Tag Archives: beauty

Loving your skin

Photo 21-01-2015 13 36 02 (1)Taking care of your skin is vital keeping it fresh, clean and youthful. Especially for those of us with sensitive skin, it is sometimes difficult to know what the right thing to do is when it comes to skin care and looking good. And sometimes, main brand skin care products can cause mild to severe skin irritation. But we want to look good and find the best way to maintain healthy and nice skin. Here is some advice for keeping that sweet smooth skin just how you like it:

Give It What It Needs

Photo 29-01-2015 01 06 04It’s important that you have inside what you need to reflect your health on the outside.
Making sure that you are eating a healthy and balanced diet will go a long way to helping your health. Getting the balance of nutrients you need from meat (or meat substitutes) and vegetables is so important in every area of your life.
A balanced diet can support good physical and mental health as well as keeping your skin supple and healthy.

A multivitamin a day can really help you to keep your body topped up with all the goodies it needs. There are a lot of vitamins and minerals that we don’t get enough of naturally, so taking a supplement can help to keep your body functioning at its best.
Make sure that you take multivitamins with a meal. It isn’t bad for you to take them without necessarily, but it does mean that your body won’t absorb as much of the goodness as it would while digesting a meal.
Make sure that your vitamins contain iron. Iron is VITAL to your health. If you are like me and suffer from anemia from time to time, you need to make sure that you are getting enough iron.

QUICK TEST: Wash your hands and gently pull down your bottom eyelid to look on the inside of the eyelid. The colour of the inside should be a red-ish pink-ish colour. If it looks pale or your eye itself looks a little yellowish, then you may need to talk to consume more iron.
OR(!) if looking in your eye seems a bit nasty, you can try this other quick test
Gently squeeze the ends of one of your fingers, with the pressure being downwards against the surface of your nail. Then release and watch how long it takes for the pressure mark (usually a pale pink or white colour) to change back to the usual pink.
If it’s slow to change back (or if your nail beds are usually white most of the time) you may not be getting enough iron.

(Note: Make sure that you take and questions and concerns about your diet and supplement/vitamin intake to a medical professional.)

Pick Of the Bunch

Evening Primrose oil, extracted from the Evening Primrose flower, is high in Omega-6, which your body converts into hormones needed for numerous bodily functions, including menstruation in women (helping to make periods shorted, lighter and less painful). But, as well as being a life-saver for us ladies, Evening Primrose actually does wonders for our skin!
Regularly taking Evening Primrose Oil capsules can help to keep skin clear and prevent breakouts and rashes, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used to treat more sever skin conditions like Eczema.
Consider getting some Evening Primrose capsules as a way of helping to balance your hormones, which will do a lot of good for your whole body as well as your skin.

Stay away from the nasties

There are a lot of companies that want to produce products that SEEM really nourishing and kind to your skin which are actually full of harsh chemicals that you might not want to rub on your face or eyelids if you knew what they were.
Companies that want to cut corners will even use carcinogenic, hormone disrupting or even toxic chemicals in their products.
I know personally that it’s not much help when people say “Try to avoid products containing harsh chemicals” because I was not aware of what those chemicals ARE!
I’m in NO WAY an expert in the chemicals used in cosmetics (I could’ve been a chemist but I figured – hey – I’ll be an actor and blogger instead!) but with just a little searching and research, I’ve managed to freak myself out at the major nasties that have popped up at me, such as:

Parfum or Fragrances

Even some products that claim to be un-scented actually contain chemicals and fragrances to give off a lighter or ‘odorless scent’ (if that makes any sense). These chemicals can be harsh, drying and some can irritate eczema and asthma and some are even believed to be linked to cancers and contain neurotoxins!
If you suffer from acne, eczema, asthma or migraines, then you should be careful how many fragrance chemicals you expose yourself to, as these can be major irritants.
Of course, it is going to be difficult totally avoiding fragrances, but you should be aware of how many products you use regularly that contain them and try to minimize your exposure.

Parabens

Used as a preservative in product, parabens are supposedly really bad for you, even at low levels. Apparently many of them are considered sensitive substances as they are believed to interfere with hormones and have even been found in breast cancer tissue. They are also believed to react with UVB rays in a way that increases and speeds up skin damage and aging from sun exposure.
The way you can tell if an ingredient is a paraben is that the word usually ends in paraben. For example you have butylparaben, isobutylparaben, propylparaben and methylparaben.

Paraphenylenediamine 

(try saying that 3 times fast!)

This chemical, used in hair products, is toxic to the skin and can seriously affect your immune system. I just now looked at a box of hair dye from my old red-head days (before I chose to come back to my natural brown and white colour) and the leaflet states that it ‘contains phenylenediamines’ and repeatedly states that the product can cause ‘allergic reactions’. Is it technically and ALLERGIC reaction if it is something that is actually TOXIC to your skin??? Really???? Or is it just a toxic chemical that they shouldn’t really be encouraging you to rub on your head???
So, please, try to avoid products that contain this very nasty chemical. I, of course, am no expert in this area, but I can tell just from reading about it that it’s not nice stuff.

With all the long chemical names and numbers that you find on packaging it’s hard not to assume that every ingredient is practically acid or just become baffled, but one way of shopping for makeup (without having to memorise all these chemicals and whatnot) is to hold the product in one hand and your phone in the other. Just read the label and Google any of the chemicals you don’t recognise and look them up on trusted sources.
In all honesty, there is a lot of scaremongering over cosmetics products and everyone seems to think everything on an ingredients list will kill you, but try to just be calm and look for the facts. Don’t take any “YOU’LL NEVER WANT TO USE THIS AGAIN WHEN YOU KNOW [blah blah blah]” and just try to go as au naturel as you can.

And in these modern times we sadly aren’t going to be able to totally avoid these chemicals unless we go totally bare-faced, so it’s best that you are just cautiously aware of what you are putting on your face. It doesn’t mean that you have to give up makeup, condemn skin products and forgo shampoo, but you should be aware what you put on your skin and plan accordingly.

Treat Yourself

I know spending a lot of money on your skin isn’t always an option, but sometimes a few pounds (or Euro, or Dollars, or 円 or 원) can go a LONG way!
Just recently I went out with the intention to treat myself to some new beauty goodies. I was all ready to splurge a little and get a little pricey, but in the end, after 3 or 4 stores, I was kitted up and had only spent about £25. It may be quite an extravagant spend for some, but saving a few pence and pounds here and there will soon add up to more than enough!
Here is a list of a few items that can make your skin care routine a lot easier:

Soft wash cloth

A good wash cloth will be like a gentle kiss to your skin, rather than like scraping burlap over your face, and will help to gently wash and buff your skin clean. These days, a good wash cloth isn’t that expensive, just look around for one that feels really gentle. The way to keep your skin like a baby, is to not use anything on it that you wouldn’t use on a baby. Treat your skin with love and respect and it’ll be good to you.
A soft exfoliating brush
I know using a brush on your face doesn’t sound all that gentle, but a super soft facial brush can act as a great exfoliator when paired with a cleansing oil. Just make sure that you buffing your face lightly in small circular motions. I often find a lot of grainy exfoliators irritate my skin and the residue if often hard to fully wash off, but a good brush will do the trick.

Cosmetic pads

Where standard cotton wool can leave residue on your skin and not be very effective, cosmetics pads (while a tiny bit more pricey) will do a much more thorough job of taking off makeup and washing your skin.
I’ve heard that some people actually dry out and reuse their cosmetics pads in future uses. Please don’t do this, it’s basically just wiping days old makeup (and added bacteria) into your eyes and face and can lead to infections. Throw it away when you’re done

Facial band

Don’t you hate when your hair gets all oily/dirty when it touches your face while you’re washing it or you can’t quite wash all your face easily? Getting a nice facial hair band will help a lot. They are usually a strip with velcro either end so that you can wrap it around your head easily.

Eye mask

Light disturbance when you sleep can really affect your skin. Our bodies aren’t designed for all the artificial light in our lives these days and it can play silly games with our sleep, which affects a lot about our health, skin and mental well-being. Investing in a good sleeping eye mask will help your sleep a lot (even if it might seem a little funny at first if you sleep next to someone at night)

Eye cooling mask

Often gel eye packs that you can keep in the fridge, a cooling mask will basically do the same thing as eye cucumbers (eew, nasty mental image) but without the wastage. These help to refresh, wake-up and reduce puffiness in your eyes and are very relaxing.

Nail kit

I work in a restaurant and I also do a lot of art. Restaurant work requires being clean and well presentable whilst also handling food and drinks etc. Art can quickly get very messy and have a laborious clean-up afterwards. to both these effects, I carry around a small nail kit with me that I got from H&M for £2.99 that includes a cuticle pusher, a nail block (one of those blocks with a file and four sides for polishing) and a mini nail brush. It’s a tiny little case and is super convenient. I get so self-conscious if my nails are dirty so this makes me feel a whole lot more secure.

Black-head remover tool

This is a vital part of my skin-care. Because I work in oily environments and do a lot of running around and physical exertion, I regularly have to get rid of blackheads, especially around my nose and just above my eyebrows.

facial steamer

A tiny bit more expensive (at about the £20 mark) but it is great for refreshing your skin. Before I do a facial or black head clearing I always make sure that I steam my face to open up the pores to make it quicker, easier and less irritating.

Oil me up!

I don’t like the normal foaming face washes (especially as most of them contain really nasty chemicals), but I love cleansing oils. They’re soft on your skin and don’t strip away the natural ‘good stuff’ while taking away the dirt and dead skill cells that you don’t want!
A lot of people think “I don’t want oily skin, so oil cleansers aren’t for me. I want tight squeaky clean skin” but that is actually the opposite of what you want. Oil cleansers don’t leave your face greasy and oily all day, and they wash off really nicely. That tight ‘squeaky clean’ feeling you get is actually a bad thing, as it means that the natural good oils in your skin have been stripped away leaving it dry (thus feeling tight).
Cleansing oils might still not be for you, but try to be kind and gentle on your skin by avoiding products that strip the natural moisture in your face. Dirt and dead skin = Bad. Natural and gentle oils = Good.

Overall, a good diet, avoiding nasties, good sleep and gentle maintenance are the best things you can do to keep your skin looking b-e-a-utiful, so take care and be gentle!

(I am in NO WAY a professional. This piece is purely advise that I have gained from my own personal experience and the advice and experience of others. Please use caution and your own common sense when following the advice in this piece. Always take care! Xx)
I hope that you have enjoyed this piece. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel welcome to share them in the comment section below or join us over on Facebook and Twitter! Xx

L’OREAL Paris Miss Manga Mascara

 

miss manga 1Not everyone likes mascara, and I’m not often seen singing its praises much. I’m very lucky in the fact that I have quite thick and long eyelashes, so mascara isn’t really a high priority in my makeup routine. BUT(!!!!) I am a sucker for a good deal and can be persuaded when the suggestion of manga is involved, so you can imagine I swooned when I saw L’Oreal’s Miss Manga mascara on sale.
Now, I’m no beauty guru and the only make-up transformations I’m known for is either a very round-faced Captain Jack Sparrow or ‘slightly-less-sleepy-than-she-may-seem Amy’, but I was impressed with this stuff.

First of all, it didn’t burn my eyelids, which is always a good start with makeup. Having skin as sensitive as that of a baby guinea pig, my skin is usually irritated by the slightest thing and a mascara that doesn’t burn is often quite hard to come by (now you understand why I’m no Michelle Phan). This stuff didn’t bug me in the slightest!
It is really nice and smooth to apply, not leaving you with nasty ‘spider leg lashes’ or clumps that fall into your eyes.
As well as making my eyelashes look even fuller and longer (and hiding the couple weird white eyelashes I have) the product isn’t the usual lumpy stodgy mix you find in a lot of mascaras, but it’s really light and liquidy, so it doesn’t weigh a lot!
miss manga 2The brush is really neat-looking, with space between the bristles so it gets the right shape and doesn’t hold too much or too little product. I’m not sure why, but I find the design of the brush really good, and I’m really glad the bristles are shorter than usual so that you can get really close to the roots without jabbing your eye.

fantasticSo, what do I think of the product?

  • Nice and light, doesn’t make my eyelids feel heavy or dirty!
  • Applies really smoothly with no nasty clumps
  • Huzzah, I’m not allergic to it!
  • Cool brush!
  • Makes my lashes look longer and thicker without making them look unnatural or creepy
  • Works well on lower lashes
  • Really nice to wash off, not irritating and doesn’t leave nasty residue
  • Look Manga? Yup, I’d say it looks pretty darn kawaii!
  • Dries smooth so it doesn’t clump your eyelashes
  • No ‘spider leg lashes’!

Would I recommend it? Heck yeah (even to my sensitive skinned buddies out there)!

You can find the mascara on Amazon!

I hope you liked this piece! Let me know what you think of this product or if you want me to review any other products! Leave a comment below or come join us on Facebook and Twitter! Xx

Real Talk: Kpop and Self-Image

Kpop is a lot of fun. The catchy songs, the expression of emotion that isn’t stopped by language barriers and the charismatic and beautiful artists are just a few of the appeals of Kpop.

When I first got into kpop and kdramas, I was astonished at how seemingly naturally beautiful the men and women were – even the ones considered to be ugly! It all seemed fine for a while, but soon it started to affect me. I felt insecure how artists younger than me were so much more beautiful (and I’m only 19). And I started to hate my own appearance. I got so caught up in the ideals of beauty in Korea and almost obsessed with the idea of fitting in with those demands.
This is an issue that many people have faced. To outsiders of Korea, like myself, it looks to us like idols are born totally stunning and were always wearing minimal makeup (with exception of perhaps some eyeliner for effect). It was frankly depressing and I found my desire to live up to those ideas and my inability to do so actually made me depressed and it almost ruined Kpop and Kdramas for me!
If you find yourself in the same position as I was in, there are a few things you need to know:

They are constantly modelling

Idols and stars aren’t just at work when they’re on set or in the studio, they are at work all the time. And that means that any time you see them, any time a camera is on them or they are getting attention, they will be wearing makeup, someone will have done their hair (and will be keeping it neat all day) and their outfits have been designed for them. They might be naturally swag people, but their entire appearance has been designed for the public to look at them and go ‘wow’.

Someone is always thinking about how they look

They don’t just get their clothes from a store like normal people or just put on any mix of clothes in the morning. They, or someone else, always has to think about their appearance and looking their best and modelling the products they have to.
Even if they are wearing a store-bought item, the chances are that it’s been altered to perfectly compliment them or chosen specifically to look perfect. They have tailored outfits and everything is coordinated. All. The. Time.
I personally feel bad that they can’t just go out or take a flight without having to be put in some outfit. It must get really uncomfortable and it probably makes it very hard to relax, but it’s part of their job.

Chances are they’ve had cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery is a huge deal in Korea and these days it’s even become normal for surgery to be given as a gift for birthdays, graduations, weddings, etc. It isn’t healthy and only feeds into the beliefs that the beautiful faces our genes gave us aren’t good enough. While I’m at times tempted by the idea of fixing up things I’d like to change about my appearance, I don’t understand the obsession.
But if even the normal person on the street is getting surgery, then celebrities definitely are as, just like everywhere else, they have to be the epitome of beauty and style. Just a few seconds of Googling with find you hundreds of ‘Before/After surgery’ pictures of celebrities and interviews where artists let slip the procedures they’ve had done.
Ever wonder why the members of some kpop groups look scarily similar? It’s the Gangnam face, baby!

Everything is tailored

Do the poorest kids in Korea really have the best phones and clothes all the time? Is everyone in a Korean school really as gorgeous and rich as Lee Min Ho? Can women seriously stay a size 0 while guzzling down ramen 6 times a day? If a guy is in love with you, will he really be constantly yelling at you and insulting you? Are Korean parents really all terrifying evil people who want to control you or send your boyfriend/girlfriend out of the country? No.

Kdramas are fantasies. I know many people who will be upset to hear that, but it’s true. And it doesn’t make them any less enjoyable to accept that and it’s better for you if you do. Dramas, no matter what country you are in, are fantasy, because people like to escape from reality.
The clothes, makeup, characters, technology, lighting, sets – even the actor’s heights (!)- are manipulated to show you an industry crafted ideal that you are supposed to crave and invest a lot of money in pursuing. It’s the same in media everywhere.

You can’t assume their feelings

Just because you see an idol smiling and having a good time on camera, doesn’t mean they are happy. Their lives are controlled by their contracts, managers, schedules, paycheques and diets. They have little to no freedom to do, dress, date, spend, eat or speak as they want.

The life of an idol in Korea is very difficult and sometimes they are treated very poorly by the companies they work for, but they still have to be able to hide it all and perform for the camera as if they are the happiest person in the world, especially within performing groups, who have to give the appearance of being best buddies with each other (just look at the falling out in T-ARA as an example).
The life of an idol is hard and they have to be the appearance of perfection at the same time, so don’t just take their smiles as truth. They’ve got a tough lot.

So remember that no-one is perfect and being the industry standard of beautiful isn’t as wonderful as it may seem. The artists that you look at have had to suffer a lot, from dieting to fit their tiny outfits to cosmetic surgery that changes their faces permanently. It isn’t easy and the more you work to fit the criteria, the more work and pressure it becomes.

The world would be a happier and more confident place if we accepted and were accepted for our natural beauty. So love yourself, love each other and know that your beauty isn’t determined by your makeup or clothes. As G-Dragon said, “It isn’t about having the money for the expensive clothes, it is about how you wear them.”