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.

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

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.

 

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…

 

The Eyes Have It

There was a time when my eye area was not at its best.  Late nights, early mornings and let’s be honest, too many post-work drinks, had really taken its toll.  I thought I’d done permanent damage.  Thankfully, however, it was not too late, cleaner living (only having a few glasses Thursday – Saturday!!) put paid to puffy bags and swapping wine for water and getting more sleep, started to reduce the dark rings.  Phew.

 

However, you can’t stop the signs of ageing and I’ve mentioned this before, my eye area needs extra attention.  So when I spotted a well known style blogger asking her readers how she could improve the dark shadows underneath her eyes, I tuned in.

 

Turns out, this little baby – Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer – is one of the most popular products around, with readers saying it was their absolute favourite.

 

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I obviously hot footed it to the nearest department store and asked a willing assistant to match me a shade and came home with Light 3 Honey (£23.00, House of Fraser)

 

It’s early days, but I am in love with the results.  It is creamy and simply glides on to the skin.  Light to touch, you can build up layer-by-layer to the level of coverage you want.  I use it lightly on the lines from my nose to my mouth, and around the nose, then build up coverage around the eye area.

 

When I pull the wand from the tube I can literally see the radiance from the product.  Nars pack it with antioxidants and it is very hydrating, so it’s not going to dry out the area, which is exactly what you need.  Dry, cakey make-up accentuates wrinkles. The dewy-look is not just in fashion, it’s the only way forward as I pick up speed towards the Barbara Cartland years.

 

It is not the only product that I’m currently loving.  The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted Boots Beautiful Skin Overnight Revitalising Eye Balm.  Part of a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law, this tube lives on my bedside table, so that I make sure to use it, and has quickly become an integral part of my beauty regime.  I really like it.

 

I just use a tiny amount under each eye on clean, slightly damp skin, before I go bed.  It’s hypo-allergenic, so no irritation and because I’m already in bed, it can sink into my skin as I sleep and do its job, which Boots says is to “visibly improve dark circles and puffiness”.  Does it work?  I’m not sure if this alone is improving my eyes area,  but overall my eyes are looking better.  Of course, I don’t think I’ve found a miracle!  But, my little mix of all the above seems to be working its magic, and that’s good enough for me. I’ll keep on using this bag of tricks if I look less haggard.

 

Have you tried either product and found the same or different results? Please share in the comments below.  Or, if you use other good stuff, again share with me and let readers know what’s in your bag of tricks.

 

Thanks and have a great weekend.

 

Gail xx

Natural Is Essential

I’m a big fan of using an oil on my skin at night.  When I was young, it was enough that I remembered to take off the day’s make-up. Nowadays, there is a Routine, which involves putting something back in to the skin, after I’ve taken all the crap, u-hum, expensive make-up, off.

 

There are some real miracle creams out there, and I like a few, but for a real glow that is evident the next day, I like to use an oil.  It has hours to sink in, eight if I’m lucky (I’m loving these perimenopausal years).  At least while I toss and turn the night away I know something good is happening and can see it the next day.

 

So, I was delighted to be invited to an open evening at Amphora Aromatics the other week.  In truth, I hadn’t heard of the brand before, but what a little powerhouse of quality products on my doorstep it is.  A family run business in Clifton with a store on Cotham Hill, it is one of the UK’s largest suppliers of essential oils and aromatherapy products.

 

Walking around the store, there’s literally thousands of products to choose from, from skin creams to shampoos and cleansers to candles, but it was the vast range of essential oils that caught my eye and I was delighted when  Clinical Aromatherapist, Zoë Green, asked me if there was a specific treatment that I was looking for.

 

Now, do you remember the other week, when I found out that the centre of my face is quite red (around the nose area)?  The disappointing part of spotting something awry in the beauty department, is that you can’t un-see it, and I’ve found myself not wearing make-up to see if, by some miracle, it’s vanished.  It has not.

 

Now bugging me, I spoke to Zoë about said issue and she said that I should try Amphora Aromatics Chamomoile Matricaria Essential Oil (£3.60).  Highly beneficial for the skin, it has soothing and calming properties that can help me, over time, reduce the redness.  Pre-diluted to 5% in grapeseed oil, I can use this product straight out of the bottle.  I’m giving it a go, but it’s too early to share the results with you.  I’ll keep you posted.

 

Amphora also do my favourite, Rosehip Seed Oil.   I’ve tried other brands, so I was keen to give this one a try. Recognised as a wonder oil, I know that Rosehip is good for your skin – personally I love the glowing soft skin I get when I use it.  Rich in Omega 3 and essential fatty acids, it also contains Vitamins C, E and F and also really helps with scarring, so popular for stretch marks.  I also noticed that you get more for your buck in this store – Amphora Rosehip Seed Oil, 100ml £10.80, unnamed competitor, 20 ml, £19.99.

 

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It was my first forage in the store and I really wanted to focus on the “Red Centre”, but there’s so much good stuff that I want to go back and investigate further.  All the Amphora essential oils are 100% pure, from one botanical source, unless they state otherwise.  The benefits are both physical and psychological and if they’re sourced naturally, from plants and herbs, then that must be good.

 

I do believe in having an arsenal of beauty products to hand.  The is nothing to stop you layering products on as you need them.  You can use a night serum, night cream and essential oil, if you think your skin needs some extra moisture.  Yes, I’ve been reading up!  Did you know that if you are layering, you should put oil on last?  No, well, it’s recommended that you start with water-based products and work up to the oil, so that each product has a chance to do its magic and the oil seals the deal.  I actually just use Rosehip Seed Oil on it’s own at night.  For me, a few drops of this good stuff is all I need.

 

I really like this modern way of looking after your skin.  My mum would probably swear by using a tub of Ponds Cold Cream (some of you may remember this wonder cream of its time), but where’s the fun in that.  I feel like I’m now making more of an effort and you know what they say, if you study hard, you’ll get the results you want.

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xx