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Makeup tips

Wearing Makeup While Wearing a Mask

Seeing people wear masks out and about is so normal these days and is fast becoming part of many people’s lives. As they tend to cover the majority of our faces when we do wear them, some might say it’s pointless even bothering with makeup underneath, but for a lot of people, wearing makeup is a way of gathering normalcy in a crazy and hectic world. The act of even applying makeup can help keep the same sense of routine that you’ve always had and wearing it can make you feel like yourself. Following on from our recent post about keeping your make up clean we ara going to enter the mask!

When it comes to our own identities, it is important to carry on with what we are most comfortable with in times like these and even use the time to push our boundaries and experiment with new ideas. As someone who wears makeup to even go to the local shop, I feel all of the above sentiments greatly and am certainly going to keep my identity through makeup and perhaps even venture into the new with varying styles.

For the most part, when wearing a mask, the only features that people can see are eyes, eyebrows and eyelashes, so while we focus on how to wear makeup under the mask that is convenient and won’t be harmful to the skin, it is really time to let the eyes shine and speak the words that our mouths can’t.

Sure, I acknowledge that makeup may be the least of a lot of people’s worries right now, but I do validate the opinion that whatever is keeping you happy while being safe and healthy at the same time should be what drives you forward. And if learning a new technique or two in how to wear makeup while wearing a mask is going to make you happy then you should definitely embrace it.

Masks

To start with and most importantly, let’s talk about masks. There are rules and guidance circulating all over the world about how you should wear them, when you should wear them and what they should be made of. So, of course the options seem endless, and not everybody has access to surgical masks. So, if you are going to make or buy your own, try to look for some material that is 100% cotton for breathability and protection.

Synthetic materials tend to allow the build up of excess moisture, don’t offer the best protection and can cause irritation to the skin if worn for long periods of time. Assuming that you are wearing your mask when out and about shopping, visiting family or travelling on public transport and not in a medical capacity, you want to ensure that the ones you are wearing are comfortable enough to stay put on your face without touching it and if you are intending to re-use them that they are washable and won’t lose their protective integrity in the process.

Remember that if you are intending to wear makeup beneath the mask, it will easily collect oils and stains from the makeup and will need washing at a high temperature to make sure it is clean and sterilised for your next outing.

Skincare

It is important to put masks onto a clean face so always keep up with a good nightly and morning cleansing routine and remember to wash your hands and face after removing your mask. This is important for antibacterial purposes, but to help your skin out a little if you are intending to wear your mask for a long time, try and stick to cleansers with added hydration and moisturising properties that will act as a barrier to protect the skin from any irritation. Hyaluronic acid is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, so it is good to look for a cleanser or moisturiser with this ingredient.

Wearing a mask can cause friction and heat build up which makes the skin vulnerable to irritation and the oil build up can cause retention that can lead to breakouts or rashes, especially as we are dealing with a hot summer. The excess heat and breath beneath the mask will probably mean you should change your mask often, so it is a good idea for your health and your skin to either purchase or make more than one.

Wearing foundation whilst wearing a mask is not highly recommended for hygiene reasons, so if you are concerned about the effects of wearing makeup underneath the mask then try to avoid it and stick to a light, tinted moisturiser or BB cream that is not oil based if you feel too bare without it. Applying a good primer beforehand will also help your makeup to stay put.

On top of the health priority, remember with excess heat and moisture trapped under your mask, foundation tends to move around and when you finally do come to taking it off, it will look clumpy and streaky and definitely not the desired or intended effect.

Eye Makeup

Your eyes are the most visible feature on show when you are wearing a face mask so if you can bring your makeup focus there you’ll be onto a winning formula whilst looking great and protecting the skin under your mask. Start with concealer by targeting dark areas such as under the eyes, and only using as much as you really need to. Warm air may rise as you breath through your mask and it could start to become cakey after a couple of hours. If you have a mattifying concealer to help you along then I would recommend it.

Now its onto the fun stuff! Making your eyes pop could come easily to you or you may need a few helpful hints if you are used to just wearing a bit of mascara and calling it a day. So, let’s take a look at what is big in the summer trends for eye makeup and how to use them to let your personality shine through, even while wearing a mask.

Highlights – This season it is all about letting your eyes do all the talking, especially if you will be wearing a mask while out and about, at work or on public transport. So, it’s all about keeping things bright, light and airy. The best way to do this with your eye shadow is to use highlights to really make your eyes stand out.

Really focus on the inner corners of your eyes, your brow bone and the main body of your upper eyelids, by using a lighter shadow to bring your eyes forward. Blend carefully so that you end up with smooth lines and go for darker shadow in the creases and outer corners to keep up with a smoky eye if that is what you are used to wearing. Highlighting the eyes will be an easy way to lighten up the areas at the top half of your face and make the rest of your eye makeup stand out from the crowd.

This summer think candy floss pinks, playful mauves, baby blues and mermaid greens for your glittery eyes and even play around with a few different colours to bring those eyes back to life. Try to use it on the lower lid as well as the upper eyelid and draw it delicately out toward the outer edges of your eye to create an eye-catching horizontal line that draws attention. Curve it upward toward the outer points of your eyebrow for a bit more evening sophistication.

Super Sharp Eyeliner – Recently, there may not have been much need to pay attention to your eyes so much and I have certainly fallen prey to the cycle of wearing a little bit of black kohl liner to make it through the day with ease. But in the interests of making your eyes pop while wearing a mask, its is now all about sharp, crisp lines and razor points to define your eyes.

A great gel eyeliner and a steady hand or a gel pen eyeliner is the perfect way to achieve this look and have a neat, jet-black outline to finish off your eye makeup style whether you chose to opt for shimmery eye shadow or your preferred neutral tones. Start carefully by marking your wings and where you want them to finish beyond the outer corners of your eyes and fill in all of the gaps as close to the lash line as possible. A sleek wing is just what the look calls for to claim your identity while wearing a mask.

Exaggerated Eyelashes – It might be long past due for your eyelash extension appointment, but with any luck, your eyelashes will be in great shape after having a much needed break from falsies, extensions and mascara if you haven’t been wearing it as often as you normally would.

Now that wearing a mask has become so normal, it is time to let your eyelashes loose and emphasise their colour and shape. It is important to keep up with eyelash care routines that you may have adopted over the last few months to maintain their healthy glow and accelerated growth from eyelash growth serums, but as long as you are keeping this in mind then get exaggerating those eyelashes to really make your eyes pop.

Whether jet-black lengthening mascara is your choice, perhaps a volumizing mascara, or false eyelashes, as long as you are cleansing your eyelashes properly at the end of the day, get into the spirit of full and fun eyelashes that really show off your personality behind that mask.

Tidy Eyebrows – Seeing as they are one of the only features that are going to be on show when you are wearing your mask, it might be time to get grooming if you have let this aspect slip over the last few months. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a fuller and thicker brow, in fact I encourage it and wish I had naturally fuller eyebrows myself, but when you have spent so much time making those eyes stand out with crisp and clean lines and immaculate eye shadow, leaving your eyebrows ungroomed will create a crazy aesthetic.

There is a lot you can do at home to get them looking sharp without causing yourself too much pain or without having access to threading or waxing appointments. Ensure you have a cooling gel or aloe vera present, a great pair of tweezers and a steady hand and get ready to grab a few of those strays that may have grown in under the brow or toward the outer corners. Don’t get too tweezer happy, this is just a little tidy up to get yourself mask ready for the outdoors.

Use a fine eyebrow pencil or gel to create lines in the direction of the individual hairs in your eyebrows, keep it sharp and straight toward the ends and if you need a little more definition, set with a powder or gel to keep them in place.

Mask Ready?

It may be a difficult adjustment at first to get yourself into a new makeup routine while taking considerations into whether you will need to wear a mask or not, but once you have the hang of it and learn to try out new makeup styles and apply different colours to your usual palette, you should be ready to go with your mask at hand and ready to wow everyone with those beautiful eyes.

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Makeup tips

How to Prevent Eyebrow Disasters

We’ve all had bad hair days, but what about bad eyebrow days? With everything going on in the world right now, they might not be our biggest priority, but sooner or later our eyebrows deserve to have their good day. It’s time to get those eyebrows back into shape (quite literally) and keep them in a condition that won’t result in disaster.

Everyone’s eyebrows are different and for a lot of us, we want what we can’t have. I want what I used to have, a full set of eyebrows that had a lustrous brown colour and a shape that didn’t ever let me down. But I had to go overboard with the tweezers, didn’t I!

Well, luckily for everyone these days, we are blessed with product after product, makeup tool after makeup tool and tutorial after tutorial. No one really has to look too far to find out how to fix an eyebrow disaster and today, look no further as we are here to help you avoid those eyebrow mishaps and recover from them if you have already succumbed to one.

Remember, there is always a fix for things when they go wrong, you just have to know what to do and how to do it. Eyebrows can sometimes have a mind of their own, especially after being left ungroomed for some time, but no one needs to suffer with brows they don’t feel comfortable with. So take a little time out to properly look at what you have and see what you need to do to fix them or, if you are lucky enough to have a great set already, what you need to do to maintain them and completely avoid the next potential eyebrow disaster.

STEP ONE – PUT THE TWEEZERS DOWN

This is my first piece of advice as more often than not, eyebrow disasters involve over-plucking and not knowing when or where to stop. There might be room for a little bit of tidying up from time to time, but if you are about to cause a disaster or are trying to recover from one, then tweezers aren’t going to be your friend right now. Trust me!

The thing about tweezers is they seem like relatively harmless tools, but they can do a lot of damage, short and long-term. They obviously aren’t meant to cause damage otherwise they wouldn’t be so widely popular, but they are meant to be used properly and with good care. Unfortunately, no one in the 1990’s got that memo! They are fine to use when they are good quality, in good shape and to get rid of a few strays when needed, but for the purpose of avoiding eyebrow disasters, let’s put the tweezers down for now.

STEP TWO – INVEST IN GOOD TWEEZERS

If you absolutely can’t live without them, then make sure you buy yourself a good pair of tweezers for your quick eyebrow fixes. Great tweezers will be strong and comfortable to use and the best type to use for precision plucking are ones with a slanted tip. This slanted angle helps to find the individual hairs while the flat edge runs parallel to the skin, so you aren’t pinching it every 5 seconds trying to grab a stubborn eyebrow hair.Over time and with a lot of use, tweezers can become a bit distorted in shape and lose their pinching position. They can also start to feel blunt at the tip which will be the start of your eyebrow disaster if you aren’t careful. So, keep a close eye on your trusty tweezers and see if it is time to invest in a new pair.

While we’re on the subject of tweezers, remember to keep them clean to help them last longer and so that you don’t spread any unwanted germs to other parts of your eyebrows. Unfortunately, eyebrows get filled with oil and debris and tweezers can just carry this over to another area, which isn’t good if you are prone to infection or inflammation. Keep them clean after each use using a light soap or makeup remover, being careful to check it isn’t ruining the integrity of the tweezer.

STEP 3 – KNOW YOUR IDEAL SHAPE

One of the best things you can know for your eyebrows to avoid disaster is the shape that they truly are and the shape that suits you best. We are all born with eyebrows that fit our face in one way or another and it is wanting to change that that has caused brow chaos over the years, but with modern advances in technology and the steady hand of some very talented eyebrow technicians, microblading has taken the world by storm and allows people to get the eyebrows they have always dreamed of.

The art is knowing what shape to use and whether it will suit the face it sits on. And this is where cosmetic tattoo specialists come in. When it comes to microblading, it is important to check out your desired artist’s credentials and be informed about the procedure as much as possible before jumping in. But you should be able to trust that they will help you with defining your shape especially in situations where your brows haven’t grown back after years of plucking or due to illness.

If you aren’t ready to take the leap into microblading territory just yet and want to have a go at home grooming, it is vital you do your research on brow shapes and what suits your own face shape before stepping in with those pesky tweezers. But just so you know the basics for now, try to remember these handy face shape tips:

• Round Shaped Faces – Try and aim for a higher arch that will provide angles where the face doesn’t and helps to elongate the face and make it look slimmer. This kind of brow shaping is difficult to master by yourself at home, so don’t try and remove your eyebrows and hope that you find this shape naturally, instead remove a few strays from under the arch and use clever highlighter on the brow bone and a clean spool to brush the brows upward to create the illusion of higher arches.

• Oval Shaped Faces – This face shape suits most brow styles, but to soften the face and create dimension, go for a slight arch with a less harsh angle to the top point. Arches don’t need to be high, but they look great when defined so again, only grab a few stray hairs from underneath the brow bone and use concealer and highlighter to do the rest. When you can get a threading appointment, your eyebrows shape will already be in place, it should just need some tidying up.

• Heart Shaped Faces – The aim with heart shaped faces is to lessen the upward angles and draw the eye inward. People with this shaped face are incredibly lucky and can pull off a lot of styles but look great with more rounded eyebrows to create facial harmony. IF you don’t have a naturally rounded eyebrow shape, then don’t try this one at home, but again use makeup and concealer to create a temporary version of a rounded shape and use gel on the eyebrows to keep them in place.

• Square Shaped Faces – This face shape is beautifully angular and already does the speaking so that eyebrows don’t have to. High arches only draw attention to the angles, so it is best for people with this face shape to elongate and thicken the eyebrows for a softer finish. This draws attention to the eyes and can soften the jawline. Eyebrow pencils can help with this short term, but this may be one for a microblading artist to help you with if your eyebrows are less on the bushy side.

• Diamond Shape Face – Lucky gals with diamond face shapes can have a little fun with their brows and be a bit more playful with the shape. The aim is to shorten the face and sharpen the jawline so a longer, curvier brow suits fine. Microblading can help with elongating the eyebrows, or clever make up with a good pencil and gel can get you there temporarily. A curvy eyebrow is not one to attempt at home if it is not your naturally eyebrow shape.

• Long Shaped Faces – The aim with long shaped faces is to add width and this is achievable by flattening out the brow with a soft curve and low arches. A high arch can elongate the face more, whereas a longer brow with softer lines draws the eye to a more central point. Keep the eyebrows lighter toward the outer edges to avoid harsh lines by using a lighter eyebrow pencil and don’t focus on overgrooming the shape to make the whole look softer and more romantic.

STEP FOUR – BOOK AND APPOINTMENT

Remember, that even when all is said and done and no matter what your face shape is and how easy it looks to pull off your perfect eyebrow shape, there are people that have been trained to do this for you. When your eyebrows go there is no saying when they will come back, trust me, my eyebrows turned their back on me years ago because I was too stubborn to go and get them done at the time.

Do yourself a favour to avoid eyebrow disasters and book and appointment with your technician if you want to get them reshaped or if you just want a tidy up. They know best and will make you feel at ease with your choices, plus they can recommend some great products to keep them tame and in check until your next go.

STEP FIVE – GIVE YOUR EYEBROWS SOME TLC

Eyebrows should look shiny and lustrous to really have a healthy appearance but looking healthy is only half the battle. To give your eyebrows some TLC so they repay you by growing well and lasting longer, it might be time to change up a few things in your diet and your beauty routine.
Eyebrow disasters don’t just happen because we get a bit tweezer-happy, it can happen through lack of care and incorrect cleansing. So, for this step, incorporate a healthy dose of oils, creams and cleansers to keep your brows in good shape.

• Castor Oil – Long has this been used in beauty for its fatty properties that promotes growth and adds thickness to hair. Enriched with proteins and vitamins, castor oil can change the appearance of your eyebrows pretty quickly and leaves them looking shiny and full. So, try a daily application of this for healthy follicles and beautiful brows.

• Coconut Oil – Similar to castor oil, the fatty acids and natural proteins promote healthy growth and act as a protector to each individual eyebrow hair. Coconut oil is also a great conditioner for soft feeling and looking eyebrows and to be honest, this stuff should be a staple in all beauty kits as it works so well on hair and skin too!

• Aloe Vera – Not only does this stuff cool and soothe the skin under and around eyebrows, it helps rejuvenate hair and prevents breakage. Using this on the eyebrows is a win-win, especially if you really can’t put down those tweezers but want your eyebrows to grow back stronger and longer.

• Water-Based Cleansers – All makeup removers are a bit harsher than we would all like, but that is because it has a stubborn job to do. Gently remove your eyebrow makeup with water-based cleansers and use coconut oil as a moisturiser for after cleansing to get the rewards from each product. Coconut oil is a great cleanser in itself so it will catch any eye makeup debris left behind.

• Comb your Eyebrows – This helps to stimulate growth and keeps your eyebrows clean and clear for the most part. Just make sure your eyebrow spool or brush is clean and not used after applying makeup.

• Use an Eyebrow Growth Serum – A good eyebrow serum will help to stimulate growth and promote healthy follicles with daily applications. They can be applied daily and don’t need to be washed off as it sinks deep into the follicle to work beneath the surface of the skin. For shiny and lustrous eyebrows that you won’t want to pluck, eyebrow serums are the way forward.

• When you follow all the steps, you should be well prepared to avoid all eyebrow disasters and have beautiful brows that others can be envious of.

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pair of lips

Makeup tips

Don’t Neglect your Lips this Summer

Summer is a fantastic time of year, isn’t it; Early morning hikes under the blue sky, lazy afternoon naps in the garden and late evenings soaking up the last rays of the sunshine just does something for me that winter cannot compete with. But this summer is a little different and a new normal is social distancing from others, remembering to take my mask out with me and thinking about staying fit and healthy during a global pandemic.

It can be a really weird time for a lot of people and our focuses have changed with new priorities taking charge of the way we live our lives. But there are always going to be times where we want to look our best as well as feel our best, so we can be forgiven for wanting to bring our old normal into today’s life. As long as we are doing it healthily and without risk, then it is a good thing to bring out the best in ourselves.

Hygienic Lips

It is so important now more than ever to have hygiene and health at the forefront of our activities and that includes our beauty routines, as old makeup brushes could be hosting a whole world of bad bacteria and old makeup (especially if you’ve ever shared it) could prove to be harmful to your health. So, have a good clear out and try to start afresh with new kit that will see you through the summer.

One thing that has been on my mind lately is my lips. It might seem like the last thing I should be thinking about but actually, if there is one part of our body that we should be keeping clean and sanitised apart from our hands, its is our lips. They can spread bacteria and viruses so easily and can tell us a lot about our own health just by looking at them or feeling them.

We all know our own bodies better than anyone else, so you can always tell when something this wrong, but this summer we need to not wait until something is wrong to fix it and take some pre-emptive action to keep our lips clean and clear all day, every day. Then sure, once their health is taken care of, it would be a shame not to flaunt them!

Noticing Signs of Unhealthy Lips

When our lips are unhealthy they tend to tell us with quite obvious symptoms, but we don’t always listen. We should! Having lips that have seen better days is not just unsightly, its painful and not the easiest to fix, especially if you are away from home or on holiday, so it’s best to keep them healthy to start with or react to the signs before they get any worse.

Sign 1 – Dry and Chapped Lips

The skin on your lips will be feeling less than smooth and may feel like it could peel in parts if you have dry, chapped lips. This is usually down to dehydration and means that instead of constantly applying lip balm to moisten them, you should be drinking more water.

Dry lips Is usually a temporary thing and is something you might notice on a particularly hot day or even in colder climates where the air is quite dry. This sign is an easy fix as long as you do it right, so to restore them to their smooth self, stay away from sugary drinks or salty foods for a bit and drink some water instead.

Dry lips are a bit of a nuisance, but it can also mean there is more room and raw skin to collect bacteria that will cause the condition to get worse over time. The main thing to remember is do not lick your lips when they are feeling dry. In fact, just don’t do this at all! Saliva may give your lips a temporary feeling of relief, but it is just that – temporary. It won’t do you any favours, so avoid this at all costs.

Sign 2 – Discoloured Lips

The skin on our lips is a lot more delicate and thinner than the rest of our faces and this makes them more susceptible to damage. It doesn’t help that we use them to talk, eat and drink – among other things – so they can easily change in health and appearance.

As the tissue is so much thinner, it allows the blood vessels below to show through giving our lips their unmistakable hue in comparison to the everywhere else on our bodies. Lighter skin tends to mean the lips appear more transparent so any discolouration will be an obvious white or blueish purple colour. On darker skin, discolouration of the lips means darker purples toward the outer corners.

Discoloured lips can mean a range of things, from staining due to certain foods or drinks, to dehydration and even more serious underlying health conditions. But for the most part it due to acute illnesses such as colds and feeling run down to deficiencies in iron and other vitamins and minerals.

If you were to notice a sudden change in your lips that concerned you, the best thing to do is seek medical advice, but if you have had a lifestyle change that has caused the discolouration then keep up with plenty of fluids and vitamins and try to stay clear of dehydrating foods and drinks, such as alcohol.

Sign 3 – Sore Lips

Sore lips are really common and usually as a result of external factors such as too much saliva from licking them or spending too much time in the sun without any protection or sunscreen on your lips. Sun burnt lips are not a fun thing to go through so my best advice is to cream up before heading out on any day, especially in summer.

When this happens, petroleum jelly won’t be the best thing for them, especially is you are still out in the sun as it will only encourage them to burn more. Try using a sunscreen designed for your lips before going out and keeping it topped up regularly throughout the day. Soothe them later on with a cool compress and some repairing lip balm that is not scented or flavoured to get the best out of the sun without compromising the health of your lips.

Repairing your Lips

No one is perfect, and it isn’t easy to keep up with every little thing on our bodies all the time, so there definitely will be times where your lips feel a little under the weather and maybe look a bit worse for wear. Its ok, as long as you know how to look after them and how to repair them to prevent more damage and unwanted soreness.

A lot of moisture from breath is collected underneath a mask and stays there for as long as the mask is there, which may not do anything bad to start with, but you may start to notice skin drying out, lips feeling a little dry and sore and even breakouts in areas the mask covers.

Its also hard to wear lip balm under a mask, as that will just cause stickiness and help the fabric particles to stick to your mask, so the best thing to do is use a light repair balm that soaks into the lips and doesn’t leave any residue or oily components that can ruin your mask or cause harm to your lips.

If you find yourself with dry lips, it is easier than most things to fix and just requires a little bit more attention than usual. A lot of people swear by petroleum jelly or Vaseline to moisten their lips but the issue with this is they kind of get used to the product and become increasingly dry when it has worn or rubbed off. Also, other lips balms are scented and flavoured making it almost an irresistible thing to avoid licking them.

Lips balms tend to be quite sticky, so they lock in moisture, but this means it comes off easier, so a care and repair lip balm is the way to go when you are looking to repair damaged lips. Look at an Intensive Care Lip Balm like the product from Xlash which is an EGF balm (epidermal growth factor) that has a concentrated formula to act as a tight barrier while it repairs the skin on the lips.

This balm is best used at night, but can be used throughout the day if needed, although a little amount should be enough to do the trick. Miracles don’t usually happen overnight, but with an intensive care lip balm that hasn’t been designed for constant use, it packs a punch to make your lips feels softer the within hours. It doesn’t mean the damage is fully repaired underneath the surface though so it should be a routine to apply it to keep the lips in great condition.

Dressing Up your Lips

Even though your lips are repaired, they still need attention to keep them feeling good, but that doesn’t mean they can’t look good too. If your lips are in a current state of repair, it is best not to think about injections or enhancements without medical advice first. Your lips have to be in a healthy state to do any invasive treatments or it won’t pay off in the long run. The tip is to keep them hydrated, clean and moisturised to get the best out of them.

Most lip sticks, lips stains and colours these days have been designed with your lips in mind and provide moisture while you’re wearing them, but some long-lasting lip colours tend to really lock everything in by providing a demi-permanent barrier that keeps the colour on for longer.

Convenient as they may be, they can cause a lot of damage just by trying to remove them, especially if you have to scrub your lips to get the colour off. Try to use a soft liner and lip stick that is easily cleansable and leaves your lips feeling silky smooth. At the end of the day, make sure you are cleansing with gentle motions and some warm water, try not to use any harsh products that cause dryness and remember to moisturise with your intensive care lip balm once you are done. If needs be, you can exfoliate your lips with a cloth or flannel and some warm water or make a homemade scrub using honey and brown sugar to get any extra flaky skin off and leave your lips looking fantastic. Don’t neglect your lips this summer, keep them out of the sun, moisturised and clean and you’re onto a winner.

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Makeup tips

How to Make Yourself Facetime Ready Each Day

Times are a bit strange at the moment, most of us are stuck in our homes uncertain of when life will be able to return to normal. No one knows when that will be and no one knows what a new “normal” will look like, but we have proven that we are able to adapt to working from home and catch up with friends remotely through use of video calls and facetime.

Ok, so it isn’t quite the same as face to face contact, but it does provide a sense of normality during crazy, unprecedented times and it helps us to connect with the people around us. So, if you haven’t yet embraced the current uprising of Facetime or Zoom calls, it’s time to get video call ready.

There can be a lot to get used to with video calling as opposed to going into work for an actual meeting because the lines are blurred between the office and the home. You treat your home casually – as you should – it is your place to relax after all, and the office is all business, so you tend to reflect that in the way you look. Facetiming your boss from home should be relatively easy but what if you don’t know what to wear, or how to have your hair or whether to put makeup on or not! Then you have to think about your setting, what will they be able to see? What is the lighting like? Are there any potential distractions around you?

Well, we know that in our lifetimes nothing like this has ever happened before so we are forgiven for our trial and error approach to working from home and dealing with video conference calls, but it would be handy to have some kind of routine that means you will be facetime ready for the next meeting!

Morning Routine

Let’s start with your morning routine. It probably looks a lot different to how it did before and it may be a lot more relaxed, especially if you have the luxury of time. But it is important to keep to a good routine for your own sanity and well-being as well as having complete confidence in yourself so you are physically and mentally ready for any video calls that may pop up during the day.

So whether you make breakfast first or prefer to go for a nice morning run or perhaps falling into the shower to wash away a heavy night’s sleep is your day starter of choice, try to get into your normal routine and stick at it during your usual working days to give you that same sense of purpose. Remember you don’t have the terrible commute to work to contend with so use that time wisely to get yourself facetime ready and feel great at the same time.

Treat yourself to a good exfoliating scrub and some foamy shower cream that wakes you up and makes you feel really refreshed for the day ahead. I love a menthol and eucalyptus shower scrub as it really awakens the senses and makes me feel alert and ready for work, but you can choose some scents that do it for you in the morning to start your day right.

Go for a light breakfast that will give you energy, think things like porridge and oats with fruit or a banana and a cup of green tea. Just enough to give you the boost you need but not too much that you will feel sluggish and want to go back to bed! Set a good standard for your breakfast and your day will follow along easy enough.

Now I know that not everyone likes to exercise in the morning, but I find it so important to start the day off right and get those energy levels up so I am more than ready for whatever the workday throws at me, including the inevitable facetime calls with my boss and colleagues. But when I say exercise, I mean stretches, light cardio and maybe a bit of yoga thrown in and not a 10km run followed by some weight training, but whatever suits you and your routine is highly advised and if a long run is your preference then use the extra time to push yourself, have virtual competitions with friends or enjoy a run at a social distance with other people you know.

I always find that doing some exercise helps me to look more awake and not like I have rolled out of bed and stumbled toward my laptop. Even on days where I may not be involved in video conferencing, by looking awake and feeling more energised, I reflect this in the quality of my work. So, if you can afford to spend a bit of time doing this in the morning and haven’t before, try out some slow stretches, some deep breaths and some balancing exercises to get yourself started.

By grounding yourself in various stretches and poses and focussing on your breathing, you start to feel like you are more in control of things and this is a fantastic thing to feel right now. As I said, your morning routine is yours to play with, but find a balance between relaxation and energising tasks and when your workday starts you should feel more empowered and in a good place physically and mentally to get your work done. Then its onto the physical aspect of your day, making yourself look the part ready for a video call or conference in style.

Hair

This can be a problematic area for a lot of people right now, with so many hair salons still closed all over the world or appointments being few and far between in the ones that are open, a lot of people are taking matters into their own hands and giving themselves haircuts and styles that they may end up regretting once things are back up and running again.

I definitely don’t want to endorse this at all, but sometimes a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do! But in the interests of keeping your hair neat and tidy for your facetime calls, there are a few things you can do with the products you have at home and who knows, you may even get a bit more practice at some temporary summer styles that you can take back into the world with you once this is all over.

When it comes to work calls, unless it has been explicitly stated by your boss that you must present yourself in a work dress manner, enjoy the freedom that you have been granted to get a little playful while keeping your hair tidy and presentable. I don’t know about you, but my hair is getting longer by the second, my roots are on show and my hairdresser definitely has some split ends to contend with soon. But I definitely go for a casual updo when it comes to video conferencing. This way it keeps hair from your face, means you won’t be fiddling with it and it won’t block your eyes for that all-important eye contact when speaking to someone about work.

I like to keep my work facetime locks simple and understated with a classic semi-messy bun and I use a thin scarf to tie around the top which doubles up as a smart accessory and the perfect cover for my two-inch long unhighlighted roots! When the workday is over and I want to facetime friends, I simply let my messy bun loose and use some olive oil spray on the ends to define my waves and keep my split ends in check. This is perfectly easy to do, and you can go from daytime smart/casual to evening glamour in seconds!

Makeup

You probably have your usual makeup routine down to a fine art, and if like me you are stuck for time in the mornings before work, it involves a little tinted moisturiser, brow gel and some mascara and you’re pretty much good to go. Of course, this isn’t my preference, I’d much rather spend a little more time making myself look and feel great before work with a look that reflects my personality, but sometime I just have to work with what I’ve got.

But now I’m working completely from home and not involving myself in much face to face contact, my makeup (like a lot of you at the moment) only really comes out on special occasions. And what such occasion might that be these days? A Zoom conference call or facetiming friends.

Makeup used to mean something else, and hopefully it will once again, or perhaps we are all giving our faces that much needed break from lotions and foundations and powders to give ourselves a healthy glow that we are more comfortable with leaving the house for a world of human interaction. Who knows! But what I do know is when I have a video call scheduled with my boss I have to carefully think about what I’m putting on my face and how.

There are a few obvious differences between face to face contact and virtual calls. One of them being that when you talk to someone face to face you don’t have your own photographic reflection staring back at you from a little box in the corner! This can be off-putting at first and sure, you can sometimes turn this off on a video call, but it is a different way of talking to someone and seeing yourself talk back to them can make you quite self-conscious. Is that what I look like when I laugh? Do I always look this pale? Is that lipstick on my teeth?! The horror!

When speaking to your boss over a video conference it is important to put these anxieties to bed so that you are fully focussed on the task at hand and not on the way you look. So, I always keep my makeup smart, clean and understated. Save the lipstick for Zooming with friends and just do enough so that you are confident in your skin, your brows are tidy, and your eyes are visible without lashings of eye makeup and mascara.

Try to remember that the camera on your laptop, tablet and phone may distort your face shape, the angle may not present you the same way as a straight reflection in the mirror would and it can adjust the lighting in your home office to dim skin tones or highlight darker or brighter makeup to be more vibrant than in real life.

I start with an eye serum to wake me up, some moisturiser for a healthy glow and some matte primer to hide the shine that camera tends to illuminate. I keep my skin tones even with foundation and keep eye shadow neutral with browns, coppers and peaches so as not to become a colourful distraction. A simple winged eyeliner does the trick and I keep my eyebrows in check with tinted gel and some pencil to fill in the gaps and keep them tidy, then finish off with some mascara and I am good to go.

This usually represents me in a professional work format, and it is easy to add to later on for a facetime call with the girls in lieu of drinks and dinner after work. So, to round up, keep your makeup light and breezy, avoid distracting colours and remember lighting is everything!

Wardrobe

This one is a bit more difficult when it should be easy. No one likes to be at home in full work attire; I change into the comfiest clothes as soon as I get home from work usually as no one is going to see me and I can be myself: relaxed and settled. But working from home is different, as technically you are still on the clock and that video call might pop up at any moment. I don’t usually have to deal with facetime calls on the spot, they are usually pre-arranged but occasionally a colleague or my boss requires some clarification that calls for a face to face call with screen sharing, so I like to make sure I am dressed for the occasion.

Not only this, but it is really important for our mind to differentiate between work and homelife so that when you do switch off the laptop, the home can become a relaxing place once again. There is a huge psychological impact in working from home and what you wear can put you in a certain mindset, so dressing for work is not as ridiculous as it sounds, whether you have to partake in video conferences or not.

But if you do, try to stay comfortable, you may not have the luxury of a proper work desk complete with spinning office chair, so wearing a skirt that has give or trousers that don’t squeeze you in the wrong places is very important. Of course, when you do video calls or conferences it is your top half that gets seen but it can’t hurt to be prepared. I always say to wear a blouse, shirt or smart t-shirt and avoid distracting motifs or cuts so that when the video call comes along you are ready.

There is no need to go splashing out on a whole new wardrobe to work from home and you can usually mix and match outfits that you wore before with no problem, but when times are strange like they are now, a little online shopping pick me up is always welcome in my world!

Setting the Scene for Facetime Calls

Your office or workspace at home may be a little nook in the corner of your bedroom or could even be the dining room table. Wherever it is, choose your lighting wisely and check your backdrop for distractions or heaven forbid, embarrassing childhood photos that you definitely don’t want your boss to see!

You don’t need to redecorate your room for the sake of a video call, but it is great to create a space that you enjoy working in for your own sanity and mindfulness. I tend to have a nice oxygenating plant nearby, a nicely lit lamp and enough desk space for my laptop, notebooks and all-important cup of coffee. If you have a window nearby, keep it open during the day to keep fresh air coming in and don’t forget to get up and move around for breaks every now and then.

Video calls, facetime and zoom conferencing may take a bit of time to get used to but creating a happy space to work from will start to reflect in the way you present yourself once you get into a routine that works. Don’t be afraid to have days where makeup and wardrobe don’t even enter your mind, but definitely pick yourself up with a little glitz and glamour whenever you feel like it, don’t just keep that side of you hidden and saved for video calls. Trust me, it will make you feel like a million dollars and it will help get you through this crazy time!

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Makeup tips

Sanitising your Makeup Station

It is now more than ever where we have all had to learn the real meaning of keeping things sanitary. I bet as much as we think we are quite clean and have a great outlook to keeping our home, belongings and person sanitised, there is always a lot more we can do to ensure the things we own are clean and clear of bacteria or any other harmful things that may lurk on or beneath surfaces.

But where we may be in a routine of washing our hands regularly, throwing worn clothes in the laundry basket and wiping down surfaces in the kitchen, we tend to forget about the smaller things: Makeup and makeup brushes. In fact, there could be more bacteria being harboured in one makeup brush than there could be on the kitchen table, so why would we even consider using it to apply makeup to our faces?

Don’t worry, if you are in the crowd that has overlooked this aspect of sanitising so far, you are one of many. Days get busy, nights get long, work can get stressful and so the last thing you want to think about on a Friday evening as the weekend draws in is cleaning those makeup brushes. But with the way the world is turning at the moment, it may be finally time to have a good look at your makeup kit, see what needs to go, what needs to be cleaned and get your makeup station crystal clear and organised in a way that will be easy to upkeep going forward.

To Keep or Not to Keep

So, lets start by emptying everything out and having a look at what you have in front of you. If we’re really going for the fresh start, it may be time to let go of some of the trusty tools and makeup that have served us well for some time.

All makeup has a “use by date” of sorts, called PAO or period after opening and it is important to know where to find it so you aren’t using old makeup that could prove harmful to your face in the long run. The symbol for each PAO is represented as an open jar with a number next to it followed by the letter M. The M stands for Months so if it says 6M and you opened the product 6 months ago, it is time to throw it out.

Makeup can be quite costly, we all know that, but the products we buy come in containers of a smaller size to prevent unnecessary waste, so you have the chance to use it all within the PAO. A litre of foundation may sound convenient, but there is no way you would get through it all personally within its life, so it works out better to be in a smaller container. Plus, the added benefits that makeup comes in small portions so you can always fit it in your hand luggage when flying is always a bonus for me!

You can see when a foundation is on the last road to expiry by its consistency, colour and even smell. It tends to separate in the jar and causes uneven textures and tones on the skin if applied and starts to develop a smell that is far from the fresh aromas from when you just opened it. If this is your foundation, I’m afraid it is time to throw it out and go grab yourself a fresh bottle as soon as possible.

To keep your foundation smooth and creamy for the length of its lifespan, keep it in a cool place where it won’t get hit by direct sunlight and always give it a good shake before you use it. When using brushes and sponges, keep them clean too before letting them make contact with the foundation to ensure bacteria stays well out of the way.

Powder, Blush and Bronzer – Because powder doesn’t contain water and is dry it is an easy misconception that it doesn’t expire. But if you check the bottom of your container you will see the trusty PAO symbol and usually a 12 -18-month expiry on it. Powder doesn’t act the same way as foundation, but it just becomes more difficult to use and you will end up with a texture and tone that doesn’t reflect the fresh-faced look you got when you first opened it and started using it.

Think about it, with a pressed powder the brush collects the top layer, then makes contact with the skin that contains many natural oils or oils from creams and foundations, then goes back into the powder. After some time, the powder gets a dull, oily finish to the to layer and almost becomes impenetrable, rendering the powder almost useless going forward. As bacteria can live on this top layer, it can get transferred to your cheeks and cause break outs and irritation so it is important to keep those brushes clean and throw away any old powders that you were holding onto for a later date. Your cheeks deserve to look and feel great anyway so it should be a no-brainer.

Mascara – This one should be easy enough, especially if you are a loyal follower of one particular brand and product, you will know the signs of when it is on its way out and will be happy to buy a new tube. But if you are like me and get frustrated easily with your mascara you tend to buy a few different ones for different occasions and then forget you have three extra tubes hiding in your makeup kit. Only to pull on out 6 months later and remember it was great for lengthening but not so good with volumizing, but today you feel like having longer eyelashes, so you give it a try. (Very specific, I know, but this is my unfortunate mascara cycle.)

So you open the tube and expect to see a nice liquid-like, jet-black smooth bit of mascara attached to the wand but instead it is full of goop and a consistency that would clearly cake your lashes together and dry them out. This is the reality of mascara that has been open for some time. In fact, it really starts deteriorating the moment it has been opened. Mascara just doesn’t last exceptionally long, and it shouldn’t either. 3 to 6 months is about the maximum length you should hold on to mascara and that is when it has been used properly on clean eyelashes and kept in a cool environment.

Mascara develops a funky smell after a while and if you find your tube has succumbed to the effects of time then it is a clear sign that it needs to be thrown out. Bacteria easily hides in the bristles on your wand and can transfer back and forth to your eyelashes which can result in a nasty infection. I know that going forward I will definitely be buying one tube of mascara and sticking to it until it’s time to buy a new one. My hoarding days are over!

Eyeliner – Depending on which sort of eyeliner you choose you could have something that will last you 3 months or 3 years. Pencil eyeliners tend to last longer as they can be sharpened which removes the bacteria hiding in the tip and liquid eyeliners won’t last as long due to the fact they can be a playground for bacteria.

Treat liquid eyeliner the same way you would treat your mascara and throw it away when it changes texture. If it develops a smell then it has past its use by date and needs to be binned. Another key thing to mention is sharing makeup, especially eye makeup, which I know not many people do, but sometimes you can forget to bring your own and be tempted by someone else’s pot. Even if you use your own brush, you are dipping it into something that has been used by someone else.

Lipstick – A tricky one as it tends to last longer than some other makeup, and if it has been kept in cool conditions and retains its shape it can look good as new even after a couple of years since it was opened. But it can still harbour bacteria, so it is important to get rid of old lipstick, even if it has been a firm favourite in your makeup kit for some time.

Keep your lipsticks as clean as possible by applying to cleansed lips and not directly after eating food. If using a brush to apply it, be sure to keep it clean and don’t share with anyone else. Lips are already delicate features and don’t need the added stress of a potential infection, even in the name of beauty!

Makeup Brushes – The biggie when it comes to a clear out of your makeup kit and keeping your makeup station sanitary is having clean brushes. Some brushes last years with good hygiene and cleansing but they too can expire.

There are plenty of products available to clean brushes but a lot of makeup artists swear by good old water and a gentle soap to rinse them off, so if you aren’t able to get your hands on a fancy cleaning product there isn’t much room for excuses when it comes to cleaning brushes. Also, by not washing them you can ruin the bristles and your brushes will end up having a shorter lifespan, which isn’t good if you have spent a fair penny on a new set.

Keeping your Kit Clean

Starting fresh with your makeup and brushes doesn’t just finish there when it comes to sanitising your makeup. Your tweezers and eyelash curlers also count as part of the kit as they are tools that come into contact with your eyebrows and eyelashes.

Natural oils can break things down, cause bacteria to cling on and damage your tools overall so it is important to keep those things clean too. Remember if they stop working they way they once did, like tweezers don’t pull hairs easily, or eyelash curlers lose their grip pads, then it is time to throw them away and invest in some new ones.

Always keep your face clean at the end of each day, leaving makeup on overnight can be a problem in itself and remember to clean down any surfaces your makeup and brushes may come into contact with. If you have a dressing table, always sanitise the area before laying things down, especially if you have gone to the effort of cleaning your brushes, as there could be unseen bacteria waiting to come into contact.

It may sound like a lot of work, but in the long run, having a clean makeup kit and a sanitised makeup station will mean your makeup will last as long as possible and you will save yourself tonnes of money in wasted products. Happy Sanitising!

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Makeup tips

A Fresh Start for Eyelashes

If there is one thing life has taught us recently, it’s to not take things for granted. The world changed overnight and we were all left wondering how it would ever get back to normal and aside from physical and mental health worries, we have all had to contend with a complete change in routine, limiting our resources and adapting our outlook toward how we feel about ourselves and take care of ourselves.

This can mean different things for different people, for example, diet and food consumption, exercise or even skin care routines. Everyone has something that drives them forward and their own particular way in which they present themselves to the world, but how do you keep up with those routines when certain shops and stores are not open, beauticians and salons are closed and gyms are also shut?

Well, luckily for us, we are all stronger and more adaptable than we give ourselves credit for! So, as we start to emerge from lockdown life, we should all be looking at the good this little break from the pressures of society has done for us. Take eyelashes for example; these times may have seemed quite difficult for those who rely on eyelash extensions and have had to take a complete break from them while they grew out and then fell out but you can almost guarantee that your natural lashes are thankful for the breather!

So, let’s have a think about what positives have come out of lockdown life and whether we can carry anything from our new routine forward when life returns to normal.

Everyone has their favourite facial feature, could be eyes, mouth or cheekbones, but eyelashes are like the holy grail these days and whenever I see great eyelashes I’m always quick to deliver compliments and even quicker to ask how they got them so long and thick!

The strange thing is that although we all want longer and fuller eyelashes, when we see a long and full set we automatically assume that they must be false or extensions. Coming out of lockdown, with salons and technicians raring to go, could it be that we have been taking care of our eyelashes and now have the naturally full set we have always dreamed of? Let’s take a look at this a little bit deeper.

The Eyelash Growth Cycle

Eyelashes have a natural growth cycle that lasts around 130 – 180 days for each eyelash to complete a full cycle. This involves the anagen phase where the eyelash grows into its length and lasts between 30 and 45 days. Only about 40% of your upper eyelashes will be in the growth phase at once though so don’t worry about having a bare set of eyelashes while you wait for them all to grow in!

Next is the catagen phase, or it can also be known as the transition phase, and this is where the follicle begins to shrink and get ready to throw the eyelash out in the next phase. It can last between two and three weeks. During the catagen phase the eyelash can still fall out but the follicle has to complete its transition before it can move on and start a new growth again. Following this phase is the telogen phase or the resting phase. This is the longest stage of the eyelash growth cycle and lasts between 90 and 120 days. The follicle has desiccated and is starting to return to the growth phase, but no eyelashes will be visible until that growth spurt starts.

So as of right now, the salons have been closed for around 100 days and according to the growth cycle maths that means that 40% of your lashes should have completely replenished by now. If you have been like me and seen your makeup routine become little more than facial cleansing and the odd bit of eyeliner over the last few months then your eyelashes should be in quite good shape! The problem we have with our eyelashes not being as long or as healthy as we would like is partly our own fault. When we apply mascara to them daily and then remove it daily, we cause damage that goes beyond our eyelashes and potentially right down to the follicle. And in fact, leaving them alone for a little while could leave a lot of your eyelashes in a really naturally healthy state.

So, if you have noticed a difference, what are your options now? Well you can always grab the first appointment with your eyelash technician and resume as normal with the ever beautiful and even more reliable eyelash extensions, or you could decide that you’ve managed to cope without them for so long and like how your natural eyelashes look and feel and perhaps want to see if there are other ways to enhance them or keep them long in a healthy way.

Eyelash Growth Serums

Whatever your choice may be, there are always benefits in incorporating an eyelash growth serum into your beauty routine and if you haven’t started this already, now is a great time to get stuck in and get your lashes in great shape either before your extension appointment or just for the fun-filled summer that is hopefully approaching us!

A great product that you can rely on even when you are wearing eyelash extensions is Xlash Eyelash Serum as it is free of oils that can cause eyelash adhesives to wear away as some other products can contain. Xlash Eyelash Serum is an all-rounder for healthy follicles, longer and stronger eyelashes and it is fragrance free, so irritation is the last thing you need to worry about.

If you have already been using your eyelash serum throughout the lockdown period, you should already have noticed a big difference within three to four weeks, especially if you haven’t been tormenting those lashes with unnecessary mascara, they should be in great shape. If you haven’t used an eyelash serum yet, it really isn’t too late to start! It’s so simple to apply, just run the applicator with a small amount of the serum over the top lashes nearest the root and you are done.

It is important to make sure that eyelashes are clean and clear of dirt, makeup (especially mascara) before you apply your eyelash serum for them to feel the full benefits.
Eyelash serums are becoming firm favourites in people’s makeup and beauty kits these days as they are so convenient and have really saved a lot of people from their eyelash envy over the last few months, so if you really want to see what your eyelashes are capable of before committing to eyelash extensions then treat yourself to a tube of Xlash Eyelash Serum and sit back and enjoy!

Natural Eyelash Growth Remedies

Of course, you may have really taken to having a naked eyelash and not want to put extensions, false lashes or serums anywhere near that beautiful set, so it could just be a case of applying a few different tried and tested natural products to your eyelashes in a bid to keep them as healthy as they have been the last few months.

There is unfortunately no magic wand we can wave to ensure your eyelashes stay long and strong with minimal fall out, but as far as natural products go, some of these have been said to work wonders!

Coconut Oil – A sworn by product for an almost unlimited number of things, coconut oil is a firm favourite. It is the gift that keeps on giving! Try changing up your usual cleansing routine for some coconut oil and a cotton pad and see if you notice the difference on your eyelashes. It is much gentler than other products and it gives your eyelashes a good bit of moisturising at the same time. Eye makeup remover has usually been specifically formulated to target stubborn makeup such as mascara and eyeliner that contains oils and water-resistant ingredients so although it does a great job at removing all of that, it may not be so kind to the skin around your eyes. Coconut oil helps to smooth out creases, lock in hydration and assist you with a youthful appearance, so the fact that it can clean your eyelashes AND do all of this? What are you waiting for!

Aloe Vera – A spectacular natural option for your eyelashes and healthy skin and follicles, aloe vera really gets to the root of the problem. When we talk about getting eyelashes to grow longer, it means starting the process before the eyelash has even begun to grow. There is no miracle cure that will make an existing eyelash grow longer once it is in the catagen phase, it starts in the anagen phase. The idea is that you use nourishing products that strengthen the follicle so the individual eyelashes grow in stronger and hydrate the eyelashes so when they do start to grow, they grow to their full potential without breaking or falling out prematurely.

The difference can be astounding and that’s where aloe vera really helps the condition of your eyelashes when used regularly. It has been around for centuries and it definitely isn’t going away anytime soon. So many people trust in aloe vera as a natural option for beauty practices that they can’t all be wrong!

Castor Oil – This is great for eyelash regrowth as it is full of fatty acids that stimulate the follicle and help each eyelash look a bit more lustrous, and full of shine and colour. Castor oil has been used for years on hair and eyebrows for its properties that just give you that extra bit of dazzle and for promoting healthy growth. Like everything else on this list, it won’t change your life overnight, but by using it now your eyelashes have had a nice break from falsies or extensions, you should start to notice some extra strength and bounce to your lashes.

These are just a few natural things that you can do to keep your eyelashes in great shape going forward, but there are a few things you should avoid if you are on the quest for great natural lashes or even if you are just buying some time before your next salon appointment…

Things to Avoid

Now that your eyelashes have had a well-earned break from the rigorous makeup routines, cleansing and extensions that could put unwanted pressure on them, it would be a shame to revert back to your old ways and ruin such a good thing.

Waterproof Mascara – Who doesn’t love a good cry from time to time! Waterproof or water-resistant mascara is a saviour for those who can’t help but shed a tear, but it is also a big favourite for holiday makeup kits due to its staying power at pool parties and long, lazy days at the beach. But it is because of this staying power that it becomes hard to remove and can start to damage your lashes due to long-term use.

There is nothing wrong with using some of the waterproof stuff every now and then, as long as you have a cleanser designed to remove it without losing too many eyelashes or shedding the goodness from your eyelashes. Which brings me on to my next point.

Harsh Cleansing – I cannot stress this enough; vigorous rubbing of the eyelashes will cause some to fall out before the end of their cycle and it will start to take the protective layers of from your individual lashes. Always opt for a gentle cleanser that is formulated with eyes in mind, that won’t irritate the skin around them and breaks down the makeup rather than removes it layer by layer.

This is why coconut oil is a great option as a makeup remover as it restores hydration as it cleans and the good fats deposit in and around your eyelashes. If you are trying to make waves in the natural eyelash department, be sure to remove your mascara before going to sleep with a gentle cleanser and a soft cotton pad and add a line of eyelash serum for extra growth effect.

Old Eyelash Curlers – The trusty eyelash curler is a firm favourite in many makeup kits, and I know it is has helped enhance my eyelashes no end! When you are blessed with naturally curvy eyelashes, you can usually avoid these but unfortunately mine are almost as straight as an arrow, so I definitely rely on them.

The problem is eyelash curlers can get old and lose their grip pads, so it is important to get rid of a set that has already seen the best of its life. They can also harbour plenty of bacteria if they aren’t cleaned properly which transfers back and forth from your eyelashes to your curler. This is especially true if you tend to use them after applying makeup. Use your curler wisely, treat it well and don’t twist your eyelashes to within an inch of their life when you are trying to maintain their fresh healthy glow and length.

Ready for a Fresh Start?

Your eyelashes may be the least of your worries right now, but if something good can come from this testing time, don’t do anything that will cause them to become a worry. Only you know if you want to go for the natural growth option, and if you choose extensions, the above still all applies if you want to keep the fresh start going on for months and years to come.

Keep up with the good work, and enjoy your eyelashes, you’ve earned it!

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Makeup tips

Daring Makeup Trends for Summer 2020

Every year we look forward to new trends and styles, and the hottest looks that makeup artists have to offer us. This summer is definitely about to be explosive when it hits us, with colour and bold statements about to takeover the makeup world.

Summer hits differently when it comes to makeup, we love sun-kissed skin and fun, but manageable hairstyles, so our makeup has to compliment all of that, and we have just the right tips to get your through the sunny season in style!

So, let’s take a little journey through this season’s hottest looks with a little inspiration from the catwalks and see how you can make these looks translate to your face with your own makeup kit.

Overstated Cheeks

So, just how can makeup evolve to cater for our summer 2020 makeover? Well this year is all about overstated stated cheeks and it might be time to get rid of the “less is more” motto and embrace “more is more”!
When it comes to our cheeks we have almost been trained to contour and highlight to create a high cheekbone and define our faces like it was some mechanical chore that no makeup up look would be complete without. But this summer, it is all about blush! Of course, there is nothing wrong with a little definition to our cheeks but if you want to really create this look, think more freely when it comes to application rather than holding yourself to a technically precise method.

Cream blush, powder blush, pinks and peaches, whatever your blush of choice, its time to overstate this look with a few bold statements. You can apply quite heavily to your contours blending downward toward your mouth or go thick on the apples of your cheeks and blend upward toward your temples.

One of the hottest looks in blush this summer is to actually apply the blush to your cheeks AND your eyelids, by extending it up to your temples and matching it with your eyeshadow. Keep your brushes large for applying to your cheeks and switch to a small, soft brush to blend into your eyelids so you don’t end up with harsh lines for a romantic take on this look.

This bold statement breathes life into a classic makeup technique that became boring to even apply, so the revamp has definitely earned its place in the top trends for this summer!

Pastel Eyeshadow

Ok so this year is about going bold and beautiful on the eyes, and that means going all out on colour and style, so it’s time to put away those winter colours buy some new eyeshadow palettes that scream summer 2020.

This summer, pastel eyeshadow is what everyone will be wearing, but with a neat little twist the colours should be thick and matte in consistency to make a bold statement rather than blended and soft shadow that shimmers. Think cotton candy pinks and baby blues, turquoises and peaches, even combining two of the colours for a retro take on the classic pastel.

Keep lines clean and when combining two colours, get creative with your style, for example blue to the main body of your upper lid and a pink line to the lower lid, or even keep your lines vertical for a geometric twist and apply turquoise green to the inner part of your eyelid and block peach to the outer part of your eyelid.

This look is fun, summery, and youthful and is a great look for any pool party, teamed up with a little bit of black mascara so that you don’t hide your wonderful artwork behind heavy lashes.

Hot Pink Lips

That’s right, it’s summer which means kissing your bright red lips goodbye for a few months and saying hello to hot pink to brighten up any wardrobe and hairstyle. I love hot pink lipstick in a medium gloss teamed with a messy up-do for that effortless look that is daring enough to make you feel that summer confidence that winter can sometimes lack.

To wear hot pink lips, it is easy to pull off with a few pink accents to the rest of your makeup. Think pale pink eyeshadow and plenty of light pink blush to your cheekbones and don’t be afraid to define those eyes with some feathery black mascara and a messy eyebrow.

This look is about being fun and playful and not too precise so don’t worry about creating lines on the face, leave the rest of the look soft and demure to bring all the focus to those luscious new pink lips!

Over-the-top Eyelashes

We all love a bit of mascara to define our eyelashes and this summer sees a fun trend of over-the top eyelashes that allow for lashings of the stuff to adorn our eyes. This is just an exaggeration of what we do already, with a few extra layers of lashes – whether false or extensions -and if you aren’t ready to take the plunge with extensions then you will be glad to know that mascara will be plenty enough to see this trend through to its fullest!

This summer try ditching the black for some other colours that will compliment your eye colour and summer makeup colours.

Try out pastel colours or lavender mascara and really go to town on your application to end up with super-exaggerated length and a colour that sits beautifully over a darker pink eyeshadow. And although it is usually a big no-no, don’t be afraid to emphasise those lashes on your lower lid either. This summer’s big lash trend means you can be as bold and as experimental as you like on your lashes so keep it modern and teaming with your new summer look but brushing your lower lashes outward and toward your cheekbones to avoid spider-like lashes that can look too heavy and dated.

Abstract Eyeliner

Eyeliner in some form is a staple in every makeup kit and it isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Well, it is definitely going places this summer and it’s a really exciting trend to be daring and bring new life to standard makeup application.

There is of course, nothing wrong with a little bit of winged, black eyeliner and that particular look is a firm favourite of many, but this summer we want to keep it bright and modern with a fun twist that is perfect for any party.

The options are endless when it comes to abstract eyeliner, you can really get as playful as you want with it, but for this summer one of the hottest trends is floating eyeliner. This is no where near as weird as it sounds, it just involves a little creativity and a steady hand to apply it. To achieve the floating eyeliner look, think long and thin, yet accentuated wings on your upper lid, above where you would usually draw the line to create the purrrfect cat eye!

A welcomed embellishment would be to finish your wing in great style by drawing your usual wing in the usual place and joining them in a sharp point toward the end of your brow. Try to avoid drawing on a floating line directly in the creases as it can lose its shape and cause smudges in unwanted places. But follow your eyelid crease line for a precise shape and to compliment your eyes.

For a more daring approach to floating eyeliner, switch out your jet-black gel liner for this summer’s colours in block pastel pinks and blues or even reach for a neon green for the ultimate party look. Keep the look simple yet a big statement by keeping the rest of your upper lids nude and let the floating liner do the work. A little colour on the lower lid and some black mascara is the perfect finish for this crazy summer trend!

The Modern Cat-Eye

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there is nothing wrong with the classic cat-eye and if it works for you then let it take you through all seasons of the year with no worries. But, if you feel like changing it up a little and the floating eyeliner trend of summer 2020 is a little too daring for you then why not try to amend the classic cat-eye and turn heads with a new twist on an old classic.

This look is really good for you is you are less steady with a gel liner brush or are rushed for time and perfecting that perfect wing is just not something you have the patience for. Simply use a sharp but smudgy eyeliner pencil and start your line on the upper lid as close to the lash line as possible but from the centre of your eye and draw outward with a little flick.

Some dark, blended eyeshadow on the outer corner of your eye can help with keeping this look as smooth as possible, but once your eyeliner is in place, smudge it upward and outward to create the perfectly imperfect wing and tidy it up with a cotton bud if needed.

To finish this simply understated look, use a lengthening mascara and focus your attention to the roots and the outer edges of your eyelashes, drawing them upward toward your temples. Complete the look with some shadow on the outer corner of your lower lid and mascara to draw attention outward.

This one can take a couple of minutes once you have the hang of it and is just as effective in creating the cat-eye look without the hassle or boldness of a fully lined eye and can instantly change the appearance of almond-shaped or slightly downturned eyes, so that’s why it’s the perfect summer look that may just last well into winter.

Under-groomed Brows

When we have had it programmed into us for so long that brows should always be neat and tidy and brushed and tinted to within an inch of their life, it is hard to take a step back and just let our eyebrows be what they are naturally, but this summer could change all that.

If you are a person of convenience, then summer 2020 brows will be right up your street. The look is simple yet effective and involves just a little brushing and small amounts of tint. Stray hairs needn’t be of huge bother, especially underneath the brow toward the brow bone as long as you brush your eyebrows upward, apply a small amount of tint and brow gel to achieve the under-groomed look that will actually appear like you have groomed them to perfection.

By brushing the hairs in your eyebrows upward, you create a fresh line and draw attention upward, especially if you have teamed it with a modern cat-eye and minimal eyeshadow. You can rock this daily or save it for a perfect evening out and don’t need to worry about your eyebrows disappearing in the high heats of summer.

If minimal grooming is not quite your cup of tea but you are happy to skip your threading appointments then keep a set of tweezers handy for grabbing those strays underneath the brow but don’t be tempted to mess with your shape as this messy brow is the perfect summer 2020 statement, that you won’t want to give up.

Cobalt Blues and Bright Violets

Summer is always about being playful with your style and embracing the wavy heat with a makeup look that won’t fade into the background. But you don’t always have to follow the pastel and pale colour trends to achieve this. To be bold and daring, increase the pigment and turn up the brightness with this season’s hottest colours, violet and cobalt blue.

Worn on the eyes, this style is so versatile as you can literally wear it in your eyeshadow, eyeliner or mascara. Glitter is always a fun team up too so keep it shimmery and bright and try to avoid blending with black to create a wintery smoky eye but keep it warm and vibrant and ready for the summer parties that are to come.

To wear blue or violet as eyeliner, keep your lines bold and thick to make the perfect statement and team it with a good separating mascara so the focus is drawn to this fantastic colour. Colour combos of blue and violet work amazingly and is one of summer 2020’s most daring makeup trends when worn together. Try a thick block of cobalt blue shadow over the top eyelid and sweep a soft line of violet below the bottom lash line for extra effect. Finish this off with some white eyeliner toward the inner corner of your eyes to really open them up and create a flawless summer, party makeup look that will be the envy of everybody.

Summer Makeup Roundup

When summer finally hits us and we are ready to join in the fun in daring style, there isn’t a lot you could do wrong when you have a little bit of creativity and a great palette of explosive colour, so treat yourself to some new makeup brushes, replenish your mascara collection and get those crafty hands to work on practicing your perfect summer 2020 look!

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Natural Eyelash Treatments – Do they Really Work?

How ideal would it be to have beautifully long and full eyelashes all year round with next to no effort involved? It would be a dream, right? Well, it has been a bit of a trying time recently and while eyelashes may not have been in the forefront of your mind, there is always room for a little self-care and there is absolutely nothing wrong in wanting to look your best self, even if you can’t really go out for everyone to see.

So, even though these last few months have been difficult for everybody, there are a lot of lessons we can learn from not having our usual amenities available, so that we are fully prepared to keep up with our own beauty routines even when things do go back to normal and we fancy saving a penny or two.

The big question is, do these homemade beauty treatments hold up? And are they worth you spending your time on concocting them? Well especially when it comes to eyelashes, it is important to learn from those who pave the way and not to try anything too outlandish near your eyes as it could cause an injury or an infection in a very unwelcomed place.

Castor Oil

Castor oil has long been rumoured to provide moisturising and conditioning properties to hair, so it makes sense that it would also be applied to eyelashes. But is the principle the same? Well, eyelashes may be made up of the same components as hair on your head, but they have an entirely different function and shorter growth cycle. That, coupled with the fact they sit right above your eyes, means that putting oil on or near them may not be as desirable as you would want.

But this doesn’t mean that castor oil is bad for your eyelashes, just that you should be careful when using it. Most people who swear by using castor oil as a conditioner for eyelashes use a cotton bud to apply a thin line to their upper lashes nightly, and then wash away with warm water the next day. Eyelashes can build up dirt and debris just like hair can, so it is definitely not advised to leave anything on them, even castor oil for too long.

So, does castor oil work for longer, fuller eyelashes?

The jury may still be out on this one. It is a yes and a no. It certainly doesn’t harm them when used correctly, but it isn’t going to work miracles, and especially not overnight! Castor oil does give eyelashes a lovely sheen and can enhance their colour and appearance and as oil tends to sit on top of the eyelash, it can make them appear fuller bodied and thicker.

As for fast eyelash growth, you may be waiting a while to see the benefits of castor oil for this specifically. According to other people who have tried and tested this method, they said that their eyelashes were less likely to break or fall out prematurely, so it allowed them to grow to their natural full length more than before, but didn’t necessarily make them grow longer. But if you are stuck for eyelash strengthening options, castor oil may just be the natural help you need.

Petroleum Jelly

This product has been around for a long time and has been famed for its multi-use possibilities. From using on cuts and scrapes, to healing chapped lips, petroleum jelly seems like it can do no wrong. So, what about when it is applied to eyelashes? There are plenty of people who swear by this cheap and convenient product to do a lot of things and restoring eyelash health is usually one of them.

But what is it about petroleum jelly that people love? It must have some seriously healthy properties for us to want to apply it to our bodies. Well, it is known as an occlusive substance which means that it forms a protective layer on the skin or hair’s surface, so it locks in moisture and keeps hydration flowing through for longer than a normal moisturiser.

Of course, this isn’t always a good thing for eyelashes as they do need to breathe and having a constant coating of petroleum jelly on them will prevent moisture from getting in. But it does kill two birds with one stone as it acts as a hydrating barrier for the skin around the eyelashes too and it isn’t very common for it to cause allergic reactions, so as long as you are careful not to get in in your eyes when you apply it to your eyelashes, you should see smoothing of the skin in that region too! This is great especially if you suffer from dry skin around the eyes too.

But does it work for lengthening eyelashes?

Unfortunately, a lot like castor oil, there is not really too much evidence that it actually helps to lengthen your eyelashes like an eyelash growth serum would, but it is a fantastic product for helping to keep your lashes looking shiny, full of colour and fuller than before using it. This does mean that you have to use it often though and not just sporadically, like with most products, it cannot work miracles overnight and does require some upkeep to see the benefits. But if you are at a loss for a proper eyelash growth serum right now, then it wouldn’t cause any harm to apply some petroleum jelly to those lashes. Just make sure you are cleansing it in the morning and give your eyelashes some time to relax without any product on before applying mascara.

Green Tea

There are plenty of health benefits from drinking green tea, so it is only natural to wonder if it is also good for eyelash health and growth too. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that green tea and the properties it contains can help with eyelash growth, although it won’t be an instant fix.

In the interests of living a healthy lifestyle though, green tea is definitely something to incorporate into your diet due to its antioxidant properties and acts as a great cleanser internally. When it comes to your eyelashes, the caffeine and flavonoids are known to stimulate the follicles and promote healthy growth. This may not mean promoting additional growth, especially not immediately, but it does mean that lashes are healthier and stronger for longer, and lash loss can account for sparse and shorter looking eyelashes.

So how do you use green tea for longer and healthier eyelashes?

Well, drinking plenty of green tea will do you the world of good in the first place, so finding new ways to apply it can add to your beautifying routine to get your skin and eyelashes in great shape. A few examples of applying green tea are:

• Make a cup of tea and once it’s cool enough, apply some of the tea to your eyelashes after cleansing. Use a cotton bud or a soaked cotton pad to apply it so that you can target your eyelashes easily. It is important to make sure your mascara and makeup have been removed so that the tea gets a good chance of penetrating the individual hairs and follicles.

• The other option is a lot simpler and can help you in many other ways. Simply drink your green tea and instead of disposing of the teabag afterward, take 10 minutes to yourself and pop two cooled teabags over your eyes, relax and enjoy!

From this you get a slow and concentrated flow of green tea to your eyelashes, as well as the skin around them and under your eyes. The properties of green tea help tighten the skin so if you are feeling especially tired or have excess puffiness, these tea bags will help to bring that down as well as making your skin look brighter and clearer.

The green tea method of eyelash care is definitely a favourite of many because it can fit naturally into an existing lifestyle and provide multiple benefits at once. But will it help your eyelashes grow longer? It would take a while before you saw those specific benefits but with consistency, it is definitely not off the cards.

Coconut Oil

Another of the firm favourites when it comes to skin and hair care is coconut oil. A great all-rounder when it comes to skin looking and feeling nourished and hair looking shiny and healthy, coconut oil has so many uses, and it rarely fails to do a fantastic job.

The great thing about this stuff is it is highly absorbent for an oil as it contains lauric acid as well as other fatty acids that feed the hair and skin and keeps going long after applying it. It is known to protect hair from damage such as over-washing, heat styling and vigorous drying and using it regularly can not only improve the appearance of skin and hair but the physical health of them both too.

So, on the eyelashes, it should promise to do the same. Coconut oil has antibacterial properties that helps keep microbial organisms that can cause bacterial infections at bay. It basically helps to keep your eyelashes clean and clear and is commonly used to remove mascara and in turn all the bad things that mascara can contain, especially if you have been using it for a few months.

The fatty acids are also great promoters of growth too, so in theory, coconut oil should encourage your eyelashes to grow stronger and longer, as well as keeping them healthy, but again it is encouraged to use in in moderation so that you don’t cake the eyelashes in oil constantly.

You can apply coconut oil in a few ways, again with the trust cotton bud, or with an eyelash brush or even your fingers. Just be gentle if using your fingers as you don’t want to accidently pull any lashes out, and always make sure your hands are clean first.

Coconut oil has so many benefits, it’s hard to see why you wouldn’t choose to use it on your eyelashes, but while it is good food for them, it may not give you fast and obvious evidence that your eyelashes are growing longer than before. Stick at it though, keep your eyelashes clean and remember to remove mascara at the end of each day to maximise your efforts in getting longer eyelashes.

The Verdict

So, these are just some of the natural eyelash treatments and remedies, but they are all equally as easy to get hold of and use in day to day life and really don’t cost the world to buy, so it is definitely worth giving one or all of them a go.

The thing with eyelashes is they can have different growth spurts depending on the time of year, hormonal cycles, diet, if you regularly use extensions on top of other reasons, so trying out a homemade remedy for eyelash growth will only be noticeable with consistent use and by keeping tabs on what your eyelashes look and feel like from week to week.

There are eyelash growth serums that contain natural ingredients that have been specially formulated to target eyelashes and their follicles, which means that eyelash growth will be more visible in a shorter amount of time. So, if the natural way isn’t necessarily for you then there is nothing wrong with voting for the convenient method instead. Xlash Eyelash Serum is the perfect example as it contains botanical extracts, fatty acids and vitamins that promote strength from deep in the follicle right up to the tip of each eyelash, meaning you can see your longer eyelashes in a matter of weeks.

When it comes to your eyelashes, only you can decide what is right for you, whether it’s a homemade concoction, a natural remedy or a handy little tube of eyelash serum, its time to get those lashes looking healthy and strong and if you get some extra length from them at the same time, I say that’s a big win for eyelashes!

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Your Guide to Healthy Lips

If there is one thing we can all agree on it is that having sore, chapped lips is one of the most uncomfortable things and as it can be so persistent, it just never seems to get any easier. When we let our lips get into a bit of a state, it can be hard to recover from and we end up in a vicious cycle trying to ignore the annoying pain until it goes away for a little while, only to return if we don’t take the right steps to keep them in a good healthy state for good.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we gave ourselves one less thing to worry about and took a little time to give our lips some well-deserved TLC, so they not only feel good, but look good too!

So, take some of these tips away from all this and start practicing great lip care so that chapped lips can once and for all be a thing of the past.

A Clean Slate

Cleansing is one of the most important parts of any beauty routine in order to have healthy lips. You wouldn’t cake your face in moisturisers and makeup without making sure it has been cleaned first as it causes build up of oil and debris which can cause blemishes and unwanted outbreaks. Lips follow the same principle although they don’t get oily, they get dry and chapped from leaving makeup on them for too long.

Lipstick is great and it can elevate any look instantly, but with advances in formulas that allow it to stay put for longer, it can prevent lips from getting the all-important hydration that they need to stay healthy. Make sure you clean your makeup off each night to start your journey to healthy lips with ease, even if it looks like your lipstick has already vanished throughout the day, there may still be residue that can hold your lips back and make them feel dry.

So, give them a good wash with the rest of your face and use a gentle cloth and some warm water to eliminate unnecessary damage and you are good to go.

A Good Scrub

Exfoliating lips is also something you may want to do especially if you are prone to dry skin on them and want to get on the road to permanently healthy lips. Lips have a different hue to the rest of our face and tend to be more pink or darker than your natural skin tone. This is because the epidermis layers are thinner, and your blood vessels naturally shine through. When you exfoliate your lips, it serves two purposes: to rid your lips of dead skin and to massage them and wake up the blood vessels so that your lips can return to a healthy glow.

The key with exfoliating your lips is to not go overboard and overdo it so that your lips end up sore, remember the layers are so thin and can be easily damaged as they lack the protective barrier that the skin on the rest of your face has. Try exfoliating them once a week to begin with, and then at most do it only two times a week for a great result and less harmful damage.

Ingredients are really of your choosing, but to really be useful, an exfoliator for your lips requires something slightly abrasive to get to work on those dead skin cells that cause dryness. Sugar or coffee grounds are great ingredients for your own homemade lip scrub, combined with honey or shea butter to allow you to rub it onto the lips with ease.

You can also use a cotton facecloth or towel to scrub your lips as it will have enough texture to rub away the dead skin. Start by wetting your lips slightly with warm water to allow the dryness to come away easily as you are not trying to create too much friction, and gently rub in small circular motions until your lips feel smooth. Don’t do this for too long though or you can end up rubbing off the top layer of skin on your lips and it will leave them feeling quite raw.

Use a soft damp cloth to wipe off excess exfoliator and your lips should already start to feel nice and smooth and ready for the next step.

Care and Repair

Now that your lips have a clean slate and are rid of dry skin, it’s time to start a repair treatment that will keep them moisturised. You can just use a lip balm to keep them hydrated however you might find that you need to apply it often or it doesn’t hold the moisture that your lips need to remain healthy around the clock.

A great product for repairing lips and restoring them to their full health is XLips EGF Intensive Care Lip Balm. This little gem packs a punch in the moisture department and only needs to be applied once a day to get the desired effect all day long. The innovative formula is designed to repair damaged lips from deep down and lock in moisture, so you don’t need to keep applying lip balm all the time.

It also helps to protect the skin from environmental factors that can spur on dryness and cause your lips to chap and it stimulates the growth of epidermal cells that help skin to regenerate in instances where it has become quite raw.

The best way to apply Xlips EGF Lip Balm is to wait until you have finished your cleansing routine and coat your lips before you go to bed. The formula is non-sticky and soaks into your lips easily so you don’t have that any discomfort from going to sleep with something on your lips that could rub off on your pillow.

You can apply it during the day too and it provides the perfect base to coat your lips before applying makeup and lipstick, meaning they stay hydrated while you carry on with your day as normal.

When your lips are in need of some TLC, an intensive care lip balm will put them well on the way to recovery and you should start to feel the relief almost instantly. Just remember to upkeep your routine so that they stay in shape and don’t go back to that dry and damaged state. It is unwanted soreness that you and your lips could really do without.

Do’s and Don’ts of Lip Care

Now that you have the tools and advice to get your lips in great condition, you need to make sure that they stay that way and there are a plenty of things that you could be doing right or wrong already. So, lets clear up a few of those myths that could be causing damage and discover a few new things that you may not have known were good for your lips.

DO – Protect your lips from the sun! They are even more delicate than the rest of your face, but because you don’t see the effects of sunburn on them straight away, they tend to be forgotten when it comes to sun protection.

Even on a cooler day, if you are outside the sun’s harmful rays will penetrate the skin on your lips and it can cause them to dry out and become very sore. Sun burnt lips are actually really painful and it will take longer than anywhere else to heal fully. After all your hard work in repairing them, it would be a shame to let the sun damage them again. For your general daily use, find a lip balm that has an SPF of 30 or higher and remember to keep applying it throughout the day as it can come off easily when eating, drinking or even talking.

DON’T – Go out in the sun wearing a cosmetic lip balm with too many ingredients. These are usually designed to give you extra shine and many have different flavours. They aren’t actually designed to protect your lips from the sun or other elements and can actually cause more dryness in the long run.

As fun and as tasty as it can be to have strawberry flavoured lips, the formulas have a dehydrating effect on your lips, so it’s best to look for a lip balm for daily use with high moisture content and soothing properties such as aloe vera.

DO – Drink Plenty of water! One of the first physical signs of dehydration is the drying of your lips. It can be a very clear-cut sign that you need to drink more water quickly. They also lose their colour and can start to look very pale with creased layers of dry skin.

Drinking plenty of water daily anyway is good for your overall bodily health so you should be keeping on top of this, but try to keep a flask of water nearby, especially during long workdays and hot summer days where boredom and fidgeting can cause you to unknowingly try and bite or pick at the dead skin. Water will help alleviate the dryness and keep you going until you can get to your favourite lip balm to soothe any cracks.

DON’T – Be tempted to lick your lips. It seems like it should help, and it might assist with dryness for a few seconds, but after this you could be heading to Sore-ville for a long time. Saliva actually rids your lips of moisture and causes them to dry out, chap and crack, leaving you with the task of repairing them yet again.

Keep a moisturising lip balm with you at all times so that you don’t feel the temptation to lick your lips when out and about.

DO – Visit a Dermatologist if your lip problems are persistent. It could be that you have an allergy to your lip balm or a condition that means your lips require extra hydration. If they have been severely sun-damaged they will also need a bit of professional help to restore them back to good health.

DON’T – Over-moisturise. While it may seem that lips need all the hydration they can get, there is such thing as too much. You can start to become reliant on lip balm and feel like your lips can’t go an hour without it as they start drying out. Practice good health when it comes to your lips and apply an intensive care lip balm at the end of the day to work on their repair and top up a couple of times a day with your favourite unscented lip balm to lock the moisture in.

A Little Bit Extra

We talk about lip health like it is a very clinical task so it’s understandable that it may not seem like the most pleasing way of getting healthy lips. But this doesn’t mean you can’t have lips that feel good and look good at the same time!

When you practice good cleansing, exfoliating and moisturising your lips will start to naturally look their best in colour and texture anyway, but for that little bit extra, you can always rely on your favourite lipstick to really drive those healthy looking lips home.

Xlips EGF Intensive Care Lip Balm soaks in just perfectly to allow you to put your favourite shade over the top without the risk of it sliding off halfway through your evening. While your lipstick does all the looking good, the balm does all the feeling good underneath and keeps them feeling soft and moist all at the same time.

Just remember to cleanse your makeup at the end of the day, being extra careful to remove lipstick from your lips gently and then repeat your nightly moisturising routine. Once you have the hang of what works for your lips and what doesn’t, you can easily restore your own lips back to their full health and keep on top of it day to day. As I always say, a healthy lip is a happy lip!

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How Do Eyelash Serums Work?

There are many things in this world that function so well we rarely stop to think about how they work. The truth of the matter is a lot of the time is best left to the experts to figure out the science behind it while we, the consumer, obliviously use products and praise their existence.

But if you actually take a peek behind the curtain you may find that the functionality of a product is worth knowing so you know how to get the best out of it. Take an eyelash serum for example. We buy, we apply and then we sit and wait for results. But to get the best out of an eyelash serum it is best to know what is in it, how it works, when to use it and how to apply it properly. This way, instead of sitting and waiting, we can build trust in the process and happily carry on with our days knowing that in just a few short weeks we will have the eyelashes we have only dreamed of having naturally.

What are Eyelashes made up of?

Those tiny little things lining your eyes actually have a lot packed into them. Aside from being made up of water, they contain keratin which is a naturally occurring protein that materialises in the human body along with other proteins that help give them colour and strength. They get their nourishment from deep in the follicle which is essentially the feeding ground for eyelashes to grow.

Eyelashes can grow in all different lengths and sizes but usually averaging around 8mm. They come in all different colours and vary in shape, some more curved whereas others tend to grow a little straighter. Once and eyelash falls out it can take anywhere from 7-8 weeks on average to grow back and they follow their own growth cycle that can be affected by weather and season, diet and hydration and eyelashes can fall out due to harsh cleansing, makeup use, overuse of false lashes or extensions amongst other reasons.

Eyelashes don’t grow in one straight line, in fact they usually grow in 3-5 layers on the upper eyelid, which is why when some fall out, you don’t really notice as you aren’t left with huge gaps where those fallen eyelashes once stood.

They are sensitive to the touch and are basically there to protect our eyes from dust and other particles that may try to find their way in. Similar to whiskers on cats, when something touches them it triggers a reflex. When something comes into contact with your eyelashes your eyes usually close because of this reflex, thus protecting those sparkly irises. Fantastic, really aren’t they!

There are usually between 74 and 100 eyelashes on your upper lid and between 60 and 80 on the bottom row and they tend to curve outward which acts as another protective function by allowing sweat or other moisture to slide downward and away from the eye.

The Eyelash Growth Cycle

So, I mentioned that eyelashes have their own growth cycle and this can be important to know before you start your journey with an eyelash growth serum so you can tell for yourself why they might not be growing in at the same time or as fast as your thought.

There are three stages to the eyelash growth cycle:

• The Anagen (Growth) Phase – This stage is the most important. It is where the eyelashes are growing in to become the best they will look and the healthiest they will feel. This stage lasts between 30-45 days and is where the lash grows from deep in the follicle, gathering nourishment so they keep their strength throughout their cycle. This is important to know for when you are using an eyelash growth serum as this is where your lashes will really feel the benefit of the nourishment they are getting from it.

• The Catagen (Transition) Phase – This transitional period is where the eyelash actually stays the same and the follicle is changing. It prepares to close up, starts to dry out and essentially get ready to kick the eyelash out. This phase can last between 2 and 3 weeks and while the eyelash remains exactly in place, it can become looser as it isn’t getting the same nourishment as it was in its growth phase. Even if an eyelash falls out during this stage of the growth cycle, the Catagen phase still needs to complete its part in the cycle before it can move onto the next stage, so they won’t start growing back in until the cycle is complete. This is why you may see there are more gaps than usual for longer if your eyelashes tend to come out during the catagen phase.

• The Telogen (Resting) Phase – This is the longest phase of the eyelash growth cycle and begins with the follicle completely shrinking to make way for a new eyelash to take its place. Eyelashes usually fall out during this stage and new ones are beginning to grow underneath the surface. So, although it may look like not much is happening on top, there is a lot of work going on below. This stage can last up to 100 days and returns to the anagen phase where the new eyelash is in need of nourishment in its follicle to help it to grow long and strong.

Interesting, isn’t it! But don’t worry, when it comes to the eyelash growth cycle, not all of your eyelashes are going through the same stage at the same time so that’s why you wouldn’t have too many bare spots at any one time.

This does mean though, that in order to keep your existing eyelashes in place for as long as possible you should think about the health of your lashes which is where an eyelash serum comes in…

How Eyelash Serums Work

Each eyelash serum on the market is obviously slightly different in ingredient, but they all have the same objective: Strengthen and lengthen your eyelashes. The difference usually lies in tried and tested methods and where some contain ingredients that have potential to cause irritation, one particular brand, Xlash focus their attention on formulas that work well and are not harmful to your lashes, follicles or eyes.

To use this example then, Xlash Eyelash Serum has healthy lashes in mind while strongly promoting its ability to lengthen your eyelashes in just a few weeks. Its active ingredients combine with the existing keratin in your lashes to fill in gaps and strengthen the hold of each follicle. When I mentioned earlier that the anagen phase in the eyelash growth cycles is the most important when it comes to an eyelash serum, I wasn’t lying! This is where the magic happens and is the exact time in the cycle where the serum has the most important role to play.

One of the key ingredients is hyaluronic acid which helps to nourish and hydrate your eyelashes and extend activity in the follicle area. This is essential for them to hold them off from drying out and becoming brittle which with unhealthy lashes is the first stepping-stone toward them breaking off or falling out more often.

Xlash Eyelash Serum also proudly contains B Vitamins and natural botanical extracts that help to repair already damaged lashes from overuse of mascara or from little nourishment or care in the past and is paraben and oil free so it can also be used with eyelash extensions safely and without risk of their adhesive coming loose.

Eyelash Serums have long promoted their ability to help you get longer lashes and while it isn’t just a magic trick that helps your eyelashes grow millimetres overnight, it does really push the need to keep your follicles strong with daily use so that when your new lashes grow in and are at the catagen phase in their growth cycle, you will be able to see how capable they are of growing longer than before. Which brings me onto another point…

How to Care for your Eyelashes

It is easy to go out and buy an eyelash growth serum and apply it every now and then, only to get frustrated when you don’t see the results you expected. The trick is to make it part of your routine and this includes makeup use, cleansing, diet and plenty of good sleep! We wouldn’t use a moisturiser on our face just once and wonder why we don’t have smooth and silky skin in a month’s time, so the same goes for eyelashes, we have to be consistent to get great results.

So, how should you apply this to your eyelashes? Well, the first step is to think about what damage you may already be doing to your existing eyelashes and see if there is a way to reduce this. For example, your mascara use.

Now, who doesn’t love mascara! I know I can’t live without it sometimes, but in the interest of having longer and stronger eyelashes and putting your eyelash serum to good use, it might be time to think about dropping it from your daily routine, maybe not entirely but at least to give your lovely lashes some time to breathe. It can become so normal to apply mascara with the rest of your makeup first thing in the morning, but maybe a few days a week, you could let them have the day off.

If you can’t do this, then the next step is to check which mascara you’re using and see if it has potential to cause more damage than is worth. Waterproof and water-resistant mascaras tend to be quite dehydrating, sticky and acts as a barrier to keep hydration out and the bad stuff in. Aside from this, waterproof mascara can be really tricky to remove and puts immense pressure on your individual eyelashes when they have to be pulled or twisted to get the mascara completely off. Save waterproof mascara for special occasions only!

The next thing you need to think about is your cleansing routine. Now, how many of us can honestly say that we’ve never slept in our mascara? Probably not very many. But this has to change, especially if you are guilty of doing this more often than not. Mascara provides a coating that is luscious at the time of application but after a few hours can start to look dry and clumpy, especially if you sleep in it. Again, it stops the good from getting in and the bad from getting out if it is worn constantly, eyelashes need a break from heavy oil-based products, or they won’t be able to withstand heavy makeup use in future.

Start your nightly cleansing routine with a gentle face wash and then use a soft cotton pad with a specific cleanser for eye makeup checking its ingredients are free of irritants and contain a lot of water. Once you have a clean and clear face at night, you may choose to moisturise, but try not to put anything on those eyelashes or close to them on your eyelid as these type of heavy lotions may clog those pores and leave your eyelashes unable to breathe.

This is where your eyelash serum comes in! Being super soft and gently on the skin around the eye and strong on the follicle, all you need to do is apply a thin strip of the serum using the specially shaped wand across the top row of lashes, close to the root. Let the serum sink in, with Xlash Eyelash Serum there won’t be any sticky residue or fragrance that may cause redness, then you simply go to bed.

I can’t promise you that you will get good night sleep, but I can say that with this routine after 3-4 weeks you will start noticing a big difference with your eyelashes. They will be healthy and shiny looking in appearance, they will be more vibrant in colour and you should even notice extra length on the ones that have been growing in as you’ve been applying the serum.

You don’t need to worry about overloading your eyelashes with serum, it only needs to be applied once a day and as you can use it with your extensions, if you have them, you may even notice that by the time your next appointment rolls around you are happy with your new, longer, stronger natural lashes. What a result!

So, there’s your guide to eyelash serum, hopefully now you have a bit more insight into the workings of your lashes and the serums that help them become the best they have ever been! Good luck on your own eyelash serum adventure and have lashings of fun!

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