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Makeup tips

Natural Eyelash Treatments – Do they Really Work?

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

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

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

Castor Oil

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

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

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

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

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

Petroleum Jelly

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

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

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

But does it work for lengthening eyelashes?

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

Green Tea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coconut Oil

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Verdict

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

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

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

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

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Makeup tips

Your Guide to Healthy Lips

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

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

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

A Clean Slate

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

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

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

A Good Scrub

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

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

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

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

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

Care and Repair

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do’s and Don’ts of Lip Care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Little Bit Extra

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

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

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

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

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Makeup tips

How Do Eyelash Serums Work?

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

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

What are Eyelashes made up of?

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

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

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

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

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

The Eyelash Growth Cycle

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

There are three stages to the eyelash growth cycle:

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

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

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

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

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

How Eyelash Serums Work

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

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

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

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

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

How to Care for your Eyelashes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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