Skin SOS After Too Much Sun: DIY

My friend saw me yesterday and went "You sunburned your feet?" Turns out I did, the tops of my feet any my heels. I also sunburned the back side of my armpits. I was trying to ride my bike as much as possible; and though I was diligent about applying sunscreen in all the obvious places I missed some non-obvious ones.

Anyway, this incident plus some other sunburn incidents this summer prompted me to share how to deal with sunburnt skin -- or just skin that is tired and thirsty after being too long in the sun.

Apres Sun Products:

I was trying to find out what is different about products marketed for use after sun exposure. The majority are moisturisers that don't (or should not) contain ingredients that are irritating or dry out the skin. Some include ingredients that give a calming or cooling feeling, like aloe, lots of water or mint. Finally, they should include an ingredient that are astringent (lightly constrict skin and thus reduce inflammation), analgesic (relieve pain) and are anti-inflammatory.

How to treat skin after too much sun exposure

Moisturise as much as possible, inside and out. If the skin is actually sunburned,  apply a compress of cold water as soon as you can. If you got a strong sunburn you might want to go to the doctor, or ask for advice at an apothecary. If you just got a mild sunburn or your skin is just generally irritated and dehydrated, you can try out the kitchen and herbal treatments that I described below. Obviously keep away from the sun in the next few days, and /or use a high SPF applied liberally (apply a layer, don't rub it in!)

DIY sunburn treatments:

These are mainly kitchen-shelf ingredients that you might already have

  • Aloe vera: cooling and soothing. Straight from the plant is best. If you are using a product out of a bottle, be sure it contains as little additives as possible.
  • Witch hazel (alcohol-free): Astringent and anti-inflammatory.
  • Baking soda: anti-inflammatory. Bath (1/2 teaspoon per bathtub) or compress.
  • Oatmeal paste: soothes and calms. I'd recommend adding a bit vinegar to it.
  • Raw honey: a great antiseptic. Do not mix this with vinegar or yogurt because it will kill the beneficial bacteria!
  • Cucumbers: they are analgesic (relieve pain). Apply slices or a paste (blended).
  • Yogurt: cools the skin, the enzymes speed up healing.
  • Green / black tea: steep two tea bags in hot water, let it cool down. Squeeze out the tea bags onto the sunburnt areas.
  • Sandalwood and turmeric paste: in Indian literature there are lots of descriptions of beautiful princesses applying sandalwood paste to soothe their love-fever. But really, according to Ayurveda these two ingredients cool and calms the skin. Diluted vinegar is a really amazing astringent, it can often turn red angry skin to a nice brown tan. (Bath or wash cloth compress)

Herbal infusions: 

I also found myself with a light sunburn after kayaking, and since I was in a tiny village I didn't have access to many product. In case you find yourself in a scenario like that, here are some plants that can ease sunburn.
The best way to use them is to make a hot infusion (basically a tea) by pouring hot water on it and waiting for it to cool, then applying the infusion with a cotton pad or spraying it on the skin. You can also cut up the leaves and let them soak in water (in the sun if possible). Such a cool brew takes time but less of the plant nutrients get destroyed in the process.
You can also make an infusion at the beginning of summer: ca 1 tablespoon herbs to one cup cider vinegar, let it steep for ca 6 weeks, then strain. It will keep for ca 6 months.
Remember to harvest in a sustainable way. If you don't have the equipment to make a tea you can crush the leaves and apply on the area.

Here are plants that are know to soothe sunburnt skin. 
  • Wild strawberry leaves
  • Yarrow -- the sunburn remedy of the Crow people
  • Calendula
  • Gumbo Limbo (Kamalamee) bark -- apparently this Bush tree is also called the Sunburned Tourists Tree
  • Rose petals and leaves: astringent.
  • Cottonwood bark
  • Blackberry
  • Alder
  • Elder (leaf, bark flower)
  • Linden flowers 
  • Chaparral
  • Prickly Pear cactus
  • Lavender
  • Rose petals
Obviously this list is very small, it is very likely that you have local plants where you live that are great against sunburn. If you know of any let me know in the comments. Also share with me how do you treat your skin after too much sun, do you have favourite products?

Photo credit: Christopher Roller via Unsplash

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DIY Bath Oils And The Water+Oil Method For Moisturising Your Body

Of all of the different ways I have tried to moisturise my dry body, the bath oil is absolutely the best. It leaves my skin oiled but not oily, and the effect lasts for days. In the summer this really calms my sun-parched legs and makes everything soft and supple. In the winter I go for heavier versions of this oil soak and come out of long hot baths with a lovely protective coating on my skin.
If you own a bathtub I'll be sharing my simple DIY recipe with you, if you are bath-less I'll share a way of doing this in the shower.

Combining oil with water works way better than oil alone -- on both skin and hair. The best way to do this is to pre-mix the oil and the water, and there are two ways of doing this: the primitive one is mixing oil and water and beating it with a whisk, like you would a salad sauce. The better way is mixing the oil with an emulsifier. An emulsifier is something that helps water and oil mix. It breaks up the oil into really tiny droplets that coat your skin evenly and don't make it feel greasy like when you apply oil straight onto the skin.
Emulsifiers are also the way to go if you want to use essential oils in your bath. When I was a young foolish girl I didn't know this and just added a couple of drops of a strong essential oil into the bathtub and stirred the water. The oil ended up on just one area, and it stung my skin.

I love baths, and when I don't have time for a real one I do a short half-baths with just enough water to cover most of me. When I add this oil mix it moisturises my skin like no other product does:

Bath Oil Mixture:

8 parts oil (I go for the cheaper stuff like sunflower oil, or use up whatever is starting to get old).
1 part emulsifier*
1 part or less essential oils (Optional. I like lavender, sandalwood and patchouli)
The contents of one punctured capsule vitamin E for extra moisturising.
*Most DIY cosmetic ingredient retailers sell emulsifiers, and I use one from BeHaWe because I can easily buy it in my city. Lecithin, guar  ones are especially gentle. Here is a nice overview of the different emulsifiers.
If you prefer to go the kitchen route, milk, aloe vera gel, castile soap and Epsom salts are lightly emulsifying.

I like to make a bigger batch of this and fill it into a bottle. I shake or whisk everything and pour it into the tub -- in the summer I use around two tablespoons but in the winter it can be half a cup. Add water, jump in and soak. You can also dip your hair in it if you plan to wash it afterwards, it is a great way to lightly oil it without overdoing it. After you come out of the bath it is a good idea to immediately rinse the tub with a blast of very hot water, otherwise the oil attracts soap scum.

If you don't own a bathtub then you can massage oil onto your skin before taking a warm shower. At the end I usually find that the oil has not completely absorbed into the skin, so I wash off the excess with a gentle soap or towel it off.
These bath oils make great gifts, especially if you know which scents the receiver likes. If you don't, you can't really go wrong with lavender for a relaxing bath or eucalyptus for a cold-relieving bath.

How do you moisturise your body? If you use oils, what is your preferred way of using them? Have you ever tried a bath oil?

Photo credit: Karla Alexander via Unsplash

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My favourite Beauty Tools: Eyelash Curler

I wanted to write a bit about my lash routine. I find that curling my lashes balances my eyes which are lightly hooded and slightly droopy. It opens up the eyes and works wonders if your eyes are small or deep-set. The lashes also look longer and because you can see more lash surface.
If I want to do a no-makeup look (or actually go without makeup, or skip the mascara because I expect to cry -- I cry during films and concerts)), I just curl your lashes and maybe run a little mascara through them (especially the ends) and tightline.

Lash curlers are one of the few products where I really suggest shopping around till you find the perfect one, and splurging a bit if needed.
The most important thing is that the lash curler has a rounded rubber/silicone pad. And there should be absolutely no sharp edges. Don't use the really cheap ones with plastic handles, as I've heard some horror stories of them breaking during curling.
Some recommendations are: MAC, Shu Uemura, Sephora, Revlon, Inglot and Kevyn Aucoin and Tweezerman. Shiseido is less curved and great for "flatter" eyes. The HM curlers are also great for bigger eyes with less curve.
Be careful with really cheap ones, often the rubber wears out really easily and has to be replaced -- and in many cases you can't buy just the rubbers so you need to replace the entire curler.. Another question is whether replacement rubbers are sold separately?

The correct way to curl your lashes is this: warm up your curler, I like to put mine on the heater in the winter and in my bar in the summer. It should be warm by the time you've done the rest of your face. You can also use a blow dryer, just don't make the curler too hot.
Curling the lashes right at the roots makes them look longer, curling them in the middle makes them look curlier. Depending on how your lashes are and what kind of effect you want to achieve, experiment with curling your lashes at the base, middle and end -- or all three. 
You need to pump a couple of times. How hard you need to press/pump depends on your eyelash curler -- the Shu has less springy rubber and doesn't need much pressure as the MAC, the HM needs quite a lot of the pressure as the curler is constructed a bit differently. You kind of need to test things out and see what works best on your lashes.
Finally, apply mascara, which helps to fix the curl.

Personally I own a MAC eyelash curler, which I bought secondhand. Before this I owned a cheap one from a German drugstore (I don't remember the brand) and I must say that the MAC is much better at curling and much gentler on the lashes.

Update: Evelyn emailed me with a great recommendation -- in Austrian DMs the brand s-he zone has a really good eyelash curler -- it is squarish with very soft and thick rubbers. Apparently Essence used to have a very similar one, marketed as a travel eyelash curler. She also mentions that you can find cheap replacement rubbers in the Müller, so I'm thinking that if the rubber pads of your eyelash curler wore out and the original brand doesn't sell replacements, it is absolutely worth a try to buy cheap rubber pads for the drugstore and see if they fit. Evelyn also mentions that waterproof mascara holds the curl much better than regular mascara, because the inside those oils don't make the hair droop like water does.

Also here is a really cool trick you can do. I tried it and it's much easier than it looks:

I've heard really good things about heated eyelash curlers, they are very practical for those with eyelashes that are really stubborn and don't hold the curl. Before buying read though reviews because some heat up too much.

Do you use eyelash curlers? What is your favourite one?

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How To Change The Growth Direction Of Unruly Eyebrow Hairs

This method is something that I tried out and has worked really well for me. I have pretty bushy eyebrows which I have to tweeze really often, but theg most irritating thing about them were a couple of hair near the center that would grow straight up, and a couple that would grow downwards. Cutting them was not a good look.

I remember reading somewhere about plucking in the direction of hair growth so that the hair wouldn't end up growing in random directions. I thought that logically the opposite should work too: pulling the hair in the direction you want it to grow in. So I tried it out and I have to say that it works. It does take a while though, I'm not sure how long because as soon as the hair started growing neatly along the brow line I completely forgot that they used to be unruly. I think that I did this for several growth cycles of the eyebrow hair before it worked, which is at least half a year.

To do this you need a a really good tweezer. I like the Solingen Mörser ones, but even here I have to examine each tweezer to make sure I get the one with the thinnest ends. The ends need to be perfectly smooth and thin so that you can easily grab the exact hair you want. If you want something really cheap, get the tiny penknife ones. You need to grab the hair near the root and slowly pull it in the direction you want it to grow in. You can completely pluck the hair out, or you can just pull for a bit.

You can speed up the process by brushing the eyebrows into the desired shape (outwards and slightly upwards) and using a product that will keep them in place.

Have you ever trained your eyebrows into growing the way you want them to? Or maybe messed up their growth through careless plucking? Let me know.

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Which Old Favourite Products Do I Still Love? (Bra + Beauty)

 I review a lot of stuff, many don't even make it into the blog because there aren't anything special. Some however turn out to be personal holy grails, which I quietly rebuy again ad again.

This bra has proven to be really sturdy, and looks really good after all the wear. The band was really very snug in the beginning and came with an extender, now that it has stretched I don't use the extender any more. This has really increased the life of the bra because as it stretches you have six rows of hooks you can work your way through. This is probably as close to a Buy-It-For-Life as a bra can get.
I like the feeling of encapsulation that it gives me, and I think that this bra is at least partially responsible for the fact that over the years my breast tissue has shifted more towards the center (my breasts used to be very far apart and I needed really wide underwires, but not any more). I haven't used the vest much because it's almost too much cleavage for my lifestyle.

I use this religiously, often combining it with other types of cleansing products. It removes all oil and makeup, and does not dry or irritate my skin.

Gosh Click n Conceal

This concealer from the Danish brand Gosh lasts ages. It goes on easily -- I always have problems with applying other concealers smoothly, and doesn't budge or crawl into creases.Unfortunately I can't buy it in Germany, so I stock up when I'm abroad. Fortunately one pen lasts for a very long time.

I still haven't found a better colouring Henna. One thing I did learn though is that colour releasing is very different across brands, and in the case of Khadi I get best results if I mix it with cool water and let it stand for ca 12 hours, or I mix it with very hot water and use as soon as it is cool enough (in the second scenario I need to blast my hennaed hair with a hair dryer every half an hour to make sure that the henna keeps on releasing it's dye).

Still the best way to get my skin really smooth. I always take both with me in the sauna, it's also a staple gift.

This product is amazing when it comes to mattifying just about anything. It's a great primer and a great finishing powder.

I do this every six months or so. It usually takes 2-3 sessions will my teeth are nice and white again.

I'm actually pretty surprised I haven't broken the big one. I love how it's really gentle and smooth, and I don't use anything else apart from my fingers to comb my hair. I lost the small one which made me pretty sad, I replaced it with a similar one from the Hercules Sägemann line from Müller. I used it for my bangs. DM also has the nice plastic-free Ebelin Nature combs.

If there is any other older product you'd like to ask about, let me know in the comments.

Photo credit: Rachel Walker

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Perfect Mineral Nano-Free Sunscreen: Alga Maris Tinted SPF 30

 My standards for sunscreen are pretty high: purely mineral, free from nano-particles, with no or little alcohol, must not make my skin look white. Especially the last point is difficult: my skin is warm and I am not pale, so I often read review that a certain product leaves barely and white traces and then I'm sorely disappointed. I also like my sunscreen to contain zinc oxide, as this is the only thing that gives protection from the full UVA spectrum.

    For anyone who hasn't been following my sunscreen journey: I avoid chemical sunscreens because they are often not photostable and may react with other products on your skin, they are not immediately effective, apart from Avobenzone they don't offer protection from UVA, and some ingredients work similar to hormones in our body. Mineral sunscreen doesn't have to be reapplied every two hours if you don't rub it off, and usually offers better UVA protection. I stay away from nano-sized ingredients since they penetrate into the blood stream and there is still way too little research about the effect of that. Also, nano-sized particles offer worse UVA protection. This paper is very interesting if you want an insight into the pros and cons of mineral ingredients and nano-particles, it especially highlights the fact that there haven't been enough studies on the subject. I imagine that in the next couple of years new research will change what we know about sunscreen. 

My favourite sunscreen so far is Kimberly Sayer. The only disadvantage is that it doesn't stay put when I sweat. Anyway, I wanted to expand my choices and have been testing out many other products: almost everything from the Eco Cosmetics range, Melvita ProSun SPF 50 and the Biosolis Extreme Fluid 50+ which you have seen on Facebook. I decided not to write a detailed review post on each since none turned out to be my holy grail. The Eco Cosmetics SPF 30 (tinted) worked pretty well as long as I used something to mattify it (Hide-A-Pore from Sweetscents is perfect). Everything else took a powder and foundation to look presentable because they are all either really white or a very cool beige, which might work well for some people but not on my warm skin tone. They all need to be mattified. Apart from that not all of the Eco Cosmetics provide full-spectrum protection.
The Biosolis Extreme Fluid 50+ has the advantage of being scent-free and very affordable, plus it is full-spectrum, and it's quite affordable.
The Melvita ProSun SPF 50 is a blueish white which is very noticeable on my skin. The scent is rather heavy. It is full-spectrum.
 All of these are going to be applied on my body, hands, kids and paler friends.

It blends almost perfectly with my skin

Alga Maris Creme Solaire Teintee SPF 30 review:

This sunscreen blew me away with how good it is. First of all: no white cast and no greasiness! It looks like a light foundation or a BB cream. The finish is creamy matte, it evens out the skin colour but does not provide a lot of coverage. It glides on really easily and is easy to blend, and once it has set (around 5 minutes) it does not gather in the creases of the skin. The ingredient responsible for the pretty satiny finish is silica. Other than that the sunscreen contains aloe vera and algae extract, so it has some skin care benefits.
On to its properties as sun protection: the Alga Maris tinted sunscreen provides full-spectrum coverage, the titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are micronised but not nano. There is no alcohol, so it doesn't dry me out. It has not broken me out or blocked my pores. The product is water resistant which is perfect since in the summer I sweat when I'm on my bike.
The scent is a bit coconutish, but it disperses after a bit -- I can't smell it on me after a while, though normally I'm really sensitive to smells. Some reviewers don't like the smell, however since we aren't exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to good physical sunscreen I'd say it is a minor issue. If the scent bothers you, apparently the SPF 50 from the same brad is unscented.

I wear it over a bit of concealer, and usually wear a bit of bronzer or blush on the top, otherwise the skin can look a bit flat. If you have oily skin, I'd suggest using a starch-based powder below (or even a dusting of pure cornstarch or rice powder or arrowroot starch) below the sunscreen. The Alga Maris sunscreen evens out my skin tone and lightly cancels out the redness, so I don't feel the need of wearing foundation over it.

The Alga Maris sunscreen comes in three shades: white, tinted-light and tinted-dark. I chose the light one which isn't that light -- it leans warm and I'd call it light-medium. The dark one is probably meant for persons with brown skin. If you feel that you are in between shades, you can mix them together. Greenconscience not only swatched of all of shades of the Alga Maris sunscreen, but experimented with mixing them (on the bottom).  I don't normally advocate mixing sunscreen but in this case it is the exact same product just with different colours.

The Alga Maris SPF 30 is certified organic and vegan. 

The bottom line: Personally I can't find fault with this sunscreen, it's everything I have wished for. However it would be great if the brand came out with a cooler tint as well as an unscented version.

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Weekend Reads + A Couple Of Questions

* As soon as the lilac blossom, I'm going to make this lilac oil infusion. Somewhere else I read that you should let the flowers wilt a bit first, so that they contain less water.

* Very interesting read on gratefulness and offering up one's identity.

* Beautiful styling ideas for your windowsills.

* Great thrift store shopping tips.

* Cute ways to customise your sunglasses.

* For simple make-up looks I love Violette's channel. As she applies her make-up at the back of a car or a cafe using her fingers to blend, you wouldn't guess that she is actually a pretty big professional make-up artist. Plus her voice is so amazingly soothing.

Finally I have a big favour to ask of you: please take a few minutes to answer a couple of questions. They will really help me. Thanks!!!!

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Rye Flour Hair Wash Update + Tips

Rye Flour Hair Wash Update

Since two months I am washing my hair mostly with rye flour. I've stopped using conditioner and use oil only at the ends. My hair looks great, stays fresh longer than ever. Also the rye doesn't wash out henna like shampoo does (it is the same with hair dye). Another side-effect I have noticed is that I am losing much less hair than before, and I'm talking like 90% less.

I started my hair care journey with very dry and damaged hair. In the beginning my hair was thankful for every bit of nourishment it got, and ate up all the hair conditioner, treatments and oil that I would throw at it. Gradually I switched to conditioner-only washing. As my hair stopped being very porous and dry (the porousity was mainly due to damage) I found that conditioner-only was often too much for my hair, it would look amazing on the first day, and limp and greasy on the second and third. When I used shampoo it felt light and bouncy but then I would get flyaways and frizz. I finally found the perfect balance between cleansing and consitioning with rye flour.

Rye flour hair wash isn't perfect. It takes a bit of pre-planning because it's best to soak it, and even after careful sieving it leaves flakes in my hair that I have to shake out. I haven't been able to get my hands on the finely-ground and non-whole-wheat version of rye flour yet, which I hope will not leave flakes at all. What does cut down on the flakes is an acidic rinse -- apparently it is the hardness of the water makes the flakes stick to the hair. I use diluted apple cider vinegar.
In the end my hair looks great and is healthy, so I'm saving time and effort and money on hair care as a whole. Finally... I stumbled onto this post about water-only washing, and it was the first one on the topic that actually made me really consider trying it in the future.

Another very important thing about cleansing with rye flour -- you need to really use your fingers to get your scalp clean. I actually count in my head to make sure I am actually rubbing my scalp for at least a full minute. A nice side effect of this is that scalp massages help with blood circulation and stimulate hair growth, it also regulates the sebum production and stimulates growth.

If your hair is really oily you can try adding a little bit of lemon juice A drop or two of tea tree oil will also keep the hair fresh longer. For hair that is very dry you can add two teaspoons of honey or half a teaspoon of oil into the mixture.

I have been recently experimenting in is mixing my rye flour with herbal infusions. You basically make a tea out of a herb that you like, and let it cool before you mix it with the rye flour. Salvia and rosemary is great for oily hair, chamomile brightens blond hair. Coffee, nettles help with hair loss. For neurodermitis or an irritated scalp, use black tea (let is brew for at least 15 minutes). If you want a nice smell, you can of course add a drop or two of essential oil, or use a fragrant oil for the hair ends.

Let me know if you have any questions, as I want to do an update about my general hair routine soon.

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How To Spot A Badly-Fitted Bra At Ten Yards

Spring is the start of the open-air bra-spotting season. Once you know the signs it's actually easy to spot a badly-fitting bra through clothes, sometimes even from a distance of several meters.


* Mid-boob is lower than mid-arm
If you're wearinga  correctly fitted bra, center of the breast should be at the hight midway between shoulder and elbow. Give or take a couple of centimeters, and yes, even in really big cup sizes (like this perfectly-fitted stylish lady). Any lower and it means that the band is not supportive (too loose) and sometimes the breasts dip lower than the bra band.

* Jiggle, bounce

       Breasts that move around with every step are a sure sign of a band that is too loose. Which leads us to:

* Clutching the handbag to chest when running to catch a bus

A band that is too big = breasts that yo-yo at every step. Confession: I have been known to do that, a long time ago.  My breast size was way smaller than now, I'm guessing a 60B, but the only way I could run comfortably was with my big, sturdy college satchel holding by breasts in place.

* Band peeking out at the back:
 When the band is too loose, it rides up at the back giving the clasp a chance to say hello to the world. Most low-cut tops and dresses (mostly tank-tops and halterneck styles) are actually cut at exactly the rights height to be worn with a correctly-fitted bra. Bands that are snug enough stay horizontal. If the band does ride up, it's because of the see-saw effect.

* The quadraboob
Quadraboob means when the cups are too small and the breasts spill over the top. From the side it looks like each breast was kind of double. Demonstrated here. Breasts spilling out of the cups may look sexy from the front to some, but everyone agrees they look terrible from the side view. And even worse -- under a high-necked top. This has unfortunately been made popular by certain celebs and even bra models. Get a bigger cup, unless you want to end up with armpit rolls.

* Armpit rolls
Breasts often get fed up of spilling over the top and find other sneaky ways to escape from a too-small cup. Like the armpits. With time they creep even further, and end up becoming back rolls. If you're curious about armpit rolls and migrated breast tissue, I've written more about it here.

* Shapeless shapes
Badly-fitting bras (especially wireless ones) often make bigger breasts look bottom-heavy and wide. Others flatten, smear and generally mistreat boobs. I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about. This usually makes me a little bit sad, because it makes the figure of the woman look heavy and frumpy, and I think that a bra that would give lift and support could change the entire figure.

    By the way even when women are wearing coats and sweaters, you can pretty safely bet that they are wearing the wrong size -- statistics say 80% to 90% of women do.

Don't get me wrong -- everyone has the the right to dress as they please, however wearing a correctly fitting bra is much more about comfort than about looking good. It makes me think that if only she were wearing a different size she'd be so much more comfortable! Seeing someone with a badly fitting bra remind me of the time a woman with one slightly wonky high heel walking in front of me -- I could almost physically feel the discomfort.

What about you? Does seeing badly fitting bras out in the wild trigger similarly strong feelings? Or doesn't it bother you at all?

Photo credit: Malingering via photo pin cc

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My Experience At The Benefit Brow Bar At Douglas

I could  give Frida Kahlo a run for her money in the brow department. My eyebrows also grow ridiculously fast, which is both great and annoying. I have had a lot of different styles over the years. It usually went this way: I saw some amazing arches in a film or on a blog, and I rushed to the mirror and did my best to copy the look. Some of my efforts include straight Korean brows (or as close as I could get), classical arches from the diagrams you see in magazines (which, by the way, only work on classically shaped faces), and an almost perfect copy of Maria from Lost In A Spotless Mind. It was while looking back at photos from my Blair Waldorf from season 1 eyebrow phase that I realised that you need to take the entire face into account when shaping eyebrows -- the face shape, shape of the eyes, the cheeks. Blair's dainty arches were pretty by themselves but they threw my whole face off-balance. I remember that my mother told me when I was a teenager that thin eyebrows don't suit me at all because they make my face look bottom-heavy.

Anyway, I finally needed some kind of brow expert to do my eyebrows. Someone suggested the Benefit Brow Bar, and when I googled reviews it sounded good. I decided that if I'm going to get my brows shaped there, I'm going to do it properly. Which meant growing out my eyebrows. This made me nervous because I haven't seen the unplucked shape of my arches since I was 14. It took weeks, and made me really thankful for my bangs. I have to confess that I did pluck between my brows. Then me and my grown-out brows went to the local Douglas, which is where the Benefit Brow Bars here are.

I actually made several passes around the Benefit stand first, and then timidly chatted up the salesgirl, trying to see what the stylist's own eyebrows looked like. I liked them, so I asked for a brow session. I mentioned that I don't want my brows to look too thin. The whole procedure took around 15 minutes and was done with wax, with small corrections were done with tweezers. I was happy that she didn't use scissors because in my opinion snipped eyebrow hair give a touch of stiffness and fakeness to the brows. At the end she used a brow mascara. I didn't opt for a dye because my brows are dark already.

The stylist showed me the way my brows were asymmetrical and how she was working with that, which was extremely helpful. She didn't change the shape of my brows much, however she
What really surprised me about waxing is the really clean effect. I realised that waxing removes even the tiny hair that I don't bother with when I pluck, and this makes the eyebrows look sharper -- as if I had used concealer on the area.

Here are the results:

 As you can see the general shape is cleaned up, the tail of the longer brow was shortened, and the peak of the left brow was removed and the lower line of the right arch was made to match the left. The space between the brows was lightly widened.

My only criticism is that at the end the lady asked me if she should cover up the skin that war red from plucking with concealer. I said yes, so she proceeded to apply what under the strong light looked like a normal amount of concealer. Outside in daylight it looked as if it were applied with a shovel.

The upkeep:

I am maintaining my brows at home because I have neither the time nor the budget to get regular waxes. Also I can't imagine letting the hair grow out between sessions. So I tweeze.
Getting my brows professionally done has been amazing, after several months I still love the shape and it works really well with the rest of my face.

If you have been thinking about getting your brows done at the Benefit Brow Bar, In my opinion it's well worth the investment. It's pretty important to get a good photo of your brows after the session. I though it would be enough to just pluck out the hair that grew back, but after a while I noticed that I had strayed away from the shape I got at Benefit. The photos I took help me to get the right shape again. I also made my own stencil, which is a fun little project. If you would you like to see a post about that, let me know.

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