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

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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

DIY January | Make Your Own Fix Plus Spray (MAC)

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Cult beauty products. They make even the stone-hearted go weak at the knees. Powerful marketing houses push promises of a better appearance should you wish to part with your precious pennies in exchange of the latest lipstick shade. Surely my makeup would be perfectly ‘on fleek’ without having to succumb to advertising peer pressure? In some cases, the denomination of the word ‘cult’ can be loosely justified. In others, there is no better way to describe their charm. This is certainly the case for MAC’s Fix Plus.

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I won’t insult you with a descriptive narrative of this wonder product, we ALL know of its uses. Makeup collections of artists and beauty enthusiasts alike contain at least one bottle of this wonderful elixir. Some call it a finishing spray, but for me, it’s my catalyst for beautifully dewy makeup.

Continuing on with DIY January, I’ve decided to let you in on a VERY simple ‘at-home’ version of MAC’s infamous product. At £17.50 for 100 ml it’s not the most priciest product on the market. However, I literally bathe in this stuff when it comes to doing my makeup and I can rarely think of a time when I haven’t reached for this cloudy mixture. As with many of my DIY projects, I’ve managed to concoct a pretty remarkable dupe for a fraction of the price. A 100 ml sized version of this brew set me back a mere £2.70! That’s crazy considering it will last just as long as the Fix Plus and the ingredients list will give you at least 3/4 refills thereafter.

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What you will need

Refillable Spray bottle

Water

Glycerin (pure and unrefined which is available widely across most chemists)

Rose water (optional)

I marked the rose water as an optional addition as MAC’s Fix Plus doesn’t actually include it in its ingredients list. Rose water has long been a firm favourite for beauty lovers as a way of toning and refreshing the skin. It adds a beautiful perfumed scent to the mix; which also can’t be a bad thing. You can, of course, substitute this for cucumber extract or lavender; which are also widely available and fairly cheap to include. I picked up this bottle of rose water from my local Indian supermarket, because I knew it would be in abundance there!

The spray bottle was my most expensive purchase in this experiment. I picked up this beautiful glass container from Amazon (of course) for £7.90. You can opt for cheaper alternatives and there are many available on the market. However, I wanted to give my spray a little pizzazz and if I had to compare the two, this looks FAR better on my dressing table than the plastic bottle that the Fix Plus comes in.

Glycerin is the leading act for this spray and rightly so. Glycerin has a number of skincare benefits as well as providing the right properties for makeup application. Firstly, it’s HIGHLY moisturising; which is why many chemists stock it as a sore throat remedy. The moisturising benefits help with…well…moisturising the skin for one, anti-ageing and healing of any skin conditions. The thick, syrup-like consistency shouldn’t be misconstrued, it absorbs very easily into the skin without making it feel tacky. Although, it does act as a ‘glue’ for your makeup and makes your foundation last all day. I picked up this bottle of Glycerin from my local pharmacy, but you can also get it online for the same price.

Method

1.  Grab your spray bottle. I chose a 100 ml bottle, but any size will do.

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2. Pour in 1 part of Glycerin. I eye-balled it in all honesty. You don’t need to be too specific, but as long as it’s no more than 1/4 of the bottle.

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3. Pour in 2 parts of rose water or your chosen extract. Again, this was eye-balled. Get to about 1/2 way up the bottle.

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4. Fill the remainder of the bottle with water. No need to be fancy here. I chose mineral water, because I live in a hard water area. As long as your comfortable with it, go ahead with tap water.

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5. Close the cap on the spray bottle and shake away. Feel free to do a little dance while you do it (all the cool people do).

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6. Store and use your ‘finishing’ spray for up to 3 months. Re-fill with the same mixture when necessary.

Simple as really! Told you it would be a breeze! You can store your mixture in the fridge if you want a cooling affect on your skin, but if you get a pretty bottle like mine, you won’t want it to part with your dressing table.

I know I said I wouldn’t, but here’s a few little uses for this DIY Fix Plus spray:-

  • As a primer – spritz onto your face before you apply your makeup to ensure a moisturised base. It gives the skin a wonderful glow and can sheer out even the most full coverage of foundations.
  • As a finishing spray – similar concept really, but apply it after your base makeup. It can rid you of any cake face/powdery mess and ensure your face looks flawless rather than over-done.
  • As a toner – you can balance out the pH levels of your skin, particularly if you’ve chosen to include rose water.
  • As a makeup refresher – if you find yourself ‘drying out’ throughout the day (get your mind out of the gutter), spritz a little of this spray all over your face to instantly refresh and revive.
  • As a makeup intensifier – one of my favourite uses of MAC’s Fix Plus is to spritz my eye shadow or highlighting brush before going in with the product. It takes a moderately pigmented shade and intensifies it by 1000. This is particularly useful for duo-chrome or shimmer shades; which fail to provide you with as much pigmentation as you would like.
  • As a glue for your beauty blender – I recently picked up this trick and I haven’t been able to do without it since. After applying your highlighter (with a spritz on the brush if you like), spritz a little on your beauty blender and ‘press’ it over the areas where your highlighter has been applied. It intensifies the colour, but literally ‘melts’ the highlighter into your skin giving you that ‘glow from within’ look rather than crystal ball.

Let me know if you give this a try! I certainly won’t be re-purchasing another bottle of Fix Plus in the future!

Beauty Trends To Look Out For In 2017

I really can’t believe the new year is just around the corner. As cliché as it sounds, I don’t know where the year has gone. It seems like it was just yesterday when I was writing my 2015 Reflection post and now 2017 is just moments away.

2016 has been a huge learning curve for me, both personally and professionally. I entered the foreign world of beauty blogging with nothing but a passion and a few makeup brushes in tow. Fast forward 12 months and my collection (much to the dismay of my husband) has grown extensively as well as my knowledge.

Of course, 2016 would be nowhere without the inclusion of a few beauty trends. From glitter lips to silver-toned hair, the beauty community has been witness to some good, bad and shocking discoveries. 2017 brings a new era and along with that, new trends. I’ve rounded up 5 of them; which are set to make their mark in the new year. A few have already made a brief appearance, but yet to be released into the mainstream market.

Here are my top 5 beauty trends; which are predicted to rock the new year…

Chrome Nails
chrome nails

Just when you thought nudes were here to stay, in comes the chromes. Spread all over the pages of Instagram and Pinterest, we’ve seen an surge of chrome nails. I’m not talking glitter or even high shine finishes, I’m talking reflective AF golds, bronzes, silvers and rose golds. Mirror powder nails have made a brief entry into the beauty world in 2016, but it seems as though the trend is catching and every Insta-beauty around is sporting these not-so-subtle talons.

Facial Brushing
facial brushing

Originally derived from the Ayurvedic tradition of dry body brushing, this trend is slightly different to the traditional facial cleansing brushes that we’re used to seeing. Much like dry body brushing, a ‘brush’ is used in small, circular motions to remove dead skill cells, promote toxin release, combat texture and increase your skin’s natural radiance. Not only is it cheaper than most facial cleansing brushes and exfoliators, but it’s much more gentle on the skin. You’ll want to use a different brush on your face to the rest of your body as your face is much more sensitive, but 2017 is set to have a number of these specialised brushes on the market. Aveda currently offer the Tulasara Dry Facial Brush; which has received rave reviews and is already widely available.

Coloured Highlighting
coloured highlighters

2016 saw the mention of ‘rainbow’ highlighters. Not a particularly positive mention, more like a wave of ‘wtf’ across the beauty community. Yes they’re pretty to look at, but who can really pull off a multicoloured highlighter?! 2017 will see the rise of coloured illuminators in a much more subtle format. MAC’s infamous Strobe Cream now comes in an array of colours, all of which add that instant glow without looking like a clown. Jeffery Star’s Skin Frosts already have a pretty wacky colour selection, but the latest release of ‘Regina George’ (which is literally my favourite product name of life) really pushes the boat out. As long as you don’t go overboard, I reckon coloured highlighters would be quite fun.

Silicone Makeup Sponge
silicone sponge

One of the most anticipated inventions in the beauty world of 2017. The last month or so has been dominated by the independent cosmetics brand Molly Cosmetics. Ever since their Instagram debut of the Silisponge, beauty gurus around the world have been falling over themselves to get their makeup hoarding hands on one.

Think bra insert, or chicken cutlets in a flat BeautyBlender form. The Silisponge promises to blend out your base makeup with minimal cleaning effort, zero product absorption and no requirement for soaking in water – everything that the BeautyBlender doesn’t offer. Sounds like a dream come true, or is it? I’ll be tested it out once I get past the bloody waiting list!

Graphic Eyes
graphic eyes

Graphic eyes have made a comeback, gone away and made a comeback all over again over the years. However, 2017 is set to be the year for bold and dramatic eye liner to frame your eyes. A strong wing is obviously the safe route, but beauty experts expect to see more ‘detailed’ eye liner looks. Not sure if this trend will make it onto the mainstream market as many women, including myself, struggle to do a simple wing, but nevertheless it’s definitely a fun idea.