Musings of a self-confessed beauty addict from the heart of London!

Friday, 31 August 2012

3Thirty - Best hair salon in London for curly hair?

Question mark... because although I've tried a few places, I have by no means tried them all and so I'm hesitant to make such a dramatic statement. I will say, however, that for the first time in my life I left a hair salon feeling glorious.

Before I tell you about the salon, let me tell you about my hair. It's seriously curly. Not just 'a bit of a wave and a kink' curly, but I'm just short of being afro curly. Type 3b it's classified as, don't you know! Check out this website for definitions and pictures if you're interested.

NB: For an update on my hair now, 8 months or so on from this review, please see my latest post here! 

Not only is it curly, but it's long (waist length) and thick (enough for 3 heads, as one hairdresser put it), and for the last 5 months or so it's been so dry that water wouldn't even wet it, if that makes sense. The curls had lost all their definition and I was left with a mane better suited to scrubbing floors. It was a sorry state of affairs. I tried everything. Hair oils (I got through bucket-loads), curl creams, intensive masks, Brazilian Keratin shampoo..... but my hair just got worse. I really believed that hair oils were the miracle thing at the moment, like a cure-all for all types of hair. Instead, my hair just became more and more frazzled.

In desperation, I google-whacked 'hairdresser curly hair London) and the same place kept cropping up (pardon the pun), 3Thirty salon in Old Street. I bit the bullet and called them, just short of sobbing down the phone about how I couldn't handle my hair anymore. The girl at the end of the phone was lovely, and told me to come in for a free consultation that same day.

I was seen by a lovely girl called Tiff who reassured me that nothing drastic needed doing, no scary Brazilian straightening or chemical relaxants, all I needed was a good cut and a moisturising treatment, and some good aftercare products. Turns out I was doing ALL THE WRONG THINGS:

  • Hair oils - A no no for hair like mine. They sit on the surface of the hair and in this weather especially they've been frazzling it. Plus most of them are full of silicones which coat the hair and make it dull and dry in the long run. 

  • Shampoo - I've been doing it far too often and using shampoos which were way too harsh and full of sulfates. I should shampoo my hair as little as possible apparently.    

  • My beloved Tangle Teezer - Alas, the miracle brush which was the only thing I could use to detangle my hair in the shower has potentially been making my situation a lot worse. I thought it was normal that enormous amounts of hair come out with it.... turns out that I've been ripping my hair to shreds :(((( Instead I'm to use a paddle brush AFTER I've washed and conditioned my hair.
  • Products. Let's just say that they've all been much of a muchness. Those I've re-purchased have been out of habit and not based on outstanding performance. I have now been told what to use. And they are far fewer (and cheaper in some cases) than what I was previously using. 

Ok, so onto the salon. It's a cute small to medium sized salon on 330 Old Sreet, hence the name. The interior is very chic, but not intimating. Beautiful gold French-style mirrors and lovely black detailing throughout.

Tiff washed my hair and gave me the most incredible scalp massage during my treatment which all but put me to sleep. I think she used a protein & moisture mix. Never has a treatment worked such wonders on my hair. It was left on for about 15 minutes, no lights, no hot dryers, just wrapped in cling and a towel. When it was rinsed out my hair was oh-so soft, and, get this, TAME. Tiff brushed it through with a paddle brush and there were hardly any tangles and, most shockingly, hardly any of my hair came out. It made me realise once and for all how I was butchering my poor head with my Tangle Teezer! She recommended that I get a paddle brush and and just brush my hair through gently after washing it. The one she used was by Mizani but unfortunately I can't seem to find one online anywhere....

Next came the cut. Tiff wanted to put some soft layers into my hair and assuaged my fears about looking like an 80's throwback. She listened to me, kept the length that I wanted and the finished result was not that different to how I usually like my hair, but with the difference that it now had more shape and held it's style rather than falling about my face like a sad triangle!

She wet my hair again before smoothing liberal amounts of Moroccanoil Curl Defining cream through my hair in sections and gently taking the edge of the wetness with a diffuser. With hair like mine it's best to let it air-dry, so she only dried it about 30% so that it could dry naturally on it's own.

I was in seventh heaven when I saw my hair restored to it's former glory. In fact, although I say former glory, I don't think it's every looked so good naturally. I wanted to hug Tiff and I almost cried I was so happy.

As well as keeping it loose, Tiff showed me how I could wear my hair up in various styles and I made a mental note to pick up some snag-free hair bands and bobbie pins from Boots so that I could experiment at home.

All in all I loved my experience at 3Thirty. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Tiff to anyone whose curls are in need of TLC.

Price wise it's not as cheap as chips, but it's not over the top either. I felt that for the first time it was money very well spent at a salon. I printed off a voucher from their website which entitles you to 25% off a cut and blow-dry on a Wednesday so I put that to good use. All prices are on the website.

I'll be posting a hair update in a few weeks time about the products that Tiff recommended I use on my barnet. I ordered them all from

Mizani True Textures Cleansing Cream
Mizani Moisturefusion Silk Cream Conditioner
Mizani True Textures Curl Balance Sulfate-free Shampoo
Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream

Have you found your holy-grail hairdresser?

It's taken me half my lifetime, but it was worth the wait :)

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Estee Lauder Black Turquoise - NOTD

Believe it or not, after a summer drought post-wise, I now have a posting schedule complete with back-up photos.

This was not scheduled. In fact, I ignored the schedule to blog about this immediately, because people, you NEED to know about this.

In case Mr P is reading this (sometimes, when he's bored, he finds his way to my blog and then laughs at how I can get excited by lip balm and perfume. etc etc...) I 'bought' this with my Boots points. In other words, it was FREE.

I would have bought it even if I didn't have enough points. It, and all it's brothers and sisters, are most definitely worth the £14.50/$20/€19.50 price tag.

Estee Lauder Black Turquoise

I'm so over summer brights. And by the looks of it recently, summer is over too. Not that I'm longing to wrap myself in woollies and freeze my butt off, but I do love a bit of autumn fashion and the glorious new colours it brings. This season it's all about shades of black; blackened reds, blues, greens etc. And metallics are going to be big again I hear.

I'd been totally bowled over by the new Estee Lauder nail polish display when I first saw it last week. I have to admit by being a bit jaded by nail polish now that I have so much. As always, however, there are gaps in my collection and the ENTIRE Estee Lauder collection would fill that gap quite nicely thank you.
Estee Lauder Black Turquoise

Estee Lauder Black Turquoise

But let's start with one. I decided I wanted a black-green shade but failing that, a very black-blue would do. When the sales assistant showed me the bottle of Black Turquoise I at first thought it to be too light. Too blue and not black enough. Then I tried it and fell head over heels. Tom Pecheux (the creative director of Estee Lauder, don't you know) has really nailed it. How do you do a blackened turquoise? How does that even work? Surely it's a contradiction in terms? Turquoise, is by it's nature, a bright. Tom has turned beach-babe turquoise into a dark mistress of the night, and I LOVE her.

Black Turquoise, blurred, I know, but I included it because it shows more or less the true colour under bright light

Formula is incredible, it goes on like a dream and it's self-leveling, which means that even if it's too thick or thin in places, it will even itself out.

As usual, this is two coats with Essie Good to Go topcoat.

A word of warning. Dark blues and greens have a tendency to stain the nails more than most colours so you MUST absolutely use a base coat. As a precaution I used two coats of Nailtiques Formula 2 before I applied the polish. 

Considering that Chanel limited edition polishes are about a fiver more expensive with an inferior formula and far less imaginative colours, I don't understand why the blogging world hasn't gone just as crazy for Estee Lauder. Are they all mad???

Will you be going back to black next season?

(Black Turquoise is, as far as I know, limited edition )

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Korres Wild Rose Lip Butter

It's just an unassuming little pot of lip balm, right?

That was my first impression of the Korres Wild Rose balm. I'd heard quite a bit of buzz on it in the beauty stratosphere, but I never felt that I needed it in my life. I mean, how many lip balms and barely tinted chapstick type products can one person have?

I was browsing in Crete duty free a few months back at the end of our little holiday, and I was drawn to the Korres shelf. Korres, being a Greek brand, had a half decent display of more than just it's bestsellers, so I thought that I would take the chance to do some 'research', and I picked up the Guava body butter, Pomegranate moisturiser and the Wild Rose Lip Butter.

More raves on the Guava body butter another time, suffice to say that it's a total saviour for dried out skin.

Korres Wild Rose Lip Butter

But onto the lip butter. Oh my, oh my.... what wonderful things this does to the lips. It literally goes on like a butter, smooth and light, gliding over the lips and giving them comfort, shine, colour and volume, all in one hit.

Actually the volume element is extraordinary. If I want plumped-up lips I'll use this. It makes them soft, pulpy and voluptuous! Sorry if I sound Mills and Boon, but seriously, I feel like a Mills and Boon heroine when I wear this. In a good way.

Excuse the horribly dry lips....

.....but look how much better they are with the Korres balm!

Colour wise, it looks to be a scary dark burgundy in the pot, but it's a sheer blush of red that glazes your lips. I have very pigmented lips anyway, so on me it looks darker than on most.

I can't think of a bad thing to say about this. The smell is very delicate, you can almost pick up the rose, but it's not strong at all which is good for a lip product in my opinion. It re-hydrates lips beautifully and adds a blush of colour. You could still wear lipstick over it should you choose to.

Korres Wild Rose Lip Butter

I use my fingers to apply it, but a brush works too if you don't like using fingers. I'm always using it at home and not on the move so I have clean fingers when I dip in the pot.

Highly recommended on every level.


Monday, 27 August 2012

Dior 'Camel'

This was one of last weeks NOTD's which I photographed and didn't get round to posting. Great that.

I ordered this about a year ago when the tiny Dior Mitzah collection came out at Selfridges. For some reason I was obsessed with mustardy shades back then and this colour ticked all my mustard boxes. Plus it could almost be a nude in the right lighting.

Why didn't I blog about this last year then? Because I'm a ditz that's why. I'm not sure if you can still get this in stores, but surely online there's a way. There's always a way.

So, Camel. Very aptly named I think, a yellow-toned brown tan shade which, with a bit more of a tan could really be a very convincing nude with my olive skin.

I do like this. And I do find that it goes with almost any outfit, being understated but still eye-catching in it's own way. When freshly applied it looks pretty amazingly chic, but it needs to look 'fresh' and shiny, or else where in grubby '40 ciggies a day' territory.

Definitely a long nail colour too. Short nails are better off working darks and brights to their advantage.

So in conclusion, not the easiest of shades to pull off, but I'm very glad it's found it's way into my collection for those few days a year when everything will work in it's favour.

Incidently, this is the only Dior polish I own, but it's one of the best formulas and hands-down the best brush for application. The new L'Oreal polishes have a similar brush come to think of it (photo here), albeit less pointy.

Thoughts on Dior Camel?.... yay or nay?

Monday, 20 August 2012

NOTD - Essie Sand of a Beach

Longer nails lend themselves extremely well to nude shades. If I tried now to paint my nails a garish green or bright red, they may look a little 'talon' like, a bit witch-y. Ok, so they are not mega long, but it's more a state of mind than a state of nail...

Essie Sand of a Beach

I've decided to re-embrace my nude collection, starting here with Essie Sand of a Beach, possibly the most stunning colour I possess. It's like the inside of a shell, that's pretty much the best way to describe it, with all of it's subtle nuances and pearly sheen.

 In some lights it shines pink, in others mauve, and there are brown/beige tones which stop it from being too cutesy.
Essie Sand of a Beach - here you can see the pinky mauve sheen in the bottle

Essie Sand of a Beach
It's not an opaque shade, but that is it's charm. This is two coats with Good to Go topcoat. You could build up to 3 but I do not think this would enhance the look. It's beauty is in it's sheerness.

The perfect wedding colour for brides who want 'classic with a twist'. In fact this is the perfect everything colour.

Can you tell I like it a bit?

Thursday, 16 August 2012

NOTD - Chanel Morning Rose

How long has it been since a NOTD? Too long I think.

It's not that I've not been wearing polish, but strangely, I've been reverting to ones I've worn (and photographed) before and so it's not very interesting to re-post the same shades is it?

I bought Morning Rose last year along with the much coveted Mimosa, but strangely enough, I never photographed her. So here she is.

A strange one, this. In the bottle she screams to be loved, worshipped and never forgotten. In a way she captured my heart more than Mimosa in the bottle.

Chanel Morning Rose

But her salmon-pink loveliness seems to fade into 'just pretty' on the fingers. The formula doesn't help. It goes on a bit unevenly and even with two coats it seems patchy. The golden micro glitter doesn't come through as strongly most of the time, only in sunlight. In fact, Morning Rose was born to be in the sun. Normal daylight just doesn't do her any justice, in fact, she's could be considered a little boring. But let her shimmer in the sun and you realise why she was created, to evoke the dew glistening on a perfect rose first thing in the morning light. Poetic, huh?

Chanel Morning Rose, glistening gold flecks in the bottle

Also, I think that one carefully applied coat looks more refined than two. And it's very rare that that happens. Ms R was the first to point it out to me, being unashamedly a one-coat girl anyway. But she's right in this case. I wish I'd stopped, and photographed, one coat. It's an almost nude look with a salmon pink blush. Very, very elegant.

All the photos show two coats with Essie Good to Go topcoat. And they were taken on my iPod, which oddly enough picks up the colour a bit more accurately than my Fujicam.

Does Morning Rose charm you or bore you?

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Summer favourites after I've been MIA

MIA.... Missing In Action. And there's been a lot of action to be missing in recently.

I don't know how to feel coming back to my blog after such a long absence, but I was suddenly hit with the urge to write again. Actually in truth, it wasn't as if I ever actually lost the writing bug, but the photography bug had definitely vacated my system and the sheer thought of photographing and uploading anything at all just filled me with ... bleurgh....

But I feel I owe it to myself and my small but steady band of readers to kick my brain into gear and start blogging again.

So I'll ease myself back in gently.... and we'll talk about summer favourites shall we? What are we all loving using this summer? Please share, and in return, I'll share mine.

Erborian BB Creme

  • Erborian BB cream. I've banged on about it so much you'll probably want to block this site if I mention it one more time, but it floors me every time I put this on and gaze at my pseudo-perfect skin. Doubles up as my sunscreen too. 
L'Occitane Verbena Sorbet Body Ice Gel

  • L'Occitane Verbena Sorbet Body Ice Gel. Like glazing your poor over-heated corpus in a cryogenic mojito..... not so much moisturising as enlivening. Actually the cryogenic reference was quite creepy, sorry. But you get the picture... it's cold. And minty citrus.  
Rituals Wai Wang Body Scrub
  • Rituals Wai Wang body scrub. Love at first freebie. Came as a mini with a magazine back in May and I fell for it hook line and sinker on holiday in Crete. Not the scrubbiest of scrubs, but somehow the fine grains embedded in the most luxurious of cremes seem to buff skin to smoothness hitherto unknown. This now ranks jointly as my number one body exfoliator, along with the L'Occitane Almond one I've loved for years. Only this is less than half the price at around the £14 mark. Smells like a balmy summer's evening in the arms of your loved one.... 
Origins Mega Bright

  • Origins Mega Bright Serum. Not just for summer obviously, but I love how this just makes me look better. I've been using it for almost a month and I can say that it does seem to fade spot scars and unevenness quite effectively, without being creepy, if you know what I mean. The results are not shockingly evident, but as time goes by I realise that this is a little bottle of magic that my skin seems to like and respond to. I can almost go concealer-less this summer. Almost.  
Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover

You can just about make out the hole in the centre where you dip your finger an twist... go on, I dare you.

  • Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover. An example of how a boring everyday product can evolve into an invention that can change your life. Or at least your nail colour. Seriously, it's a little pot of wonder, worthy of a fairy-tale. The one about the princess who wanted to change her manicure in a flash and simply popped each finger into a pot of black sponge, only for it to emerge completely free of colour, ready for the next swipe of Chanel. I need back-ups of this because if I run out I'll cry. 
My much-used Dior Summer Powder (Aurora) from Summer 2011

  • Dior Healthy Glow Summer Powder (from last year).  Look people, I hit the pan! And there was a lot of this to begin with. Let's remind ourselves what it once looked like:

I'm ashamed at how manky it now looks in comparison to it's radiant beauty in this photo. It means it's been well-loved though, imparting my visage with a veil of warmth which is flattering without being bronzer-like. I'm not a huge fan of orange-y bronzers, it's so easy to over-do it. But with this beautiful powder it's almost impossible. This year's incarnation is perhaps even more stunning, housed in a round compact with DIOR spelt out in the various shades. I'm holding out for next year's now.

Real Techniques Blush Brush

  •  Real Techniques Blush Brush. And this is what I've using with the Dior. Bought months ago and then neglected. Lovely, big and fluffy, it actually wasn't firm enough for me at the start and didn't seem to pick up enough colour. But now I see it's magic. It picks up the colour and practically airbrushes it onto the skin. I use this for blush too, just the tip, and then gently swirl it into my cheekbones. Gives a perfect finish, and now one of my staples. The entire Real Techniques brush line is a winner. I bow down to their greatness.
Please tell me what you've been loving this summer. If you've forgiven me, that is....