Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Wedding Belles

So, I've noticed that there are quite a few wedding blogs on blogspot and seeing as we've just done a bridal hair special in the magazine, I thought I'd share these with you.

From what most of the hairdressers are saying, wedding hair this year is softer with a natural ‘organic’ feel to it, so lots of soft, tousled waves and low slung buns kept romantic, simple and beautiful. As I've mentioned before, plaits are very big news this year and a great alternative to a headdress is a plait or braid across the hairline, with accessories such as fresh flowers, pearls or crystals woven through.

Take a look at these images for more inspiration...

ABOVE: These three and the one above the intro are by Royston Blythe and are all actually using hair extensions to illustrate the different tehniques that can be used even if it is simply to boost volume rather than length.

ABOVE: hob salons demonstrate the use of the plait to frame the face rather than a veil or headdress.

ABOVE: It may not work to exactly copy this look by the Saks Art Team for your wedding day (you'll want people to see your happy face in all the photos!) but the texture and natural feel to the curls would look great incorporated into wedding hair.

ABOVE: Simple plaits and detail from Paul Mitchell proving that you don't need to do much to create a powerful hair statement!

I'm an Award Winner - Hooray!

A big thank you to the gorgeous gal at Stepford Dreams for giving me this 'Lovely Blog' award, it's my first one so needless to say I am very excited! I wasn't sure what to expect when I entered the world of blogging, as I am just enjoying writing about these products in a way I can't on the magazine, but I have really loved the sense of community on here and the lovely comments people leave.

I now have to choose 15 blogs I think are lovely, and then let them know they have won my award, so here goes (in alphabetical order)...

20 Something Dreams

A Cup of Jo

All Things Lovely

Blog Goggles

Classy Chaos


Dustjacket Attic

Lobster and Swan

Loft in Soho

Naturally Nina

Pottering About

Sticky Candy

Stepford Dreams

There is a life I will touch today

This and That

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Faking it...

Thanks to my Irish mother I have skin that doesn't tan too easily. I find it really hard to sit out in the sun and even when I do I generally come away with nothing to show for it! I'm going away in just over a week and it's the first bikini wear of the year so thought I needed to have some kind of base colour!

The best way to tan for everyone is to layer up a light, natural shade (which works wonders for the pale skinned) rather than putting on a darker one that, a lot of the time, looks unnatural and has a slight orange tint to it.

The best one I've found for this is Rodial Brazilian Tan Light (around £30 RRP). It is a very light shade and they do a darker one, but trust me on this, layering is the best way to do it! It may be slightly time consuming but really is worth it, and then it just needs topping up once a week or so to keep it at the level you have chosen. With just one layer I had a slight colour which, rather than making me look tanned, made me just look healthy all over rather than pasty and ill! Another layer and I had a golden tan, not so much that I looked fake, but as if I'd just spent a few days in the sun. There were absolutely no streaks and the smell is lovely (which is another reason I usually hate fake tan!).

Secret Beauty Verdict: Expensive but definitely worth it, a little goes a long way and it's the most natural fake tan I've ever used.

Another good one is St Tropez Everyday gradual tanner (RRP £12.95), it's a self tanning moisturiser rather than a 'fake tan' so you can't build the colour up as much as you can with the Rodial, but it works so well, has a gorgeous smell and because it is a moisturiser, you don't need to worry about making sure you moisturise everywhere first (which I personally find a bit of a pain as it takes too long!) They do have an Everyday Airbrush tan too (RRP£18) which is a fake tan and is great to get all the hard to reach areas if you haven't got anyone to help, especially for doing your back. Again, this doesn't have a funny smell and is completely streak free. 

Secret Beauty Verdict: Reasonably priced, St Tropez products feature everywhere for a reason; streak free, easy tanning without the yukky smell.

On the cheaper side, there is a huge range of gradual tanning moisturisers and fake tans. I've tried many of them and generally they are fine but the smell really puts me off. Its stays until the tan fades and when you get a bit hot, the smell seems to get worse! Johnson's holiday tan is good, but even with the new formula the smell is still a bit 'biscuity'. The best I've tried is Dove's Summer Glow (RRP £4.99) but do make sure you get the right colour for your skin, otherwise it can look a bit fake and streaky.

Secret Beauty Verdict: If you get the right colour for your skin then this does work well to build a natural tan, its still a bit smelly though!


For cheaper fake tans, I find L'Oreal Sublime Bronze (RRP£11) really good as it uses the same spray system as St Tropez airbrush to get an even tan in hard to reach places, but I do find the colour still slightly fake for me.

Secret Beauty Verdict: Good, but I think I'd pay the extra bit of money for the
St Tropez to get a more natural looking tan.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Wax on, wax off

Just a quick one about Lycon SoYummy Chocolate & Hazelnut hot wax...it's fab! I can't big up hot waxing enough anyway but this really is the best I've tried.

If you go to a salon to get your bikini wax done then I'd really suggest finding one that offers hot wax (especially if you have a Brazilian or Hollywood). I think the UK is slightly behind the rest of the world with this so apologies if you are reading this thinking I am so 5 years ago, but I went to a salon about a year ago for a bikini hot wax assuming that this would be the same as usual (the wax goes on warm and they use a strip to wax it off) - not this time. Hot wax is pasted on in the same way, but then left to cool as it ‘shrink-wraps’ around the hair using the heat of the wax to open the pores for the hair to come out easier and then stripped straight off the skin. Since having hot wax I can’t go back to my old ways as it is almost painless and I have absolutely no reaction (apart from a bit of redness) but with the Lycon wax I had yesterday it did not hurt once, NOT ONCE! I know they do home waxing kits which I’d recommend instead of your usual home waxing but if you can go to a salon for it then do.

Secret Beauty Verdict: use hot wax every time and try and find a Lycon salon if possible.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Paint your nails like a Pro!

I spoke to the experts at Qtica, the professional hand and nail treatment brand from the US, to get some great tips for hands and feet you’ll be proud to show off:

* Use a cotton pad soaked in a non-acetone remover to remove any traces of old nail polish.

* For a deep, anti-bacterial cleanse, soak feet in a bowl of warm water, adding a few drops of your favourite essential oil (peppermint is great for feet) or even add a handful of Epsom salts to the water. Make sure you soak your hands too to soften the cuticle if you are doing a manicure.

* Cut toe-nails using a nail clipper and cut STRAIGHT across only, then file in one direction across the top of the nail. For fingers file in one direction into the middle of the nail, creating the shape you deisre. Never use a ‘sawing’ motion as it causes nails to chip and peel.

* Apply a fortifying nail treatment product such as Qtica’s Natural Nail Growth Stimulator to strengthen the nail, encourage growth and leave nails with a healthy, glossy finish.

* For feet, always use a foot file to remove dead skin, concentrating on the heels.

* Great cuticles are essential as nails begin growing at the nail bed, so apply Qtica Solid Gold Cuticle Oil Gel. This 12 oil formula is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and is designed to soothe and nourish. Once you’ve massaged in the oil, use an orange stick to gently push back cuticles.

* Follow the professionals and apply a base coat and top coat to really help lengthen the life of your polish.

* Applying polish is far easier than people think – paint a stripe in the middle, then one on the left, continuing to the right. Keep the coats very thin so you’ll have time to apply two coats and choose a high quality polish which contains a lot of pigment ensuring you won’t end up with a wishy washy colour.

* Finish off nails with a quick-drying sealant which should leave nails touch-dry within five minutes, but if you’re really desperate, turn the hairdryer onto the cool setting and give them a blast.

So here are a few of my manicure favourites:

Always use a non-acetone remover, honestly, you can really feel the difference! I love the Nails Inc one but can't seem to find it anywhere anymore!

I love my Tropical Shine Flash File, they come in a huge range of colours and work so well.

Again Nails Inc has a great cuticle remover - Striptease. Just leave on for 2 minutes and push the cuticles back with an orange stick.

An AMAZING base coat is Stickey by Creative Nail Design, it is exactly what it says - a sticky base coat to help anchor the colour to the nail to keep it on for longer.

Follow with a colour of your choice, the Top Coat from OPI and you're done - gorgeous glossy nails!

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Neon Nails!

I thought I'd share the new collections from Zoya with you (The La-Di-Da collection is above, and Ooh-La-La is below, click on the pictures to see them nice and big). This summer bright, funky, happy colours are in and I mean in a BIG way. Quick tip: If you don't fancy wearing them on your fingernails, they look gorgeous on toes, especially with a tan!

Stockists: Go to www.nailcareclub.com for all products mentioned

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Blonde Ambition

As Summer is starting to edge ever closer in the UK, I thought it was about time to talk blonde...blondes represent about 70% of the colour service in salons and it is always as the sun starts to come out, that people want their hair to reflect this. If you're thinking about doing the same, or just want the latest update to your already blonde hair then read on...

I had a word with the UK's top hairdressers to get their tips on what is big for blondes in 2009.

“Always a popular colour for spring/summer, not surprisingly this season we will see an emphasis on blondes. However, there will be a definite move away from last season’s grey silver slate blondes and a move towards vanilla, champagne and milk white tones through to sand, cinnamon and sandalwood shades. Embracing a cleaner palette, blondes will be brighter and more eye-catching. The emphasis is on a clean, pure result with translucent, dazzling colour. Working to complement fashion trends for spring/summer 09, more creative work will see blondes infused with accents of soft pastel tones merged together for a seamless result. With a big nod to the 80’s and a kaleidoscope of colours dominating the catwalks, build interest by using pastel tones such as rose, dusty lilac and lemon to enhance blondes.”Christel Lundqvist, Head Technical Educator for hob salons & academy

“Blondes this year are taking two directions. Firstly, strong ash blondes of an all over nature are very on trend; looking clean and shiny is the key to wearing it well, but it’s a look best kept to pale, creamy complexions and if the natural hair is not too dark as seen on Agyness Deyn. Warmer tones are also out there working it, the soft thread-like highlighted look similar to that of Jennifer Aniston and Kylie is so subtle and subdued, it almost looks like the sun has slightly bleached out the hair, but still has that warmth of tone. Stay away from heavy highlights and mixed tones this year, monotone hair is the vibe for 2009.”
Tracey Devine for Angels, Aberdeen

"Blondes are spanning from cool and icy to rich caramels and honey blondes for 2009. Eyelash skimming purdey fringes will be any hair fashionista’s must have, especially worn with a prism of colour, although towards the midsummer the fringe will raise slightly to midway on the forehead making way for a new edge to any length haircut. I love Agyness Deyn’s cut and colour; for 2009 she has modified her crop beautifully to a short cute flapper style length bob and added the 'new' fringe.”
Rae Palmer, Southern Hairdresser of the Year

“I love blondes and the challenges of making them look either very glamorous or very natural. Bleach and tints are such a great combination as the results can be breathtaking. Pale pearl may be the fashionista’s first choice, but beach blondes will still enjoy their moment in the sun, Jennifer Aniston guarantees that. Her hair looked gorgeous at The Oscars and she has a hit movie out, therefore honey, gold and caramel blends will be big.”
Steven Goldsworthy for Goldsworthy’s, Swindon

“The Spring ‘09 feeling is all about the sheer nuances of dimensional color and tones to achieve a softer, more natural effect. How we achieve this is with tonality - we are looking for more sheer tonality rather than definite dimension. For blondes, we see different takes on highlights. It's a more 'lived in' and organic highlight versus an obvious streak. It's almost like if you look at a piece of toffee and you see the swirls of color. We are hand-painting and artistically placing lightener with a bevelled sponge applicator away from the scalp rather than on. We are adding subtle sheer tonality to blondes - whether it is a strawberry or a honey tone that gives a more shimmery sheer lustre to the hair. We are also seeing a commitment to a softer side of ash which is always popular, for a more demure, quiet blonde.”Linda Yodice - Global Artistic Director for Paul Mitchell Professional Colour

“We’ll be seeing a whole lot of what I call ‘girlie girl’ walking around this season which is lightweight, almost product free hair, nearly flyaway in texture. The hair does have movement and root lift but there’s a focus on almost chunky layer free hair cuts. Gwyneth Paltrow’s bob is the shining example of where a bob should be at to be totally on trend now, it has a very strong outline with the product free effortlessness of this summer’s look. Colour this spring/summer is all about the dusty blonde, a soft sandy almost matt blonde with a mussy texture.”
Lisa Shepherd, Lisa Shepherd Salons

“This season is all about the gorgeous and groomed look with a super glossy expensive looking finish whether straight or curly with colour all about enhanced natural tones in vibrant solid shades. Long hair will fall in face framing layers and fringes will be wide, deep and heavy. Shorter classic shapes will be strong but feminine, with bobs given edgy texture and a tailored look.”
Anya Dellicompagni and Michelle Thomson, Francesco Group

“Blondes will be warmer this season so platinum blondes will be shot through with apricots, golds, honey and biscuit tones. Curls will be bang on trend…the bigger the better! Make sure those curls are worked on, teased and back combed to give them as much texture and movement as possible. Sophisticated updos are also great this season with buns and sleek knots giving that ‘just off the runway’ look.”
Clive Johnston, Clive Alexander

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Paul Mitchell Super Strong Liquid Treatment

The new Paul Mitchell Super Strong Liquid Treatment (around £15) is AMAZING! It’s from the Super Strong range which I haven’t used yet as I prefer other brands to PM, but I think I might try it now if the rest of the range is as good as this.
This spray is basically a leave-in conditioner which strengthens and protects to help replace lost minerals and proteins, repairs from the inside out with marine extracts and vegetable proteins and helps seals split ends.
I generally don’t use leave-in conditioners as (and it’s definitely a psychological thing) I feel that by putting a thick, creamy conditioner in my hair for a few minutes and then rinsing it out, it’s really getting deep into the hair. So, I still washed and conditioned my hair in the same way, but then once I had dried the hair off slightly, I sprayed this all over and combed it through. WOW! Even before my hair was dry it felt so smooth and soft and almost like it was before I’d wrecked it with years of highlights.

Secret Beauty Verdict: For anyone lusting after hair that feels like silk, this is for you!