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Eyelash FAQs Answered

Whether you have worn mascara once in your life or have been an avid fan of eyelash extensions for years, there are always questions surrounding eyelashes and how to really take care of them that you may want answered. So, what better way to put these questions together once and for all and have the answers in one place ready for you to refer to when you need it.

You have the questions, and we have the answers. Hopefully, these will solve some of the eyelash mysteries and myths that you have been dying to know.

Why do we have Eyelashes?

Often signified as an emphasis of beauty, it can be hard to think about eyelashes having an actual function. But they are particularly important, even if they don’t seem to have much purpose other than decorating our eyes.

Eyelash hairs actually have two functions. The first, to protect our eyes from debris and dust that may try to fall into them. We have all experienced windy days where it is a natural reaction to purse our eyes to stop dirt, sand or particles from getting to them and our eyelashes act as that addition barrier to catch those particles, leaving our eyes clean and clear.

The second is to act as a warning sign that danger is close. Think about the whiskers on a cat, they are extremely sensitive and alert the body that there is something too close. Eyelashes have the same function and cause an instant reaction of closing the eye so that they are protected from anything coming toward them in a close proximity.

They may be small and great to make up with mascara, but they are essential, so it is important to look after them.

What is the Eyelash Growth Cycle?

The eyelash growth cycle may not be something you think about, but it can be important to know a little bit about it so that if you are having a bad lash day, you can rest assured that it may just be part of your eyelash growth cycle. It can also help you to recognise when it might be time to do something about it.

There are three stages to the eyelash growth cycle and overall, the whole cycle lasts around 5-6 months. The first stage is the ANAGEN phase or growth phase. This lasts anywhere between 30 and 45 days and is where the individual eyelashes are growing into full length within its follicle.

The second stage is the CATAGEN phase or the transition phase and this can last somewhere between 2-3 weeks. The hair has reached its maximum length and the follicle begins to shrink ready to push the hair out. Eyelashes that fall out in this phase will not regrow straight away as this and the next stage of the cycle need to complete their part.

What is a Normal Number of Eyelashes to Lose per Day?

When it comes to learning about the eyelash growth cycle, it is important not to worry too much about losing eyelashes or not losing any at all. Individual eyelashes go through the cycle at different times so there will never be a time where all of your eyelashes are in the telogen phase at the same time.

In fact, losing eyelashes is quite normal and we can lose between 1 and 4 eyelashes per day on average. Of course this isn’t an exact science as it is hard to track from person to person, but it gives a good indication of whether your lashes are in the right zone for loss or whether you may have an underlying problem causing them to fall out more than they should.

What is the Proper Way to Cleanse Your Eyelashes?

Harsh cleansing can be the cause of premature eyelash loss and not cleansing enough can be the reason for infections or unhealthy eyelashes that may not reach their full potential, so it is important to find the balance.

To start with, always clean makeup like mascara and eyeliner daily with a specific makeup remover for the eyes. It is important you aren’t using harsh products near your eyes anyway to prevent irritation but also because the skin around them including your eyelash follicles, are all very delicate and sensitive to a lot of products.

When taking mascara off always use a wet cotton pad or gentle sponge and makeup remover and try not to rub too hard. Rub in the direction of the eyelash growth and away from the eyes to prevent unwanted eyelash loss and so that you don’t end up rubbing makeup residue back into your eyes.

It is also important to clean your whole face with a gentle cleanser after using a makeup remover as that is only designed to get rid of mascara and foundation, but not the dust or dirt particles that may still be clinging on, which is what a cleanser grabs hold of.

Do you need to Moisturise Your Eyelashes?

Quite simply, yes! Every part of your face will need a little hydration from a light moisturiser each day and your eyelashes are no different. Hydration is a massive factor in healthy skin and hair, so in eyelashes it prevents dryness, extra breakage or brittleness and promotes longer lasting health.

The best time to do it is after cleansing and before bed so that your eyelashes get the full benefit of hydration. What better time to look after our eyelashes while you sleep with no extra effort involved. So yes, keeping lashes moisturised is essential.

Is Petroleum Jelly Good for Eyelashes?

This has long been a debate but as the saying goes, “everything in moderation”. Petroleum jelly has hydrating and moisturising properties but it is also very thick and oily so it may not be good for long-term use or for people with already oily skin as petroleum jellies such as Vaseline is hard to apply to eyelashes alone.

Vaseline has so many different uses so it should be no surprise that acting as an eyelash moisturiser is one of those things. As it has hydrating properties and retaining power it can help make eyelashes smoother, stronger and more likely to stick around during the eyelash growth cycle rather than break off. Overall, it can’t really help with eyelash growth, but it can help with eyelash health and strength when used properly.

Should you Use Homemade Solutions for Eyelash Growth?

Again, the jury is still out on this one. While it can’t hurt to use certain homemade remedies for eyelash health, it may not have much benefit, especially in the growth department. There are many old wives’ tales as well as recipes for moisturisers and they can all easily be found at the touch of a button on the internet. But it can be difficult to know which ones work and which don’t as we are all different and what works for someone may not work for others.

Take green tea for example, it has great antioxidant properties to rid the eye area and eyelashes of bad things, germs and potential infections but it can be dehydrating if used too much. But then some people will sewar by using green teabags as a remedy for their eyelash growth. It has a lot to do with keeping eyelashes healthy until they are ready to fall out and if a certain homemade remedy does this for you then you will get the full benefit from that method.

Other remedies include concoctions of olive oil and lemon juice, or castor oil with vitamin E. While they all have properties that can assist with eyelash strength, the fact that there is a daily routine with regards to eyelash health will have more to do with the success rate than the actual product.

What do Eyelash Serums Do?

Eyelash serums are relatively new products that have arisen out of need to look after eyelashes seeing as we put them through their paces daily with makeup, mascara, cleansing, false lash applications and eyelash extensions. Eyelashes were starting to become a neglected part of our faces and their health was starting to become a thing of question.

Second, they can help eyelashes to grow. Now, an eyelash growth serum may sound like it’s too good to be true, but the fact is they have been scientifically designed to get the most out of your eyelashes. Take the Eyelash Serum by Xlash as an example, formulated with natural ingredients, plant extracts and it is oil free so it can be used with eyelash extensions so that the natural lashes have a chance to grow longer and stronger even with the adhesives that are used.

Eyelash growth serums are also really easy and convenient to use. Instead of mixing up a daily concoction of oils and juices, it is as simple as gliding a small wand over the eyelashes each night after cleansing and letting the work happen while you sleep. For that reason alone, eyelash serums are going to be around for a long time, with the added bonuses of great eyelash health and beautifully long lashes.

Are Eyelash Extensions Damaging?

Over a long period of time and with multiple top up, yes, eyelash extensions can have an adverse effect on eyelashes, but in general these days they are applied with such care by professionals that in the short-term they are kept healthy and in a good condition.

What you have to remember is that applying anything foreign on a semi-permanent level to the body will have a negative effect. Think about hair extensions and how they have to be upkept while they are in place. The proud owner has to make sure they are prepared for that dedication and are also prepared for the additional weight being applied to their natural hair. The same goes for eyelashes, although already quite light, the extra weight of adhesive and extensions can start to weigh down natural lashes over time or cause short-term breakage.

Eyelash extensions are a pretty price though and not one that people would be willing to pay if they knew they had to then pay to repair their eyelashes afterward, so they are indeed a good thing for those who have had enough of mascara, want to go on holiday and look fantastic without any fuss or for the people that just love a good long eyelash without having to wait for an eyelash serum to get to work.

Does Mascara Ruin Eyelashes?

As above, any foreign object applied to our eyelashes is going to eventually have a negative effect. But overall, mascara shouldn’t be damaging to eyelashes as long as it is applied and cleansed with care.

Waterproof mascara however is designed to stay put for long periods of time come rain or shine, so it definitely is harder to remove. The act of cleansing the eyelashes alone is enough to damage the eyelashes through rigorous rubbing so it is especially important to save waterproof mascara for those special occasions where it is needed.

The other problem with mascara is when it isn’t removed. And I know we are all guilty of doing this from one time or another, but we never want to admit it. Removing makeup at the end of the day is so important as it will clog those all-important pores and lead to break outs. When mascara is left on overnight it can cause more damage in the long term than you want to even think about. First, it cakes the lashes in a thick substance that prevents hydration and oxygen from getting in and second, when you sleep in mascara you may cause your lashes to bend in a certain way if you slum into your pillow after a hard day. The mascara will soften enough to contort and bend your eyelash in ways you can’t imagine, meaning they are more susceptible to falling out or breaking.

Use mascara wisely and carefully and cleanse each night before bed so that they don’t feel the unwanted damage going forward.

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Battle of the Eyelashes

I don’t know about you but when I have to part with my cash to buy something new I have to weigh up the pros and cons. Gone are my days of flippantly spending money on something that I don’t know will be good for me, I like to know how I will benefit from it first. So, take eyelashes for example, I would love to be able to get extensions without a second thought, but I have all these thoughts going round my head like “what if they don’t look good on me?” or “what if I regret spending the money?” and even “Will they damage my eyelashes?”

A lot of people would say “Well, you won’t know unless you try!” But I decided to look into all of my eyelash options before making a commitment: Eyelash extensions versus false lashes, mascara versus lash lift and natural eyelash growth remedies versus eyelash growth serums. There are so many choices these days that it helps to be clear on exactly what you want, how long you want if for and how much you are willing to pay for it.

Battle One: Eyelash Extensions Vs False Eyelashes

Eyelash extensions are becoming so much more popular these days, its like a miracle cure for those like me who are challenged in the growth and fullness department. The problem is unless you are a regular eyelash extension wearer, it’s hard to know what it involves and if it will work well for you. So, let’s start with the basics – What are eyelash extensions?

Well, they are simply eyelashes that are individually attached to your natural eyelashes with a specific glue adhesive. Because they aren’t clumped together or attached in one strip, they tend to look more natural than false eyelashes and can be applied in a bespoke fashion that has been customised just for you.

How long do they last? Well, if you get a set of eyelash extensions for the first time, you can expect them to last around 6-8 weeks if they have been taken care of properly, or otherwise they tend to just fall out with your natural lashes as part of the eyelash growth cycle. They can be “filled in” by a technician at any interval so in theory, you can always have eyelash extensions, it will just cost you a pretty penny and mean plenty of time in appointments each month.

And the question most people want reassurance on… Will eyelash extensions damage natural eyelashes? The answer is a bit of yes and no, but mostly no. At the end of the day, everything comes with a small amount of risk and eyelash extensions are no different. But over the short term for people who wear them for special occasions or holidays, there tends to be no real damage done to existing eyelashes. But for avid extension wearers, it is thought that it can cause permanent lash loss due to the added weight and pressure put on natural lashes and follicles. But it’s definitely more rare than it is common.

The issue is a lot of people walk into a lash extension appointment without knowing about aftercare, the same with tattoos or even hair appointments. With all of those things we all want to keep that first day freshly done look to our new modification, but we can only have that if we continue to care for them after leaving the salon/tattoo parlour. So, for eyelash extensions it is important that aftercare is taken into account for them to look great and last as long as you would expect. This usually includes not getting them wet for a certain amount of time, not using oil-based cleansers or products and being careful not to pull at or rub the eyelashes and extensions.

A lot of the time mascara isn’t recommended for eyelash extensions either, which I would say isn’t a problem when gaining extra lashes in length and fulness is the aim. But for many people, wearing mascara is so natural to them that even with extensions, the idea of stepping out with naked lashes is enough to turn them off the idea of eyelash extensions.

With the upkeep involved in eyelash extensions and the cost, it could be fair to say they might not win the battle between extensions and false lashes, but at this stage, it is still too early to make my mind up.

Let’s look at false lashes and see how their fair against the fabulous extension. So, false eyelashes have come a long way since the faux looking plastic numbers that we used to be able to buy at the nearest drug store for little money. In fact, as a concept, they can look really natural now and use synthetic fibres that match your natural eyelash colour. But the problem is they have to be applied with such care (and a steady hand) to get the natural effect and to look even on both eyes.

For someone who has only worn false eyelashes in the strip form for fancy events I can gladly admit that I had no idea what I was doing. Sure, you get better over time, but I tend not to wear them too often because of the hassle it involves applying them and remove them. That being said, I love the fact that I don’t need to wear them every day and can just save them for that special occasion when I have plenty of time to get ready and plenty of opportunity to flaunt them once they’re in place.

False eyelash strips are usually applied using tweezers or lash applicators and adhesive after being trimmed to size where needed. For them to look like they fit your eye, they need to actually fit your eye and having that band creep over the corners can really ruin what should be a great look. This is where individual or cluster false lashes come in, they can look really natural as placement can be specified based on where natural lashes are sparse or even just for that little extra dramatic effect.

And of course, we can’t forget about magnetic lashes. They are starting to take the world by storm and don’t really have any negatives apart from that they maybe feel less secure than false lashes and glue. But they are a great option for reusability and obviously their removal is pain free and shouldn’t result in any lash loss.

The glue on false lashes shouldn’t be so harsh that it causes lash loss but it can and does happen, and more often than not in my case, they end up coming a bit loose in one corner, revealing my lash secret to the world.

Extensions Vs False Lashes Round Up

• Cost – False Lashes win this one. But remember if you intend to wear them often, you may end up spending a bit more money and it could be worth going for extensions in the long run.

• Application – Extensions take this one easy. You just have to sit there and relax while your technician does the work. Beats battling the tweezers and getting frustrated applying your own.

• Lash Loss – For now eyelash extensions win this one. But that is based on how they are removed. If they naturally fall out with your eyelash growth cycle then this doesn’t count as unnatural lash loss. Falsies tend to take a few with them every time you remove them.

• Looking Natural – This is probably a close one, but extensions will always look a bit more natural, unless you are going to spend a lot of money and time on individual false lashes and have the steadiest of hands applying them.

Battle One Winner – Eyelash Extensions – Yeah I think I’ve made my mind up on this one. They are definitely worth a try, even just once and knowing that they won’t really do any harm means they should be worth the money once you see the full effect, especially if there is a big wedding, party or holiday coming up where other methods of eyelash growth aren’t immediately possible. For the impatient part of me, eyelash extensions would be the way to go.

Battle Two: Natural Eyelash Growth Remedies Vs Eyelash Growth Serum

Ok, so patience isn’t something we all possess, meaning false eyelashes or eyelash extensions are an easy go-to for immediate long and full lashes. But what about the more patient of us who want naturally long eyelashes and are willing to go the whole way to get them? Longer, thicker and fuller natural eyelashes don’t have to be a mythical rumour anymore as there are options to have them without trips to the salon or spending too much money.

But what is the best way to get them? Eyelash growth serums or natural remedies for eyelash growth? Let’s delve into the world of eyelash growth methods and see which will be the winner of battle two.

Starting with natural remedies, the list can be endless, so for the sake of making things easy I’ve picked a few that have been said to work for eyelash growth. Whether they are old wives’ tales or not is a different story. Plus, you have to always remember that what works for one person, may not necessarily work as well for others based on lifestyle, environment and existing eyelash health.

Thinking about your own eyelashes for a sec, you want to find something that will work for what you need, so for example, if your eyelashes are usually coated in mascara and have started to feel the effects of constant application and makeup removal, they probably need a boost in strength and shine, so fatty acids would be the way forward. If your eyelashes are thinning out through either ageing or illness, you would be looking for something to repair and stimulate the follicles for growth and not so much excess growth at this stage.

Castor oil is one such thing that is said to help in both departments. Ok, so it might not be something you would just have lying around but it could be worth the purchase if you want to go the natural route. Containing Ricinoleic acid it is thought to stimulate growth of the eyelashes and help with potential loss of lashes too. Scientific evidence to back this up is thin to say the least however, but while it contains fatty acids in Omega-6 and Omega-9, it can’t hurt to give your lashes a boost in health, shine and strength, even if growth is not the main thing you would get from it.

Coconut oil is also said to have a positive effect on eyelashes as it can deeply penetrate the hair protein and follicles, which means added strength and shine for existing lashes. This in turn can mean they will break less and see their growth to full potential. As for additional growth? This one is still out for decision. But coconut oil is such a versatile product that adding it to food, using it as a moisturiser or on hair or eyelashes will always make you feel and look better, even if it doesn’t make your eyelashes grow faster.

Ok, so now for eyelash growth serums. How do they fair up against these natural remedies? Well, the difference is that eyelash growth serums have been formulated to target the specific proteins in eyelashes and skin types around the eyes, making them useful for what they are supposed to do.

For example, Biotin is a key ingredient in a lot of eyelash growth serums which is a known source of B Vitamins which help strengthen the lashes and promote keratin, the hair’s natural protein. They can also contain fatty oils, botanical extracts and aloe or olive oils that ensure the skin around the eyes is protected while serums are being used.

The benefit of an eyelash serum is that they usually don’t require too much use, and usually one daily dose after cleansing the eyelashes at night is all your lashes need to feel the boost. They also come in a handy mascara sized tube with a small wand applicator that is easy to use and can fit neatly into your makeup kit, rather than a whole jar of coconut oil that is commonly applied with a small cotton bud – not so convenient.

Also when it comes to eyelash growth serums, they usually come with a timescale or guarantee so you know exactly what you’re aiming toward, all you need is a little patience, but most eyelash serums will promise results within 3-4 weeks.

What people don’t realise though is that even with an eyelash serum, care has to be taken at all times with the eyelashes for it to do its job properly. There is no point applying it if you are prone to leaving eyeliner or mascara on longer than you should and if you don’t have a proper cleansing routine. It is also important not to rub the eyelashes or even wear false eyelashes every day which can inhibit growth or cause premature lash loss. What you can do though, is use eyelash growth serums like The Xlash Eyelash Serum for example, with eyelash extensions. Safe to use with adhesives and works on penetrating the follicle and existing natural lashes while you sport a lengthy pair in waiting for your natural ones to grow longer.

Natural Eyelash Growth Remedies Vs Eyelash Growth Serum Round Up

• Cost – Natural remedies win this one, you don’t have to pay much for coconut oil or castor oil, but you won’t have the specifically targeted ingredients of an eyelash serum.

• Application – Eyelash serum takes this one home, as it is conveniently packaged with a wand explicitly designed for applying to your eyelashes. A cotton bud can be too big and clumpy to aim right into the corners between lashes.

• Lash Loss – They will both fair quite equally here as long as used correctly and you don’t rub your eyelashes or use harsh cleansers. Whether natural or a serum, the aim is lash growth not loss, so this should never be a problem.

• Lash growth – Eyelash serums are designed to make eyelashes grow longer, faster and stronger as well as making existing lashes and follicles healthier so they last for extended periods of time. Results can of course vary, but the eyelash serums we see today have shown great results on real people that make it an exciting thing to try out.

Battle Two Winner – Eyelash Growth Serums – I’ve been on and off the fence with this battle, but it really does come down to wanting better eyelashes and finding a way for them to finally be great without enhancements such as false eyelashes or extensions, and eyelash serums are the way to do that whilst thinking about convenience too. It is really exciting to wait for the results and not only see longer lashes but feel how strong they are too.

The choice is always yours to make, but hopefully with a bit more insight and a few more things to consider, the battle of the eyelashes will always come down to longer lashes always being a winner.

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Lip Care: The Solutions to All of your Problems

Every year the seasons come and go, sometimes gliding by smoothly so that we don’t even see the transition, and other times it’s warm and sunny one day and cold and wintery the next. Whether you’re a summer or a winter person, one thing we all have in common is that our lips feel the change in seasons and don’t take too well to those overnight changes in weather.

Of course, it isn’t just weather that has a negative effect on our lips, there are too many factors to count that cause lips to dry out, chap or feel sore. But the important thing is seeing the signs, knowing what to avoid and what to do to prepare your lips for all situations so that they will always look and feel amazing.

So, think about a time when your lips felt really bad. Were they sore? Did they look like they were peeling or have dead skin? Or perhaps they were off colour? There is more than one way the lips can look and feel bad and each problem has a cause and a solution. Let’s delve into the world of lips and guide you through the problems and solutions and the all-important transformation to amazing lips.

Sore Lips: The Problem

Lips generally go through a lot each day. From talking to eating, makeup applications and cleansing as well as exposure to the elements outside and dry air inside. It is no surprise that they will feel sore from time to time, but when it becomes a recurring issue it can mean there may be underlying health issues or simply a lack of proper lip health care.

Other problems that cause dry and sore lips is licking them. We have all done it, and we all wish we hadn’t! But when they are already feeling a little on the dry side from lack of hydration, the most tempting thing to do can be to lick them. It’s almost a subconscious reaction and our brain tells us that it will provide instant relief, so when we do this we rarely think about how it will actually make them feel later. All this actually does is make them drier and feel much sorer especially if we haven’t got any balm or water to hand.

Dry and sore lips can be very painful and unfortunately quite noticeable. In yourself, you won’t be able to do normal things like eat, drink or talk without feeling uncomfortable, and in others, they may be able to see how chapped or inflamed your lips are. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything about it…

Sore Lips: The Solution

Just like the rest of our bodies when we have had a little too much over exposure to those bad things in life, our lips sometimes need a little TLC to get them feeling like their normal selves again. So, if you have dry and sore lips, don’t worry too much, there is always something you can do.
If your lips are sore from being outside in the cold so much, say during those long winter months where going outside is unavoidable the best cure is really prevention. So, preparing your lips will be the easy way to avoid the discomfort later. Moisturising lip balms are the way to go and they can do a lot more than just make your lips look shiny. But of course, they have to be applied regularly for lips to feel the benefit and not go through periods of inconsistent care.

Another popular choice for lips especially in winter is petroleum jelly or Vaseline as one of the more popular brands. The reason this stuff is so good is that it adds layers of protection while locking moisture in so it can penetrate deep into the skin providing hydration for longer periods of time. This is always a good choice for those who need convenience and great looking lips in one handy little pot.

In summer, exposure to the sun can cause more than just sore lips, did you know they can get sun burn even more easier than the skin on the rest of your body? And the damage can be lasting rather than fleeting unfortunately. Many of us are guilty of neglecting our lips when it comes to sun protection as it seems a weird place to go slapping on sun cream. But the option here is to buy a UV protection balm formulated especially for lips and to keep reapplying it while out on a hot sunny day. Especially after swimming, eating or drinking! This is important to prevent sun burnt lips and the agony that comes along with it later.

But if you do find yourself battling sunburned lips then you need to know what to do to heal them properly or you could end up making the problem worse. When lips have sun damage, they are likely to be swollen and inflamed as well as sore, so the priority is to reduce the swelling and stop them from burning. A cold compress such as a soft flannel and cool water will help immediate sun burn. But just lay it on the lips lightly and change the water as needed. Don’t try to rub the cloth into the skin as this will only irritate them more. Aloe Vera is also another great problems solver when it comes to inflammation. Along with its antioxidant properties it is a great way to soothe sore and sunburned lips. Having a plant or a little pot handy is the best option or go for a lip balm with natural Aloe Vera in it.

Hydration is always the key to repairing dry lips, whether it is from the sun or the cold, wintery winds, water is really one of the best medicines out there. And this doesn’t just mean applying a rich, hydrating balm, this means drinking plenty of the good stuff throughout the day. Not only a thirst quencher, water is the one thing that should pass the lips regularly when they are sore and dry. Avoid caffeine and alcohol and salty foods when you are trying to repair those lovely smackers, as it will just prolong the dryness and make them feel worse for a lot longer before they start to get better.
Having sore lips is annoying but keeping them in a state of dryness is going to be even worse in the long run. So always remember to carry a good balm or petroleum jelly out with you, apply a sun screening balm each day, drink plenty of water and never lick your lips. You will be well on your way to having a great set of lips if you can stick to these basic rules.

Cleansing Lips: The Problem

Like the rest of our face, lips need a good clean too on a regular basis. But the problem is improper cleansing routines can lead to lacklustre lips or even flaky and chapped lips. See, cleansing lips doesn’t just stop at them being clean, it should be a whole routine that allows them to look and feel the best they can at all times.

Lip cleansing problems can include using harsh products to remove makeup that can ruin the outer layers of skin, scrubbing to vigorously leading to sore and raw lips, not cleansing at all… well this will never end well, and not adding moisture back into the lips once they have been cleansed.

This problem is easily solved with a few steps in proper lip care that can take seconds or minutes of your time and new cleansing routines that will help to boost the colour and quality of your lips. This doesn’t mean spending a hefty amount of money on products either, just a little time and patience.

Cleansing Lips: The Solution

So, if you’re reading this then you probably want to know where you are going wrong with your cleansing routine and how to do something about it. If you’re a soap and water gal, you probably notice that your lips feel clean but often quite dry and have no sparkle. If you love wearing lip balm or petroleum jelly, but rarely take the time to cleanse your lips you probably find your lips are quite soft, but you can’t skip an application as they seem to just dry out instantly.

Lips balms are great, don’t get me wrong, but it is not the solution to cleansing, and you shouldn’t have to rely on 50 applications each day just to get by. So, let’s start with the cleaning part. Makeup removal is crucial before you get down to business specially to remove those stubborn bits of lipstick and to start with a clean slate. Then you want to make sure the rest of your face is clean and clear with a water-based cleanser that also removes grime and dirt from the skin around your mouth (yes, this sounds gross, but with all the foods and liquids passing by, the skin will happily collect it all!)

The next step is to exfoliate your lips, which may seem contradicting seeing as you are supposed to be kind and gentle to them, but it is really important to do this once or twice a week – any more than this will be damaging to the skin – and to put lip exfoliation high up on your list of priorities for lip care. The way to do this is easy; use a cotton flannel and some warm water and gently rub in circular motions around the top and bottom lips. This helps to remove dead skin as well as stimulating the blood vessels to promote cell growth and an all-round healthy glow.

Making the lips feel soft is a great thing, but knowing they look soft is such an added bonus. Especially as the cold weather hits, so add exfoliation to your cleansing routine and you’ll soon have lips of envy.

Lip Balms: The Problem

Lip balms generally shouldn’t cause any problems, but this doesn’t mean that all lip balms are good for lips unfortunately. We all know our own bodies better than anyone else so when it comes to things like this I always say to buy it yourself or as recommended from a trusted source. I’m sure many of us have been there where you receive a lovely Christmas or birthday gift with flavoured or scented lip balms that have fancy packaging and smell fantastic!

But the problem is that usually these are the ones that are more for show and less about lip care. So, when you feel tempted to use them, you might find that they aren’t really doing anything for your lips, or that they have a very tempting taste causing you to lick your lips. This is where the problems can start.

The other issue with lip balms is that there are so many of them and it can be hard to know which one to use to do the job you want it to. Hydration and moisture are always the key here, but if you have damaged lips then these types of balms may not be strong enough to help repair them with just everyday use. But as with everything in this world, where there is a problem, there is always a solution…

Lip Balms: The Solution

So, enough with the fancy flavoured lips balms for a bit, lets get down to business and find a good solution for lip repair. A great thing to look for in a lip balm is oil from natural sources such as soybean or coconut that do wonders for repairing damage and soothing the lips.

Hyaluronic acid is also a good ingredient for boosting cell growth and repair which can help to fill in those gaps and wrinkles that may have started to appear from long term dryness and damage. A great product for damage control and treatment should be something you don’t have to apply so many times a day to feel the benefits and one of those is Xlips EGF Intensive Care Lip Balm. This one works quickly and only requires a daily application after cleansing or before bedtime so that your lips get the benefits of it while you are resting, and your lips are not active.

This intensive care lip balm is great for enhanced lips too as it provides hydration while it repairs and isn’t sticky, so you won’t wake up with it all over your pillow. The key thing is it is free or artificial flavours and scents or additives that become tempting to lick or have dehydrating properties.

Lips are wonderful things, and if we just took a little time out each day to look out for them, they will repay us with their beautifully smooth texture, bright hue and shininess in the long run.

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Makeup tips

Mystical Makeup Ideas

It’s that time of year again where we need to start thinking about a new costume for Halloween! Or if you are like me, you’ve had it planned out since last November. I always tend to go with the current vibe with my costume and makeup on Halloween. Sometimes, it can be really cold and fresh and there will be an air of spookiness that calls for some scary makeup and costumes; other times you can’t escape the smell of pumpkins and the warmth of a spiced latte, which is where I pull out the cute Halloween dresses, pumpkin boppers and a pair of really warm tights.

This year is a lot different to previous years and for a lot of us, we don’t even know if Halloween is still on! But even though we may not be able to party like we used to, October 31st is always the perfect excuse to get creative with our makeup. So, even if your Halloween consists of you, your closest friend and a bottle of wine this year, if you really want to feel the part, you have to look the part!

Glittery Treats

When you think of mystical makeup, you can’t deny that glitter is always going to be a big part of it. Glitter can be one of the most frustrating makeup accessories – don’t even get me started, months down the line, you will still find it in places you never knew existed – but it will always look brilliant as an addition to any Halloween inspired makeup.

With the mystical theme in mind, when using glitter, I say keep it coming! The greatest thing about modern developments in makeup means that using glitter to accessorise your Halloween makeup is even easier and there are much wider choices today than there were 20 years ago when the only time you would think about using glitter was on a school craft project, much to the distain of your parents!

These days cosmetic glitter is everywhere, you can grab some from your local makeup store or online for a decent price and usually in different colours, sizes and shapes. For a mystical Halloween, try and grab some fine glitter dust in a deep turquoise or bright violet as well as some fine translucent or silver fine glitter and then finish off with some chunky glitter pieces in purples and blues and even a little black thrown in there for good measure.

To apply your glitter, you can use a number of sticky products that will help the glitter stay put on your skin; my personal favourite is petroleum jelly. It holds the glitter in place really well, doesn’t slide down your skin and leaves your skin feeling super soft afterward, so it’s a win-win. The downside is if you get too hot, it can melt and liquify causing your artistic glitter masterpiece to shift.For a downplayed Halloween makeup look, try adding some shimmery glitter to your upper lid to add highlights and then a couple of chunky pieces of purple and silver glitter to the outer corners of your eyes. To turn the mystical look up a few notches, work the shimmer out toward your temples, up to the corners of your hairline and down to the outline of your cheekbones. Add chunky glitter sporadically or create a more contoured vibe with stark shapes and patterns, using light glitter or highlight to emphasise.

Purple Sorcery

There is nothing more mystical than the colour purple. Often associated with magic and sorcery, it is the perfect colour to add to your palette this time of year to add an element of mystery to your makeup.

I love a bold purple eye with plenty of shimmer and just as much deep shadow to create the ultimate smoky effect. For darker eyes, keep colours a touch brighter with highlight toward the inner corners and main body of the upper eyelid, and for lighter eyes, experiment with different purples and silvers to bring out the flecks of blues and greens in the eyes. Finish the eye with dark purple and black shadow to the creases of the eyelid and lift the shape up by sweeping toward the outer corners of the eyebrows, blending carefully so it doesn’t look too blocky. Don’t forget to join a solid line of colour underneath the eye for that smoky eye look. Again, blend this carefully to create the beginnings of a purrfect cat’s eye.

Dazzling Black Eyeliner

Black eyeliner is a classic and a definite staple in anyone’s makeup kit, whether its kohl, gel or liquid, it is a must have for almost all of us. So, how do we make black eyeliner play along with the mystical makeup theme this Halloween? Well, it’s simple really, it just means getting a little bit more playful and creative and adding a touch of dazzling colour to really make those eyes pop.

The classic cat’s eye is the aim here, but with a little more emphasis to for a dazzling take on it. Start by using a liquid pen eyeliner or a steady hand and a gel brush to outline your desired shape over the top eyelid. I prefer to start by drawing on the shorter part of the point from the outer edge of the eye up toward the brow bone. The reason this is better to do first sometimes is that the line you draw here wants to be a continuation of the bottom water line in order to create a fluid cat’s eye that gives the impression that your eyes are longer and more upturned. It also shows you just where you need your top line to finish in order for it all to connect properly.

Once you are happy with where your outer line goes, for the top line, instead of starting from the inner corners or the eyes, start from a few millimetres past the centre of the eyelid and draw your line outward, curving around the edge of the eye and up toward the end of your brow to meet the other line you have already drawn in. This stops your eyeliner from looking too blocky, especially if you have larger or more protruding eyelids.

Fill in the blank space with your eyeliner of choice – for a crisp look I love to use Xlash Carbon Black Pen Eyeliner as it is super sharp, especially pigmented and it lasts all day and night. But for softer looks, kohl is a great choice at it is easily smudgeable for that extra smoky effect.
What you should end up with is a different take on the cat’s eye that compliments your already applied purple eyeshadow and adds a new dimension to your eyes by lifting their shape and adding that all important air of mystery this Halloween.

Exaggerated Eyelashes

No mystical makeup look would be complete without eyelashes. And if you want to be extra this year then false lashes are the way to go, after all when you have put so much effort into the eyes thus far, you might as well go the whole way with big and bold eyelashes. Even if you are understating your Halloween makeup this year, you can always make your eyes the main focus and downplay the rest of your face with a clean foundation look and minimal lipstick.

Now the thing is false eyelashes come in so many different shapes and sizes, it can be hard to know which one will work best for a mystical treat and specially to suit the makeup styles above. The obvious choice would be to go for a set of false eyelashes that have extra outward length and curl to exaggerate the cat eye that you will have created. But, if you do opt for this set, go easy on the curl and look more at the thickness and length of the lashes as layering is a better option and having the lengths look more uneven and even a bit messy will help them look more natural and will flatter the cat eye shape by not leaving it to look too sharp.

I also love full but wispy false eyelashes that have more body to the centre of the eye. Not too much if you are going for the mystical makeup look above, but enough so that it creates the illusion of a bigger eye and looks just a little bit more playful. Think lashes that reach up toward the eyebrow from the centre and not just the outer corners and you’ve got this look down.

Just be extra careful applying them and even more careful removing them at the end of the day, remembering to cleanse the makeup and adhesive off and moisturising your eyelids and eyelashes with an eyelash serum or some coconut oil before going to bed. Your eyelashes will thank you for this, trust me!

Mystical Lipstick

Halloween is not just for eyes, and although it’s easy for them to want to steal the limelight, lips are always in need of a chance to shine at this time of year too! On a normal day, coordinating colours based on what flatters, where you are going and what colours suite you is all that comes into consideration. But this is Halloween, so let all of your normal rules go out the window and show the world your true mystical self.

Where do we start with mystical lipstick? Well, the darker and fuller the better! I tend not to mix too many different textures all it can complicate the fluidity of the overall look. But in keeping with your purple and black eyes, reaching for purple and black lipstick is a good way to go. To go full mystical, line the lips black and fill in with solid black colour, emphasising your cupid’s bow by slightly overlining the lips. Add some coconut oil or petroleum jelly and brush in some glitter – all over for a starry night vibe, or just toward the centre to add volume to smaller lips.

If all over black lipstick is too much, then start with a deep purple and go for a two-tone look by blending black lipstick toward the corners. Contoured lips will help make the lips look fuller and it will hugely compliment the shapes and tones you have created on the eyes. For an even more daring lipstick look that would push your mystical makeup from Halloween daytime to Halloween party time, keep the two-tone thing in mind but go for a gradient. Starting with purple over to the left side of your lips and blending carefully into black on the right-hand side. This one is a bit trickier to get the lip lining and blending right but it will certainly pay off once the look is finished. Add small flecks of glitter to the black side for a heavy contrast and a makeup look that will dazzle the socks off your friends. Voila! Enjoy your mystical Halloween!

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Makeup tips

Eyelashes for Beginners


Whether you raided your big sister’s makeup kit at a young age or have only just entered the world of eyelashes, there is always a lot to learn in how to take care of your lashes and make them stand out at the same time.

Eyelashes are something we all take for granted in some way. We don’t really realise they are there or serve a purpose until one of them falls into your eye and you end up ruining your freshly applied eye makeup in a bid to get it out. But why do they fall out? Is it normal? Can we do something to stop it? How fast do they grow back and how should we be taking care of them? Many questions may arise if you are now entering your own eyelash world and want to make the most of them without them just being a nuisance by falling into your eye!
What Purpose do Eyelashes Have?

Let’s take this back to basics and find out why we have eyelashes. They grow in a few small layers over the top of the eye on the eyelid and in a thinner layer of more delicate lashes on the bottom lid. They frame the eyes and they come in different shapes, lengths and colours. But why do we have them? Well, they are there to protect our eyes from debris – which is kind of ironic seeing as they can’t protect our eyes from themselves when they fall into them! But think about them sort of like the whiskers on a cat, their sensitivity alerts a reflex that tells them something is near, like a warning. They also help to divert air flow from the eye, by curling away from the eyeball, a set of eyelashes act as a barrier of protection to stop the eyes from drying out completely. They serve a lot more purpose than most of us would think.

Eyelashes are considered a sign of beauty in many cultures and so it is quite common for them to be made up in some way, especially to lengthen them or make them look darker. In Ancient Egypt it was commonly worn by men as well as women. Darker, made up eyelashes signified wealth and status, but also helped add more protection to the upper row of eyelashes to stop the harmful rays of the hot sun from getting in the eyes.

Throughout the ages, eyelashes have always prevailed as a facial feature and even more so today than ever, we have the ability to change them, grow them, tint them and extend them, so it makes for an easier fix than the rest of our features if we want to enhance them.

WHAT IS THE EYELASH GROWTH CYCLE?

Like every hair on our body, eyelashes have a cycle that starts with the formation of a follicle, the growth of the individual lashserum and the eventual shedding, returning to the start once again. This can change slightly as we get older and follicles become less stable and hair gets thinner, but the eyelash growth cycle will always repeat itself without you even really knowing.

Every person has approximately 150 eyelashes on their upper lids, sometimes 200, and between 75 and 100 on the bottom eyelid. They are never all in the same phase of the growth cycle at one time which means there is a constant flow of growth and you are never without eyelashes at one time. Of course, some may sit in the same part of the cycle at once which is why you may notice from time to time that more fall out at once, but don’t worry, this isn’t a cause for concern, unless you were to notice this all the time in which case it may be due to an underlying medical condition. Hormones, metabolism and diet can also be factors in why your eyelashes don’t grow as fast, shed often or even the opposite! You may notice growth spurts due to positive factors in your life, in which case, take note and keep it up to enjoy longer, fuller eyelashes.

The first stage of the eyelash growth cycle is the Anagen phase. This phase usually lasts between 30 and 45 days and is where the lash is in its most active stage of growth while still attached to the follicle.

The second stage is the Catagen phase which is also known as the transitional phase and it lasts around 2-3 weeks. This is where the eyelash stops growing and the follicle begins to shrink, preparing your eyelash for the next phase. Eyelashes can still fall out in this stage, but the follicle must complete the cycle before the new eyelash can start to grow in.

The third stage is called the Telogen phase or the resting phase. This can last up to 90 days but sometimes less. The follicle has desiccated, and the eyelash is ready to fall out. The new anagen phase is beginning underneath the surface and is ready to produce a new eyelash.

All in all, the eyelash growth cycle can last a couple of months but is always in motion, so you don’t have to worry about losing eyelashes from time to time.

WHAT CAN AFFECT EYELASH GROWTH?

There are many things that can affect how your eyelashes grow, from diet and nutrition to cleansing habits and wearing makeup. Illnesses can inhibit growth or cause eyelashes to fall out too as well as stress but the one thing that causes eyelashes to either not reach their full potential or to fall our prematurely can be a vitamin deficiency.

We’ve all been told to get our vitamin and mineral intake right and I suppose we all assume it is for our bodily health, the last thing you would think of is eyelash health, but it is all affected. Foods that are rich in fatty acids and anti-inflammatory properties are great for eyelashes as they provide the nutrients they need to grow strong and long and eliminate the prospect of early breakage or falling out. Things like Salmon or spinach that help carry oxygen to the hair follicles are great for overall bodily health including eyelashes.

Vitamins are important too, like Vitamin B, which prevents shedding and brittle lashes and Vitamin C which spurs along collagen production and assists with damage repair. So, think of things like peanuts or mushrooms and vegetables or berries that have antioxidant properties.

There are a multitude of variables that can affect eyelash growth, and vitamin intake is just one of them. Things like smoking and eating salty foods or drinking drinks high in sugar can all affect eyelash growth as well as one key element: not drinking enough water. Hydration is crucial when it comes to all health aspects; think about how dry hair can get, or skin and lips. Water is the most important ingredient to keep every part of your body as healthy as possible.

IS MAKEUP BAD FOR EYELASHES?

Yes and no is the answer to that question. Yes, in that it coats the eyelashes for long periods of time in makeup ingredients that can have lasting effects, and No, in that there are so many healthier options available these days, and as long as you remove it properly at the end of each day there shouldn’t be any long-term damage. Think about your own eyelashes and how often you wear mascara; If you are a big fan of makeup and wear it daily to a full extent, you may have noticed your eyelashes aren’t what they used to be. They may be thinner or more brittle or even seem to have less growing at one time. But if you are a ritual cleanser, you may have escaped the damaged eyelash phase and sport a lovely full set.

They say everything is ok in moderation, but how much makeup is ok? I don’t know if anyone has got the balance exactly right without the need for enhancements, but it is possible. If mascara is your enhancement of choice then just be sure to remove it every day before going to sleep and if extensions are your weapon of choice then try to have a break from them when they are not needed so that your natural eyelashes have a good chance to breathe and grow without the weight of extensions pulling them down.

HOW SHOULD WE CLEANSE EYELASHES?

Removing makeup at the end of the day is so important, and so many people don’t realise how much. When it comes to the skin, leaving makeup on can cause excess oils as well as dirt and debris from makeup to clog pores and cause infections or breakouts. It is so important to remove makeup on eyelashes too. Not only can infections or irritation occur but it can start to make the eyelashes look less than desirable or fall out prematurely.

When it comes to cleansing makeup, a lot of people think a cleanser is good enough, but what needs to happen is the makeup being removed first. A makeup remover does just that: takes the makeup away from the skin. But it doesn’t mean the skin is cleansed of all dirt and particles that can cause damage. The same goes for eyelashes to an extent and especially the skin around them.

Remove mascara and eyeliner with a good remover that is kind and gently to your eyes, and then finish off with a water-based facial cleanser to keep the area clean and clear. Micellar water is really good for this as it attracts the particles to the product and away from your face.

When cleansing be sure to move in one direction away from the eyelashes and don’t rely on harsh or abrasive rubbing to do it. If you need to repeat the process, it is better than rubbing the eyelashes over and over as this can cause eyelash loss and damage to the skin around your eyelids.

Cleansing makeup may seem like a chore, but it is definitely better than having to worry about eyelash health over the long-term.

HOW CAN WE ENHANCE OUR EYELASHES?

The one question on many minds is how can we make our eyelashes grow faster? Or how can we make them look longer? The good news is there are many options these days that help everyone out in some way. We have mascara, we have false eyelashes, extensions and lash lifts. Each one suits someone more than the other, due to price, convenience or comfort.

So, let’s start with mascara. You can get a whole range of different mascaras that promise to do different things: Volumize, lengthen, separate, you name it, there is a mascara for it. But they don’t always do what you want them to do depending on what you already have (which is where eyelash health care comes into it to make sure you have the best options). Volumizing mascara can only create volume where there are plenty of eyelashes, otherwise it just clumps and looks unnatural and thick. Lengthening mascara will look good were there are plenty of eyelashes but shorter in length.

A great option is an eyelash growth serum. While it takes a little more patience than mascara, it has lasting effects that are natural and less harmful to your eyelashes. Xlash have a great product (Xlash Eyelash Serum) that can be applied daily to the top row of eyelashes for stimulated growth within 3-4 weeks. The best part about eyelash growth serums is that they enhance your eyelashes naturally and don’t require extra appointments or expenditure trying to keep the new, full and long set of lashes that you desire. As far as eyelash enhancement goes, and eyelash growth serum could be the answer.

Eyelash extensions are of course amazing too. But they do require upkeep and maintenance to ensure they still look natural and full. If you are going on holiday and want to compete with the accompanying heat without lashings of mascara, eyelash extensions may be the way forward.

Lash lifts are relatively new on the eyelash scene and involve a technique similar to a perm for the hair. An eyelash lift lasts around eight weeks and really emphasise the curl and shape of your natural eyelashes, which if they are straighter than you would like but have existing volume, is a really clever option.

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5 Beauty Products You Can’t Live Without

It can be so hard to keep up with new beauty products and what could be just a passing trend and what should be a staple in your life. Afterall, we all have different tastes, opinions and styles. But above all that no two faces are the same in terms of skin, eyelashes or lips, so it can be difficult to navigate the world of cleansers, moisturisers and makeup. What suits one person may not look great on someone else, or it may have a negative effect on their skin.

For some, a simple cleansing water and light moisturiser may be all that is in their beauty kit, for others it could feature an array of creams, hydrating toners, primers on top of makeup and makeup removers. So, wouldn’t it be easy if there were just a few things that you knew you would benefit you in some way so you could build your own kit and expand on it where you see fit. When you find something that changes the way your face feels and looks, you’ll start to wonder how you ever lived without it.

Well, I have been through so many different products in recent years and I’d say there are only a few that really stick out for me. I have combination to oily skin so that requires some serious care, I travel a lot so different changes in climate have a massive effect on my hair, skin and lips and I, like the rest of us, am not getting any younger, so there are products that just don’t cut the mustard like they used to as my skin ages and my eyelashes and eyebrows start to feel the effects of life. It doesn’t mean that these products will be exactly right for you, but they always serve me well and I never leave home (or the country!) without them.

1. Oil-free Moisturiser

I’ve always had a battle between oily and dry skin and have envied those who go about their daily business with nothing more than a fresh sheen to their cheeks, but I’ve got what I’ve got and it’s up to me to manage it. The issue is how to combat the dry areas without adding excess moisture to the oily ones. It was always a balancing act that required patience and a lot of trips to the bathroom to powder my nose.

But these days there are countless options for women like me who produce extra progesterone – usually due to contraception and hormonal imbalances – and have to deal with shining like a light bulb straight after applying a fresh coat of makeup. It’s frustrating, so I’m very thankful that there are products out there for us.

I always thought that having oily skin meant that adding moisturiser to the mix would just make matters worse and I avoided it for a long time. But then age caught up on me and I realised I needed to do something about these pesky little lines that were starting to appear around my eyes and mouth. Like a lot of others with seriously combination skin, I suffer with an oily T-zone and dryness around the mouth, eyebrows and under the eyes. Luckily, information on offer from dermatologists suggested that moisturiser is not only a good idea but imperative for people with oily skin. I was intrigued.

So, how does this work? Adding moisture to moisture doesn’t equal double moisture? Well, what people like me tend not to account for is that due to the excess oil, we tend to cleanse more, which actually rids the skin of beneficial oils and protective barriers around the skin. So, the good moisture disappears and the bad moisture (oil and sebum) jumps right in its place.

I started with a light oil free moisturiser after cleansing and before bed and felt a dewy glow that I was sure was going to make me end up looking like a greasy fry up by the morning. It actually didn’t. My skin felt shiny sure, but very even. After a few weeks of use, the dryness disappeared from those problematic areas and my sheen looked positive and not dirty or sweaty as I always thought previously. These days, I swear by oil-free moisturisers for my combination skin and once it was incorporated with my beauty routine, I didn’t look back. I tend to cleanse with water and a hydrating facial cleanser and leave my face and neck to completely dry before applying moisturiser. Then let it completely soak in before applying any primers or makeup. Definitely can’t live without it now! But just in case, I always carry blotting papers in my bag with me – yes, I know that’s another product I can’t live without, but at least now I’m not too nervous when I do leave the house without them!

2. Colour Correcting Primer

Primer has been a godsend to many over recent years. It has evolved and extended its purpose for so long now, there’s no doubt it’s a product I cannot live without as I expect many others will agree. Where has the good stuff been hiding all my life? Well, truthfully it has been there in many forms, I just haven’t seen it as I was too busy panicking about my oily skin for too long to want to put any more products on it and make the problem worse.

But still so many people don’t worry about primer and see it as an unnecessary addition to their makeup kit. So, how good is it? Well, in so many ways, the small amount of product in a tiny bottle can make all the difference to your skin tone, your makeup application and how long it stays there.

These days you can get your hands on illuminating primer, colour correcting primer, mattifying primer, long-wearing primer and even pore-minimising primer. There are even primers for different parts of your face. Eye primer tends to really give grip to the extra layer and helps makeup stay firmly in place, all while being super gentle to the skin around your eyes. A good skin primer does both sure, but it can help dramatically change the appearance of makeup on your face too.

I do like a mattifying primer for obvious reasons, but sometimes it can really dry out my face in unwanted places and cause makeup to look a bit cakey so I tend to let my oil-free moisturiser take care of my skin texture and use a colour correcting primer to help even out my skin tone. It would be amazing to lie and say that my skin tone is the same across the board, but in reality, no one has the exact same tones across their face. Colour correcting primer goes beyond this though, they have a tint to them that covers discolorations, red patches or dark patches around the eyes. It doesn’t do the same job concealer does, but it definitely passes for looking natural.

I love colour correcting primer and it is one product I can’t live without as it means I can leave the house with the confidence of wearing makeup even when I haven’t bothered to go through the whole rigmarole of applying it.

3. Eyelash Serum

How good is this product! I never knew about eyelash serum until a couple of years ago. After years of abusing my eyelashes with falsies, bottles of mascara and plenty of eyelash curling to boot, my own eyelashes left something to be desired. When I was young I always had really full and long eyelashes, but I guess time and life got in the way and I just took them for granted. Granted, I’m not exactly old, but you definitely do see the difference in the little things after a few years if you look hard enough.

Well, I looked deeply at my eyelashes and decided there I had to do something about them. There were many options of course, eyelash extensions or a lash lift or even just carry on with my lengthening mascara as normal and fake it through life. But I wanted to do some good to them and feel my own original eyelashes as they once were. So, when I looked into and eyelash serum that also doubles up as an eyelash growth serum, I wondered if it was too good to be true. Was it?

Definitely not. As I said, if you pay attention to the little things, you will start to notice a difference, so once I started paying attention to my lashes I then couldn’t get enough of watching them improve. They felt better, they were stronger, and they looked amazing. Now an eyelash growth serum can’t work miracles overnight, but it can do its bit to help your eyelashes grow faster, stronger and longer as long as you do you bit to help too.

This means cleansing your eyelashes every day and making sure all traces of makeup are gone, doing this as gently as possible with a tough but forgiving cleanser, and not overdoing it with adhesives for false eyelashes. I tried out an eyelash serum by Xlash and was so happy with the results after three weeks that it became a normal part of my beauty routine: cleanse, let dry, apply Xlash Eyelash Serum and go to bed. Simple!

The best part is they don’t fall out like they used to before. I’m leaving them alone and letting the eyelash serum do its thing. Even if you are an avid wearer of eyelash extensions, this stuff is really good for the strength of your follicles and natural eyelashes, which in turn should make your extensions last even longer. This is one beauty product I won’t live without now.

4. Trusty Mascara

Ok, so I know I said I was going to give my eyelashes a bit of a break from the hardships of wearing makeup all the time, but mascara is a girl’s best friend in my opinion. When you have dark eyes, eyebrows and hair, it can be difficult to make your eyes pop without a little help. Yes, I realise people may say that having all those dark features may add to the mystery of the person, but personally, I feel very plain without makeup and like to feel the confidence of knowing I’ve made my eyes a prominent feature.

Mascara does this job perfectly, especially for me anyway. I have large almond shaped eyes that can look a bit downturned on certain days but are easy to bring upward with some clever eyeliner, giving them a great cat-eye shape. But doing this every day isn’t the most convenient, especially when I’m travelling all the time and dealing with extreme temperatures. Sometimes you only get five minutes to be up and ready and a girl has to pick her battles. I chose mascara as my weapon most days as it doesn’t take too long to apply, and you get that pop of jet black to really highlight the eyes. I find the darker I go with mascara, the lighter it makes my eyes look which is a huge bonus for me.

But yes, I do take my eyelash care seriously and now that I’m using my eyelash serum and having breaks from things like mascara and false eyelashes from time to time, I really appreciate the stuff when it comes to applying it. We all have our own methods; I usually go for a volumizing mascara to work on their fullness as opposed to length as the serum is already sorting that out for me. I apply one coat and draw the wand outward and upward to create that ever desirable cat eye shape even without eyeliner and hen go back for a second coat before it has completely dried or it ends up looking quite clumpy.

At the end of each day I use my makeup remover to get rid of all the product and sometimes use a bit of coconut oil to finish the job and leave eyelashes feeling smooth. (But we will get onto coconut oil later!) Then its eyelash serum time and I can happily say my lashes have served me well by the end of the day.

5. Coconut Oil

When people go on about the products they love, it can be hard to relate sometimes. Especially if a) your budget doesn’t allow for fancy products and b) your skin-type, routine or preference doesn’t allow for them to become part of your own. But this is why I saved coconut oil until last. It is accessible to almost anyone, works well in different ways for everyone and is not going to cost you a fortune.

I love coconut oil for many reasons, and I’d love to share them with you. First of all, organic coconut oil is the way to go if you are going to commit to this as a beauty product. The whole point of it is that is it natural and isn’t going to harm your skin with various additives and chemicals. Second of all, you don’t have to limit coconut oil to use for just your skin.

I tend to keep a pot with me at all times as it fixes a lot of things when you’re on the go. As I’m constantly moving about it, it is nice to have one constant that keeps me in check. I have very thick, wavy hair that back in the days before styling and straighteners came along, would frizz at the hint of humidity and never played ball when I wanted it to. Then, after straightening my hair to within an inch of its life, came the dryness. I luckily found coconut oil as a solution and nowadays I apply a small amount to the ends when it is damp and leave it to dry naturally for perfect beachy waves all year round. Gone are my straightening irons and gone is my hairdryer; I know what hair type I have and especially during the summer months, coconut oil is the way to control the dreaded frizz. Not only that, but it keeps it shiny and controllable without feeling greasy. Perfect!

But it took a while for me to see it as a benefit for my skin, especially dealing with oiliness on my face. So, I tend to save it for my body, and the only way I can describe it is that it brings the skin back to life. It’s thick, but not too thick, it softens in your hands making it easy to apply to your skin and the shine lasts for hours. It is especially great for freshly shaved legs, keeping the skin soft and legs looking fantastic!

But then I discovered that coconut oil is a fantastic makeup remover and moisturiser. Who knew?! It literally grabs every bit of makeup, especially on the eyes, like mascara or stubborn eyeliner and leaves the skin around your eyes feeling super soft and hydrated. I don’t tend to rub it all over my face, but it is handy when I’m travelling and don’t have instant access to warm water or soap, and it is gentle enough that it doesn’t make your face feel unclean afterward. Coconut oil hits the spot on many ways. You can even use it to clean your eyelashes, so they are ready for some eyelash serum once all the cakey makeup is gone.

There may be more things I cannot live without, but those are my top 5 beauty products. Here’s hoping you find yours!

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A Modern Twist on Iconic Makeup Looks

How many beauty trends have there been over the years… Hundreds? Thousands? It would be too hard to count, but we can all remember the big ones as time has gone by. Even if you aren’t old enough to remember a lot of the celebrity trends of the past, they used to be so iconic that a lot of their inspiration has passed down and will always be a big part of each generation.

Ok, so some trends we might be better of without these days (barely-there eyebrows, I’m talking to you!) but for the most part we can all look to these fantastic icons and grab some of their trends for our own modern take on their inspired looks.

Cleopatra Inspired Makeup

Cleopatra is arguably one of the most famous female rulers in history. While busy ruling Kingdoms of Egypt and raising armies, she managed to become an icon of female empowerment and beauty. Ok, so over the years, Cleopatra’s image has changed somewhat, becoming Hollywood-ised in one of the 1960’s biggest films, and portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor. But always known for her beauty, you can forgive the Hollywood studios for exaggerating Cleopatra’s makeup look as it has become so iconic today.

Without going too “Halloween costume” it is possible to borrow snippets of her makeup style to create a similar iconic look with a modern twist. First of all, you want to focus on the skin, think bronzed and reflective. But to keep it low-key, aim for a light bronzing powder or gel on the cheeks and up to the temples with highlights on the brow and cheek bones and under the eyes. All skin tones can pull this off, it is just about finding the right balance of bronze or swapping it out for a light shimmer in rose gold on fair skin tones.

Next, you want to get to work on the eyebrows. Make them a strong focus of the face with an eyebrow gel that will stay in place, follow the lines of your natural brows but exaggerate and lengthen your arch slightly to really get a Cleopatra vibe to your makeup.

And of course, the look wouldn’t say Cleopatra without drawing attention to the eyes and adding some brass and gold colours to solidify the whole idea. For a day to day wearable makeup ensemble, stick to the upper lids, keeping it thick and brassy and drawing it out to the corners. Add a touch of highlight to the inner corners to widen the eyes and draw attention. Add a touch of contour to the creases of your eyelid in a darker brown or deep gold without blending too much. Cleopatra’s makeup style is very pronounced, and this look is usually carried off well with similar intensity.

Now for the fun stuff: Eyeliner! The Cleopatra makeup look is all about the eyeliner and don’t be afraid to use lots of it. For a daytime look, keep lines thin and sleek, but for the evening, get to work on those lines and practicing with a sharp kohl pencil for full authenticity. The cat-eye is what you want to go for here, with a thick black line starting in a clear point from under your tear duct, along the bottom water line and out toward the end of the brow. Do the same on the upper lid but try switching to a deep black gel eyeliner and with a steady hand keep the line straight to meet the end of the bottom wing. For the really crafty people out there, try to hold back from connecting the two corners and leave some negative space that screams Cleopatra! Finish off with some volumizing jet black mascara and don’t forget to keep your hair straight and sleek for the ultimate look.

Marilyn Monroe Inspired Makeup

When it comes to iconic style, you can never forget about Ms Monroe as her image has transcended generations and is still the epitome of Hollywood glamour. Her sex appeal was undeniable and she was just as famous for her curves as she was for her screen presence, so it is no surprise that a woman of such beauty sent shockwaves the world over and left a lasting legacy for future women. When it came to her makeup style, she was very versatile but in later years cemented her look with clean but edgy lines that oozed sophistication.

So, how do you pull off Marilyn Monroe’s iconic makeup style? Well first you have to start off with the skin. Her face was so pure and clear of imperfection due to her beauty regime involving petroleum jelly instead of moisturiser. But there are other ways to get that dewy and hydrated look to your skin with light moisturisers and a good primer to even out skin tones and dark patches. Marilyn was a big fan on glowing skin so when it comes to applying foundation, keep it fresh with a medium coverage and use concealer to rid the eyes of dark circles. Apply blush to the cheeks in peachy tones to keep in style with her look.

Then onto the eyebrows. Marilyn Monroe had very sleek eyebrows, brushed upward to accentuate her high arch. When it comes to grooming, keep it minimal, just ridding of strays but not trying to make the eyebrows twins. Use a light gel around the same tone as your brows to keep them brushed upward and outward to accentuate your arches. In keeping with the modern approach to Marilyn’s makeup, don’t go overboard with eyebrow contouring or definitive lines, just be sure to have a good eyebrow brush to hand and fix their shape into place so they look natural. Use a light pencil to extend the peak if necessary but be aware of points that can make your eyebrows look a bit too pantomime!

Marilyn’s eye makeup was the definition of sultry. Giving the cats-eye a run for its money with long and low wings extending out way past her upper eyelid. To do this and keep it modern, try copying her eyeliner still with a different coloured eye pencil in brown, red or even deep green. From the top of the tear duct, draw a neat line without peaking at the centre of the eyelid, the idea is to widen the eye but don’t lose that sultry Marilyn vibe.

Her lips were famously red and pouty and is achievable by anyone with a steady hand and an eye for contour. Instead of lining the lips and filling in the colour, try her look with 3 different shades of red and contouring from the corners and highlighting in the centre for an exaggerated pout and that signature Marilyn Monroe style.

Grace Jones Inspired Makeup

Grace Jones was a pop icon of the 1980s and her inspired cubist and futuristic style is still serving us looks to this day. Grace wanted to break the mould and not be constrained by genres and typecasts and she did this with, aherm… grace and elegance all the way through her career.

Her signature style was not even signature at all as she changed it up so much, but she did stay true to her famous cheekbones and drew influences from other artists and eras such as the looks of Bowie and the discos of Studio 54. With androgynous style, Grace Jones was certainly an icon with plenty of inspiration to pass down to future generations.

So, how do we emanate Grace Jones’ style and bring it right into 2020? Well, honestly her use of colour, geometric shapes and fierce eyeliner could all have been lifted straight out of a 2020 editorial or runway, and if you really want to copy her makeup style with a modern twist, your changes only need to be minimal. Think razor sharp cheekbones with plenty of blush, the most piercing eyes and never be afraid to use just a little more purple lipstick!

So, let’s start with her fabulous bone structure. One of the best things to come out of makeup development over the last 20 years is contouring and accessibility to contouring tools and makeup. So even if you don’t have the bone structure of the goddess that is Grace Jones (as many of us don’t!) you can always fake it ‘til you make it. Draw very steep angles under the cheekbones, use plenty of contour around the jawline and cupids bow to accentuate your features and always add a little highlight to the outward architecture of the face to really bring forward those assets. Blend well and apply blush heavily from the temples down the cheeks in the direction of your mouth to achieve her fully perfected facial look. Grace preferred a darker blush or experimented with brighter pinks and purples, remember to stick to colours that compliment your skin tone, but don’t be afraid to try something new that may surprise you.

When it comes to doing your eyes like Grace Jones, you need to put any apprehensions behind you and just go for it. I would suggest to keep things modern, if you are going to go all out on the eyes, maybe keep the colours on the cheeks toned down to avoid clashes. Grace liked a lot of colour on her eyes and to copy her look you want to take the colour all the way up to the brow with heavy highlights at the inner corners of the eyes and on the brow bone. Try out two or even three tones to create different shapes, maybe a light purple underneath the eye, electric blue on the upper lid and night sky blue to the contours and up to the brow to emanate Grace Jones’ typical style.

Eyeliner should be sharp and deep black to get the full look. Just like the Cleopatra look, eyeliner should start underneath the tear ducts, but to take it to Grace’s level, extend it way past the eyes and in an upward angle toward the brow bone.

Grace’s eyebrows were very thin, angular and precise, but to take a modern twist on her iconic style, avoid the tweezers and focus on the grooming and fixing of the eyebrows. Eyebrow lamination would be perfect for this look as it’s sleek, shiny and will hold for a long time. If you are looking for a quicker and cheaper option, use a good eyebrow gel after pencilling in gaps, lengthening your eyebrows for her signature style.

Grace Jones already had the perfect lip outline, so it was easy for her to rock a whole range of lip colours and wearable styles. While darker colours were her favourite, she also loved the classic red in high gloss to finish off her look. For the modern take on her look, compliment your lip colour with your eye palette, remember to contour the outer corners of the lips and ensure your lip colour has staying power. If playing with deep blues and purples, a black lipstick with violet highlights and an overall coverage of gloss will serve her look really well.

Other Iconic Looks

There have been so many women who made waves by presenting a new look to the world through movies or music and each of them have something iconic about them that we all take some inspiration from to this day.

The chameleon that is Madonna has blessed us with so many iconic versions of herself, it would be hard to know where to start. Do you go “Material Girl” Madonna or perhaps “Evita” Madonna? Or what about Audrey Hepburn? It would be impossible to count all of the gorgeous looks this gracious lady served us.

But the thing is, there is always something we can take from them, from Audrey’s full eyebrows and doe-eyed eyeliner, to Madonna’s messy eyebrows and bright eyeshadow. Or how about Debbie Harry’s signature punk hair and dark smoky eyeshadow or Twiggy’s infamous eyelashes?

In order to create your own look by taking inspiration from icons of the past, the key is to use good quality makeup, always prep and prime the face, eyelids and lips before applying and be sure to have a massive sense of adventure. Oh, and don’t forget to take pictures of your own iconic makeup looks!

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Hottest Eyelash and Eyebrow Trends 2020

I don’t know about you but I’m ready for some positive changes this summer. And where better to start than with my eyelashes and eyebrows? Stepping out into the wide world has been somewhat of a task lately and no one quite knows if life as we know it will go back to normal for some time. But that is exactly why it is important to see the positive side of things, step into new and exciting territories and feel like a brand new you.

Eyelashes and eyebrows are just two of our facial features that we can enhance in both small and big ways and always notice a huge difference. So, it’s definitely time to see what is new on the scene and what trends are making a comeback and apply them to our own features to really make them stand out.

Now, bear with me here. Some of these trends and methods are a bit out there, and some are more daring than others, but we must remember that everyone has different length or fullness of eyelashes and varying colours and thickness of eyebrows. The good news is, when we want what we don’t already have, the solution is never too far away. Even if it does mean spending a bit of that hard-earned money to get there.

But one of the good things is, when it comes to eyelash and eyebrow enhancement, you don’t always have to endure pain in the same way you would with lip enhancements, such as filler. Sure, things like microblading is an option, but it isn’t the only one. So, read on, see what takes your fancy and get ready to rock your own new eyelash and eyebrow style.

Straight Eyebrows

Eyebrows have always created a storm in the cosmetics world, going from thick to thin, to scruffy, to polished, it seems like eyebrows have a mind of their own sometimes and we are just trying to keep up with them. But there is always one consistency and that is how much we obsess over them.

Ok, so not everyone is about the eyebrow. But for a lot of us, making sure our eyebrows frame our face just right, have just the correct amount of tint and don’t let us down with too many strays wanting to join the party, is all just a part of our daily routine that enables us to leave the house feeling confident and put together.

When the straight eyebrow came into fashion, it paved the way for so many people that were never naturally blessed with a high arch or who didn’t know what to do with their own eyebrows without being too adventurous. It was a secret gift from the eyebrow gods that allowed even the most fashion-shy to join in with the latest trend.

And the good news? It isn’t going anywhere any time soon! Straight eyebrows are here to stay. But the real question is who can sport this look? To be honest, almost anybody can get away with a straight eyebrow, with some tweaking of course.

The thing is, we all have different face shapes that fall into categories of heart-shaped, oval, round, square, long and diamond, and our eyebrows have an ideally complimenting shape to each face, so when you think of straight eyebrows, it has to work in a way that compliments your look for you to feel your best self when styling them that way.

Straight eyebrows are best suited to longer faces with the aim to balance out the features, but it doesn’t always mean styling or tweezing them into a fully straight line. Elongating them toward the outer edges is what provides the balance. Oval faces and heart-shaped faces also benefit from having a straighter line, but a small arch can lift the eyes. When it comes to rocking the straight eyebrow, the best thing to do is to see a qualified technician who will be able to help you create your desired shape, or to fake it with a great eyebrow pencil and some clever shading and highlighting.

Straight eyebrows are a breeze to maintain and they also complete you look with a more youthful appearance, which let’s be honest, we all want to maintain!

Lower Lashes

Ok, so eyelashes are really having their day at the moment, but so many people think there is just one option: lengthen your upper lashes by any means necessary. But this year is proving that it’s the lower lashes’ time to shine.

We’ve always been taught not to go overboard with mascara on the lower set of eyelashes as it can create a spidery look that the nineties so proudly provided us in all of its inharmonious glory. Cheap mascara was mainly the cause of this, or even just over-using the stuff. But if we carefully consider how to do up the lower eyelashes to compliment the eyes and not swamp them, this trend could (and should) stick around so everyone knows how to do it right.

The trick is to keep this look light and feathery with little to no mascara, so you don’t get that clumpy look where your lashes decide to stick together and form one giant eyelash. If you are like me and can count how many eyelashes you have on the lower lid, then another option is to get lower lash extensions. A good technician will now how to keep them short but sweet and add a romantic touch to your look, avoiding harsh points and lines.

A great tip for keeping your lower lashes shiny and lustrous is to apply a small amount of coconut oil to them every few days, being careful not to get any in your eye, but enough to make them noticeable and to give them a good bit of fatty oil to feed them and stimulate their growth.

Eyebrow Lamination

When you think about lamination, you may not immediately send your thoughts toward eyebrows, but that is because it is a relatively new process that is highly editorial and was usually only seen on the rich and famous or the impossible beautiful models that grace the catwalks. But eyebrow lamination is taking the world by storm, all because it mimics the impression of fuller eyebrows without the pain and permanence of microblading. Think about eyebrow lamination as a sort of perm for eyelashes, lasting around eight weeks and styles the brows into position without the need for primping and preening in between.

So, what exactly is it? Well, it is a treatment that involves first softening the brow hairs so that they are more malleable, brushing them into position and then fixing them with a laminating solution that holds them in place in (usually) an upward direction. It gives an immediate classy look and feel and when it lasts so long, it is hard to see why this wasn’t a thing years ago.

Many people turn to lamination to “fix” unruly eyebrows that are naturally misdirected as well as a way to fill in unwanted gaps by brushing the hairs into position. The sleek, polished look of lamination works well on thick eyebrows to bring light to the eyes and brow bone.

Textured Eyelashes

It sometimes seems that to stay on trend, you have to follow the exact same pattern as everyone else to stay on top. And when you think about eyelash extensions, this is mostly true. The reason people get eyelash extensions in the first place is to lengthen or thicken their upper row of eyelashes when they aren’t too happy with what they originally had, or just want a little bit extra. But now that eyelash extensions are so popular, its time to take it to the next level and not just get them because you want them a bit longer, but because you want them to stand out. And I don’t mean in the overly false kind of way, but just to add more texture to them so that they still look natural, but have an air of fullness to them that makes people question… Are those her real eyelashes?

By adding texture, it means having your eyelash technician use different lengths of extensions to the full length of the lid. It’s about breaking the lines of symmetry and working toward a fuller set of lashes that don’t look beyond the realms of natural. The overall look will be multi-dimensional and feathery without the need for mascara to do the trick.

Textured eyelashes are really the way forward with extensions to really avoid the pristine, polished or pantomime look and will especially suit eyes that are longer than they are wide and almond shaped eyes.

Slim Eyebrows

Don’t panic, but they’re back (sort of). Slim eyebrows are taking the world by storm this year and it might actually be a good thing. Now, we aren’t talking super thin eyebrows here, think of it more like your brows have toned down, and maybe lost a couple of pounds, but the body is still there. Slim eyebrows are actually a god send for so many people who aren’t naturally blessed with fuller eyebrows and struggle to grow them vertically.

All eyebrows have different shapes, thicknesses, colours and density so it isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of deal, but slim eyebrows are amazingly easy to maintain once they’re in place and once the ideal shape has been defined. Darker brows really suit this look as it helps to create sleek lines that ooze sophistication and they definitely mean business. This isn’t to say that blondes can’t rock the slimmer eyebrow too, it’s just really important to keep them groomed and tidy.

Gone are the days of over-plucking and leaving just a millimetre-thick line of eyebrow hairs that we used to pencil over the top of anyway. The thin eyebrow is gone and should never make an appearance again, but the slim eyebrow should last a lifetime. To achieve this, again it is best to see a professional to help guide your new look to a state of perfection, but if you must do this at home, remember to prepare your skin beforehand by opening the follicles with warm water, and soothing the skin afterward with cooling gels. Aim to keep the same thickness all through the length of the eyebrow, and loosely thinning out toward the outer edges.

For those of us who struggle to grow our eyebrows, this may just mean taking care of a few strays and using an eyebrow pencil and some fixing powder or gel to fill in the gaps. Keep lines blurry so you don’t end up with a super sharp costume feel but use enough colour to keep them even in tone all the way through. Slim eyebrows will be around for a long time, watch this space.

Healthy Eyelashes

This might seem like a silly thing to call a trend, but having healthy eyelashes is not becoming part of normal routine everywhere and so it deserves to be on the 2020 eyelash trend list, and every year subsequent to this one!

The rise of eyelash extensions, false eyelashes and eyelash lifts in recent years has shown a need to keep eyelashes healthy in order for these procedures to be worthwhile, or ultimately you will be covering up a barely there set of eyelashes that fall out easily and paying so much money in the long run. But now it makes sense to keep them healthy underneath the layers of extensions so that one day, you may not even have to rely on them. Keeping your eyelashes healthy shouldn’t be a difficult task, it involves cleansing them every day, removing makeup every day and applying an oil or a serum to stimulate the follicles, promote growth from deep within and strengthen the actual eyelash so that breakage becomes a thing of the past.

Eyelash serums are great products as they are easy to apply, it takes seconds and you can actually start to notice the difference in weeks. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge with eyelash extensions, or even if you are an avid wearer of mascara, it is not just on trend, but really important to get your eyelash health in order and you never know, one day it may be your lashes people are obsessing over!

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Do You Really Need all of Those Face Creams?

We have all heard of bad hair days, but how many of us pay attention to our bad skin days? For some of us, it is just another day so we do nothing about it, and for others it’s time to pull out the big guns and get to work on different creams and lotions in a desperate bid to clear up our skin.

I’m somewhere in the middle of the mix, I like to make sure my face is moisturised, but I have very combination skin so too much of a good thing can just make my skin worse overnight. I’ve seen many influencers and celebrity advice videos on Instagram showing us how to use the right creams at the right times and of course, they always look flawless! But at this point I have to start questioning whether it is just a mix of good lighting, filters and a pre-applied skin care routine that we didn’t see off camera, just to make sure they look even more gorgeous.

So, do we really need all of those face creams that promise to do wonderous things and make our skin look just as beautiful as the celebrities and influencers of Instagram? Or is most of it just a big marketing myth? Let’s delve into the world of face creams and see what each one does and if it could work for us.

Cleansing Habits

Let’s start by looking at our typical cleansing habits – good and bad – and see if we are starting off on the right foot to begin with. Like cleansing, there is absolutely no point in parting with well-earned cash to buy extra-smoothing, anti-ageing, skin-boosting creams if you aren’t going to follow a proper cleansing routine in the first place.

Our skin sort of relies on its own biology to stay healthy and everything is about balance. Tip the scales and we start to see things like breakouts, excess dryness, oiliness and things like that. When this happens, it makes it harder to level it all out again, so we do what we can to hide it with makeup and face creams and probably in the end just make it worse.

The key to good skin is keeping it clean and recognising your own skin type so you can control and breakouts before they even happen. Washing your face every day is so important when you think about it. Faces are the one part of the body that can be mostly or partly exposed every day, whether it’s indoors or out in the great wide world. Even for those who’s faces remain covered, there will still be a collection or dirt and debris, pollution and vapour sitting on the surface. On top of all this, makeup, oil, sweat and dead skin cells just love to coat your skin and create a surface that makes it harder to work with for the next round of makeup.

By washing this away each day it helps the skin to retain its fresh look and feel and prevents unwanted and unnecessary problems in the long run. A hydrating cleanser should be used twice a day as well as a makeup remover, stick to a solid make up removal process – as it says on the tin, a makeup remover takes away all makeup residue, a cleanser removes all the dirt from deep down.

When it comes to cleansing, yes you really need to invest in both, especially if you are a big makeup fan, a cleanser is just not enough, and a standard soap can cause dryness. Look after your skin when it comes to cleansing and you might not need to go hard on the spending when it comes to the moisturisers.

Sunscreen Vs SPF Moisturiser

How many of you can honestly say you wear sunscreen as much as you should? I’m guessing because of all the warnings out there, not many of us are committing to a proper skin care protection routine. The reason? Well, it’s all just a little complicated and knowing what you should buy and how and when to apply it is not really given out in strict instruction. I mean, think about it, the point of moisturiser is that it sinks deep into the skin on your face to hydrate the outer layers and provide moisture all day long. The purpose of sun cream is to sit on your face like a protective barrier that stops the sun in its tracks before it can even think about burning you.

So how can an SPF moisturiser do its job properly? The experts agree that you should use two separate products in the interests of sun safety, but is it advice you’d be happy to follow? It might mean changing up your makeup routine entirely to make way for a thick, oily layer of sun cream, but that should be a small price to pay for undamaged skin.

On the other hand, if you choose an SPF moisturiser then you are at least doing something right, even if it only gives you partial coverage, it is better than none at all. The jury says to buy two separate creams but will settle for one as long as you incorporate it into a proper moisturising routine and wear it every day.

BB Creams, CC Creams and Tinted Moisturisers

Most people swear by one product they can’t live without, for others, there aren’t enough face creams to help them get what they want out of their beauty. But unless you know what all these products do – and that would be an expensive way to try and test what’s out there – you have to rely on the knowledge of other people trying and testing things to know what will work best for you.

Take BB cream for example, it exploded onto the beauty scene a few years back and everyone was rushing to buy their preferred brand, but not many people know what it was for or why it was so good. Then CC cream entered the scene and instead of giving people options, it started to become a little confusing. Tinted moisturiser had always been reliable, hadn’t it? Should we be wearing one, or both, or all of these?

BB Cream or Beauty Balm/Blemish Balm is a great multitasking product tht is more lightweight than a normal foundation, has moisturising properties and does a great job at evening out the skin and hiding blemishes. It can be used on its own or with a concealer and foundation and it contains SPF. Not enough to do the whole job, but enough to offer a small amount of cover from the sun. BB Creams took the world by storm and it really is easy to see why.

CC Cream or Colour Correcting Cream has a similar function to BB, but it is designed to correct colour blemishes and uneven skin tones. Some people are prone to redness in certain areas of the face, or dark patches of skin, CC cream helps to balance it out and feels light on the skin at the same time. The coverage isn’t going to mimic the results of foundation though, so maybe combining BB Cream and CC Cream is a winning formula.

Tinted moisturiser has been around for years and is suddenly growing in popularity again. Lighter than foundation but thick enough to give you some good coverage, tinted moisturiser helps your skin glow without the heaviness of other creams and foundations. It isn’t always great at hiding blemishes though so it can be best to combine tinted moisturiser with a concealer or BB/CC cream to get the best of all worlds.

Three outstanding products, three quite different results. When it comes to you wanting to know whether you need all of those face creams, on this one I would say yes, but only because they are all worth trying out to see that foundation isn’t the be all and end all of face coverage.

Anti-Aging Cream Vs Wrinkle Smoothing Cream

For every woman, the thought of ageing skin is enough to make us sink into a panic. We’ve all been fighting our way through the beauty world to find creams that prevent this from happening. And when that doesn’t work, there’s always Botox!

But let’s be honest, do many of us believe that anti-ageing creams work? Surely if they did there would be a whole lot more youthful looking 80-year olds wandering around. Ok fine, the best formulated creams haven’t been around that long, so the results still remain to be seen, but if turning back the clock on ageing skin was as easy as buying a little pot of moisturiser, wouldn’t we all be doing it?

The thing with anti-ageing cream is it is supposed to prevent ageing, not reverse it. So, skin with a few wrinkles on it already may not see the benefit of using it. But then you have anti—wrinkle cream, another miracle cure for ageing skin, surely? But this does something entirely different. Usually a moisturiser with the added benefit of being able to reduce find lines and wrinkles, this cream usually contains hydroxy acids, peptides, Vitamin C amongst other ingredients. Its design is to plump up the skin which gives it a smoother appearance and reduce the severity of wrinkles.

Unfortunately, it is no permanent, miracle cure that turns back the clock and allows us to relive our youthful days of smooth and elasticated skin, but that being said, it can help. When it comes down to anti-ageing and anti-wrinkle creams, I think the best way to achieve this yourself is to always look after your skin AS you age. Avoid smoking and sugary drinks and food. Keep up with a good cleansing routine and don’t forget to apply sunscreen every day.

Face Serum Vs Moisturiser

For many people using just one of these products is enough, but could we really feel the benefit if we combined the two? Well, let’s look into the benefits of each product. A face serum tends to be more lightweight than a moisturiser and has smaller molecules so it can penetrate the skin further. This is great for skin problems and imperfections that are deep-rooted and easily targeted. Serums are great for targeting things like dry skin or dark patches while creating an even skin tone at the same time. They dry into the skin quite quickly, leaving your skin clear and fresh and ready for the next step in your beauty regimen.

Some people stop here, but it might be better to add moisturiser to the mix and ensure full coverage of your face and to see that every job is done. A serum isn’t designed to provide long-lasting hydration, whereas a moisturiser is, so if you want to go about your day knowing your skin will feel great, there is no reason that both of these products can’t serve you well.

Verdict

There are of course so many different views on face creams, even straight from the dermatologists themselves, but there are also endless choices and new trends all the time. When it comes to your face and whether you need all of those different creams, you have to consider what is right for your skin type, how much time you have to spend on your new routine and whether the costs are worth it for you?

For some, it is a small price to pay for everlasting beauty, but for others, it is a cost they could do without. There are also people who have never really worn moisturisers or BB creams, but they tend to not wear makeup either so are doing less damage to their faces daily meaning they don’t need to worry about different creams to fix different things. Lucky!

At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is to get the information regarding the product you want, ensure it doesn’t have any irritants or anything that is going to react badly to your skin and if you are that curious about it, the worst you can do is try it out and not like it.

I like a small bag of products like eye cream, face serum and a BB cream to make my makeup routine practically non-existent, but the main thing is I do what is best for my skin. Don’t follow the trends, just do what is right for yours.

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Makeup tips

A Guide to Makeup Removal

Do you ever get your makeup so spot on that it is almost a shame to wipe away your piece of art at the end of the day? I’ve had a few of those days, especially when I’ve had the time to sit there and get everything exactly right. These things definitely take time, much to the dismay of partners out there who are constantly waiting for us to finish getting ready so we can go out. It’s always “I’ll only be 5 minutes!” we say as we begin to apply concealer, knowing full well it will be another half an hour at least before we resemble something even remotely human.

Look, some artwork takes years to complete, the Sistine Chapel took four years to paint! We can have an hour here and there to create our own masterpiece. Even if you have a no-nonsense approach to applying makeup, with a bit of mascara and some lippy fulfilling your quota, you still want it to look good, so you spend time applying it correctly.

The problems come when it’s time to take it all off. We are all so good at spending time slathering on the makeup but not so good when it comes to removing it. Makeup removal is all just part of the process and should be done every day or at least every time you wear makeup and plan on going to sleep. There is definitely an art to removing makeup too!

Most makeup is very oily in composition so sleeping in it just clogs pores, can cause acne and breakouts of blackheads. It can seriously diminish the appearance of your skin over time as well as damaging your eyebrows and eyelashes. Lips can be hard to repair when they get dry and cracked from too much sleeping in lipstick so it’s probably a road best avoided before you choose to go down it.

So, by now you’re probably thinking “But I have face wipes at home, why is this such a big deal?” Well unfortunately facewipes are not the be all and end all for makeup removal and can actually end up leaving residue, not being strong enough to take off stubborn mascara and leave your face with an oily or greasy sheen. Let’s take a look at each facial feature and see what the best method of makeup removal is and how you can have clear skin, silky eyelashes and smooth eyebrows just from changing a few habits.

Skin

Washing the skin on our bodies is such a natural occurrence each day. We pick out our favourite scented, extra lathery, super creamy shower gel and step in the shower making sure to cover every part of our bodies and feel fresh and clean afterward with smooth and silky skin.

But when it comes to our faces, shower gel just isn’t going to cut it if you wear makeup. It may be able to wash away dirt and grime collected from a day’s activities, but it isn’t designed specifically to treat facial skin as delicately as it should be treated, which can ultimately cause extra dryness. We all have different skin types meaning each of us are more prone to something we don’t really need in our lives such as oiliness or dryness.

If you tend to have dry or sensitive skin, it is advised not to use foamy makeup removers or cleansers so much as they tend to cause skin to dry out even more than normal. If you have oily skin, a foam cleanser isn’t the worst thing you could use but be aware that your problem areas such as T-zone may start to feel the effects of dry and flaky skin quite quickly.

To treat your skin well, it is also important to recognise the difference between makeup removers and cleansers. They sound like they should do the same thing, but they are each targeted at a different kind of dirt. A makeup remover gets rid of the foundation, powders and eyeshadows from the surface of the skin and a cleanser gets rid of all the dirt and sweat and even dead skin cells, cleaning the skin itself. Some say it’s worth having both and using both regularly to ensure that your skin is clear of all impurity at the end of the day.

When you remove your makeup at night, another good tip is to moisturise with a light moisturiser only and apply this while your face is still damp from cleansing. It helps to lock in the moisture and soak into the skin rather than sit on top. Some people don’t like to moisturise at night and find it too oily to sleep in, if you have oily skin it may be a good idea to apply it to non-problematic areas and enjoy the feeling of silky smooth skin in the morning.

Eyelashes and Around the Eyes

Of all the areas on the face, I would say that eyelashes get the least attention when it comes to cleansing properly. Even those who swear by cleansing probably don’t attack the eyelashes the way they should, leaving residue of mascara, false lash adhesives and remnants of eyeliner tucked away in the corners. Eye makeup tends to be very oily, water resistant and thick in consistency, but the skin there is also the thinnest out of anywhere else on the face, so harsh cleansing will end up causing damage and even premature aging around the eyes.

To remove eye makeup and mascara, a normal facial cleanser is not really the thing for the job as it can take away too much oil from around the eye. As this area tends to be quite dry, the last thing anyone needs is for the skin to dehydrate and start to wrinkle. Use a light but hydrating makeup remover with a cotton pad and sweep it across the eye without rubbing it back and forth. Then make sure you get all the eyelashes by moving the cotton pad or cleansing pad downward in sections until you get to the end of your eye. Rubbing back and forth can just hurt the skin, rip our eyelashes (you don’t want to do this!) and end up depositing makeup in other areas of your eye.

Remember whatever happens, don’t use any facial scrubs or harsh cleansers that can dull or damage the skin around your eyes or even get into your eyes. A Micellar water is a good and easy solution to makeup removal as it acts like a magnet, attracting the particles and breaking them down. Don’t forget to cleanse after makeup removal to ensure that any daily dirt is gone and even treat yourself to a quick dose of eyelash serum to help keep them healthy and strong without having to apply heavy moisturisers to your eyes.

An eyelash serum is a great way to look after your eyelashes after cleansing without having to do any actual work to achieve a great natural set. Simply brush a line of serum over the upper lashes toward the root and you are good to go. Xlash Eyelash Serum is a pretty decent option when it comes to eyelash serums as it also promotes growth as well as strength and colour boosting. Which if your eyelashes have been feeling a little under the weather from improper cleansing and overuse of mascara recently, then they will definitely appreciate the attention.

With the eyelashes taken care of, be sure to moisturise the skin around the eyes (don’t get too close!) to avoid dryness in the morning and you should start to see your skin tone starting to even out a little more.

Eyebrows

This section would usually come within the realms of eye makeup, but its amazing how many people forget to include eyebrows as part of their daily eye makeup removal and cleansing routine. For some lucky people, eyebrows are just things that exist, and they don’t need to do much to groom them or fill them in, so they are easily forgotten at the end of the day. I am not one of those people! My eyebrows are barely there and no matter how much I try and wish them back into existence, every day they look thinner and sparser. The moral of that story is to leave your brows alone when it comes to fashion trends and tweezers, but that is another story for another day. The good news is I’m doing everything I can now to not make them worse.

There have long been debates about how to thoroughly clean eyebrows, after all they are technically hair, so should we be shampooing them? But they are on our face, so should we just cleanse them? Shampooing them is not really necessary, but when it comes to eyebrows the point is that they are clean. Use the same principle as the rest of your face – a makeup remover followed by a gentle cleanser, used on a cotton pad in the direction of the hair growth, being very carefully not to vigorously rub back and forth and cause unwanted loss of eyebrow hairs. Simple really!

Lips

Lips need a little more care when it comes to makeup removal. Like the eyes, the layers of skin on them are really thin and can be easily damaged with too much rough cleansing. Lips have a natural glow that tends to be a darker shade than the rest of our face. Pink on lighter skin and deep browns on darker skin. But no matter how much someone may compliment our lips, there is always room for a bit of enhancement. Lipstick is usually the way forward as it is a temporary option to make our lips look a bit brighter and even bigger with clever application.

Lipsticks and lip colours have come so far over the last 100 years and much to our joy they have become a lot more convenient. Lipstick on the teeth or around the rim of our wine glass isn’t such a regular occurrence anymore with options in long lasting lip colours that stay put for the day. The problem with this is removing it at the end of the day can be a laborious chore that never fully seems to work and it puts an insane amount of pressure on the lips, causing the skin to peel or flake, making them feel sore and raw and taking a few days to feel a little recovery.

Removing lipstick has to be done with care and a little patience for you to be left with silky soft lips at the end of the day. The trick to removing it? Use an oil or a balm to help slide the lipstick straight off. Foamy based makeup removers and cleansers are very drying as we discovered earlier, and oils, balms and petroleum jellies tend to smooth lips out as well as providing moisture.

Massage a cleansing balm into the lips using a warm, damp cloth and watch the colour completely disappear, leaving your lips ready for a nightly lips balm to help hydrate them while you sleep.

Overall

Makeup removal may seem like a bit of a boring chore right now, but if you are currently suffering with skin problems or if you have made a vow to start treating your face a little better, then it might be time to get a proper cleansing routine in your life. Treat yourself to the right products that work for your skin type and you will see tonnes of difference from simply washing and cleansing with soap or shower gel.

When we spend so long putting our makeup on to look good, wouldn’t it also be great if we could spend the same time removing it to look even better! Soon you might not even want to wear so much makeup if your face starts to reflect the amount of work you put into it.

So always remember to remove your makeup before cleansing, steer clear of greasy wet wipes and give your lashes a treat to some eyelash serum before going to bed. Happy cleansing!

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