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Makeup tips

7 Must-Have Products for Stunning Eyes Everyday

Everyone has favourite makeup and cosmetic products and little secrets that help to achieve an ideal daily look, and it’s so great that we all have so many options that work to compliment different skin types, eye shapes and lash lengths. These days most cosmetic products can be used in more ways than one to allow each person to make themselves up in a way that makes them feel comfortable and sexy in their own way.

Right now, eyes are having their big day as they are mostly the only facial feature that can be seen above a face mask, so it could be a good idea to have a few staple items in your makeup kit that once you’ve got the hang of using will entice you to use them all the time and include them as your main ‘go-to’ items in your makeup kit.

Each item has its own fascinating methods of use, and each item can be used to make the eyes stand out in one way or another, and even if you aren’t usually a fan of heavy eye makeup, you can chop and change and just use one or a perhaps few of them to give those eyes a little boost in brightness and colour and really make them stand out with little effort.

EYELINER

Now we all know that eyeliner comes in many forms and maybe by just suggesting eyeliner as a staple makeup item, it could be too broad to include, but what works for one may not work for another and eyeliner in whatever form works for you should definitely be one of your must-have products.

Let’s look at pencil eyeliner to start with; it’s a firm favourite of many anyway, easy to use and not very expensive, so for those starting out with eyeliner, this may be soon become the item you can’t live without. You can get pencil eyeliner in many different colours which is great for creating accents with browns for brown eyes or blues and greens for blue or hazel eyes, but black eyeliner is usually the most popular as it really helps any eye to stand out.

Black eyeliner can be used to create a smoky eye with some rough placement around the top and bottom lids and then blended using a blending brush or it can be used when sharpened to create more definition and a bold line. Trying out a basic wing with pencil eyeliner is good to get to grips with forming the right shape but be careful not to get eyeliner that is designed for smudging as the wing won’t stay put for too long.

If you have already mastered the tricks with your pencil eyeliner and are looking for something a bit sleeker and more defined, then gel eyeliner could be the must-have items you’re looking for. A thin brush to apply the eyeliner will be needed and a steady hand is imperative to achieve some super-sharp eye looks but the pay off is great once you’ve done this a few times. Gel eyeliner tends to bond with the skin easier, so is less likely to smudge once it’s in place.

If you like the feel of a pencil but want the same definition as a gel liner, then a pen liner could be your staple item as they are great for control and creating shapes that can be easily filled in. The choice really is yours, but strike while the iron’s hot and make the most out of those peepers with a staple eyeliner in your makeup kit.

MASCARA

Again, this one is quite broad, but mascara can really be a girl’s best friend if you pick the right one and have good experiences with it. For a lot of people, mascara is all about creating extra length so a lengthening and separating mascara could be the must-have item in your kit if this is you. Everyone has eyelashes, but they are all different on each one of us, so a lengthening mascara works really well for those who already have volume or a fuller set of lashes. If yours tend to be on the thinner side then a lengthening mascara could end up making them look a bit spidery so be careful which you choose when deciding what you need to get out of it.

A volumizing mascara could do you wonders if you need a heavier set of lashes but don’t want to go through the trouble of wearing false eyelashes or getting lash extensions. It won’t instantly form new eyelashes where there weren’t any before, but it will deposit more product onto each eyelash to give the illusion of thicker and fuller eyelashes.

Waterproof or water-resistant mascaras are also a handy item to have from time to time, but they make not necessarily be a staple in your make up kit if you don’t wear them often as mascara tends to have a short use by date once it has been opened. Waterproof mascara can cause damage to eyelashes due to needing harsher methods of removal, which can put people off buying it. If you’re only going to wear it a couple of times a month, it may be best investing in a really good mascara that you know you will use, won’t cause so much damage to your beautiful lashes and the product won’t dry out in between uses.

Find the right mascara for your eyelashes that gives you enhancement wherever you need it, is softer on the eyelashes and doesn’t take much effort to remove it at the end of the day. Now that will be your staple product in your makeup kit.

EYELASH GROWTH SERUM

Now an eyelash growth serum is a great product to include in your must-have cosmetics for a few reasons, and it could become one of your staple items once you see results after just a few weeks. An eyelash growth serum does just what it says on the tin, and so if you are in need of a real boost to those lovely lashes then this could be the thing that does it.

It doesn’t mean you have to switch it out for your mascara either as they will happily work together to give you the greatest set of eyelashes each day. Sometimes after years of makeup applications and cleansing, eyelashes can become brittle and dry and the worst is that they can start falling out long before they are due to, and an eyelash serum can help to soften the lashes while keeping them strong and healthy to get the most out of their growth before they are ready to fall out.

It deposits proteins and the right acids to promote healthier and longer lasting growth, as well as adding shine and vibrancy to your eyelashes with results visible after a few weeks, so this product is definitely something that will be sticking around for years to come. If that isn’t enough, eyelash growth serums generally come in small and handy tubes that take up very little space in your cosmetics kit, so when you think about adding a tube to yours it will fit in just nicely.

Investing in an eyelash growth serum shouldn’t be a scary affair, and in fact once you have found he right one for you then you may find that all you need to do is top up every now and then once your eyelashes have reached their true potential. So what are you waiting for!

EYELID PRIMER

When you go to so much trouble to get your eyes looking made up to perfection, the worst thing is when it doesn’t last, and you end up looking like you just rolled out of bed. An eyelid primer is the way forward in this scenario as you definitely want your makeup to stay put throughout the day and not slide off your face at the slightest hint of heat, sunshine or sweat.

It may have taken us far to long to figure out ways of getting makeup to stay on our faces, but let’s just be glad now that there are options. When picking an eyelid primer, choose whether you want a gel, liquid or cream primer and look at what it does for your skin before buying. If you tend to have oily skin and eyelids, it may be a better option to go for something matte and oil-reducing so that you can wear your makeup without it slipping into creases.

Prep your eyelids well before applying makeup, leaving each layer to dry before applying the next one. So whether you like to go for a bold and heavily pigmented eyeshadow teamed up with crisp black eyeliner, or if you like to keep your makeup natural looking, a primer for your eyes will help it to stay put all day and keep the skin from getting bogged down from the heavy oils contained in most makeup products.

EYEBROW PENCIL

An eyebrow pencil is a must-have these days even for those with the most naturally full eyebrows as definition can be created perfectly with a simple eyebrow pencil. For those who have thinning or over-plucked eyebrows, an eyebrow pencil can be used to fill in gaps with clever strokes and even draw out more defined lines for you to follow on with an eyebrow pen of filling powder.

There isn’t a lot that can go wrong if you keep your strokes light and delicate with an eyebrow pencil, just remember you aren’t using a colouring in book and blocking out some geometric shapes above your eyes.

If using an eyebrow pencil feels quite tricky, your must-have item could be an angled eyebrow pen, with two or three thin brushes that when applied creates the perfect illusion of eyebrow hairs that can fill in the gaps without worrying so much about your shape.

EYEBROW GEL

When you have perfected your brows, it can be important to keep them in place and stop the makeup from slipping away which is where an eyebrow gel can be really helpful. Glossy looking eyebrows are really on trend right now, giving the look of laminated eyebrows but without the long-term commitment, an eyebrow gel will set your brows in place and all you need to do is brush them into your desired direction and apply. Voila! Perfect eyebrows every time you apply it.

Eyebrows can be very expressive and can really show our emotions through their movement when we laugh or feel sad and angry, so the idea with an eyebrow gel isn’t to give yourself a look of permanent surprise but to keep them looking sleek all day long without a need to worry about reapplying your makeup later on in the day. For perfect brows an eyebrow gel should definitely be one of your must have items.

NEUTRAL EYESHADOW PALETTE

Eyeshadow can be the game changes when wearing makeup; too much and you could end up looking like a cartoon character, too little and you may feel quite bare leaving your house if you are used to wearing makeup on your eyes regularly. The trick is to invest in a decent eyeshadow palette that contains a few shades of your favourite colours and some deeper shades that are great for blending and creating shadows, with some lighter shades that are perfect for highlights and bringing your eyelids forward.

Eyeshadows should be heavily pigmented so that they strike the eye with colour and don’t wear off half-way through the day. Team your favourite palette with some new eyeshadow brushes, being sure to clean them regularly to keep them safe to use and in brand new condition for longer and you will be able to have a lot of fun with your new colours and shades to create the perfect look for yourself. Remember to prime the skin around the eyes and finish off with your favourite liner and mascara combo to perfect your look.

Once you have your staple cosmetic products ready to go, you can not be stopped when you go to do your eye makeup. Let them sparkle and shine for all to see and be ready for the compliments to pile in!

FOLLOW US @XLASHCOSMETICS

Makeup tips

Eyeliner Trends Summer 2021

The summer months are fast approaching, and new trends are on the horizon, and after a weirdly quiet spring there will be nothing quite like the feel of something different on the eyes to make this summer kick some serious butt and show the world you are ready to go out once again!

It’s still all about the eyes at the moment as most of us are still wearing masks when we go out, so they have become the big focus in 2021. This is really a blessing in disguise for a lot of people who want their eyes to really shine and for those who love a daring trend. The world could use a little bit more brightness right now and that is just what this summer’s eyeliner trends have to offer. So, let’s delve into some of the hottest trends that we’ll all be dying to try out over the next few months!

THE BATWING

Oh my, this one has been a long time coming and we’re glad it has finally landed, giving girls with hooded eyes the chance at sustaining a gorgeous eyeliner look that doesn’t smudge all over the lid straight after applying it. I’m getting way too ahead of myself though, first we need to discuss the batwing and what it is exactly.

So, the good old trusty cat-eye, or winged eyeliner has been around for so long that is has become the norm to fall back on it for most makeup looks, check out the Xlash Semi Permanent Eyeliner, but the batwing is a different take on it that allows different eyelid shapes to take advantage of winged eyeliner without having to actually do it.

Yes, we all have different shaped eyes and eyelids, so why has it taken so long for the recognition that not everyone can wear the cat wing properly? A lot of people have been swearing by the batwing for years, but only now is it making its way into the mainstream through the fabulous worlds of Instagram and TikTok, where tutorials are literally changing the face of the makeup world and satisfying women all over the world, where the standard wing was just not working for them.

The issue with the cat-eye is the main crease on the eyelid and where it falls or ends. This crease can be thin, short, angled upward or barely even there for a lot of people, but for many this crease causes a fold to appear and any makeup that sits there disappears into the fold, only to create uneven lines, start smudging and even gathering at the crease to cause unsightly makeup residue. No one wants this, especially after spending hours perfecting a particular makeup look.

The batwing allows the aesthetic of the cat-eye or winged eyeliner but with a little bit of trickery to get the vibe. To do this, start by drawing your line upward and outward from the outer corner of the eye in the direction and length that you would usually draw a cat-eye. Next draw another line starting from the crease or fold nearer the outer edge of the eye and join the two lines together in a point, so it looks like an unfinished triangle. Then you want to tilt your head upward while looking straight at the mirror to flatten out the eyelid, making the crease disappear and start drawing your line from the inner corner of the eyelid to ward the outer lid but stop below the crease. You are then going to want to join your triangle to this line with a near vertical line.

Ok, so this shape is going to look weird at first, but if you put your head back down to reveal your natural fold in the eyelid, you should see that the vertical line disappears and your triangle joins nicely to your upper lid liner, looking like you have just drawn on a cat-eye. If you are happy with the shape you have created – that by now should look like a bat wing – then you are ready to fill in the line and go about your day knowing that you will be smudge free and have accomplished one of this summer’s hottest trends!

COLOURFUL LINER

Black eyeliner is always a staple item to have in your arsenal, but even as a classic it can be so tired and dated when you just use it to do the same style over and over again. This summer is all about fun and vibrance so its time to ditch the matte black eyeliner and start injecting some colour into that makeup kit.

The best thing about different colour eyeliners is you don’t necessarily have to do anything different in regard to the style if you don’t want to, you can stick with the classic wing or a thin line over the top lid, or even vamp up the bottom lid or waterline with a splash of colour and still get a great summery effect.

Yellows and oranges are always a good summer shout, but those colours don’t always sit well with a lot of skin tones, so great options are heavily pigmented peaches and lighter reds, aquamarine blues and greens which look amazing on any skin tone and even deeper blues and brighter violets and purples work really well for anyone. Blue eyed people will really find the benefit in using these blue and purple shades as they really make the eyes pop with a good dose of mascara to finish off the look. Brown eyes love peaches and oranges as the boost of colour helps draw out the lighter flecks in the iris for an all-round brighter look.

Colourful eyeliner is always a favourite in summer, but don’t be afraid to carry this style on through autumn and winter and save black for those times where it calls for it, such as work meetings or formal events that require a toned-down look.

GRAPHIC EYELINER

Now this is where summer eyeliner can get really interesting, not only with an injection of colour but also some added graphic shapes to really spice things up. It is no new concept to the catwalks, but graphic and statement eyeliner is making its way into the mainstream and is a definite win for festivals and parties.

Graphic eyeliner is not for the faint of heart though and requires some steady hands and a wild imagination to carry off well, but anyone can give it a go and find their level of confidence in wearing graphic shapes on their eyes. A super sharp eyeliner pencil with extreme staying power or a gel liner with a super-thin brush will be needed to apply eyeliner in such a fun way, keeping it as symmetrical as you want it to be and vibrant as colours allow.

Think zig-zigs lines instead of the standard cat-eye, blocks of colour over the eyelid, lines through the crease of the eye socket, or even some carefully placed dots under the eye to create a futuristic pattern that uses pops of colour to draw others to. The list if endless when it comes to graphic eyeliner and if you know your eye shape and what sort of shapes suit you then it could be a fun way to experiment with something new, even if it is just a little pop of colour in a different place than you would usually apply it.

FLOATING LINES

Similar to the graphic eyeliner trend, floating lines over the top lid is such a look and can really modernise the standard cat-eye or winged eyeliner bringing it right into 2021. The concept is actually really simple with floating eyeliner as it doesn’t change much from the way you may usually do your eyes but adds just that little bit extra and is absolute fire when executed well.

This looks great using monochrome palettes as well as coloured eyeliner and only requires you to prime your eyelids without worrying about your eyeshadow as it works best on a neutral lid without adding eyeshadow to the mix. Less is more when it comes to floating eyeliner.

All you have to do with a gel eyeliner brush is draw a line so it sweeps across the top lid from the inner corner – you can start this line a few millimetres higher or inward of the line for a bolder look – and draw outward following the natural curve of your eyelid. If you want to you can stop at the end of your lid for a graphic statement, or you can continue the line upward toward your eyebrow for a more romantic and softer look.

If you have a heavy crease or fold, this line may not sit right as with winged liner, so you may want to follow the same rule of the bat wing eyeliner, by connecting outer lines to lid lines with a vertical line to create a new shape. There are no rules about how many lines you can draw, you may want two or three, and even swap colours, but either way, this statement look is definitely one of the saviours of 2021.

BLURRED LINES

Have you ever smudged your makeup accidently and thought it actually looked great? Well, this look may be for you, although it can be harder to create an accident on purpose, it never seems to go how you want it to when you actually want it to look a little rougher, but it will be worth it and is great teamed up with some false eyelashes or a heavy does of mascara.

The best way to achieve this is to draw your eyeliner as you usually would but use a short brush to smudge out the sharp lines and then apply another layer just under the smudge line for some definition. You want to think of the smoky eye, but without the smoky eyeshadow to go with it. Blurring your eyeliner is definitely a bold look but it can look amazing especially when you use brighter colours to get the full effect.

WHITE EYELINER

When you think of white eyeliner you probably just think it’s mainly for the waterline. And while this can really help to open up smaller eyes, white eyeliner can be quite harsh to apply to a blank waterline and it may be best to opt for a nude eyeliner to brighten up those peepers.

White eyeliner is in facts a great colour to wear as general eyeliner and creates a real summer statement when applied of the top lid. If you want you can still wear your winged eyeliner with white, but a bold statement is to go heavier with the line and ensure you have primed to perfection beforehand to get the most out of the bold white colour.

A thin white line will give off a different sultrier vibe though, so if you want to create a statement without the extreme boldness, follow the top lid line with your white, ensuring it is super sharp and follow it through to just under the end of the eyebrow. Mauve and peach eyeshadow really compliment white and a dash of this under the bottom line blending outward and upward toward your white line can really do wonders for opening the eye.

Pop on some false lashes that feather outward at corner of the eye and finish off with a bit of sparkle or glitter on the lower lid and you have a stunning look that is ready to hit the town this summer. White eyeliner is not one to be underestimated, it just needs a bit more dedication than black to achieve a gorgeous look.

So there are your hot eyeliner trends for summer 2021. Remember there are rules, but rules are always made to be broken, so don’t be afraid to experiment with your eye shape and creating new ones that really compliment your face and eyes.

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Makeup tips

How to Repair Dry Lips from Mask Wearing

Face masks have become the norm for most of us around the world now and its almost hard to imagine life without them, or a time where they weren’t really needed. As much as they offer protection from viruses and particles that can spread through the air, they can bring on some issues for those especially with sensitive skin. Even fluctuations in weather can mean that everything going on inside of your face mask can cause some kind of irritation.

We do need to be safe though, so as much as we all can’t wait for the world to get to a point where mask wearing is a thing of the past, we must do what we can to protect ourselves and those around us. The issue then, is how to make sure we look after what’s underneath at the same time – mainly our lips, as they will probably be feeling a little different now and may need some repair and TLC to get them feeling comfortable again and looking smooth and silky once more.

HOW THEY FEEL

Many cosmetic doctors have reported increases in patients needing treatment for their excessively dry lips over the past year, and it’s no surprise that the increase is due to wearing masks for a long period of time. It seems like a fair price to pay for healthy bodies in exchange for a little bit of dryness, but when you have experienced the soreness of dry or chapped lips you will know that it can be frustrating and painful for a long time while they are in a constant state of disrepair and it feels like fighting an uphill battle to get them feeling better again.

Soreness is a good word for how they feel, but it can also cause sharp tingling, tightness and at their worst, throbbing pain throughout the lips. This can mean difficulties eating or drinking and sometimes talking or smiling can be a chore when your lips are dry and sore.

The problem is that underneath the mask excess moisture builds up and combines with warmth in heavy doses to build up humidity, and this draws liquid from the lips meaning an increasing loss of water from the surface of them. This results in dry and cracked lips after some time.

HOW THEY LOOK

Varying from person to person, sore lips can go from one extreme to the other. For some it may be that their lips look smooth apart from a few sore cracks in the little creases at the plumpest part of the lips; for others sore lips looks like discolouration with flaky skin and even redness around the lip line as a result of the excessive moisture and heat.

The dryness is mostly characterised by dry skin that feels rough to the touch, but there could be some visible swelling and also bleeding when cracks get really bad. Healthy lips should look plump but not swollen, should feel bouncy to the touch and be consistent in colour depending on skin tone, without pale or purple corners that could indicate problems within the layers of skin. Lip lines should be defined, although with age this definition tends to fade a little, but healthy lips shouldn’t have sores or redness around the outer edges.

HOW TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE

There unfortunately a miracle cure for dry lips that will get them back in great condition in one day, but there are some steps you can take to bring those lips back to life and have them looking and feeling silky smooth again and even though it may require some commitment, it will be worth it in the long run. Hopefully this can help you to introduce a few new habits that will ensure longer lasting healthy lips, even when wearing a face mask is part of your daily life.

STEP 1. WEAR THE RIGHT MASK

It’s all in the material when it comes to masks. Now, obviously the recommended surgical masks work really well and give plenty of space between the moth and the face, but a lot of the time those aren’t available to everyone and it can also become a case of wanting to buy a mask that compliments an outfit, is a favourite colour or doesn’t irritate the ears when wearing one all day. The main thing is that it offers protection against particles exhaled from those close to you, but also to think about the material and how close the mask sits to the mouth as this is what can cause dryness to get worse.

When picking your masks aim for something cotton based that doesn’t sit so close to the face, as this can end up causing friction and add to your dry lip problems. Also be sure to dispose of masks designed for one wear and to wash your reusable masks after each use – for your safety and to make sure there isn’t a build up of bacteria waiting to cause irritation or infection around the mouth.

STEP 2. CHOOSE A REGULAR WEAR LIP BALM

If you suffer from dry lips regularly then you probably already have your favourite lip balm on stand-by, but if many hours of mask wearing have caused your lip problems recently you may want to pick a lip balm that soothes the skin, but not know what to go for.

The tip is to aim for something with antioxidant properties that provides instant and long-lasting relief from bouts of dry or chapped lips, and lip balms containing petroleum jelly or natural beeswax are really good for dry lips and locking in moisture. The thing to avoid when picking your regular wear lip balm is menthol and other fruity flavoured balms. The problem with menthol and mint is it very drying in nature, so your lips could end up feeling sorer afterward, even though the instant, cooling relief might feel great initially. With fruity flavours there tends to be the temptation to lick the lips which is also not good for lips, dry OR healthy! The lips are extremely sensitive body parts, and any additives that aren’t necessary will hinder their recovery.

STEP 3. LOOK INTO NATURAL REMEDIES

If lip balm isn’t your thing and you are looking for something on the natural side, then you could look into some homemade or natural remedies to help restore your lips’ health. Some ingredients can be great for an instant cooling and soothing sensation and others may have long-term effects that boost your lips natural layers back to normal without the worry of dryness creeping in for as long as you use them.

You may have heard of using cucumber for the eyes and puffy skin around them, but did you know that cucumber is an all-round good source of water and cooling effects for pretty much anywhere on the body. Lips could use a little soak from cucumber from time to time so next time you need to take a pampering break, pop a slice or two of cucumber on the lips for that added comfort.

Aloe Vera is a godsend in many aspects but it’s soothing and antioxidant properties can do wonders for dry and damaged lips. If you can get your hands on a plant and break away a leaf to reveal the gel, apply a small amount to the lips and leave it there for 20 minutes to give them a break from the pain and dryness that’s been occurring recently. This is especially effective if you have dry lips as a result of being out in the sun too long. Sunburned lips love aloe vera.

Coconut oil is another one of those magical products that helps out the body in more ways than one. As the gift that keeps on giving, coconut oil is great when applied to lips to deal with any inflammation issues and to sooth out dry skin. It is still an oil though so be careful using this as a lip balm that you want to wear outdoors, especially on sunny days as it can cause harm to your lips making them more susceptible to sun burn.

There are quire a few natural options for dry lips and that work as a lip balm, but they may be harder to get your hands on or messy to apply, so choose wisely and make sure that you give each thing a chance to work before closing the door on it.

STEP 4. EXFOLIATE YOUR LIPS

This is a delicate job especially when your lips are sore, so it may be best to treat them first and then begin your lip exfoliation journey once they stop feeling so tender and chapped. Our bodies have an amazing way of regenerating skin cells when they become damaged, but this usually results in some scabbing which is there to protect the inner layers. If you have sores or scabs, avoid exfoliation until they have mended.

Exfoliating the lips is a lot different to exfoliating the legs say, as the skin is so much thinner and easier to damage on the mouth. A good time to do it is after a warm shower or bath so that the skin is looser and warmer, making it easy to scrub away dead cells. You can take a warm, damp cotton cloth and rub in circular motions around the lips to remove dry skin, just be gentle and careful not to aggravate any areas that are really sore or suffering from cracks.

Follow up with a moisturising lip balm and repeat the process no less than one week later to see some amazing results. Exfoliation isn’t just about getting rid of dry skin though, as it also helps with circulation. If you’ve always wished for plumper lips with a more naturally vibrant colour then you will see exactly this after exfoliating them. Just don’t overdo it, trust in the process and start to feel the smooth layers of skin on the lips once more.

STEP 5. STAY HYDRATED

This should go without saying, but drinking water is the most important thing you can do for your body and that includes your lips. This doesn’t mean making a coffee in the morning and saying that it contains water, so you’ve had your daily dose, it means keeping up with regular glasses or containers of water so that your body is getting the right intake to stay hydrated.

Your hair, fingers, skin and eyes can always be counted on to let you know when you’ve not had enough water each day, by causing wrinkles, dryness of the skin, lack-lustre hair and tired looking or red eyes. If you feel thirsty or have a dry mouth then it’s time to get a glass of the good stuff in and ensure that every part of you feels nourished with water. Your lips will be one of the first things to feel dry when you are thirsty so don’t give them the chance to get to a damaged state or to get worse when you are taking important steps to repair them from dryness after wearing a mask for so long.

STEP 6. LOOK FOR A LONG-TERM SOLUTION TO LIP REPAIR

When your lips are only partially responding to your treatments or if you are concerned about their state of repair currently, you may want to think about long-term solutions to repair the dryness or inflammation. A cooling repaid balm would help out, as it has many of the above steps rolled into one tiny package.

Take the XLips EGF Intensive Care Lip Balm as an example. It packs more of a punch than regular lip balms as it isn’t just about keeping your lips healthy but repairing them from any long-term damage that may have been caused, whether that’s from over-exposure to the sun or wearing masks, an intensive care lip balm is designed to be worn overnight and spend many hours on your lips to really get the chance to sink in and do some of the hard work for you. With botanical extracts but remaining unscented, it is such a good thing to use for your lips when they need a little more work to get them back into shape.

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Makeup tips

3 Tips to Solve your Brow Dilemmas

So, you’ve got your face on, you’ve put together a killer outfit and are finally ready to get out there, feeling your best self, but something is bugging you – your eyebrows just aren’t playing the same game today and look a little off. It’s a story we’re all familiar with from time to time, and it can ruin a perfectly good look even if it is something others may not necessarily notice. Either you’ve gone a bit tweezer-happy, and they look a little thinner than yesterday, or they don’t look very even.

We get told time and time again that eyebrows should be sisters, not twins, but ever had one of those days where they don’t even look like distant relatives? Yeah, it’s quite common and luckily easily fixable with a few helpful tips. Eyebrows can instantly skyrocket your look to new heights when they look on point, so it is great to get practicing with a few things to make sure you feel on top of the world every time you step out of the house.

TIP 1. KNOW YOUR SHAPE

When you look at your eyebrows, do you ever think they don’t quite suit your face? This is a problem many of us have especially when we have been used to doing them a certain way for years, it can be hard to imagine them any other way. Even knowing where to start can be a pain if you don’t know what it is about them that doesn’t look right or should be more flattering.

We’re very used to seeing a standard shape on the likes of Instagram models and influencers that look perfectly groomed and arched, but this may not be what you want or what looks best on you, so it is always advisable to seek out your perfect shape before committing to something that may be a bit more generic. As a rule of thumb a longer eyebrow with a small arch is flattering on most people, but it can vary slightly depending on your features and face shape. So, let’s see what face shapes go with different eyebrow shapes and help you figure out what might be more flattering on you.

Heart Shape – This face shape tends to be wider at the forehead and finishes with a point at the chin creating that heart shape that we are familiar with. Kourtney Kardashian and Reese Witherspoon are both famously beautiful women that rock their heart-shaped faces and are always seen with a great set of eyebrows for their appearances. Fuller eyebrows suit this face shape as hey help balance a narrow chin and they can even support a low arch, keeping the brows long and fluffy.

Square Shape – Faces that are squarer in shape like Olivia Wilde find that their jaw line and forehead are of similar width and tend to be more defined or angular. To break down those angles and compliment a square face shape, requires a bit more of a curve to the eyebrows as straight brows tend to be less flattering. Try a gorgeous “s” shape to the eyebrows with a medium thickness so that they don’t overpower the face but avoid going too thin as this can create more lines that can be less than complimentary.

Oval Shape – Beyonce is the one you may think of when it comes to oval face shapes as her cheeks are amazingly prominent and tend to be the wider part of the face. Oval face shapes can pull off almost any look, avoiding oval lines, the “s” shape is incredibly flattering, as well as straighter eyebrows that create a balancing focus line between the forehead and chin. Oval shaped faces are also able to go with their natural eyebrow shape and just use some grooming techniques to let them shine naturally.

Round Shape – Think Selena Gomez and Chrissy Teigen here, both strong, beautiful women in their own right and both always have fantastic eyebrows whatever the occasion. Round faces are widest at the cheekbones and have a more rounded chin, so the shape of the eyebrows is most flattering when it creates more definition and angles that really compliment the face. Brows that suit round faces are usually curvy and sultry, with a defining arch and less in fullness and more in glamour.

Oblong Shape – This face shape can be so fun to work with when it comes to the eyebrows as they create definition and range in the face that compliments the features. Oblong faces tend to be longer at the cheek bones and have a more defined jaw than oval faces and therefore really suit longer eyebrows with a soft arch toward the outer corners to create the illusion of a wider face.

Diamond Shape – The diamond face shape is wider at the cheeks but with a narrower forehead and chin to create that diamond shape. Angled arches and fuller brows really suit this shape in and flatter by giving the illusion of a wider forehead. Going too long with the eyebrows draws the eye outward so it is best to keep them neat and concise in their area with some glamour thrown in through clever makeup and grooming.

TIP 2. HOW TO GET THE PERFECT SHAPE

Now you have an idea of what shape you might want to go for, it’s time to get things in motion and on your way to beautiful brows. Now, there is an old saying – if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it – and I’m a firm believer that if what you have going on already looks good and makes you feel good then it can be best to leave those already beautiful brows alone.

It may be that they just need a little tweaking to achieve your perfect shape, or most commonly that over the years your eyebrows have lost their natural or most flattering shape through over-plucking or a few too many threading appointments. But you don’t have to worry too much, there are so many options available for you now to achieve the perfect shape and have you feeling confident about your brows once again.

The best advice when it comes to your eyebrows is to see someone who knows what they are doing and talk about what it is you want from your brows. There is a lot to be said for professionals who know how to give you that perfect shape in a way that works for you, so before you go picking up those tweezers, find out if a licenced aesthetician or cosmetologist can give you some advice.

It may be a consultation you need or treatments to help with hair regrowth, or it could be that you just need a little reshaping to reach your eyebrow goals, but they can definitely help you with this and as they start to grow out, the most important thing is to avoid temptation to pluck a few stray hairs in the meantime.

Other options include microblading, tinting and threading for brows that need some grooming to achieve a shape that will remain faithful to you, but the issue is this can cost a lot of money in the long run that you may not be willing to part with. So what can you do at home to achieve your eyebrow goals that won’t cost the earth?

Makeup is so unbelievably advanced these days that it can last longer than the few odd hours we were all used to years ago, and specifically shaped brushes can – when used right – make it look like your drawn on eyebrows are your natural ones. This could turn out to be a great way of “reshaping” your eyebrows or testing out different shades on a temporary basis, after all, you only need to wash it off later on to go back to what you’ve got.

If eyebrow growth is your main issue – and after years of putting them through all kinds of states, you may find this is the case – then an eyebrow growth serum could be the thing to help you in growing them back faster so you are ready for a fuller set of brows that you can groom to perfection. Similar to an eyelash growth serum, eyebrow serums add proteins and natural extracts that encourage the hairs to grow and can help repair and sooth the skin around them.

TIP 3. GROOMING

Everything being said, even when the best option is to seek professional help when it comes to eyebrows shaping, you will naturally want to look after your eyebrows either in between appointments or just to save some money. The tip is to do this carefully and sparingly.

Grooming isn’t just about grabbing those tweezers and plucking like there’s no tomorrow though, it is about eyebrow care too. So give them the best shot at feeling great and they will look great too. Always come prepared when you are grooming your own eyebrows at home and have everything ready to give yourself an easier ride.

Lighting – First thing you will need to do is make sure you have natural lighting that you can sit in front of to see your eyebrows in their truest form. This way you can se all the stray hairs properly and the natural shape of your brows. If you don’t have much natural lighting at your disposal, a lighted mirror or vanity mirror should help you get that even light without shadow across your face.

Cleansing – Next you will want to make sure your eyebrows are clean of makeup and your skin is cleansed to avoid risk of irritation or infection if you are going to use tweezers. The best time to groom is after you’ve had a shower when your pores are open, and your skin is softer.

Grooming Tools – Some small trimming scissors are handy to have nearby as well as a great set of tweezers and an eyebrow brush and pencil. Xlash do a brilliant eyebrow and brush combo that is firm and precise to allow you to get the best shape out of your eyebrows, while being super kind to your skin and hairs. Your grooming tools are so important to get right so angled tweezers with a wide grip will help you get even those stubborn short hairs with precision.

Soothing – Have on hand some cooling wipes or aloe vera and soft pads to deal with post-tweezing redness and soreness, this step is important to minimise any pain, soothe the area and keep your eyebrows feeling soft and silky. A cooling gel will do just as well, the main thing is that you have this ready before you start grooming so you don’t have any regrets later on.

Once you are ready to go you will need to map out your eyebrow shape, now this is assuming you aren’t going for a full reshape, but just a tidy up. Start by brushing your eyebrows upward so you get an idea of their length; it may be that they just need a snip using your grooming scissors and you can avoid tweezers entirely. Use your eyebrow pencil to lightly mark your eyebrows at the beginning and end by lining your brush with the dimple in your nose and the most inner part of your eyebrow. Then do the same for the outer edge of the brows. To create your arch, use your pencil to measure out a diagonal line through your eyebrow to the highest point of the brow, by placing the pencil at the tip of your nose and guiding it up through the eyebrow across the eye.

You can play around with this depending on how high you want your arch to be but try to follow your natural shape. Join the points you have made lightly with your pencil and you should have a shape that suits and is symmetrical. Anything outside of the lines you have created (if done correctly) can be tweezed away if you are happy with the base shape.

Then you can clean away your lines begin to fill in your brows with a shade that matches your eyebrows and compliments your tone but try to either go a shade lighter or lightly apply your brush using feint strokes toward the inner edges, so they don’t look so blocky! When all is done you should have solved your eyebrow dilemmas and be on your way to beautiful brows!

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Things you can do to Naturally Enhance your Eyelashes

Eyelashes can be something we all take for granted sometimes and we go through life just assuming they will always be there and always stay faithful to us. Unfortunately, over time the quality and quantity of our eyelashes can diminish and leave them looking less than lustrous and even lacking in their numbers, especially as we get a bit older. So as age is never on our side, it can become a natural yearning to want what used to be a great set of eyelashes and bring them back to life.

But what are the options? When it seems so simple to go out and get eyelash extensions, is it worth trying other methods for a more natural enhancement? Let’s have a look into the world of eyelash enhancement and see what methods seem worth the effort and what may end up being more hassle than it’s worth.

HOMEMADE REMEDIES

If you want longer eyelashes that appear stronger and have more vibrance to them without pulling too hard on those purse strings, you may think about trying some natural remedies to enhance your lashes in a really natural way. There are plenty of concoctions to be made with organic and natural ingredients that have been said to assist with eyelash growth and promote healthier lashes in general, but a lot of them need a bit of trying and testing to see if they are really worth the time and effort. We are all different though, and the way our hair grows varies from person to person, so just because one natural remedy doesn’t work for one person, it doesn’t mean it won’t work for others.

Castor Oil – Straight from the beans of a castor tree, castor oil has been used for years in beauty as it is known for its health benefits and fatty acids that have hydrating properties and help to rejuvenate skin and hair. When used for eyelashes castor oil is best used on its own so that other ingredients don’t cause skin irritation, when this oil alone can avoid that completely.

To use castor oil on the eyelashes is quite simple, you just need to make sure that they are clean and clear of all makeup, dip a cotton bud into the oil and apply it directly to the lash line. It is good to let it sit there for a few hours or overnight to let its properties sink deep into the eyelashes and follicles, and then follow up by washing it off the next morning.

Castor oil is generally considered quite safe, but it is best to do a patch test before applying it to your eyelashes to be sure. There isn’t much to confirm scientifically that castor oil can help your eyelashes grow back faster, even though many people have used it for hair loss or thinning, but it does add ricinoleic acid to the area, which castor oil is largely made up of, and can help with added shine. The only real way to find out if castor oil works for your eyelashes is to try it and give it a go with regular applications to see the benefits.

Shea Butter – With most homemade remedies there isn’t a lot of scientific evidence to back up how much they really work, and with shea butter the jury is still out. It is usually used for skin care and often haircare too. With smoothing and hydrating qualities it can be a useful thing to always have around anyway, so there is no harm in trying a little bit on your eyelashes every day or couple of days to see if it benefits you.

Shea butter is really moisturising and is packed with antioxidant and ant-inflammatory properties that should nourish your eyelashes and promote healthy growth. Softening the eyelashes but without leaving them brittle, a little dose of this stuff should work wonders on keeping your eyelashes healthy and shiny and is said to help with faster growth when used regularly.

Green Tea – When it comes to stimulating eyelash growth there are plenty of tried and tested methods that work for different people. Green tea is said to have antioxidant properties that helps aid with eyelash health and in turn healthy and stronger growth. B-vitamins that are found in green tea are said to strengthen he follicle, which if you struggle with your eyelashes already could be a good fix to make sure you are getting the best out of them.

The benefits of using green tea for eyelashes is that it is also associated with alertness and reducing puffiness under and around the eyes too so when you want to try it out you may find that it helps you in more ways than one. To use green tea for your eyelashes you can either let your green teabag sit in boiling water for a while until it is completely cool and place the teabags over your eyes for 10-15 minutes. I must stress that you check the tea is completely cool before you try this, or you may end up with worse problems that weak eyelashes!

The great thing about this is that you get 15 minutes of complete relaxation while you wait for the goodness of the tea to sink into your eyelashes and skin, but if you are strapped for time then this option may not be the best for you. You can always dip a cotton bud into some green tea and apply this to your lash line before bed and after cleansing to see how it works for your as an applicator.

Petroleum Jelly – The key to longer lashes isn’t always in a secret potion that makes them grow faster, but sometimes in a remedy that helps keep your existing eyelashes and follicles in such a healthy state that your lashes want to stick around for longer. Petroleum jelly is all about conditioning, moisturising and smoothing out rough bits, so when it comes to your eyelashes, this stuff is said to nourish and condition your eyelashes so that they look and feel great instantly.

Petroleum jelly is easy enough to get hold of, usually seen in tubs of Vaseline in your local beauty store and is used for so many things it would be hard to name them all. Often used to moisturise lips and keep them from cracking especially in harsher weather conditions, it should do the same for your eyelashes.

The thing to note is that it is a thick oil-based jelly that coats the whole area it is applied to, so while it can lock moisture in, it can stop anything else from penetrating, similar to waterproof mascara that can suffocate eyelashes if left on for too long, causing inevitable brittleness if used too much. So the best thing to do is use a cotton bud with a small amount of petroleum jelly on, cover your lash line and wipe away any excess so you don’t get it in your eye, go to sleep, and then wash away the jelly in the morning so that it isn’t a permanent fixture on your eyelashes.

It can be worth it, as I said petroleum jelly works wonders in hundreds of ways, but it can be a bit fiddly and greasy, and it may not be your preferred method of eyelash care especially if growth is what you are after.

DIETARY CHANGES

So you’ve made a note of natural eyelash growth remedies but want to see what your other options are? Or course there will be a few other tricks hiding away up your sleeve, but did you know that your diet can have an effect on your eyelash growth and how healthy they are?

Protein rich diets are recommended for everybody to assist with healthy organs, growth and overall health, so it makes sense that it will help with hair and eyelashes too. But you will need to sustain a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals and good fatty acids to feel the full benefits in every aspect.

Eggs are a great source of protein and biotin and contain the right number of amino acids to promote keratin production which is said to keep your eyelashes in a positive state of growth.

Salmon is packed full of Omega-3 and B-vitamins that help to protect your eyelashes against breakage or becoming brittle. When it comes to eyelash growth you need to maintain healthy lashes in order for them to grow to their full potential, otherwise trying products to speed up their growth may prove to be ineffective.

Fruit and green vegetables like green beans and broccoli are a source of minerals and vitamins that assist with collagen production in the body and are linked to eyelash growth, as are beans and nuts that provide the right fatty acids to keep your eyelashes strong and your body in a good metabolic state for alertness and healthy skin.

It is worth looking into dietary changes to improve your eyelash growth, but it is doubtful that hoarding stashes of these foods will give you instant results, so if you are in it for the long-haul and just want to give your eyelashes the best chance as growing as strong and long as they can naturally then this may be just what you need.

CHANGE HABITS

Healthy eyelashes don’t automatically mean longer eyelashes, but it is important to look after their health if you want to give them a great start within their cycle. The eyelash growth cycle varies from person to person, but generally has a growth phase where they begin to form inside the follicle and grow as long as they are going to during that cycle. They then have a transitional phase where nothing really happens to the eyelash in terms of appearance, but the follicle begins to shrink away beneath the skin. After this there is the resting phase, and this is where the eyelash sits dormant waiting to fall out naturally before the growth phase begins again.

When you take care of your eyelashes you will find some will fall out naturally anyway as they are all in different stages of the cycle at any one time, but if you look after them equally you are bound to see the results in eyelashes in the growth stage and transition phase if they aren’t falling out as easily or are being encouraged to grow longer in the first stage.

How can you do this? Well, a few changes in habits can ensure that your eyelashes have the best chance at growing longer and stronger with each cycle. Makeup is great, but when you tend to wear it too often, you are depositing products and chemicals into the skin and lash line that can stunt or prevent healthy growth. Try looking at using makeup less or looking for ingredients that may be harmful to your eyelashes, such as those contained in waterproof mascara, the oils are binding and are designed to stay put for a long time, which can suffocate the eyelashes leaving them with not much room to grow if worn every day.

Look at your cleansing habits and if you tend to lose a few eyelashes in the cleansing process, and if so then it may be time to make a change to how you do this. Foam or water-based cleansers are great but can be hard to shift stubborn makeup and you may tend to rub harder to get rid of it. Always wipe in the direction of the eyelash growth, outward not inward, and try not to use circular motions that may aggravate the eyelash in the follicle and make it fall out prematurely.

Above all, make sure that you are removing you makeup each day before falling asleep to give your eyelashes a chance to breath and not collect any particles that are just siting and waiting for a chance to give you a nasty infection or irritation. Change your mascara regularly and as a general rule, try not to keep using open mascara after 3 months. This may not see your eyelashes grow beyond your wildest dreams, but it will assist with eyelash growth and health and you will see changes if you start to look after them.

EYELASH GROWTH SERUM

There is an option for those who don’t want to enhance their eyelashes through means of false lashes or extensions, and that is an eyelash growth serum. When something has been formulated with eyelash growth AND health at the same time, it can turn out to be a lot easier than trying to come up with new protein-filled lunch ideas or concoctions of various oils that can be messy to apply.

Eyelash serums promote healthy growth, lustrous shine and boldness in colour, so the extra length that you can get from applying it daily will be a massive bonus. Applicators tend to be quite thin and soft and provide your eyelashes with just enough to do the job instead of dealing with messy blobs of petroleum jelly and getting it all over your fingers. With an eyelash serum, your fingers won’t make contact with your eye, so you limit the chances of infection or irritation, so it is already a better way of enhancing your eyelashes.

There is only one way to find out what works and what doesn’t, but at least with an eyelash serum you know exactly how long it should take before you see results. You can carry on wearing makeup as you normally would and cleansing properly, and even add some more vitamin enriched food to your diet to feel the full benefits of eyelash growth.

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New Beauty Habits for Spring

There is no better way to kickstart a spring clean than by sorting out your beauty routine and makeup kit with a few new lifestyle habits thrown in. We all have old products lurking in depths of our bathroom cabinets that we kept, swearing that they would come in handy someday, but they really aren’t doing much good by sitting there waiting for us to find the right opportunity to use them. There are also things we need but don’t know it yet, as we can get so caught up in certain products, sticking to them because they worked well in the past. Well, today is as new day, and it might be finally time to get into some new habits and out of the old ones that may not be doing us any good, just in time for spring.

CLEAR OUT UNUSED PRODUCTS

The chances are you’ve hoarded at least a couple of items over the last year or so, waiting for the perfect moment to use them. But one thing the last twelve months has shown us is that that perfect moment is still yet to come and if we keep on hoarding, we’re probably going to run out of some much-needed space as well as hard-earned money.

Hopefully you’ve managed to put to good use all of those toiletries and pampering products that relatives insist on giving as gifts every Christmas – no hate, I love a good beauty product in my stocking – but you may find that the new lipstick you bought last year hasn’t seen much wearable opportunity in lockdown and that new eyeshadow palette you bought specifically for its warm, autumn colours has just been gathering dust. There isn’t anything wrong with keeping hold of your key items, but if you tend to buy seasonal makeup and it hasn’t been used, this could be the time to make a cent or two from unloading your unwanted hoards, giving yourself some extra money to buy some new products just in time for spring.

GET RID OF OLD, HALF-USED PRODUCTS

While you’re on a bit of a clear out mission, it’s really important to take this next step pretty seriously. All products, whether makeup, lotions or serums have an expiry and once they are open, this expiry date gets shortened significantly. All beauty products come with a little symbol, usually of an open pot with a number next to it, and this signifies how many months the product is good for once it’s been opened.

So, you might be wondering what the big deal is, after all it’s not like you consume makeup, how can it be bad for you? Well, a lot goes into most makeup products and like everything, over time these ingredients can go bad. Three things happen when you keep opened makeup for a long time:

  1. The ingredients stop working properly. Usually the chemical ‘makeup’ in makeup, is formulated to do a certain job, like foundation is supposed to give even coverage through pigmented ingredients. After a while the ingredients, mostly containing certain oils start to separate or congeal and it will end up looking clumpy on the skin, giving you less than great coverage and even looking darker than it did when you bought it. If it starts getting really old, makeup can develop a certain smell that you really don’t want anywhere near your face so for this reason alone, it is worth getting rid of your old foundations, eye makeup and mascaras.

  2. Old makeup can harbour bacteria. As much as you try to keep your makeup products looking shiny and new, there is always bacteria lurking that the eye simply cannot see. The reason for this being that even though the bottle or tub itself doesn’t make contact with your face, the product inside it does indirectly every single time you use it. Think about how you transfer makeup to your face, whether it be your fingers, a sponge or blender, or a makeup brush, it can be hard to avoid dipping your brush into the product more than once. Brushes, as we know can harbour bacteria and although it’s not something we want to think about, there can be dead skin cells hiding away between the bristles. This then goes back into the pot of makeup and then back onto the face. When you do this enough, and then close the lid on your makeup it can become a breeding ground for all kinds of things that once you know about, will make you think twice about keeping old makeup!

  3. Skin irritation is a big effect of old makeup. Due to the bacteria and ageing of the product, you may find that older makeup causes you to break out in spots and blemishes or even causes minor irritations that are still annoying to get rid of, and that is best case scenario. Worst case scenario is developing an infection in or near the eye or on the face that needs medical attention to get rid of. The best thing to do is replenish your makeup stocks regularly, and always follow the advice from the manufacturer.

CLEAN YOUR MAKEUP BRUSHES AND BEAUTY BLENDERS

Makeup brushes and beauty blenders don’t come cheap these days, so if anything, they should be looked after just so you get your money’s worth. But just the same as the reasons for getting rid of old makeup, brushes need the same treatment if they have seen better days and cleaning is just causing more damage than good.

While brushes and sponges can harbour bacteria which is then transferred into your makeup and then to the face, as they sit there, over time this can cause irritation to the skin without you even realising it until it’s too late. Breakouts are not fun, especially when it can be prevented by washing your makeup brushes. This only needs to be done weekly or sometimes more often depending on how often they are used, but if you are going to invest in some great makeup tools, the best thing you can do is look after them, otherwise, like your old makeup, they have to go!

INVEST IN SOME SOLID STAPLE ITEMS

Makeup and beauty products can become quite expensive, so it can be tempting to cut some corners every now and then or be persuaded by a deal that looks inviting. The truth is, when we impulse buy makeup, a lot of it goes to waste, sits there going bad or gets saved for that special occasion. This can then turn out to be a costly affair that it largely unnecessary. A good new habit to get into if you haven’t already, is picking out some staple items that may cost more than you would like to spend, but you will get great use out of, leaving the pot or bottle completely empty well before its expiry.

Instead of flitting from foundation to foundation, trying to find your perfect shade, try a consultation form someone who knows how to match your shade and skin type to the perfect foundation for you and then invest in the right product so you know you will get your money’s worth, especially when it looks fantastic on your skin.

It’s also great to have a few other staple items in your makeup kit, like eyeliner. If you prefer to use pencil eyeliners, invest in a good one that works well with the skin and has lasting qualities, rather than buying a new, less expensive one every couple of months or buying an expensive gel eyeliner than you promise you will get around to mastering one day. A good mascara, eyeliner, foundation and your favourite shade of lipstick should always be a good staple in your makeup kit so you always know what works for you, this will save a lot of hassle in future when you need to buy more.

LOOK AFTER YOUR EYELASHES

Springtime is always associated with cleaning and clearing out old things, but it can be a great time to introduce some new ones. Take eyelash serums for example, if you haven’t tried one of these before, then now could be the best time to try one out and have a naturally long set just in time for summer.

Mascara has always done a fairly good job at providing us with longer and fuller eyelashes, but it can be damaging when used in excess and if cleansing isn’t done properly, not to mention that it is the most temporary form of eyelash enhancement. Who doesn’t love mascara? But it does get rather laborious removing it every day, so an eyelash serum could be just the solution needed to enjoy longer eyelashes without the rigamarole of mascara applications every day.

With daily applications of an eyelash growth serum, the results should be obvious in three to four weeks after it has had time to work deep into the follicle and promote healthier and stronger growth of each eyelash in the growth phase. The good thing about introducing this new beauty habit is that you can still enhance your natural eyelashes with mascara or extensions to add extra volume if you wish and it won’t cost you the earth to get great looking eyelashes.

PAMPER YOURSELF

What better way to introduce a new habit this spring than to start treating yourself well and setting aside some time to work on your mental and physical wellbeing. We all wish we could do this regularly, but the truth is that life can get in the way and we tend to push our own priorities to the back burner. As the sun begins to shine once more and the idea of getting out and about visiting friends and family gets even closer, it will make everything worth it by pampering ourselves and feeling and looking our best.

This doesn’t just mean having a relaxing bath with candles and a good book but looking for products that help out in a big way, whether homemade or shop bought. Think about exfoliating scrubs, lip repair kits, face masks and hydrating moisturisers that can make such a difference to how you feel as well as making your skin soft and shiny and ready for the outdoor world.

Getting into the habit of exfoliating once a week, scrubbing and moisturising your feet ready for your slides to make a big summer comeback and working on cooling and soothing the skin under your eyes with cucumber masks so that your skin feels great, and you look more alert after the difficult year we’ve all been through. You won’t regret getting into this habit this spring.

LET YOUR SKIN BREATH

So many people have spent most of the last year either working from home or distancing themselves from their usual daily routines and one thing to come out of it is clearer skin. A lot of people have avoided wearing makeup as much as before due to not going out as much or having to wear a face mask when they do, so this has given our faces much needed time to breathe. Wearing makeup everyday shouldn’t cause any issues to your face, as long as you cleanse properly and don’t use out of date products, but at the same time, it is important to let the skin breathe from time to time.

Hydrating through moisturisers can be great for the skin and even if your skin type is usually dry, even making the switch to a light day moisturiser can be all that you need to allow the skin some freedom while keeping dry patches at bay.

This spring is all about new beginnings and it is important now to find some new habits that you can easily slot into your routine without costing too much or having to break cycles that already work really well. Know exactly what you want to achieve and set your goal at achieving those things so that returning to normal life will be that much easier and you will look great in the process too!

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5 Ways to get Softer Lips

How do your lips feel right now? If they are feeling the effects of winter and mask-wearing they may be feeling a little on the rough side and in need of some serious TLC. It would be nice to have soft lips all year round though, right? Something like the cold doesn’t have to get in your way every year, so if it’s long-term solutions you need, then it’s long-term solutions you will get. There are always some quick and easy options for getting your lips back into shape too though, so don’t worry, a few of these helpful tips will have them feeling softer in no time!

1. CLEANSE AND EXFOLIATE

The first tip for softer lips is about keeping them clean, clear of makeup and food or drink residue and getting rid of old, dry skin. Sounds gross, right? Well it happens, and it can be one of the biggest causes of dry lips. It’s amazing how much gunk can find its way to the lips and the corners of the mouth and stay there until it is cleaned off. Even more so with lipstick and lip colours, especially the longer lasting ones that stay put all day.

The layers of skin on the lips are very thin, very delicate and really sensitive, that’s why when you eat something minty, your lips may tingle for a long time afterward. What this means though, is that the lips need extra care when cleansing to ensure the skin isn’t damaged and you can retain softer lips all the time.

A standard makeup remover is usually designed for facial skin to grab things like powders, foundation and all the oils that come along with. This is great for your face, but they can be too harsh for the lips and also remove any moisture that they currently hold. It can sometimes be better just to go for a cloth and some warm soapy water, or a cleansing foam to get rid of makeup residue, and the warm water tends to open up the blood vessels making the lips feel more alive and already a little softer in one quick step. Just make sure the cloth you use is soft and preferably made of cotton for a smooth cleanse.

The step to softer lips is exfoliation. Again, the lips need a lot more careful treatment than the skin on your face or body, so this has to be done gently and regularly but not more than once a week. Some people prefer to buy a lip exfoliating scrub, but if you are unsure about the ingredients, you can always make one yourself. Most of these ingredients are things you can find at the back of your kitchen cupboard or if you want to buy some new things, always try to aim for fair trade products, minimal packaging and organic ingredients help do your part for your lips AND the world at the same time.

Honey, coconut oil and brown sugar is a great combination for a lip exfoliating scrub. It will taste so sweet though so just try not to eat it when you apply it to your lips. You don’t need a huge amount of this so only make it up in small doses as and when you need to and be sure to balance out your ingredients depending on what works for your lips – don’t go too heavy on the brown sugar as you don’t want to cause more damage to the skin. With a cloth, making gentle circles after they have been cleaned with warm water to loosen any dead skin cells, get that scrub going for a short time to help leave your lips silky and soft.

2. KEEP THEM HYDRATED

The problem with cold weather is it just doesn’t go with skin very well. Sure, some people swear by a freezing cold showers for a full feeling of alertness, and our hair does better in warm water than it does in hot, but as far as the skin goes in cold weather, if it isn’t moisturised and hydrated it tends to go dry and lose its plumpness. The same goes for your lips, and this isn’t to say they need to be in temperatures hotter than the sun! But they do need to be in a position where they can steal moisture and hydration easily.

Think about when you wear a face mask, it can get pretty warm and moist in there after just a few minutes, which you would think would help your lips, but this recycled air and constant pouring of vapour can dry them out completely as soon as your mask is off. It’s about balance and keeping tabs on how your lips feel day to day and using the right products to keep moisture in and the bad stuff out.

So, as far as hydration, this one is easy – plenty of water throughout the day. Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your body, especially mineral enriched water, and for your lips it means that your body and skin can feel the effects of water being distributed around. In summer, we tend to drink more water than any other time of year to stay alert and hydrated over intensely hot days, but winter is just as important as your lips will try to draw moisture from the cold air and just not get any, leading to dry and chapped lips.

If you have had any lip enhancements such as filler injections, it is even more important to hydrate and keep the lips moist and hydrated as the filler itself can draw moisture away from them, leading to dry and unsightly edges that need constant care and attention. If you are paying a fair price for those beautiful lips, you do want to maintain their luscious quality and not have to deal with chapped or dry lips.

3. PRODUCTS AND FOODS TO AVOID

So, we’ve touched on how food and residue can cause dryness to lips, but there are many other factors that can be avoided to make sure your lips have as much chance at being silky soft as possible. Spicy foods can cause dry lips as they compromise the skin and can leave what seems like an ever-lasting tingle as it passes through the mouth. When you are already suffering from dry and chapped lips, the burning sensation can only make things worse, so it’s best to put down the chilli powder and eat more plant based and water-based foods and vegetables while you are waiting for them to heal. That being said, piping hot food and drink is not good for dry lips either. Not only does it cause more damage, but it can make them feel so sore and while you are trying to get them back into great condition, it’s best to avoid really hot (temperature) foods while you do so.

Products with fragrance and flavours are also best avoided in your quest for super soft lips, as not only is fragrance an irritant to the skin but it can also lead to loss of moisture from breaking down the skin barrier. If your lips are already feeling a bit sensitive, it is probably best to steer clear of anything fragranced or flavoured completely.

Flavoured balms sound great, but actually they can do more harm than good to your lips and even though that cotton candy balm or caramel apple serum smells like being at the funfair, your lips will be far from experiencing fun if you keep using them. The problem with flavoured balms is two-fold. First, they can use so many different fragranced additives that cause irritation and second, they can be just a gimmick to get your lips tasting and smelling amazing and not actually work as a balm should. If you end up licking your lips as a result, as tempting as this can get, it will really be bad for your lips, as the saliva is very salty and will dry them out quicker. If you want softer lips, as boring as it sounds, you may need to just settle for unscented and unflavoured stuff that actually works!

4. SPF AND SUN CREAMS

Ah yes, the thought of summer being around the corner is enough to make us all celebrate, I’m sure. But as much as winter can be bad for your lips, the summer can be even worse. The good thing is that there are easy steps you can take to make sure your lips stay super soft and undamaged whatever the weather!

It is encouraged that whenever you are planning on going outside that you protect your skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun, even in winter when you least expect damage to be done, that pesky sun can dry out, burn and irritate your poor lips without you even knowing. In winter with a combination of cold winds and bright clear skies, your lips are in for a nasty treat if you don’t protect them, so it is important to start incorporating a high SPF sunscreen into your beauty and skin care routines.

Lips, as we’ve already said need to be treated a bit differently to the skin on your face, so it is advisable to grab a balm or cream designed to protect your lips from the sun and not go slapping tonnes of Ambre Solaire suntan oil on them! A simple layer with regular re-applications throughout the day will keep them protected and soft at the same time. It is also important to wash this off at the end of the day so that natural oils and moisture can get to the lips and penetrate the skin, otherwise you could end up with unwanted build up that can cause irritation.

On your mission to retain softer lips all year round, this step is one of the most important ones, especially if you love the outdoors and want to keep them looking great and protected at the same time.

5. REPAIRING LIP BALMS

The things we put our lips through and expect them to repay us by being soft and silky all year round, its now time to make sure we pay them a bit of lip service and make life easier. It may sound silly or completely over the top to some, but for those who experience problematic lips, and constant chapping, they know that sore lips can be so uncomfortable and stop you from doing normal things that we would all take for granted, such as sipping coffee, eating vibrantly flavoured foods, talking and just taking a walk out in the sun.

This is why it’s important to take lip health seriously and look out for signs that damage isn’t just skin deep. For chronic sufferers of chapped lips, simple check up with the doctor can put you on the right path and although it may require some work, you can have softer lips in no time with the right treatment.

If you are prone to dry or chapped lips due to various lifestyle routines, then adding a new lip care routine can be really beneficial and you shouldn’t put them in a position where the pain can get worse. For super soft lips, an intensive care lip balm can help to repair your lips in a few applications and make them silky soft by penetrating the layers underneath. Xlips EGF Intensive Care Lip Balm is a great example of how this would work. Unlike a standard day to day lip balm, this one is designed to work while you rest, so preferably before you sleep, apply an amount of this to your lips and let it sink deep into the layers of skin to help repair and restore the natural goodness.

Of course, normal lip balms and petroleum jellies work for some people, but a lot of the time, they need to be applied so regularly that you may find you can’t live without them. If long-term repair and maintenance is on your mind then a repairing lip balm that doesn’t need to be used quite so often could be the way to go. Treat your lips to a little TLC and find your way back to softer lips in no time!

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Your Eyebrow FAQs Answered

The eyebrow is truly having its day right now, especially with all the mask wearing. When people can only see part of our faces, it’s only natural we want those parts to shine! So, while some people favour the more natural eyebrow look and have used this last year without their usual brow appointments to let the natural ones grow back in, some have been trying to groom and shape them themselves. It may not have always ended up going as well as planned, so sometimes… it may be best to leave that part to the professionals. But, if you are impatient like me and want to try your hand at getting those eyebrows back into shape (carefully – no one wants to end up with the disaster of the nineties and barely-there brows!) you might have a few questions before you start.

WHAT IS THE BEST HAIR REMOVAL TECHNIQUE FOR EYEBROWS?

There are plenty of ways to rid yourself of unruly or unwanted eyebrow hair, but some methods are more painful than others and some are just not as kind to the skin as others. The real recommendation is that if you don’t really have to remove it, then don’t bother putting yourself through the potential soreness as the skin around and under the eyebrows can be susceptible to damage and minor infection if hair removal isn’t done properly and with care.

If you still want a little tidy up or reshape from your technician, have a look at your options for eyebrow hair removal:

Plucking – This one is probably the most common and seems like easiest to do, but also so easy to get wrong, and not to mention how sore it can leave your eyebrow area afterward. It can be easy to get carried away with tweezers and always just go for one more hair until you then have to even out the other side and so on. It’s a battle you may not win and waiting for eyebrows to grow back in can take a lot of time.

If you must reach for the tweezers it’s best to only use them to remove the odd stray hair and give your brows a little tidy up, not to reshape them altogether. Always pluck your eyebrows after a hot shower or after holding a cloth soaked with hot water to them. This opens up the pores and softens the skin making for an easier plucking experience. Not only will it hurt less but it will also do less damage to the skin. Check your tweezers are new and in good condition. Older tweezers may have lost their shape/grip and blunt tweezers will find it hard to grab the hairs properly to remove them in one go. Again, your pain threshold will thank you later, and you won’t be at risk of infection from using old or dirty tweezers. Aloe Vera gel will also be your best friend after plucking your brows, so apply a little of this to the freshly tweezed area for a soothing and cool feeling.

Threading – This one is definitely best left to the professionals unless you are fully used to do this to yourself already. This is an old method of hair removal and involves as it says in the title using a few threads and working them in a motion that pulls the hairs away from the follicle in a few goes. It is painful to those who haven’t done it before, but most people who have been threading for years say that the pain lessens and becomes easily bearable. The results can last from 6-10 weeks when done properly and that will always make the pain more bearable anyway, as who doesn’t want to be in a position where you don’t have to worry about those pesky brow hairs for a couple of months!

Waxing – this method is definitely the most painful, but easily delivers the best results. Waxing is always a good idea before going on holiday, but due to the sensitivity of the skin it’s not recommended to step out in the sun for one to two days while the skin calms down. As waxing removes all the unwanted hairs in one go by applying a sticky substance and then being torn off in one quick move, it tends to get hairs from the roots, so it means even longer is needed until the next appointment. People who regularly get their eyebrows waxed say that the hairs grow in finer afterward too, so it doesn’t need so much upkeep in the meantime. Treat the skin with care after a waxing appointment and don’t apply lotions or creams straight after to make sure that the skin doesn’t pick anything up or get clogged with things that can cause irritation or infection.

Shaving – An absolute last resort for eyebrow hair removal, and simply because it can be so difficult to target specific areas and it doesn’t last very long at all. Although it is constantly said that shaving doesn’t mean hairs grow back in courser or thicker, when it comes to your eyebrows you are removing hair above the skin and follicle so it can leave blunt evidence of hairs which can end up looking unsightly. You can also easily nip or cut yourself with a razor and being so close to your eye, this method is probably not recommended for eyebrow hair removal.

WHAT HELPS EYEBROWS GROW BACK FASTER?

Not everyone struggles with eyebrow hair removal and in fact for a lot of people the problem comes in growing them back. As mentioned with the more aggressive forms of hair removal, the follicle itself becomes a lot weaker meaning that when you decide it’s time to reshape or grow in your eyebrows once more, it can be a lot harder.

When we subject our eyebrows to years of plucking, tweaking and makeup use, it can have long-term effects that sometimes seem irreversible, but it is important to remember there are ways to get those follicles going again, and those little eyebrow hairs wanting to grow back. There are natural methods that some people swear by, that help to encourage regrowth of eyebrows and strengthen the follicles.

A healthy and balanced diet is always a good way of growing and strengthening follicles, as hairs are mostly made up of proteins, they need to replace lost ones in order to maintain healthy growth. The same for C vitamins that can be found in leafy green vegetables and fruits. Beans and lentils as well as fresh fish and nuts can provide the body with long energy bursts and the resulting proteins can help with hair growth, and in this case eyebrow growth.

Castor oil has been linked to hair growth for many years and has been used as a hair regrowth remedy to treat eyebrows and eyelashes in more recent years. All it takes is a small amount of castor oil on a cotton bud applied to the eyebrows, especially focussing on the areas where hair is sparse and then just waiting for the results of hopefully faster regrowth and shiner eyebrow hair.

Other remedies include eyebrow serums, which are similar to eyelash growth serums and aim to help eyebrows grow back faster, stronger and more lustrous in colour. XBrow eyebrow serum is one that contains natural and botanical extracts associated with hair growth and follicle repair as well as being kinder to the skin around and under the eyebrows can show results in a matter of weeks.

IS MICROBLADING A GOOD OPTION?

The idea of “tattooing” your eyebrows on seems like genius, doesn’t it? Waking up in the morning and not having to do a thing to your eyebrows to get ready, knowing that they look amazing all the time seems like heaven. But is it for everyone? Maybe not. If you have naturally full eyebrows anyway, but the shape bothers you then microblading isn’t going to be your best option, it is best suited for people with sparse eyebrows or who have trouble growing them back, or for people with uneven eyebrow shapes, microblading can be a great way to correct them and not have to worry about them much afterward.

Microblading is relatively pain free and isn’t as invasive as tattooing although it does involve some very small needles and someone with steady hands. It takes a great deal of technicality to microblade someone’s eyebrows so it should always be done by someone who is professionally trained with the proper equipment. The results can be so natural looking that it is only under close inspection that anyone would be able to tell, so this is a huge bonus for those who struggle on their own eyebrow journey.

The important thing with anything that involves creating small openings in the skin is that it needs time to repair itself. So it can be sore and cause minimal scarring initially while it heals. If you think microblading is a good option for you, always take the advice of the trained person with regards to aftercare and follow instructions through fully so that you get the best end result and end up with gorgeous looking eyebrows.

SHOULD YOU RESHAPE YOUR OWN EYEBROWS AT HOME?

If you are thinking of reshaping your eyebrows at home, the best advice here is don’t do it! We are all born with an eyebrow shape that sits at a certain position on our faces and it can be very difficult to know what will work until the job is done. Considering that they can take a while to grow back in, this could be a mistake you will end up regretting and struggling to hide for some time if it goes wrong.

There are some shapes that flatter different faces and some eyebrow shapes that are more universal and suit everybody, so the best thing to do is go for a consultation with a trained professional who will talk you through the steps and delivery a shape that works really well with your features and to compliment your shape.

WHAT SHAPE EYEBROWS SUIT EACH FACE SHAPE?

There is no set template for eyebrows as it can depend on the face shape as to what is more flattering. This doesn’t mean you have to get your eyebrows reshaped to match the criteria, but you can achieve temporary looks with clever makeup to be able to see what suits you and feel confident all day.

Round face shapes – This shape tends to suit a higher arch to help lengthen the face and create more dimension to the middle of the face. Clever shading with makeup by using darker tones to fill in the arch will create emphasise and take focus away from rounder lines.

Oval face shapes – This shape can pretty much get away with any eyebrow shape, low arches and flatter lines work just as well as softer arches and higher arches. Rounder eyebrows are probably the thing to avoid as it will only highlight the oval shape of the face and lift the eyeline higher up than desired.

Heart face shapes – Elongated eyebrows with soft arches work really well to break up angular lines and create a really flattering shape at the right place on the face. Depth in tone isn’t so necessary with heart-shaped faces as they tend to flatter all styles anyway and don’t need to add different tones to create dimension or it can create too much emphasis on the brow.

Square face shapes – The thing to avoid with square shaped faces are high, angular arches and thinner eyebrows. This draws attention to the angular lines instead of softening them. Softer, low arches are good as they look more natural.

Diamond and long face shapes – The goal with diamond or longer face shapes is to add width to the face and the way to do this is with longer, flatter eyebrows. Adding high arches will elongate the face and draw attention to the angles, so draw eyebrows outward, keep them on the fuller side and keep arches short and more toward the outer edges of the eyebrow.

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Minimalist Eye Makeup

Trends in makeup come and go quite fast and sometimes by the time you’ve caught up with one, it’s already old news. This is why the classics will never die and a lot of people don’t want to spend their money chasing a fad that will only last a couple of months. But what constitutes a classic? Most of the time it’s makeup that has been around for a long time, is convenient and easy to wear.

Minimalist makeup can fall into the classic category as it doesn’t involve too many variants on colours or styles and can be worn by anybody. You may be thinking that your eyes deserve to be bold and beautiful and that you actually enjoy the maximum effect of geometric shapes, different tones of eyeshadow and lashings of mascara, but stick with me here, just because minimalist eye makeup is a classic, it doesn’t mean you can’t get adventurous with it. Especially when wearing a mask and your eyes are the only focal part of your face.

How do you prepare your skin for minimalist makeup?

This is simple – create a clean and clear base that isn’t distracting or too chaotic so that your minimalist makeup is the thing that stands out.

Wash and cleanse your face every single night – This is important for minimalist makeup as the face tends to collect all kinds of dirt and grime from makeup and even just being outside and any build up of this can cause breakouts and blemishes that just get in the way of your look. Remove eye makeup with a remover like micellar water and a cotton pad. Micellar water breaks down the particles in makeup to make even the most stubborn products disappear with ease.

Next, cleanse your skin with a water-based or foam cleanser to get deep into the skin and pores, keeping it clean and clear overnight.

Don’t use thick moisturisers – The aim is to hydrate your skin and to smooth it out, not to cake it with thick oily product that ends up sitting on your skin making it feel greasy and harder to apply makeup. Some night-time or intensive moisturisers can be great if you have problematic skin, just make sure you wash it off in the morning and carry on with your regular day moisturiser for that smooth appearance, ready for minimalist makeup.

Try not to coat your face in heavy concealers and foundations – Especially if you don’t really need it. It can be tempting to get caried away with foundation and almost becomes a habit in wearing so much of it, that the thought of only using a thin layer scares you. But remember if you want your eyes to stand out with minimalist makeup, you can’t make the thickness of your foundation the main focus.

Use a colour corrector to even out the skin tones under your eyes with the rest of your face – Some people are blessed with naturally even skin, but for a lot of us, there tend to be darker or bluer shades under and around the eyes where the skin is thinnest (and maybe from tiredness!). So, if this is you, find a colour corrector that works well for the shade that is darkest under your eyes. If it’s more purple, invest in a yellow toned colour corrector or CC cream and if its blue, invest in a more orange toned one. When you apply your foundation gently over the top, it creates a balance and an even palette ready for your minimalist eye makeup.

Finish with a light powder if needed, but don’t go overboard – If you have any fine lines or wrinkles, the powder tends to highlight them more and become cakey in the cracks. Powder is best used around the T-zone and best avoided around the eye area where the skin looks so much better dewy and smooth for eye makeup.

How do you prepare your eyes for minimalist makeup?

So, now that the skin is taken care of, it’s time to prepare the eyes. A blank slate is always needed for eye makeup, so as above, prepare the eyes by cleansing all makeup or build up first.

Start with your eyelashes – Minimalist makeup requires a bit of a ‘less is more’ approach to eyelashes, so before you go reaching for an extravagant set of false lashes, consider other options for bold but classic eyelashes, like an eyelash growth serum. When you use a serum formulated to help your eyelashes grow faster and longer, you start to realise that a big false set may not be necessary. It can take a few weeks to see results but in terms of making minimal makeup a classic and not just a trend that will pass by this is really fitting.

Give your eyebrows a quick tidy up – Don’t get too tweezer happy or you’ll regret it when they don’t grow back in so quick and you’re left with barely there, or worse, uneven eyebrows. But getting rid of a few strays from the edges and giving them a brush with your spooley can go a long way with minimalist makeup. An eyebrow serum will also help them look shinier, fuller and with deeper colour so this could be a great option for long-term use.

Use a primer for your eyelids – This helps the makeup glide on easily and stay put all day once it’s on there. There’s nothing worse than doing your makeup and it starting to gather in the creases or even start sliding off your eyes halfway through your day.

Invest in some new eyeliner – To carry off minimalistic eye makeup you need to have a great tools to make it look clean and crisp. If you use liquid eyeliner, check that your brush is still in good condition and not frayed at the ends for precise application and if you use pencil eyeliner, keep it sharp and clean for a great makeup look.

What minimalist makeup styles look great?

As I said before, minimalist makeup can be made to look quite graphic but with clean and simple lines that do all the talking. It doesn’t have to be all clinical and cold and can instantly be turned into a classic that will be your staple style for years to come.

The classic cat-eye – This one will always be around and can be a huge contributor to minimalist eye makeup when executed well. You don’t need to use a lot of eyeliner or worry about creating a bold shape, just take it down a step by following the direct upper eyelid line and drawing out into a simple but sharp wing with minimal curve. It can take practice to get it right if you haven’t done a cat-eye before but once it’s on point, you’ll never look back.

For hooded eyes, try the bat-wing method – It can give the perfect illusion of the cat-eye. This is becoming increasing popular as people are realising that you don’t have to have one type of eyelid to pull great makeup styles off. This involves drawing a line over the lid as normal, but for the wing creating a diamond shape that resembles an actual bat wing when the eye is closed, but when it’s open, it connects to the line on the upper lid for a smooth cat eye appearance. Team this with some simple mascara for a minimalist eye-makeup look.

Try the fox eye – This is extremely minimal but has maximum effect and is a welcome change to the standard cat-eye if you are looking for something a different but that packs a punch. The fox eye is similar to the cat-eye but is about elongating the eye with thin brush strokes of the eyeliner starting from the centre or outer corners of the eye and lifting the wing into a higher and straighter point. It can be finished off with a small, downturned stroke at the inner corners of the eye near the tear ducts to compliment and complete the look. This can change your whole face shape when executed well and only requires a small amount of colour eyeshadow to keep it minimalist.

Go for graphic lines – Eyeliner doesn’t just have to be used for wings and cat-eyes for minimalist makeup, and if you need a little bit more adventure, then graphic lines could work for you. You don’t want to go too heavy with your applications and you will need a steady hand to draw in sharp lines but think about lifting your cat-eye a few millimetres from the edge of your eye lid, so it almost looks like it’s floating. Or even draw the shape of your cat wing but don’t fill it in for a bold statement. To take it a step further but still in keeping with minimalist trends, switch up your normal black eyeliner for a bright red or green/blue for that extra pop of colour – no eyeshadow needed. This is where that primer will come in handy, making sure your lines don’t shift throughout the day.

Keep eyebrows sleek and shiny – So, in preparation for minimalist makeup you will have given them a little tidy up, but to start to bring the look together it calls for some sleek eyebrows that are bold enough to frame your face but not takeaway from your eyes. Eyebrows don’t have to be stuck to your face, but a light gel to keep the hairs brushed outward and some tint or pencil to create a light shape will do wonders for this minimalist makeup style.

Use one statement eye colour – Being bold with colour is still minimalist as long as its kept monochrome and matte to complete the look. A simple sweep of bright pinks, greens or blues will be enough to make a statement while not overpowering the face. Teamed with sleek cheeks and black eyeliner, minimal colour offers just enough for those who can’t bear to bare!

Keep mascara simple – Yes, we all love our lashes to look long and full, but sometimes it can be too much if you don’t know when to stop. Keep a few different mascaras in your makeup kit so on days where you want to go minimal you are prepared. A simple lengthening mascara will do the trick, in a black or deep brown to keep it looking natural. If you are all about the fox eye try a mascara hat feathers your lashes and with a thick wand to help you brush your eyelashes outward and upward to follow the same lines as your eyeliner. You can pull off plenty of trickery with mascara, just apply it layer by layer if you want to build it up a bit more, but make sure it isn’t an old product that will start to clump your lashes together or leave dry residue.

Nude lips will compliment a minimalist look – Ok, so this isn’t about eye makeup, but you can’t finish off the face until you are happy with every aspect. Lips that are smooth and shiny without too much gloss will work really well with minimalist eye makeup, so taking care of them with an intensive care moisturiser or repair balm will be enough to keep your face looking fresh, but for a pop of colour try a pink lip stain and lightly brush it on with special focus on the centre of the lips instead of lining them. Or keep colours nude if you want full coverage so this doesn’t take anything away from your eyes.

Minimalist makeup doesn’t have to be boring or too simple, it just takes a bit of practice to know what suits you and how to execute the look with ease. The key is in keeping the face fresh and clear, but this doesn’t mean that you should shy away from colour or a bit of contour to define your cheeks and eye area.

You could always skin on the eyeliner or the eyebrows if you really want to keep the look minimal and focus more on your eyeshadow colour and mascara to achieve the look. Instead of chasing the trends of full makeup, smoky eyes and glittery shadows, try and set your own by using these classic examples on a look that will always be modern and fresh.

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Makeup tips

Getting your Body out of Lockdown Mode

It’s the time of year we’ve all been waiting for; springtime is upon us and will hopefully be filled with sunnier days and cheerier moods allowing each and every one of us to start emerging from these wintery days of lockdown and severe lack of sunlight, and when it does happen we need to be ready. Ok, so we may be a long way off complete normality, but now the days of socialising with friends, holidaying on the beach and enjoying some much-deserved catch-up time with family is on the horizon, it’s really time to start getting our minds and our bodies back into shape.

I don’t know about you, but the slightest hint of freedom had me filling up my online shopping carts with clothes and accessories that I know have no chance of fitting me just yet, but instead of feeling the usual distain of complete hopelessness, I’m feeling unusually motivated to work on myself and get back into a vaguely acceptable condition for those long days of sun and laughs, wearing my new outfits and shoes that I definitely should be wearing in before braving the great outside.

So, it’s going to take a bit of work for many of us, but with greater days ahead and time on our side, this should be a fun time to get to know ourselves again and get back into our normal routines, and even discover some new ones along the way!

MENTAL PREPARATION

So, where do we start? On top of the physical preparation, we must make sure that our mental wellbeing takes a priority too. For many people this last year has been a lonely one, with little or extremely limited time outside, and no visiting the people that mean the most and seeing the usual places that make life normal. We have to try to remember that everyone is in the same boat and are all equally looking forward to better days, but for some it may not be as simple as that. It will be common to have feelings of anxiety in joining the world again, so as much as you may be excited to see your best friends, it is important to let them also decide when they are ready to join you at their own pace.

Life as we know it may not ever go back to normal completely, and it can get overwhelming for a lot of people to accept changes in how we socialise. Prepare yourself for this by setting your own realistic expectations, so you don’t feel let down or saddened by the new normal. Jetting off on holiday without masks, or pre-drinks at the airport may not happen just yet, but we will get there in time, it’s just about the baby steps to get back into a social mindset, and a great place to start is by getting your body back into a normal routine. When you look the part, it is easier to feel the part.

DETOXES AND DIETS

All kinds of diet fads present themselves to us through different mediums and all promise to help us lose belly fat in 6 weeks or feel more alert by drinking a celebrity-endorsed tea for a month. The truth is, only you know how your body works and how it responds to different diets, not all of them suit each person’s lifestyle or body shape and it’s important to remember that in the countdown toward lockdown lifting.

There are things that do work though, and without having to change much in your existing routine you can incorporate a few things just to make sure your body is healthy, which is definitely more recommended than a crash diet in a bid to lose unwanted pounds. I honestly think that sugary snack sales at my local supermarket have probably gone through the roof due to my insatiable hunger for chocolate and all things sweet, and while I know this cannot continue if I’m ever going to fit into my new jeans, I also know it won’t do my body any good to cut food out completely.

So the change comes in switching up my sugary goodies for healthier ones, that way I can still snack at intervals in the day, but know I’m actually doing my body a bit of good in the process. A handful of blueberries and some almonds gives just enough sweetness to trick my brain into settling that craving, but also provides the body with the energy it needs to fuel my needy vessel for a few hours before dinner time.

As a source of fibre and protein the nuts pack a punch, so you don’t actually need to eat too many of them to get the benefits from them, and blueberries are loaded with vitamin C and potassium for all-round good health. Known for their antioxidant properties as well, berries are great for keeping the body clear and boost the immune system.

The great thing about this tiny change in diet is it doesn’t take a lot of work and is majorly beneficial, once you start to see a few changes just from cutting sugar, it makes adding more healthier options to the diet that much easier. Green vegetables, fresh fish and steamed rice has never tasted so good!

WORKING OUT

This is the one you’ve either been missing or dreading, there’s no in-between. So many people have used their time away from the world wisely, keeping on top of daily 5k runs, exercises at home or following daily online videos in a bid to shed some lockdown weight. I applaud all those who have made the effort and are on track to come out of lockdown looking and feeling fantastic, you’ve set the bar and should be so proud of your achievements.

I, on the other hand, fell out of love with exercise as the winter set in and let all those hours of hard work getting into shape last year fall by the wayside. But it’s ok! Everyone is going through something different right now and just because some of us lost our fitness mojo, it doesn’t mean we can’t get it back, and with the weather slowly starting to join or side, exercise will feel a lot more normal once we get back into it.

The trick is to start slow, as much as we all want to see results over night, it doesn’t work that way, and in the end we will just put strain on our bodies that can cause injury or fatigue. The idea is to fall back in love with exercise again, not loathe and resent it, so start by stretching and doing some warm-up exercises to see where your body will let you go and where is going to need a little more work.

Stretching is vital before every work out anyway, so get into the habit of working those muscles and limbs and feeling loose before you exercise. If running was your thing, don’t try to hit the 5k straight away if it’s been a while, a short jog will be enough to assess your current abilities, and you can push your limits further with each run.

Don’t neglect weights and resistance training for your arms, stomach and chest. Cardio is fantastic for losing pounds, but weight training helps you build muscle and can actually be better for your metabolism with a slow burn. Whichever way you choose to do it, try and find a way to make sure you stick it out this time, perhaps some friendly competition, create a fun playlist that matches your speed and lasts your desired work out time, and always allow your body to cool down and rest when it needs to.

SKIN CARE

One thing we could all do with right about now is some serious Vitamin D! The colder months of winter are already enough to contend with, but not being able to go out and about too much is depriving our skin of all-natural sources of oxygen and vitamins that can help with a healthy complexion. Sure, it’s a wonderful feeling being wrapped up nice and warm in comfy loungewear all day, but if you’re anything like me, you’re using these layers to hide what’s underneath and it’s about time to shed the hoodies and joggers and look at getting that skin nice and ready in time for shorts weather!

Exfoliation is a great place to start, and I know I’ve missed numerous occasions where I should have been taking great care of my skin, so this next time is going to feel fantastic. A good body scrub followed by some soothing serum and a hydrating moisturiser should be enough to do the trick, but it’s really about getting the body and mind ready for the lifting of lockdown so it’s important to put aside some proper pampering time to get the job done and not rush it.

The next thing to do is concentrate on the face, and I like to treat myself to a nice cucumber mask every now and then, but if it calls for a charcoal or even more sticky methods then so be it! The good thing about lockdown is not needing to wear makeup every day, for which my face is grateful for the breather, but soon I’ll be back to my usual suit of armour and will need to make sure my face is ready for it. The tip here is to keep the face hydrated and protected against the sun. SPF is your friend in these upcoming months of endless sunny days outside, so don’t forget to apply it before the war paint goes on.

NEW PRODUCTS

Out with the old and in with the new! As this is going to be a brand-new day for all of us, it will feel so much better to start afresh and make sure that that kit full of open but mostly unused makeup isn’t going on your skin. That can only mean irritation and we want to look our best, remember! But it isn’t just about replenishing our makeup and brushes, this summer calls for trying out some new products that will contribute to our feelgood goals.

Take the eyelashes for example, unfortunately for a lot of us, hair beauty salons have mostly been closed or unavailable over the past few months, so we’ve been letting our eyelashes loose in all their natural glory – or the opposite in my case. Without the joys of eyelash extensions to help out, it may be time to take matters into our own hands with an eyelash growth serum. After years of mascara use and eyelash curling, the last few months have probably helped give our eyelashes a well-deserved break, but they certainly do leave something to be desired. An eyelash growth serum can help give them that extra boost in length as well as some much-needed strength and shine. When an eyelash serum can turn drab and weak looking eyelashes into those of a goddess in a matter of weeks, it’s time to get applying so that our eyelashes are fully ready for lockdown to be lifted.

NEW WARDROBE

Yes, it’s time to start planning your summer wardrobe and putting those winter coats away. Obviously, in my case, I do have a few areas I want to tighten up before I go buying clothes a size down, but that won’t stop me from purchasing some summery slides or flattering bodysuits. Time to get out of those comfy joggers, incorporate some colour into your life.

I don’t care what anyone says, a shopping trip is does more for the endorphins than most exercise and when we finally have an excuse to look and feel like ourselves once more, there’s no time like the present to treat yourself to a well-earned spree. Even if it is online, is there really a better feeling than a delivery waiting at your front door? I don’t think so!

So, here’s to lockdown (and our spirits) being lifted once again and to ourselves for dealing with life fantastically in unprecedented times full of uncertainty. We’re all doing a great job and must remember to remind ourselves of that. It’s time to really give our bodies and our minds the treatment they deserve for helping us through this last year, so let the fun commence!

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