. For example, spending too much time in the sun without any protection against it can cause premature aging in the skin and permanent lines that can be hard to get rid of once they are there. Or even bad cleansing routines especially with heavy makeup wearing can affect the skin as it needs a chance to breathe and feel refreshed from dead cells that cause blemishes or outbreaks under the skin.

The problem with anti-aging creams is again we can become reliant on them which leads to excessive and unnecessary use, when actually all we need to do is check for ingredients that actually help with fine lines and wrinkles instead of fancy packaging or marketing. Peptides, vitamins and antioxidant extracts with the ability to firm the skin are important, but they don’t work miracles, they can however, plump up the outer skin layers to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but will never fully make them disappear.

The verdict? Anti-aging creams are best used as a preventative measure as part of your moisturising routine with SPF and added protection against the elements. It is not really necessary to use it with a moisturiser as it should already have hydrating qualities.

Do you need Primer?

Many beauty experts love primer and say that if you aren’t using it, you are missing out. But what is it about primer that has the beauty world talking? You may be thinking that a moisturiser is enough prep for the skin, so why add something else to the mix?

Well, primer uses different ingredients, a lot of the time something silicone-based, which helps firm and smooth out the skin creating the perfect base for makeup to sit on and fix itself to. When you’re about to spend time and effort on your makeup, you actually want it to stay put all day long, not slide off at the slightest hint of warmth, and a good primer can make this a reality.

Face primers are also evolving now to cater for so many different skin types, so depending on what yours is you can improve the effects of your skin almost instantly with the right one. Mattifying primers are great for reducing shine and oil especially when foundation tends to have that oily effect, and they can also come with colour correcting tints to aid with you concealing routine and giving your skin an even tone throughout.

Primers for eyelids are available to help stop creasing too, with a denser formula, the aim is to stop makeup from gathering in the creases and eyeshadow from slipping away and dissolving on oilier eyelids. Eye makeup is really having its day right now, so a good eye primer will save you so much hassle in the long run if you spend a long time getting yours exactly right.

The verdict? A good primer will save your skin from unwanted attacks of oil and makeup slippage when it counts the most, and not only that, but it certainly helps your makeup applications by letting you slide it onto the skin easier with even coverage all round. Use a moisturiser and a primer to get the benefits of both.

Do you need Colour Corrector?

Gone are easy days when concealer was seen as enough to cover those blemishes and dark circles, now we should be using colour corrector too? But is it really necessary to add yet another product to an already growing makeup kit if you don’t really need it? Let’s find out.

Colour corrector has been used by beauty gurus and makeup artists for a long time, but social media has really helped it take off on a commercial level. It uses colour theory on balancing out tones and hues by applying colour on the opposite side of the colour wheel to the tone on the skin. For example, blue hues under the eyes can be cancelled out with orange that is directly opposite it on the wheel and green can be used to correct excessive pink tones.

It isn’t designed to be used by itself, as it would just be a block of colour siting on the skin, but coupled with a good foundation, it can lessen the appearance of dark patches or brighter tones of pink in the skin. The tip is to not use too much of it, and to blend it rather than rub it in. By experimenting with thin layers and not too much foundation you can find the right balance for you and not have to hide behind foundation, but rather let your skin sort of shine through.

The verdict? Colour corrector is really useful, but only when used properly, there is no point in using a colour that isn’t the opposite of a tone on your skin as this will only highlight the area you are trying to even out. There isn’t much point in using normal concealer with a colour corrector as the layers will start to look bulky. Instead keep it smooth and minimal for maximum effect.

Do you need to Bake?

Baking your makeup is a relatively new concept, and while some swear by it, others haven’t even heard of it. Is it really as ridiculous as it sounds or is it the new necessary when it comes to applying makeup to your face?

Baking is the process of applying a translucent powder to the face to allow the heat from the face to set your foundation underneath. Leaving the powder in place is known as baking and it usually takes around 5-10 minutes depending on who you listen to. The idea is that when you dust the powder off, your makeup looks smooth and flawless with no creases or lines.

The thing with baking is it involves a lot (this is not an exaggeration) of concealer, foundation and powder and even more time to apply it and get it right. Sure with practice this process gets easier, as you get to know what works for your skin and what doesn’t. But is it really worth it?

A lot of makeup artists support baking as a way to remove excess oils from the skin with ease and to highlight areas of prominence like the eyes and the T-zone, making them stand out in all their smoothed out and untextured glory. But unless you’re Kim Kardashian, you may not have your own glam squad at your disposal, not to mention a ring light to follow you everywhere so you are ready for any photograph.

The Verdict? Baking is great when you have time to prep for a night out and when you really want to feel great about yourself, but as a daily exercise in putting on makeup, it is perhaps a little overkill, especially when time isn’t on your side or you just have a mundane day at the office ahead of you.

Do you know what you need?

So, it isn’t a case of just a little foundation and some mascara anymore, there are so many rules when it comes to modern makeup, but do you know what? Rules were made to be broken! So although these products may work fantastically on one person, it doesn’t mean that they will do the same for you. If your skin has been in a fantastic condition for long enough, it is important to keep that routine maintained so you always have great skin, but it won’t hurt to try something new out if you want to.

An easy way to find out what will make your face glow is to speak to a beauty consultant and let them work some magic on your skin based on their knowledge of colour theory and skin types. It may turn into an expensive affair if you end up taking their advice, but at least this way, you’ll know just what you need!

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Makeup tips

Makeup Hacks for Eyes that Stand Out

Everybody has their own routine when they come to doing their makeup; products they swear by, methods of application they wouldn’t dare change up and styles they have been used to for years. But the world of beauty and makeup changes so often now that it can be hard to keep up with what’s new and what’s the next big thing, so to speak. Not everyone likes or adapts to change very well and so it can be hard to convince people that switching a few ideas and products could be amazing for their face and their confidence in their makeup going forward.

Makeup hacks have been around for ages, and a lot of the time they involve homemade products or more often than not, ingredients that you are supposed to have “just lying around”. This isn’t usually the case, so these hacks never come to fruition the way that the YouTube tutorials say they do and end up being a waste of time.

So, lets look at the real hacks, the ones that are worth every penny you have to spend on them, but always produce great results. And even if they don’t, it can be fun to experiment and get away from these old products and habits that have cemented their way into your makeup routine.

Colour Correctors and Concealers

When we really want our eyes to stand out, those dark areas need to go, and not be the part of our eyes that do the standing out! And concealer alone may not be the best thing for this. This is why, if you are used to just concealing, it may be worth looking at this hack – colour correction. In conjunction with concealer, it really works, and you can end up with a more natural tone underneath the eyes.

The way this works is by correcting the colour of the skin (from cool, dull or grey tones) to warmer tones that would be more present on the cheeks, you are then leaving yourself with an even finish that concealer will blend together rather than highlight. Concealer alone will still leave greyish tones under the eyes, so the colour corrector assists with an additional light layer of makeup that warms up the whole face.

If you have ever found yourself piling on the concealer and getting through way more than you need, or even gone as far as buying a lighter concealer in a big to brighten up the skin, then a colour corrector will banish those days for good. You won’t need to use as much makeup, and your skin won’t have different shades that end up being less than complimentary.

When using this hack, don’t be afraid to experiment with warmer shades of colour corrector, and even mix a darker peachy shade with a lighter pink to find your own ideal mix. You will be able to see the warmth in the skin, the disappearance of dark circles and gain an even playing field ready for your concealer application.

Eyebrow Pencils

We all wish we were born with perfectly matching and full eyebrows, but for a lot of us, this just isn’t the case. I’m always so jealous of people with amazing brows, whether they are natural, filled in or Micro-bladed, they always look on point and like they have had minimal effort to get them. My eyebrows suffered severe thinning over the years, so it became my quest to get them back to looking fluffy and full by using clever makeup. Now the hack here is two-fold: getting those eyebrows to look made up without looking made up, and also making sure that they flatter the face.

Eyebrow shape plays a huge part in how the face shape appears and so any hack needs to be complimentary of this and take into account what suits individual facial features. Now, we are looking for hacks that make the eyes stand out, so the eyebrows in this instance may need to be toned down slightly to allow for the eyes to pop and create a really flattering canvas.

Our brows come in all different shapes and sizes and no two are the same, but one thing that tends to happen is the thickness of the hairs are mostly toward the main inward part of the brow and they get thinner and lighter out toward the tail or outer corners. The hack here is when filling in the eyebrows to try and make the whole thing as even as possible in colour so that it balances out the face and flatters rather than drawing unnecessary focus to the centre of the brows only. For eyes that are closer together, this is a great piece of advice as it gives the illusion of a wider face.

The other thing to take into account is the natural shape of your own eyebrow and how it may not be the most flattering for you. When filling in your brows you don’t want them to look unnatural, but you can change a couple of strokes with your eyebrow pencil to subtly give you a softer or less harsh shape. So, when you next go to do your eyebrows and have always followed your exact shape, try and change where you place your focus, for example, if you tend to accentuate your arch, skip the part where you follow the line with your brow pencil and roughly create extra volume at the ends and tail. If you like having a definitive beginning to your brows, try and soften this area up with lighter pencil strokes and going through it with a spool brush to fluff it up and give it more of a natural feel.

Eyebrows can be hard to get right every time, but the hack is to experiment with your shape, and even try doing one side as normal and the other side with less harsh angles and compare the two side by side. Seeing it this way can help you make some great decisions on which you prefer and going forward, you can start to practice it on both sides.

Longer Eyelashes

The absolute dream is to have long eyelashes at all times. When you see influencers on Instagram, makeup artists on YouTube or even celebrities on red carpets, they always have amazing looking eyelashes. And without spending a fortune on eyelash extensions, it can be hard for us mere mortals to compete in the eyelash world without putting in so much time and effort. Or is it?

For any look that will make your eyes stand out, you won’t be able to achieve this without the finishing touch to your eyelashes that most of the time goes beyond mascara. Sure, mascara is a godsend and I’m guessing even for the least makeup savvy of all of us, mascara will always be something that is easy and quick enough to apply so it’s handy to have around, but we live in an ever-evolving world where even buying mascara seems to be more complicated than solving complex mathematical equations.

Do you pick the lengthening wand or perhaps the 3D volumizing mascara? Is the water-resistant option good for your eyelashes or should you look more at less permanent ingredient options? If only it all came in a one-size fits all tube, we would all be sorted. But until that day comes, you have to figure out which one works best for you.

The hack here is having longer eyelashes in the first place, then using mascara to accentuate your healthy and full set of lashes and in turn, finishing off your stand-out eye makeup look. If you aren’t in a position to get eyelash extensions and are turned off by the thought of applying false lashes every day, then the only other thing for it is an eyelash growth serum. So, it won’t give you results over night, but it will – with a little patience – repay you with longer and fuller looking eyelashes so that you might not even need mascara.

An eyelash growth serum does exactly what it says on the tube, by penetrating deep into the follicle and driving in vitamins and natural extracts that assist with speedy growth, providing extra strength and durability and accentuating colour. With this, the results can mean longer, fuller and more lustrous eyelashes that stand out naturally after only a few weeks of applying.

The best part about this hack is it is so easy to apply. Literally, one application to the upper lids each night is all it takes. It is important to keep the eyes and eyelashes clean of makeup each night for the eyelash serum to be able to work its way in, but once it’s on, you don’t even have to think about it anymore, just relish in the results once you know your eyelashes are ready to be one of the stand-out features on your face.

Eyeliner

Who doesn’t love a good eyeliner hack! And when the aim is to make your eyes stand out (bright coloured eye shadow aside,) eyeliner is the thing to go to. The reason is that how you apply your eyeliner can completely change the shape of your face as well as the vibe you are going for. There are times where you may prefer a more vampy look, or sometimes where you just want a toned-down day time aesthetic that compliments your eyes but doesn’t over-shadow the rest of your face.

Either way, eyeliner is the thing to experiment with so if you are stuck in your kohl eyeliner pencil ways, then keep reading and keep an open mind. To really get going, a pen eyeliner is a great tool to use if you are trying out new things as it can be a lot easier to use than gel or liquid eyeliner as you will have more control over the handling of the pen. Xlash do a great eyeliner pen in carbon black that has a felt tip applicator and allows for precision and sharp lines which is what you want when trying out new shapes.

So, why would you want to try out a new shape? Well, just like eyebrows, the way that you do your eyeliner can completely change the shape of your face and although there is a standard cat wing that a lot of people favour, they may not be making the most out of they eyeliner to create the most flattering shape for them. When you think of the classic cat-eye or winged eyeliner, you tend to start at the inner corner of the eye, follow the shape of the lash line and draw outward into a point or a small flick to create the wing.

But if you have naturally round eyes or larger eyes, this style can really accentuate the natural shape and make them look even a little too big, which yes it brings focus to the eyes but not necessarily in the most flattering way. A hack to combat this is to make the eyeliner lines tighter, closer to the upper lash line and to start the line from the centre of the eye rather than the inner corner. By bringing the flick out further and straighter (keep that line sleek and thin) you create lift at the corner of the eye, drawing the eyes upward for a more pinched look. This is incredibly flattering to most eye shapes and will be the fastest way to may your eyes stand out.

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Makeup tips

What Do Eyelash Serums Do?

Eyelashes are really having their day at the moment and isn’t it about time! When we see someone with naturally blessed long and full eyelashes, it’s easy for the green-eyed monster to show itself and stop at nothing until we have what they have. But what are the options? These days there are plenty of ways to enhance our eyelashes, and even if it means a temporary fix, we can fake our way through the day as one of the lucky ones with those beautiful long eyelashes.

It doesn’t always need to be so temporary though; with new and improved formulas for eyelash growth serums appearing on the market, we should all be able to find our inner lash goddess and enjoy the eyelashes we deserve on a more permanent basis. So, lets go through some of the questions about eyelash serums, like how they work to what they can achieve, and see if a serum can get you the lashes of your dreams.

What is an Eyelash Growth Serum?

We’ve all heard of serums for the skin, like face and hand serums and even serums for the hair to make it feel shinier and to control frizz, but an eyelash serum may be a new concept to a lot of people.

Eyelash serums are essentially formulated serums that boost and stimulate growth and enhance the appearance of eyelashes all in one. There are many ingredients that different companies use in their growth serums, but most will contain collagen, which is known for repairing and boosting cells in the skin and hair, and peptides which help to nourish and strengthen hair and eyelashes.

The formula itself can pack quite a punch in conjunction with well known natural ingredients and plant extracts that also promote healthy and fast growth to help eyelashes grow to their full potential without prematurely falling out, and even delay the next phase in the eyelash growth cycle to help eyelashes grow longer than they would normally.

What is the Eyelash Growth Cycle?

The eyelash growth cycle is as with all the different hairs on our bodies, a cycle that has different phases that last a certain amount of time before replenishing and growing in new hairs. All hair has to fall out at some point and the same goes for eyelashes, otherwise we would either have too many if they didn’t, or none at all if the cycle didn’t begin again.

There are three stages to the eyelash growth cycle, the anagen phase, the catagen phase and the telogen phase.

• Anagen – This is where the active growth of the individual lashes is taking place. The eyelash is still attached to the blood supply and is growing from the follicle to achieve its full length. This phase normally lasts anywhere from 30-90 days and the longer an eyelash stays in this phase, the longer it can grow.

• Catagen – This is also known as the transition phase and is where the eyelash has reached its maximum length and is detaching from the blood supply. The follicle shrinks and so the eyelash just waits for the next stage of the growth cycle. This phase normally lasts from 2-3 weeks.

• Telogen – This is also known as the resting or shedding phase of the cycle. The eyelash lays dormant until while the new hair starts to grow into the follicle below. Nothing really happens to the old eyelash here as it just sits and waits to fall out. This stage lasts a few months, but this also means that if an eyelash falls out during Catagen phase, the space will stay empty until the full cycle is completed and the new lash begins to grow in again.

What does the Eyelash Growth Cycle Mean for Your Eyelashes?

So, from the eyelash growth cycle, you can hopefully see why you may have a less full set of eyelashes at different times than you would at others. Approximately 40% of eyelashes are in the anagen or active growth phase at any one time, this means that there are always eyelashes growing in and always some that are ready to fall out, what you are left with is around 150-200 eyelashes on your upper lid in one go.

You can’t change the phases, but you can strengthen the individual hairs and follicles so that you get the most out of the growth and transition phases to avoid early lash loss. And this is where the eyelash growth serums come in.

How Does an Eyelash Serum Work?

Eyelashes are obviously a lot smaller than normal strands of hair on your head so that’s why you would usually get an eyelash serum in a smaller tube and use tiny applications to achieve the conditioning treatment side of it. Your lashes and skin surrounding it need to breath so a small amount of eyelash serum should be enough to pack a punch and keep yours in great shape.

When it comes to the growth side of things, boosting your eyelashes and follicles with vitamins and natural extracts that promote growth is the best way a serum helps. The growth serum’s active ingredients stimulate blood flow and encourage each little eyelash to grow throughout the first stage of the cycle.

How Often Should an Eyelash Growth Serum be Used?

To get the best out of an eyelash growth serum it has to be used regularly and not sporadically. Think about a course of vitamins or antibiotics, they only do their job fully when you complete the course and take them when you need to take them. An eyelash growth serum needs regularity to ensure that its ingredients work and build up on its own progress.

The Eyelash Conditioning Serum by Xlash is a great example of how often it should be used. This particular serum needs daily applications for at least 3 months. The best time to apply the growth serum is at night once the face has been cleansed of all makeup and is clean and clear, ready for bed.

Only a small amount of the serum would be needed, in a sweep over the upper eyelashes and left without rubbing in, to absorb into the skin and eyelashes and get to work while you rest. It is really important to do this without tonnes of mascara or eyeliner in the way as it just won’t be able to penetrate and do its job.

What are the Results from Doing This?

After about a three to four weeks of daily applications as described above, the serum should be well on its way to giving you visible results. The best way to see this would be to take some before pictures and compare them to what you see now. Added shine, stronger and longer eyelashes is the aim, but obviously everyone is different, and you may see results a little earlier or later than others.

For instantaneous results, an eyelash lift or eyelash extensions would be the way to go, so if you have a little less patience and need to boost your eyelashes for an event, wedding or holiday and want to go down the serum route, then it would be best to start your applications four to six weeks in advance so that when the day comes, your eyelashes not only look great but feel great too. Especially when going on holiday and exposing your eyelashes to the heat of the sun and the usual lashings of mascara, getting them into a great healthy state first is a good idea.

Can you Use an Eyelash Serum with Extensions?

So, you want the instant boost of eyelashes but also want to grow your natural lashes a bit longer and stronger too? It’s a great idea to use an eyelash serum with your extensions as the benefits of a prolonged growth phase and transition phase should mean that the natural lashes your extensions are attached to don’t fall out early.

As eyelash extensions only last as long as your natural one do, it makes sense to keep them in the best condition possible at all times. But not all eyelash serums are compatible with eyelash extensions so there are a few things you need to look out for before you buy or one. The glue for lash extensions is very strong but durable and can cope with most makeup and cleansing routines but there are some ingredients in a serum that may dissolve or loosen the glue.

In the interest of making your lash extensions last a long time and not wasting money due to them falling out early, check that the eyelash serum you want to use doesn’t contain certain oils like coconut oil or mineral oil. Most oils can cause the adhesive used for eyelash extensions to weaken easily and thus rendering your new extensions useless, and this is the last thing you want. Just give the ingredients a check over before you apply your serum and even ask you lash technician if you aren’t sure.

Aside from these oils and other ingredients like glycols that appear in some cosmetics, you should be good to go with your eyelash serum while you have lash extensions in and get the most out of the situation and for your money. After all, when your extensions stat to wear thin, it would be amazing to know that your natural eyelashes look and feel healthy, and hopefully with the added bonus of length too.

Can You Still Use Mascara with an Eyelash Serum?

There is no reason that you can’t wear your normal makeup with an eyelash serum unless you don’t want to in order to keep them in a really clear and healthy state. Mascara is a lifesaver for many of us out there, and when you get that temporary boost in colour and length it can be hard to stay away from it.

The only thing you really want to make sure is that you are cleansing properly each day and removing every last speck of mascara before applying your eyelash serum and going to bed. We are all guilty of forgetting to take our makeup off every now and then but routinely this should be something we put into practice every day and give our eyelashes the best chance at growth as possible.

When removing makeup, be wary of harsh cleansers and makeup removers that can harm your eyelashes or irritate the skin around them and be sure to use a soft cotton pad and work the remover in the direction of your eyelashes, outward or downward. Vigorous rubbing and too much pressure in the wrong direction can cause some eyelashes to come loose and fall out before they are meant to and as you know from the eyelash growth cycle, you could be waiting a long time for those particular eyelashes to grow back in fully.

Be particularly careful with waterproof mascara as this stuff really does cling on to each eyelash. There are cleansers like micellar water that really help to break down the makeup particles without treating your lashes too harshly but leave them clean and clear for your eyelash serum application.

So overall, eyelash serums are there to keep your eyelashes long, strong and vibrant and with regular applications to boost the growth process and maintain each lash for longer in their transition phase. There are many different homemade options that have been tried and tested over the years and ingredients that people swear by for their own eyelash growth, but really it is down to you and what work for your eyelashes. So, if you’re still wondering what eyelash serums do and if they are worth the venture… There’s only one way to find out!

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New Year’s Beauty Resolutions

It’s that time again when we say goodbye to the last year and bring in new one, and what a tumultuous year 2020 was! With so many people adjusting their lifestyles to fit in with the new normal, it seems fitting that at the start of 2021 we do the same with our beauty, health, self care and lifestyle choices.

But even though this year may not have the glitz and glamour we are used to, there are still ways we can change up our routines and bring in the new year with some amazing resolutions that are about self-care, self-confidence and wellbeing. We should also get into the habit of looking out for our planet too by thinking green when it comes to our products. So, let’s start with a few new year’s resolutions that will go a long way and well into 2022 if we play our cards right.

Use More Sustainable Products

What can you do to do more for the environment when it comes to your makeup and products? Is that something you have really thought about? If not, then it’s probably time to learn about what part you can play even with the little things. When thinking about sustainable products you want to go in covering all bases, but great places to start are checking your product ingredients and especially the packaging.

These days there are so many manufacturers out there that create and utilise recyclable materials to house their products, and previously recycled materials to package them. This goes from glass bottles that can be returned directly to the manufacturer for reuse, to soaps and lotions packaged in recycled paper or biofilm.

When ingredients are involved, many beauty brands are proud to manufacture products free from palm oil with organic extracts that have been ethically sourced. In order to do big things for the environment, we all have to start somewhere, so a great resolution for 2021 is to start seeking out these friendly and sustainable products, do our part for recycling and be sure to recommend them to our friends and family.

Produce Less Waste

On the same token, waste is always going to have a negative impact on the environment as well as our pockets. The average household produces more than a tonne of waste per year, which is easier to bring down when we are actually conscious of what we are wasting.

So, when you buy brand new beauty products, do you ever think twice about disposing of the half-empty older ones, or do you make a conscious effort to minimise your waste? There are a few ways to do this. The first is of course to recycle existing packaging and pots. Glass jars are perfect for housing new creams and homemade concoctions. Plastic is mostly recycled as long as its clean. But we can also reduce waste by using all the product up in the first place.

As different makeup items have their own shelf life and use by dates once they have been opened, it doesn’t make so much sense to buy things in larger containers as you may end up losing most of the product. It also isn’t very cost effective to buy products that you won’t use very often or won’t get through quickly enough, so in the interest of producing less waste and saving that hard-earned cash, check your favourite product’s use by date – which can be found on most packaging as a symbol with an open jar and the number of months it is good for over the top.

Proper Cleansing Routine

We are all guilty of it, but none of us want to admit it. Forgetting to clean our faces of makeup is forgivable every now and then, but it shouldn’t become a habit. But with that in mind, it isn’t just makeup that needs cleaning from our skin, a day of normal activities from cooking, working out, going to work or just being outside can be the bearer of all things grimy and leave these deposits on our skin.

Falling into a really good cleansing routine should therefore be one of our top new year’s resolutions for 2021. Now, I know these things can get expensive and time-consuming, but when your skin is clean and clear it makes sure that you don’t end up with nasty, unwanted breakouts when you least expect them and overall, makes you feel good. Having a clear palette to lay the makeup on the next day is also just a great feeling and so it makes the time spent on cleansing so worth it.

You should always start by removing makeup with an actual makeup remover, not cleanser. The difference is that a makeup remover has been formulated to break down the oils and particles in makeup and remove them from the outer layers of your skin. A facial cleanser breaks down the particles that have sunk deep into the skin, getting rid of unwanted oils and dirt. Soft cleansers should be used as a little oil is good for the skin’s health and we shouldn’t be eradicating it completely.

Once you have cleansed at night, you should feel sparkly clean and your skin will enjoy a great night’s rest ready for all you can throw at it the next day.

Up Your Skin Care Game

Of course, cleansing is only part of a good skin care routine, and if you are going to make the most out of your new year’s resolutions then adding a decent moisturiser and skin care to your daily regimen should also fall in your top ten.

There are so many different skin types which means there are also many different moisturisers, so it can be hard to know which one you need. Day creams, night creams, creams with SPF, creams with tint, and creams that boost collagen and prevent wrinkles. If it could all be swirled up into one pot that would be fantastic, but for now we have to aim for something that is targeted at our specific needs and skin types.

What you might find is that you have oily or combination skin, in which case you don’t think you need moisturiser to add to the mix and create even more oil. But in this case, moisturisers actually help hydrate the skin so it doesn’t produce as much oil as it would if it were left alone. Seems weird but it works! Also, if you have dry patches, you should be targeting your dry areas with a different moisturiser or hydration cream to keep the balance. If you have skin on the dry side, it can be tempting to slather on moisturiser as soon as you have finished your cleansing routine, but you should allow your skin some breathing room first and if you do feel too bare without one, be sure to use something light and hydrating overnight.

Sleep More

Is this possible? Does it seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day? If you aren’t finding the time to sleep right, then your body and skin will start to feel the effects. Even though they say we should all be getting 7-8 hours sleep a night, I’m not sure how often that becomes a reality. With heavy workloads, lifestyle changes and homelife activities to balance, sleep sometimes falls by the wayside. If this applies to you, then one of your new year’s resolutions should definitely be to sleep more!

Maybe the time you allow yourself to sleep is spot on, but you find you’re not actually sleeping during those allotted hours as much as you should be. Worry and anxiety are enough to keep a lot of us awake at night and can cause really restless sleep night after night. So, start thinking about your routine and how you can change it to help make even the smallest difference to your sleeping amount.

For example, are you on your phone aimlessly searching pages of social media to get your fix before bed? Do you take your work home with you and tend to stay up till all hours on your laptop? It might be time to switch off from technology and give the brain as much time as it needs to wind down so that you can get your sleep rhythm in order. Blue lights emitted from screens can inhibit sleep and cause not only drowsiness in the morning, but dehydration, dry skin and even unwanted weight gain. The body needs to shut down in order to remain healthy, so see where you can make some changes in 2021.

Wash Those Makeup Brushes

If you’re already doing this regularly, you’re ahead of the game and you should stay that way for 2021 and the years to come. If you aren’t doing this as much as you should then there is no better time to start than the present.

Makeup brushes are never better than the first day they have been used and this is because over time they start to harbour bacteria hiding away caused by clumps of makeup that have been in contact with the skin. As this stuff is so invisible to the naked eye, it can become harmful to the skin without you even knowing and before you know it you could end up with breakouts or skin irritation that become sore and unsightly.

Cleaning your makeup brushes should be a regular routine and done sometimes as often as every week but at least every few weeks. The same goes for your beauty blenders but try to remember that even cleaning them won’t keep them new for long and it might be time to say goodbye to them once and for all and purchase some new ones. Just keep in mind sustainability with your next purchase and look for environmentally friendly brushes that are presented in recycled or biodegradable packaging to keep up with doing your part for the planet.

Treat your Eyelashes and Eyebrows

Not all your resolutions have to be bout necessity or doing your part, you are allowed a few treats as well and if you are going to treat yourself in 2021 why not make it about your eyelashes and eyebrows? After the year we’ve all had there will probably be a few things that you neglected and thought it wouldn’t make much difference. Eyebrow grooming may have come to a complete halt and eyelash care became non-existent and when outings with friends and family became a thing from years past, I suppose it didn’t matter at the time.

But this is the year to get these things back into shape, this means a bit of tweaking to those unruly brows and getting those lashes strong and ready for the life of extensions or mascara that lies ahead of them. And it will actually be quite simple to do – ensure your cleansing game is strong, keep your skin around your eyebrows and eyelashes moisturised for no dry patches, invest in an eyelash and eyebrow serum and keep up with daily applications to watch the difference in only a few weeks.

Eyebrow serums and eyelash growth serums are great for enhancing each hair, promoting fast growth and above all increasing the strength of each one. Which is especially great for eyelashes if you are planning on using lash extensions or if you already are as it gives a stronger base for them to sit on.

Your eyebrows are probably grateful for the break in grooming, lets be honest, but now is the time to get them back to full health and perhaps even revisit your shape and do what you need to to achieve your most flattering shape. Just don’t overdo it with the tweezers or you’ll have to wait for 2022 to make a new resolution!

Above All, Self-Care

The main resolution for all of us this year should be to look out for ourselves a little more and take time to make sure that we are mentally and physically in great health. Even on the bad days, having a little self-care time can help. So, stock up on your cheat foods, make sure your bubble bath is overflowing and take even 15-30 minutes a day away from everything and everyone to regroup and organise your thoughts.

Self-care is really important right now, and while it feels good to look great, we also look great when we feel good, so keep that in mind when making your own new year’s resolutions.

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Hot Makeup Trends for 2021

At the end of every year, we always look to the future and wonder what it will hold. After the disaster that has been 2020, this has never been truer and for a lot of people, kissing this year goodbye will be something we can’t wait to do.

But are we happy to kiss 2020’s trends goodbye so soon? Especially when we haven’t really been given the chance to show off our new eyeshadow palette, our new eyeliner techniques and that amazing new lipstick that was being saved for a special occasion. So, even though the office Christmas party may not have taken place and the gatherings between friends have been few and far between, the good things we can take into 2021 with us is a brand-new makeup kit and some new skills ready to show off our fabulous faces to the world.

So, what are the hottest trends of 2021 and how can we go into the new year prepared to serve some looks?

Radiant Skin

One of the biggest trends going into 2021 is clear and radiant skin. And thank. God! After going near enough the whole year of 2020 wearing little to no makeup, it seems so fitting that the new year won’t be about piling it all back on again but instead celebrating clean and clear skin and showing it off as part of a full look.

Ok, so maybe this might be too much of a big step for a lot of people, stepping out into the world with a naked face, but there are ways around it. Using a colour correcting primer, or CC cream should give skin that even texture, and wintery blush shades swept over the cheekbone and around the temple provide that icy glow that shows off great skin, without having to completely bare all.

Fluffy Brows

Eyebrows are having their moment right now and I am here for it. For 2021, think youthful, playful and always go big to make a bold statement. Feathered eyebrows are taking the beauty world by storm and are easy to create with a spoolie brush, a great eyebrow pen and some setting gel that doesn’t flatten them down completely. Use the brush again to get a little volume and don’t focus on being so neat and tidy. The fluffier the better.

Modern Smoky Eye

The smoky eye is a classic and will never go out of style, but for 2021 and in keeping with the natural tones of the face, the smoky eye has just had a revamp – less blacks and deep shades of brown, and more ambers, corals and leafy greens are being heralded as great colours to enter the new year with, that will also compliment and highlight any flecks in the eyes and still mean business.

Keep the shades dark underneath the eye and in the creases and finish off with brown eyeliner and some feathery mascara for the ultimate take on the smoky eye classic.

Alternative Reds

But, this is ok, as we can still rock red without applying it like war paint to our lips. Red eyeliner is going to be huge in 2021 and in all different shades. A slick cat-eye teamed with cherry red eyeliner is a look to die for and doesn’t really need much else going on with the eyelids as this colour carries itself. Burgundy is also a gorgeous option for those wanting a little toned-down version of this, or coral if you are having a more vibrant day. Bright red is great on dark eyes and more than makes up for the fact that we can’t wear it on our lips every day.

The 90’s Revived

Speaking of vibrant colours, what better way to express ourselves than with a little 1990s revival in 2021. Ok, so back then the use of colour wasn’t always complimentary, but it was fashion, dahling! And when we look back on the trends of 90s past, they sometimes left a lot to be desired in terms of grooming, shading and balancing colour.

But fear not, this revival is probably not to be taken too seriously. Just keep it playful with some light pink blush, some pale blue on the eyes and extra shimmer for good measure. Keep it on trend with liner on the bottom water line only and mascara to finish it off. Or for a more modern take on the nineties, keep the eye colours highly pigmented in pinks and purples and match with a bubble gum pink glossy lip (for mask-free days of course) and a soft kohl wing over the upper lid. Excuse me while I go dig out my old hair crimpers and cassette player, because this is one revival I am digging!

Messy Glitter

So, glitter can be messy, but so was 2020, so why not at least bring make sure whatever mess we carry forward into 2021 at least looks good! Glitter has been around for decades, and these days it is mostly saved for festivals and costume parties, but a little sparkle is just what the new year needs to make sure it isn’t all doom and gloom from the get go.

In terms of wearing glitter as part of a daily makeup routine, it looks great when placed in focal points and in small amounts with some petroleum jelly or makeup adhesive. Just under the bottom lash line is a brilliant way to bring focus to the eyes and goes well with minimal makeup on the skin by brightening the face up with little to no effort. It doesn’t have to be precise or have clean lines, which is near impossible with glitter anyway, but just have fun with it and team it with black mascara and those fluffy eyebrows and it is definitely a look! For the wintery season, you can’t go wrong with silvers and golds, but it’s always fun to get blues and greens involved, which would suit all eye colours.

The Cat-Eye

For 2021, the cat eye is back, but not as you will have seen it before. The future really is now and the modern twist on this classic is easy to pull off once you know how. The half cat-eye is fire right now and suits all eye shapes, and not only that but its easier to apply than the full cat-eye as there is less to go wrong.

To do this look you have to start your liner from the centre upper lid above the lash line and draw outward and upward following the shape of the lower lash line into a clean point. A gel eyeliner or a pen eyeliner is best to get this right, it just neds a steady hand and a daring imagination. This half cat-eye tends to lift the eyes up a bit more and draw focus outward which is great for close set eyes and almond eyes.

To add a bit more drama, (only a little, we really don’t need much more drama in 2021) you can finish the cat-eye underneath the bottom lash line from the inner corner and stopping just before the halfway point. This is especially flattering and really gives the appearance of upturned eyes with only a clever trick of the hand and an eyeliner pen with staying power.

Graphic Eyeliner

For the bold and the brave, 2021 has just the hottest trend in store. Taking the cat-eye and the flick to a whole new level, graphic eyeliner combines a bit of that nineties flare with geometric shapes, sharp lines and a playful attitude. The best thing about going graphic is there are rules that a designed to be broken so you can really have fun with it and work out patterns and colours that suit and flatter your face.

Foregoing your favourite eyeshadow palette is the only downfall, but it will be worth it so stick with me. Graphic eyeliner is about creating floating lines and negative space while serving up a look that naturally compliments the eye shape. Start by adding a full cat-eye to the upper lid but instead of following the lash line, follow the crease of the eyelid and flick outward toward the end of the eyebrow. You can add further lines in the same direction but leaving that negative space to really open the eye up and emphasise the shape.

If this still isn’t bold enough, swap out the classic black liner for greens, violets and blues and really try to experiment with this to find your perfect shapes. All this needs is some soft mascara to finish off, drawing outward and upward to follow your lines. Oh, and don’t forget your primer. This is really important as the lids tends to be a hotspot for grease and build up, and this is one look that needs to stay put for the duration it’s on.

Feathery lashes

Eyelashes have already come a long way and they have really got to a point where even extensions and false lashes have the potential to look so natural that it’s hard to see where we can improve. Well, 2021 is all about long, feathery, natural-looking eyelashes and I think it’s safe to say that it’s what we all really want for years to come.

If you are already blessed with longer lashes then this one should be a doddle for you, it just requires some natural looking mascara and a healthy eyelash serum to keep those bad boys strong and long every day. If you need a boost in eyelashes and extensions are your weapon of choice then your eyelash technician should easily be able to create those long, feathery sets of eyelashes that will see you through for the next few months.

If you are just up for trying something a little less permanent, then when choosing false eyelashes go for some that are lightweight, durable and with a clear band where possible, so they look more natural on the skin. If you like to be in control of where your lashes have volume then buying individual eyelash sets may be better, although they take a bit of getting used to when applying, you are able to build volume where you think your lashes need it most and they won’t give off an exactly symmetrical vibe which is a bonus for looking more natural.

The best thing is that you won’t need to wear mascara that can clump eyelashes together and end up looking really heavy which keeps up with the extra-feathery look that 2021 craves.

Mask-Friendly Makeup

Going into the new year, everyone is optimistic for some positive change and while it might not seem important to some, wearing makeup can be important to others’ identities. So, in terms of hot trends for 2021, makeup with staying power is a must, using sticky primers to grab onto foundation so that it doesn’t rub off onto the mask and really going all out with the eyes if they are going to be the main focus, are all really important. Clear skin as a trend is fantastic though as it really is what the skin needs to stay hydrated underneath face masks, and it doesn’t necessarily mean wearing no makeup at all but taking the steps to make sure the face feels fresh and doesn’t just look it. But with the only thing really missing from the hot trends this year being lipstick and lip colour, here’s hoping that is back with a vengeance right in time for 2022!

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All Eyes Want for Christmas

It’s not too late to get your letters and wishes into Santa this year, and while it’s been a tough one all round, we can all be forgiven for wanting just a little more sparkle this Christmas, more than in previous years. So, just what do we want for Christmas this year? I mean, while I’m asking, a new car, summer holiday and a brand-new wardrobe would be nice, but I guess it’s the little things are really going to count as 2020 draws to a close.

But it is the time for festive cheer and so what if the office Christmas party has been cancelled, family dinners have to be socially distanced and our snowmen have to come with a new facial accessory, we definitely need to keep the spirit of Christmas alive. So, get your mulled wine simmering, play Mariah Carey at full blast and let’s jump into a full Christmas beauty theme that will beat those wintery lockdown blues.

All I Want for Christmas is… The Perfect Cat-Eye

This little gift is something I bet we all have wanted at some point or another. It’s almost hard to believe that the cat-eye is still evolving and the makeup we use to apply it is just getting better and better. So, what better gift to ask for than the perfect eyeliner tools to help get that cat-eye down to purrfection.

The cat-eye has been around for so long and it is one makeup look that is definitely not going anywhere. Always on trend, the cat-eye is designed to elevate the eyes and add some sultry vibes to any look. Starting out with the classic black eyeliner and typical upwardly curved shape, the cat-eye managed to change the appearance of eye shapes and face shapes everywhere. It was always just a case of knowing where and how to apply it.

Over the years, the cat-eye has become more adventurous, with highly pigmented colour options other than black being in demand, and with adding additional lines above the eyeliner to bring the look right into the future. The cat-eye can also work for all different eye shapes, from almond to upturned, downturned to deep-set and wideset to round. All it takes is a little practice in what suits each individual eye shape, where it looks best placed and how it will be best executed.

So, when it comes to wanting the perfect cat-eye for Christmas, it’s time to think about the tools we want to use. Of course, there’s kohl, which has been a godsend for eyes all over the world for centuries, more commonly formatted in eye pencils that can be used when sharp for those clean lines, or when blunt for a more smoky, smudged look. Kohl is a great casual form of eye makeup, a lot can be achieved with it, but it needs to be experimented with to know what it can do, and also needs to be smudge-free when it comes to attempting the cat-eye as this is all about the sharp lines.

Ok, so what about gel eyeliner? Honestly, a pot of gel eyeliner can achieve the best cat-eye as long as the person applying it has the steadiest hand and a sharp angled brush. I am not quite that person yet. The intense colour that gel eyeliner provides though, is second to none and its creamy consistency makes it easier to apply and clean up if mistakes are made (as long as this transaction happens quickly, anyway!) But for clean, sharp lines and deep colour, gel eyeliner may need to go on your Christmas wish list this year!

But my favourite? The liquid eyeliner pen. This little gem is for those who know what they want and are determined to get it perfect each time. Sure, it requires a steady hand and a distinct amount of patience, but once the liquid eyeliner cat-eye has been mastered, it will become like second nature to apply. I love a semi-firm tip and a quick drying formula that means no smudges, although this means you have one shot to get it right, it also means it has staying power and there’s no need to worry that your cat-eye is running down your face. So, at the top of my Christmas list this year is the liquid eyeliner pen. One of my favourite options is the Carbon Black Eyeliner from Xlash that is super pigmented, dries really quickly and has a semi-matte effect that really makes the eyeliner stand out. Happy Christmas to me, indeed!

All I Want for Christmas is… Envious Eyelashes

Oh, how we all love a good set of thick, full and long eyelashes, so what better time to add them to your Christmas list. My lashes are in a desperate state of recovery this year after years and years of mascara abuse, constant cleansing and general lack of care. It has been a trying year to say the least, but one good thing to come of it is that I, like many of you haven’t been wearing makeup as often as I would normally do. Working from home has given the opportunity for people all over the world to let our faces and eyelashes have a well-deserved break from the everyday makeup applications with layer upon layer of product.

So, what else do eyelashes need then? Well, they also need some nourishment to keep them growing healthily and could also do with a little help to keep them strong, preventing breakages and premature lash loss. To get those envious eyelashes these days, it doesn’t need to be an expensive trip to the salon for a continuous round of eyelash extensions, or the psychological anxiety of figuring out how to do a home-lash lift, it can just be one small product that sets your eyelashes on the path of fast growth, luxurious colour and fullness with no fuss.

Number two on my Christmas list this year? Xlash Eyelash Serum. I mean, if Santa doesn’t bring this for me, I’ll happily go and buy it for myself. After going on such a journey with my eyelashes this year and getting them into a state where they don’t get so twisted and turned by a mascara wand every day, it seems only fair to give them a little gift to say thank you for sticking around. Eyelash serum is a healthy and nourishing way to do this, by setting deep into the follicles and the base of each lash to get the most out of them before in a matter of weeks.

I love an eyelash serum and it’s a case of just swiping the small brush over the top lashes and then going to bed. That’s it. How simple could it be. Don’t get me wrong, I love eyelash extensions and how they make people look with them and maybe next year’s Christmas wish list will be all about them, but for now the gentle eyelash serum is my second most wanted item.

All I Want for Christmas is… Shimmery Eyelids

So, it is all about the eyes on my 2020 Christmas wish list. I may as well start as I mean to go on. If I can get the liquid eyeliner to get my cat-eye sorted, the eyelash serum to get my lashes looking fantastic, I’m going to need some colour in there to liven things up and get right into the spirit of Christmas.

What better way to do this than with a really good eyeshadow palette with a choice of shades and colours with deep pigments, and some glittery choices in there too for good measure. So, what colours would I want to see in my palette? (Hey, it’s my Christmas wish list, I can have whatever colours I want!) Well, I’d first of all start with the classics – some nudes and browns with a deep burgundy thrown in for some amazing smoky eye looks to team up with my cat eye. Then, I’d really embrace the festive theme with a deep red, dark green and night sky blue and their glittery counterparts that would look super shimmery reflecting against the warmth of my Christmas tree lights while I sip on a mulled wine.

I really like to embrace the seasons and match my eye shadow palettes to the mood and for me, winter is about colours that invite warmth rather than cold, icy colours that make my face look pale and washed out.

A great set of eye shadows should always make you smile, so this Christmas, I would be very happy to open the gift that is number three on my wish list, a personalised eye shadow palette complete with festive colour and glitter.

All I Want for Christmas is… Shapely Eyebrows

It makes sense that eyebrows would be next on my Christmas list, after all there would be no point in investing so much into the way my eyes look and then leaving my eyebrows out in the cold. And to be honest, this is the part that probably needs the most work on my face. My eyebrows have had trouble fully recovering from years of tweezer misuse, promising myself I’ll get them sorted one day, I have always wanted perfect eyebrows.

Well, there’s no time like Christmas day to get that wheel in motion. The thing is there are a few options and its deciding which one will work best, is a viable method and isn’t too expensive. So, there’s microblading, which I totally admire, but it is a little too permanent for me right now, there’s a threading appointment which will probably sort my problems out a little too temporary for me right now, and there’s good old makeup and serums, which might help me make a proper decision once I see what they are capable of.

So, just like eyelash serums there are eyebrow growth serums. They kind of work in the same way in principle but as eyebrows have a different function, make up and texture there is a lot that can prevent an eyebrow serum from working as well as it should. Applying creams and lotions, makeup, using tweezers and brushes constantly can all assist with the early loss of individual brow hairs, so they really need to be left alone for the majority of the time, or treated carefully to see the full benefit of a serum.

Makeup is another good option; a good brow kit and an expert tutorial will have you applying your brow pencil with ease once you know how to execute a great brow shape to compliment your face shape. I have naturally curvy eyebrows with a semi-high arch that balances out a longer face, but does nothing to help widen it, so a fantastic eyebrow pencil, some powder and setting gel would sort this out and help me achieve a longer eyebrow for a really flattering look. Christmas wish list item number four? Eyebrow Serum and a perfectly colour matched eyebrow pencil. Sorted.

All I Want for Christmas is… A New Eye Makeup Kit

Ok, so I may have gotten ahead of myself there. It is very clear from my Christmas wish list that there are a fair few items I want (and desperately need) and it may just be easier to ask for a brand new makeup kit this year. Complete with some angled tweezers, a trusty eyelash curler, cat-eye templates and all the other great things that will help me look the part.

Christmas is a great time to splash out on other people, to really show them that you care, but it is also a time where people want to look and feel their best, getting ready to go into the new year with all the resolutions that come with. Instead of asking Santa for all my Christmas wishes this year, I think I’m going to treat myself to a few new makeup tools and get the best out of the last few weeks of 2020 by looking and feeling festive and fabulous!

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