Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Review: HD Brows at iBrows etc

As you may have seen in my beauty wishlist for this year, I've fancied getting the HD Brows treatment. I decided to take the plunge recently and searched Wahanda for salons in central London offering HD Brows. One of the top rated results was iBrows etc which is just a short walk from Selfridges at Marble Arch.

HD Brows are a 7 step treatment to perfectly defined eyebrows tailored to you. The steps consist of:

1) Consultation/assessment - looking at your face shape, colouring and natural brows to determine the best result you can get
2) Tinting - this covers all brow hairs (even baby hairs) to maximise your results
3) Waxing - above and below your brows
4) Threading - to remove any fluffy surrounding hairs
5) Tweezing - to pluck out any remaining out of place hairs
6) Trimming - to really fine-tune the shape
7) Aftercare - going through and applying any extra pencil, powder or gel that may be beneficial to obtaining the best result.

Before your first HD Brows appointment with a salon you're required to do a quick patch test. You are able to get them online but I opted to just pop into the salon where they immediately tested a spot of the dye they use behind my ear. You're supposed to leave this and see if you get any reaction from it over the next 24 hours. Fortunately I had none.

Two days later I came in for my appointment. The salon itself is pretty nice, spacious and conveniently located just a couple of minutes walk from a tube stop. After filling out some forms I was taken straight to the reclining chair for my treatment. I must admit, the 1st consultation and assessment step was pretty disappointing. She briefly asked what my current eyebrow routine was and didn't really ask for what I wanted to achieve. I explained briefly anyway - I didn't want to come away with ridiculous eyebrows just because I wasn't asked! I just had to put faith in her expertise!

She quickly moved on to the tinting, making up an ashy brown shade close to the shade of my natural eyebrows. The dye was applied very carefully & I was surprised to find it only took a few minutes to develop. She cleaned off the dye and moved on to waxing, threading and tweezing. This is the first time I've had any of these done by anyone (except obviously I pluck my own eyebrows) so I can't really comment on how painful it was compared to other beauticians! However it wasn't too unpleasant, it just made my eyes water until it occurred to me that I should probably just close my eyes for the remainder of the hair removal - this was much more relaxing!

HD Brows, iBrows etc, eyebrows, brow tinting, brow waxing, eyebrow threading, blonde
HD Brows, iBrows etc, eyebrows, brow tinting, brow waxing, eyebrow threading, blonde

Each step of the hair removal was very precise and she took the time to get it just right, ending the shaping with a brief trim. She then applied some powder to my skin to hide the redness (not that it was too bad) and moved on to using HD Brows Eye Brow Pencil and Brow Beater Setting Lotion to put some finishing touches on the whole look.

iBrows etc provide an aftercare sheet along with some individual tips from the beautician, so I'll keep these up for as long as possible before I book my next appointment. One thing I really like was within an hour of my appointment they sent me an email thanking me for my visit & they attached some high quality photos of the before and after photos they took. They post plenty of before/after shots on Instagram which I really like - it's nice to see what sort of results you can expect from a specific salon.

HD Brows, iBrows etc, eyebrows, brow tinting, brow waxing, eyebrow threading, blonde

I was really impressed with how tidy the final results are. I do think perhaps they're a little dark for me but otherwise I'm very happy with them and I'm definitely planning to go back. I stupidly thought that having my eyebrows done wouldn't really make them that much neater than I could do them myself but I am pleased to say I was totally wrong and fooling myself! Finally I have the precise, neat eyebrows I envy some people for. Honestly I don't think the photographs have captured them as well as they look in real life.

I found and booked my HD Brows treatment with a Senior Beauty Therapist at iBrows etc through Wahanda for £35.

HD Brows, iBrows etc, eyebrows, brow tinting, brow waxing, eyebrow threading, blonde

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Review: Groovy Hair Salon

I've avoided going to the hairdressers for several years now due to a series of disasters, but I decided I really did need a trim as 4 years of home bleaching, straightening and trimming doesn't leave you with the neatest hair style!

I booked in to Groovy because of its proximity to central London and its excellent reviews on Wahanda. Initially they said they'd have to re-arrange the time I'd attempted to book for, but before I'd even managed to pick a new time they told me they'd moved some things around and were able to fit me in after all!

I think it might be easiest to split this up into the pros and cons of my visit:

- I selected the female hairdresser when I made my booking, she initially washed my hair but after my conditioning treatment was complete she was busy with another client, so instead one of the male hairdressers ended up cutting my hair (minor niggle as he actually turned out to be very good)
- The hair conditioning and scalp treatment was nice but if you book it in store it's an additional £10 and I'm not sure it's quite worth that, included in Wahanda's £35 is great though :)
- Very small hair salon, unluxurious decor
- Somewhat uncomfortable seating at the hair washing station

- Even though I arrived 15 minutes early they saw to me as soon as I walked in through the door
- Was offered tea and coffee on arrival
- The conditioning treatment included a short head massage which was lovely
- All staff were friendly
- They really took the time and effort to cut and dry my hair just right, approaching it from all angles to make sure it was really neat and even
- Listened to my request to not cut off too much (too many times I've asked for "a trim" and ended up with more of a bob!
- Was given plenty of advice on how to keep my hair in good condition
- The use one of my favourite hair brands; Redken

The day after my cut:
Groovy Hair Salon, London, haircut, hair care, conditioning treatment, salon, head massage

All in all it was a very positive experience and I'll definitely book there again. Currently Wahanda offer a wash, conditioning treatment, cut and blowdry for an amazing £32-£40 (depending on hair length) for new customers - I'd absolutely recommend it!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Review: Rapid Brow Eye Brow Enhancing Serum

Rapid Brow, Eye Brow Enhancing Serum, eyebrows, brows, thicker brows

I overplucked my eyebrows as a teen, for a couple of years my eyebrows were almost non existant and I drew them on as part of the alternative/gothic make up style I was going for at the time. Recently bigger, bolder eyebrows have definitely come into fashion, particularly with models like Cara Delevingne on the scene. I've been attempting to grow my eyebrows back for a good while now but they just wouldn't fill out like I wanted them too. I eventually came across Rapid Brow's Eye Brow Enhancing Serum which claims to improve the appearance of eyebrow density with a simple twice a day application, in as little as 60 days.

I have to admit I was incredibly dubious of their claims, particularly that "there can be up to 108% improvement in the appearance of eyebrow density in just 60 days" - usually statements like this end up being way off the mark. I purchased despite expecting I would prove it wrong and notice no improvement whatsoever.

Rapid Brow, Eye Brow Enhancing Serum, eyebrows, brows, thicker brows

The Rapid Brow Eye Brow Enhancing Serum is almost identical to mascara in tube/brush shape and size, however the serum is clear. You simply brush the serum through every morning and night. I wasn't quite sure just how much to spread it, so I applied it to a small area of skin around my eyebrows as well as on them. One downside is it doesn't mix very well with make up, it would cause my foundation to clump and flake around my eyebrows, so avoid using make up after you've applied if you can, but perhaps I was applying more than intended too.

Rapid Brow, Eye Brow Enhancing Serum, eyebrows, brows, thicker brows

I was surprised to find that I started to see results after just a week or two with new hairs beginning to grow. I applied twice a day for around 5-6 weeks until the serum run out - there's really very little in the tube; just 3ml! However this was actually more than enough time to see a significant improvement in the thickness of my eyebrows - they were definitely much more full.

Rapid Brow, Eye Brow Enhancing Serum, eyebrows, brows, thicker brows

Rapid Brow, Eye Brow Enhancing Serum, eyebrows, brows, thicker brows

I haven't repurchased yet and it's been roughly 2 months since I ran out and my eyebrows are still just as full but if they do start to thin out again I wouldn't hesitate purchasing another tube, despite its rather pricey £26.49 price tag on Amazon (and that's the cheapest I've found it for too!).

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Review: Stafford De-Stress the Mess Detangling Comb

Lee Stafford, detangling comb, argan oil, hair repair, damaged hair

I've avoided including the full name of this product in the title as Lee Stafford are famous for their very long product names! This is the Lee Stafford De-Stress the Mess Detangling Comb Infused with Moroccan Argan Oil. Phew! Got all that?

Honestly I can't say I was really looking for a comb with infused oils in, infact I had no idea they even existed! However, recently I'd heard some bad things about the brushes I usually use (saying they can damage hair) so I decided to have a major brush overhaul and one thing on my hitlist was a large detangling comb for use in the shower and on wet hair. Boots had about 3 or 4 different combs but this one definitely stood out with it's insanely bright orange and pink packaging and of course the giant fuchsia comb itself!

Lee Stafford, detangling comb, argan oil, hair repair, damaged hair

So this Lee Stafford detangling comb has tips infused with the popular hair rescue product; argan oil. The shape of it is fairly typical of most detangling combs with wide teeth, designed to quickly wick the water from your hair. It says it can be used both in the shower and on wet hair before styling.

Lee Stafford, detangling comb, argan oil, hair repair, damaged hair

One thing I really liked about this comb was the suction hook at the end of the handle allowing you to hang it up where you'd like, perfect for the shower.

Lee Stafford, detangling comb, argan oil, hair repair, damaged hair

I'm not sure how much good the argan oil infused tips will actually do for your hair, I certainly can't imagine it distributes as much as using an actual oil would so really I see it as a bit of a gimmick. However as this Lee Stafford De-Stress the Mess Detangling Comb only costs £4.99 it really doesn't matter as it's still a perfectly acceptable cost for a detangling comb. The bold design and suction hook make it worth it for me and I'd consider this comb to be a worthy purchase.

Lee Stafford, detangling comb, argan oil, hair repair, damaged hair

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Review: My Vitamins

MyVitamins, Omega, healthy, longer hair, fuller hair, anti-ageing, clear skin,

Vitamins are great supplements to a healthy lifestyle so I often take a few in the morning. There's so many options out there though so it can be difficult to find the ones best suited to you.

MyVitamins, healthy, longer hair, fuller hair, anti-ageing, clear skin,

Over the last year I've come across MyVitamins in a multitude of ways. Initially I received a packet of Total Acai Berry capsules with my Glossybox subscription many months ago. The first thing I noticed was the unique and useful packaging. The re-sealable sachets are fresh and colourful and the perfect way to store your vitamins. I also think they're a much better shape for fitting in drawers or travelling in luggage or your handbag than the traditional screw-top bottles.

MyVitamins, acai berry, healthy, longer hair, fuller hair, anti-ageing, clear skin,

Each packet comes with full information on the back detailing what the supplement does, how and when to take it, the ingredients and the nutritional information including any allergy details. After being impressed with the Total Acai Berry I checked out the MyVitamins website and ended up placing an order for some Super Green Tea Extract which I've been taking for some time and it definitely gives me an energy boost.

The website makes it easy to sort out the vitamins that are suitable for you by allowing you to sort by category, each with healthy tips and full details about which vitamins can help and why. A couple of my picks are Skin & Nailcare and Hair.

MyVitamins, healthy, longer hair, fuller hair, anti-ageing, clear skin,

They also offer bundles targeted at a particular area of concern, such as the Thicker, Fuller Hair Bundle which includes Essential Vitamin B Complex, Essential Vitamin C, True Women Original multivitamin and Essential Zinc. This bundle was designed to "support hair growth and contribute to healthy skin and nails. It will help increase scalp circulation and hair growth and to produce keratin and reduce hair loss". I'm always on a quest to have better hair so this was a first pick for me and I was lucky enough for MyVitamins to send me this bundle to try out.

They have a whole host of other bundles, including a Problem Skin Bundle, Anti-Ageing Bundle and a Weight Loss Bundle. They even have a healthy eating section with a few snacks like an omega seed mixes and dried fruit.

MyVitamins, healthy, longer hair, fuller hair, anti-ageing, clear skin,

MyVitamins tops it all off with free delivery and a loyalty scheme where you can earn money off your orders by shopping at MyVitamins and referring friends.

MyVitamins, acai berry, healthy, longer hair, fuller hair, anti-ageing, clear skin,

I've been very happy with all my products from MyVitamins and I will definitely continue to shop with them due to their expansive range, handy packaging and reasonable prices.

Disclosure: Some of the products mentioned in this article were PR samples, however reviews reflect my honest opinions having tested the products. Please note as well as receiving PR samples, I am also a repeat, paying customer of the brand MyVitamins.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Review: MUA Ever After Matte Palette

MUA, Ever After matte palette, eyehsadow, nudes,

I much prefer matte nudes to shimmers so I decided to pick up this Ever After palette from MUA as it is one of very few that focuses only on matte colours. It ranges from creams and soft pinks to deep chocolate browns.

MUA, Ever After matte palette, eyehsadow, nudes,

As you can see from the swatches, the colours aren't ultra pigmented but it does a decent job for the price. It's also suitable for anyone looking for a slightly more subtle and natural look. I've found some of the shades quite useful for filling in my eyebrows without making them look too drawn on.

MUA, Ever After matte palette, eyehsadow, nudes,

I really like that it has several paler cream shades (Unwrap, Butter and Bare) as I tend to use these the most in nude palettes. I also love that it has a deep, black/brown shade for a smokey look. I probably won't use the blue-grey shade, Fog, and always wonder why nude palettes often include a shade like this as I would never mix greys with browns! The compact itself is pretty cheap looking and doesn't have a mirror.

MUA, Ever After matte palette, eyehsadow, nudes,

MUA have made a name for themselves being a budget brand but still with a decent quality. This Ever After palette makes no exception at just £4. I'd say it's a worthy purchase and useful in a make up collection, but I wouldn't limit myself to just this palette.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Review: Sleek i-Divine Oh So Special Palette

Sleek i-Divine, Oh So Special, Palette, eyeshadow, rose gold, peach, spring

I am a big fan of Sleek's i-Divine Palettes, almost always reaching for them when I decide to apply eyeshadow. They're Oh So Special palette is perfect for spring with rosey pastel shades. It also has a range of chocolatey browns perfect for any time of the year.

Sleek i-Divine, Oh So Special, Palette, eyeshadow, rose gold, peach, spring

Bow, Organza, Ribbon, Gift Basket, Glitz, Celebrate, Pamper, Gateau, The Mail, Boxed, Wrapped Up, Noir

As you can see here, Sleek's eyeshadows typically apply very well and high in pigment, with their shimmers being particularly impressive. My favourites in this palette are the peach toned Pamper and Ribbon and the metallic roses Organza and Gateau although I think you have to be careful with these shades so that you don't end up looking like you've come down with a case of conjunctivitis!

Sleek i-Divine, Oh So Special Swatches, Palette, eyeshadow, rose gold, peach, spring

Here's a quick look at how I decided to wear it first, using my favourite shades.

Sleek i-Divine, Oh So Special, Palette, eyeshadow, rose gold, peach, spring

Sleek i-Divine, Oh So Special, Palette, eyeshadow, rose gold, peach, spring

This will be another well-used Sleek purchase in my make up collection and I would urge anyone who doesn't own any of their eyeshadow palettes to go out and buy some immediately! They apply and blend so well and each palette comes with a huge mirror so they're perfect for touch ups on the go too. At £7.99 from Superdrug I feel it's a complete steal.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Review: Jindie Nails Don't Get it Citrus Twisted

Jindie Nails Don't Get it Citrus Twisted, nails, floral, fruity, spring, summer

I really love the jelly like indie nail polishes around lately, so this was one of my recent purchases. Don't Get it Citrus Twisted by Jindie Nails (an American indie polish company) is available from Rainbow Connection which is a UK supplier stocking indie nail polishes from all over the world.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Life Update: New flat, New Tattoo

Whilst this isn't a lifestyle blog I just wanted to do a quick update on why I've been quite busy lately and therefore less active on my blog!

Firstly, I decided to get my 2nd tattoo. I was looking for a paint splash style which isn't so common yet so it took me a while to find a suitable artist. I found Sam Barber of Heart for Art near Manchester. I've never been up north before - hey I'm from south Wales and then moved to London, Manchester is super north to me! I decided to go up and spend a night there. I stayed in an Ibis hotel which was surprisingly nice with a shower that lit up depending on how hot or cold it was (so I turned off all the room lights and had some sort of disco shower of course).

The tattoo took around 4 and a half hours in total. It was fine getting it done but healing was a pain! It was much more tender than I remember my first tattoo being and I'm sure it took a fair bit longer to return to normal skin, but it's well on it's way now. Here's a shot of it freshly done just after Sam finished. A few have asked why a shark - well it's because they've always been my favourite animal and I think they're grossly misunderstood and demonised. I hope to swim with them one day!

tattoo, tattoos, inked, Heart for Art, flat, shark tattoo, watercolour tattoo, watercolor tattoo, paint tattoo

Secondly, the most major reason I've been away lately is that I came to realise I was very unhappy in my new flat. I moved there in a rush after the flat I previously lived in for almost 3 years was sold and I had to move out. It seemed nice at first but it went downhill from there.

Firstly the area was noisy, ambulances & police cars every few minutes blaring past the front door, day or night. At the crossroads outside traffic often beeped their car horns through the night, sometimes just for fun. I even had roadworks going on right outside my flat at 1am a few times.

Then the problems inside the flat started. I'd rarely have plates, cooking utensils or cutlery to use as they had all been used by my housemate & left out dirty. It soon became apparent this was a party house with drunken people staying over on a regular basis in the shared kitchen/living room, so when I'd wake up I couldn't even make myself breakfast (I shouldn't have to go in and wake up hungover people in my PJs almost every weekend). Some weekends a whole load of people would come over and make a load of noise all night, leaving the place in a disgusting state when they finally left. I've basically spent the last 2 months as an invisible housemate, cooped up in my bedroom at all times until everyone goes out so that I finally felt comfortable using the kitchen to make myself some food.

In only my third month, my rent was increased by £50 per month. I finally lost all my cheer and motivation. I stopped going to the gym and spent most evenings watching hours upon hours of Netflix. I stopped drinking alcohol as I found it was making me too fed up. I was constantly tired and having intense headaches. All in all, not great! I needed to get out & desperately hunted for a new place to live, only to get excited about 2 places that ended up slipping through my hands. Finally yesterday I agreed on a new place in the docklands which I'm very happy to say I'm moving to this weekend. It's en-suite and even has a balcony :) really hoping this one works out! Here are some photos of the new room:

So do you have any tattoos or are you thinking of getting one? Or perhaps you have some nightmare flat sharing stories to share of your own? Let me know!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Review: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner

Bobbi Brown, Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, eyeliner, gel

When I visit airports I get a big thrill from shopping in them, no idea why, I just love the idea of buying some goodies either there or on the plane! So in a recent trip to Latvia over new year I decided to purchase one of Bobbi Brown's most famous products; the Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner. I went for just a classic 'Black Ink' shade for everyday use.