Worldwide millions of women and an increasing number of men now own a pair of flat irons. Many people now use them every day; some even refusing to leave the house until they have done so! With our increasing reliance on these small, electrical appliances it is easy to dismiss the harm they can do and the potential dangers they pose.
Most of us already know the damage flat irons can cause to your hair. This can include dulling the shine, making it limp and lifeless and drying it out which makes it brittle and can cause split ends and breakage. My ‘favorite’ one being that they can actually CAUSE frizz. Considering that one of the main reasons many of us straighten our hair, in the first place, is to tame frizz it! This turn creates a vicious circle as what do we do to tackle this new frizz? That’s right – straightening it again!
To minimize the risk of any potential damage, choosing the best straightening hair irons for natural hair is essential. An important feature to consider is the type of plates used. The most common are ceramic but you can also get titanium and tourmaline plates. Opinion does differ as to which are the best to use but my biggest tip would be to use the plates most suited to your hair type. Here is a quick guide but I advise doing your own research to find the perfect one for you:
- Ceramic Plates – These are the most common type of plate used and often considered the best. They heat evenly to prevent ‘hot spots’ which can burn hair and generally use less heat so are less damaging to the hair. One of the main advantages to ceramic plates is how smoothly they glide through the hair. This minimizing the risk of breakages. Be aware that there are two types of ceramic plates – solid ceramic and ceramic coated. Solid ceramic is much better but alas more expensive! The cheaper alternative consists of metal plates with a ceramic coating but this can wear away, especially with constant use, leaving the metal exposed and causing a lot more damage to the hair. So, if your budget permits always choose solid ceramic over ceramic coated.
Although ceramic plates are suitable for pretty much all hair types I would definitely recommend them to anyone with fine hair as this is the most likely hair type to suffer breakage or burns. www.PrimeHairTools.com - Top Straightening Irons is the best place to find reviews on the top FHI hair straighteners.
- Titanium Plates – These have many of the same benefits as ceramics including even heat distribution. One of the main benefits of titanium over ceramic plates is the way they work (not getting into technical details) releases moisture as opposed to removing it. This decreases the risk of drying out hair which leaves it brittle and helps maintain shine. Titanium plates get fast results as they heat up really quickly and are great for thicker hair. However, I do not recommend them for anyone using flat irons everyday as you can damage and burn hair through repeated use of the high temperatures the titanium plates reach.
- Tourmaline Plates – Tourmaline is a mineral that is used to help smooth the hair. It is crushed up and coated on to regular plates to create tourmaline plates. These are great for keeping frizz at bay and helping dry hair retaining moisture leaving it smooth and shiny. Their biggest disadvantage and therefore most likely way of causing damage is the same as ceramic coated plates. The fact the tourmaline coating can easily peel or chip off results in uneven heat distribution and those dreaded ‘hot spots’ which can lead to burns.
One more thing to be aware of when considering plates is the width. Most are 1 inch in width and this in general is suitable for most people. Larger widths (up to 2 inches) are available and you should think of investing in these if you have long or thick hair. For people with short or fine hair there are plates available narrower than the standard 1 inch but are not as readily available so whilst you should look out for one, a 1 inch will suffice.
One of the most obvious dangers flat irons pose is not even to our straight hair! Worldwide, hospitals have reported an increasing number of burn cases involving flat irons. Worryingly, many of the victims are youngsters and hair straighteners are now thought to be the biggest cause of burns to children. These incidents can occur when children grab ones which have been left to cool and with many reaching temperatures hotter than a clothes iron it is obvious what damage can be done. Although it should go without saying, always make sure your flat irons are kept well out of reach to stop this from happening.
Minor accidents can occur. How many of us have managed to touch the side of our hand on the plate or drop them on our foot!? If the damage is severe please do seek medical attention. If it is minor, immediately run the burn under cold water for at least 10 minutes and this should minimize any further damage.
So, after all this scare-mongering you may be wondering what you can do to help minimize all this potential damage. There are many products out there offering heat protection. The easiest to use and most readily available is a heat protection spray. All you do is spray it on to dry hair, wait five minutes and begin straightening. Make sure you get it on to the ends as this is where damage is most likely to occur. There are also some great shampoos and conditioners out there targeted to nourish damaged hair.
Technique is also important. Never clamp down too hard and drag your hair along – it should effortlessly glide through. Also, keep moving – don’t stay on one area too long as this is a great way to burn your hair. My biggest tip is NEVER use flat irons on wet hair. I know there are ‘wet to dry’ straighteners out there and I’m not suggesting they don’t do the job but straightening wet hair can seriously damage it. It WILL make it dry, frizzy, brittle and prone to breaking off and should be avoided at all costs.
I hope this has given you the knowledge and confidence you need to use your flat irons in a way that minimizes damage whilst keeping your hair sleek and stylish!
Loose powder and the powder brush
Most women consider that they can’t live or at least walk out of the house without wearing makeup. This is why so many techniques and products have been created in order to create a much natural look and also last longer.
One of these products is the face powder, a product that comes in two different packages: the loose powder and the compact powder. There are many discussions regarding which of these are better, but now we are focusing on the loose powder and the method of appliance, the powder brush or even a stippling brush.
The loose powder is a cosmetic product that must be applied on the face in order to set the makeup foundation in its place and to minimize any shines caused by the oils in the skin. Throughout the day, it can be re-applied without having to redo the entire makeup. If you are planning on using this type of powder, it is best to know that this type of powder also comes in two different shades: a translucent sheer and a pigmented tone.
Visit this website for more reviews on what they consider the best makeup brush sets available on the market.
A great thing about this type of powder is that if it contains sunscreen protection, it will help protect the skin from any damage created by the sun.
Here are a few tips to use in order the create the perfect look that will reflect light, making it more natural, just by using a loose powder makeup:
1. Before getting started, make sure you choose the type of powder that best suits your skin tone and complexion. A piece of advice for choosing the color is that you have to test it on your face and not your hands. The reason for doing this is that in general, the skin of the face has a different color than the skin on your hands.
2. Always put your makeup in a room that has proper lighting. If you do not follow the rules, the chances are that when you go outside, the makeup looks totally different from the one you saw in the mirror. Keep in mind that you can also apply the powder with a stippling brush.
3. Firstly, apply a thin layer of moisturizer and let the skin absorb it before proceeding to the next step. If not, you will risk ruining the rest of the makeup. The next step is to cover and blemishes or acne with a concealer. The same goes for the concealer: don’t go heavy because you have to apply a layer of foundation and powder. Imagine what it would look like with layer after layer of heavy coating of makeup.
4. When applying the foundation, keep in mind that it is designed to be used in small amounts. It is recommended to use a Kabuki brush to apply the foundation and the key for obtaining a quality makeup is to apply it by making a swirling motion on your face. The best strategy for a correct application is to start from the forehead and go down on the nose and in the area above the superior lip. Then, apply it under the eyes, cheeks, jawline and don’t forget the neck. Keep in mind to double check the hairline to see if you have applied it correctly and nor borders of color have appeared. Now, relax a little bit while the makeup dries.
5. The next step is to tap your loose powder into the lid of the jar or on a clean surface and be careful not to use a big quantity because it has an intense composition. Use a quality brush to dip into the powder and swirl it a little so you can get rid of the excess product and simply apply it as you did with the full coverage foundation. Once again, relax and let it set for a couple of minutes.
6. Once everything is dry and fixed, check your face again carefully to see if you missed any spots. Remember, you can re-apply the powder at any given moment of the day. Don't forget that with a good stippling brush you can apply powder as well.
One of the most important aspects that any woman that uses or wants to learn how to use a loose powder is that perfect results can only be obtained by using a powder brush and not a finger or a makeup sponge. The reason is that using a brush will guarantee a smooth and finished look, while using any other methods will expose your face to different types of bacteria and you will also obtain an uneven layer of makeup.
Although a high-end brand of powder brushes and loose powder can be considered by many an investment due to the high prices they present, all these will last for a longer period of time than the normal, cheaper ones. A reason is the fact that when using a quality brush and a quality loose powder, there won’t be any excess product wasted unnecessarily. If you think about it, you will realize that in time, the costs spent on ordinary products will be just as significant as the price given on a quality product.
I travel a lot, and since I'm a big fan of beauty products I like to pick up local beauty essentials everywhere I go. From India, to Germany, to Great Britain and America; I like to see what the local girls are using and have a go myself.
Shower time is probably my favorite time of the day. It's when my brain is first awake and I can start making those adult decisions that my day is so plagued with.
Which soap to use? Which shampoo? Conditioner or hair mask? Face scrub or soap?
These are all decisions people have to make every time they take a shower. So, let me introduce you into the world of my shower-time decisions and tell you about some of the wonderful beauty products I've picked up over my travels.
I love Kerastase products for my hair. Though it's a French company, I find that they have pretty good prices for these products in Germany. They smell gorgeous and leave my hair so silky and soft. It's like I've been to the salon! If buying the whole range is a little out of your budget, then just get the conditioner and use regular shampoo.
Staying in Germany, Weleda make some really amazing products. I love their shower creams but more than that, their conditioning hair oils really need to be tried at least once. If I'm coming close to needing a new haircut, I just use this and all my split ends are kept at bay for a few more weeks. Perfect!
Korres is a Greek company that has boomed in the past two years. I am in love with the scent of their vanilla plum shower gel – it's so sweet and soothing that it's the perfect pick-me-up product.
If I am showering in the evening after a run, then I love America's Bath and Body Works' stress relief body wash. It smells slightly manly but it certainly helps me wind down ready to sleep. What's more interesting is that they have many more products in this stress relief range so if you want to keep the scent for longer, you can pick up the whole set.
In the UK there's a drug store called Boots that has its own wonderful range of organic and natural skin care products. The range is called Botanics, and their All Bright Purifying face scrub is one of the best I've tried – much better than the most expensive scrubs you can get out there.
Though it's not for the shower, it's worth mentioning now that as a post makeup removing cleanser, I love the American Bliss Clog Dissolving Cleansing Milk that I picked up in New York. It makes my skin feel so soft and it's gentle enough to prevent breakouts.
When I was in India I found out about neem oil. It's a stinky natural oil that can be used on the skin to treat rashes, spots and any other skin problems. I use it on my dry elbows, and on pimples if I have any. The perfect post-shower care!
Being of African American descent, my kinky hair has always presented a styling challenge. Nothing I have done, bar wearing my hair very close-shaven, has afforded me the luxury of style and versatility. I love to follow trends, or at least, attempt to, but, the longer I let my hair grow, the more of a challenge it becomes. I have never been interested in wearing wigs or extensions, as I prefer a more natural look.
Over the years I have tried every sort of styling tool known to man, (or at least, known to me) from pomades and silicone creams, to chemical relaxers, to brushing and blow drying, and finally, to flat irons. The results were always less than ideal. Some products would leave a filmy build-up on my hair, causing it to look dirty or dull, others, would render my hair brittle and lifeless, while yet others, would only ADD to the frizz, rather than reduce it.
Finally, as per the recommendation of a stylist friend, I tried the Remington Wet 2 Straight Slim Plate Wet/Dry Straightening Iron. This was the first time I had actually ever used a wet/dry variety of straightening iron, and I was very intrigued by the idea of being able to eliminate the time-consuming, arduous, blow drying step.
I washed my hair, towel-dried it, and began straightening. My hair at this time was just long enough to fit the slim paddles of the product, which seemed to glide effortlessly down the length of each shaft. Within a few steamy strokes, I could see the results. My hair was taking on a new luster, one I’d never seen before. In just another few short moments, I was completely coiffed, and, flawlessly so at that. I looked as if I had just stepped out of a high end salon. I was literally stunned. I remember thinking, is this MY hair???? And, it was so simple, let alone, cost effective. I fell in love and vowed to never use another straightening product. Ever.
This straightening iron by Remington boasts many desirable features, in addition to the one step wet/dry aspect, such as a prominently displayed digital control with 26 heat settings, a compact design, (which makes for easy travel), and steam vents, which release excess moisture. Since that first time, I have used my iron innumerable times, and my hair has since grown to chin-length. I am still amazed at how well this product works, and how it has actually bettered the overall condition of my hair. I can now wear a variety of trendy "dos", and do so with the utmost confidence. While there may be cheaper products on the market, I can tell you, first hand, that none can hold a candle to the Remington Wet 2 Straight Slim Plate Wet/Dry Straightening Iron. It is an investment that pays for itself a hundred fold, and I cannot recommend it strongly enough!
When you want to boost your skincare regime, it's all too easy to reach for a cocktail of creams, serums and gels. But how many of us look at what we put inside our bodies to get amazing skin? While we all try to eat out 7-a-day and drink enough water, we should be looking more to our skin as a window to our stomach, since the two are very connected.
Since childhood we're fed with tales about food that are just too good to be true – carrots can help us see in the dark? Spinach can help us grow massive muscles? It's no wonder we rarely think of food as being any more than just something tasty to eat, without considering the side effects.
There are many foods out there that can help you get supermodel level amazing skin, such as sunburn fighting tomatoes, brazil nuts, which can help prevent acne, and of course everyone's favorite superfood kale, which is packed with more vitamins than you can shake a stick at. But have you ever considered Japanese cuisine for great skin?
The fish on top of your sushi can of course help you with all that omega-3 it has inside but you might want to look a bit deeper into Japanese food, to a little thing called “natto”. Such a cute name but unfortunately the food itself isn't the cutest. Natto are fermented soy beans that come with a strong smell and a taste that's something one needs to get used to. It's a key food item in Japan, eaten by many people for breakfast and used by many women to keep their skin in tip-top condition.
This superfood is packed with pyrroloquinoline quinone, commonly known as PQQ. PQQ is a micronutrient which has an antioxidant affect on your skin, working with protein structures within your cells. Which is a lot of words to mean that natto is a great addition to your skincare regime!
So, how can you eat this mildly smelly food to get the best effects?
Firstly, you can find natto in most asian supermarkets. It's usually sold in packs of 3 or 4 in the freezer section, ready for you to thaw them out in your refrigerator at home. One pack is one serving, and you should mix the soy sauce and mustard into the natto, then stir with some chopsticks until it is sticky. Japanese people usually eat it over rice for breakfast, but for those wanting to avoid carbs, it can be delicious mixed with other skin-boosting foods such as avocado, tomatoes and beetroot to make a delicious beauty salad! Since natto has fewer calories than even normal soy beans, you don't even have to watch your waist!
Next time you look in the mirror and wish for a little boost for your face, instead of grabbing the newest cream or serum, how about heading to the asian supermarket instead? The results may surprise you!
After years of struggling with different kinds of foundation, I decided in January that 2014 would be the year that I'd spend a little bit more money on things that matter to me – and foundation is one of these things. So many times I've bought a “bargain” foundation that slipped off of my face by lunchtime, or that came off on my hands every time I touched my face. And so, I decided to try spending a little bit more money to see if my problems would be solved.
The Chantecaille's “Future Skin” foundation was the first thing I splashed out on. It's not cheap at all but from testing it out in the store, it seemed to me to be worth the money. I have the shade of porcelain which is just the perfect fit for my tone. I hear that their darker shades are also really great at matching to skin shade as well – you've got to love companies that cater for the whole spectrum.
While I'm on the subject of Chantecaille being a nice company, I'd like to point out that not only do they not test any of their products on animals, but they also give money to different organizations that help elephants, sea turtles, coral reefs, dolphins, whales, butterflies, sustainable fishing AND honey bees (phew!) Knowing all that makes the heavy price tag a little bit less guilt inducing!
So back to the “Future Skin” foundation. The first time I’ve used it, I have to say, I wasn't impressed. The coverage wasn't as good as I hoped and it just looked cakey. I was using a foundation brush, like I have been for years. Since I was feeling pretty disappointed, I decided to look online to see if anyone else had had the same problem but it seems that everyone who had the same problem as me found that they were applying it wrong. The tip is to pat it into your skin with your fingertips – no need for any brushes or sponges! They also said that two thin layers works best.
After applying the foundation I went out for brunch with some girlfriends and they wouldn't stop asking if I was in a new relationship – they said I was simply glowing! Well, I certainly hope my luminous new face will help me find my Prince Charming!
At the end of the day I checked my face up close to see how well the foundation has stayed on my skin. It was all still there, still bright and not cakey at all. With it being so sheer and needing layers only in the places that need more coverage, it means that there's less to cake up, less to slip off and it keeps everything looking natural and pretty.
Chantecaille's “Future Skin” foundation has been a lifesaver for me. Gone are my days of bad quality makeup piled on my face. With this foundation I can be fresh and luminous every day!
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The weather is warming up and it's time to start changing your wardrobe to suit your fashion. But what happens if you don't want to give up your winter fashion comforts just yet?
I have always disliked summer and loved winter. I love when the leaves turn brown and the crunching sound under my boots when you step on leaves. Sweaters layered over shirts with pretty collars, skirts over warm tights. Alas, many of these things can't be brought forward into summer. Layers under armpits will of course cause BO problems, and no one wants to be that person who's still wearing tights on the first day of sunshine.
But boots ARE a thing that can be worn in the summer, as well. Last year I went to London and bought some gorgeous black boots with cutouts on the sides. They've been my staple piece all winter and they've been my feet's best friend.
Now it's warm outside and I just don't want to give up these boots. I'm not ready just yet to set my feet free in sandals, so here is my mini style guide for using boots like these even when it starts to get hot outside.
1. Ease into summer slowly with cut-out ankle boots and knee high socks. The perfect way to get cooler without suddenly baring all!
2. If you can't wait to get your pins out, try some frilly ankle socks. Perfect for peeping through the side holes.
3. Go boho chic with some skinny jeans and a flowing top.
4. If you like your style to be even more free, then go sans socks with a light, long skirt. Perfect style for festivals!
5. If you prefer leggings then there are even more options still. Have fun playing around with colored leggings and your bare feet showing through the holes. Pair with a short dress, or a tunic and you're good to go!
Those are just some ideas – we'd love to hear your fashion tips for cutout boots in summer! Let us know in the comments!