The weather has not been great this past couple of days; if only this non-stop rain would hydrate my cold-weather skin! It doesn’t work like that, unfortunately. Because before I know it, I see not only patches, but a leg-ful of flaky skin. Ashy, scaly, possibly itchy… Well, you get the idea. I’m blaming the central heating!
Luckily it’s not the end of the world. There’s a lot that can be done to save the Sahara skin. Read on for some tips and home remedies.
Moisturisers. It’s pretty much the first thing that comes to mind when someone brings up the subject of dry skin. But there are simply too many to choose from. A moisturiser may smell really nice and its bottle may look amazing, but ultimately you’re looking for a lotion that loves your skin as much as you do, and that means bringing moisture (come on, if it doesn’t do that one thing it’s named after, bin it!). Dermatologists suggest products with heavier formulas, such as those that contain humectants like glycerin and sorbitol.
Long hot baths. I’m writing from personal experience here. Yes, they feel nice; yes, they help you relax. Make the little addition of scented candles and you’re sorted for your pamper evening. However, nothing can be worse for your skin than hot baths/showers. The heat makes the skin’s oils soften, much as butter softens and melts when heated. Bring some shower gel into the mix, and the shield on your skin will be gone in no time. And guess what happens next? Without that barrier, out goes the moisture. Don’t want it to escape? Try to stay away from exposing your skin to hot water.
Moisture-robbing soaps. It’s a beauty myth that oily or acne-prone skin needs to be washed regularly, sometimes with the combination of harsh soaps to prevent breakouts. That’s simply untrue. Washing your face every hour isn’t going to stop those spots coming, in fact, you’re inviting more to appear. Stripping away the basic layer of oils on your skin gives your body the signal to produce more oils to make up for the loss, hence creating even more skin problems. No matter how oily your skin is, wash it regularly, keep it moisturised; your skin will thank you for that.
Homemade face masks. Spoil yourself with a fancy spa facial at home with only ingredients from the kitchen. One of the most effective is the milk mask. Just mix 1/4 cup of powdered milk with water to form a thick paste with a consistency that’s not too runny. Apply that on your face, let it dry and leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing it with lukewarm water. Another way to feel your skin feel moisturised and rejuvenated is the yoghurt, banana and honey mask. Mash 2 tablespoons of yoghurt, half a banana and a tablespoon of honey in a bowl until smooth. Apply the mixture to your face and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Leftovers? Treat yourself to some dessert!
Full-on spa. Enjoy a full-body spa at the weekend because why not? You may not find these ingredients in your kitchen cupboard but they are definitely worth investing in. Mix a ratio of 3 to 1 of olive oil and castor oil in a bowl and let it aside. Prepare a big warm towel (you can put it under hot running water then squeeze it until it’s not dripping). Apply the oil all over your body, and then wrap yourself up in the towel. Take the towel off when it’s become cool. The most important thing to remember here is not to take a shower immediately after; leave it for another hour or two and let the oil sink in.
And voilà! Don’t go too crazy with these remedies as experts suggest doing them only weekly, if not once every two weeks. But do keep your skin clean (not with boiling hot water though) and choose the right moisturiser; your skin will be forever grateful to you!
We’ve all had moments when you glance in the mirror after applying a lovely new lipstick and you just look seriously good. Until, that is, somebody sheepishly whispers to you that you have lipstick on your teeth or, under the cold, unforgiving lights of the Camera bathrooms you see in the mirror that what you thought was ‘the perfect red for you’ is in fact ‘the perfect red for you, for Halloween.’
Do not fear, here is the ultimate guide for perfect red lip success.
1. Pick a shade that’s right for you and make sure the finish is what you are looking for – I recommend matte for a long-lasting, velvety finish
2. Before you start your other makeup, rub on a lip-scrub, (olive oil and brown sugar is a great substitute) and apply a thick layer of lipbalm
3. When you are ready to apply the lipstick, wipe off the excess lipbalm gently with a tissue.
4. Having picked out a well-sharpened red lip-liner carefully line your lips. This is crucial if you don’t want to have to reapply at all during the night, but don’t worry too much about the exact shade, as it doesn’t matter if it’s not an exact match with your lipstick. I recommend starting at the cupids bow (centre of the top lip) and then using small careful strokes to draw a line around your mouth. Hardest part done!
5. Fill in the line with the lip-liner so you’ve got a good layer of colour all over your lips. Blot gently with a tissue.
6. Using your lipstick of choice, go over the lip-liner. For the first layer, put lipstick only on the smaller of your lips and then rub together to get an even coating on both, then reapply another layer all over.
7. For a long-lasting finish, blot and reapply, repeating up to three times for a rich, lasting colour.
8. For a velvety, trendy twist on a classic, applying a slightly darker red around the edges of your lips with your finger, blending to avoid harsh lines, will make your mouth look fuller, poutier and less ‘painted on’.
9. I now recommend using a lipstick sealer like Lipcote but if you don’t have this, believe it or not, a cotton pad with about a teaspoon of vodka soaked in will do the trick. Just dab on your lips and don’t forget the inner corners.
10. Apply a lip balm to avoid your lips drying out – and a lipgloss if you’re feeling particularly wild. Now you are ready to go!
Very pale: deep wine colours provide gorgeous contrast.
e.g. Maybelline New York Color Sensational Lipcolor in Plum Perfect
Olive undertones: blue-toned cherry reds whiten teeth and compliment beautifully.
e.g. L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Lipcolour in British Red
Rosy undertones: avoid highlighting any unwanted pink tones by sticking with orange-based reds.
e.g. Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick in True Red
Deep skintones: vivid tangerine-laced reds provide a stunning, stand-out and flattering look.
e.g. Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Suede in Designer
How many times have you heard that eating your crusts makes your hair curly, or that eating a surplus of carrots will give you a healthy looking tan? Although there might be some scientific truth in the latter, the beauty industry bombards us with incorrect ‘facts’ about our appearance and how to fix it, many of which we willingly believe. But fear not! Disregarding the following top ten beauty myths will mean you’re a bit more savvy when you’re next perusing the make-up aisle …
1. You can’t put oil on oily skin
This myth is as popular as it is untrue. A well-chosen oil can act as an amazing moisturiser and treatment. The preconception that by putting oil on oily skin you will make it – you guessed it – oily, is totally untrue. Skin that is well moisturised and nourished will produce less oil. Try to use natural oils which will make your skin look healthy and will act as a treatment. Just make sure you’re not using something to which you’re allergic.
2. Only dry skin can be dehydrated
Dry skin is a problem. But, just because one day you discover a few patches of flaky skin, it doesn’t mean your skin magically turned into the Sahara overnight - your skin is just dehydrated. It mostly happens during the winter when the central heating is up and running and the weather is being less than kind to our skin. It’s at this point that you have to pay special attention to your skin - give it some TLC. If you notice your skin becoming dry in places, don’t try to convince yourself it’s “simply impossible!”. Rather, give it a bit of a hydra boost with a hydrating face mask – a little winter pamper.
3. Expensive means better
Good news, bank account – expensive does not mean better! There are many products that are equally good (or even better!) than ones that insult your student loan. Sometimes, with low price comes high quality. It also works the other way – if I had a pound for every time that reading the ingredients list of a cream that cost over £50 made me open my eyes in disbelief, I would be quite rich. Try to look for gems that won’t make your wallet weep – there are plenty out there!
4. Toner should have alcohol in it, not that anyone needs toner …
Objection! Having alcohol in toner would actually cause more problems that it would solve. Sometimes you need a bit of alcohol for other ingredients to work, but it shouldn’t be too high up on the ingredients list. Toner also isn’t something you use to remove what was left of your make up after cleansing your face – there shouldn’t be any make-up left on your face when you reach for your toner. None. You may, of course, not like using toners and think they are pretty useless – and I won’t point fingers at you for that. But they might help you with a few of your dermatological troubles, so consider the potential benefits for your skin before you turn toner away.
5. What you eat doesn’t affect your skin; it’s what you put on it that matters
Although the myth that chocolate causes acne has long since been busted, hardly anyone knows that your skin condition can be improved by eating the right foods. Fruit and vegetables are good for you, with alcohol and cigarettes being a no-no. I’m not saying you should refuse an occasional drink (or five!), but regular, excessive drinking will make your skin dry and dull (oops). Also, cutting down on sugar and dairy is likely to be beneficial for your skin (especially if you cut down on sugar). You are what you eat!
6. A good cleanser foams and gets you “squeaky” clean
This is by far the biggest beauty myth ever, and one of the most widespread. To make foam, you need a surfacent. This, in turn, will turn your skin alkaline, making it a perfect place for bacteria to start their families – enter an untimely and unsightly outbreak. You don’t want that, especially on acne-prone skin. You might as well just wash your face with dish soap. Instead, find a cleanser that’s very gentle on the skin, such as a balm or cream cleanser. You won’t be squeaky, but you will be clean.
7. You can close your pores
Sorry to burst your bubble, but this is simply impossible. The size of your pores is genetic, they don’t open or close. Nor do they get smaller or bigger. They are what they are and will always be the same, no matter what you do. Love them for what they are.
8. Tans are healthy, sunscreen is not
Getting A BIT of sun is fine – it gives us vitamin D and puts us in a good mood. However, spending hours in the midday heat on a beach in Egypt without much clothing or an SPF is not ideal. Not only will you get sunburn (from the UVB rays) but you also run the risk of causing damage to the deeper layers of your skin (with UVA rays). Personally, I use an SPF every day throughout the year. Yes, sun is there in winter too. Who’d have known?
9. Natural = hypoallergenic
Ooh, ‘natural’ – it must be sent from heaven. Wrong. Being uncritical about ‘natural’ skin care products will do you no good. Firstly, natural products aren’t always better than your regular skincare brands and can often be more expensive for no good reason. Secondly, despite popular belief, natural products are not hypoallergenic. Far from it, really. Essential oils are, in fact, one of the strongest allergens. If you are allergic to something, check if the product you want to buy has it on its ingredients list. You might be surprised by how close you were to an allergic reaction. On your face! Yuck!
10. Toothpaste can clear spots
It just can’t. Sorry. It might dry out an occasional spot and make it disappear, sure. But, it can also make it even worse. Toothpaste is for teeth, don’t put it on your face.
While there is still a bit of the holiday left, the summer is slowly coming to an end. The days are shorter, the nights are longer, and we are slowly coaxing ourselves out from beneath the sun and into the open arms of AW13. If, like me, you’re looking for a way to hang on to the summer for a little longer, why not inject some summer loving into your fingertips? Read on for my cheap and chic polka dot nails tutorial – and find out how to smuggle a little bit of summer into the autumnal months ahead!
I know that some people may be discouraged from going beyond painting their nails one colour, thinking that everything that looks in a least bit fancy is also complicated. I have to admit, I was one of those people using up bottle after bottle of red nail varnish. Then, I discovered a quick and easy way to make my nails look more fun: polka dot nail art. Even if you’re manicure-illiterate, I guarantee that if you follow the steps below your nails will look absolute stunning. And the best part? You don’t need any special tools, just what you have in your drawers and cupboards. Simple!
You will need:
- At least 2 nail varnishes ( I used Rimmel 60 seconds: 816 Green Eyed Monster; Astor Fashion Studio: 251 Royal Glamorous Pink; OPI Nail Lacquer: Golden Eye)
- A pencil with a rubber at the end
- A pin or a dot-making tool (you can purchase whole sets on Amazon for a few pounds)
- A thick piece of paper
- A conditioner or a base coat, if you normally use one (optional). I used my favourite Essence conditioner (unavailable in the UK).
To make your own tool, just put the pin in the rubber end of your pencil. It will make using the pin to make dots much easier.
1) Apply a base coat of your favourite conditioner. You can skip this step but I always recommend it. Especially if you paint your nails often so their ends do not go yellow.
2) Paint your nails with your chosen base colour. This can be any colour you like, either lighter or darker than the one you will do your polka dots with – be creative! (I recommend using two coats so your manicure lasts longer.)
3) Pour a little bit of nail varnish on the piece of paper. Next, put the end of your tool in the varnish. You’re now ready to make the polka dots! (The amount on the brush when you take it out of the bottle should be enough.)
4) Let’s get dotty… Making your polka dots is really easy. Just lightly dab the end of your tool on the nail and make any pattern you want. In between nails, put your tool in the varnish so that your dots do not come out patchy.
5) Add some extra colours! Once you are done with putting polka dots on all of your nails, you might want to add some more dots in different colours. I felt like making my nails slightly more summery by adding a bit of golden glitter in between my polka dots. You can choose to do the same or just leave your nails as they are.
Et voilà! Your polka dot nails are done and ready to be shown off to your friends. Be prepared for all the compliments you will get!
Some ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’
- Do not do what I did – a fast drying nail varnish (such as Rimmel 60 Seconds) is not the best choice for the polka dots colour. It will make for a frantic battle against time because your dot of varnish will get very sticky very quickly.
- Do not order a set of tools from Amazon straight away – look around your house for objects that can make polka dots: used up pens, hair pins – you name it.
- Do experiment with different tools to get different sizes of polka dots.
- Do play with colours – browns and greys are nice, but a bit of blue and yellow can make you smile when you look at your nails.
- Do have fun – you still have a few weeks to perfect your polka dot nails before Freshers’ Week!
This is the ultimate smart-girl nail art. It is one of the easiest techniques I have done on my nails but it is one of the ones I get the most compliments for. You might not want to read the newspaper, so you can cut it up and put it on your nails instead!
What you will need:
- A very pale base coat
- 10 small pieces of newspaper
- Some rubbing alcohol (surgical spirit), and a little pot to put some in
- A good clear nail varnish to finish with
1. Apply the light colour onto your nails. I have used a very pale pink, but any light colour will look good as long as the newspaper print will be able to show up over it.
2. Pour out about an inch of surgical spirit into a pot and then soak your finger in it for about 10 seconds. Don’t feel like you are wasting the surgical spirit – you can pour it back in when you are finished! Once your nails are entirely dry, dip one in the spirit for about 10 seconds.
3. Press and hold a piece of newspaper on the recently dipped nail for 15-20 seconds. It is very important that your nails are completely dry. This works best when you move the newspaper as little as possible. If you move it when it is pressed onto your nail, the text will blur slightly. Hold it pressed firm onto your nail for about 15 seconds, and then carefully peel it off
4. Finish off with a coat of clear nail varnish – and you’re done!
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‘Tis the season to be body conscious. The sun is shining, hemlines are rising, and the beauty industry is champing at the bit, waiting to sink its teeth into womens’ insecurities.
First off, there’s the brazen, shouty advice peddled by the likes of Cosmo and Glamour. Going on holiday this year? Better make sure you have a beach body, you inexcusably gelatinous heifer. I’ve always been slightly baffled by this concept; what on earth is a beach body? Call me naïve, but surely the simplest way to attain one is as follows:
1. Be in possession of a body.
2. Plonk it down on a beach.
There, beach body sorted. It really is that simple. No need to slather yourself in fake tan, drink organic pondwater smoothies, or deprive yourself of pasta. But then, the glossies’ particular brand of body propaganda is easy to identify, and easy to avoid.
What I find infinitely more distasteful is the commercialisation of Natural Beauty,TM as demonstrated by Dove’s latest marketing campaign. According to a survey conducted by Unilever, that champion of positive body image, only 4% of women consider themselves beautiful. Cue sharp intakes of breath- those poor, blinkered, self-hating little dears! Thank goodness there’s a trite TV advert to show us how twisted and repressed we are. Ladies, Dove wants you to love your bodies, embrace your curves, and celebrate your inner loveliness- as long as you remain just insecure enough to shell out for its products.
Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty was intended as an antidote to the Cosmo school of thought- but the image of “curvy” (read: not anorexic) “real women” (read: still adhering to society’s definition of conventional beauty) grinning smugly at the camera is just as sickeningly patronising and prescriptive. Back in the day, women were reprimanded for not being beautiful enough. Now, we’re getting a thorough ticking off for not loving ourselves enough.
But perhaps, just perhaps, 96% of women have better things to worry about than beauty. They might be revising for Finals, angling for a promotion, or training for a marathon. If a woman glances at the mirror and thinks “that’ll do” instead of being reduced to tears of ecstasy, fine. She doesn’t loathe herself, she doesn’t need liberating, and she certainly doesn’t need a multi-national corporation to take the rather unexciting concept of being comfortable in one’s own skin, fetishise it, and sell it back to her via a hackneyed advertising campaign.
It’s with a heavy heart that I write the final Beauty Trend of the Week of this term – although this pathos is offset by the excitement about it being only a week until Varsity and the anxiety about whether ‘smoky’ is in fact spelled ‘smoky’ or ‘smokey’. Answers on a postcard.
So to tie in with the festive nature of weeks 7 and 8, I decided to focus on the ultimate party season make-up look: the smoky eye. Get it wrong and you look like you’ve been the victim of one too many essay crises (or one too many messy late nights at Camera). Get it right and you look amazing. Let’s hope you take my advice and go with the latter.
1. Prepare your eye with something like Urban Decay’s Eye Primer Potion. I was sceptical of this at first until I tried it out (it came free with a set of eyeshadows, and I’m a sucker for freebies – no shame!), and it actually makes a big difference to how long your eye makeup stays on. You don’t need to use a lot of primer, just enough to lightly cover the area from the upper lash line up to your eyebrow.
2. Apply a cream or nude base colour all over your upper lid, right up to the brow bone.
3. This is where the first bit of festive sparkle comes in! Sweep either gold or silver shimmery eyeshadow across the area directly below the outer part of your eyebrows. Don’t go over the top – this is just a highlight, and if you’re not a fan of sparkle you can just skip this step.
4. Apply either white eyeshadow or the shimmer colour you’ve just used to the very inner corner of your eyes (right by the tear ducts – but don’t get any in your actual eyes, it hurts. I know this from experience.)
5. Apply light grey eyeshadow to the inner quarter of your eyes, just after where you’ve put the white or shimmer colour.
6. Sweep a darker grey eyeshadow onto the rest of your eyelid, going slightly above the crease of your eyelid (but not up to your browbone!).
7. Apply a light dusting of black eyeshadow in your actual crease and blend it in with an eyeshadow brush or your fingers in a gentle windscreen-wiper movement.
8. Second bit of festive sparkle! Get that shimmery colour out again and apply it to the outer corners of your eyes. Go as dramatic or as subtle as you want.
9. Get a clean eyeshadow brush and blend until there are no harsh lines or obvious joins between the colours you’ve applied – just don’t go so far that you can’t actually distinguish between the colours. It sounds tricky but this is actually one of the easiest steps, you just have to trust your judgement.
10. Apply a thin line of liquid or pencil eyeliner to your top lid (and pencil eyeliner to your bottom if it doesn’t make your eyes look tiny, which is the effect it has on me!) – if you used pencil liner you can either smudge it out or keep it neat, your choice.
11. Wait for the liner to dry – this takes about a minute for me, but it may vary between brands and skin types.
12. Curl your eyelashes – clamp the eyelash curler down for 5 seconds at the root, then 5 seconds half-way down the lash, then three-quarters of the way down the lash, near the tip.
13. Apply a layer of mascara; wait around 30 seconds then apply another layer.
14. Congratulate yourself and feel smug in the knowledge you’ve perfected the smoky eye look.
So let’s hope by the end of that you look like an absolute goddess, and not a bleary-eyed panda. Best of luck with this look, have an awesome time at any parties you may be going to and enjoy the holidays – see you on the other side!
Statement lips can be pretty much any colour, from a brashy bubblegum pink to an opaque matte red to a gothic purple to a sunny orange; as long as they’re bold, bright and bolshy you’re onto a winner. There are only two rules with statement lips – check your teeth every hour, minimum (or enlist a reliable friend to alert you to when you’re working that coloured-teeth look), and don’t overdo your makeup look with statement eyes and/or statement cheeks too. Aside from those two things, statement lips are actually pretty easy to get right. A pop of colour at a 9am tutorial is just as appropriate as a dramatic look on a night out, and although it might not make your 9-5 day of lectures better it definitely makes getting ready for said day of lectures a lot more bearable. So look around and experiment – go as bright as you dare.
This trend is everywhere at the moment – and pretty much always is (I’m not even sure if this look even counts as a trend, given that bright red lips are almost a prerequisite of catwalk or red carpet dress codes). Think Theda Bara, or Marilyn Monroe, or Rihanna, or Rachel Roy’s latest runway look, or Alexis Bledel, or Antonio Berardi’s Fall collection. (or just Google ‘statement lips’, ‘bright lipsticks’ or a variation of that and see what takes your fancy, you can’t expect me to do all the work for you!)
So you’ve picked out your colour and gathered up the courage to actually wear it out. But before you open the lipstick you’re going to want to do a couple of things first…
1. Use a toothbrush on your lips. I’m not kidding. This is actually one of the most effective (and cheapest!) ways of getting rid of dead skin on your lips, which is vital if you don’t want your lips to look flaky. The flaky look isn’t attractive to anyone. Lipstick can exacerbate this problem and also highlight it, so it’s essential that you do this (gently!) a couple of times a week if you want to keep your lips smooth.
2. Slather on some lipbalm or other moisturising product; for example, Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream, Carmex, Vaseline or even Chapstick.
3. Wait for this to settle into your lips. The time the product takes to do this can range from a minute to half an hour, so if you’re impatient you may want to pat in the excess and then wipe away any product left. (Or you could just do this right at the beginning of your skincare routine, then you wouldn’t need to waste any time at all.)
4. NOW apply your lipstick. You can use lipliner if you want – I’ve never really seen the appeal but if you find lipstick bleeds out from your lips then it might be a good idea.
Bobbi Brown Lip Color in Hollywood Red, Orange and Black Raspberry
MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Girl About Town, Hang Up and Up The Amp
L’Oréal Paris Color Riche Made For Me Intense in Punchy Pink, Rock ‘n’ Rose and Cassis Passion
Maybelline ColorSensational Lip Color in Fatal Red, Midnight Plum and Coral Fever