Snapshot of my week

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1 Listening to:

2 Eating: Seasonal dishes like Butternut squash and sweet potato, Colcannon with venison sausages, duck breast with plum sauce…I really need to see if there’s a foodie version of AA…
3 Doing: TRX suspension training at Mint Fitness in Terenure…wish me luck…they use this to train Navy seals for battle!!
4 Reading: ooh lala magazines Christmas issue. Us bloggers were sent advanced copies, and loads of free Cocoa Brown goodies. You guys are in for a fantastic issue!! click here to see their free digital edition – I still cant believe this is an Irish magazine, its so good!
5 Wishing: The Simone Rocha style pink coats weren’t sold out in Penney’s
6 Using: Cocoa Brown night and day tan, Cocoa Brown “tough stuff” exfoliater and their hot pink tanning mitt – review posted on Thursday.
7 Wearing: Dark Berry lips with AW13’s signature lived in blurred edge finish.
8 Loving: Having an extra hour in bed- on a bank holiday weekend.
9 Watching: Out for false widow spiders!
10 Google-ing: Scary Halloween makeup tutorials

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Going Straight: Japanese YUKO hair straightening

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A few weeks back, I looked in the mirror and thought: that’s it, I’ve had it with all this kinkyness, I’m going straight! Permanently!….With my hair that is! We’ve all heard about the 12 week blowdry, were even gotten used to the organic 16 week blowdry. Which are semi permanent smoothing treatments, that are weak enough to still let you curl your hair if you want, but strong enough to harness frizz and curl by 50%.

But you probably haven’t yet heard of Japanese YUKO straightening. It’s actually been around in Japan for over 10 years, but it’s only come to Ireland in the past year or two. Unlike the 12 and 16 week blowdrys, YUKO is a 100% permanent chemical straightening treatment. This means that it cannot be curled no matter what you try, and if you don’t like it you cant reverse it, you just have to wait for it to grow out like a bad dye job. And just like hair dye, you will need to top up the roots as they grow out.

But on the plus side, you can just wash your hair in the morning, point the dryer at it, and your hair will look as straight and frizz free as it does after a good GHDing. Which is almost like a dream for most working women.

So what exactly does it involve and how much is it? Well, to be honest it is very similar to the process involved in the 12 and 16 week blowdrys. The folks at Brown Sugar on number 50 South William street Dublin tell me that it involves four steps, first: the spray in a primer The primer replenishes your hair with essential nutrients and prepares the hair for processing. Secondly, they begin the processing stage by spraying in the straightening solution, this completely restructures your hair by breaking down the protein bonds in it that make it curly. Thirdly They go over the hair while the solution is still init with a specially designed straightener. This not only straightens but also revives the tresses. Finally they wash out the first treatment, and apply another called a neutraliser, which stops the first treatment in its tracks (if you let it keep going your hair would eventually just fall out) and then they rinse it out, and blowdry your hair which conditions and cements the straight shape for the future.

How long it will take to do depends completely on how curly and thick your hair is to begin with, but the folks at Brown Sugar say that 3-4 hours is the average. But they have had people there for 6-7 hours before, so that’s why they ask you to come in for a free consultation beforehand to assess how long it’s going to take. They usually like to schedule chemical treatments for as early in the morning as possible so that they aren’t up all night doing your hair.

They also say that there starting price for YUKO straightening is €105 but this could be more depending on the type of hair/how long it will require to do/whether it’s done by a senior stylist or junior etc. Cowbows and Angels South William street, start at €300 with the same considerations, as does Salon19, But Foxy Brown on Grafton street charge just €35 for long hair and €25 for short hair.

There are a few drawbacks to YUKO treatment, you cant wash your hair or get it wet at all (not even a little bit of drizzle) for two days after the treatment or it will deactivate and your hair will go back to being curly. And you cant tie up your hair or even tuck it behind your ears for two days, as it will permanently kink. I also recommend bringing food with you when you go because when I got it a little while ago, it took 4 hours and I was starving by the end of it cos I went in at 11am and had to wait til nearly 4pm before they finished blowdrying and everything. I admit at around 2:30 I was wondering could I get away with getting up and walking to the corner shop to buy a hot chicken roll, with all the stuff still in my hair and the hairdressing cape desperate skouse-wives stylie…but unfortunately guys, I cant quite pull off that look, so I stayed put and dreamt of an eddie rockets chicken burger, and going straight…

Mane and tail shampoo review

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When I was a nipper in the 90’s this was the animal use only shampoo I bought for €1 a bottle for ”my lovely lovely lovely lovely horse” called Lady, running around the equine supply’s shop Homestead saddelery, while my mam was around the back buying bags of feed and de-wormer. (for the horse, not herself)

Then in 2001, it became a “wonder product” after the original hair envy celeb Jennifer Anniston revealed in an interview that it was the secret of her famously luscious locks. Sales of the equine product went through the roof overnight and so the folks at Mane and tail thinking cha-ching, brought out a full hair care range for humans with conditioners, shine enhancing sprays, leave in conditioners, de-tangling sprays, and even nail strengtheners called “Hoofmaker”.

Jaysus! I thought, why didn’t I make the connection earlier! When you take a horse straight from the field, they have extremely thick course hair (three times thicker than human hair) that gets matted and dry – the total opposite of soft and silky. But after just one wash with all this stuff at shows and races the horse’s hair and coat always looked amazing and silky like the picture above.

But I never actually tried it til last week, when I saw it on sale in my local chemist for €3.50. Ah I’ll give it a whirl I thought, see if it’s worth the hype. It’s super moisturising and is rumoured to contain allot of the smoothing and strengthening ingredients that salon brands use, and is sulphate and detergent free. VERY promising I thought, almost exactly like a salon product, and its only €3.50! So I gave the shampoo and the conditioner a go.

But unfortunately, it was a bit meh. While it behaved very like a salon brand shampoo in that it didn’t foam up very much (detergent is really damaging for your hair, so its good that it doesn’t have much ) and my hair felt like silk when it was wet . Once I finished blowdrying and GHD’ing. I realised it was a bit too moisturising and made my hair limp and heavy! I was hoping it would be bouncy and shiny – and that Id have a big sexy mane blowing behind me, like a big galloping stallion swishing in the wind. But to be fair, my hair is naturally quite strong and silky to begin with so all the extra moisture and strengthening was probably overkill.

This range gets allot of mixed reviews in the blogosphere. Anyone that says they have extremely course, frizz prone, dry, colour damaged and over processed hair raves about it. But anyone with thin silky hair hates it. So it just depends on the type of hair you have. Also to its credit, I think it could be perfect if you have hair extensions (which are almost always 95% horse hair and just 5% human -no matter what they say on the label) so this would be perfect to counteract the tangling and matting you encounter after a couple of weeks wear, and maybe give you swishy stallion hair.

Snapshot of my week

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1 Listening to:

2 Eating: Home made steak and kidney pie that I made from scratch – Hi, my names Louise, and I’m a cook-aholic.
3 Doing: Having a serious clear out, and selling it all on eBay and to vintage designer shops around Dublin like RubyRuby, and preparing for my driving test – second time’s the charm.
4 Reading: Gone with the wind – Girl loves her classics
5 Wishing: Halloween was not on a Thursday this year. No, your boss probably won’t believe it was the sound of bangers and fireworks that kept you up all night.
6 Using: Clinique three step Acne Solutions, and Moroccan oil for my hair.
7 Wearing: Tartan pinafore dress, Double breasted navy coat, worker boots and the “no makeup -makeup look” seen at Tom Ford AW13 show (check out my instagram feed on the right to see pics )
8 Loving: Pumpkin Spiced Lattes.
9 Watching: Downton Abbey…..but really…zzzzz
10 Google-ing: Dusty pink cocoon coat….with surprisingly little success.

Clinique 3 Step Anti Blemish Solutions review

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As all of you readers know by now, I usually have a normal to oily skin type, and only get maybe one or two spots every now and again, but otherwise my skin is clear. That was, until my skin went bananas with exam stress over the last month or two!
I was getting full blown acne, that not even my mother, (who, even if I was growing a tail, would say, “ah no sure you’re beauuuutyful” “sure arnt you totally unique, bet your friends wish they had one, its lovely!” ) could deny.

Most imperfection skincare is useless, as anyone who has ever had acne will tell you, and doesn’t even work when you have just one or two spots, let alone acne. But Clinique 3 step is different. It actually works! It’s the only product that has ever managed to turn the tide on a bad skin attack.

Ive used this on and off over the past 4 years, sometimes using it religiously for months, other times cheating on it with other products (us beauty bloggers are a fickle bunch) But this time around, I’ve been using it monogamously for a month, and my skin is clearing up rapidly!

Clinique’s simple approach is this “You start with gentle exfoliation to open clogged pores. Oxygen evicts acne-causing bacteria. Medicated ingredients rush in to accelerate treatment. Voila!—Clearer skin. The idea is to get immediate breakouts under control, then stop problems before they erupt—with a consistent, daily regimen that’s non-irritating.”
Step 1: Cleansing Foam
Lather up with this mild, medicated cleanser. Helps clear and prevent acne by removing dirt and excess oil. Unclogs pores. Calms, soothes, reduces redness. Plus, leaves skin feeling soft, smooth, comfortable.
Step 2: Clarifying Lotion
Sweeps away dead surface skin cells and excess oil that can lead to breakouts. Gentle, medicated formula exfoliates skin, unclogs pores. Helps calm, soothe irritation and redness. Oil-absorbing powders control shine.
Step 3: Clearing Moisturizer
Powerful Benzoyl Peroxide helps treat existing acne and prevent future breakouts. Lightweight, medicated formula creates an invisible,breathable barrier against acne-causing agents. Calms, soothes, reduces redness. Helps control excess oil throughout the day. Provides light hydration to minimize dryness and peeling.

Dont be fooled though when they say it’s mild, it’s actually quite strong! And in the long term can be quite drying. But they have reformulated it over the last year or so, so that it doesnt sting like mad the first few times you use it, like the old formula did. It takes maybe a month for it to fully clear your skin, but, if you stick with it, you start to see results from the first use. Some of my whoppers were half the size by the next morning it’s that effective!

But its not without its drawbacks, like I said, once your skin is cleared, and you keep using it longterm, it starts to seriously dry your skin! When this happens , the folks at clinique suggest that you just use it every second day, as maintanance, because if you stop using it entirely, well, it just comes back. And I can totally testify to that, I stopped using it for 6 months once my skin was clear, and here I am writing this post.
Also, the price is a little prohibitive at €72, but, I got mine in Boots where you can get a student discount, and get like €6 worth of points on your boots card every time so it’s not to bad when you look at it that way. Mine was €64 with the student discount in Boots Dundrum. And I can honestly say it’s the best money I have ever spent

BioDerma Crealine H2O – worth the hype? The search for the perfect makeup remover continues

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For those of you who don’t yet know, BioDerma Crealine H2O is a cult make up remover. And with a cult following that consists mostly of fashion insiders, backstage makeup artists, models, beauty editors, and top bloggers, you could safely assume that this stuff is the Shangri la of makeup removers……..or can you?

Its also reassuringly expensive at €60 a bottle, and hard to get a hold of outside of France (there’s only one place in London and one in New York, and they are permanently sold out coming up to fashion week ) So it must be good, right?

Meh, two months into using it, and getting it in Paris for €25 (mama didn’t raise no fool), I can safely say, that while it is really good, it not Shangri la, not quite worth the hype. I can see how it would be great for a makeup artist backstage wanting to correct mistakes with a q-tip and not irritate the poor models skin. But for everyday use, it’s not that great.

One – While it doesn’t irritate my skin or eyes in any way (very very big achievement for a makeup remover) , it still requires allot of faffing around with a cotton bud that is a bit of a nuisance at 4am after a night out, and you never get it all off first go so you have to keep going back again and again to get rid of all your mascara. And even then, it still leaves behind a slightly “tacky” veil feeling on your skin, that makes you just want to wash your face with water.

Two – I’m slightly biased because I’m in the “wash it all off with water” makeup remover camp. Because I just don’t ever feel clean enough just wiping it off with a cotton pad. And it’s actually quite bad for your skin to do so, if you have acne, eczema, or dry skin. Because you are just wiping the bacteria all around your face and then leaving it overnight to multiply.

So again, I see how this is great backstage, you want to thoroughly and quickly remove a models makeup from the last show she was in, and have a clean blank canvas, without irritating and stripping the poor girls face. And so if there is a tacky residue left behind, and you use a million cotton buds in the process, its no big deal, the makeup is gone and her skin is fine sure. But for a normal person using it every day it’s not worth the hype, and not worth it in the long term because its just not ment for everyday use- its designed for backstage. And really, backstage stuff is called “backstage” for a reason – because that’s where they are designed for.

And so, my search for the perfect makeup remover continues. Are there any really good makeup remover out there that I don’t know about yet? What makeup removers do you guys use? let me know in the comments

Beauty trends AW13 part 2 Dark Lips – Red Lip

Last winters two staples the red lip and the dark lip are back for this season. But the vibe for AW13 is “unfinished” lived in lipstick. Walk of shame/ Stride of pride sort of finish, rather than last years immaculate, vampy lips.

Backstage they used MAC “Brave red” a classic 50’s housewife red, which is a demi-matte red which means it has a hint of sheen, but is 75% matte, and combined it with MAC “Lady Danger” which is a full matte, orange-red.
To create the Dark purple lip they used MAC “Media” which I reviewed here. Which is a fully matte dark berry hue. It looks almost black when you first twist it out but when it’s on is a dark berry hue that can be blended down to a stain.

If they weren’t sold out online and in store, I would have recommend “Talk that Talk” a dark purple with red undertones matte lipstick by RiRi Hearts MAC and “RiRi Woo” a demi matte red. Because even though I don’t usually like half hearted celeb collaborations, this one just so happens to be first class and right on the money! But, unfortunately, they are both completely sold out, and selling for three times the price on eBay.

The key to these looks is to keep everything else simple, pale toned foundation, subliminal mascara, and no other eye makeup. Otherwise it will just tip into mad aul’wan territory….and thats only good if you actually are a mad aul’wan.