Girls, A Skin Care Post You Need To Read

Girls, How much are you spending on your daily skin care routine? If like me you spend ages in Shoppers pondering these purchases, this post should simplify the process. A dedicated fan of Pond’s Cream, I have routinely been swayed to more expensive products believing that more money makes a better product.

Recently a before and after test was preformed by Nicolas Miedzianowski-Sinclair, of The Cosmetic Imaging Studio – which provides 3D images for people considering cosmetic procedures, using a Visia machine (this machine, was developed by NASA to test astronauts’ skin). The test involved a simple scan the of face to see which moisturizer was more effective regarding lines and wrinkles, pore size, redness, hydration etc.

A  lady (pictured below) used the Nivea creme ($10.00 for 200mls) on one side of her face &  Creme de la Mer (prices range from$160.00 – $450.00) on the other, for one month. Which do you think performed better??

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According to the dermatologist’s scans, Nivea has performed best. The scans show the left-hand side of the face – where Nivea was – has retained better hydration than its rival. Not only this, but facial redness redness has reduced and some of the fine lines around the eyes have disappeared.

I am not shocked that the budget Nivea creme was better for the skin! Apparently Kate Winslet & Joan Collins both use this Nivea creme. Very interesting results given that us girls spend on average £18,000 on our faces in a lifetime!

face creamsWould this convince you try a budget moisturizer? Try it and let us know your thoughts?

S xx

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Make-up Review: Bare Minerals Complexion Perfection Palette

I decided to ditch my regular MAC foundation for a lighter, more natural-looking substitute during these sticky summer months.

Not an ideal summer look...in fact not an ideal look EVER

Not an ideal summer look…in fact not an ideal look EVER!

So on a mission to find that perfect ‘I’m not wearing foundation’ foundation, I set off to Sephora (I dare any woman I know to pop in here for just ‘one thing’ but somehow manage to leave with a significantly reduced bank balance!).

Anyway, back to my exciting quest for new make-up. I got chatting to one of the lovely (or crafty….hmmm, I can’t decide) sales assistants in this beauty junkies heaven and was assured Bare Minerals was THE foundation I had been searching for all my life.

‘This stuff is amazing. It gives great coverage but looks and feels like your wearing no make-up’, enthused the Sephora lady.

To an impulse shopper like myself, not much more convincing was required. Five minutes later I was strutting out the door, delighted with my new purchase.

I decided to go for one of the Bare Minerals starter kits. BUT (and this is where I made a huuuge mistake), instead of choosing the cult-favorite, loose powder version of the foundation, I went for the pressed powder option. This one here:

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I could see many mishaps occuring with the loose powder kit so this Bare Minerals Ready to Go Complexion Perfection Palette seemed a more sensible approach for accident-prone people like myself. And at $60 for foundation, concealer, bronzer, luminizer and mineral veil all in a handy little make-up pouch, it was great value for money too.

There’s only one tiny problem. To paraphrase my Mother, it’s ‘pure shite’.

I feel like I went for the poor cousin of the Bare Minerals family. I’ve read rave reviews of this product so I really had high hopes but this leaves a lot to be desired

To be fair, the concealer is very good but the foundation is oh so bad. My skin was dry and patchy after a few days use.

Maybe it’s just my skin or maybe I’m not applying it properly but it’s a whopping thumbs down from me for this Bare Minerals kit.

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Have any of you tried it? What did you think?

P.S. Let us know what other products you swear by this summer!

Easy Summer Hairstyles

Girls are any of you struggling with your hair in this heat and humidity?

I spent last summer doing one of two things, either my straight hair in a ponytail or beachy waves…boring!! This summer I am determined not to give up and stick with trying new styles and I thought I’d share some of the styles I have attempted so far. I will never make a hairstylist, so these styles are foolproof!

1. Braided Bun
This style is great because you can do it, just below the crown, in the center or at the side of the head. Create some volume using a teasing comb, smooth and pull your hair into a ponytail. Divide the ponytail into two sections. Twist one part clockwise into a bun, using bobby pins to secure as you go. Braid the remaining hair and wrap counterclockwise around the base of the bun. Finish with a light holding spray.

Hey presto…braided bun a la Eva Longoria!

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2. A fishtail
So easy and people always comment on it. Practice makes perfect so do not give up! This style is really easy with day old hair, but you can do it with just washed hair too. Blow-dry hair using fingers until it’s three-quarters of the way dry, then work in mousse from root to end.Make a deep side part and swoop the rest of your hair over to the opposite side, slightly behind your ear. (TIP:If you’re doing it yourself, you may want to secure into a low pony to hold in place, then undo at the end). To start the fishtail braid, divide hair into two sections. Work your way down by taking a thin piece from the outside right section and joining it with the left. Next do the reverse: take a thin piece of hair from the left section and join it with the right. Continue until you have about 1 inch left at the end. Secure with an elastic—preferably one that’s the same color as your hair. This can be sleek or for a messier look, pull the strands apart slightly.
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3. Wrap N Roll
This one is a complete no brainer. Find a hair wrap or scarf, knot it in the front of your head, and throw your hair up in a messy bun. Simples!
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4. Band n Roll
Another fool proof style. Place a non slip hair band over your hair towards your hair line. Take hair and roll up into the hair band.
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5. Low plait/tail
Another style that takes a little practice, but it is so worth it as it’s helmet and hat friendly. Separate all your hair, about two inches back from the hairline on either side. Secure the middle section in a ponytail. Separate the top section on the right into two sections. Take the top section and pull it down to ponytail at a downward angle, pin in place, using the ponytail as a placement guide. Do the exact same on the left hand side, these two pieces should now be forming a cross over, just above the tail. Grab the rest of the free hair and wrap under the previous sections. Place under the ponytail and pin in place. Repeat on the other side.
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6. Braid wrap pony.
Take your hair in two sections, like your doing half up half down. Place the top section in a low ponytail. Pull the bottom section slightly to one side of the ponytail and plait. Take the plait and wrap it around the tail. Easy peasy. I used a vintage brooch to cover my pins
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7. Heidi braids
My favorite, so easy and great for sunbathing, but remember to use some spay in sun lotion, this will protect your head and keep hair in place. Part your hair down the middle, try and keep both sides as even as possible. Take the first section of hair and bring it all up to just behind your ear. Tightly braid the hair all the way to the end. Make sure you braid as far down as possible to avoid any hair sticking out later.Secure the braided hair with an elastic at the end. Try to find small elastics as the ends can be very thick. Repeat on the other side, until you have two side braids.Take the first braid and lay it across the top of your head, bringing it as tightly across your head as possible. Using a few bobby pins, secure the entire braid to your head. Start pinning at each end and then add a few in the middle. Try to slide them in under the top of the braid to make them invisible. Use small pins if you can, but if you have thick or unruly hair, bigger pins will work a lot better and hold it in place longer.Take the second braid and wrap it underneath the first braid, also pinning as you go. (Some people prefer to lay the second braid in front of the first one.) Wrap the end of the braid around the top of the first one and tuck the excess hair underneath. Ensure that the end of the first braid is not sticking out by tucking it under the second so all loose ends are hidden. Pin down any extra fly-away hairs or spots that feel loose. If you have layers or a fringe, you can pin it back or leave it loose.
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8. Hair Bow
Pull your hair into a high ponytail, but do not pull the hair completely through. What you are left with is a sort of bun, which you will split in two sections. Using the hair that is not pulled through, pull up the middle of the two sections, and secure behind the buns using bobby pins. Separate the hair in the buns, to make the bow bigger and spray.
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Great Irish-run hair salon in Toronto

Let me tell you a little story about my first visit to a hair salon in Toronto…

About two months after arriving here, I decided the mop that sits on top of my head was in dire need of some TLC. With roots and split ends that would make my faithful hairdresser back in Ireland recoil in horror, I was well over-due an appointment with a professional.

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It was more of a bad hair month instead of a bad hair day

I made a booking at a swanky looking salon in the Yonge/Eglinton neighbourhood and counted down the days till I could get my ‘hair did’.

The end result was grand. Nothing amazing but it did the trick. What was truly astounding however was how much this venture cost me.

A half-head of highlights and trim came to over $200 and this didn’t even include the tip. There was of course tax added on to the final total and I also found out the hard way that in Toronto, the norm is to charge extra if you want the luxury of your hair blow-dried! Had I known that nodding ‘yes’ when asked if I wanted my gruaige dried straight would bump up the price by $45, I would have politely declined and tackled it myself at home.

When I eventually recovered from the shock of paying almost half of my monthly rent for a few blonde streaks and a quick haircut, I resigned myself to the fact that I could never again afford to treat myself to a hair salon trip while living in TO. My hair future looked bleak – it was going to be dodgy roots or even worse, DIY colour kits, from here on out (don’t go accusing me of being a hair snob but I found out the hard way that a home highlighting kit results in the kind of colour you’d see on Ronald McDonald).

But there was light at the end of this dark tunnel of hair depression in the form of Halo Hair Studio.

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Run by two lovely Cork sisters, Una and Brenda, the salon is located at 1246 Gerrard Street East. Simply hop on the streetcar at Yonge and College to be taken right to their door.

I headed there after a tip from a friend and I did not leave disappointed or broke!

These ladies are great at listening to what the client is after and offering advice. I was thrilled with the end result and will definitely be back. It didn’t hurt either that we’d a great natter while they worked their magic.

My half head of highlights (incl. tax) came to just over $100 and what’s more, they blow-dried my hair without any extra charge (perhaps some Toronto salons could learn from this).

If your looking for a home away from home Irish hairdressing experience, check this gals out!

Wear Sunscreen

Not to sound like yer mam, but take it from somebody a little older and not much wiser – wear sunscreen! Girls I know your type, just off the boat, and mad looking for that bronzed glow. Even those of us who have been here a while are known to skip the sunscreen routine. Did ya ever wonder why we do this to ourselves? So we can go bright red, be in pain for a few days before eventually peeling and blistering, which is never a good look! The Canadians embrace the pale; I often walk in to work on a Friday morning waiting on the waft of fake tan and nothing. They don’t do it; in fact they judge and make fun of me for doing it. So in true Canadian style, I’ve abandoned my White to Brown, and invested in a factor 15 (I’m not that Canadian!) Even though I’m now a sunscreen whizz and can tell you how many minutes to apply before going out in the sun (that’s 30 minutes, by the way) and the difference between UVA and UVB, I still managed to come home from a BBQ yesterday with a burn. Why? When I apply sunscreen, I (like most people) tend to go part by part. First, we’ll do the shoulders, then the upper arms, then the lower arms. Unfortunately, some parts, like the crook of the elbow, get left out because they’re in a sort of no-man’s-land.  Behind the knees: Another body part in no man’s land is the back of the knee. You may apply sunscreen to your lower leg, knee and thigh, but the back of the knee routinely gets snubbed. Especially likely to happen if you apply sunscreen to your legs while you’re sitting — if your leg is bent, you may not realize you haven’t covered that crease. But once you flip over to sun your back, the skin is exposed to the sun. A burn behind the knee makes it uncomfortable to walk, so give this part of the leg the attention it deserves.

Feet: Girls, is there anything worse? You have your outfit on, your nails painted and your favorite heels, But HORROR. You have flip flop tan lines. Research has shown that people do not put sunscreen on their feet, why because it feels weird. But girls your feet are just as susceptible to skin cancer, so slap on the sunscreen.

Hands: Now call me stupid, we apply the cream with our hands so they are protected right?! Wrong most people forget to do the backs of the hands, the bit that’s exposed when bringing the beer up and down to your mouth on the patio….the bit of the hand that gets most expose all year round! I for one do not want sunspots, so You know what I’m going to say; Slap on the sunscreen

Ears: We do the face, nose cheeks, forehead, but the bits on the outside tend to be forgotten. Men with short hair are particularly prone to ear burn and girls if your hair is tied up, or if your wearing a hat, your ears can still get hit. It’s not pleasant and it makes sleeping a nightmare. Make sure you cover the ears, as gross as it sounds get right in there, as even the inner part can burn.

Scalp: I’ve learned the hard way, 70’s style hair do, Farrah Fawcett middle parting = Burned scalp! The bald men and men with short hair feel my pain. People with hair may think that their head is protected, but it’s not. Whether you have thinning hair or thick, luscious locks, the sun will find its way to your scalp. If you’re not wearing a hat, you need to apply sunscreen. Sunscreen in the hair may sound like a beauty queen’s worst nightmare, but you can still look pretty fashionable if you seek out a gel or spray sunscreen. It’s important to show your scalp some sunscreen love because according to a 2008 study in the Archives of Dermatology, melanoma on the scalp and the neck results in much quicker death than melanoma that appears elsewhere on the body. That may be due to how melanoma cells form and spread in those areas, as well as the fact that hair can hide the damage and prohibit early detection. In the long run, it’s better to sacrifice your style and put some SPF on your scalp One last tip REAPPLY! After 30 minutes in the sun you should reapply, the sunscreen does not last all day, plus it’s more likely that you’ll cover a patch you missed the first time. Now that my preach is over, go forth find a patio, grab a beer and enjoy the sun!