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Makeup tips

Back to Basics Beauty

It is very rare that life slows down and we get a chance to reflect on the things that matter and although life as we know it may have come to a standstill right now, it is so important to remember that self-care is a priority for our minds, bodies and souls to get through hard times.

It means something different for each of us and no method of self-care is wrong as long as it is giving you a boost in wellbeing. For some it is exercising; working out every day doesn’t have to just be about weight loss or muscle gain, it can be about keeping a routine, making sure your body is fit and healthy or simply for strong mental health purely through the achievement alone. For some it is reading, keeping the mind active, learning new subjects and feeling immersed in another world. For a lot of people, it can be making themselves look good. It isn’t just about keeping up appearances, but looking good can help you feel great, and not sinking into a mental slump that can be hard to get out of once you get into the habit.

Whether your thing is exercise, reading or beauty, as long as your motivation is self-care and your goal is to feel positive about yourself each day, then you are onto a good thing and I encourage you to keep up the good work!

The thing with our normal routines is they are a way to keep our time in check, and when it comes to skin care, makeup and hair care we tend to dedicate a certain amount of time each day to doing what we are used to doing to make ourselves feel our best, ready to face the outside world. But when this routine is up in the air it can be difficult to know how to set yourself a new one.

Maybe its time to reset, take a step back and allow our skin, hair, eyelashes and lips a chance to recuperate after years of non-stop makeup application, twisting and styling and really feel the health benefits of a makeup break.

On the other hand, this could be the perfect time to get experimenting! Trying out new things, new way of glamming ourselves up so when the world is back to rights, we can emerge like a beautiful butterfly with a new and reinvented image.

Let’s explore a few tips that may just keep the time passing and your back to basics beauty routine in check.

Skin Care Routines

So, I don’t know about you but time is not usually on my side in the mornings, and on an exceptionally busy day I barely have time to think about much makeup, I do just enough to make it look like I had a full eight hours sleep the night before and didn’t just rely on my morning espresso to bring my eyes to life.

But now with a little more time to spare I’m torn between going au naturel and slathering on my cabinet full of lotions and potions in the hope of silky-smooth skin. So, where is the balance? Well, for my “working from home” skin care routine I like to keep it pretty simple:

• Cleanse with a mild soap or face wash – I have seriously combination skin so dryness around my eyes and eyebrows is very common, but I tend to feel oily around my nose, forehead and chin. Keeping up with the back to basics theme, a mild cleanser does the job of removing build up and oil from a heavy night sleep and leaves skin feeling clean and clear. Embrace a less harsh cleansing routine and if you are choosing to stay makeup free, there isn’t much need for an array of different products that could be causing damage from everyday use.

• Exfoliate a little less – I love to exfoliate my skin, not just my face but my body too. But in the name of going back to basics, it doesn’t feel so necessary right now to put my skin through unneeded stress as often as I usually would.

• Pick a scrub that smells and feels great and give your face a weekly treat without being too abrasive or rushed so that you give your skin an all over and even treat.

• Use a light moisturiser – It is important to feel good and although normal routines may be to cover your face in your favourite anti-ageing serum, this could be the best opportunity to go light and just focus on problematic areas. I always moisturise my neck and that will never change, but now I’m just focussing on my T-zone on my face and making sure my eyes get a lot of moisture through eye creams. Leaving an almost blank canvas for nearly 24 hours does wonders for the skin and allows it to breathe. Especially when most of us are stuck in doors all day, it needs to have the opportunity to shine through naturally to prevent build up of dust and dirt that could cause blemishes.

It may be daunting to think about changing up your normal skin care routine especially if it has always been a tried and tested method and has worked well for you. But remember the purpose of this back to basics beauty routine is to allow your skin to feel a little comforted and fresh. It is definitely important to rid your skin of dead skin cells that can build up and cause irritation but keep it minimal for a week or two to see if your skin glows in ways it didn’t before. You may just be surprised!

Eyelash and Eyebrow Grooming

This one is a biggie for a lot of people and while we can’t visit our usual salon for our eyelash extension infills or regular eyebrow threading appointment, our routines are thrown out of the water. It can be hard to adjust to the fact that our grooming routine is down to us for the time being and, in a way, it may be a good thing that no one will get to see my untamed beasts right now! But we have two options:

Let it all grow – Probably not the one you want to hear but it may be best if you aren’t confident looking after your own brows or lashes so that you don’t cause any damage that your eyelash technician will scald you for later.

Letting your eyelashes grow out is one thing though, letting your eyebrows grow is another thing entirely! And sure, fuller brows are having their day right now but there’s full and there’s full on! After 2 weeks in doors I chose to let mine grow out, I haven’t even so much as looked at my tweezer and I’m going to keep it that way for a little longer. Sure, it doesn’t look great but going back to beauty basics is my aim and I really want to see if the grow out shows my natural eyebrow shape without all the preening. Then it could just be a case of getting rid of a few strays and saving myself money on having them shaped in the long run.

Eyelashes need a little less work right now, my back to basics routine involves not using any mascara and applying plenty of eyelash serum. Xlash have the best solution for this period of staying at home for both brows and lashes in Xlash Eyelash Serum and Xbrow Eyebrow Serum.

They are both perfect products for use at any point in the year but being stuck indoors for the most part right now is a great excuse to get this product out and being put to good use. It works by applying a small amount of Xlash to the roots of your eyelashes or a sweep of Xbrow to the skin through your eyebrows and sinking deep into the hair follicles, helping to repair any damage, encourage longer and fuller lashes/brows and rejuvenating each individual hair for shine and silkiness.

The reason this product brings it back to basics is that it can help repair your brows and lashes within a few weeks so that by the time you need to check in for your salon visit, they will be in the best shape they’ve been in for a long time!

Practice Eyelash and Eyebrow Grooming at Home – If all else fails and you just can’t cope with the lack of grooming during your time at home then it may be time to start putting those potential skills to good use.

Always start with a clean face and if you’re dealing with your eyebrows first then do it after a shower so your pores are open which will make for easier hair removal. And think about using an aloe vera or cooling gel to calm the skin down after you’ve had your way with it. It is not only unsightly to have bare red skin, but it will probably also be a bit sore. Aloe vera will take the pain out of eyebrow grooming. Use a small pair of scissors if necessary, to snip any extra long hairs down to shape and pluck using sharp tweezers aiming only for hairs underneath your eyebrows and not above. When I use tweezers on my brows I tend to stick to the outer edges and keep those neat and tidy, while leaving the rest alone for the most part.

You can always use a pencil to give your brow lines a bit more definition without going too crazy with the tweezers which should keep you going until your next eyebrow appointment! Oh, and don’t forget to apply some of your Xbrow Eyebrow Serum to the main body of your eyebrows after you’ve done with the tweezing, keep them healthy and encourage them to grow in the just the right places.

Eyelashes are pretty easy, again just keep up with your daily applications of Xlash Eyelash Serum and keep the skin around your eyes clean and hydrated with a light moisturiser. If you’re dealing with existing extensions, they will naturally start to grow out and your natural eyelashes will probably welcome the break between appointments.

Beauty Treats

We like applying makeup because it makes us feel really good, we can change things about our appearance instantly which is great as we all have slight insecurities that makeup tends to hide well. But in this difficult time of being stuck in the house and not much access to more makeup, we are left rationing our existing products or trying to go makeup free.

I personally prefer a face of makeup and although I have the occasional day of applying a full face, I’m really trying to leave it mostly alone to bring my skin, eyes and lips back to life. One thing I have definitely noticed is that my lips are healthier, coming out of winter and not subjecting them to the cold, harsh weather so much anymore has really had a positive effect.

It’s important to notice these little things and see if there is anything else we can do to make sure our faces are just as relaxed as the rest of us as it will really start to become apparent after a break from usual products.

One of my favourite treats is a homemade lip scrub that uses these new healthy lips to their advantage and doesn’t have to compete with the elements to keep them soft and silky. Mix some coconut oil, organic honey and brown sugar in a small bowl, apply it gently to the lips in a circular motion for a minute or two and rinse off with warm water. Then do the same again but without the sugar and leave it on your lips for 5 minutes. When you rinse your lips, you aren’t only left with a nice soft finish but a really sweet smell. Just be careful not to lick them! This will only bring them back to square one.

Another homemade treat is not really a secret but seeing as we have been given so much time at home and in the interest of self-care, it seems very fitting, is to put all my cups of herbal and fruit tea to good use! Once you’ve finished with the teabag and are feeling a little overloaded with tasks, take 10 minutes out for yourself and place a teabag over each eye while you lie there and let your skin soak up their goodness.

Teabags are known to help reduce inflammation and redness under our eyes anyway, so no matter what your choice of flavour, it should do the trick especially for tired eyes. Green tea is famous for its antioxidant properties so by putting them on your skin under your eyes it helps to rid them of impurities and reduce swelling. Give it a try! It’s a perfect treat especially when you’re working from home.

In these trying times where the world has come to a stop and we are all unsure when things will go back to normal, it is really important to take time out for yourself to make yourself feel clear and calm and if adding a few new techniques to your usual beauty routine does that trick for you then keep it up… even when life gets back to normal!

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Makeup tips

Barefaced Beauty Tips

With the warmer weather approaching we can all stop dreaming of having sun-kissed, dewy skin and start making it our reality. The question is… do you dare to bare all, or do you prefer to hide behind layers of makeup when summer hits?

Let’s be honest, it would be a whole lot easier if we could just wake up and look fresh-faced without the help of cosmetics, but the world we live in today means we hold ourselves to a high standard and feel the need to cover up with the best that the makeup world has to offer.

But, try this for thought, imagine waking up and exuding natural beauty with only a few changes to your normal routine and having smooth and clear skin that you would be proud to show off, having eyelashes that are long and healthy without the helping hand of mascara, having eyebrows that were full and luscious without the need to colour them in with pencil and plump lips that felt like silk without the need to overline and overdo it with lipstick.

Trust me, it isn’t a dream that has to be so far away from reality and I’m going to teach you how. Afterall, being a barefaced beauty is the new barely-there makeup look, lets see if we can embrace it together.

Healthy, Glowing Skin

First of all, how your skin looks can have a positive or negative effect on your mental state and we all know it. All it can take is a couple of late nights, a few too many chocolate bars or a salty diet to cause our skin to break out into blemishes or to start looking blotchy and uneven. And don’t even get me started on how my skin feels after a night out on the town with the girls. Alcohol is hugely dehydrating and literally saps all the goodness out of skin so when it comes to looking healthy and glowing, skip the mojitos and reach for the teabags instead!

Teabags, I hear you cry? Yes, teabags. If you have had one to many the night before (and let’s face it, we’ve all been there) a used teabag can help hide the redness in your eyes and the puffiness in your skin. This trick also works wonders if you’ve been up all night burning the midnight oil on a work project, or even panicking about a big presentation the next day. Honestly though, even if you have had your 40 winks and just need a bit of a kickstart for your skin, teabags could be the way to go.

So how do you use them? Well, my personal favourite is a green teabag, first you drink your tea, then you apply a couple of them over your eyes, focussing on the area underneath them where bags and dark circles tend to form. The antioxidant properties of green tea help to reduce inflammation and risk of irritation and the tea helps to tighten up skin leaving it looking flawless after just 10 minutes of pure relaxation.

You could always cut the teabag open and mix it with pure honey to form a scrub that you can use all over your face. This acts as a great toner as well as a gentle exfoliant to give your skin the glow that it has been craving all winter. Teabags also help to reduce oiliness too so if you tend to have oily skin in places, popping a teabag over problematic areas for 10 minutes can keep your skin looking even and smooth without the added greasiness as the weather starts to warm up.

Keeping your skin clean and clear is the key to going barefaced and feeling confident while rocking the look, but it isn’t always enough. Use a moisturiser that compliments your skin and if you aren’t fully sold into going barefaced just yet, a tinted moisturiser will help you feel a little more made up and ready to face the outside world.

Always check that your moisturiser has added SPF for going out into the sun as the burden of sunburn will only set your skin care routine back and we’re going for sunny glow, not lobster red cheeks!

So, that’s your skin taken care of, what’s next?

Longer, Thicker Eyelashes

To really embrace the barefaced look, it wouldn’t be true if you still had to rely on mascara to get the long eyelashes you crave. And how do you get around this little obstacle? Eyelash growth serum is the answer! Eyelash growth serums have promised to do what seems impossible and it comes as a shock to most people when they find out they actually do work! Xlash Eyelash Serum is just the right product for adopting the barefaced look and within weeks it can give you not only longer lashes, but fuller, healthier, stronger eyelashes than before.

The tried and tested eyelash serum uses ingredients that promote healthy growth from deep down in the follicle and encourages each individual eyelash to grow stronger, leaving you with a perfect set of lashes that will make you wonder why you have relied on mascara or eyelash extensions for so long. Using the eyelash serum couldn’t be simpler either. It is so easy to incorporate into your existing beauty routine and takes seconds to apply so what are you waiting for?

Simply take the wand with a small amount of serum on it and run it over the roots of your top eyelashes as close to the skin as possible. It works best after your nightly makeup cleanse, while your eyes are free from eyeshadow, eyeliner or mascara and it basically just works its way in while you go to bed and catch your all-important beauty sleep. My tip is to take a before picture when you start using this stuff so that after a few weeks you can really compare the difference.

Naturally longer eyelashes no longer have to be the things of dreams, and your barefaced beauty journey can get well underway with this wonderful eyelash growth serum.

Fuller Eyebrows

Not too dissimilar to eyelashes on this one, eyebrows can be a pain if you just don’t have the ones you want, only it’s a little bit trickier to fake fuller ones. You can’t just apply mascara to eyebrows and get the look you’re after like you can with eyelashes. But… you can use the same principle as eyelashes to look naturally longer, fuller and thicker with an eyebrow growth serum.

Just like the Xlash Eyelash Serum, the Xbrow Eyebrow Serum uses the same ingredients and botanical extracts as the eyelash serum but with a thicker applicator so you can use it on your eyelashes to promote faster and healthier growth straight from the root.

Eyebrows have always been heavily featured in beauty trends over the decades – and even centuries – as they are literally there for all to see and provide the perfect framing structure for our faces and eyes. They come in all shapes and sizes and a wild array of colours, so it is baffling how only a couple of decades ago, we made a collective choice to get rid of them. Ok, well the majority of them. How the super-thin eyebrow trend picked up and paved the way for a decade long fashion trend I will never know. But we did it and now all that remains are the painful memories of tweezing like our lives depended on it and if we are extremely unlucky, some pictures may have survived that era too.

But the good thing is fuller brows are now back in style and in keeping with the barefaced beauty trend, the only thing that should be going near our eyebrows is some eyebrow serum and maybe a pencil to help fill in some gaps and give shape.

Ok, so threading is still a thing and microblading has taken the world by storm and if tidy brows are your thing then by all means do what you need to keep your eyebrows in check and beautifully face-framing at the same time. I always keep a tweezer handy for strays but these days I’m so thankful to have a serum that helps my eyebrows stay full and thick and will never take them for granted again.

I fully believe that eyebrows and eyelashes are gifts that we should nurture and cherish as they can really make faces stand out in the right way when they are styled right and as I embark on my makeup free journey, all I need is to keep them looking great on a backdrop of clear, smooth skin and I’m set.

But there is one more thing to really give you the confidence boost when going barefaced this summer…

Plump, Vibrant Lips

It’s easy to count on eyelashes being longer than before, or eyebrows being full and shapely, and even skin looking clean, clear and hydrated, but the last thing to really set off a face is a luscious set of lips, full of colour and smooth in texture, with added plumpness just be extra!

Barefaced beauty takes the minimalistic makeup look to the extreme, and not everyone feels like they can do it, but honestly if you’re taking care of your features and putting in the work to make them look good naturally, then why not show them off?

Lips can be forgotten about when it comes to their health, we might be quick to use lip balm or Vaseline to keep them from drying out or even hide them under layers of lipstick but when you actually think about their health, you can change a few things in your routine to bring them to life and really make them a feature to be proud of.

Lips naturally have a different hue to the rest of the skin on our face because the layers of skin on them is a lot thinner than anywhere else so the blood vessels kind of show through allowing a pinkish colour to shine. When we are dehydrated, they tend to change colour and can go either really light in colour or even to a darker, duller purple colour. They can look chapped and dry around the edges and even start to get flaky skin on the top layers. Hopefully your lips haven’t got to this point yet but even if they have it can be reversed with some good lip care advice.

First you want to make sure you are drinking enough water and dropping foods high in salt and drinks high in caffeine that have dehydrating properties. Then you need to gently get rid of dry skin from them using a light exfoliant, if you don’t have any to hand you can make your own really easily with a mix of brown sugar and natural honey or carefully use some warm water and a clean cloth in a circular motion to get rid of dry bits. If your lips are still chapped, be really careful not to disrupt any splits as you could open them again instead of letting them heal.

Use an intensive care lip repairing balm for a week or two by applying it before you go to sleep at night to help the healing process speed up and leave your lips feeling smooth and soft when you wake up in the morning. In the interests of keeping things minimal when it comes to makeup, give your lips a little break from lipstick and watch them start to become the lips of envy.

But… for me sometimes I like a little bit more of an enhancement to finish off my barefaced beauty look. Lips that are plump and look bigger are my dream, but I would be too scared to try fillers. So luckily there is another option, Xlips Lip Plumping Balm. This Lip plumping balm is my little secret to having full lips without the invasive procedures or needles.

Best applied before you leave the house, whether it be for work or a big night out, this stuff contains hyaluronic acid that helps to smooth out wrinkles and ingredients that boost the blood flow to give your lips a more rounded and plump appearance. You simply apply it, then you start to feel the tingle and hey presto, your lips start to look plumper almost immediately.

Of course, feel free to apply your favourite shade of lipstick of over the top, but hopefully after reading these tips you may be up for embarking on your own barefaced beauty journey and be happy to show off your naturally enhanced plump pout.

So, now the decision is all yours, to bare or not to bare? Once you have your eyelash care routine down, your eyebrows shaped to perfection and your lips feeling super soft there is only one thing left to do. So step outside and allow your natural beauty to really shine through!

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Makeup tips

Find the Right Lashes for your Eye Shape

We all have eyelashes; they naturally grow above our eyes from birth. So why can’t we always be happy with the ones we have? Well, just like everything else on our bodies, no two features are exactly the same.

It’s natural to want what we can’t have, especially when we have so much access to pictures of the rich and famous and can see how their lifestyles afford them the best treatments in beauty and the best stylists and designers that make sure they look great at all times.

It is normal these days to see what is possible in the beauty world and to want it for ourselves, so of course eyelashes fall into this category. Once upon a time and not too long ago, the idea of false eyelashes, eyelash extensions and lash lifts were unheard of, and the only way to enhance eyelashes was with mascara. This was all good and well until new technologies and advances in beauty products meant that we could have more!

Not only can we now enhance our eyelashes, but we can match them to our face shape, eyelash shape or just simply to how we’re feeling that day. We can go as crazy or as demure as we like, but I suppose when you’re paying to enhance your eyelashes, a little embellishment goes a long way!

So, if the options are endless, how are we supposed to choose what is right for us? Let’s have a little look at the choices that are available and how we can match them to our eye shape to guarantee that they do exactly what they promise… to enhance our features!

Round Eyes

If you’re wondering whether you have round eyes or not, there are a few little details that will help you decide for yourself. Of course, this isn’t an exact science and no, your eyelids won’t form a completely round circle to be considered round eyed, but they do tend to appear larger because of the prominence in shape and they have more of the white visible around the whole cornea.

Round eyes have softer corners, so the edges don’t tend to point outward as much as almond eyes. They also appear narrower than almond eyes which makes your corneas really stand out, especially if they are blue.

So, how do we accessorise round eyes? Well when it comes to eyelashes you want to place more emphasis on the outer corners for the most flattering shape. These longer lashes on the corners elongate the eye and draw attention away from how wide they are whilst not losing focus on your actual eye colour.

When considering lash extensions, false lashes and mascara, try to use this look to your advantage. A curved lash will work really well with shorter lashes toward the centre of the eyelid. Avoid a heavy curl all over as this shape will make round eyes look even rounder.

Eyeliner can also work well with a minimal cat-eye look. Don’t be tempted with a thick black line over the top lid as it makes the eyes look larger and won’t flatter your new eyelashes, but try out a half-lined eyelid from the centre to outer corner with a neat flick to add an interesting shape to your eye without being over-powering or too understated. Or if using eyeliner on the bottom lid is more your think, apply it closer to the waterline to close up some of the whiter space. It’s amazing what a bit of makeup trickery can do!

Almond Eyes

If you have almond eyes, they can be really interesting on their own without too much makeup in the first place, after all, what do you have to hide? But when it comes to eyelashes there are a few “less is more” techniques that help to accentuate the shape without losing too much of it.

Almond eyes tend to be longer in width than they are round, and they come to a beautiful point at the tear duct while the outer edges are slightly lowered over the outer cornea of the eye. Already quite sultry and drawn outward, almond eyes best suit eyelashes that are longer in the middle as well as the outer edges of the eye. By doing this it brings the eyelid upward and appears to open them up a bit more making your eyes look taller, so to speak. Almond eyes can get away with most shapes in false or lash extensions, so if you are the lucky owner, don’t be afraid to be daring when it comes to your next lash appointment.

Anyone with almond eyes knows that eyeliner can either be their best friend or their foe if they don’t get it right. This is because there are so many options to flatter an almond eye that it can be hard to get both of them right. Stick to slick winged eyeliner that doesn’t go too heavy over the top lid and remember a smoky eye is your friend. Accentuate an almond shape with some dark liner and smoky shadow just under the outer edges of the eye to really flatter the shape.

Upturned Eyes

Similar to the almond eye, this upturned shape has many flattering features built in already. It has the cat-eye look naturally without having to rely on cleverly applied eyeliner to achieve it. So, how do you dress them up with eyelashes? Just keep accentuating. Lashes for days that are applied to match the curve of the outer corner just add to the mystery and sultry attitude.

Upturned eyes can be balanced out with soft extensions that gravitate toward the centre of the upper lid to keep their natural shape as soft and flattering as possible. Eyeliner can be applied as much or as little but if you really want to accentuate those curves draw a sharp flick upward from the corner using the bottom lid as a template for direction.

If you have upturned naturally, don’t be afraid to get playful with your colours, smoky or shimmery, go for it and keep your mascara thin and lengthening to really show off those lashes.

Downturned Eyes

Eyes that are more downturned than almond eye shapes are also known as descending or have descending eyelids. This is when the outer corner of the top eyelid dips toward the bottom lash line rather than the other way around and are the same level or lower than the inner corner of the eye.

This eye shape is amazing for playing around with false eyelashes and getting a thicker set of eyelash extensions to give the eye a bit of lift at the outer edge. Also, by filling out the lashes on the upper lid it creates more dimension to the eyes and is super flattering.

Wispy lashes that appear dense closer to the eye add a layer of drama to downturned eyes and are really attention grabbing with their fullness. Lots of healthy black mascara adds to this look and lifts up downturned eyes really easily, this can give your eyelashes a really healthy look.

Hooded Eyes

This shape is when there is more skin below the browbone that covers the majority of the upper lid, meaning there is a crease, but it is mostly hidden, and the top lid covers a lot of the outer whites and outer corner of the cornea.

Although a beautiful shape, most people with hooded eyes can get frustrated with standard makeup and false lashes that are available as they don’t seem to do the same job as they do on other eye shapes. The trick with hooded eyes is to know what you have and to own it! There are little tips that help you make the most of out your eye shape and will flatter your eyes and face whilst adding plenty of drama and an element of mystique.

When it comes to eyelashes, focus on length over too much curl as they will end up falling back on your eyelids. Go for long and full or fluffy eyelashes that add volume to the centre of the eye and bring length to the centre. This really helps to open the eye up and create a really interesting shape. It also means you can play around with your mascara to get the exact volume and length you want when you are feeling a bit more daring.

When it comes to eyeliner a cat-eye or long wing isn’t going to flatter the eye shape as much as a short and cute flick at the outer corners, accentuated with a nice black mascara and eyelashes curled on the outside you can create a look that is suitable for both day and night.

Mono-lid Eyes

Very similar to hooded eyes, this eye shape is really common in Asian ethnicities. Eyelashes tend to be straighter and shorter. While false lashes might seem like the best option, lash extensions with a straighter shape would be more flattering, still add some curve just keep it natural looking.

Once lashes have been applied you can use an eyelash curler to add some curves to your new eyelashes and emphasise the shape without losing any width or depth. Try this method instead of going straight in for a curvier lash extension so you have full control over them, and they end up looking more natural.

The brilliant thing about this eye shape is how playful you can get with colour blocking, shapes using eyeliner and going bright and bold with eyeshadows, especially on the lower lash line and toward the corners. To create depth and dimension try using a darker shade of shadow toward the outer corners and a light or bright shade at the inner corners or go full smoky with pinpointed highlights around the tear duct. Beautiful!

Close Set Eyes

Ok, so this isn’t technically an eye shape as anyone with close set eyes can have almond, downturned, upturned or round eyes, but it is helpful to know how to use false lashes or extensions and makeup to flatter your eyes and your face without compromising.

Close set eyes are typically when both eyes are less that one eye width apart, as the nose tends to be narrower at the bridge, it is great to use the eyes to their full advantage and add the appearance of wider set eyes.

When it comes to eyelashes, if you are going for a false set go curvy with extra emphasis on the outer corners, try not to lift them up too much with extra curl as outward is the way forward. This is especially if you already have naturally upturned eyes, bring a little focus to the outer corner by adding length with extensions that have a natural curve but don’t end up making the eyes look too “tall”.

With makeup go dark or smoky outside the edges, a softer blend works really well to lengthen the eyes outward, and then gradually fill your upper lids in with a lighter shade all the way to the inner corners. Try not to add a one sharp bright pop of colour to the inner corners near the tear ducts as this can actually bring focus back to the distance between your eyes.

The tools are there, you just need to practice to get a shape that flatters you, makes the most out of your already gorgeous eye shape and emphasises the spark within your eye.

Good luck in your eyelash ventures and remember, sometimes rules are there to be broken, so as I always say, try and experiment to figure out just what it is that suits you. False eyelashes can be removed in an instant, lash extensions take a bit more commitment, so get to know your eye shape and what definitely doesn’t work before getting your new set fixed into place first.

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Makeup tips

Give yourself a DIY Makeover in Time for Spring

The winter blues may have gotten the best of us all this year and as it seems to go on forever, we can all be forgiven for letting our beauty routines slip by the wayside. Sure, we may like cosy nights in front of the fire and crisp cold walks wrapped up in our favourite winter coats, but when winter delivers us constant rain and heavy storms, even the bravest of us can’t bear to venture outside.

It just seems like wasted effort to get our hair done only for it to end up resembling a troll doll after a quick walk to work, and don’t even get me started on shaving our legs in the winter! It’s a hard time for beauty routines everywhere and whenever it starts to look like the end is in sight, the heavens always open just to rain on our parade.

But never fear, spring is nearly here (Well, hopefully anyway)! And although the efforts we go through seem to be in vain, the mornings are getting lighter, the sunsets are getting later and if you listen really hard, you can almost hear the Pimms being poured over fruit and ice in a beer garden on a hot summer day! It’s coming around faster than we realise, so it’s time to dust off those winter cobwebs and give yourself a makeover just in time for spring.

Winter Recovery

So where do we start? Well, first of all, let’s assess the winter damage. How is your skin doing? Are your lips dry or did they survive the gale force arctic winds? Did your eyelash extensions get you through the cold months?
When I get into my Spring makeover, I like to take stock of what we have to play with. My skin is usually the worst hit as I am one of those brave people who likes to go for blustery winter walks in the country and it seems no amount of scarf coverage is enough to save my skin from the cold conditions.

I have combination skin, but this usually means changing my skincare products every few months to adapt to the weather. When you go into your own makeover first thing’s first, check your moisturiser is still good to use, they don’t last forever and you can tell by the little number on the side if it is just time to throw it out and by a new one.

If you are due a new pot of your favourite moisturiser, take into account that your skin may be drier than it was last summer and in need of a bit more TLC. Don’t go too heavy on the oily ingredients though as like me, you may come to regret that as the weather warms up. Balance is key when it comes to your skin care routine and once you have that down you can start to embellish a little.

The same goes for facial cleansers, I’m all for exfoliating and keeping my skin clean and clear however in winter this just adds extra (and unwanted) dryness so I tend to go for something with a little added hydration in it.

Lips are a different story. The weather has so much impact on them and they are so delicate that it takes a little bit more than TLC to get them back in shape after winter. The cold air combined with rainy conditions can damage the skin on your lips and cause them to crack or peel. If you’ve ever woken up from a particularly cold night with a sore line down the middle of your bottom lip, you know just how long it takes to recover from that so its worth looking after your lips with balms and moisturising creams throughout winter.

If you have neglected them a little too much though and are in need of a quick fix for your spring DIY makeover its work investing in some intensive care lip balm to get your lips back to their normal and healthy state. XLips EGF Intensive Care Moisturising Lip Balm is a fantastic product to do just that. It doesn’t work like standard balms by just coating your lips, it has botanical and naturally hydrating ingredients that work deep into the tissue and keep your lips hydrated and moisture locked in all day long. Personally I love a lip balm that sinks in so I still have the option of wearing lipstick over the top of it if I want to. Xlips EGF Balm allows you to rock your favourite shade of lipstick while it still works hard below the surface to repair your lips. A+ in my books!

Eyelashes can take a little bit of a bashing over winter too. This applies to real eyelashes normally but can affect eyelash extensions too. In winter the dry weather can cause eyelash loss more so than in the summer months which is why extensions may start falling out faster than they normally would.

As part of your spring makeover, incorporate an eyelash serum into the mix. Just like with our lips, eyelashes also need a little more care than usual to make sure that when we approach the summer nights, they are in the best shape ever. Xlash Eyelash Serum is the perfect product for eyelash health as it promotes healthy growth by keeping your lashes and follicles healthy meaning they won’t fall out as much as they would usually in winter.

Xlash Eyelash Serum is also a growth serum that gets those lashes growing longer and fuller in a matter of weeks. If you haven’t already started to use this wonderful product, get using it now and keep up with daily/nightly applications to ensure your eyelashes have the full opportunity to look and feel their healthiest by the time summer comes creeping around. If you have lash extensions, this serum works perfectly too as it keeps your original lashes healthy underneath and doesn’t contain ingredients that interfere with lash adhesives.

Throw Away Old Products

Ok, so a spring DIY makeover wouldn’t feel complete without some new beauty products, but this doesn’t mean throw everything away, just remember that your beauty care can only work if you have creams, serums and makeup that doesn’t harm your skin or eyelashes. And what harms skin and eyelashes? Out of date makeup!

Pay close attention to mascara and eyeliner and other products that have contact with your eyes as this is where out of date or old makeup can become problematic. Nasty infections, redness and eyelash loss are definitely not on the makeover agenda so if it looks gloopy, has a funny smell or has dried out, then throw it out and go grab yourself a nice new shiny mascara, eyeliner or cream shadow.

Mascara is an easy one to tell with as the wand just doesn’t glide through your eyelashes the way it used to, and you usually end up with uneven and clumped together lashes. There are a few hacks that promise to keep your mascara lasting longer, but the truth is the wand is what causes the problem in the first place. Just think about how often it makes contact with your eyelashes and anything that sticks to it just gets put right back into the mascara tube, ready to go straight back onto your lashes the next time you apply it. Seeing as cleaning mascara wands isn’t really an option, its probably just less hassle to go out and buy a new one when yours starts drying out.

Lipsticks and liquid lip colours might look great after a few months, but remember this stuff is not only coming into contact with your mouth but staying there all day! A little harder to tell if it is still ok to use, your best bet is to follow the lifespan guidelines and if in doubt, replace it.

Part of the Spring DIY makeover is about looking and feeling your best as well as healthy skin, lips and eyelashes, so remember that makeup doesn’t have the same effect once it’s been open for a while as it did when you first got it. To really go for it with this makeover, treat yourself to a few new key products in your makeup and beauty kits and be ready to feel the best you have all year.

Makeover Time!

To some people getting a makeover means completely changing your look and reinventing yourself like Lady Gaga does every new album. I’m 100% for this type of makeover, the kind of reinvention that you do after a hard break up and you want the world to know that you are a strong independent woman, by dying your hair a bold colour and treating yourself to a new wardrobe!

And let’s face it, it’s your makeover so whatever works for you is worthy. But this spring makeover is more about cleaning out the cobwebs from a nearly housebound winter and adding a little brightness to your beauty routine so that even if spring isn’t quite here yet, you make it feel like it is.

So, your eyelashes and lips are being taken care of with intensive care eyelash serums and lip balms, your old moisturisers have been thrown away and you’ve added some extra hydration to your skin, your makeup kit is full of brand new products waiting to be tried on and you have a bit of free time to get experimenting.

Blush – As fun as it was to play around with darker colours over winter, spring is all about adding a pop of colour to your face and I love to add pink blush tones to my cheeks to brighten up my face overall. Find the right balance for your skin tone but keep it warm and bright to match your springtime mood and use it to accentuate the apples of your cheeks rather than keeping it solely to highlight slick cheekbones to keep it playful.

Eyeliner – Swap out your normal black eyeliner for coloured gel eyeliner this spring. I am in love with red and deep corals right now and apply it in the same style with one sleek line and wing over the top lid. If this is a bit too much of a bold statement to delve into then try using these bright, block colours in eyeshadow and teaming it up with your usual black eyeliner. The pop of colour is enough to brighten up your eyes and tell the world you are ready for winter to end.

Mascara – When it comes to mascara, keep it wispy and lengthening to give the appearance of barely-there makeup but with an edge. Full lashes look great and for occasions or parties this is still the way to go, but for your day to day spring makeover, less is definitely more when it comes to mascara. Plus, if you have been keeping up with your eyelash growth serum applications, the length part should start to come naturally.

Lipstick – With your lips, never be afraid to try out a few new shades this spring. Alternatives to pink are really hot this spring and while nude is a firm favourite, this makeover should be about letting people see that you are fully over feeling cold and now willing the warmer months to settle in. Try a pink with orange tones or a red with coral and peach tones to warm up your natural skin tone and to make a bold statement.

Eyebrows – Fuller eyebrows have been around for some time now, but to change your routine from winter to spring, keep your brows in check with a little pluck to get rid of strays, especially if you are in between appointments, or if you are a true DIY fan remember to only grab the strays underneath the brow near the bone and toward the outer edges. Add a little eyebrow pencil to keep them filled in and setting powder for staying power. I’ve been known to truly neglect my eyebrows over winter, so I look forward to my spring makeup makeover to really tidy them up and keep them looking neat. Keep your eyebrow look light and airy so that it doesn’t overpower your new peach lips.

The spring DIY makeover is all about recovering from a harsh winter and looking for opportunities to try out something new for the warmer months. It could be a look that stays with you until next winter so get creative and don’t forget to keep on top of your skin care so that next spring, you hopefully won’t need to do too much work.

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Makeup tips

Last-Minute Beauty Hacks for your Skin, Lips and Eyelashes

Sometimes our skin, lips, eyelashes and eyebrows need a big boost in health. We get blemishes, wrinkles, dryness and oiliness throughout our lives and in times of extreme need, we don’t necessarily have the product that we need to fix them just lying around.

If you are in need of a beauty boost and have trouble picking out the right products for you, then these hacks could provide temporary relief while you get your deciding hat on before settling on one thing.

Get ready to search the backs of your kitchen cupboards and bathroom cabinets as you may just find a few of these beauty hack friendly ingredients to keep you going for a while. Now, although a lot of these are tried and tested hacks, there are reasons that lemons aren’t in the beauty aisle at your local supermarket! Some swear by them, some won’t go near them, but if you need a quick boost in beauty health and are up for a bit of experimenting, then these hacks may just be what you need!

Coconut Oil

We start with this one as it is a great all rounder and if you have a jar of this hiding away in your cupboard then you have struck it very lucky! There’s not a lot that coconut oil can’t do in terms of our beauty routines and that includes, skin, lips, hair and eyelashes.

Ok, so scientifically speaking there tends to be more specifically targeted products on the shelves containing coconut oil as opposed to the edible stuff you may have found in your cupboard, so just what does this wonderful oil do in its purest form?

Well, it is rich in fatty oils, the good ones, that treat the skin to Vitamin E and antioxidants to keep it clear. It has anti-bacterial properties too which make for it to be a great remover of makeup! So, if you’re in an overnight situation where makeup remover or cleansing face wipes aren’t an option, then grab a cotton pad and some coconut oil and get cleansing.

Although it can be quite greasy, people also swear by coconut oil to keep the face moisturised and hydrated, so leave it on overnight for a relaxing facial without having to spend a penny! Coconut oil is also fantastic on tattoos as it helps keep the skin protected, nourished and tattoos looking as bright as the day you got them.

If you have lips that are a little on the dry side but haven’t managed to get out to replenish your lip balm stock, then coconut oil will help overnight to keep them moisturised. Don’t be tempted to do this when stepping out on a hot sunny day though as it is a quick way to get sunburned lips. Stick to night-time to give your lips a little boost by morning.

Unruly hair? Coconut oil! It can be quite heavy though so apply it to the ends rather than the roots, but it will help curly and wavy hair stay put, not to mention hiding those split ends if you haven’t had a chance to make your latest hair appointment.

Overall, coconut oil is a godsend when it comes to emergency beauty hacks and if you keep a jar of this in your cupboard, you WILL find a use for it, and not just in your food.

Honey

Raw honey is a fantastic little product that lives in a lot of our kitchens and without realising it can be the perfect last-minute beauty hack when you are in need of facial moisturisers and don’t have any to hand. Now when we say raw honey, we mean RAW honey, not the stuff with additives and flavourings that have been through the mills before making it from hive to kitchen.

Packed with beneficial components that help balance out bacteria in skin, it makes for a great face mask when the real thing isn’t available. This good stuff helps speed up cell repair and reduces inflammation so also makes for a good coating if you suffer with acne or have a sudden red pimple appear at an inconvenient time.

Mixed with sugar and some lemon, raw honey is a beautifully smelling exfoliant that helps clear the skin and rid it of dirt and grime in the pores. So, next time you get caught short with your favourite face exfoliant, get to that kitchen and see if raw honey is there to help you. Just make sure you don’t sleep in it, while it may be great for your face, it definitely isn’t so great for your pillows!

Lemon

Lemons have long been part of human diet in some form. While we don’t sit there and eat a lemon like we would an orange, it is commonly used for flavouring in foods and salads and as garnishes in cool summer drinks. Lemon is very versatile and packed full of flavour to add a little zest into your meal or beverage. So, it’s only natural it can be used in beauty too.

Lemon is very acidic but is full of vitamin C so when using it as a last-minute or emergency beauty hack, be cautious with how much you use, how long you apply it for and where you use it. For example, lemon juice has bleaching agents that many swear by to get sun-kissed highlights on their hair. Squeeze 2 lemon halves evenly and brush through and simply find a sunny spot in the garden. By the end of the day, you will see your hair has a few cute highlights and is definitely a few shades lighter.

So, in this sense, lemon is great, which means it can be good for evening out skin tones because of its bleaching agent. Loaded with antioxidants it helps clarify skin and lighten dark spots but be careful using lemon as an emergency beauty hack without knowing how it will react with your skin first.

Olive Oil

When we say olive oil, we mean olive oil! So, for last minute hacks, don’t go reaching for vegetable oil as it is really not the same. Olive oil has been hailed a hero in the oil world for years and its it purest form, extra virgin olive oil it has a few beauty benefits.

It clings on to other oils which makes it great for removing stubborn makeup like foundation and even mascara. Use it lightly with a cotton pad to get rid of your makeup before bed when no other cleansers are available. It works well for dry skin and eyelashes, keeping them hydrated and smooth, just don’t forget to wash it off before applying your makeup the next day or you may look a bit too shiny!

Combined with sugar or brown sugar if you have it lying around, this magical oil can be made into an exfoliating scrub for your body too. As well as making for a fantastic hair mask to leave your hair moisturised overnight, and being said to have anti-ageing properties, is there anything olive oil can’t do! Sign me up!

Teabags

A hidden gem in most kitchens is the humble teabag. For an emergency beauty hack, you don’t get much better than a used teabag. Stick with me, it doesn’t sound very nice, I know, but it will save you on those days where even makeup can’t hide your dark circles and puffy eyes after a sleepless night.

We’ve all been there, gone to bed on Friday night after a hard week at work, desperately trying to get to sleep so we can be up bright and early for a day out/wedding/birthday party. But sleep decides to stay away, and we lie there counting an endless line of sheep before the sun starts to rise. The panic starts to set in as we realise that our normal makeup routine isn’t going to cut it, concealer just won’t do the trick and our eyes are going to tell the tale of how much we wish we were in our beds instead of dancing the night away.

Ok, so it’s a little drastic but we all definitely know that tired feeling that shows clear as day on our face. This is where teabags come in. If you’re in a rush to get ready for the day ahead, try and take a relaxing 20 minutes to yourself, grab a few cold teabags and pop them over your eyes, paying extra attention to the fleshy area underneath and above your cheeks.

Teabags that have caffeine are great for refreshing the skin and shrinking the blood vessels which rids the area of puffiness. Green tea is already famed for its antioxidant properties so this can only do wonders for the skin too. So, it might not be an exact science, but its is definitely not going to hurt to try the teabag hack. What are you waiting for? Get that kettle boiling!

Coffee

Ground coffee is known to have beneficial health qualities when it comes to beauty routines. Caffeine, as we said earlier has stimulating agents that promote blood flow in the skin and can improve cell regeneration. So, it can be applied in a few ways to really get great feeling skin. My favourite is to make a scrub using ground coffee – you can go straight from the jar or repurpose coffee from your filter for this – and olive oil.

Get mixing to form a smooth, liquid-like paste and use it as a scrub on the body, you can target rough skin or stretch marks for this or use it on the face as a mask in a thicker consistency. The olive oil helps to moisturise while the coffee grounds work deep into the pores and the caffeine gets the blood flowing. Use this lightly on the lips too as a scrub to get rid of dry and chapped skin, just don’t rub too hard as the skin is very delicate there and if they are already damaged, they only need a light exfoliation to clear them up.

The best thing about this coffee/olive oil paste? You don’t have to keep making a new one every day, so it doesn’t just have to be for emergency situations where you need a smart hack to improve your skin. You will probably want to make enough of this paste to not waste too much coffee so put it in an air-tight container and keep it in a cool cupboard ready for the next day. Once you get really savvy, you can add other ingredients as you please to make it more appealing. Try menthol for an invigorating morning scrub or chamomile tea for a late-night relaxing face mask to send you off into the land of nod!

Are you Sold?

When it comes to beauty hacks, there are thousands of people with all kinds of advice and all swear by something they have used before. When it comes to your own body and face however, you need to make sure you try and test things for yourself before delving into a world of homemade products that could irritate your skin or your eyes.

If you do decide to try things on this list, do a patch test first especially with homemade scrubs and even more importantly if you are using them as an emergency hack. If you are trying to get mascara off your eyelashes, obviously the best way is with specific eye makeup remover, but if Olive oil is what you have to hand, go easy without getting anything in your eyes. The last thing you need is to solve one problem and create another one entirely!

Beauty hacks have been around for centuries and they are definitely not going anywhere, so go and have a raid of your kitchen cupboard and see if there is anything worth salvaging to spruce up your normal skin or hair care routine. If you can get there without eating the ingredients first, then you may well be the best emergency beauty hacker yet!

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Makeup tips

Envious Eyebrows

Eyebrows have been through thick and thin over the years, quite literally, and these days it can be hard to know what is in style and what is way past its time. But the one thing that always remains constant is that that they should be healthy. This includes each individual eyebrow hair and the skin underneath and surrounding the brows.

Keeping your eyebrows healthy might seem to be a task you have never really thought of doing, but if you want envious eyebrows for years to come then it may just be time to start taking your eyebrow care seriously.

Let’s have a look at the ins and outs of the eyebrows, how make sure they are clean and tidy and the use of serums to keep them looking healthy. Then onto the good stuff – how to make them look like the eyebrows others can be envious of!

Eyebrows 101

No one is certain why we humans have eyebrows, but there are a few theories that make sense. Their purpose is thought to prevent salt and sweat from falling into our eyes, but more recently it has been said that eyebrows developed as a form of non-verbal communication.

These days eyebrows have more aesthetic appeal than actual purpose, but that never stops us from raising them when we are surprised or creasing them when we are angry. The interesting thing is that we see eyebrows every single day on every person we meet, and some are prominent in their appeal while some take a back seat to other features.

There isn’t much right or wrong about how our eyebrows look, and in many ways we can’t help what we were graced with at birth, but it doesn’t stop us striving for eyebrows that bring us confidence and make us feel like we never fade into the background.

But whatever you prefer, thin, thick, barely there or untamed, there is one thing we all have in common and that is that our eyebrows will let us down over the years if we neglect to look after them properly.

The Rise and Fall of the Eyebrow

I don’t know about you but I can remember being in my early teens as my eyebrows started to take real shape, they were full and glossy and probably a little bit too unruly, but tweezers hadn’t really entered my makeup kit yet so I embraced the bushy eyebrows in all their glory. Then it seemed that overnight, the thin eyebrow trend took a firm grip and I was in awe of how these ladies in films and in rock bands made their eyebrows practically disappear and still look fabulous.

I grabbed my tweezers and began painfully plucking away all the strays and then some! I had razor thin brows and a gnarly red and swollen space where my eyebrows once stood. But it was in the name of fashion, everyone was doing it so why should I be left behind.

The one thing I soon came to realise was that this was one of the most ill-advised fashion faux pas I would ever face in my beauty regime. Why?

• I definitely did not prepare my skin beforehand and was left with blotchy red patches for weeks, not to mention the pain from plucking hairs from unprepared skin. Ouch!

• I didn’t think about aftercare and left my newly bared brow skin to sizzle in the sun that summer. Definitely not attractive having sunburn where eyebrows should be!

• I didn’t think about what suited me. Sure, popstars and actresses can pull off extreme looks, they have stylists and makeup artists following them around all day, so they always look flawless. Me? I barely new how to do my makeup, let alone how to make sure it suited my face and after learning a thing or two as I got older, my face shape definitely suits a fuller brow!

• They don’t really ever grow back as they once were. This might be different from person to person, but after years of eyebrow abuse, I can honestly say that my eyebrows have never been the same.

It’s sad really, if I had really thought about the unkind treatment I was making my eyebrows endure, in hindsight I would have left them alone. But I didn’t and now we are here having to make up for years of damage and getting my eyebrows back to a healthy state.

Eyebrow Health

So, where do we begin with making sure our eyebrows are healthy? It is one thing to get them looking good but being healthy is a different matter. The best part is, once they are well taken care of, they will start to look as great as they feel.

First of all, you need to have a look at what you’ve got and really assess their current state. Whether they are thick and full or thin and sparse there is always hope for your eyebrows to look as great as you want them to.

Let’s say you have thin eyebrows from overplucking or maybe they are naturally thin the first thing you need to do is put the tweezers down. As tempting as it may be to want to get rid of a few strays or newly growing in hairs where you are used to having none, you may need a break from the tweezers. You may think they look uneven and you use tweezers to balance them out, but remember the saying “eyebrows are sisters, not twins” so as much as you want to pluck at this point, steer clear or tweezers, waxing and threading for the time being to try and get the health back into the eyebrow follicles and skin surrounding them.

So, in this growing out period, you should exfoliate them. The same way you would exfoliate the rest of your face, nice and gentle so you don’t irritate the skin, but the idea is to keep the skin clean and clear and give the follicles a better chance at growing healthy hairs.

Next, you need to keep them moisturised and nourished, like you would with your hair. You notice when that starts to look dull and dry and even periods where your hair doesn’t grow as much or as quickly as you would hope, so you do something about it with a hair mask or a moisturising conditioner.

Eyebrows are a little more delicate and so is the skin around your eyes, so heavy conditioners won’t help and could end up clogging your pores and causing blemishes or infections. The best thing to do is to use an eyebrow conditioning serum. XBrow Eyebrow Conditioning Serum by XLash is a brilliant solution for people with thinner eyebrows or people in the process of trying to grow them back. It also has sustainable qualities which with regular use can upkeep the health of your brows long after they have grown back in.

It contains mild and botanical ingredients that when applied sink deep into the follicle to build strength below the skin, stronger follicles mean stronger hair so it’s a no brainer really, especially when your eyebrows are a little less favourable in this department!

Within a few weeks of daily use, you should start to notice hairs growing back in quicker and healthier. So when you used to reach for the tweezers because one hair grew in in an unwanted place, now you will start to see a few hairs grow back in and be less likely to pluck them as you can see the potential for when they are fully grown.

I certainly found this to be the case anyway, I always had one annoying eyebrow hair that would grow in right on the brow bone but the area surrounding it was pretty sparse, with XBrow Eyebrow Conditioner, that sparse area started to fill out quickly and it was just a patient waiting game until they were at a length suitable enough for grooming.

Before we actually get onto grooming, let’s talk about cleansing a bit first. As this is one step that should be self-explanatory but probably doesn’t seem to go hand in hand with eyebrow health. Afterall, I’m telling you to apply a healthy serum to your eyebrows daily, what good would cleansing it back off again do, right?

Well the key is in the balance. It is in our nature to want to look our best, so it is only natural that we apply creams, lotions and makeup to our faces. The problem is the more we put on our faces, the less our skin as a chance to breathe. So, taking makeup off at the end of the day is really important for healthy skin and hair.

Think about eyelashes at this point, and how they clump up together when you leave mascara on them for too long, You wouldn’t sleep in mascara as the long-term damage it does to your eyelashes is not worth the few minutes it would have taken to remove the mascara in the first place. So, eyebrows are the same, taking makeup off at the end of the day is important to keep your follicles clear and skin soft.

That’s why the Xbrow conditioner works so well to keep your eyebrows hydrated overnight, it isn’t heavy or oily which is the number one reason follicles get clogged and by applying it at night, you get to go to sleep content in the knowledge that you’re doing your eyebrows a massive favour!

When it comes to grooming your eyebrows, whether you have patiently waited for them to grow back in or have been naturally blessed with a fuller brow, you need to think about a few things first. Unlike me, back in my early days of plucking my eyebrows, don’t make the same mistakes of going in without preparing your eyebrows and skin first.

After about 6-8 weeks of regrowth, you will really start to see your natural eyebrow shape and it is important you stick to this shape to really learn how it flatters your face. Eyebrows are supposed to frame your eyes and face so overplucking at this stage could get you back to square one with a few months to wait for them to grow in again.

Brush your eyebrows to give yourself a real idea of the arch and what can be removed. By plucking a few of the strays underneath you will be left with a semi-defined shape that might just require a bit of grooming every now and then to keep that shape you’ve worked so hard for. My personal suggestion if you aren’t happy with a casual eyebrow shape and want something more defined and razor sharp would be to visit a beautician or eyebrow technician who can advise you on what will suit you and use the tools in their professional arsenal to bring that shape to life.

If you are like me and at this stage, just want to do a bit of home grooming to keep your brows in check, then keep it simple, don’t overpluck and definitely don’t start going for hairs other than those underneath your arch.

Make sure your skin is prepared too or you’re in for a world of pain and swollen red skin which is not a sign of health eyebrows. Wait until after a shower when your pores are open and it will make it for a much nicer experience, trust me! Then use a cooling balm afterward to help bring the skin back to a normal state and feel the relief of a job well done.

When all is said and done, once your eyebrows are in a better state than they were before the need to tweeze came along, you are free to do with them what you please. And don’t get me wrong, I still have spaces where hairs grow back in slower than anywhere else, so I use an eyebrow pencil to help fill in the blanks and give them a lot more definition.

Eyebrows can be fun to play around with but remember that whatever you do to them could last a long time, so keep it temporary until you have found the right balance of what makes them stand out for you. Don’t be too afraid of your eyebrows though, just pay attention to their health every now and then and you will be rewarded with a great set of enviable arches for years to come.

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Makeup tips

Minimal Makeup, Bold Colours

We have all heard of barely-there makeup and we have no doubt all seen bold beautiful looks on runways and in editorial magazines that only the likes of supermodels can pull off. But in 2020, all bets are off and the way makeup is going, it is possible for everyone to find even a little part of such a niche corner in the makeup world, not just supermodels.

The trick is to use colour and shape to liven up a barely made up face with confidence and turn these bold looks into something we can all wear on a daily basis.

If you are quite timid with your makeup, then experimenting with colour might be a big step for you, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t work. In fact, this could be the most exciting part of your makeup journey; discovering new products, colours, techniques and styles.

Creating A Base

With any means to creating a new look, the only place to begin is at the start, and that means a clean and fresh face, especially concentrating on the health of your features. So, think here about your lips, your skin, your eyelashes and eyebrows.

For makeup to sit firmly and proudly on your features, they need to be strong and nourished to take the weight of your new makeup. The first step in creating a base is having a clean palette to work with so ensure that your skin is clear, any mascara has been removed and you have gently exfoliated.

This includes your lips too as no bold makeup look is complete without some colour on your lips and it can go wrong if you still have dry or dead skin hanging around from the unforgiving winter months. The best thing to do here is to use an old toothbrush (not too old) or a textured cloth and when they are wet, gently exfoliate the skin on your lips to create a smooth base.

Don’t do this too often or too vigorously as the skin here is so delicate and it may make them sore and delay your new makeup adventure. The same goes for the skin around your eyes, especially as makeup here can be harder to remove than anywhere else. Go gentle on your skin and eyelashes and try to keep up this routine so your face is always in good health.

Nourishing your Features

Once your cleansing routine is down, its time to build some extra nourishment and beauty. Start with your eyes and skin and make sure that you moisturise taking careful consideration into your skin type. Oily, combined and dry skin should be treated accordingly so that you don’t add to the problem and so that any makeup you put on top isn’t going to look clumpy or cause any further issues to your skin.

Don’t overload your face with moisturisers and creams, but when you are feeling the fresh-faced look with minimal makeup, this could be the way to go. I choose to prime my skin with active moisturisers that also mattify my skin and provide a great base for my foundation. Then an extra delicate and non-oily one for my eyes so that my bold eyeshadow doesn’t decide to slide off halfway through the day!

Your lips can sometime take on the weight of the world, especially in the coldest depths of winter or the heights of summer on a cloudless day. So, nourishing them year-round is a must! But especially if you’re planning on experimenting with bold makeup now.

Try out an intensive care lip balm like Xlips EGF lip balm that will help repair sore or dry skin and acts as a thin barrier against the elements. Daily use of this stuff will have your lips back to their perfect self in no time, just don’t ditch your new repair kit as soon as you feel a difference, or you could end up back at square one!

Next onto the eyelashes. It isn’t an obvious one that these babies need nourishing often and we tend to take them for granted because they just seem to exist. But don’t relax on your eyelashes as over time they can get weak and thin due to excessive mascara use and not cleansing properly.

Give them a little push with Xlash Eyelash Conditioner, which not only nourishes your lashes daily but assists with eyelash growth so if yours are a little on the short or thin side, then this stuff will get them back to a long and healthy state so they are ready to take part in your new makeup ventures.

The same goes for your eyebrows too and luckily Xlash have an eyebrows serum that promotes healthy growth and hydration. Don’t worry about these products being sticky or having a heavy coating as they are light as water and makeup can be applied over the top of them too, which means you don’t have to worry about makeup clumping or making your lashes or brows stick together.

Barely-there Makeup

Ok, so to achieve the fresh-faced look, it can usually take more effort that anyone would even realise. But it doesn’t have to as long as you have created a great base to start off with. Flawless skin seems unachievable, but it is something we all want so just a few changes to your own beauty routine can help you get there.

Once you have it, it is up to you what you do with it, and if you are a real minimalist when it comes to makeup then you might want to just leave it there. You may add a few flicks of mascara and get on with your day, but if you’re like me you may have a few dark circles to contend with that require some clever concealer and foundation.

To be honest, I’m more scared of the minimalist makeup look than I am of bold statement makeup as I love features that pop and with dark hair and even darker eyes and a medium skin tone, I need to create interesting shapes that frame my face and eyes or I feel I look too “boring”. It is subjective though so I’m for whatever works for each individual person.

It is easier these days though to make yourself look done without much of the doing! By using natural colours on your eyes, and browns instead of blacks to line them, it is possible to leave the house feeling made up but not being too overbearing.

But why stop there? This is 2020! We should be celebrating our faces and exciting colours and techniques that help bring it to life.

Bold Colours

It is easy to inject a little colour without going over the top and causing yourself any worry that you may have overdone your makeup. The idea for a minimalist is to just focus on one feature and add a touch of brightness that you wouldn’t usually but perhaps in the same way you would with neutral colours.

So, for example a great statement that hold up on your barely-there makeup promise but with a little boost in colour would be to swap out your normal black or brown eyeliner and be as daring as you like. Of course, different skin tones suit different colours but when you’re just adding a little pop, I say just get to experimenting.

My favourite alternatives to black are variations of green and teal. The work wonders on my big brown eyes especially and even with a fresh face of thinly applied foundation, it adds just the right amount of excitement that it is wearable in the day or evening. Sweep a heavy line of green or teal gel liner over your top eyelid, making sure to have primed first for extra staying power and invest in a high pigment colour that really stands out.

Finish this off with a light coat of mascara so that your eyes are still framed but the focus isn’t drawn instantly to extra thick or long eyelashes when you’ve finally embraced the bright colour behind them.

This year I’ve been seeing a lot of red eyeliner in place of black and I absolutely love this twist on the vampy classic red pop of colour. It’s normal to see red on the lips, but in a smooth line leading to a wing over your top eyelid is just a modern approach to minimalistic makeup that I think should stick around for years.

Keep the eyelid free of any other colours and finish the look off with a heavy brow and dark eyeliner but remember to keep your eyeliner neat and crisp for this sharp take on a classic look.

Bold Shapes

A bold eyebrow is always a nice but daring statement when it comes to minimalistic makeup as it frames the face nicely without having to inject too much colour into the mix. Now I’m not saying to paint on thick black eyebrows and call it a day, just focus on the grooming and shaping of your eyebrows to compliment a nude look on the rest of the face. Clear and powdered skin is a must for this to work and a little tweezing may be required to get rid of a few unruly eyebrow hairs in the process.

Start with an eyebrow wand or gel wand and brush your hairs upward, this looks great and helps you build from their natural shape and without being sticky, it keeps your eyebrows exactly where you want them. Use gel or a pencil to create thin strokes in the direction of your eyebrows but don’t be too neat with this or it may start to look too unnatural.

Play with colours to get a nice mix and create more texture that also helps with the barely-there look. The space between your eyebrow hairs can get too crowded if you aren’t careful so always start thin and build accordingly until you have your desired depth of colour.

Use an eyebrow brush to ruffle them up a little bit and keep them looking natural or you could end up with them looking too sleek and stuck down. Finish off with more pencil where you need to define the shape underneath your brows but be careful not to end up drawing an outline!

I personally love playing with makeup on my eyebrows and depending on the occasion I sometimes just fill them in messily or really create a defined look to compliment my other makeup. It takes some practice to get comfortable doing your brows, but it is one of the easiest ways to make your face stand out when you don’t want to go full on with your makeup.

Add a touch of mascara to finish this look off and keep the colours similar for a softer take on it that will still frame your eyes nicely.

Bold Lips

This is easily the one area we can play around with colour and texture that will always be in fashion. As long as they are healthy, lips are my favourite playing field and in more recent years, I look to lipstick lip colours for my own take on minimalistic makeup.

With a fresh face and a little blush, the use of lipstick to create a bold statement is really easy. Keep eye makeup to a minimum and rely solely on your lip colour to take your face to new heights. Red is always a classic colour that will stay a firm staple in my makeup kit, but when I’m feeling more adventurous, I go for corals and thick pinks in summer and purple in winter.

I’m not talking about tints either, I’m talking bright and bold colours that get people talking! To keep this look neat, line your lips in a natural colour to prevent lipstick from bleeding into the rest of the skin and apply it defining the shape of your outer corners right into the cupids bow.

I love bright and shiny for my own personal kit, but matte textures in dark plums and purples works really well as you still get that big pop of colour. Remember that mascara is your friend at all times if you cleanse it off properly and look after your eyelashes, so a strong lip colour only needs a little mascara to set your face off without bucketloads of bright eyeshadow that can make it look a bit old fashioned.

At the end of the day, your face is your own palette, and should you choose to keep it completely minimal then I envy you! But if you do feel like it’s time to get experimental, keep these tips in mind when you next walk past the makeup counter and see if a little pop of colour ends up in your own makeup kit.

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Makeup tips

Can you Look Younger with Makeup?

There comes a time in our lives where we start to realise age is not on our side. Our teens and early twenties are easy enough when it comes to beauty routines as we tend not to care about wrinkles or grey hair as it is so far down the road.

And for the longest time, there have been two takes on the matter of ageing, do it gracefully or get yourself a good surgeon! But for the everyday woman like me, surgery is not an option and I’m definitely too squeamish to think about Botox and filler injections, so where does that leave us?

Well, with the way that cosmetics and makeup are going, there are now plenty of options when it comes to keeping that youthful look while we have our youth and making us look younger even when it is starting to slip away!

Preventing Ageing

With makeup there are clever things you can do to look younger almost instantly, but the best way to enjoy your youthful look for years to come is to take action against it as soon as possible. Even in your early twenties its good to get a head start on your skin care routines, so the way I see it is to take it seriously now and reap the rewards later on.

Exfoliate – This is an easy enough action to incorporate into your routine at any stage. Exfoliation helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles as removes dead skin cells and give skin a fresher and smoother surface. Too much exfoliation can be bad though, especially on the face where skin is more delicate than anywhere else. If you scrub too hard you remove the effective barriers that protect the skin from dirt and particles that can cause infection or inflammation. Red skin may only be temporary, but it is not the path to youthful skin.

Cleanse – Cleansing your skin should be part of your daily routine anyway, to rid the face of dirt and particles that can build up and cause spots. But if you wear makeup, this routine may not be as simple as just cleansing with ordinary soap. There are so many products out there for makeup removal that it can be tricky to know what is best for your skin, but sampling something that works for your skin type and can remove makeup without being harsh on your skin is a general winner in cleansing.

So, while wet face wipes seem convenient and obvious that they are for cleaning the face, they aren’t tailored to individual skin types, they aren’t specifically designed to clean a certain type of makeup and they can sometimes just move the dirt around your face, leaving you with an oily residue. Try clear cleansers that don’t contain harsh chemicals and are delicate on your features. Staying on the youthful side depends fully on you making the best out of them.

Moisturise – Locking moisture into the skin is vital for a youthful appearance as it helps to produce new and healthy skin cells as often as possible. Moisturising after cleansing is a fast way to give yourself that youthful glow on the spot but with the right type of cream you can slow down the appearance of ageing and keep your skin firm. Firm skin means fewer fine lines, so moisturiser is really not one to be ignored. Make sure you find the right match for your skin type (oily, dry or combination) for a fresh face. Although oily skin tends not to age as fast as dry skin, it doesn’t help with the youthfulness issue and can cause problems applying makeup and keeping it in place.

The other thing to consider when you have your favourite moisturising cream to hand is to remember your neck. A lot of people forget about the neck as part of their beauty routines, but actually the skin there is also quite delicate and thin and prone to lines and wrinkles. If you want to fool people with your age and appear 5-10 years younger, your neck is the first thing to give away tell tale signs of your actual number!

Sun Protection – High up on the list of things that can cause the skin to look and feel older than it is, is the sun. Even in the colder months of autumn and winter the sun causes damage to the outer layers of skin and the effects can last days, months or even years. When you are out on a clear or even a partially cloudy day, the sun’s rays will find their way onto any skin that is on show. This is normally always the face so it’s important to apply sun creams or lotions, especially in hotter countries or in the middle of summer where as little as five minutes can give you bad sunburn.

The issue most people face is that they want to wear makeup when just out and about and it’s only on holiday that we rely solely on sun cream when we’re out lounging by the pool with a cocktail in hand. So, a great tip is to invest in foundations that also have a high SPF to protect that lovely, youthful skin. There’s nothing wrong with a little rosy red tint in your cheeks on a hot summer day, but sunburn is a quick way to faster ageing skin.

Clever Makeup Tricks

Foundation – In a fast bid to de-age yourself with makeup it can be a tendency to keep piling the stuff on until the real you is completely hidden. But this is a big no-no and can add years on instead of taking them off. When it comes to foundation, go lighter on your application and try not to layer it on or go for something with a heavy formula. When you’ve been looking after your skin, you should be able to show it off and foundation should act as an accessory, not an overcoat.

In addition to this, to help give you a more youthful appearance be careful with what shade of foundation you use and see a consultant to help you match the right shade to your skin. Too dark and it looks like you have something to cover and too light will highlight any fine lines and wrinkles. The same goes for mattifying foundation, while this is fantastic for oily or combination skin, it can show off every shadow caused by lines as the surface of the skin looks flatter.

To combat the problem of ageing skin, the right foundation can make you look younger if you opt for something luminous and light. Or if foundation is too much, try a tinted moisturiser for the same effect. The idea is that you create a smooth surface that the light will bounce off and give you a youthful glow.

Concealer – Now you may be thinking that concealer already does the job of giving you a younger looking appearance, but it has to be applied with care so that it does the job it is supposed to. It is really tempting to use concealer thick and heavy to cover up all dark patches, but this can make it look clumpy and end up highlighting lines and wrinkles under your eyes. Find the areas you need to cover by using good lighting and a full mirror so you can see your skin properly. Dim lighting can accentuate shadows and will make you think you need to apply more concealer than you actually need.

Powder – While face powder, pressed powder or powder foundations might seem appealing, they can have a tendency to age you if not used sparingly. The reason being that if you apply too much of the stuff it can make your skin look dry and chalky. Even if you are prone to oily skin, it can have the same effect.

The problem is when your skin is a little on the shiny side, the temptation to use powder to cover it just counter-acts the issue. The best thing to do is to control oily skin with the right cleansers and moisturisers and when using powder to target the areas that need it such as the nose or forehead. Keep it away from your eyes or it ill accentuate the lines around them.

So, can powder make you look younger? It probably won’t knock ten years off you but if you use it correctly, it definitely won’t be adding any years on!

Eyebrows – One thing that will fade as the years go on is the health of your eyebrows if you haven’t been taking care of them properly. They start to thin out and lose their shine or colour over the years and it is a quick sign of your real age. So, if you want to use makeup to help you look younger, then a little grooming and an eyebrow pencil can go a long way.

If you want something a little more permanent then microblading could be the answer to your youthful prayers as a proper technician will be able to form a shape that works for your face and you won’t have to worry about it for a long time. If a little makeup is the way forward for you then use careful strokes of an eyebrow pencil to follow your natural shape and see the youth appear in your eyes as if by magic.

Don’t get too carried away with the tweezers either, I mean eyebrow trends come and go but one trend that will add years onto you is the barely-there eyebrow look. Over-plucked eyebrows tend to look older in style so it is a tell-tale sign of your actual age, plus the skin around your eyebrows can start to lose its elasticity, so showing it off leaves less to the imagination.

Eyelashes and Mascara – Your eyes are one of the first things people notice about you, and while they might still hold their same colour, the areas surrounding them may not. Ageing eyes come from laughter lines, wrinkles, dark circles and less prominent eyelashes, so makeup needs to be used very cleverly and carefully to hide them.

Piling on eye makeup is not the answer, if it is too heavy it will just magnify lines and highlight ageing skin. So, the answer is moderation, and to turn back the clock you have to treat your eyelashes well. Incorporate an eyelash conditioning serum into your beauty routine to get the shine and fullness back into your individual lashes and to keep them strong when you apply makeup daily.

Before using mascara take an eyelash curler to your lashes very carefully and bring them back to life with a fantastic curl that screams youth and make them the focus of your eyes. When you get to the mascara, really focus on creating length with your new curly addition to take years off you. If you must use mascara on your bottom lashes, just use it lightly toward the outer corners, but avoid repeating the process and building volume down there as it will look spidery and is a sign of age.

Lipstick – You may not choose to where lipstick every day and it could only come out for special occasions but with the colours and textures available right now, there is no reason you shouldn’t give it a try.

People get scared that lipstick has to be one colour or at best a couple of variations of that colour when they get older, but the truth is there are plenty of shades out there that can make you look younger but not like you have tried to.

Pink lipstick is a great example, it is playful and comes in different shades to suit your skin tone and can be worn both daytime and evening. Shades on the nude side have a plumping effect on the lips while still looking quite natural and as lips can thin out with age, it is a great option to help make you look younger.

If dark lipstick is more your thing then be careful when applying it and use a lip liner to keep lines sharp and crisp. Lip lines tend to get softer as you get older so when lipstick is applied it can bleed or feather into the surrounding skin. Even if it feels a little off at first, keep trying these new lipstick techniques with the aim of taking a few years off yourself.

Don’t be Scared to Experiment

Remember to roll with the times, there is a reason that products evolve and change, as they get better and become more convenient for you to use once you get used to them. If you really want to make yourself look younger, remember that some of these old products and techniques will be quite quick to tell your age, even if you think you are applying them well.

When it comes to your makeup kit, keep it replenished and get rid out of date makeup that can be harmful to your skin or eyelashes and stat getting into a routine that allows you to apply makeup minimally until you are happy with your desired look.

Getting older doesn’t mean we can’t look younger, we just have to be clever in what we do to achieve it.

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Makeup tips

Is Your Mascara Damaging your Eyelashes?

There are so many things we apply to our faces and bodies that have health benefits or that make us feel and look good. The positives always tend to win over the negatives and when it comes to beauty, there isn’t a risk that someone out there isn’t willing to take all in the name of looking great.

When you think about cosmetic or plastic surgery, the enhancements always come with some risk. There is always a percentage (although quite small) that the procedure could go wrong, that the body will react badly to it or that it may not last as long as hoped. But it doesn’t stop the industry from growing and booming each year with more and more people willing to participate in the hopes of achieving their dreams of looking the better than they ever have before.

But it isn’t just the invasive treatments and cosmetic surgeries that carry risk, day to day items come with all sorts of possibilities and even the most promising products that the beauty world releases can cause damage when not used properly.

Take mascara for example, it is a normal everyday item of makeup and has been around for years, but it is definitely one of the discreet ones that can cause damage to your eyes and eyelashes without proper care. And it really doesn’t take a lot, but somehow in our evolution, time to take care of ourselves seems to be one thing we are lacking.

So, lets start with the basics and see how the eyelash works and just why it requires so much care.

Eyelash Care 101

The human body is fascinating isn’t it? All these little parts that we take for granted and have no real idea of their reason for functioning. And eyelashes? Well, they are more than just an accessory to our eyes, and in fact they serve a greater purpose than we realise.

Consider them the protectors, or little army of bodyguards to our eyes and come wind, rain or shine, they stand firmly in the way of dust and dirt particles, preventing the majority of them from getting into places they don’t belong.

We all have eyelashes, some thick, some long, some full and some more widely spaced. Which means we should all be thinking about eyelash care in the same way. Ok, so not all eyelashes are the same or have the same strength but if we don’t take care of them, they can start to get weak and stop doing the job they were designed to do. Oh, and they stop looking good!

So, when it comes to mascara the purpose is to make our eyelashes look great, to stand out boldly and with strength that can make others wonder just how we got our lashes looking so good. But with great power, comes great responsibility! And if we want to behold the power of a mascara wand, we need to keep ourselves in check just to keep our eyelashes looking and feeling as healthy as they deserve.

How to Keep your Eyelashes Healthy

There are probably hundreds, no, more like thousands of different products that help our facial features out in some way or another. From anti-ageing creams to T-zone moisturisers, intensive care lip balms and blackhead removers, but these products only need to focus on what the product does, and not how it looks on the skin. They are designed to cleanse and hydrate our skin and lips all while being invisible to the naked eye.

But mascara is different, the purpose of mascara is to make your eyelashes look good, so the part where it keeps them cleansed, hydrated and moisturised can a lot of the time, be put to the back burner. Or at least, if it looks good then the healthy aspect doesn’t tend to mater so much to the consumer.

But keeping your eyelashes healthy enough before even applying mascara is where it’s at right now, and there are new and upcoming products that promise to deliver on eyelash health once and for all. Take Xlash Eyelash Serum for example, this one is relatively new to the market and has multiple functions in one mascara sixed tube.

First, it keeps your eyelashes clean, with natural botanical ingredients it keeps dirt and daily grime away from your eyelashes while you sleep. Second, it keeps them strong. Strength is really what counts when it comes to eyelash health as strong eyelashes mean less frequent loss of individual lashes if you are prone to this. And third, it promotes healthy eyelash growth from its high vitamin and hyaluronic acid content which encourages lashes to grow back in fuller and longer.

When it comes to eyelash growth, you can’t really go wrong with ingredients that help to keep them at full strength. And this stuff is one of the invisible ones too, no residue, no scent and no perfume. Winner!

There are other promoted ideas when it comes to eyelash health, some completely natural remedies and some more like oils and jellies. Coconut oil is supposed to be a good all-rounder when it comes to our bodies so it’s only natural that someone at some point thought to try it on their eyelashes. Coconut oil makes skin feel great, hair look shiny and keeps eyebrows in check, so of course it does wonders for lashes too.

Petroleum jelly is probably coconut oil’s predecessor and was used widely in terms of skin and hair care. The problem with using it on eyelashes is the coating can be too thick which if used liberally can limit the air and hydration that gets to them. But still, some people absolutely swear by the stuff so if it works for them…

The other key factor in eyelash health is water. I’m not saying if you drink water a couple of times a day your eyelashes will miraculously grow longer and stronger, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Water is great for our bodies as a whole, and we should aim to consume a good few litres of it every day to keep healthy. Sugary drinks, salty foods and caffeine are all contributors to dry hair and lashes and the overall look of them can become dull. So, although it isn’t an instant cure to drink water, it’s best to keep drinking the good stuff for overall body health and a little more shine to your lashes.

Is Mascara good for your Eyelashes?

There’s no easy answer to this one as it can be when used properly and if you invest in a good mascara that has ingredients that think about your eyelash health. It may be easier said than done but there are a few rules that you should follow to make sure you aren’t damaging your lashes with daily mascara use.

First pick the right mascara. There are so many options out there these days, from lengthening to strengthening, volumizing or tinting, waterproof or crazy colours. A lot of people have one brand they worship and stick to each time they replenish, but if you’re like me, you like to see what different brands and types can do for your eyelashes and aren’t afraid to try something new every now and then.

There’s no right or wrong with changing it up or sticking to what you know but at least spare time to look at the ingredients of your mascara before committing full time. So, mascara has already come a long way since the beginnings of its arrival to makeup counters, where it used to use lead-containing kohl and other dangerous ingredients that could cause blindness, the risks these days are a lot lower as the health & safety committees of the makeup world got involved. These ingredients were scrapped in favour of pigmented carbons and thickening wax that are no where near as harmful. Sure, it doesn’t mean it’s pleasant getting mascara in your eye (come on, we’ve all been there) but at least the result doesn’t end with potential loss of sight!

But when you are choosing a mascara, try and make sure that the ingredients contained aren’t anything that cause irritation and that you don’t have any specific allergies and you should be good to go.

Waterproof mascara is a whole different ball game. When it comes to eyelash health, waterproof mascara is low on the list of makeup products. This is because the ingredients are designed to keep your mascara firmly in place and can end up drying out your lashes with extended use. It is also harder to remove so when you think that cleansing it is doing a good job it could actually be causing more damage than good, but we’ll get onto that later.

As tempting as it may be to use waterproof mascara daily, try and keep it to the odd occasion that calls for it – weddings, if you’re up for a good cry watching your bestie tie the knot, or a summer boat trip where you need to look your absolute best at all times.

When Mascara Causes Damage

I could preach about this all day, but still fail to follow my own rules as strictly as I would like, but old mascara is one of the top causes of damage to the eyelashes and surrounding area of the eyes. Most mascara has a three-month life, meaning from the time it has been opened until it needs to be thrown away. The reason that mascara comes in such a small tube is that it is meant to last you until the end of that duration as a maximum timescale. If it was any bigger then we’d all be wasting tonnes of mascara each year. Or would we?

Can you honestly say that you follow this rule and if you haven’t got to the end of your tube yet that you throw it away and have a new one ready every time? I’d say I’m about 75% compliant but it should be 100% at all times.

Think about it – this might not be pleasant – but every day you pump that mascara wand into the tube and swipe it across your lashes and then back into the tube it goes ready for the next go. Dust particles in the air or tiny microscopic mites that live on your eyelashes are being unknowingly placed back into your mascara tube to thrive and wait for their next turn in getting back onto those lovely lashes.

Doesn’t sound great does it? After a long time doing this, the bacteria can start to grow, and it gets transferred back to your eyelashes when you next grab your favourite tube of mascara. So, do yourself a big favour, save yourself the pain of follicle infections and red eyes by replenishing your mascara stock after three months OR when you start to notice changes in the texture and consistency. If it gets gunky and starts smelling funky, it is long past due that you throw the stuff out! Stick to this rule and keep those lashes as clean as possible.

Which brings me onto my next point! Cleansing. Mascara causes damage when it is not removed properly. I know, I know, it isn’t always easy to do depending on where you are or what cleansing products you have to hand. But try and make it a priority to invest in a good eye makeup cleanser that isn’t harsh on the skin or lashes and use it nightly or as early as you can remove your mascara.

Mascara is a coating that sticks to each individual lash and leaving it on overnight will eventually catch up with you. It stops the eyelashes and follicles receiving the necessary hydration and oxygen that will keep them healthy and strong. After a while the mascara dries out the eyelashes and can stunt their growth as well as becoming a key reason in them falling out more often than they should.

Also, sleeping in mascara can be damaging due to the way we sleep. We aren’t all like Sleeping Beauty, resting peacefully on her back with a perfect face of makeup ready for Prince Charming to wake her up with love’s sweet kiss. I personally am a side-sleeper and am in a less than glamourous state when I wake up in the morning, with creases on the side of my face, hair forming a shape that I couldn’t replicate if I tried and eyes that look like they are in desperate need of hydration.

Now, imagine waking up like that but with mascara on! You tend to sleep at angles that cause your eyelashes to sit at weird positions and the only thing mascara does is hold them in that position ready for you to inspect in the mirror when you wake up. Then you have the task of removing it with cleanser and it already feels dry and gunky and your eyelashes are in a position that doesn’t feel or look good.

As far as having healthy eyelashes go, sleeping in mascara or not removing it, is up there with the worst things you can do to your poor lashes.

Ready to Use Mascara the Healthy Way?

So, you hopefully see now that wearing mascara isn’t all doom and gloom for your eyelashes and when you keep your tools clean, your eyelashes cleansed and hydrated and don’t get lazy by sleeping it, mascara can be your eyelashes best friend once again.

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Makeup tips

Welcome to the Roaring Twenties!

Isn’t it strange to kiss another decade goodbye? Out of the teens and into the twenties. If only I could say that about myself, but unfortunately time is running away from me faster than I can keep up with.

Ok, so I’m not quite over the hill yet but I am securely in the prime of my thirties which if you ask any 18 year old these days, may as well be old enough to have seen the ‘20s the first time around.

The thing with getting a little older is panic starts to set in – Have I achieved everything I was supposed to by 30? Do I have a ring on my finger yet? Am I saving as much money as I should be? The questions that we all ask ourselves as the days pass us by are enough to fill us with dread, so what do we do about it? We do everything we can to keep ourselves looking and feeling young and full of youth. We try to hold back the years by reaching for creams and lotions and detox teas and potions, all in a bid to retain the glory of our earlier adult years.

But with the turn of the new decade, I’ve had a thought, an epiphany if you will – what if I stop trying to look and feel younger, and start to do everything I can to embrace where I am now? Instead of trying to hold back the unwanted changes, maybe it’s time to take a look at myself and use the tools at my disposal to make this next decade one filled with class and style befitting of a woman in her thirties.

All of this made me think about the women of earlier eras and how they stylised themselves to look fabulous regardless of their age. You only have to look at the starlets of decades gone by, pre and post war, to see how the women embraced their bodies without the need for extreme surgical procedures and how makeup excited them.
Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about the future and start looking to the past for inspiration to make the 2020s just as roaring as the 1920s.

The 1920s

The 1920s were known to be a roaring decade filled with fashion and glamour for women, the Hollywood starlets were taking to the big screen and attending high profile parties while rubbing shoulders with the even more rich and twice as famous.

Women’s fashion took a major turn the better, finally ridding themselves of corsets and tight-fitting dresses and the idea was to wear free-fitted clothes, like dresses with dropped hems and looser waistbands, and it all spoke volumes about the eras before that they were trying to liberate themselves from.

The 1920’s saw the birth of the flapper, a woman who was not afraid to show her wild and passionate side. Flappers of the 1920s drank, partied and wore makeup. The novelty of new techniques and fashions was not leaving anytime soon, and the war wives were looking to make themselves stand out instead of hiding in the shadows.
Makeup was big in the Hollywood scene and as it translated on screen, similar styles were lusted after by the women at home. Lipstick became widely popular and the brightest red hues were invented with glossy sheens that really accentuated the mouth and cupids bow. Eyebrow pencils were common amongst actresses to create a curvy brow that oozed seduction and mascara was becoming widely available for women to let their eyes really shine. It really was an exciting time for makeup and glamour that continued in its own way through the decades that followed.

The Evolution of Makeup

So ok, makeup in its purest form has existed long before the 1920s came around, but that decade was a real trend-setter and the start of things to come. What we have seen since then is a growing fascination with accentuating our features.

This comes in the form of surgical and non-surgical procedures, fillers, botox, fat deposits, you name it, it ca>n probably be done. But the question now is should it? I’m a firm believer in ‘each to their own’ and whatever helps you feel confident and proud so this isn’t an argument for why you shouldn’t go for it, but more of a wandering thought about what else is out there that means in this day and age at the beginning of the new roaring twenties, we don’t have to put ourselves through pain to achieve beauty.

So, lets look at what we have achieved in make up since the first-time round to start off with. Well since the boom of women’s rights and freedom to experiment with their own feminism in the early 1920s the world of glamour and makeup rolled on and evolved with each decade.

During the Second World War resources were limited, and makeup once again took a back seat. Women were getting accustomed to working life and fulfilling gaps in jobs that the men at war left behind. Post-war saw a different approach to makeup, it was not the same as previous years and had toned down somewhat signifying the normality of returning to everyday life.

During the 1960s, a lot of women took a strong feminist approach to makeup and saw it as a tool for objectifying women, so it was sparsely used by comparison to earlier decades filled with heavy eyeliner, thick mascara, pale faces and rouge blush. But not everyone felt this way, there was still a booming business in makeup and cosmetics, so models, actresses and singers had to promote themselves by standing out. Eye makeup got quirky, eyeliner was developed in various forms and colours and the approach to mascara was the more the merrier.
The 1970s got really interesting. The era of the serious businesswoman arrived and an experimental time for men and makeup dawned. Punk rock movements meant that makeup was for everybody and androgynous fashions beamed brightly. On stage this mean bright colours and asymmetric patterns and in everyday life it paved the way for equality in fashion.

By the time the 1980s hit you couldn’t escape bold colours, blues, pinks and greens. There was not a groomed eyebrow in site and hair was bigger than ever. But makeup couldn’t do what it can today, and the boom of plastic surgery and cosmetic treatments rose to new heights in a bid to enhance appearances to even higher ones.
The 1990s, well what can I say about the 1990s! It was a very confusing time for fashion, a little bit all over the place. But it started crazes that could not be avoided. Glitter was not just for the eyelids but apparently the whole body as well, lipstick and lip balm came in every flavour imaginable, and the beautifully bushy eyebrows of the 80s became a thing of the past. The thinner the better was the motto and I was an unfortunate candidate along with the rest of the female population.

But one thing the 1990s did do was teach us how to experiment with modern makeup, it wasn’t just one particular style that graced our screens, rave culture, goths and punks adorned music videos, the casually awkward looks from the grunge scene were effortless to carry off and The Spice Girls taught us that you could be whoever you wanted to be and no one could stop you.

After the turn of the millennium and well into the noughties, the glamourous footballers’ wives and reality TV stars were taking over, rap videos were full of bling and the new generation of supermodels were partying with rock stars just as much as they were strutting the catwalk.

Makeup was trying to find its place and was slowly getting there but nude hues of lipstick and super-tanned foundation still had a place in people’s hearts for a few years to come.

But the evolution of makeup was starting to shape up, and come 2010 and the years that followed, we no longer had to settle for a shade of foundation that was three tones away from our actual skin colour, we had the choice of lengthening or volumising mascara, or both! We learned how to contour properly with specific makeup and not just a vain attempt with our blusher, and lipstick learned how to stay in place for more than just the 20 minutes it took to apply it in the first place.

The evolution of makeup has taken us so far and you only have to look through profiles of Instagram influencers or the Snapchat videos of models and pop stars to see that makeup can be understated while prominent all at the same time. The ‘barely there’ makeup look can help with covering blemishes or skin disorders and the glamourous party look can work just as well in the day times as it can on an exciting evening.

The last decade has taught us some new tricks in cosmetics too. With the rise of non-surgical enhancements and non-evasive products on the market, we can lengthen our eyelashes with extensions and eyelash growth serums, we can plump our lips up with lip plumping balms and we can change the shape of our face with just the stroke of a brush.

With the help from products like the Xlash Eyelash Serum that promote a healthy way to boost eyelash length, the health of our eyelashes is a priority and not an afterthought. The thing with makeup and cosmetic evolution is that the things that weren’t even considered in decades past are now part of the evolution. Animal cruelty on testing products is beginning to become a thing of the past, and products that contain only plant extracts are a thing of the future.

The 2020s

Every time a new decade hits we find a way to make products of the past even better than before, and as I said at the start about myself, I want to use the past to help me make myself better than before.

The 2020s are exciting times for makeup when you consider what we have managed to develop in the last 100 years so just imagine what will be achievable in the next 100. But for now, firmly in the driving seat of my thirties I’m not here to set trends, I’m not even here to follow them, just to use the vast and wonderful products to roll with the times in a classic way.

Going into 2020, my eyebrows are definitely not what they used to be and for that I blame the need to follow the trends of the past where unfortunate over-plucking took its toll. I don’t care what they say, eyebrows never grow back in the same after a war with tweezers! I’ve discovered Xbrow Eyebrow Serum though and it is fitting for this new decade with all healthy ingredients and botanical extracts that help to encourage growth of eyebrow hairs deep in the follicle to help them grow back fuller and thicker than before. And trust me, my tweezers are only to tackle strays these days and not the whole pack!

My skin care routine is also something to be questioned, sometimes it doesn’t take every anti-aging cream under the sun to hold back the years but just the one right product that perfectly matches my skin type to keep it firm and smooth.

For me the 2020s are about being conservative on the products that my face needs to remain youthful while ageing gracefully, and not about turning back the clock entirely to bring my twenties back. It looks far less obvious than trying too hard and it is a new decade resolution to stop trying as hard as I have been.
So that’s skin and eyebrow care sorted, but when it comes to makeup, being a little playful never hurt anybody. In fact, I still favour eyeliner and creating the perfect wing, I love that there are style guides now that can tall you what your best suited eye makeup is depending on your eye shape. I also love how many different shades of lipstick there are to experiment with, with glossy or matte finishes and I love the heavy pigmented palettes of eyeshadows that can create masterpieces in just a few minutes.

The 2020s already have a lot to offer considering how far we have come in cosmetics and I’m super excited to embrace them in a positive way and say that not only that I’m proud to be 30 in this decade, but that I’m very lucky. Welcome to the roaring twenties indeed!

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