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

Thursday, 23 May 2013

My 3b hair update: routine and maintenance

Hello my dear sweetpeas..... I hope this post finds you well and having a good hair day.

A while back, I think in August last year, my life changed forever when I finally found a great hairdresser who could tame and tease my 3b curls to perfection. You can refresh your memories here if you're interested. For reference, there is an official scale of curliness going from 1-4 (4 being afro hair) and between the numbers there are letters which define more clearly the type of curl within that curl bracket.... if that makes any sense at all. So 3b is very curly, think spirals and frizz and poodles and you're pretty much there.

So since August my hair has been the best it's ever been in my life. I've had some 'bad hair' days but in comparison to before my salon visit they are not even that bad, just a bit more frizzy than normal.

I did promise a review of the products I'd been using alongside a hair routine update so here I am and here it is.

Now I do understand that this may not be relevant to many of you, but for those poor type 3 girls out there suffering as I did this post could be a lifeline.

So here's what I do and while I describe my routine I'll tell you what I think of the products:

Step One: Wash hair a maximum of twice a week with a NON-SULFATE shampoo. I've been using the Mizani True Textures Curl Balance shampoo which was recommended to me, alongside all the other products in this post, by my hairdresser. The shampoo is quite watery in texture so be careful that you don't pour too much out at once. For a non-sulfate shampoo it still foams up a treat and cleanses the hair beautifully without stripping it. I rarely need to shampoo twice and can almost comb the tangles through with my fingers after using this alone. The smell is mildly coconut-y and I love it! I've gotten through about two bottles of this since August and I'm on my third. A seriously fantastic shampoo which is almost a treatment for the hair in itself, I don't need to rush to put on the conditioner afterwards as my hair behaves itself when I use this.

 On days where I feel my hair is a bit grubby but I don't need to give it a full wash I use Mizani Cleansing Cream which is literally what it says it is, a cream which cleanses and conditions at the same time. This does not foam at all and it feels strange to massage a cream product into the scalp and believe that it's going to cleanse your hair. The smell is also a bit odd, I can't quite describe it but it smells almost a bit clinical, not unpleasant, but not as nice as the other products. Still, I'm not sure how it works but it does indeed clean the scalp AND condition the hair without the need for conditioner afterwards. Using this in place of shampoo and conditioner once in a while is meant to keep the hair from getting too dehydrated. Sometimes I feel like my hair needs a wash more than the recommended once or twice a week so I'll use this for the third wash. A useful product to have but not entirely essential as the True Textures shampoo is so moisturising.

When I have a bit of dandruff I use the Mizani Scalp Care Shampoo which is, like the Cleansing Cream, a cream product which doesn't foam up at all. It smells fresh and minty with a hint of Eucalyptus and works a treat.

Step Two: Condition and detangle. I use Mizani Moisturefusion Silk Cream conditioner. I love this so much, but I hate the packaging. It's a thick cream that should come in a pot and not in a bottle. It's a pain to get out even when it's still full as the nozzle is tiny and the plastic of the bottle too thick to squeeze effectively. Still, I'm on my 4th bottle of the stuff because it's the best. I smooth about 10-15mls on my hair, combing it through gently with my fingers and NEVER a brush or comb as I had previously done. (I could never comb through my hair with anything other than a Tangle Teezer before, but I found out that the Tangle Teezer had almost wrecked my hair, pulling apart the curls and leaving me with dry frizz. It's a great product for sure, but not for curlies like me.) Anyhow, you don't need a separate deep conditioner for treatments as you can use this one, just leave it on for longer and maybe wrap a towel round your head or something. I rarely bother as it moisturises the hair so well just left on for a minute or so in the shower. The smell is gorgeous, fresh and slightly floral, it smells 'expensive' and we like that, don't we?

Step Three: Very gently towel dry (I just wrap my head in a towel, no rubbing or anything) and then apply generous amounts of Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream. I was told to separate my hair into sections and smooth the cream over each small section, and sometimes I do this, but more often I tip my head down and scrunch the cream through my hair very gently so as not to disturb the natural curls. I apply a final sweep of the cream over my hair once I'm standing up straight again to smooth down the overall 'mane'. Leave to dry naturally. Yes, even in the winter. This curl cream is the BEST styling cream I've ever used in my life. End of. It may be a bit thick for finer hair types, but for my type of hair it's perfect. It smells luxuriously fresh (whatever that means...) and I keep getting compliments on how nice my hair smells which is always a good thing.

For those in-between days where my hair doesn't need a wash but the curls lose their definition and the frizz is back in force I simply dampen my hair with a water spray (cheap Ikea bottle and tap water, nothing fancy) and then apply a little more of the Curl Cream. That seems to do the trick. 

And that is it, guys and dolls. I think it's a pretty simple routine overall and it's kept me going nicely in-between hair cuts, which reminds me, I need to make an appointment next month for another trim. I estimate that I'll only need a trim about 3 times a year to keep it in tip-top shape, something I'm very happy about financially, although I'd want any excuse to go back to my hairdresser more often!

For those in-between days where my hair doesn't need a wash but the curls lose their definition and the frizz is back in force I simply dampen my hair with a water spray (cheap Ikea bottle and tap water, nothing fancy) and then apply a little more of the Moroccanoil Curl Cream. That seems to do the trick.

You can buy Mizani products from and I buy mine from Feelunique most of the time as they seem to be cheaper. The shampoo was just under a tenner last time I checked and the conditioner about £12. The Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream is the bomb though, priced at about £23 online (don't buy it in a salon it will be much more!). I try to wait for the discount emails that pop into my inbox occasionally and stockpile when I get about 20% off. You do get 250ml though and it does last a while, especially if you have less hair than me, which to be honest, you probably do. And don't take that as an insult, the amount of hair I have has been proclaimed as 'abnormal' by previous hairdressers.....

Friday, 10 May 2013

Barry M 'Grapefruit' Gelly Hi Shine

Barry M Grapefruit gelly hi shine - artificial light
 See this? See this juice? I don't think your ready for this jelly.....

I'm loving Barry M at the moment, their lacquers totally rock both in colour and in formula. The new Gelly formulas are even more exciting as the shine is just amazing. I applied a top coat out of habit but you don't need to, making it perfect if you're in a rush.

 The colour changes depending on the light, but the one you see here above is probably the closest in terms of the colour you'll see in real life. Cameras have a funny habit of altering colour so although I've done my best with these photos they don't capture just how bright and juicy this polish really is. It's almost neon and I love me a bit of neon.
Barry M Grapefruit gelly hi shine - daylight

Wear time was great, I had this on my nails for about 5 days and even by then it had only chipped on my one dodgy flaky nail on my right hand.

Love this, and looking forward to trying more of the Gellies!

£3.99 from Boots and Superdrug

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Paris Beauty Haul!

Let's keep it short and sweet. I was in Paris at the weekend. Here's what I bought:

Yes, I went a bit crazy. Mr P was off doing his own thing and I was left to my own devices for a whole Saturday morning. See what happens when I'm left alone?

 My first stop was the pharmacy in Monoprix, followed by a lengthy stop in Printemps, the unbelievably gorgeous department store which, to be honest, makes Selfridges look like Aldi. Then I finally made it to Sephora.

In no particular order, here is a summary of the damage I inflicted:
Ella Bache skincare from Printemps
In Printemps there was a small Ella Bache concession on the 1st floor. Ella Bache is now a very niche skincare brand which is very hard to come by. My mum used to use their products a long, long time ago and swore by them. We're talking about 20 + years ago here. Anyway, I saw them and thought I would make her a little present of some skincare goodies. I also bought myself two face masks. Seeing as it's almost impossible to find these products, even online, I opted for routine 'add ons' rather than staple products. I didn't want to get addicted to a face cream only to not be able to find it again.

The nice lady also threw in free full size hand creams, one for me and one for mum. I can report so far that it's one of the loveliest hand creams I've ever used :)

French pharmacy faves ; Caudalie hand cream and Eau de Beaute, Nuxe huile prodigieuse, Melvita Extraordinary Water
 In the pharmacy section in Monoprix I bought lots of goodies. Mainly stuff that I'd always wanted to try but never justified buying. Now I found that justification, being in Paris seems to justify a lot.

I put the Nuxe golden oil in my basket first, seeing as I'll be Australia at the end of the year I'm going to have enough tan time to get through the bottle. The Caudalie Eau de Beaute has had a lot of hype in the blogging world. I bought the mini bottle to try for myself. It's to be spritzed before or over make-up to add radiance. Also for radiance is the Melvita Extraordinary Water. I'd heard a lot about the Rose version, but the Narcissus bottle called to me for it's brightening properties. I used it for the first time this morning and it smells like spring in a bottle.

The only make-up item I picked up was the lip-gloss which matched my Dior Diablotine nail polish. I also tried the lipstick version but it was just a little strong for me and preferred the lightness of the gloss. The sparkles in it are just stunning.
My only make-up purchase, Dior Diablotine lip gloss

Erborian newbies: CC Creme HD and Eye BB creme
 Also in the pharmacy I picked up the Erborian Eye BB creme which I believe is relatively new. Regular readers will know that I will not be without the original Erborian BB creme, so I had to try the eye version. Review will be coming once I've used it on a daily basis. The Erborian CC creme you see next to it I picked up in Sephora and is literally fresh from the factory, it's that new. This is my first foray into the CC cream world so I'm very excited to see how this works for me. First impressions are that it's very different from the BB cream and is more akin to a tinted moisturiser.... but watch this space.
Some Diptyque lovelies: Eau de Tarocco (roll on), and Eau Lente (spray). With samples.
 Perhaps the most beautiful part of my shopping experience was my stop at the Dyptique concession in Printemps. A very nice man explained the Dyptique ethos and experience to me and helped me to choose a scent that would be most 'me'. I had Eau Lente on one wrist and Eau de Neroli on the other and I let them live with me for a few hours. I couldn't stop sniffing Eau Lente. I was in love. And Mr P fell in love with it too, so he took my back to the counter and we sniffed our way through the other bottles before deciding on Eau Lente and Eau de Tarocco (which he can also wear). How can I describe Eau Lente? Spicy, woody, sweet and sultry. There is a subtle smokiness about it and I think it's very sexy indeed. Eau de Tarocco is spicy with a hit of oranges which makes it fresh while adding depth. Mr P totally loved everything..... a rarity, as he's very very fussy about scent!
Algenist cleanser
While I was in Sephora I got chatting to the lady at the Algenist stand. Algenist is a relatively new San Francisco skincare brand utilising something called Alguronic acid, a patent pending ingredient akin to Hyularonic acid in that it's exceptionally hydrating and repairing. I thought I'd try out the cleanser seeing as I get through cleansers like water.
Elancyl hydrating body lotion and toning shower gel
Last but not least, I had to mention Elancyl body products as they have the most divine scent of any range I've ever tried. I used to use them while i was staying with Mr P in Rome and I remember how much I loved them. The shower gel in particular is addictive. Imagine you're a wood nymph taking a gentle shower underneath a waterfall and you can smell the sweetness of the flowers, trees and leaves which surround you in your grotto. That's right, it's sweet and 'green' smelling at the same time.... utterly blissful. I urge you to try the shower gel next time you're anywhere that stocks Elancyl. In the UK I believe they have it at the Garden Pharmacy in Covent Garden. In France and Italy it's pretty much everywhere.

Phew, so I guess that just about wraps up what I bought. I didn't talk about everything because you have lives to get on with, but I hope you enjoyed me sharing this you anyway.

Let me know if you've picked up anything nice recently!