The New Contour? All About Blush Draping

The 80s. A decade of garish colours, cheesy music and some seriously questionable fashion. Despite its fall backs, the 80s was, without a doubt, an epic era (slightly biased opinion being an 80s baby myself).

When it comes to beauty trends, however, the 80s isn’t necessarily the era which you would want to take any inspiration. Case in point – hair crimping. I need not explain what hair crimping is, because anyone over the age of 25 will know and loathe it well. Let’s just say, we’ve all been there and we all regret it. However, despite our initial thoughts, there are a few beauty trends from the 80s; which are set to make a huge comeback for Spring 2017.

Along with the rest of the face, blush application was pretty intense during the 80s. Women would layer on lashings of brightly coloured blush to emphasis their bone structure and further accentuate their facial features. A high concentration of blush would be applied from the top of the cheekbones and blended into the apples of the cheeks. Slightly topsy turvy in today’s world where it’s normally the other way around. Nevertheless, blush colours would often consist of bright, neon pinks to add an air of femininity and elegance. Fast forward a few decades and it seems as though heavy blush, or rather, blush draping (as it’s lovingly renamed) has made a huge comeback and it’s looking to knock contouring off its pedastal.

Unlike contouring, blush draping is used to add youth and freshness to a look. Contouring, particularly when done incorrectly, can often make a person look harsh and over-done. Blush draping is created with the use of duo-toned blushers (or a shade selection from a palette) to create a sculpted, yet soft structure to the face. A lot more forgiving for women of age and not to mention, a lot less time consuming than most contour routines!

So what’s the technique? Well rather than applying a contour shade in the hollows of your cheekbones, a darker toned blush is applied just under the cheek and blended into the temples and hair line using a lighter shade of blush. It’s certainly not as heavily applied as women would often do in the 80s, but the method of applying your blush right up to your eyebrows is still pretty much the same. This creates a ‘lifted’ look to the face and gives the illusion of higher cheekbones and therefore a slimmer, more structured face.

Sounds simple enough, but I’m not sure it will make ladies want to through out their favourite cool-toned bronzer anytime soon. It does, however, make the face appear a lot more youthful and bright (particularly if you use a coral/peach toned blush palette). The Marc Jacob’s Air Blush palettes (£28.00) are perfect for blush draping and provide everything you need in one handy compact for easy travelling.

I, for one, am pretty excited about this trend as I never contour my face on a day to day basis and blush draping seems like a reasonably simple alternative to adding structure to the face. Maybe there is a light at the end of the contour and highlight tunnel after all!

What’s your favourite or worst beauty trend from the 80s? Have you tried blush draping. Comment below with your thoughts!

Beauty Secrets From Around The World

beauty secrets

If there’s one thing that women across the world have in common it’s being beautiful. From the far east to the shores of the west – women from all races and cultures have their own individual beauty. Although the methods and the ingredients may differ, the concept is always the same. Women want to look and feel beautiful. That’s not a cliche statement, nor is it sexist. Every culture has its beauty secrets; which makes them so unique.

I’ve recently been getting into a lot of natural beauty products lately. Very unlike me really as I’m not much of a purist, but I find the potency of natural ingredients far more beneficial than a store-bought product. I wouldn’t go as far as to throw out all of my off-the-shelf beauty products, but you can’t really compare the two.

Taking inspiration from this, I’ve decided to round up natural beauty secrets from around world in today’s blog post. I research a lot into exotic oils and foods; which are indigenous to certain countries, but also beneficial for the skin, hair and nails. Today, I share with you some of the ingredients that I’ve tried out myself or will be planning to try.

Here’s what women across the globe use to get glamourous…

China – Crushed Pearl Powder

Used for thousands and thousands of years, crushed pearls have been a part of Chinese healing medication as well as beauty regimes across China. The powder is as glamorous as the name suggests. Its velvety-light texture and off-white hue makes it a luxurious treat as well as a fantastic skin saviour.

Pearl powder contains a very high source of amino acid, protein, calcium and vitamins. It’s perfect for all skin types and helps with easing inflammation as well as promoting healing, enhancing skin’s elasticity and luminosity. Crushed pearl powder also helps with absorbing oil, skin impurities, filtering out UV rays and helps to prevent hyperpigmentation by slowing down the melanin production in the skin. The antimicrobial properties are also known to remove blotches, acne, scarring, dry patches and rosacea as well as sun damage.

Mix it in with your favourite lotion, add it to your next DIY face mask or do as the Chinese do and apply dabs of the powder to your cleansed skin before bed. It won’t clog and your pores, but it will leave you feeling super glamorous.

India – Turmeric

There’s no secret that turmeric, or rather, turmeric powder is used and loved around the world. India calls it their golden spice and it’s not hard to see why.

Turmeric is AMAZING for your skin, hair and overall health. It contains many antibacterial properties as well as antioxidants; which makes it fantastic for beauty in general. I have a whole blog post on my love for Turmeric; which you can check out for more details.

Indian women love mixing together a paste of turmeric and milk to apply directly to their bodies as well as their face for enviable, pigment-free skin. Well they do say that Indian women are some of the most beautiful women in the world. Not that I’m biased…of course.

Greece – Olive Oil

Organic oil, in any form, is fantastic for skin, hair and nails. In Greece, olive oil is in abundance and the women have declared it their secret to eternal youth.

Olive oil is very rich in vitamins, minerals and natural fatty acids. It’s suitable for sensitive as well as parched, dry skin. Olive oil is normally the key ingredient to many anti-ageing skincare products as it’s rich in antioxidants, prevents skin ageing, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and not forgetting nourishes, rejuvenates and protects the skin. It’s rich in vitamin E and A as well as promoting youth, hydration, elasticity and texture.

My favourite way to use olive oil is to add dashes of its golden wonder to a warm bath, as an oil-based makeup remover on my face or as a cuticle oil. It’s cheap as chips, but make sure it’s virgin olive oil if you do decided to try this one!

French Polynesian – Monoi Oil

If there’s one oil in the world that I just had to keep it would be monoi oil. I can’t get enough of this stuff; which is probably a bad habit to keep as it’s not that easy to source in the shops, nor is it as cheap as olive oil. However, if I imagined Hawaii in a bottle, this would be it; which makes it totally worth the bother (in my eyes).

Monoi oil has been a Polynesian secret for thousands of years. Women would slather it all over their bodies to protect themselves from sun damage, harsh elements of the beach (totally 1st world problems if you ask me), maintain an even skin tone, but more importantly…add a beautiful fragrance to their entire body (including hair); which also offers intense moisturisation. All round winner in my books!

Monoi oil is completely natural and is made from a combination of my ever-favourite coconut oil as well as the essence of Tiare flowers (Tahitian Gardenias). Only pure, virgin coconut oil is used; which means that coconuts which have fallen naturally from their palm are the only ones used to infuse the beautiful Tiare flower petals.

I pick up bottles of the ever famous Hei Poa Monoi oil from Amazon for a fair price, plus there’s lots of different infusions to try out if you’re in the mood for something different.

Egypt – Milk Baths

Known for her euphoric sex appeal and womanly charms, anything that Cleopatra (supposedly) did, I naturally want to try out too. I mean – if the delight of a rose petal infused milk bath doesn’t excite you, you’re reading the wrong blog!

It’s no secret that Cleopatra had a thing about milk baths, but what’s the big deal about them? Well it’s not just about sticking a bit of Cravendale in the tub and calling it a day, Cleopatra believed in unpasteurised, thick and creamy natural milk (with a dash of honey) to soothe and nourish her irrisistable skin.

The lactic acid in milk works as an exfoliator for dead skin as well as promoting an even, glowing complexion. I’ve tried it before and although it’s very relaxing and nourishing, I wouldn’t give up my favourite body scrub for exfoliation.

Japan – Rice

When it comes to beauty secrets, there’s no one better to take lead from than the Japanese. The beauty industry in Japan is on FIRE and their products are hard to compete with. Just like their beauty products, the Japanese diet is one of the most healthiest in the world and rice is at the forefront of that diet.

Other than nutritional benefits, rice has been used for thousands of years as a beauty secret. Rice farmers would boil rice, separate the water and use it to bathe with for healthy skin. Geishas soon picked up on this trick and would use boiled-down rice water to keep their skin bright, fair and smooth.

Compounds found in rice bran have been widely used in many beauty products on the shelf as it contains antioxidants, phytic acid and exfoliating properties to increase blood flow to the skin.

You can create your own bath soaks by placing some white rice in a muslin cloth and run under a warm tap, however, reaching into beauty products which contain rice bran is just as beneficial. Try out the Tatcha skincare range for some great products; which contains rice bran as their integral ingredient.

Morocco – Argan Oil

Argan oil to Moroccans is what olive oil is to the Greeks. Moroccans use argan oil for everything, including beauty. The western world have already experienced the love for argan oil with the explosion of MoroccanOil on the market. Although I’ve always been a fan of their products, since getting a bottle of the real stuff during my travels to Marrakech, I could never go back.

Argan oil contains antioxidants, vitamin E, essential fatty acids and intense moisturisation. It really is a superfood for your skin as well as hair an nails. It’s great for anti-ageing, hydration, hair smoothing and skin regeneration.

After styling, I love running argan oil through my hair to smooth away flyaways and well as using pure argan oil on my face at night before going to bed. If you’re unable to source the traditional stuff, try the Josie Maran Pure Argan Oil as a fantastic alternative.

Singapore – Papaya

Christopher Columbus dubbed papaya the ‘Fruit of the Angels’ after discovering its tropical taste and butter-like consistency. Papaya has been a treasured fruit for many years, but rather than a tropical inclusion in a fruit salad, it’s a wonderful ingredient to use for beauty regimes.

Rich in vitamins A, C, E and K, papaya has antioxidant properties as well as natural enzymes. It contains magnesium, potassium, niacin, carotene, protein and fibre. Not just the fruit, the seeds found within papaya are also highly beneficial.

The enzymes in papaya make it highly beneficial for exfoliating and skin whitening. I’m certainly not talking about changing the colour of your skin, I think products like that are DISGUSTING! I’m talking about lightening skin discolouration and hyper pigmentation.

I use pure papaya soap; which contains natural papaya seeds when my skin needs a good clean. Check out Amazon for loads of different papaya soaps.

West Africa – Shea Butter

It’s no secret that I love a bit of shea butter. I have a whole blog post on my DIY whipped body butter; which includes the use of shea butter.

Shea butter, like argan oil, is a natural superfood for the skin. The butter is made from the seeds of Karite trees; which is rich in vitamins A, E and F. It offers UV protection, collagen production and intense nourishment. Women in West Africa have been using this natural ingredient for years to feed their skin and hair with essential fatty acids and rich nutrients.

Shea butter is a little hard to apply to the skin and hair on it’s own so I do suggest a product with shea butter as its main ingredient or, if you’re feeling productive, try out my DIY whipped body butter. It’s the best thing you will ever put on your body, particularly if you’re a mama in waiting and you’re looking to rid yourself of those pesky stretch marks.

Valentines Day Beauty Gifts For Under £50

The day of repugnant declaration is almost upon us. You might have noticed the sudden injection of red and pink everything in the shops lately, but what you might not have noticed is the unambiguous divide of interest. The world parts into two when it comes to Valentines Day. Singletons loath the commercialism and loved-up relationship folk lap up the attention. Even though this year will be my 8th glorious Valentines with my husband (3 of which are married), I’m not big on the materialism of Valentines. Sure, it’s nice to get treated and my husband puts in a lot of effort, but love should not be restricted to once a year. Sounds very Hallmark of me, but relationship or not, nothing is more sickly than the barrage of Facebook posts of #relationshipgoals from couples who you know deep down don’t give a shit (damn Gina…that didn’t mean to come out as harsh as it did).

Whatever your feelings of Valentines Day, it’s hard to not get swept up in its infectious charm. My husband and I rarely exchange gifts on Valentines, when we do, we restrict our gift choices to budget-friendly options (well his present is usually budget-friendly) of products which we’ve always wanted, but never got round to buying for ourselves. Obviously, being the beauty enthusiast that I am, I’ve put together a list of beauty products under £50 should you wish a little gift inspiration to nudge your partner in the right direction, or, if you fancy treating yourself…

Jo Malone Red Roses Bath Oil 30ml/£17.00

Lush ‘Lots Of Love’ Gift Set £39.95

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream Blush Eau de Toilette Spray 50ml/£38.95

Kiko ‘Matte For You’ Heart Shaped Lipstick £6.90

NYX ‘Sweet Cheeks’ blush Palette £17.00

Charlotte Tilbury Makeup Bag £15.00

Dior Addict Self-Vanishing Lip Glow Sugar Scrub £24.00

Too Faced White Chocolate Chip Eyeshadow Palette £22.00 (additional costs for international shipping applies)

Dior Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet Eau de Toilette 30ml/£41.50

Starskin DreamKiss Lip Mask 3 masks/£8.50

Spring Clean Your Mind | Learning How To Deal With Stress And Anxiety

meditation

It feels like forever since I’ve sat down and dedicated time to this blog. Two weeks to be exact, not that I’m counting. I needed some time out and because I’m not one for ‘fluffing’ the truth, I’m just going to say it – I was drowning. Not figuratively of course, by mentally. I needed a break from…well…life.

Exhausted, to say the least, I was in desperate need of a retreat. Rather than the usual choice of sun-drenched resorts with plenty of cocktails, I was craving tranquillity and seclusion. I know what you must be thinking and I promise I’m not a complete recluse (complete being the operative word). I needed some peace and I certainly wasn’t getting that in my daily routine.

I took some time out last week to engross myself (and my willing husband) into the depths of the english countryside. In complete isolation, we took to life in a very beautiful and quaint cottage with nothing more than the birds and a lovely stream at the end of our garden to listen to. It might sound like a nightmare to some, but for me, it was just what the doctor ordered.

Upon my return it became ever so apparent that I needed to change my approach to life. Stress, anxiety and even depression can creep up on the best of us. Whether we ask for it or not, life can take a downward turn and it’s hard (even for the strongest of us) to pull ourselves out. Without any lawful reason, the simplest of tasks become unmanageable and your mindset takes a different route. For some it’s a lifelong condition, for others it’s a speed bump, but regardless of the situation, we’ve ALL been there at some point or another. Sounds very dark now that I’ve said it out aloud, but I’ve promised myself to be as honest as possible and this blog post is my most truthful to date.

We all need a little helping hand with life and I’m definitely not afraid to admit that of myself. Admitting that sometimes life gets the better of me is the best form of therapy I’ve ever given myself. Beyond that, there are a few steps that I take in my daily routine to remind myself to stay grounded and not allow for stress and anxiety to get the best of me. After all, life is beautiful, we just need a looking glass to confirm that every now and then.

Putting down my phone

This has been the hardest and yet most satisfying task to date. Being a blogger means that social media is at the forefront of my mind at all times. Having my phone surgically attached to me has become an un-welcomed habit. A habit that, unfortunately, has become the norm in this day and age. Blogging has opened my eyes to the world of social media and how much it can manipulate you. I’ve always been active on social media for personal reasons, but since blogging, I’ve now learnt that there is a dichotomy between my blogging and personal life. My blog is all about sharing, commenting, posting, liking and networking. My personal life – is very private and although I would consider myself a social person, I tend to like my own company. I’ve made it a point to separate my two worlds and because I spend most of my week working on the blog, I keep social media to a bare minimum (non-existent if I can help it) on the weekends.  Sounds like a minuscule task, but I can’t tell you how liberating it feels to put down the phone and just live in the moment.

Learning to breathe

I’ve been a follower of Swami Ramdev’s yoga teachings for some time. One important aspect that I’ve learnt is the art of breathing. Simple breathing techniques can reduce stress, anxiety, blood pressure and increased heart rate. When I feel like I’m in a difficult situation or my stress levels take an unprecedented turn, I breathe. Closing your eyes, blocking out any external noise and concentrating on deep breaths can do wonders for your mind.

Learning that meditation is not a hippie fad

Meditation can mean a number of things for different people. For some, meditation means taking 10 minutes out of their day to sit in peace, while for others meditation means hours of chi-centering, aura-finding, trance-like prayer. For me, meditation means peace no matter what my method. When I have time, I spend a few minutes in the morning lighting some incense and listening to energy-boosting meditation music whilst I sip on my morning brew. Not the most conventional method of meditation, but it helps me kick start my day in a positive manner. I also spend time in the evening (preferably before bed) to listen to daily affirmations. It helps me sleep better and it encourages me to end the day with a peaceful state of mind.

Learning the power of music 

Music is a healer. I should know that, I’m married to a DJ who is in turn married to his music. Music alters your mood and transport your mind to another dimension. Whether you’re into heavy metal rock, deep house (my kinda music) or classical orchestras; putting on your favourite genre of music can ease your mind of great tension. My mum would often listen to Hindi songs of the yesteryear (particularly while she is trying to sleep) and I never understood the necessity of it. That was until I tried it myself. Not with Hindi music as such, but I find meditation sounds (in other words ‘spa music’) very soothing, especially if I’m struggling to get to sleep. I often find myself listening to it through out the day, particularly in the car; which is a far cry from the hip hop songs I used to blare from the speakers in my younger years. The point is whatever your choice in music, if it soothes your mind, use it as a healer.

Dabble in essential oils

Much like music, essential oils have the properties to lift and brighten your mood without any invasive technique. I’ve dabbled in essential oils for quite some time, but to be honest, I’m still learning about them. I’m no expert, but I know that when I need a little pick me up, I reach for a bottle of bergamot or lavender. There’s a lot to learn about essential oils and there’s a number of benefits to using them, far too many to list in one post. However, essential oils have helped me massively in calming my mood and even combating tiredness.

Learning to enjoy my own company

Another honest yet brutal confession from me, I much rather my own company than being in a crowd of people. This is probably where my anxiety kicks in, as I find large groups very very unnerving. It may come as a shock to someone who knows me personally, but I’m not very social. It’s a shock as I’m mostly the one doing all the talking in a social situation. I’ve learnt to love my own company and the quietness that comes along with it. Obviously there’s a fine line between reclusiveness and being the life and soul of the party. However, learning to love your own company can make you more confident and self-assuring around others.

Learning what makes me happy

I’ve never been guilty of not treating myself. I’m sure my mum and my husband can vouch for that! However, as shallow as it makes me sound, I love nothing more than drowning my sorrows in the depths of a spa or beauty salon. I aim to get a massage once every two weeks, not just for vanity purposes, but for the simple fact that it relaxes my mind, body and soul and it makes me very happy. I’m not suggesting that everyone needs to take this route. Some people find peace within reading or cooking. The point is, finding a hobby which makes you happy is just as important as finding the perfect job. Everyone needs that certain something to take the edge off of life and rather than using it as a treat once in a while, make it a regular occurrence. Life is difficult enough without having to put restrictions on yourself.

Learning not to push myself 

I’m my own worst critic. I’m a perfectionist at heart and everything I do comes from the heart; which is why I place so much pressure on myself when I undergo a task. If I don’t create the perfect image or write the best blog post, I beat myself up for it. I’ll spend hours and hours on a blog post if it means that it’s perfect (in my eyes). However, what I have missed out on is the fact that this additional pressure that I put on myself hurts no one but myself. Learning to let go has been a hard task for me, but I’m trying to remember that it’s ok to be in the middle lane rather than the fast all the time.

Keeping organised but not making it a priority 

This goes part in parcel with my previous point. I place so much emphasis on ‘perfection’ that I find it hard to delegate or even compromise. I have a serious case of OCD and I like my surroundings, my life and everything around that to be perfect, in its place and organised. So much so that I will obsess about something until it’s complete. This could be something as little as planning an event or organising my wardrobe. I obsess and I dote on the little things; which isn’t healthy. I don’t think I’ll ever be disorganised, I quite like being OCD, but I shouldn’t need to put so much emphasis on the details. In the mornings, I spend a few minutes writing down a list of daily tasks that I wish to accomplish by the end of the day. 8 times out of 10, I over exert myself and I’m not able to complete them all. However, rather than beat myself up over it, I’ve learnt that spreading my tasks over a few days is ok and if I don’t have the time, it’s not the end of the world.

Learning that some days are good and some days are bad

One thing that’s hit me like a ton of bricks is learning the fact that some days are good and others are bad. Like many other women, my moods tend to go up and down. Rather than assuming that every day is going to be full of rainbows and roses, I’ve realised that I am going to have off days and these are the days when my ‘feel good treats’ come into action. Rather than penalising myself I’ve learnt to deal with my off days in a way that makes me feel more comfortable. I let go of my regime, I treat myself and I go to bed knowing that tomorrow is a new day. I draw a line under the mistakes that I’ve made that day and I go back to being ‘normal’ when my mind permits it.

Do you suffer with anxiety or any form of depression? What do you do to deal with it? Comment below.