Autumnal Hair Transition

Most people I know always look to go a little darker with their hair come autumn/winter hits, whereas I am absolutely the opposite. I've learned the hard way over the years that dark hair doesn't suit me, so come the colder months and I've lost my summer tan, I'm usually heading to the hairdressers for brighter locks. Over the summer, my hair wasn't as blonde as it usually is so when I headed to The Chapel in Islington, I knew I wanted to go a lot blonder and I did just that!

Slide1.jpg

Earlier in the autumn, I headed to The Chapel in Islington, a salon I have only heard rave reviews about, for a hair upgrade. I spent an evening after work with AJ, who both cut & coloured my hair, which is rare amongst all hairdressers I know. I showed him my usual Pinterest board, where I always head for ultimate blonde inspiration. I always, always stipulate that I want the blonde to look as natural as possible, but with impact, so that people could tell it was brighter & blonder. After an hour or so of having my hair wrapped in cotton wool, I had just that. I only had a little trim, as my ideal hair length sits just on my shoulder blades so I always use that as a guide. Overall, I walked away feeling the happiest I have felt about my hair in a long time, the combination of the colour & the perfect hair length is a good feeling. So I cannot thank the salon enough for that! I would highly recommend everyone to visit AJ too, as he will be able to cater his skills to exactly what you're after. Overall, the experience was lovely and a place I will recommend to all friends. 

The Chapel is a new salon to myself and I will definitely be heading back there come springtime when my colour needs a top up. When it comes to my cut, I am fairly loyal and usually head back to either two people, but it's hard to find a good salon for fullhead of highlights which doesn't bankrupt you in London. This is because at The Chapel they charge by time and once you've had the consultation with your stylist, you will be told a fixed estimation so that there is no surprise fee at the end of the appointment. I love this way of pricing, one of the many reasons why I will head back very soon. So to give you an idea of the price you may pay, AJ who I saw for my appointment is £80 an hour and my appointment took me around two hours in total. 

Slide2.jpg

A Love for Glossier

If you follow me on Instagram, then this is old news, but I truly believe Glossier is worth the hype. I've read Into The Gloss for years, pretty much since it launched and I trusted whatever products Emily Weiss created, they must be good. Now trust me, they are good. I have been using their products since mid-last year and I didn't want to write about them until I could say this - Glossier is finally in the UK! 

A little back story about the brand. Into The Gloss was a blog written by Emily Weiss, which soon turned into a beauty bible for millions around the world. Years later, Glossier launched on Instagram by creating a moodboard and the community helped create awareness, I saw it myself from the beginning and have huge respect for the brand for doing it that way. Fast forward to 2017, Glossier are finally shipping outside of the US. They started to ship to Canada, now have their own warehouse in the UK meaning UK shopping and are expanding to France in 2018. Plus from November 15th - 22nd, Glossier will be setting up shop at 32 Portland Place in Marylebone for customers to shop IRL. Great location too, it happens to be a few streets away from my office, so perfect for all the shopping.

As for products, is it too much to say that you need to try them all? However, if I had to edit them down to my absolute favourites, it would look like this. I'm on my second bottle of Milky Jelly Cleanser and already have two more waiting to be opened. It's a jelly consistency which melts makeup away and leaves the skin feeling conditioned, whilst still feeling very clean. What more could you ask for? Priming Moisturiser and Priming Moisturiser Rich are also both worth it all. I first tried the Rich version when it launched in January and fell in love with the buttery consistency. It left my skin feeling smooth and moisturised throughout the whole winter months and I'm itching to restock for the winter. For the past two years, I've religiously been using the original PM in the morning. Once after I've washed my face and once again just before I apply my makeup, not because it doesn't hydrate (because it does), I just like to look super dewy. I like to keep my Moisturising Moon Mask in the fridge, as what is better than a cold moisturising face mask to apply on a hot day? The inclusion of sweet almond oil and hyaluronic acid leave my skin feeling supple, moisturised and calm after leaving this mask on for 20 minutes a time.

Aside from skincare, I happen to also reach for their makeup every day. Stretch Concealer is the best concealer for under eyes, but only if you don't like heavy coverage. Concealer is one of my favourite products, but I hate heavy coverage and was searching for a light moisturising concealer, exactly what Stretch Concealer is. I've been using Medium throughout the summer months and will swap back to Light come Autumn. Boy Brow took over love for Gimme Brow, as it's a thicker more pomade consistency which doesn't flake. I think I'm on my third tube of this stuff and don't plan on changing. Haloscope in Quartz makes me feel like the sun is constantly shining on my face, since it constantly looks dewy throughout the day. I slather this all over my face in the morning and come evening, it's still there looking the perfect amount of dewiness. Special mention to Balm Dot Com in Original and Cherry, the two lip products which always swap bags with me and I cannot leave the house with. 

Summer Beauty

I don't like the thought of picking beauty products based on the season, but ultimately, they do change because of the weather. In the Summer, I like to keep things simple and fairly stripped back and in the Winter, I prefer a little heavier makeup but still simple. My overall year theme is to keep things simple, as my skin reacts best to that. This Summer, I've maxed out the glow & bronze factor already. 

Simple Skincare
This Summer I've kept my skincare routine the simplest it's ever been, mainly because I've found a fair few staples which will be around for a while. I've been using Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser day and night since purchasing it earlier this year, I'm already on my second bottle and have another bottle waiting to be opened. Believe the hype when people say it's the best cleanser ever, as hands down, it's my favourite cleanser ever. It properly cleans your skin, all while keeping the skin soft and conditioned. If I'm not wearing any makeup, I will cleanse using Avene Anti-Redness Cleansing Creme or alternatively use Garnier Micellar Water if I'm wearing lots of makeup to remove it all. I've been a fan of the Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray Toner for a while, which I like to spritz after cleansing to calm the skin. I'll usually go in with the Pixi Glow Tonic Pads which are the best option for on the go, as they are pre-soaked with the product. In the morning, I'm a fan of using Glossier Priming Moisturiser and in the evening, I have been reaching for either Elemis Marine Cream Ultra-Rich or Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Both in the AM and PM, I am an avid fan of The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid, which I have been using every single day for months now and will preach forever for. As it's the Summer months, I have been reaching for the La Roche Posay Anti-Shine SPF 30 to apply after my morning moisturiser to ensure I'm protected against the UVA & UVB rays. I'm not a religious user of eye cream, however, I heard Alessandra Steinherr recently say on a panel that she only uses eye serums/gels. Based on how good her skin looks, I trust her opinion and have swapped to start using Clinique Smart Eye Serum
Aside from the usual daily routine, I like to add in The Ordinary 5% Lactic Acid every other day and use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peel Solution on alternative weeks to ensure my skin is exfoliated. On the alternative weeks when I'm not using The Ordinary peel, I have been reaching for Glam Glow Super Mud, a super stronger version of Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque (which I still love to this day). 

Glowy Makeup
I have a constant need to look glowy and more tanned than I usually am. I've been switching between three different bases, YSL Touche Eclat Foundation, Glossier Skin Tint and Bobbi Brown Nude Finish Tint, throughout the past few months and often mixing them together to get the best shade. As all of those bases are fairly light, with the exception of YSL, I have been reaching for a little more concealer in areas I need in the form of Glossier Stretch Concealer in Medium (when I'm not tanned, I will be switching back to Light), Bare Minerals Blemish Remedy Concealer and Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage. I usually carry the Laura Mercier concealer around with me on a day-to-day basis as it's great for touch ups and I'm obsessed with using the Bare Minerals Spot Concealer as I find it does actually help with blemishes. Stretch Concealer is my most used concealer as it's the perfect lightweight moisturising concealer. Once the base is perfected, I've been piling on the Too Faced Milk Chocolate Bronzer to bronze up my skin to match my body as my face tan always fades first. For highlighter, I use Glossier Haloscope in Quartz every single day as I love it and have sometimes been adding Haloscope in Topaz on my temples for a little extra bronze highlight. 
Brows will always be a mixture of Eylure x Fleur De Force Brow Define (just out in stores and I love the dual ended pencil with two shades) and Glossier Boy Brow in Brown in terms of product. I have to shout out to Nails and Brows in Mayfair for perfecting my brow shape and finally making them even, so I only add in the product for a little further definition. One of my favourite things about Brows and Nails is their signature brow shape 'The Audrey', which naturally is inspired by Audrey Hepburn. Although there is no one brow shape fits all, each one is suited to your face and I couldn't be happier with mine. For my eyes, I have often been reaching for a little bronze to contour the lid or using the Tarte Tartelette Tease palette which I picked up in Sephora. I have been mainly using Crush, which is a taupe shimmer, across my lid and adding a little brown kohl above my lashes for more depth. In terms of mascara, I have fallen back in love with Too Faced Better Than Sex, which I actually started to dislike but somehow its made its way back into my everyday makeup. 
I haven't been feeling any lipstick for my lips and going for a more natural or subtle look. I carry Glossier Balm Dot Com in Original and Cherry in my bag every day, so I'll always use those throughout the day. For a little colour, I have been layering Cherry with Generation G Lipstick in Zip or for something neutral I have been going for Dior Lip Glow or Hourglass GIRL Lip Stylo in Believer

Beachy Blonde
My hair had a summer makeover at the beginning of the summer at Live True London. I was a little nervous about going to a salon I hadn't heard too much about and letting someone new touch my colour, but wow, I was seriously impressed. I was in the safe hands of Marianna and after explaining that my ideal hair colour is 'champagne cool', she smashed it on go! She used the traditional balayage technique but with no foils as that always creates the most natural look. Over the course of the next few days, I have never received so many compliments on my hair colour before so that's how I knew she did such a good job. Plus I've certainly recommended a few people head over there for colour as it's so great to find somewhere local to me. Even better too, if you quote 'Blogger Offer' when booking your appointment at any salon, you will receive 25% off all hair services across all salons if you're a new client! 
At my hair appointment, I didn't cut too much off my length as I always prefer to keep it a little longer for my holidays, but I did make sure to have enough to keep it looking and feeling fresh. It was a few months ago since I was last there and with a holiday looming, I'm feeling the need for some more babylights to be added so I'll be making another appointment there soon.  Since my appointment, I've been using the Philip Kingsley Elasticizer or Living Proof Timeless Pre-Shampoo Treatment weekly before washing with either Rahua Volumising Shampoo & Conditioner or Ouai Smooth Shampoo & Conditioner. When it comes to styling products, I don't tend to try new products as I use the Davines Definition Spray on dry hair and Nexxus Leave In Conditioner on wet hair, with a little of the Ouai Hair Oil every now and then. 

Introduction to The Ordinary

If you're a skincare fanatic, I am positive you will have heard about the hype of The Ordinary or more so, Deciem. I first read about it last October but you could only get it in the US or in it's home country, Canada. All major US beauty sites were writing about The Ordinary and I was dying to get my hands on their products. Come January this year, a work trip to Toronto allowed me to visit one of the Deciem stores in the city. Since that day, I have used at least one product from The Ordinary every single day. Yes, it is that good. 

Deciem is the umbrella company for many different brands, such as The Ordinary, Fountain, Niod and The Hand Chemistry. Started by Brandon Truaxe back in 2013, he has since created more than 10 brands, all with different price ranges which sit underneath the Deciem umbrella. You will now find stores across the globe, with the first opening in Spitafields, London earlier this year and a second due to open in Covent Garden very soon - The Ordinary will also have it's very own standalone store next to the Deciem store in Covent Garden! 

I could tell you all about the brand, but I urge you to go to one of their stores, as the store assistants are absolutely brilliant and have the best knowledge about the products. I, however, can tell you all about the products I have used from The Ordinary. The Ordinary is all about creating products with integrity, using the same technology we know from other brands, but at a more market friendly price. Basically, products which work at such a low price you'll be shocked. 

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5I believe everyone should be using a Hyaluronic Acid serum in their routine, as all skin can be dehydrated at times. I have used this product day & night since I purchased it and now am on my second bottle, with a third in back-up. It's a vegan, silicone-free water-based serum which glides onto the skin to boost the skin of hydration with its 2% combined concentration. Apply before a moisturiser both AM + PM and you can read the full ingredient list here
Price - £5.90

100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil Marula Oil is an antioxidant oil which can be used on all skin & hair, which is one of the main reasons I always travel with it. Marula Oil seems to be the latest oil which everyone is going crazy for, similar to coconut oil and argan oil. Except marula oil is actually 60% more packed full of antioxidants than argan oil is, which is one of the main reasons why I was drawn to it. Apply a few drops as the last step in your evening skincare routine or a few drops through the ends of damp hair. 
Price - £8.10

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution - I've only started to introduce acids into my routine properly in the past 6 months and this peel is not for any beginners/young skin. This peeling solution contains 30% Alpha Hydroxyl Acids (Lactic/Glycolic/Citric/Tartaric) and 2% Beta Hydroxyl Acid (Salicylic Acid), as well as Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin B5. The AHA will exfoliate the top layer of the skin for a brighter surface, while the BHA will exfoliate the skin to help clear pore congestion. To be used approx once a week (but no more than twice a week) and left on clean dry skin for no more than 10 minutes (although I definitely left it on for 20 mins once accidentally and my skin didn't react to it), before being washed off with water. This peeling solution leaves my skin looks brighter, radiant, clearer and feeling super soft - I would highly recommend it. 
Price - £6.30

Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% - The Ordinary offer both a 5% and 10% Lactic Acid and I choose to go with the 5% for a twice weekly use. The 5% Lactic Acid gently exfoliates the skin from a plant-based origin and the formula also contains a Tasmanian Pepperberry to help reduce any irritation which may occur from usage. I use this product in place of my hydrating serum twice a week, leaving it to sink in and allow the slightly tingly sensation to disappear before applying a moisturiser on top in the evening. 
Price - £5.50

Salicylic Acid 2% SolutionThis is a teeny 15ml Salicylic Acid which helps exfoliate the appearance of blemishes and will help achieve better clarity of skin-tone from regular use. It also contains Witch Hazel, which instantly helps blemishes as we know it's always a key ingredient in all anti-blemish products. I find that applying this product in particular areas where I am breaking out at the time post-toner, but pre-serum, helps work the most magic. 
Price - £3.90

The above are the best of the products which I have tried & loved, however, there are so many more products to check out. Next on my list - Serum Foundation, Coverage Foundation, Advanced Retinoid 2% and Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution.