Monday, 24 July 2017

Hair | Braid maintenance


Braids are a great protective style and every Summer the humidity has me itching to try them again. I had my hair cornrowed at EbonyB Salon* recently (see my last style here) and it's been good to give my natural hair a break from daily styling. The fro is back now, but my hair feels so much better after being tucked away for a couple of weeks. I don't change my routine massively but I've outlined a few ways I care for my hair whilst it's braided up below.


Keep styling light
Hair that's braided doesn't tend to need as much moisture as when it's left exposed to the elements. When using products I find it's best not to oversaturate the hair or use heavy products as this only results in build-up. A little of a light moisturiser spritzed over the hair daily is usually all that's needed to give the hair moisture - look for milky rather than creamy products so it can be absorbed easily by the hair. I've been using Design Essentials Natural Coconut & Monoi Coconut Milk Leave-In Nourisher (£9.00/236.5ml) * or Aveda Shampure Thermal Dry Conditioner (£26/100ml)*. Both make my hair feel refreshed and I only need to spray a little over my braids. You can also just dilute your usual moisturiser or conditioner by adding a little water to it in a separate spray bottle. The idea is to give your hair a boost without overdoing it. I also like to apply a little of the Curls Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste (£6.99/120ml) with a toothbrush to smooth my baby hairs/edges but again I don't overdo it to prevent build-up.

Protect 
Cotton sheets tend to soak up moisture and can cause friction on the hair as you move about whilst you sleep. To keep braids as smooth as possible whilst I sleep I'll protect them with a satin or silk scarf or pillowcase as these materials are gentle on the hair. I purchased most of my satin pillowcases from H&M but you can pick them up in a few places and scarves/headwraps can be bought from most Afro/Caribbean haircare stores.

Avoid scratching
Sometimes that itch creeps in and getting my hands up in my scalp for a good scratch is so tempting but it will cause braids to loosen and could damage your scalp. Instead gently pat or try applying a little of a natural oil or an oil mix into your scalp for relief. I like to massage in a little of the KeraCare Essential Oils (£7.60/120ml) or Aveda Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil (£21.50/30ml)* following moisturising.

Dry Shampoo
As a curly I've been engineered to be wary of both of these words so I avoided using dry shampoo on my curls for a long time. The right dry shampoo can refresh when you can't wash - look for one that's moisturising and doesn't leave residue. I've been using Batiste 2 in 1 Invisible Dry Shampoo & Condioner Vanilla & Passionflower (£4.49/200ml)*. I spray a small amount throughout my roots and gently massage in. It smells so good and gives a quick refresh.

Deep cleanse
Cleansing with water too frequently can make the style loosen quicker - especially if your hair had to be blown out or straightened to braid in the first place. I'd much rather be comfortable and have a clean scalp so I'll remove any buildup after a few days but it's up to you how often you cleanse. I don't use any special shampoos or conditioners for my braids, only what I use normally - but I dilute everything I use with water in a separate spray bottle before applying as this makes it easier to remove from the braids. I tend to only concentrate on my scalp so this is the only area I'll get wet and then I use a damp cloth to wipe away any residue / build-up on the length of the braids.

*samples and complimentary hairstyle - read my disclaimer here.

How have you been styling your hair?

Lesley x

Friday, 21 July 2017

Review | Iconic London Illuminators


Founded by makeup-artist Jade Elliot, beauty brand Iconic London has become famed for their Illuminators. These highlighter drops have been featured in just about every beauty magazine you can imagine and Kim Kardashian, Amber Rose and Makeupdoll are just a few big names amongst their growing fanbase. With highlighters being my favourite type of makeup product to use currently, it was only a matter of time until I got my hands on the Iconic London Illuminators to test them out for myself. So with so much hype around this brand do these Illuminators live up to expectations?

Shades: Left - Original, Right - Glow 

I have two of the three available shades - Original and Glow (£29.99 each) - which were sent over by the brand last month*. Original is described as a champagne shimmer to add a golden shine whereas Glow is a terracotta shimmer for a deep golden shine. The first thing to note is that these Illuminators are not for the faint-hearted. They give a serious glow which you can of course tone down but each drop is very concentrated. It's a fine shimmery liquid but it's not quite glittery. I have a lot of highlighters - liquid especially - but none that are quite like these.

Original is probably the most universal of the two shades and is more of a true highlight for me. As Glow is deeper in tone it looks more like a bronzer on my skin and seems more suited to darker skintones. Of the two I reach for the Original shade most or I'll apply them both together with the Original on the high points of my face (cheekbones, brow bone, cupid's bow) and Glow just on my cheeks in place of blush.


Shades: Left - Original, Right - Glow


Above I've applied mostly the Original shade just on my cheek and brow bones with a little of the glow shade dabbed on the cheek. You can apply these illuminators both under and above foundation, though I mostly tend to apply on top of foundation. With liquid highlighters in general the product can lift foundation depending on how you apply it but as I tend to use a damp beauty sponge to blend these into the skin I haven't had any problems.

In terms of wear I've been using these on and off for the past few weeks and the product tends to last all day without any touchups. It's been pretty humid in London and I have oily skin so I've been impressed with the longevity of these. They're a bit pricey in comparison to some other highlighters but factoring in how little you need and the staying power I'd say they're worth it.


You can get them from the Iconic London website here


*samples - read my disclaimer here.

Do you use highlighters?

Lesley x

Monday, 3 July 2017

Style | Okayla Jogsuit


80s fashion has been back in a big way this year and for a lot of the trends inspired by this era it's been a hard pass from me (shoulder pads and bum bags I'm looking at you). Pegged trousers and vintage-style sportswear however I've been into, massively, which you can probably guess from this outfit.


I shy away from wearing anything bright a lot but in the past few weeks my wardrobe has increasingly taken on more colours of the rainbow. I'm exaggerating, many new pieces are the same shades of blue, pink and yellow I'll admit but at least it's progress and a slide away from my habit of dressing head-to-toe in black.

This red two-piece jogsuit from Okayla* is amongst the bolder, colourful items. I love the fit most - it's comfortable without looking too cosy - and as there's a lot going on (for me at least) it doesn't really need much else worn with it so it ticks the easy to throw on box.

Jogsuit - Okayla* | Shoes - Vans 


Photography - Mike Burchardt | @burchardtlens


*sample - read my disclaimer here.


Are there any trends you've been loving this season?

Lesley x