Dear Reader: I Finally Love My Hair

 

Unruly, fine, wavy and frizzy (course even, before decent products were invented) were the words I would use to describe my hair.  I hated my hair being combed as a child and developed a habit (that I still have to this day) of twiddling it.  Knots are my nemesis.

 

For years I’ve used products to wash it that ‘help’ a comb or brush glide through it.  I can really pack on the conditioner and I love my in-shower Tangle Teezer Hairbrush that helps me through the unpleasant task of clearing the knots post-wash.

 

Using over-the-counter shampoos and conditioners I didn’t care that there was a build up of ‘coating’ that never appeared to wash away.  In all honesty I was just glad to get some shine and it be more manageable.

 

However, I noticed that the ‘coating’ was enabling my hair to become a little slick.  In an oily, rather than an effortless way.  It never felt clean after washing and I had to wash it every other day or it appeared to be moulded plastic rather than a gorgeous glossy mane.

 

In true Gail Painter-style I thought ah well that’s my lot.  But it so isn’t.  I must tell you about an absolutely fantastic shampoo and conditioner that has absolutely changed my hair.  Really.

 

I didn’t go looking for it in all honesty (see above, GP settles statement).  I was approached by the Josh Wood Colour team to try its range.  To back up my review, a good friend of mine also tried some products.  We have different hair colour/treatments – I have highlights and she has coloured dark brown hair, which is lovely and thick, where I have fine hair, but both of us have waves to be tamed.

 

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On holiday with me in Amalfi, Italy, last year.

 

I just want to jump straight to the punch here and tell you that since trialling the products, which was nearly a year ago, we have repeat purchased and notify each other if we ever see money-off deals so that we can stock up.  In a nutshell, we’re loyal fans.  I know that I and other bloggers review products all the time, but this trial has triggered a permanent purchase change for both of us and that’s why I feel so strongly about sharing it with you all these months later.

 

So, what do I buy?  I use Josh Wood Colour Uplifting Shampoo for blonde hair prone to frizz (RRP £10), Josh Wood Colour Shade Refreshing Conditioner for fine blonde hair (RRP £10).  I also have the Josh Wood Colour Everything Mask (RRP £15), but I’ve only used it a few times.  I don’t need it that often.  That says a lot.  The range is sulphate and paraben-free so gentle on your hair and leaving it free of the synthetic feeling I had gotten used to with other products.

 

Just using the two main products – shampoo and conditioner – is enough for me.  I also use these sparingly.  I do apply two washes because the shampoo doesn’t lather up very much (no sulphate) and the old me has been trained to see a lot of bubbles.  At first, I was put off because there didn’t seem to be much lather and I doubted its ability to work, but now I use a short squirt to get rid of the top layer of everyday grime and a second to give it a good clean.  Then its conditioner, Tangle- Teezer and I’m done.

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For the first time my hair is manageable, while also being clean.  I don’t need to have lots of product on it to manage the waves. It doesn’t look frizzy.  It doesn’t feel or look greasy.  It’s proper hair.

 

I’m obsessed with it.  Can you tell.

 

My friend absolutely loves the Everything Mask. She was really pleased with how much shine it gave her hair and that it was so soft.  She also loved the pump applicator, which was easier and more manageable to use than squeezing a tube.  I’m guessing the aim is to provide you with just the right amount to use, rather than overloading your palm.  She also has the Josh Wood Colour Darker Brown Blending Brush (RRP £15), which really impressed her for its coverage of those annoying grey hairs.

 

 

We buy ours from Boots and I’ve spoken to my hairdresser about it several times, because she has noticed the difference in the manageability and colour of my hair. It offers a salon quality, but with a high-street price.  It’s not your value brand, but it’s a great halfway house and for the results an absolute steal.

 

 

I love, love, love it and simply had to share.  My crowning glory is here at last!

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xx

 

Trying a Hydrating Face Gel For The First Time

 

Parched skin can be tricky to combat at any time of the year, but mine suffers more in the winter, as I expect yours might do too.

 

In outright combat with central heating, poor weather, a nasty cold that turned into sinusitis and, erm, more wine than normal (it was December), my skin was feeling slightly tighter (read. dry) than usual.

 

I hunkered down, deep into my beauty cabinet, to flush out as many face masks as I could, while also finding a very good use for a new product that I had asked to trial from Bristol-based Amphora Aromatics.

 

You’ll know that I’m a fan of Amphora Aromatics’ oils  – I use the Rosehip Seed Oil (link to blog post here) constantly – so when I spotted that they had a new hydrating face gel and loved the texture on the back of my hand, I asked if I could review and share the info with you.

 

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I don’t think I’ve used a gel instead of a cream or oil-based moisturiser before, but honestly I absolutely loved the way this product immediately melted in to my skin, leaving it silky to the touch. I wanted to learn more.

 

What the brand says:

AA Skincare’s vegan-friendly Rejuvenating Rose Hydrating Face Gel is the perfect pick-me-up for dry and tired complexions.  Like a health drink for skin, used daily, it can help slow down signs of ageing such as pigmentation, fine lines and small wrinkles.   Light, refreshing and suitable for all skin types, it is packed with soothing and rejuvenating ingredients such as Comfrey, Rose Geranium, Lavender and Carrot Seed Oil. 

 

What I say:

If I’m honest, I assumed because it was a gel there would be some tackiness to the skin on application, but no, my skin was super smooth from the moment I applied it, using a half a teaspoon-size blob each time.  I used it twice a day, finding the push down pump applicator really easy to work with and used most of the 50 ml pot (RRP £6.96) in 30 days. 

 

My skin felt hydrated and soft, but on some days, due to the skin issues mentioned above, I went back to the bathroom and added a further layer of Rosehip Seed Oil – only in the morning – for that extra boost I obviously needed.

 

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I guess on those days the gel acted as a nutritious serum in my skincare routine – adding an initial layer of natural ingredients.  Certainly, two layers of moisturising product wasn’t overkill for me.  I like to layer it up!  

 

You might be interested to know that there are other products in the range that complement and work with the gel, which includes a Frankincense and Rose Cream (best seller) and a moisturising lotion and toner of the same name. 

 

As my skin was in dire need of some extra TLC I also had a pot of the Frankincense and Rose Clay Face Mask (100ml pot RRP £7.98) and as you can imagine I made good use of it.  Deeply cleansing, I found the mask gave my skin a real boost, shaking off the dull, tired look it had developed, leaving it looking brighter and feeling more nourished. 

 

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To use, it was simply a case of slathering a layer over face and neck and leaving the mask on for five mins, while I had a catch up on Instagram 😉, then I washed it off with a clean face flannel (I buy mine from Superdrug or Primark, as suggested by a friend, you don’t need anything expensive)

 

It was a good month, in the end, and I really loved and would recommend the products.  You can never have too much armour in the cabinet, can you? If you’re interested in these products you can find out more by visiting www.aaskincare.co.uk.

 

Also, please let me know what you’ve been using.  We need all the help we can get.

 

Have a great weekend.

 

 

 

Gail xx

The One Foundation I Keep Buying

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I love trying new make-up, but this week I want to share with you a beauty product that I’ve just re-stocked.  It’s a hard-working, effective foundation and I really love it.

 

Rimmel London’s Wake Me Up Anti-Fatigue Skin Brightening Foundation with Vitamin C and SPF 20 just ticks all the boxes for my tired skin and the price makes my purse happy too.

 

I don’t normally buy drug store foundations.  Indeed, I love Estee Lauder, Chanel and Marks & Spencer’s Autograph foundations, but I work from home mostly, so wearing expensive make-up that only SP and the postman sees, feels like a waste of money (sorry babe).

 

I started to look around for something under a tenner.  It had to have SPF cause those rays will catch you, even if you’re putting the washing out, and I wanted an element of glow added to my skin, some kind of illuminating power that could help me look alive.

 

Rimmel is a classic brand.  If it’s a good enough for Kate, it’s good enough for me and when I caught sight of its anti-fatigue qualities, I was intrigued.

 

 

What the brand says (taken from Boots website):

* Rimmel Wake Me Up, a foundation that instantly reawakens skin with a healthy, radiant glow and minimizes premature skin ageing

* Formula has a smooth, light texture that effortlessly glides onto your skin, leaving you with a lightweight foundation that feels barely there, yet gives you 100% poreless coverage and a flawless natural finish

* Instantly eliminates signs of tiredness and lifts skin from fatigue, while the use of peptides means elasticity is increased, so your skin recovers and bounces back more quickly

* Luminizing foundation contains radiance pearls, which illuminate your skin for a healthy, radiant glow that’ll get rid of any greyness in no time

* Silky smooth, light formula to feel as if you’re wearing nothing at all

* Contains radiance pearls to illuminate the skin and give you a healthy glow

 

What I say:

* It really does what it says on the tin and leaves me with illuminated skin

* It has a soft, creamy texture that I really like, but I don’t feel like I’m wearing lots of make-up

* The pump dispenses just the right amount of product

* SPF, SPF, SPF (my last drug store foundation from Bourjois didn’t have it and I had to give it up)

* I use a foundation brush to apply and the coverage is evenly applied

* Did I mention, it’s only £8.99 for a 30ml bottle

 

What others say (my mate Louise who asked me for a recommendation):

* Love how it dispenses from the pump – hate it when there is no pump and you have to use finger/back of hand

* Blends evenly over face

* Great range of colours

* Skin feels soft.  No caked/tight feeling that some foundation leaves you with

* Love that is has SPF

* Lasts all day and it is great value

 

Pretty good reviews eh!  If you’re in need of a little freshen up on the foundation front you might get on with this one.  Available in Boots, Super Drug and lots of other places for a under a tenner.

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xx

Three Bright New Lipsticks And An Old Nude

 

What’s a girl to do when she is desperate to freshen up her look, but either has no time to roam the shops or is light on spending money?  Head straight to the make-up counter, that’s what!  It’s how I came to up my pout action this winter.

 

The quickest, easiest way to make you feel a bit perkier, more confident and a whole heap better when you have zero time is to slather on a new lippy.  It can be a total game changer, not just to your face, but your whole appearance.

 

It started when I was working at an event one evening in Bath last Autumn.  Greeting guests I wanted to look smart, welcoming and professional, but I didn’t have lots of time, so I dressed in my usual ‘smart PR uniform’ and ran out the door.

 

Getting closer to the venue, I realised I had 10 mins spare, so I quickly nipped in to the nearest store that I knew had a MAC counter (luckily opposite where I was working) and caught the attention of the nearest assistant.

 

Here’s the tip if you’re going to make a purchase with confidence and not dally around, ask for help.  I briefed the assistant on the look I wanted to achieve (I want people to ‘see’ me) and voila, within three minutes I was wearing Tropic Tonic, a matte finish high power coral.

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Thrilled that I was finally out of nudes and not wearing Rimmel Heather on loop I ventured back to MAC, this time in Bristol, and asked the assistant to help me identify which shade of red would suit me.  We should always have at least one good red in our armoury, don’t you think?

 

I have a range of red lipsticks in my make-up kit, none of which I’m entirely confident with and I really wanted a look that had stand-out and add some brightness to the amount of dark winter colours I would be wearing.  Boom.  This is Mangrove, a bright, matte finish, red.

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Both colours get me through Christmas and now I’m on a roll, so I go through my make-up drawer and find that I’ve empty make-up containers of MAC cosmetics.  A quick look online confirms that MAC still run a fantastic recycling campaign – take six empties back and you can pick up a brand new lipstick for FREE.  Off I go to John Lewis at Cribbs Causeway on the lookout for a new pink.

 

Looking for a hot pink I’m disappointed when the assistant advises against anything that has a ‘blue’ tone (it won’t suit my skin tone, which needs more warmth), but once the assistant pops Twig on my lips I quickly change my mind.

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I love this pink and I can dial up or down the depth of shade it is by layering, blotting and re-layering it on my lips.  This brownish-pink lipstick has satin finish and is more creamy than the other two.

 

Three new looks and I feel really happy with them.  So much so that I am throwing out a number of lipsticks that I purchased a few years which don’t really do that much for me.  You know, the ones that you keep for when you get some colour?  I have a bunch of them!

 

One nude that is staying the course is Velvet Teddy (in Matte).  It is quite a rich deep-toned beige in the stick, but I was surprised how light it looked in this picture.

 

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A great everyday lipstick, Velvet Teddy is my kind of nude.  I would love to wear baby pinks and creams, but they absolutely drain my face, so I think sticking to brighter colours is the way forward for me, particularly as I’m getting older. I want colour to lift and brighten face that make me feel good, inside and out.

 

Perhaps try this trick next time you need a little lift.

 

Have a fun weekend.

 

Gail xx

 

Do you like to wear brighter lipsticks?  What brands do you love/hate?  Please share your thoughts below…

 

Brow-sing Into The Future And A New Me (Part 2)

 

It has been a few months since I jumped at the chance to have my eyebrows micro-bladed and I thought I should give you an update, just in case you’re thinking of taking the plunge yourself.

 

First off, I must tell you how happy I am that I don’t have to pencil in my brows every morning any more.  Wearing glasses, nearly all the time, means that putting on make-up has gotten harder to do, so “feathering in” some brows was getting tricky.

 

Secondly, like most women, I don’t have much spare time, so not having to visit a beauty salon every three weeks means a lot to me.

 

The last time I wrote about micro-blading I had just had my first treatment, so here I want to share with you what happens in more detail.

 

My appointment started with a full consultation (read. discussion) about what I wanted to achieve.  “Natural-looking brows please.  I’m not interested in those dark, slug-like eyebrows the kids are wearing.”  It’s always better to say it like it is, don’t you think?!

 

Unfazed by my anxiety, Lisa, the (fabulous) brow technician, explained that she would do tiny light-handed strokes that looked just like real hair and we agreed on a mid ash-brown that literally matched my natural hair colour.  She grabbed a stencil and ruler, measured where my eyebrow should begin and end and penciled in an outline.  Happy with the result, Lisa applied numbing cream.

 

I was very grateful for this.  I’m not a fan of pricks or tattooing and after waiting 20 minutes for the cream to take affect Lisa began to make tiny, upwards strokes using a micro-blading tool, then fill the tiny channel with pigment.  I could feel what she was doing, but it didn’t hurt.  Nothing more than a slight pull of skin or scratch.

 

Initially, the colour is dark, by at least 50% I would say, and you can’t wash the area for a week.  I had to apply Vaseline with a cotton bud to each brow four times a day and particularly before washing my face and having a shower, to keep the area clean.  Some people can bleed a little when they have the treatment, but I didn’t, so I was fine from the get-go and I was glad to stop the Vaseline, once the seven days were up.

 

The colour started to fade and leave me with more natural eyebrows from 10 days onwards. If I’m honest, I would have been happy to go with what I had, but you always have two appointment, with a four week gap in between.  I went back a month later and Lisa checked for any gaps, filled these and went over the brow lightly again.

 

Today, three months after my top-up appointment, my brows look like this….

 

 

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I honestly could not be happier or recommend the procedure enough.  Unless I need to pluck a few hairs, I don’t even have to think about my brows.  The transformation in my make-up routine alone has made the procedure worth every penny.

 

Lisa charges £250.00 and that includes the top-up/follow-up appointment.  I think it’s really good value for money. The eyebrows help shape my face with or without make-up and I no longer look like Miss Hannigan.  Bonus!

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xx