Are Those Beauty Products Really Helping You?
You know that old saying “less is more”? Have you ever wondered how true that is when it comes to your beauty products and makeup? It can be hard to keep up with what’s “in” right now, and even more difficult to know if the new recommended product is to add to your beauty routine, or to replace something from it.
Well, we also have beauty and makeup influencers telling us how we should be doing our makeup and what we should be avoiding, which can be really helpful when they provide a diverse range of advice for different skin types and tones, face shapes and hair/eye colours, but sometimes confusing when they mention a new product that you didn’t know you should be using.
I suppose we all know eventually, after plenty of trial and error, what works best for our own faces, for example people with sensitive skin would more than likely go minimal in terms of skin products but may go for maximum effect on their eyelashes. The aim is always going to be looking like our best selves while feeling like ourselves too. There is no point in adding in a new makeup item if you aren’t going to benefit from it or feel confident wearing it.
So, lets see how we can decide if less really is more, if those products are really necessary, or if sometimes we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of a good thing!
Do you need Moisturiser?
Depending on who you ask, moisturiser is either a necessity or a pointless marketing ploy to get you to part with your money. Many dermatologists say that moisturising your face is something you should do every day, while others say it can be detrimental to apply it to your skin every day and that the skin eventually gets used to being given moisture and stops producing its own.
But the majority say that moisturiser is essential in some form, but not to overdo it with too many ingredients and products that could be drying or actually rid the skin of its own nutrients. What the skin needs is SPF, and unfortunately it is hard to come by a highly protective sun cream that doesn’t leave residue or oil on the skin. It can become near impossible to wear makeup and SPF lotions at the same time, so moisturisers with SPF were invented. If you use these, be sure to check that the SPF is high and when you wear it, apply it evenly for full coverage.
As far as moisturiser goes though, using the right one for your skin is important. If you have dry skin you need something that is going to target those areas but without becoming too dependent on it and always switching it up for something lighter as your skin improves.
Wearing moisturiser at night is another debatable topic. While the skin has a chance to repair itself and stay clean and clear at night, for some people this is where the problems start, especially depending on the climate or environment. If it is especially dry, your skin might need that bit of help to stay hydrated, but make sure you cleanse regularly to avoid unnecessary breakouts.
The verdict? Moisturiser in the right context and with non-dependant use should definitely help your skin and is a great addition to your beauty routine.
Do you need Anti-Aging Creams?
Similar to moisturiser, many dermatologists agree that anti-aging creams are just adding too much to the mix and many of them may not even work. But there are so many of them available, there must be some rhyme and reason to it, otherwise it wouldn’t be a such a money-making industry. The thing with anti-aging creams is they are also targeted at certain demographics, so by the time you think you need to use them the damage has already been done.
The best way to fix wrinkles is to prevent them in the first place, and although all skin is susceptible to aging, we are in control of how fast this happens by what we do and the way we look after it. For example, spending too much time in the sun without any protection against it can cause premature aging in the skin and permanent lines that can be hard to get rid of once they are there. Or even bad cleansing routines especially with heavy makeup wearing can affect the skin as it needs a chance to breathe and feel refreshed from dead cells that cause blemishes or outbreaks under the skin.
The problem with anti-aging creams is again we can become reliant on them which leads to excessive and unnecessary use, when actually all we need to do is check for ingredients that actually help with fine lines and wrinkles instead of fancy packaging or marketing. Peptides, vitamins and antioxidant extracts with the ability to firm the skin are important, but they don’t work miracles, they can however, plump up the outer skin layers to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, but will never fully make them disappear.
The verdict? Anti-aging creams are best used as a preventative measure as part of your moisturising routine with SPF and added protection against the elements. It is not really necessary to use it with a moisturiser as it should already have hydrating qualities.
Do you need Primer?
Many beauty experts love primer and say that if you aren’t using it, you are missing out. But what is it about primer that has the beauty world talking? You may be thinking that a moisturiser is enough prep for the skin, so why add something else to the mix?
Well, primer uses different ingredients, a lot of the time something silicone-based, which helps firm and smooth out the skin creating the perfect base for makeup to sit on and fix itself to. When you’re about to spend time and effort on your makeup, you actually want it to stay put all day long, not slide off at the slightest hint of warmth, and a good primer can make this a reality.
Face primers are also evolving now to cater for so many different skin types, so depending on what yours is you can improve the effects of your skin almost instantly with the right one. Mattifying primers are great for reducing shine and oil especially when foundation tends to have that oily effect, and they can also come with colour correcting tints to aid with you concealing routine and giving your skin an even tone throughout.
Primers for eyelids are available to help stop creasing too, with a denser formula, the aim is to stop makeup from gathering in the creases and eyeshadow from slipping away and dissolving on oilier eyelids. Eye makeup is really having its day right now, so a good eye primer will save you so much hassle in the long run if you spend a long time getting yours exactly right.
The verdict? A good primer will save your skin from unwanted attacks of oil and makeup slippage when it counts the most, and not only that, but it certainly helps your makeup applications by letting you slide it onto the skin easier with even coverage all round. Use a moisturiser and a primer to get the benefits of both.
Do you need Colour Corrector?
Gone are easy days when concealer was seen as enough to cover those blemishes and dark circles, now we should be using colour corrector too? But is it really necessary to add yet another product to an already growing makeup kit if you don’t really need it? Let’s find out.
Colour corrector has been used by beauty gurus and makeup artists for a long time, but social media has really helped it take off on a commercial level. It uses colour theory on balancing out tones and hues by applying colour on the opposite side of the colour wheel to the tone on the skin. For example, blue hues under the eyes can be cancelled out with orange that is directly opposite it on the wheel and green can be used to correct excessive pink tones.
It isn’t designed to be used by itself, as it would just be a block of colour siting on the skin, but coupled with a good foundation, it can lessen the appearance of dark patches or brighter tones of pink in the skin. The tip is to not use too much of it, and to blend it rather than rub it in. By experimenting with thin layers and not too much foundation you can find the right balance for you and not have to hide behind foundation, but rather let your skin sort of shine through.
The verdict? Colour corrector is really useful, but only when used properly, there is no point in using a colour that isn’t the opposite of a tone on your skin as this will only highlight the area you are trying to even out. There isn’t much point in using normal concealer with a colour corrector as the layers will start to look bulky. Instead keep it smooth and minimal for maximum effect.
Do you need to Bake?
Baking your makeup is a relatively new concept, and while some swear by it, others haven’t even heard of it. Is it really as ridiculous as it sounds or is it the new necessary when it comes to applying makeup to your face?
Baking is the process of applying a translucent powder to the face to allow the heat from the face to set your foundation underneath. Leaving the powder in place is known as baking and it usually takes around 5-10 minutes depending on who you listen to. The idea is that when you dust the powder off, your makeup looks smooth and flawless with no creases or lines.
The thing with baking is it involves a lot (this is not an exaggeration) of concealer, foundation and powder and even more time to apply it and get it right. Sure with practice this process gets easier, as you get to know what works for your skin and what doesn’t. But is it really worth it?
A lot of makeup artists support baking as a way to remove excess oils from the skin with ease and to highlight areas of prominence like the eyes and the T-zone, making them stand out in all their smoothed out and untextured glory. But unless you’re Kim Kardashian, you may not have your own glam squad at your disposal, not to mention a ring light to follow you everywhere so you are ready for any photograph.
The Verdict? Baking is great when you have time to prep for a night out and when you really want to feel great about yourself, but as a daily exercise in putting on makeup, it is perhaps a little overkill, especially when time isn’t on your side or you just have a mundane day at the office ahead of you.
Do you know what you need?
So, it isn’t a case of just a little foundation and some mascara anymore, there are so many rules when it comes to modern makeup, but do you know what? Rules were made to be broken! So although these products may work fantastically on one person, it doesn’t mean that they will do the same for you. If your skin has been in a fantastic condition for long enough, it is important to keep that routine maintained so you always have great skin, but it won’t hurt to try something new out if you want to.
An easy way to find out what will make your face glow is to speak to a beauty consultant and let them work some magic on your skin based on their knowledge of colour theory and skin types. It may turn into an expensive affair if you end up taking their advice, but at least this way, you’ll know just what you need!
FOLLOW US @XLASHCOSMETICS
Makeup Hacks for Eyes that Stand Out
Everybody has their own routine when they come to doing their makeup; products they swear by, methods of application they wouldn’t dare change up and styles they have been used to for years. But the world of beauty and makeup changes so often now that it can be hard to keep up with what’s new and what’s the next big thing, so to speak. Not everyone likes or adapts to change very well and so it can be hard to convince people that switching a few ideas and products could be amazing for their face and their confidence in their makeup going forward.
Makeup hacks have been around for ages, and a lot of the time they involve homemade products or more often than not, ingredients that you are supposed to have “just lying around”. This isn’t usually the case, so these hacks never come to fruition the way that the YouTube tutorials say they do and end up being a waste of time.
So, lets look at the real hacks, the ones that are worth every penny you have to spend on them, but always produce great results. And even if they don’t, it can be fun to experiment and get away from these old products and habits that have cemented their way into your makeup routine.
Colour Correctors and Concealers
When we really want our eyes to stand out, those dark areas need to go, and not be the part of our eyes that do the standing out! And concealer alone may not be the best thing for this. This is why, if you are used to just concealing, it may be worth looking at this hack – colour correction. In conjunction with concealer, it really works, and you can end up with a more natural tone underneath the eyes.
The way this works is by correcting the colour of the skin (from cool, dull or grey tones) to warmer tones that would be more present on the cheeks, you are then leaving yourself with an even finish that concealer will blend together rather than highlight. Concealer alone will still leave greyish tones under the eyes, so the colour corrector assists with an additional light layer of makeup that warms up the whole face.
If you have ever found yourself piling on the concealer and getting through way more than you need, or even gone as far as buying a lighter concealer in a big to brighten up the skin, then a colour corrector will banish those days for good. You won’t need to use as much makeup, and your skin won’t have different shades that end up being less than complimentary.
When using this hack, don’t be afraid to experiment with warmer shades of colour corrector, and even mix a darker peachy shade with a lighter pink to find your own ideal mix. You will be able to see the warmth in the skin, the disappearance of dark circles and gain an even playing field ready for your concealer application.
We all wish we were born with perfectly matching and full eyebrows, but for a lot of us, this just isn’t the case. I’m always so jealous of people with amazing brows, whether they are natural, filled in or Micro-bladed, they always look on point and like they have had minimal effort to get them. My eyebrows suffered severe thinning over the years, so it became my quest to get them back to looking fluffy and full by using clever makeup. Now the hack here is two-fold: getting those eyebrows to look made up without looking made up, and also making sure that they flatter the face.
Eyebrow shape plays a huge part in how the face shape appears and so any hack needs to be complimentary of this and take into account what suits individual facial features. Now, we are looking for hacks that make the eyes stand out, so the eyebrows in this instance may need to be toned down slightly to allow for the eyes to pop and create a really flattering canvas.
Our brows come in all different shapes and sizes and no two are the same, but one thing that tends to happen is the thickness of the hairs are mostly toward the main inward part of the brow and they get thinner and lighter out toward the tail or outer corners. The hack here is when filling in the eyebrows to try and make the whole thing as even as possible in colour so that it balances out the face and flatters rather than drawing unnecessary focus to the centre of the brows only. For eyes that are closer together, this is a great piece of advice as it gives the illusion of a wider face.
The other thing to take into account is the natural shape of your own eyebrow and how it may not be the most flattering for you. When filling in your brows you don’t want them to look unnatural, but you can change a couple of strokes with your eyebrow pencil to subtly give you a softer or less harsh shape. So, when you next go to do your eyebrows and have always followed your exact shape, try and change where you place your focus, for example, if you tend to accentuate your arch, skip the part where you follow the line with your brow pencil and roughly create extra volume at the ends and tail. If you like having a definitive beginning to your brows, try and soften this area up with lighter pencil strokes and going through it with a spool brush to fluff it up and give it more of a natural feel.
Eyebrows can be hard to get right every time, but the hack is to experiment with your shape, and even try doing one side as normal and the other side with less harsh angles and compare the two side by side. Seeing it this way can help you make some great decisions on which you prefer and going forward, you can start to practice it on both sides.
The absolute dream is to have long eyelashes at all times. When you see influencers on Instagram, makeup artists on YouTube or even celebrities on red carpets, they always have amazing looking eyelashes. And without spending a fortune on eyelash extensions, it can be hard for us mere mortals to compete in the eyelash world without putting in so much time and effort. Or is it?
For any look that will make your eyes stand out, you won’t be able to achieve this without the finishing touch to your eyelashes that most of the time goes beyond mascara. Sure, mascara is a godsend and I’m guessing even for the least makeup savvy of all of us, mascara will always be something that is easy and quick enough to apply so it’s handy to have around, but we live in an ever-evolving world where even buying mascara seems to be more complicated than solving complex mathematical equations.
Do you pick the lengthening wand or perhaps the 3D volumizing mascara? Is the water-resistant option good for your eyelashes or should you look more at less permanent ingredient options? If only it all came in a one-size fits all tube, we would all be sorted. But until that day comes, you have to figure out which one works best for you.
The hack here is having longer eyelashes in the first place, then using mascara to accentuate your healthy and full set of lashes and in turn, finishing off your stand-out eye makeup look. If you aren’t in a position to get eyelash extensions and are turned off by the thought of applying false lashes every day, then the only other thing for it is an eyelash growth serum. So, it won’t give you results over night, but it will – with a little patience – repay you with longer and fuller looking eyelashes so that you might not even need mascara.
An eyelash growth serum does exactly what it says on the tube, by penetrating deep into the follicle and driving in vitamins and natural extracts that assist with speedy growth, providing extra strength and durability and accentuating colour. With this, the results can mean longer, fuller and more lustrous eyelashes that stand out naturally after only a few weeks of applying.
The best part about this hack is it is so easy to apply. Literally, one application to the upper lids each night is all it takes. It is important to keep the eyes and eyelashes clean of makeup each night for the eyelash serum to be able to work its way in, but once it’s on, you don’t even have to think about it anymore, just relish in the results once you know your eyelashes are ready to be one of the stand-out features on your face.
Who doesn’t love a good eyeliner hack! And when the aim is to make your eyes stand out (bright coloured eye shadow aside,) eyeliner is the thing to go to. The reason is that how you apply your eyeliner can completely change the shape of your face as well as the vibe you are going for. There are times where you may prefer a more vampy look, or sometimes where you just want a toned-down day time aesthetic that compliments your eyes but doesn’t over-shadow the rest of your face.
Either way, eyeliner is the thing to experiment with so if you are stuck in your kohl eyeliner pencil ways, then keep reading and keep an open mind. To really get going, a pen eyeliner is a great tool to use if you are trying out new things as it can be a lot easier to use than gel or liquid eyeliner as you will have more control over the handling of the pen. Xlash do a great eyeliner pen in carbon black that has a felt tip applicator and allows for precision and sharp lines which is what you want when trying out new shapes.
So, why would you want to try out a new shape? Well, just like eyebrows, the way that you do your eyeliner can completely change the shape of your face and although there is a standard cat wing that a lot of people favour, they may not be making the most out of they eyeliner to create the most flattering shape for them. When you think of the classic cat-eye or winged eyeliner, you tend to start at the inner corner of the eye, follow the shape of the lash line and draw outward into a point or a small flick to create the wing.
But if you have naturally round eyes or larger eyes, this style can really accentuate the natural shape and make them look even a little too big, which yes it brings focus to the eyes but not necessarily in the most flattering way. A hack to combat this is to make the eyeliner lines tighter, closer to the upper lash line and to start the line from the centre of the eye rather than the inner corner. By bringing the flick out further and straighter (keep that line sleek and thin) you create lift at the corner of the eye, drawing the eyes upward for a more pinched look. This is incredibly flattering to most eye shapes and will be the fastest way to may your eyes stand out.
FOLLOW US @XLASHCOSMETICS
What Do Eyelash Serums Do?
Eyelashes are really having their day at the moment and isn’t it about time! When we see someone with naturally blessed long and full eyelashes, it’s easy for the green-eyed monster to show itself and stop at nothing until we have what they have. But what are the options? These days there are plenty of ways to enhance our eyelashes, and even if it means a temporary fix, we can fake our way through the day as one of the lucky ones with those beautiful long eyelashes.
It doesn’t always need to be so temporary though; with new and improved formulas for eyelash growth serums appearing on the market, we should all be able to find our inner lash goddess and enjoy the eyelashes we deserve on a more permanent basis. So, lets go through some of the questions about eyelash serums, like how they work to what they can achieve, and see if a serum can get you the lashes of your dreams.
What is an Eyelash Growth Serum?
We’ve all heard of serums for the skin, like face and hand serums and even serums for the hair to make it feel shinier and to control frizz, but an eyelash serum may be a new concept to a lot of people.
Eyelash serums are essentially formulated serums that boost and stimulate growth and enhance the appearance of eyelashes all in one. There are many ingredients that different companies use in their growth serums, but most will contain collagen, which is known for repairing and boosting cells in the skin and hair, and peptides which help to nourish and strengthen hair and eyelashes.
The formula itself can pack quite a punch in conjunction with well known natural ingredients and plant extracts that also promote healthy and fast growth to help eyelashes grow to their full potential without prematurely falling out, and even delay the next phase in the eyelash growth cycle to help eyelashes grow longer than they would normally.
What is the Eyelash Growth Cycle?
The eyelash growth cycle is as with all the different hairs on our bodies, a cycle that has different phases that last a certain amount of time before replenishing and growing in new hairs. All hair has to fall out at some point and the same goes for eyelashes, otherwise we would either have too many if they didn’t, or none at all if the cycle didn’t begin again.
There are three stages to the eyelash growth cycle, the anagen phase, the catagen phase and the telogen phase.
• Anagen – This is where the active growth of the individual lashes is taking place. The eyelash is still attached to the blood supply and is growing from the follicle to achieve its full length. This phase normally lasts anywhere from 30-90 days and the longer an eyelash stays in this phase, the longer it can grow.
• Catagen – This is also known as the transition phase and is where the eyelash has reached its maximum length and is detaching from the blood supply. The follicle shrinks and so the eyelash just waits for the next stage of the growth cycle. This phase normally lasts from 2-3 weeks.
• Telogen – This is also known as the resting or shedding phase of the cycle. The eyelash lays dormant until while the new hair starts to grow into the follicle below. Nothing really happens to the old eyelash here as it just sits and waits to fall out. This stage lasts a few months, but this also means that if an eyelash falls out during Catagen phase, the space will stay empty until the full cycle is completed and the new lash begins to grow in again.
What does the Eyelash Growth Cycle Mean for Your Eyelashes?
So, from the eyelash growth cycle, you can hopefully see why you may have a less full set of eyelashes at different times than you would at others. Approximately 40% of eyelashes are in the anagen or active growth phase at any one time, this means that there are always eyelashes growing in and always some that are ready to fall out, what you are left with is around 150-200 eyelashes on your upper lid in one go.
You can’t change the phases, but you can strengthen the individual hairs and follicles so that you get the most out of the growth and transition phases to avoid early lash loss. And this is where the eyelash growth serums come in.
How Does an Eyelash Serum Work?
Eyelashes are obviously a lot smaller than normal strands of hair on your head so that’s why you would usually get an eyelash serum in a smaller tube and use tiny applications to achieve the conditioning treatment side of it. Your lashes and skin surrounding it need to breath so a small amount of eyelash serum should be enough to pack a punch and keep yours in great shape.
When it comes to the growth side of things, boosting your eyelashes and follicles with vitamins and natural extracts that promote growth is the best way a serum helps. The growth serum’s active ingredients stimulate blood flow and encourage each little eyelash to grow throughout the first stage of the cycle.
How Often Should an Eyelash Growth Serum be Used?
To get the best out of an eyelash growth serum it has to be used regularly and not sporadically. Think about a course of vitamins or antibiotics, they only do their job fully when you complete the course and take them when you need to take them. An eyelash growth serum needs regularity to ensure that its ingredients work and build up on its own progress.
The Eyelash Conditioning Serum by Xlash is a great example of how often it should be used. This particular serum needs daily applications for at least 3 months. The best time to apply the growth serum is at night once the face has been cleansed of all makeup and is clean and clear, ready for bed.
Only a small amount of the serum would be needed, in a sweep over the upper eyelashes and left without rubbing in, to absorb into the skin and eyelashes and get to work while you rest. It is really important to do this without tonnes of mascara or eyeliner in the way as it just won’t be able to penetrate and do its job.
What are the Results from Doing This?
After about a three to four weeks of daily applications as described above, the serum should be well on its way to giving you visible results. The best way to see this would be to take some before pictures and compare them to what you see now. Added shine, stronger and longer eyelashes is the aim, but obviously everyone is different, and you may see results a little earlier or later than others.
For instantaneous results, an eyelash lift or eyelash extensions would be the way to go, so if you have a little less patience and need to boost your eyelashes for an event, wedding or holiday and want to go down the serum route, then it would be best to start your applications four to six weeks in advance so that when the day comes, your eyelashes not only look great but feel great too. Especially when going on holiday and exposing your eyelashes to the heat of the sun and the usual lashings of mascara, getting them into a great healthy state first is a good idea.
Can you Use an Eyelash Serum with Extensions?
So, you want the instant boost of eyelashes but also want to grow your natural lashes a bit longer and stronger too? It’s a great idea to use an eyelash serum with your extensions as the benefits of a prolonged growth phase and transition phase should mean that the natural lashes your extensions are attached to don’t fall out early.
As eyelash extensions only last as long as your natural one do, it makes sense to keep them in the best condition possible at all times. But not all eyelash serums are compatible with eyelash extensions so there are a few things you need to look out for before you buy or one. The glue for lash extensions is very strong but durable and can cope with most makeup and cleansing routines but there are some ingredients in a serum that may dissolve or loosen the glue.
In the interest of making your lash extensions last a long time and not wasting money due to them falling out early, check that the eyelash serum you want to use doesn’t contain certain oils like coconut oil or mineral oil. Most oils can cause the adhesive used for eyelash extensions to weaken easily and thus rendering your new extensions useless, and this is the last thing you want. Just give the ingredients a check over before you apply your serum and even ask you lash technician if you aren’t sure.
Aside from these oils and other ingredients like glycols that appear in some cosmetics, you should be good to go with your eyelash serum while you have lash extensions in and get the most out of the situation and for your money. After all, when your extensions stat to wear thin, it would be amazing to know that your natural eyelashes look and feel healthy, and hopefully with the added bonus of length too.
Can You Still Use Mascara with an Eyelash Serum?
There is no reason that you can’t wear your normal makeup with an eyelash serum unless you don’t want to in order to keep them in a really clear and healthy state. Mascara is a lifesaver for many of us out there, and when you get that temporary boost in colour and length it can be hard to stay away from it.
The only thing you really want to make sure is that you are cleansing properly each day and removing every last speck of mascara before applying your eyelash serum and going to bed. We are all guilty of forgetting to take our makeup off every now and then but routinely this should be something we put into practice every day and give our eyelashes the best chance at growth as possible.
When removing makeup, be wary of harsh cleansers and makeup removers that can harm your eyelashes or irritate the skin around them and be sure to use a soft cotton pad and work the remover in the direction of your eyelashes, outward or downward. Vigorous rubbing and too much pressure in the wrong direction can cause some eyelashes to come loose and fall out before they are meant to and as you know from the eyelash growth cycle, you could be waiting a long time for those particular eyelashes to grow back in fully.
Be particularly careful with waterproof mascara as this stuff really does cling on to each eyelash. There are cleansers like micellar water that really help to break down the makeup particles without treating your lashes too harshly but leave them clean and clear for your eyelash serum application.
So overall, eyelash serums are there to keep your eyelashes long, strong and vibrant and with regular applications to boost the growth process and maintain each lash for longer in their transition phase. There are many different homemade options that have been tried and tested over the years and ingredients that people swear by for their own eyelash growth, but really it is down to you and what work for your eyelashes. So, if you’re still wondering what eyelash serums do and if they are worth the venture… There’s only one way to find out!
FOLLOW US @XLASHCOSMETICS
New Year’s Beauty Resolutions
It’s that time again when we say goodbye to the last year and bring in new one, and what a tumultuous year 2020 was! With so many people adjusting their lifestyles to fit in with the new normal, it seems fitting that at the start of 2021 we do the same with our beauty, health, self care and lifestyle choices.
But even though this year may not have the glitz and glamour we are used to, there are still ways we can change up our routines and bring in the new year with some amazing resolutions that are about self-care, self-confidence and wellbeing. We should also get into the habit of looking out for our planet too by thinking green when it comes to our products. So, let’s start with a few new year’s resolutions that will go a long way and well into 2022 if we play our cards right.
Use More Sustainable Products
What can you do to do more for the environment when it comes to your makeup and products? Is that something you have really thought about? If not, then it’s probably time to learn about what part you can play even with the little things. When thinking about sustainable products you want to go in covering all bases, but great places to start are checking your product ingredients and especially the packaging.
These days there are so many manufacturers out there that create and utilise recyclable materials to house their products, and previously recycled materials to package them. This goes from glass bottles that can be returned directly to the manufacturer for reuse, to soaps and lotions packaged in recycled paper or biofilm.
When ingredients are involved, many beauty brands are proud to manufacture products free from palm oil with organic extracts that have been ethically sourced. In order to do big things for the environment, we all have to start somewhere, so a great resolution for 2021 is to start seeking out these friendly and sustainable products, do our part for recycling and be sure to recommend them to our friends and family.
Produce Less Waste
On the same token, waste is always going to have a negative impact on the environment as well as our pockets. The average household produces more than a tonne of waste per year, which is easier to bring down when we are actually conscious of what we are wasting.
So, when you buy brand new beauty products, do you ever think twice about disposing of the half-empty older ones, or do you make a conscious effort to minimise your waste? There are a few ways to do this. The first is of course to recycle existing packaging and pots. Glass jars are perfect for housing new creams and homemade concoctions. Plastic is mostly recycled as long as its clean. But we can also reduce waste by using all the product up in the first place.
As different makeup items have their own shelf life and use by dates once they have been opened, it doesn’t make so much sense to buy things in larger containers as you may end up losing most of the product. It also isn’t very cost effective to buy products that you won’t use very often or won’t get through quickly enough, so in the interest of producing less waste and saving that hard-earned cash, check your favourite product’s use by date – which can be found on most packaging as a symbol with an open jar and the number of months it is good for over the top.
Proper Cleansing Routine
We are all guilty of it, but none of us want to admit it. Forgetting to clean our faces of makeup is forgivable every now and then, but it shouldn’t become a habit. But with that in mind, it isn’t just makeup that needs cleaning from our skin, a day of normal activities from cooking, working out, going to work or just being outside can be the bearer of all things grimy and leave these deposits on our skin.
Falling into a really good cleansing routine should therefore be one of our top new year’s resolutions for 2021. Now, I know these things can get expensive and time-consuming, but when your skin is clean and clear it makes sure that you don’t end up with nasty, unwanted breakouts when you least expect them and overall, makes you feel good. Having a clear palette to lay the makeup on the next day is also just a great feeling and so it makes the time spent on cleansing so worth it.
You should always start by removing makeup with an actual makeup remover, not cleanser. The difference is that a makeup remover has been formulated to break down the oils and particles in makeup and remove them from the outer layers of your skin. A facial cleanser breaks down the particles that have sunk deep into the skin, getting rid of unwanted oils and dirt. Soft cleansers should be used as a little oil is good for the skin’s health and we shouldn’t be eradicating it completely.
Once you have cleansed at night, you should feel sparkly clean and your skin will enjoy a great night’s rest ready for all you can throw at it the next day.
Up Your Skin Care Game
Of course, cleansing is only part of a good skin care routine, and if you are going to make the most out of your new year’s resolutions then adding a decent moisturiser and skin care to your daily regimen should also fall in your top ten.
There are so many different skin types which means there are also many different moisturisers, so it can be hard to know which one you need. Day creams, night creams, creams with SPF, creams with tint, and creams that boost collagen and prevent wrinkles. If it could all be swirled up into one pot that would be fantastic, but for now we have to aim for something that is targeted at our specific needs and skin types.
What you might find is that you have oily or combination skin, in which case you don’t think you need moisturiser to add to the mix and create even more oil. But in this case, moisturisers actually help hydrate the skin so it doesn’t produce as much oil as it would if it were left alone. Seems weird but it works! Also, if you have dry patches, you should be targeting your dry areas with a different moisturiser or hydration cream to keep the balance. If you have skin on the dry side, it can be tempting to slather on moisturiser as soon as you have finished your cleansing routine, but you should allow your skin some breathing room first and if you do feel too bare without one, be sure to use something light and hydrating overnight.
Is this possible? Does it seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day? If you aren’t finding the time to sleep right, then your body and skin will start to feel the effects. Even though they say we should all be getting 7-8 hours sleep a night, I’m not sure how often that becomes a reality. With heavy workloads, lifestyle changes and homelife activities to balance, sleep sometimes falls by the wayside. If this applies to you, then one of your new year’s resolutions should definitely be to sleep more!
Maybe the time you allow yourself to sleep is spot on, but you find you’re not actually sleeping during those allotted hours as much as you should be. Worry and anxiety are enough to keep a lot of us awake at night and can cause really restless sleep night after night. So, start thinking about your routine and how you can change it to help make even the smallest difference to your sleeping amount.
For example, are you on your phone aimlessly searching pages of social media to get your fix before bed? Do you take your work home with you and tend to stay up till all hours on your laptop? It might be time to switch off from technology and give the brain as much time as it needs to wind down so that you can get your sleep rhythm in order. Blue lights emitted from screens can inhibit sleep and cause not only drowsiness in the morning, but dehydration, dry skin and even unwanted weight gain. The body needs to shut down in order to remain healthy, so see where you can make some changes in 2021.
Wash Those Makeup Brushes
If you’re already doing this regularly, you’re ahead of the game and you should stay that way for 2021 and the years to come. If you aren’t doing this as much as you should then there is no better time to start than the present.
Makeup brushes are never better than the first day they have been used and this is because over time they start to harbour bacteria hiding away caused by clumps of makeup that have been in contact with the skin. As this stuff is so invisible to the naked eye, it can become harmful to the skin without you even knowing and before you know it you could end up with breakouts or skin irritation that become sore and unsightly.
Cleaning your makeup brushes should be a regular routine and done sometimes as often as every week but at least every few weeks. The same goes for your beauty blenders but try to remember that even cleaning them won’t keep them new for long and it might be time to say goodbye to them once and for all and purchase some new ones. Just keep in mind sustainability with your next purchase and look for environmentally friendly brushes that are presented in recycled or biodegradable packaging to keep up with doing your part for the planet.
Treat your Eyelashes and Eyebrows
Not all your resolutions have to be bout necessity or doing your part, you are allowed a few treats as well and if you are going to treat yourself in 2021 why not make it about your eyelashes and eyebrows? After the year we’ve all had there will probably be a few things that you neglected and thought it wouldn’t make much difference. Eyebrow grooming may have come to a complete halt and eyelash care became non-existent and when outings with friends and family became a thing from years past, I suppose it didn’t matter at the time.
But this is the year to get these things back into shape, this means a bit of tweaking to those unruly brows and getting those lashes strong and ready for the life of extensions or mascara that lies ahead of them. And it will actually be quite simple to do – ensure your cleansing game is strong, keep your skin around your eyebrows and eyelashes moisturised for no dry patches, invest in an eyelash and eyebrow serum and keep up with daily applications to watch the difference in only a few weeks.
Eyebrow serums and eyelash growth serums are great for enhancing each hair, promoting fast growth and above all increasing the strength of each one. Which is especially great for eyelashes if you are planning on using lash extensions or if you already are as it gives a stronger base for them to sit on.
Your eyebrows are probably grateful for the break in grooming, lets be honest, but now is the time to get them back to full health and perhaps even revisit your shape and do what you need to to achieve your most flattering shape. Just don’t overdo it with the tweezers or you’ll have to wait for 2022 to make a new resolution!
Above All, Self-Care
The main resolution for all of us this year should be to look out for ourselves a little more and take time to make sure that we are mentally and physically in great health. Even on the bad days, having a little self-care time can help. So, stock up on your cheat foods, make sure your bubble bath is overflowing and take even 15-30 minutes a day away from everything and everyone to regroup and organise your thoughts.
Self-care is really important right now, and while it feels good to look great, we also look great when we feel good, so keep that in mind when making your own new year’s resolutions.
FOLLOW US @XLASHCOSMETICS
Hot Makeup Trends for 2021
At the end of every year, we always look to the future and wonder what it will hold. After the disaster that has been 2020, this has never been truer and for a lot of people, kissing this year goodbye will be something we can’t wait to do.
But are we happy to kiss 2020’s trends goodbye so soon? Especially when we haven’t really been given the chance to show off our new eyeshadow palette, our new eyeliner techniques and that amazing new lipstick that was being saved for a special occasion. So, even though the office Christmas party may not have taken place and the gatherings between friends have been few and far between, the good things we can take into 2021 with us is a brand-new makeup kit and some new skills ready to show off our fabulous faces to the world.
So, what are the hottest trends of 2021 and how can we go into the new year prepared to serve some looks?
One of the biggest trends going into 2021 is clear and radiant skin. And thank. God! After going near enough the whole year of 2020 wearing little to no makeup, it seems so fitting that the new year won’t be about piling it all back on again but instead celebrating clean and clear skin and showing it off as part of a full look.
Ok, so maybe this might be too much of a big step for a lot of people, stepping out into the world with a naked face, but there are ways around it. Using a colour correcting primer, or CC cream should give skin that even texture, and wintery blush shades swept over the cheekbone and around the temple provide that icy glow that shows off great skin, without having to completely bare all.
Eyebrows are having their moment right now and I am here for it. For 2021, think youthful, playful and always go big to make a bold statement. Feathered eyebrows are taking the beauty world by storm and are easy to create with a spoolie brush, a great eyebrow pen and some setting gel that doesn’t flatten them down completely. Use the brush again to get a little volume and don’t focus on being so neat and tidy. The fluffier the better.
Modern Smoky Eye
The smoky eye is a classic and will never go out of style, but for 2021 and in keeping with the natural tones of the face, the smoky eye has just had a revamp – less blacks and deep shades of brown, and more ambers, corals and leafy greens are being heralded as great colours to enter the new year with, that will also compliment and highlight any flecks in the eyes and still mean business.
Keep the shades dark underneath the eye and in the creases and finish off with brown eyeliner and some feathery mascara for the ultimate take on the smoky eye classic.
But, this is ok, as we can still rock red without applying it like war paint to our lips. Red eyeliner is going to be huge in 2021 and in all different shades. A slick cat-eye teamed with cherry red eyeliner is a look to die for and doesn’t really need much else going on with the eyelids as this colour carries itself. Burgundy is also a gorgeous option for those wanting a little toned-down version of this, or coral if you are having a more vibrant day. Bright red is great on dark eyes and more than makes up for the fact that we can’t wear it on our lips every day.
The 90’s Revived
Speaking of vibrant colours, what better way to express ourselves than with a little 1990s revival in 2021. Ok, so back then the use of colour wasn’t always complimentary, but it was fashion, dahling! And when we look back on the trends of 90s past, they sometimes left a lot to be desired in terms of grooming, shading and balancing colour.
But fear not, this revival is probably not to be taken too seriously. Just keep it playful with some light pink blush, some pale blue on the eyes and extra shimmer for good measure. Keep it on trend with liner on the bottom water line only and mascara to finish it off. Or for a more modern take on the nineties, keep the eye colours highly pigmented in pinks and purples and match with a bubble gum pink glossy lip (for mask-free days of course) and a soft kohl wing over the upper lid. Excuse me while I go dig out my old hair crimpers and cassette player, because this is one revival I am digging!
So, glitter can be messy, but so was 2020, so why not at least bring make sure whatever mess we carry forward into 2021 at least looks good! Glitter has been around for decades, and these days it is mostly saved for festivals and costume parties, but a little sparkle is just what the new year needs to make sure it isn’t all doom and gloom from the get go.
In terms of wearing glitter as part of a daily makeup routine, it looks great when placed in focal points and in small amounts with some petroleum jelly or makeup adhesive. Just under the bottom lash line is a brilliant way to bring focus to the eyes and goes well with minimal makeup on the skin by brightening the face up with little to no effort. It doesn’t have to be precise or have clean lines, which is near impossible with glitter anyway, but just have fun with it and team it with black mascara and those fluffy eyebrows and it is definitely a look! For the wintery season, you can’t go wrong with silvers and golds, but it’s always fun to get blues and greens involved, which would suit all eye colours.
For 2021, the cat eye is back, but not as you will have seen it before. The future really is now and the modern twist on this classic is easy to pull off once you know how. The half cat-eye is fire right now and suits all eye shapes, and not only that but its easier to apply than the full cat-eye as there is less to go wrong.
To do this look you have to start your liner from the centre upper lid above the lash line and draw outward and upward following the shape of the lower lash line into a clean point. A gel eyeliner or a pen eyeliner is best to get this right, it just neds a steady hand and a daring imagination. This half cat-eye tends to lift the eyes up a bit more and draw focus outward which is great for close set eyes and almond eyes.
To add a bit more drama, (only a little, we really don’t need much more drama in 2021) you can finish the cat-eye underneath the bottom lash line from the inner corner and stopping just before the halfway point. This is especially flattering and really gives the appearance of upturned eyes with only a clever trick of the hand and an eyeliner pen with staying power.
For the bold and the brave, 2021 has just the hottest trend in store. Taking the cat-eye and the flick to a whole new level, graphic eyeliner combines a bit of that nineties flare with geometric shapes, sharp lines and a playful attitude. The best thing about going graphic is there are rules that a designed to be broken so you can really have fun with it and work out patterns and colours that suit and flatter your face.
Foregoing your favourite eyeshadow palette is the only downfall, but it will be worth it so stick with me. Graphic eyeliner is about creating floating lines and negative space while serving up a look that naturally compliments the eye shape. Start by adding a full cat-eye to the upper lid but instead of following the lash line, follow the crease of the eyelid and flick outward toward the end of the eyebrow. You can add further lines in the same direction but leaving that negative space to really open the eye up and emphasise the shape.
If this still isn’t bold enough, swap out the classic black liner for greens, violets and blues and really try to experiment with this to find your perfect shapes. All this needs is some soft mascara to finish off, drawing outward and upward to follow your lines. Oh, and don’t forget your primer. This is really important as the lids tends to be a hotspot for grease and build up, and this is one look that needs to stay put for the duration it’s on.
Eyelashes have already come a long way and they have really got to a point where even extensions and false lashes have the potential to look so natural that it’s hard to see where we can improve. Well, 2021 is all about long, feathery, natural-looking eyelashes and I think it’s safe to say that it’s what we all really want for years to come.
If you are already blessed with longer lashes then this one should be a doddle for you, it just requires some natural looking mascara and a healthy eyelash serum to keep those bad boys strong and long every day. If you need a boost in eyelashes and extensions are your weapon of choice then your eyelash technician should easily be able to create those long, feathery sets of eyelashes that will see you through for the next few months.
If you are just up for trying something a little less permanent, then when choosing false eyelashes go for some that are lightweight, durable and with a clear band where possible, so they look more natural on the skin. If you like to be in control of where your lashes have volume then buying individual eyelash sets may be better, although they take a bit of getting used to when applying, you are able to build volume where you think your lashes need it most and they won’t give off an exactly symmetrical vibe which is a bonus for looking more natural.
The best thing is that you won’t need to wear mascara that can clump eyelashes together and end up looking really heavy which keeps up with the extra-feathery look that 2021 craves.
Going into the new year, everyone is optimistic for some positive change and while it might not seem important to some, wearing makeup can be important to others’ identities. So, in terms of hot trends for 2021, makeup with staying power is a must, using sticky primers to grab onto foundation so that it doesn’t rub off onto the mask and really going all out with the eyes if they are going to be the main focus, are all really important. Clear skin as a trend is fantastic though as it really is what the skin needs to stay hydrated underneath face masks, and it doesn’t necessarily mean wearing no makeup at all but taking the steps to make sure the face feels fresh and doesn’t just look it. But with the only thing really missing from the hot trends this year being lipstick and lip colour, here’s hoping that is back with a vengeance right in time for 2022!
FOLLOW US @XLASHCOSMETICS
All Eyes Want for Christmas
It’s not too late to get your letters and wishes into Santa this year, and while it’s been a tough one all round, we can all be forgiven for wanting just a little more sparkle this Christmas, more than in previous years. So, just what do we want for Christmas this year? I mean, while I’m asking, a new car, summer holiday and a brand-new wardrobe would be nice, but I guess it’s the little things are really going to count as 2020 draws to a close.
But it is the time for festive cheer and so what if the office Christmas party has been cancelled, family dinners have to be socially distanced and our snowmen have to come with a new facial accessory, we definitely need to keep the spirit of Christmas alive. So, get your mulled wine simmering, play Mariah Carey at full blast and let’s jump into a full Christmas beauty theme that will beat those wintery lockdown blues.
All I Want for Christmas is… The Perfect Cat-Eye
This little gift is something I bet we all have wanted at some point or another. It’s almost hard to believe that the cat-eye is still evolving and the makeup we use to apply it is just getting better and better. So, what better gift to ask for than the perfect eyeliner tools to help get that cat-eye down to purrfection.
The cat-eye has been around for so long and it is one makeup look that is definitely not going anywhere. Always on trend, the cat-eye is designed to elevate the eyes and add some sultry vibes to any look. Starting out with the classic black eyeliner and typical upwardly curved shape, the cat-eye managed to change the appearance of eye shapes and face shapes everywhere. It was always just a case of knowing where and how to apply it.
Over the years, the cat-eye has become more adventurous, with highly pigmented colour options other than black being in demand, and with adding additional lines above the eyeliner to bring the look right into the future. The cat-eye can also work for all different eye shapes, from almond to upturned, downturned to deep-set and wideset to round. All it takes is a little practice in what suits each individual eye shape, where it looks best placed and how it will be best executed.
So, when it comes to wanting the perfect cat-eye for Christmas, it’s time to think about the tools we want to use. Of course, there’s kohl, which has been a godsend for eyes all over the world for centuries, more commonly formatted in eye pencils that can be used when sharp for those clean lines, or when blunt for a more smoky, smudged look. Kohl is a great casual form of eye makeup, a lot can be achieved with it, but it needs to be experimented with to know what it can do, and also needs to be smudge-free when it comes to attempting the cat-eye as this is all about the sharp lines.
Ok, so what about gel eyeliner? Honestly, a pot of gel eyeliner can achieve the best cat-eye as long as the person applying it has the steadiest hand and a sharp angled brush. I am not quite that person yet. The intense colour that gel eyeliner provides though, is second to none and its creamy consistency makes it easier to apply and clean up if mistakes are made (as long as this transaction happens quickly, anyway!) But for clean, sharp lines and deep colour, gel eyeliner may need to go on your Christmas wish list this year!
But my favourite? The liquid eyeliner pen. This little gem is for those who know what they want and are determined to get it perfect each time. Sure, it requires a steady hand and a distinct amount of patience, but once the liquid eyeliner cat-eye has been mastered, it will become like second nature to apply. I love a semi-firm tip and a quick drying formula that means no smudges, although this means you have one shot to get it right, it also means it has staying power and there’s no need to worry that your cat-eye is running down your face. So, at the top of my Christmas list this year is the liquid eyeliner pen. One of my favourite options is the Carbon Black Eyeliner from Xlash that is super pigmented, dries really quickly and has a semi-matte effect that really makes the eyeliner stand out. Happy Christmas to me, indeed!
All I Want for Christmas is… Envious Eyelashes
Oh, how we all love a good set of thick, full and long eyelashes, so what better time to add them to your Christmas list. My lashes are in a desperate state of recovery this year after years and years of mascara abuse, constant cleansing and general lack of care. It has been a trying year to say the least, but one good thing to come of it is that I, like many of you haven’t been wearing makeup as often as I would normally do. Working from home has given the opportunity for people all over the world to let our faces and eyelashes have a well-deserved break from the everyday makeup applications with layer upon layer of product.
So, what else do eyelashes need then? Well, they also need some nourishment to keep them growing healthily and could also do with a little help to keep them strong, preventing breakages and premature lash loss. To get those envious eyelashes these days, it doesn’t need to be an expensive trip to the salon for a continuous round of eyelash extensions, or the psychological anxiety of figuring out how to do a home-lash lift, it can just be one small product that sets your eyelashes on the path of fast growth, luxurious colour and fullness with no fuss.
Number two on my Christmas list this year? Xlash Eyelash Serum. I mean, if Santa doesn’t bring this for me, I’ll happily go and buy it for myself. After going on such a journey with my eyelashes this year and getting them into a state where they don’t get so twisted and turned by a mascara wand every day, it seems only fair to give them a little gift to say thank you for sticking around. Eyelash serum is a healthy and nourishing way to do this, by setting deep into the follicles and the base of each lash to get the most out of them before in a matter of weeks.
I love an eyelash serum and it’s a case of just swiping the small brush over the top lashes and then going to bed. That’s it. How simple could it be. Don’t get me wrong, I love eyelash extensions and how they make people look with them and maybe next year’s Christmas wish list will be all about them, but for now the gentle eyelash serum is my second most wanted item.
All I Want for Christmas is… Shimmery Eyelids
So, it is all about the eyes on my 2020 Christmas wish list. I may as well start as I mean to go on. If I can get the liquid eyeliner to get my cat-eye sorted, the eyelash serum to get my lashes looking fantastic, I’m going to need some colour in there to liven things up and get right into the spirit of Christmas.
What better way to do this than with a really good eyeshadow palette with a choice of shades and colours with deep pigments, and some glittery choices in there too for good measure. So, what colours would I want to see in my palette? (Hey, it’s my Christmas wish list, I can have whatever colours I want!) Well, I’d first of all start with the classics – some nudes and browns with a deep burgundy thrown in for some amazing smoky eye looks to team up with my cat eye. Then, I’d really embrace the festive theme with a deep red, dark green and night sky blue and their glittery counterparts that would look super shimmery reflecting against the warmth of my Christmas tree lights while I sip on a mulled wine.
I really like to embrace the seasons and match my eye shadow palettes to the mood and for me, winter is about colours that invite warmth rather than cold, icy colours that make my face look pale and washed out.
A great set of eye shadows should always make you smile, so this Christmas, I would be very happy to open the gift that is number three on my wish list, a personalised eye shadow palette complete with festive colour and glitter.
All I Want for Christmas is… Shapely Eyebrows
It makes sense that eyebrows would be next on my Christmas list, after all there would be no point in investing so much into the way my eyes look and then leaving my eyebrows out in the cold. And to be honest, this is the part that probably needs the most work on my face. My eyebrows have had trouble fully recovering from years of tweezer misuse, promising myself I’ll get them sorted one day, I have always wanted perfect eyebrows.
Well, there’s no time like Christmas day to get that wheel in motion. The thing is there are a few options and its deciding which one will work best, is a viable method and isn’t too expensive. So, there’s microblading, which I totally admire, but it is a little too permanent for me right now, there’s a threading appointment which will probably sort my problems out a little too temporary for me right now, and there’s good old makeup and serums, which might help me make a proper decision once I see what they are capable of.
So, just like eyelash serums there are eyebrow growth serums. They kind of work in the same way in principle but as eyebrows have a different function, make up and texture there is a lot that can prevent an eyebrow serum from working as well as it should. Applying creams and lotions, makeup, using tweezers and brushes constantly can all assist with the early loss of individual brow hairs, so they really need to be left alone for the majority of the time, or treated carefully to see the full benefit of a serum.
Makeup is another good option; a good brow kit and an expert tutorial will have you applying your brow pencil with ease once you know how to execute a great brow shape to compliment your face shape. I have naturally curvy eyebrows with a semi-high arch that balances out a longer face, but does nothing to help widen it, so a fantastic eyebrow pencil, some powder and setting gel would sort this out and help me achieve a longer eyebrow for a really flattering look. Christmas wish list item number four? Eyebrow Serum and a perfectly colour matched eyebrow pencil. Sorted.
All I Want for Christmas is… A New Eye Makeup Kit
Ok, so I may have gotten ahead of myself there. It is very clear from my Christmas wish list that there are a fair few items I want (and desperately need) and it may just be easier to ask for a brand new makeup kit this year. Complete with some angled tweezers, a trusty eyelash curler, cat-eye templates and all the other great things that will help me look the part.
Christmas is a great time to splash out on other people, to really show them that you care, but it is also a time where people want to look and feel their best, getting ready to go into the new year with all the resolutions that come with. Instead of asking Santa for all my Christmas wishes this year, I think I’m going to treat myself to a few new makeup tools and get the best out of the last few weeks of 2020 by looking and feeling festive and fabulous!
FOLLOW US @XLASHCOSMETICS
Lockdown Self-Care Kit – Part Two
In part one, I talked about my own self-care kit and how important it is this year to make your own health – both physical and mental – a priority. When we are faced with difficult times ahead as well as dealing with uncertainty and confusion, it is hard to maintain a normal routine like going to work, socialising with friends or visiting family, but even harder to do the things we perhaps took for granted like book a haircut or an eyebrow appointment, visit our favourite hotels or go on holiday.
So the one thing we do have control over right now is ourselves and if we can all learn a bit of self-care and putting ourselves first for a while, it may mean that so many of us come out of the other side of this feeling even better than we did before the pandemic started, or at least a bit more organised and collected in our own lives.
In part one, I let you know about my self-care kit with regards to maintaining energy, so exercise and energising foods and drinks, and also about what I do to relax, so my pamper kit and reading – mostly looking at the physical aspect of my body’s health. In part two, I think about Creativity and Mindfulness and how these things are really important for mental wellbeing, which is so important now especially that everyone is so focused on physical health aspects.
Being creative doesn’t necessarily come naturally to some people, and I always find this is used as an excuse to not get creative even when it could be fun, distracting or even productive. I was born with more creative bones in my body than academic, so to speak, so I have always found it quite natural and enjoyable to pick up a pencil and start drawing than to work out a mathematic problem or get stuck in with a science project.
But there are ways to be creative that don’t require so much skill in specific departments and can just be good fun and a way to illuminate the mind and find out what you’re really capable of. Creativity is a great form of self-care and I would always say everyone has at least one creative bone in their body, so it’s time to see exactly what that is.
A Blank Canvas – I love to draw and paint so naturally during lockdown, a blank canvas and some of my finest paints were the first things to come out of hibernation. The problem was, I wasn’t feeling very inspired. My own creativity consisted of me sitting there staring at a blank page for possible hours.
As the year has gone on, I’m finding it easier to draw from experiences – literally – and put pen to paper. Now, this might not work for everyone, and to a lot of people it may not even seem enjoyable. So when it comes to your own self-care kit, it’s a great idea to think about what you can do that is creative, gets the mind’s juices flowing and allows for some you time in a fun way. Writing is always a good example of this, even just for odd thoughts or musings, or perhaps a diary outlet that allows you to get things off your chest in a personal way. I have a notebook and pens/pencils in my bag with me every day for sketches or notes if I want to remember something funny that happened and it really is a great way of managing thoughts while doing something positive.
Decorating or gardening is another way to get creative, and if you have found yourself in a sort of lockdown situation or perhaps working less than usual, what better way to be creative than transform a bedroom, arrange some new plants or upholster some new cushions. It also gives you a good excuse to do some online shopping and in difficult times, who doesn’t love a good delivery of new things.
Being creative isn’t restricted to a blank canvas and paint brush, and any creative outlet should be welcomed (encouraged) to assist with mental wellbeing. By decreasing anxiety, a creative task gives the mind focus and can even be a form of meditation, as well as being a release for intense emotions. If you can’t think of a way to be creative straight away, don’t force it, but if you want to incorporate this in your own self-care kit maybe start by carrying around that notebook and jot things down that inspire you to start on your own creative adventure.
Cooking – Ok so you can’t exactly fit a whole kitchen inside a self-care kit, but you get the idea. Creativity comes in all forms and for me, cooking is one of my most therapeutic methods of self-care. This isn’t the same for everyone, and a lot of people see cooking as an arduous task that is only necessary for them to survive. But stick with me here, I’m not saying you have to become Gordon Ramsey and open a Michelin star restaurant, but if you think about the positives of cooking, it may help you see it as an enjoyable task that you start to feel excited for.
My reasons for cooking being part of my self-care kit are
1. I enjoy food, a lot! So, what better way to feed this passion than learn how to cook amazing meals for myself.
2. It’s cheaper than eating out or ordering takeaway, which at the moment, the purse strings desperately need to avoid.
3. It gives me something to focus on and build a new skill, and then feel immensely proud when I cook for someone else and they enjoy it.
4. It helps me to control what I put into my body, staying physically healthy is as important as staying mentally healthy so knowing what ingredients are in my food and seeking out healthier alternatives is better for me.
5. It’s the perfect excuse for a glass of wine. Cooking is amazing if you make it about you and take the time to enjoy doing it, celebrating your moment in the kitchen with some wine and great aromas around you does wonders for the mind.
Updated Makeup, Skin and Eyelash Care Kit – So this one falls under my creative category because if you look at it, our faces are a blank canvas every day that we have opportunities to makeover in a safe, harmless and non-permanent way (if we don’t want to, anyway). I find that in a lockdown situation, I have not been wearing makeup as I used to as I don’t really go out as much as I used to.
But I always have to think about Zoom meetings and other video chats where the focus is going to be on my face and as I can also see myself, it is easy to get self-conscious, especially not wearing makeup. So, I decided to revamp my makeup kit and start to get a bit more creative with what I was wearing and how I was wearing it.
Side note: If you aren’t a big makeup wearer, then you could look into skin care routines as part of your self-care kit and just always have flawless looking and feeling skin, even without the cover up!
I treated myself to a new rejuvenating moisturiser and under-eye serum to make sure I always look awake, even when I don’t feel it, and invested in some new intensive care lip balms, eyelash serums and eyebrow kits. It is such a good feeling opening up a new bit of makeup or skin care lotion and trying it for the first time, so it was a good outlet for creativity as the time away from the office allowed me to practice styles that I hadn’t before and use different colours on my eyelids and lips. Sometimes there are small victories in making yourself feel made up and ready to go, even when you aren’t able to.
I also love the feeling that when this is all over, I will still feel like me and look like me, but hopefully a bit of a healthier version of me. I’ve been looking after my hair with oil treatments, my eyelashes with healthy eyelash serums that also help them stay strong and grow longer and my skin is having a few more breaks from the daily makeup regimen. But there’s no harm in a little creative practice every now and then, so I look forward to the days when I get made up.
The purpose of mindfulness is to eradicate stress from your life and see things in a different ways by feeling in the moment and using specific exercises to relax the body and mind. It is a practice that is encouraged over a long period of time in order to ground your feelings and emotions and engage your senses. To people that aren’t fully aware of mindfulness or who have in the past, doubted its capability of working, in times where self-care is needed more than ever, it is a good practice to at least read about and learn about in order to figure out if it is a worthwhile exercise.
When it comes to mindfulness and my own self-care kit, I include it in small everyday ways rather than dedicate long hours to meditation, as time ends to not be on my side, but I also recognise that the little things really help to bring me back to my current self and present thoughts without much effort.
No Distractions – This one is harder than it sounds. No phone, no book, no TV or tablets, just no distractions for 10-15 minutes. It sounds like a short amount of time but when you’re left to your own thoughts for this long, the mind tends to wander. I personally love to use this as part of my self-care routine as it helps me to gain control of my wandering mind.
For mindfulness to truly work, you need to sit comfortably, breath calmly and think about your senses. What can you hear? What can you smell? What can you feel? Just by sitting still, you can really focus on the present and what is going on around you to relax the brain. When I do this and my mind starts to go off to different places, worrying about work or money or phone calls I need to make, it becomes easier over time to rein those thoughts in and regain focus on myself in the current moment. This kind of focus is amazing training for the brain that allows you to recompose during times of stress and formulate solutions by thinking rationally.
My self-care kit includes various books and apps for mindfulness and I find for me, it is a great thing to do last thing at night before I go to bed, but some might find it more beneficial at the start of the day. Either way, it is a great way to work on yourself during a lockdown and keep those negative thoughts at bay, even if it is just for 15 minutes a day!
A Good Playlist – Ok so mindfulness has a specific meaning and there is a lot behind the practice that involve grounding and relaxing while thinking about the present moment. As I said before, I do love to take 15 minutes out of my day for this practice but I’m also a firm believer that music has the ability to make me feel better or amplify my mood.
I don’t know about you, but I have days where I need to let the tears out and sometimes the best way to do that is with a sad film or some music that makes you feel certain emotions. But when so many daily lives are affected by sadness and confusion at the moment, I feel that having a good playlist for self-care should contain music that uplifts and inspires. I set up a 16 hour playlist on my phone so I never actually get through it all at once, but it’s great for days when you forget a certain song and it comes on making me feel energised and happy.
Music acts as a medium for processing emotions and while mine are quite high these days, I couldn’t live without my favourite playlist. If you want to include a music playlist in your self-care kit, don’t feel like you just have to have one, you can have as many as you like for each mood, I just choose one as I love the surprise of what’s coming next with no idea if it will be an upbeat classic, some moody rock, or a singalong from my favourite musical.
Lockdown Self-Care Round Up
Whether the country or the region you live in has been mildly or hugely affected by the pandemic, it is safe to say we have all been troubled by it in some way over the past year. Try to remember that looking after yourself in a positive way is not anything to be ashamed of, as the world needs more positivity at a time like this. Here’s hoping you use your own self-care routines wisely and have fun putting together your own kits.
FOLLOW US @XLASHCOSMETICS
Lockdown Self Care Kits – Part One
As we enter a new phase in the Covid-19 pandemic, times ahead are uncertain for almost all of us which can be distressing and anxiety inducing, and as the warm summer months escape just as fast as they arrived, we are all having trouble knowing what to do, what we can do and what we should do. But amidst all the chaos and the nervousness about what comes next, there is one thing that should always remain a priority, especially now more than ever: self-care.
Whether we enter a new period of lockdown or partial lockdown, the effect this massive change can have on our mental health has the potential to last so it is vital to create environments for ourselves that we can continue to thrive in. There can be more harm done by hiding away and admitting defeat, so we all need to start thinking about how we can make the most out of this time, how we can keep a routine and how we can uplift and inspire others with our positivity.
There are a million ways to do this, and not everyone will have the same method of self-care, but if what you do works for you, it is increasingly essential that you keep it up and perhaps share your positive experience with those around you. I’m sharing my self-care kit with you today. Something that helps with energising when it calls for it and relaxation when it is needed, keeping creative juices flowing and using mindfulness as a tool to get through these tough months.
My own self-care kit isn’t necessarily a physical box of products, but more a routine with organisation and key items that I always keep stocked up, but you can do this however suits you whether that’s a fully decorated box of your go to products, or even a handy reminder list complete with mantras pinned to your wall. The point is self-care, so always do what is right for you.
Having the natural desire to get up and go each day is something I can only dream of for the most part. I do love summer though, and seeing the sun shining outside is a natural energy booster for me, but as the winter nights draw in, the distinct lack of Vitamin D is enough to make me crawl into bed early and leave it a lot later the next day, especially during a long bout of working from home.
Our bodies crave an energy boost but can equally submit to lethargy if left without the desire to get up, get dressed and make an impact on the day. So, this is why in my self-care kit, I include the following:
Green Tea – Long ago, coffee was the daily go to energy boost of choice, but I felt it wasn’t doing me any favours. My skin felt dry, I started to wonder if I was ever really awake, I was constantly thinking about my next coffee even when I was still sipping my current cup and I spent a fortune visiting a certain coffee chain just to get my fix.
So, I made the switch to green tea. But I didn’t like it. Probably something to do with years of opposing tea in every form and wanting to stay loyal to my precious cup of the dark stuff. But even with all the recommendations and advice that it was going to be good for me, I still didn’t like it. But, I discovered adding a small spoon of honey or a peppermint leaf completely transformed this cup of tea into something I could stick with and now I fully appreciate this stuff.
I get my caffeine fix, but not in a jittery anxiety ridden way, I feel cleansed in an internal way that you can’t really describe – yes, I understand this is the point of drinking green tea with all of its antioxidant properties – and I realised that sometimes you just need a hot drink in the morning, coffee or not, this stuff really gives you an energy boost that lasts so you don’t crave cup after cup all day. As far as my self-care kit is concerned, green tea will be here to stay.
Berries and Nuts – Self-care is not about making yourself miserable by putting yourself on difficult diets and restricting all the fun things in life, but it is about making sure that you are healthy and have the energy to perform all the tasks expected of you. In my eyes there is nothing wrong with a treat, and I always keep a sneaky bar of chocolate in my cupboard for my own well-being, or at least that’s what I tell myself.
But I realised the importance of giving my body foods and nutrition that provide energy and don’t make me feel like I’ve added a few extra numbers to those scales while slumped on the sofa unable to move or be productive. Berries and nuts are known energy boosters and are included in my self-care routine. Packed to high heaven with nutrients and fatty acids, the benefit of eating them lasts so much longer than a quick fix of something tasty but naughty that you may end up regretting later.
Slow-releasing energy is the key to keeping up with the day and not feeling fatigued by the time the afternoon rolls around, so I always make up a couple of little pots to carry around with me each day, even if that is just to my new home office/sofa. If I’m feeling in need of a bit of change, pumpkin seeds are swapped in for some variety. I’m a habitual snacker, so even if I reach into my pot every 10 seconds I don’t need to worry about the guilt later. Self-care and energy go hand in hand, and that’s why these foods are always in my kit.
Running Shoes – How many times have you wanted to join a gym, created a schedule that you have promised yourself you will stick to and bought new work out gear, ready to start your new fitness regime that will guarantee you six pack abs and a super firm butt, only to drop out of your promised gym sessions while still paying a monthly fee and watch your new work out gear quietly judging you from the hangers. If you have no idea what I’m talking about and your fitness routine never falters, then I salute you!
The gym is one of my favourite places, but I cannot stick it out long-term. Something always gets in the way – a minor injury, overtime for work or just the mentally draining thought of working out when you really don’t have the energy. Unfortunately, we’re in a time where gyms may not be open or fully available to everyone, so it is the perfect excuse for people like me to use as to why I’m not staying active.
This is why I put my running shoes in my self-care kit. In fact, they stay in my kitchen where they are fully visible every time I go to grab a naughty snack. The guilt alone is enough to put them on and get exercising. So many people love the open road as opposed to the treadmill, I much prefer the quiet corner of my gym where I can change my speed settings when it gets too much and hide in the changing rooms when I get covered in sweat and can’t catch my breath. But now the only option is to take to the outdoors, it makes so much sense to expend some energy to gain more energy back.
I don’t even run every day, sometimes it’s just a fast-paced walk and a brief jog back to the house, but the fresh air in my lungs, a change of scenery and the knowledge that I’m doing my body the world of good spurs me on, rain or shine. Any form of exercise is a good energy driver, so for my own self-care it is really important to keep this up every day.
Switching off can be equally as important, if not more, as feeling energised and ready to go at the day, so when you think of your own self-care kits I would say here is where you really want to reward yourself and be as specific as you can with products and routines that really work for you. I find that relaxation resets the body and the mind, and I make time for it in a different way each day, even if it’s just 30 minutes out of a busy day.
A Good Book – There is nothing better than an enthralling read in my eyes. Escaping the world for a few minutes or hours at a time by diving into a good book is one of my favourite things to do in my downtime.
There are so many negative distractions in the world, especially now. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing some bad news so it’s really important now to find other distractions that don’t involve only seeing the things you don’t want or need to be reminded of constantly. So, switching off by putting down your phone, casting your laptop aside for a few hours and losing yourself in a book is one of the ultimate ways to relax and should become part of any self-care kit, especially during lockdown.
Reading, especially when other alternative methods of self-care become unavailable, is so important right now for our own mental health and sanity. Being confined to four walls for any period of time doesn’t only mean that physically we aren’t stretching ourselves, but mentally we aren’t giving our brains room to grow. This isn’t to say there is a wrong and right with what books you choose to read, just as long as it is stimulating you while your body gets to relax and unwind.
From a historical novel, crime fiction to interesting biographies, expanding our world beyond our four walls is one of the best things you can do for self-care, so get book shopping.
A Pamper Kit – For the ultimate relaxation experience, this one is a must for me. And it is so easy to put one together for yourself. People can spend a whole load of money on their own pamper kits, buying generic ones from stores and generally having a few products in them that they will never use. Think of when you get a box of chocolates and there’s always five or six of one type left at the bottom of the box as you don’t eat that flavour.
This is why I like to make my own and even if it means spending a few pennies, I know I will always squeeze every last drop out of the products in there. It started out as an old shoe box that contained a few items I had collected from Christmas gifts, but then it started to grow and grow and is now a cute medium sized wicker basket that fits perfectly on my shelf next to the bath. With products ranging from sparkly bath bombs that smell of candy floss and fruit berries in summer or warm apple cinnamon in the winter, the ever-important face mask – I love a clay mask and team this up with a soak in the tub and my book while it sets, an oil hair treatment that I use once a week, not only to keep my hair in great condition but in the interests of self-care, and various facial moisturisers, toners and cleansers. I also include a good manicure kit, eyelash and eyebrow serums, lip moisturisers and plenty of clean cotton cloths and a big fluffy towel and robe for relaxing after the pamper session.
Think of the pamper kit as the sort of thing you pull out when the big guns are called for. Not just an everyday use thing, but something you look forward to and can set your time aside to use. When you are uncertain of the future or this crisis is causing stress, giving yourself a little time to treat your body is important, again to switch off and enjoy an hour or two to yourself. When you end up not only feeling good but looking great too, it’s an added bonus.
So, that’s part on of my lockdown self-care kit, stay tuned for part two where I think about creativity and mindfulness and how these can be incorporated into a self-care kit.
FOLLOW US @XLASHCOSMETICS
A Guide for Perfect Eyebrows
You know how some people say that eyebrows should be sisters, not twins? Well, what about if yours are not even distant relatives at this point? You may be wondering if there is anything you can do to get that sisterly bond back and be able to sport a set of eyebrows that are healthy, facially defining and even envy inducing. Ok, so the last one isn’t so important, but if you have found yourself suffering with thinning, uneven or just lack-lustre eyebrows, you will definitely get a kick out of the compliments that fly in once your brows are back to their old selves.
I absolutely love how eyebrows can changes a person’s face. From the way they are groomed to the expressions that they are able to convey. Eyebrows are really important to our own identities and it is easier than we think to get them looking great, so right now, maybe all that is needed is a little guide and a push in the right direction to beat those brows back into shape.
The Purpose of Eyebrows
Why do we even have eyebrows? I mean, granted we might look a bit weird without them, but that’s only because we are so used to them being ever-present on every face. If we took them away though, would it really make much difference physically?
The answer is yes and no, especially in current times, as we tend to mess around with them so much now that they are nowhere near as close to their original purpose as they once were. The eyebrow is actually a barrier for the eyes, similar to eyelashes, preventing water and sweat from dripping into the eyes so we can maintain our sight. The difference with eyelashes is that they are protectors against dust, debris and other particles that try to find their way in.
As humans have evolved, the need for body hair has become less important so we tend not to grow it as much as the first humans did. On the face, the eyebrows and eyelashes have pretty much remained a constant across all of us and are both things we are all born with. These days, we have products and processes that can stop perspiration, towels that can wipe away sweat and umbrellas that can stop rain from entering our eyes. We are quite lucky really to be able to protect our eyes even without eyebrows, so the need for them too, has diminished.
However, there is one more thing that eyebrows can do really well – communicate! Think about how many times you’ve had an eyebrow raising moment at hearing or seeing something shocking. Think about how many times you’ve frowned at something you didn’t like; your eyebrows were the leading force in expressing those emotions and you wouldn’t have been able to convey those same reactions in a non-verbal way if it weren’t for them.
This might not seem important but seeing as up to 95% of all communication is non-verbal, eyebrows really account for a lot of the ways we express our feelings to other people. It isn’t always a blessing though; our eyebrows make hiding our emotions even harder to do and even more difficult to fake. But it’s a small price to pay for having a great set of brows so I’m sure we can all deal with that.
General Eyebrow Health
So, if our eyebrows are destined to be excellent communicators, they might as well look good while they do it. If they are going to hang around, they can at least pay their dues and flatter our faces while remaining healthy and strong.
Well, eyebrows, like a lot of other things on our body such as our lips, hair and skin can tell us a lot about our body’s health. If there is something wrong with these things, they are usually a good indicator that something else might need attention. This could range from a hormonal imbalance to an illness or condition that may need treatment, so it is important to listen to what your features are telling you.
One thing that is usually (unfortunately) occurs in all of us over time, is thinning hair and hair loss. This goes for our eyebrows too, which means as we get older, the follicles stop producing hair like they used to, and it makes it harder for them to grow back or look as full as they once did. But as this is just a slow transition in life it doesn’t usually mean there is a problem to be worried about.
That being said, there are things we should all be doing to slow down this process and to keep our brows firmly in place for as long as possible. Nutrients aren’t just for our bodies; hair needs it too and this includes eyebrows. Deficiencies in minerals, fatty acids and Biotin can be the number one reason that hair starts to thin and fall out so our food intake should account for these things to look after everything in one go.
Aside from eating foods rich in nutrients, we can always apply oils directly to our eyebrows to help stimulate the follicles and to add strength and shine all in one go. Oils such as castor oil, coconut oil or even olive oil are good for adding the vitamins and natural proteins that encourage healthy hair growth. But if you do this, be careful to not over-apply and to wash off with warm water and a soft cloth after about 30 minutes. Even if you don’t see any growth improvement with this, you will be able to see an improvement in colour and vibrancy, which can give the illusion of fuller brows so it’s a great method of eyebrow care.
If applying your favourite food prep oils to your eyebrows doesn’t do it for you, or sound like it will be anything but greasy, there are always other options to get eyebrows back in check. Eyebrow conditioners are a thing now and when you think about it, we wash and condition the hair on our head, why wouldn’t we look after our eyebrows in the same way?!
I suppose the difference is the follicles are more delicate, the growth cycle is shorter and the skin underneath and around the eyebrow hairs have more exposure to daily elements, particles and makeup. There are also not as many of them, which makes each and every eyebrow hair as precious as the next. So, when it comes to keeping them clean and conditioned, we can’t afford to be so forceful about it.
This is where an eyebrow conditioner comes in. It needs to be gentle yet pack a punch as well as being easy and convenient to use. Take Xbrow Eyebrow conditioner as an example, this little number comes in a small tube the size of your favourite mascara, has an easy applicator wand, and enough serum to last with small, daily applications. Rather than coating your brows in olive oil and then having to remove it after half an hour, this stuff can be left on overnight and doesn’t leave a residue behind.
The best thing about an eyebrow conditioner is not only does it make brows look shinier and healthier, but it also actually stimulates and strengthens the follicles to encourage hairs to grow fuller and thicker. I don’t know about you, but I know my brows could do with that kind of boost right about now. As each year rolls by, one more eyebrow hair seems to refuse to grow back as full as it once was and I have to mostly rely on daily makeup to achieve my eyebrow goals, which in turn is probably not helping the cause in the long run. An eyebrow conditioner really can’t do any harm so in the search for great looking eyebrows, this is a fantastic option.
Hair Removal and Grooming
This is where things get a bit tricky again, especially if you’re on a quest to get back your fuller eyebrows. It can be so tempting to pluck away those strays and go back to a shape you have always known, but these days, the “ungroomed groomed” look is so much better than the “barely there” look of days past. The more eyebrow there is, the more there is to work with, and most eyebrow technicians or makeup artists love to have a base to create a great shape with. This becomes a harder task when eyebrows have been tweezed to within a millimetre of their lives.
Sure, rocking a monobrow or super thick and fluffy eyebrows may not be your dream, but it really does leave more options when it comes down to your eyebrow shape. So where possible, leave your hair removal to the experts and only reach for the tweezers to have a tidy up, not reshape your brows entirely, if you are looking for your own perfect eyebrow, then shape has so much more to do with it than you may have first realised.
There was a time when whatever eyebrows people were born with was what they stuck with for their whole lives. As we mentioned earlier, they served a purpose, and the aesthetic was never part of that purpose. But once makeup became a sign of wealth, intelligence and stature, it was pretty much given that eyebrows would never be the same, nor would they have to.
You only have to look at images from Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and the Romans to see that eyebrows were a treated as a prominent feature and represented different things in a woman’s life. Even the early Hollywood starlets in the 1900’s jumped on the eyebrow trends that made them stand out on both stage and screen. But it is only truly now in the 2000’s that eyebrow shape is being thought of more. Rather than following a passing trend of high arch eyebrows, super-thin eyebrows or straight-as-an-arrow eyebrows, the thing really is matching your brow shape to your face shape for a more flattering all-round look.
So, for someone born with a curvy eyebrow who is used to plucking under the arch to really emphasise it’s height, today might opt for a slightly lower arch and a thicker body to the eyebrow to flatter a long face. Or someone with rounded eyebrows may now be sporting straighter eyebrows to flatter a round face. The shape of your face is not necessarily going to fall into one exact category, but it will always have a matching eyebrow shape that help them both compliment each other.
So even if it means a trip to the salon or a home appointment by your favourite technician, the best way to find out what eyebrow shape will match your face is to have a proper consultation. Never, try to reshape your own eyebrows based on a picture or a celebrity with great eyebrows that you like, it is always worth spending the money to get them right. If you need to fake it with makeup in the meantime, that is always a good way of experimenting with your own shape, different shades and gradients on a less permanent basis. At the end of the day, you can just wash it off (gently) and try something new.
Eyebrows have come a long way over the years, it’s so good to be in a time when they are celebrated in their own way once again, not for stature or wealth but for flattery and making us feel good about ourselves with confidence. You may think the perfect eyebrow doesn’t exist yet, but with a little effort and willingness to try something new, you may be closer to perfect than you think.
FOLLOW US @XLASHCOSMETICS
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.