Friday, November 21, 2014

Learn How To Highlight Your Face From Celeb Flashback Makeup Malfunction Photos

   You have probably seen the very weird photos of weird white powder on celebrities? Their makeup artist used a product that is prone to "flashback", which means that that the product contained ingredients that reflect strong light -- usually titanium dioxide. Of course in normal light the highlighting powder doesn't look at all powdery, it's only strong camera flashes that make it look weird. The photo of Rihanna on the left is in regular light and the one the right is with flash. While the gossip sites are having a field day and saying things like "didn't they check the mirror before going out?", you can use these photos to analyse the highlighting techniques that the star makeup artists used.

   I wrote about highlighters here, but to refresh: highlighting products are light-coloured and catch light, and the part of the face they are applied on is optically brought forward and also softened.

  There are some parts of the face where highlighter always looks good. But you can take it a step further and use highlighters to balance out your face shape and draw attention to your best features. The flashback photos reveal where the celeb's makeup artists have used highlighting products, so let's try to analyse them.

   Rihanna's highlighter draws attention the eyes and the top of her cheekbones. She also highlighted the corners of her mouth to bring attention to her lips and slightly widen her pointed chin. There is a touch of highlighter under the arch of the eyebrows.

Angelina Jolie has highlighter applied to her jawline to soften and fill out her jawbones.

Nicole Kidman's highlighter lengthens and softens her tiny sharp nose, and the eye area got brightened up as well.

Eva Longoria's highlighter widens her face in the most flattering place and draws attention to her eyes.

Miley Cyrus brings attention to her lips and slender jawline with highlighter applied in an inverted-triangle shape. For a slimming effect the product has been dusted on only in the front and not on her jawline, as you can see here.

   I hope that this posts gave you some ideas! There are many other celeb-with-white-powder photos on the internet, and with luck you'll find someone with features that are similar to yours. If you have any questions about highlighting or highlighters, let me know.
   I have written another post on avoiding flashback, so watch out for that in the next few days.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cosmetic Favourites: Highlighters / Illuminators

Naomie Harris' perfect highlighter, via

   I love highlighting! It sculpts the face and makes the skin glow --  important if you use matte foundation. They soften the features and diffuse minor imperfections. The make the complexion look rested and younger.

What is a highlighter:
A product that is a few shades lighter than your skin tone, slightly shimmery.
Synonyms: luminiser, illuminator, radiance, glow, shimmer.

How to use:
Apply the highlighting product under and around the eyes, on the tops of the cheeks, above the lips and the chin. Here is my guide on using highlighters. Or apply a very light layer under the foundation. Or mix it with the foundation.

   There are different types of highlighters out there, from barely-there to full-on disco glitter. The very subtle highlighters are perfect for contouring the face, and can be worn during the day. The ones with a bit more shimmer are great for the tops of the cheekbones below the brow bone, above the lips. The highlighters with very visible shimmer should be reserved for going out at night -- if glitter is your thing. Most of the highlighters in stores are too heavy on the shimmer, so today I wanted to talk about a couple of the subtler products.

    The perfect highlighting product is something with a very very subtle glow -- you can use just a touch or layer on some more for the evening. The shimmer particles should be very fine, and closer to the skin tone (not too silver and not too gold). The perfect highlighter is invisible on the skin, yet gives an effect of fresh, glowy skin and a 3-D face (not flat).
   Unfortunately a lot of highlighting products are really heavy-handed: big pieces of glitter, or shimmer that looks appropriate only around christmas. Highlighters with big, bright sparkly particles are difficult to use and look overdone.
   If you have a dark skin tone, you will find many conventional highlighters much too light for you. If your skin tone is warm, you should looks for bronzers with shimmer. If your skin tone is dark and cool, you will have a hard time finding a bronzer that is not warm -- you will have much more luck with shimmery eyeshadow in cooler shades.

Here are a couple of subtle highlighting products I love:

Mineral foundations and highlighters

  If you are looking for very subtle highlighting, you can't beat mineral makeup. Nowhere else have I found such a big selection of shades. Also it's extremely versatile -- you can mix the mineral highlighters with each other of with mineral foundation to create custom shades. They are also pretty affordable, considering that a teaspoon-sized sample can last me for a very very long time. That's because mineral makeup doesn't contain fillers, it's pure pigment so you need to use just the tiniest amount.

   Bigger mineral makeup brands carry highlighters, usually called 'glows or finishing veils. Lumiere used to have a nice selection and their Bare Skin was perfection. SunCat, Bare Escentuals and Silk Naturals (image above) each offer several highlighters, and of course there are tons of other mineral makeup brands online! (Most mineral-makeup in stores isn't real mineral makeup).
   Many mineral makeup brands also carry foundation in a non-matte satin / glow finish, and you can order it two shades lighter than your skin tone and it will be your perfect subtle highlighter (I do this with Annabelle Minerals, you can also go for SunCat minerals). 


    Especially baked eyeshadows, as their shimmer particles are really subtle. Also, you probably have eye shadows at home, and you can play with them if you have never tried highlighting yet.

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Makeup Factory Illuminating Skin Perfector

  I don't own this myself, but had a makeup artist use it on me as a highlighter, on top of foundation. Which brings me to the point -- many primers can be used as highlighters.
   It can be bought in Müller Drogerie.
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Madara Tinted Fluid

   This is actually a tinted cream / foundation, but it has the subtlest shimmer. It comes in two versions: sunflower for warmer tones, and moonflower for cooler or for the very pale. I use the sunflower on the entire face if I want an overall glow, or under a sheerer foundation for a subtle hind of a glow. I have also used this just on my cheekbones and under the eyebrows. I also love how it smells, like a freshly mowed herbal meadow. The Madara --- is certified organic and vegan.

Catrice Retouch Light Reflecting Concealer

   Very light coverage, no shimmer, but it catches the light in a beautiful way. It will not cover imperfections, but it does a great job at lightening up the eye area, or around the lips.

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Alverde Sun Kissed / Moon Kissed Highlighter

   This products is pearly, with very finely ground particles. Really easy to apply and blend in. It comes in two shades: the Sun Kissed is very warm and a tad orange, and will suit warm skin tones that are not too pale. On my skin it is too dark to highlight, it works a bit like a bronze shimmer. But I'd love to dry it on warm, dark-coloured skin as a highlighter. I use the Alverde Sun-Kissed Highlighter on my eyes (like eyeshadow) and cheekbones.
   The Moon Kissed Highlighter is silvery and lighter, and works for both cool and warm skin tones. It blends harmoniously with cool skin tones, for warm skin it pops a bit more.

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Guerlain Meteorites

   Based on Alina's post, these are the best pearls around; and on of the very few conventional highlighters that are really subtle. You can also remove pears of a certain shade to customise the colour. However if you have been using mineral makeup products, you will not be impressed -- especially not with the price.

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector

   A very subtle highlighter suitable for all undertones.

  That's the end of the subtle highlighter roundup. Staye tuned for a very weird cheat tip on highlighting for your face shape. I'd love to know which highlighting products do you swear by? I'd love to add more low-budget and natural options to the list.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

DIY AHA Chemical Peel With Kombucha {Vegan}

DIY Kombucha chemical peel AHA

   I've already talked here and here about how AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) peels are some of the most effective cosmetic treatments out there. You can get them done at a cosmetician, buy products with AHAs or (my favourite) mix simple ones by yourself. But for those of you who can't get their hands on AHAs, or want to save some money, or prefer the most natural solution, here is an idea: the Kombucha scoby face mask.

    Kombucha contains several acids including lactic acid and vitamin C, which means you can expect it to exfoliate old skin cells, lighten discolourations, brighten the skin and help with fine lines. Fermented stuff is generally good for the face and body. Kombucha is an active ingredient in many anti-aging skin products.

   To those of you who haven't had a taste of kombucha yet: it is a probiotic culture, a symbiosis of good bacteria and yeast. It looks like a very slimy pancake (the scoby), floating on top of the kombucha. Kombucha is extremely healthy, populating your digestive system with all of the good bacteria and reducing the acidity of your body. I like to drink a little bit of kombucha every day in the morning (alternating it with cider apple vinegar, thinned with water, of course). Cosmetically, kombucha can replace acid cider vinegar for things like hair rinses or toners.

   Since scobys multiply, it should be really easy to get one for free or for a few cents. Start by asking on facebook, chances are someone you know brews kombucha.    If you can't get your hands on kombucha, you can also use water kefir crystals, which have very similar properties. I got my kombucha scoby and water kefir crystals off ebay. Water kefir is often available in Latin or Mexican stores. I don't recommend commercially sold kombucha drinks, since the kombucha is usually not "ripe" enough and most probably not living. If you can't find a scoby, you can grow one if you have some pre-made kombucha. Here is a nice guide to brewing your own kombucha.
    Once your scoby has created another layer, you can use the old one for a face mask. The easiest method is to blend it with a mixer and apply on the face, neck and decollete, however you can also plonk the entire scoby on your face. Keep on for 15 minutes then wash off.
   If you feel that the kombucha scoby is too acidic, you can mix the blended scoby with yoghurt.
  For a whole body treatment, add half a litre of kombucha in a bathtub. If you don't have a bathtub, dip a sponge in a diluted kombucha and rub your body with it.

   The kombucha can be used for all skin types, including acne. Apply the kombucha mask once a week or two.

      Any kombucha / water kefir fans out there? Have you ever tried using them on your face? Also, my favourite mix (to drink) is with peaches, what's yours?
photo credit: Nomadic Lass via photopin cc

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Cosmetic Favourites {October 2014} Herbatint, Khadi Henna, Lumene

  Hello everyone! Above you see some of the products I have been using in the past few months:

Shea Butter

This is a must-have for the winter. I use Shea butter on my lips, hands, cuticles, heels and hair ends. I also like dabbing some on top of lipstick for a soft dewy look. It also works on cracked nostrils if you have a running nose in the dead of winter. The one I have happens to be from Finigrana and it's certified organic, but I'm not terribly picky about the brand. Shea butter is scentless and it has an amazing texture.

Herbatint Permanent Haircolor Gel

   I bought this natural-ish Italian hair dye during my last trip to Poland. You mix two liquids in a bowl, apply with a tinting brush (you need to buy this separately), wash off after 30 minutes. The mixture is like a gel, and I find it really easy to apply. If you prefer, you can mix the whole thing in an empty hair colour bottle. The colour is quite vivid and glossy, and it covered my greys quite well, though not completely (which is fine by me, since I hate a flat wall of colour). I love it for the quick and easy application as compared to henna. And there is no run-off when I wash my hair. Also -- the two bottles have caps which means you don't have to use up the whole product at a time. I usually prepare small quantities and use them for emergency touch-ups around the hairline and my parting. The reason I still use henna most of the time is the volume it gives me plus the amazing natural highlights/lowlights. Plus, Herbatint isn't completely natural, 
   The colours tend to run dark, so go two shades lighter! It is important to really condition your hair after rinsing out the dye, since it can be drying, and the sachet that comes with the dye does a pretty good job. In fact, it is amazing, and I have been considering buying a bigger bottle of it.

My hair on Khadi Henna. You can see the natural highlights I'mtalking about.

Khadi Henna

    This is probably the best Henna I have ever used, and the storekeeper that I bought it from told me it's been getting rave reviews from her customers as well. It is ground to a really fine powder which makes it easy to apply -- I didn't even have to mix in conditioner to get some kind of workable texture. The colour comes out pretty vibrant and stays on for a decent amount of time. One package contains enough Henna for two applications (my hair goes till by bra band, and I have a lot of it). Five stars, will definitely repurchase. I got mine at the amazing Beauty and Nature store in Munich, it's got a ton of interesting natural cosmetics in different price ranges, plus knowledgeable salespeople.

Lumene Bright Now Vitamin C Day Cream and Eye Cream

   This and the Lumene eye cream were gifts from a Finnish bra-blogger Secret Santa round. It is made with the Arctic cloudberry -- a Finnish friend of mine once brought some from Finland and told me it's great delicacy, and if a Fin finds some Arctic cloudberies in the forest they will keep the spot secret! The cream is one of those rare rich-but-not-greasy products, it really moisturises and didn't clog up my skin one bit. I've also heard that people with skin prone to breakouts love it.

Lavera Self Tanning Face Cream

   I own and love the Lavera self-tanner for the body, so I was pretty excited when this came out. Except that... it doesn't really do much. The effect is much lighter than that of the body tanner, and the formula is lighter too, so I'm guessing that it is targeted at those that are paler than me and have had issues with using the body tanner on their face. The Lavera self tanners don't wash off the skin, they basically dye the skin.

  Out of all the products I have mentioned, the Khadi Henna is definitely the favourite one, and will be a staple in my hair care routine.

  Let me know if you have questions, and if you have ever used any of the above products let me know how they worked for you.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

How To Take Care Of Your Hands In The Winter

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  Come winter, and a lot of people complain about dry hands. Sometimes it's just a slight discomfort and flaky skin, sometimes the skin cracks and is pretty painful. 

* Protect your hands while cleaning

     Most detergents are really harsh on the skin. I used to have cracking skin in the creases between the thumb and pointer, and they went away only when I completely switched to natural cleaning products. Using microfiber cloths often eliminates the need for cleaning products when doing light cleaning. It also makes sense to invest in a pair of cleaning gloves. I really recommend investing a bit more in a pair that is comfortable and cute, then you'll probably actually wear them. Same goes for gardening gloves. Ökotest recommends latex-free cleaning gloves (the Vileda ones tested good).

* Keep a hand cream in strategic places

   Near the sink in the bathroom and in the kitchen, where it is visible. Pump dispensers are the easiest to use. For best results, apply on wet skin. The best kind of hand cream is one that contains moisturising ingredients as well as occlusives (oils or butters). Silicones give a misleading feeling of smoothness but don't actually do anything for the skin. You can also use body lotions -- I often have a sample-sized Lavera body-lotion tube in my bag because the size is really convenient, and I haven't yet found a hand cream in a tiny tube yet.

* Products for extremely dry hands:

   I highly recommend creams with Urea (at least 5%), I think in Germany you can get one from Isana (Rossman), Balea (DM), Kneipp, Sebamed and Eucerin (10%) and Numis (10%). Apothecaries usually carry creams with Urea, or you can buy your own Urea online (it's really cheap), and add it to whatever cream you already have. Often the creams meant for the feet have more Urea in them, and of course you can use them for your hands. Weleda Skin Food is also amazing, and so is Homeoplasmine.

* Treat your hands to a hand spa

    You can make a simple scrub out of sugar / salt and oil. Then apply a thick layer of a very moisturising cream or oil and put on gloves (I have seen cotton gloves for this purpose in Müller and Rossmann).

* Switch to a gentler soap

    Avoid anything with SLS or other sulfates. I like the soaps from Alverde or Alterra. Look for soaps that are made of vegetable oils.

* Wear gloves, and put them on in time

    Temperatures around freezing point or colder are really harsh on the skin. Gloves protect your skin, and you should put them before you go out and not wait till your hands freeze. In my experience the most practical gloves are either ones that roll up small and can be stored in your jacket pocket so that you never forget them, and the ones with cut-off fingers that can be covered with a kind of hood -- so that you can use your phone without removing your gloves. There are also those tiny pen thingies that you can use for your hone, I have one that  can attach to the earphone outlet when I am not using it.

* Avoid hot water

   Hot water strips your skin of oils. Wash your hands with lukewarm water. If you must clean with hot water, put on a moisturising cream and gloves, the gloves will partially isolate your skin and the warmth will help the product to sink in.

* Give extra attention to your cuticles

    Cut off only the ones that stand away. Push them back gently with an orangewood stick if necessary. Give them an extra dose of cream. I like to use my lip balms on them.

   What are your tips with preventing dry skin on your hands? What are your favourite hand creams? Do you also forget to wear gloves while cleaning and gardening?

photo credit: ArTeTeTrA via photopin cc

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Beaty Must Have: Facial Blotting Tissues

   These little papers are extremely practical and have a couple of surprising uses.  I recommend them to everyone with oily or combination skin!

   Facial blotting tissues used to puzzle me for a long time,  I thought they were like tissue papers to mop up oily skin. Actually these are very thin squares of highly-absorbent paper, often coated with the lightest dusting of a mattifying powder. They absorb the oil from the skin and deposit the powder on it. The powder makes the skin look matte and continues to absorb the skin oils. So the great thing abot the blotting papers is that they pick up the facial oils, unlike just piling more powder on top.

   The most obvious use for the oil-control blotting papers is to mattify oily skin on the go. The take up very little space in your purse and you don't even need a mirror to use them. I always have oil-control papers in my bag, since at the moment my T-zone doesn't stay matte all day. Also, if I have overslept and end up dashing out of the house without doing anything with my face, dabbing my oily zones with a square of oil-control paper and applying lip balm makes me look more presentable.
   To use facial blotting papers, lightly dab the oily skin with the sheet. Don't press hard,  as that might press the oils in the pores to compact and sink deeper into the pores.
  • Another use for blotting sheets is to fix concealer under the eyes or anywhere else. Use it to press down on the undereye area after applying concealer.
  • If your eyelids get greasy and your eyeshadow gathers in the creases,  a dab with a paper prevents this.
  • To prevent the eyeliner from leaving an imprint on the lid. 
  • For men! Blotting papers are a practical and discreet way of getting rid of oiliness on the face, and many come in neutral packaging (for example those from Muji). 

    Facial blotting papers used to be really pricey,  but recently lower-priced alternatives are also available. The ingredients and quality does vary a lot. Some contain ingredients like hialuronon, which makes them less drying but also less mattifying - - ideal for those of you with only lightly oily skin. Some have a cocktail of chemicals and even mineral powder, which might not be ideal. If you are looking for blotting papers without powder, I highly recommend those from Muji. Sephora and Oriflame also have blotting papers without powder.
   Shiseido blotting papers are very popular among girls with really oily skin, they are not really cheap though. It is not easy to find the ingredient list for facial blotting papers online, so I couldn't prepare a bigger list of recommendations.
   The packaging can also be a hit-or-miss, in the worst case it's hard to get out a single paper without all of them slipping out.

  Obviously facial blotting papers are just temporary quick-fixes. If you are struggling with very oily in you need to look into your diet and how much water you drink, and your hormones. Cosmetically, switch your aggressive cleanser for a gentle one and keep your face moisturised. The oil-cleansing method can work wonders.

    Do you use facial blotting papers? Which brand would you recommend?


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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Style Blogs You Should Be Reading (Part 2)

My favourite fashion blogs

    A while back I told you about my favourite fashion blogs. I still read and love each one of them. Since then I have discovered some more really good ones, which I wanted to share with you! Almost everything I know about style is thanks to those blogs, with their help I have come really close to figuring out my own style. I love blogs that talk about the "how-to" of style and fashion, about the process, which help me to work with my wardrobe. I like blogs that encourage me to develop my style and understand my needs instead of inspiring envy and random attacks of shopping.
   I go through a lot of blogs, and very few make it to my RSS reader. Even fewer stay.
   Here are my current favourites:

   I never thought that I'll be reading a minimalist blog about capsule wardrobe from a blogger whose style is very different from mine. I love the little insights into her process and the little tips that she sprinkles below her outfit posts. Also, someone finally let me onto the secret on how to wear shoes sans socks. About time!

Inside Out Style
   A classic how-to style blog. She breaks everything down and teaches you the basics: which necklines for for you? What kind of patterns are dressy and what kind are causal? Did you know that there the colour red can have warm undertones or cool undertones? Which kind of jewelry works with your facial features? That blog is a goldmine of knowledge presented in a really easy to understand way.

The Tehran Times
    Mind-blowing outfits, art, and a lot of subversion. For me it is fresh and different (as compared to the very repetitive western fashion scene), plus tons of ideas for more modes dressers and / or colder weather.

Dress Like A Parisian
    I love this blog, especially the "how to wear x" and "how to choose x" posts!

Into Mind
   Lots of practical posts, with a focus on sustainability and simplicity.

Ubieraj Sie Klasycznie
   I love this blog for the amazing break down of the season colour theory. For example she'll pick twelve different shades of green and tell you which ones flatter which colour types. Also, I love this post on Angelina Jolie's colouring. For those of you who can't read it, the gist is this: Angelina loves to wear black, but doesn't really look her best in it (unless she is wearing a lot of makeup). Strong colours don't flatter her either, she looks better in softer colours. It is in soft and warm colours (last photos of the post) that she really looks radiant and her skin looks healthily pale (as opposed to sickly pale), since her colouring type is soft (light) autumn. The moral of the story is that a cheap T-shirt in your best colours can make you look like a million dollars!

Style Digger
   She is one of the most popular fashion bloggers in Poland, and has recently shifted to a slower, most sustainable style philosophy. Also, she does the best link roundups.

   I'd love to discover ore great fashion blogs. Do you have any recommendations for me?

Image from the amazing Tehran Times

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Protect Your Brushes With Brush Guards

  This is how my makeup travels. Not like on a trip, just around the city, like when I want to do a friend's face. I have a double-decker lunchbox with a very flat top compartment, which is the perfect height for makeup.
   My brushes travel in brush guards. These are plastic net hoses that can be slipped over the bristles to save them from getting squashed and misshapen during transport.

   The hose is very tight when new, and can be stretched pretty wide. All but my thinnest brushes fit inside. You can buy it in pieces but I prefer a longer piece that I can cut myself.
    You could also slip freshly-washed brushes into brush guards to dry so that they retain their shape, this works really well for older brushes that are starting to lose their shape.

   I slipped in a couple of Q-tips into a piece of brush guard. The q-tips are great for cleaning up any mistakes.

      I got really cheap my brush guard really cheap from BuyInCoins. If I carried my brushes around more often I would probably invest in a nice etui, but at the moment it's not really worth it.
   Looking for some other options? You can use the protectors that some florists use, or you could use garlic nets.
   Anyone else a fan of brush guards? Where do you buy them? How do you transport your makeup?

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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Two Natural Tips For Dealing With Period Pain

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   Periods are nobody's favourite time of the month, especially if you get the painful kind of cramps. During my live I've experienced everything from symptom-free times to pain so bad I couldn't even get up to take a painkiller.
   If you regularly have very painful periods, it is something you should talk about to your doc. However many women have periods that are only slightly uncomfortable, alternated with painful ones. My doctor explained that this is because of magnesium -- our body needs it to deal with cramps, and sometimes at the end of your period there isn't much magnesium left for the next one (which will be more painful). She also said that the body absorbs magnesium pretty quickly, so you can pop a magnesium supplement if you feel bad at the start of your period. If your body gets too much magnesium, you might get a bit of diarrhea, but that's about it. An even better way of getting magnesium is eating food with a lot of magnesium, like leafy greens, avocados, bananas, almonds and... raw chocolate. Chocolate contains a lot of magnesium and this is probably the reason that women crave it, but apparently chocolate is so processed that the body has a hard time getting the magnesium. Enter raw chocolate or raw cacao, where the cacao has not been roasted and is minimally processed. I find raw chocolate delicious but expensive, so I get my fix with smoothies: raw cacao + bananas + water. Yum!
    Primrose oil is also a great fix for period problems! One teaspoon of oil three times a day, on the day of your period. You can also apply the oil on your hormonal blemishes. The evening primrose oil does taste awful, so you might want to try it in tablet form. Just a word of warning: it doesn't mix well with painkillers!

    It makes sense to take it slow on those days, and maybe even plan the week around the event so that you don't end up doing something highly stressful or physically demanding.
    An app can be useful to keep track of things. The Period Tracker is a nice one (albeit a tad too cutesy for my taste), especially because it lets you note symptoms if you want to, and displays interesting things like probable ovulation times. Other essentials include a hot-water bottle, a bar of good, dark chocolate, and a menstruation cup (that post is three years old, and I'm an even bigger fan of the cup now).

   I also found that my periods are much more bearable when I have been exercising in the past weeks. Anyone else had a similar experience? Also, what is your period survival kit?
photo credit: 欠我兩千塊 via photopin cc

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Super Easy Nude Manicure: Essence Studio Nails Hardening Nail Base

   I'm not a huge nail polish fan since I find them rather high-maintenance, but I wanted to show you this product that stole my heart recently. A stylist did my nails for a no-makeup look recently, and instead of a nude nail colour she used the Essence Studio Nails Hardening Nail Base. The effect looks like a subtle french manicure, looks understatedly elegant and fits with all skin tones as it is translucent. After a week it was finally too chipped to wear (it would last longer it I would wear gloves while washing the dishes), so I ran around the city looking for a bottle. Apparently the Essence Studio Nails Hardening Nail Base is only available at the big Essence counters (in the bigger Müller drogeries), the smaller counters in the small Müllers and in the DM don't carry it.
   The Essence Studio Nails Hardening Nail Base goes on clear but turns lightly milky in a few minutes. I used two coats here. It is really easy to apply it evenly, even with your non-dominant hand, and best of all -- small chips aren't obvious.

    If you can't get Essence products where you live (find them near you here), you can try other nail bases to see if you can achieve a similar effect. You might want to be wary of the ones that promise whitening, since they are often rather blueish.

    That same stylist taught me a couple of cool things and the Essence Nails Hardening Base wasn't the only thing I had to have after spotting it in her kit. I'll write about the rest soon, so stay tuned!

   Do you have a favourite nude nail polish or nail base? Do share!

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