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Wednesday

Zhuzh Tan Accelator- A Faster Deeper Natural Sun Tan?



These two Zhuzh products are designed to 'accelerate' your tan- they claim to boost natural pigment in the skin to help you develop a deep, long lasting tan quickly in the sun. The Tan Accelerator £15.99 and Best of Both Tans Luxury Daily Moisturiser £15.99 both contain the 'tan accelerating' ingredients, but the moisturiser also has a gradual self tan that aims to add extra colour on top of a quick natural tan.

I was sent these products a while ago but because of the weather I haven't a real chance to try them out until now. I was really intrigued and had high hopes for both of them as I don't tan well in the sun but I would love to be naturally bronzed.

The Zhuzh Tan Accelerator comes in a spray bottle and the product is applied to skin on top of SPF and then rubbed in. The Daily Moisturiser is also applied on top of SPF, but instead of a light mist, the product is a thick cream that needs a bit of work before it is fully blended. Both products left my skin feeling smooth and moisturised, and after a few hours in the sun I was completely... the same colour. I've tried each of the products several times, especially when wearing shorts or other clothing that would leave a visible tan line, but they really don't seem to do anything at all for me. Even the moisturiser with gradual tan didn't seem to impart any colour on my skin.


The spray and cream are both water based, and the only ingredient advertised on the packaging or website is Shea Butter. Looking through the ingredients there's a list of things I can't pronounce, but the ones I do recognise are several alcohols, parabens, fragrances and silicone. This leads me to wonder whether the products really are doing anything magical to my melatonin or whether they've been based on some kind of research that suggests skin tans faster when it is moisturised. 

While the product line is a great idea and something we could really do with in England, I was left disappointed with two formulas that turned out to really just moisturise and do little else. They both seem to have some good reviews online, though, so I'd be interested to hear if they've worked for anyone else as maybe they'd do better on different skin.




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Friday

How Laser Hair Removal Treatment Works

Do you feel like your home is a war zone? Are you always fighting with your unwanted hair? What happens when you've tried waxing, shaving, and plucking and are just at the end of your tether? Then it might be time to see if you're a good candidate for laser hair removal. But first, there are some basics you should know about the process.

Why Hair Disappears for Longer Time Periods After Laser Treatment
When you shave or wax away your unwanted hair, you'll probably notice it starting to grow back after just a couple of days. In fact, most of us have been known to shave or wax at least once a week. That's why laser procedures can look like miracle fixes, since the hair might stay away for weeks. Sometimes it might not grow back at all, but why is that?

The answer is simple. Techniques like shaving only remove the hair that shows on top of your skin, but those hairs grow up from below the surface. Think of hair as being like a vegetable that grows out of the ground from a seed. You can chop off the plants, but the root systems are still intact underneath the soil. It's the same way with hair.

Luckily, laser devices have been designed that can target hair at the roots, also known as follicles. When those roots are damaged or destroyed, it discourages regrowth. It might take weeks for the follicles to repair themselves and start producing hair again, and some follicles may be permanently destroyed, preventing regrowth entirely.

Treatments Still Have to Be Repeated Sometimes
One thing to remember is that laser treatments often have to be repeated. In fact, they're usually done in a series of 3 to 5 treatments, which are spread out over several weeks. Once one set of treatments is over, you may not need another for a long time, but you probably will eventually, unless you just want to go back to shaving or waxing. So, you should consider those repeated costs before investing any time or money in laser hair removal treatments.

If They Are So Good, Why Doesn't Everyone Have them?
There are a couple of reasons why not everyone has laser hair removal treatments done. As just mentioned, money can be a factor. The costs of the repeated treatments can add up, and not everyone has the funds to keep up with that.

That being said, the bigger reason that not everyone is a good candidate is that most average laser devices are designed to target hairs by looking for dark spots against light skin. Not everyone has light skin, and not everyone has dark hair either. If you are lucky enough to have both, you are the ideal candidate for the procedure. If not, you aren't totally out of luck, but you may have a harder time finding a clinic with a custom laser capable of treating someone with your hair and skin tones.

Even if you aren't what is considered the ideal candidate, you still might want to look into laser treatment for your unwanted hair. After all, in the long run it can save you a lot of time and fuss.




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Wednesday

How To Fake Tan The Non-Orange Way


Summer is here! (apparently!). But for pasty girls even the hottest of heatwaves can leave a chill in the air when they remember that wearing a dress means they'll have to put their lily-white pins on display. Having tried everything from self tan oil to gradual tan, the thought of baring my skin doesn't bring me out in a (heat) rash, and I've got some tips to make you look bronzed and lovely without having to crisp up your delicate skin in the sun.
Everyone knows they should exfoliate more than they do, but it really is key before applying self tan. A product like Whitetobrown Exfoliate* £7.99 is great for this as it has a gel formula which doesn't leave an oily residue on the skin. The exfoliating particles are small and scrubby but you do need to get your palms in there on tough areas like ankles and knees.

After exfoliating to get rid of dead skin cells and any previous tan you had on, applying a moisturiser will ensure that the self tan develops evenly and doesn't stick to dry areas. The St Tropez Tan Optimiser* £5.95 contains Apricot Oil, Shea Butter, Aloe Vera and Jojoba Oil which make sure that skin is moisturised, particularly on the knees, elbows, hands and feet. St Tropez also say the Tan Optimiser can be used on holiday to prolong a tan (I've yet to try this out!).
Once you're smooth and prepared, it's time to self tan. I was sent the Fake Bake Original Self Tan Lotion £12.50 to try out, which is one I haven't used before, but the brand has been around since I first started tanning. The lotion comes enclosed with a pair of blue gloves, but I find that all tans apply best and fastest with a mitt so it's definitely worth getting your hands on one.
The lotion is a dark brown colour which smells to me a bit like lychee, and it smooths in easily to create an even layer. After leaving the product on overnight, you're left with a medium tan that's not orange and definitely a better colour than you'd get from a day in the English sun. You can reapply the tan the next night for a darker colour or use an oil-free moisturiser to make sure it fades evenly.
Self tanning can add a bit of extra time to your routine, but it means you'll be a nice sun kissed shade, even if you haven't faced the sun for a while!


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Monday

Sweet Tooth? My Tips For Cutting Down On Sugar


I've always had a sweet tooth but recently I'd found it really becoming a problem. I'd start the day off with something sugary and the end it the same way too, snacking on cakes, biscuits and sweets in the time inbetween. Since cutting out gluten and dairy from my diet a few years ago I've become much more interested in the ingredients of the foods I eat and the abundance of unnecessary sugar in everything from raw chicken to packaged fruit really made me think. Like milk, sugar is one of the things that wouldn't naturally be in our diet and I've got the fillings to prove it. 
I've managed to cut out a huge amount of sugar from my diet and I thought I'd share my tips for anyone wanting to do the same as I know how difficult it can be.

Don't try to go cold turkey
Completely removing something from your life that has become part of a routine can be really hard (think of a bad breakup, the end of a series on Netflix or when Tesco stopped selling your favourite cheese) so cutting down is much easier than cutting out. Slowly reducing the amount of sugary foods you eat is a much easier way of doing things than trying to shun it completely and then thinking about it all day.

Remove the temptation
It's easier said than done but if you stop buying things that are packed with sugar, then you won't have them in your house and you won't eat them because they're simply not there. If you run out of the cereal or biscuits that you usually buy, the next time you go shopping choose another food instead like Nakd bars which taste sweet but wont make holes in your teeth quite as fast.

Reward yourself
I can now go for days without sugar but when I do eat it I only do after 8pm. If you set a time of day in the late afternoon or evening after which you'll allow yourself something sweet, then getting through the day with healthier snacks will be much easier. You'll know that later you'll get a reward for your hard sugar-fighting work. As time goes on you won't even notice that "sugar o'clock" has come along and you can set your goals in days rather than hours.

Replace the addiction
Cravings for a sweet taste can be really easily curbed by snacking on things like fruit and especially dried fruit which can be very sweet naturally. Yes, fruit does contain natural sugars but it also has so many vitamins, minerals and nutrients, plus fresh fruit is full of water too which we could all do with a bit more of. I've always been a fruit lover but I now eat it by the bucket load which is far better than filling up on chocolate, Haribo and toffee slices throughout the day.

Cook from scratch
Cooking from scratch enables you to have pastries and baked foods in your house so you don't have to miss out on the things you like. I don't eat honey but Maple syrup has been a brilliant find for me in my quest to cut down on sugar consumption. It's all natural and is about a third sweeter than white sugar so can be used in baking to give a sweet and yummy taste while also helping to keep things moist. I substitute it for white and brown sugar in almost everything by using the volume of the sugar needed and reducing it by a third. You might need to adjust the dry ingredients to make up for the extra liquid, but for things like flapjacks (which I love and could eat all day) it just serves to make them more moist. 
Muesli is also a great sugar free food to make as it can be eaten at any time of day with any type of milk. I throw dried fruits, chopped nuts and seeds into a bowl then add about twice as much oats and a really good glug of maple syrup. I then mix everything together and spread out on a silicone baking tray before baking quickly at about 180° until it's all toasted and lovely. Its brilliant straight out the oven but can be kept in a sealed container and enjoyed for days.


Instead of eating sugar morning, noon and night, and I feel like I control the sugar instead of it controlling me. My body (and my teeth) are thanking me for it! The only times I particularly do choose something sugary over sugar-free is with things like fruit squash, as I'm not keen on the taste of artificial sweeteners and they're just another chemical I don't need.

If you have any other sugar fighting tips I'd love to hear them!





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Saturday

Beauty & More Haul (Crown, Origins, Maybelline, Yankee, Cocoa Brown)



It's been a long time since I've done a haul but I'm really enjoying seeing them on blogs and YouTube at the moment. I like to see people's first impressions of new products or why they decided to repurchase something so hopefully this post will give you a few ideas for things to consider when you next feel a spree coming on!

The first group of items were purchased from Amazon with a gift card that was kindly provided by Zeek.

Cocoa Brown Regular and Dark Versions £7.99
No matter what brands I try I always go back to Cocoa Brown and the dark version is my favourite (but the regular shade is good for a light tan too). I tend to leave them for around three hours so I can get a good colour going on my pale skin and then wash off without shower gel whenever I can so the colour keeps developing. The tans dry quickly, don't streak and fade the most evenly from all the brands I've tried so if you haven't given them a go yet then you definitely should, plus the gradual tan is lovely too.

Yankee Candle Orange Splash £11.05
This is my first 'real' Yankee Candle, I've tried lots of scents before but they've all been in tart form. I love the fresh orange smell of this jar and it's a must try if you love fruity smells, but I feel a little let down as the jars have nowhere near the same scent throw as the tarts which can fill up the whole main floor of my house. I've also found that this candle tunnels no matter how long I burn it for, but I am really enjoying having a yummy orange smell in my bedroom.

Millie Marotta's Animal Kingdom £3.99
Colouring was never my artistic forte but I've been enjoying settling down with this book and filling in the beautiful animal illustrations. The spaces are very small and intricate so you need to have a good eye and steady hand but that makes it perfect to concentrate the mind and forget about worries or distractions. I'm really regretting that I gave away my coloured pencils not long ago as fine liners just don't look quite right!

Crown Brush C405 Angle Contour Blush Brush £8.29
I've been seeing lots of people on YouTube recently using the Mac 168 brush to contour, apply bronzer and blusher too, but I knew I didn't really want to spend £27 on one brush. The Crown version is just what I wanted and is the perfect size and shape for all three cheek jobs. It also blends everything out really nicely and I wouldn't swap back for any of my previous bronzer or contour brushes.

C433 Pro Blending Fluff £6.09
I'd read that this brush was a slightly flatter dupe for the Mac 217 and it does do a lovely job of blending but I feel a bit disappointed because the hairs are quite stiff and scratchy. I've tried soaking it in conditioner for a few hours but it hasn't helped much. I do like it and will continue to use it but after all the good reviews I'd expected something a bit softer.

SS027 Syntho DLX Blending Crease £4.99
This is a really soft fluffy brush and if only it was a bit smaller, it would be perfect for the eyes. I've been using it for highlighter and it does a great precise job at applying and blending. I regret not buying a smaller version instead of the C433 but I'll definitely be getting more of the Syntho range if I put in another Crown order.

Origins Make a Difference Plus Rejuvinating Treatment £34.50
This has been my moisturiser of choice for the last year or so and I can definitely tell the difference in my skin when I run out and have to use something else. It's great for oily skin but still provides a good amount of moisture and never clogs my pores.
Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof £4.99
I've loved this mascara for years and particularly love the bristled brush. It is always my waterproof mascara of choice and the dense black colour is good for layering over another if the first doesn't quite have the impact I want.

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara £7.99
This is my second tube of the Lash Sensational and I find it gives a seperated, fluttery look that is great for during the day or can be layered up in the evening. It doesn't weigh my lashes down like a lot of mascaras can but my lashes do need a very good curl before application.
Maybelline Brow Satin £5.99
It was 3 for 2 at Boots so I decided to grab this eyebrow pencil and powder duo to give it a try. I bought the colour Dark Brown and I'm really enjoying the twist up pencil end so far which gives precise smudge proof colour. I'm undecided about the powder end at the moment as I usually use brow powder with a damp angled brush to get a defined shape, but with a few more uses it might grow on me!

Have you tried any of the products above?



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Sunday

Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot




Described as a super-translucent mattifying powder for all skin tones, One Heck Of A Blot promises to degrease shiny skin with 'world-class shine control and oil absorption'. The powder is fine with a milky colour in the pan and translucent finish that reduces shine without adding coverage to the skin.

I'd read many reviews that said the blotting powder was almost undetectable over foundation, but I've found that it depends on how much you need to apply- for oily skin like mine I find quite a lot needs to be applied when setting makeup to keep it in place so at first it can look a little powdery. However, after the application of a setting spray (or an hours or so later when oil starts to creep through) the powderiness disappears. One Heck Of A Blot really helps to keep my makeup in place and can be re-applied if needed throughout the day without making foundation look cakey or heavy. 

I'm onto my second compact of One Heck Of A Blot and, as well as the application, I really like the compact's typical Soap & Glory vintage style image on the lid which is both whimsical and hard-wearing! The embossed 'powder' design on the actual product is a nice touch (even if it doesn't last very long!) and a very good sized mirror helps with touch-ups. 

I apply the blotting powder with a small brush like the Real Techniques Setting Brush under my eyes and around my nose, but I've found applying to the rest of my face with dense brush like the Eco Tools Retractable Kabuki Brush patted onto my skin actually helps make the product look less powdery than a fluffy brush. Once you've used this powder for setting, your makeup really is set in place so you need to be sure that your base is perfect and doesn't need any liquid or cream products added!

I would really recommend this powder for both setting makeup and controlling oil throughout the day. If you have normal or combination skin then I'd imagine a light dusting would be all you need to keep any oil at bay. Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot is available for £12 from Boots.



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Tuesday

10 Of My Favourite Accessory DIYs

Every now and then it can be great to sit down and try your hand at something new, whether that's creating something out of base materials or taking an item you already own and adding a bit of personality to the piece. Accessories are a brilliant place to start if you're new to fashion DIYs (or just fancy a quick project) and I've put together 10 favourites to get your creative juices flowing!

Perfect for both summer and winter, flats are an all year round staple. But have you ever seen a pair as pretty as these? Click the link above for an easy and almost mess free DIY!

Hanging Chains Headband
Sometimes long hair needs a little jazzing up and this chain headband is brilliant for adding texture and interest to your locks.

Glitter Sole Shoes

Forget red soles, we want glitter soles! These are sure to turn heads (and use up that glitter hanging around at the back of your cupboard).

DIY Silver Leaf Temporary Tattoos

Metallic temporary tattoos are so popular right now, try this cool DIY before the weather cools down so much that we have to start covering up!

DIY Appliqué Headpiece

Make a classy statement with this easy headpiece project.

Got a plain clutch that needs jazzing up? Look no further than stick on glitter sheets!


With a little nod to Jason Pollock and a lot of splattery fun, you can have a unique designer-looking dress for a fraction of the price.

Winter in the UK is always a wet affair, but how cute would a fruity umbrella look on a grey day? These are easier to make than you think!

Give an old jumper a quick and fuss free makeover with this DIY.

Got a jumper that's too small? Transform it into an autumn cardigan with this brilliant tutorial.




Sunday

Buy & Sell Discounted Vouchers With Zeek



I think it happens to many of us when we get given money for birthdays, special occasions or even a bonus at work that we say we'll hang onto it and save it for something special that we really want, but we actually end up spending it on transport, bills or even the boring weekly shop.

Having a brand- or shop-specific voucher can really help when it comes to making sure that we don't spend all our money on necessary but boring things and that we keep a little left over for ourselves. For that reason I think vouchers make better gifts than money in a lot of cases, and my sister has started asking only for vouchers at Christmas and her birthday because she knows she'll spend actual pounds on the boring stuff!

I was recently contacted by Zeek and asked if I'd like to try out their app which enables people to sell their unwanted vouchers so they can earn a bit of money and someone can buy a voucher with a bit of a discount.
Zeek is free for both iOS and Android and has a super simple interface- forget eBay or any other marketplace app you use, it would be easy even for a complete technophobe to understand how to use it. There's a large range of discounted vouchers on offer from Ticketmaster to Amazon and lots for fashion lovers like River Island, New Look and Urban Outfitters, as well as for beauty lovers like John Lewis and Boots. 

Zeek generously offered me a £50 discount code so I could properly try the app out and I went for an Amazon voucher as I thought it would offer quite a lot in the way of options when it came to spending the voucher. My voucher had a discount of 6%, but I have seen discounts of up to 27% which means you could end up with a real bargain!
All the vouchers have been verified as real by Zeek and you can pay by credit/debit card or PayPal once you've chosen one you'd like to purchase. The Amazon voucher I chose was an electronic voucher, so after checkout (which look literally less than a couple of minutes) the details appeared in my account almost immediately and I could start shopping right then!


I haven't had experience of using Zeek to sell a voucher but if it's anything as easy as buying then I'll definitely be putting a few unwanted gifts up for sale soon. Zeek charges £3 to the seller regardless of the voucher amount and buyers don't have pay to processing fees, even for postage.

If you'd like to check Zeek out you can download the app for iOS here and for Android here, plus if you use the code 2WFFFH Zeek will kindly add £5 to your account to spend on your first voucher purchase! I'll also receive £5 to my account too (think of that as a little gift from you to my sister!).


How do you feel about shop-specific vouchers, are you happy to receive them or would you rather just have the cash?

Wednesday

Foundation Always Too Pink? Make Up For Ever Yellow Chromatic Mix Review


When I first started buying foundation everything seemed too dark and orange, but as the years have gone on it now seems that all the shades that are light enough for my skintone always pull too ashy and pink on me. No matter what the shade name- sand beige, buff, naked, ivory or vanilla, when dry these foundations just don't look quite right against my neck but the darker more yellow colours are just too dark.

My skin is naturally yellow toned but self tans (which I wouldn't be without) seem to make my undertone a lot stronger. Don't get me wrong, I don't walk about with the body of a Simpson, so it's annoying that brands think that when you're pale (even with self tan) your skin must be pink or beige coloured.
Make Up Forever Chromatic Mix in Yellow is a liquid pigment that aims to change the tone of makeup, allowing you to mix up your perfect shade with perfect undertone. The Yellow colour isn't a bright banana or Simpson colour but more a mustard yellow with a very slight green tinge that matches self tan well.
The pigment is in a small dropper bottle and is very liquid so I need just under one drop to mix in with my foundation for a full face. I find it makes my foundation a little looser and easier to blend, but it also dries a little bit quicker and smells a little strange once the product is mixed in. I've found it really helpful to counteract the ashy tones that beige and pink foundations can bring to my skin without darkening the foundation too much, and the colour blends easily into my neck to create a more seamless finish. The small bottle contains 13ml and although this doesn't sound like a lot, you need such a small amount that it will last for months.

I bought the water based pigment as my current favourite foundation Revlon Colorstay for Normal Skin is water based, but MUFE also do an oil based version for oil and silicone based foundations. I will probably purchase that too as the majority of foundations are oil based, especially from more affordable high street brands which seem to pull the pinkest on me in the lighter shades.


In addition to yellow, the Chromatic Mix liquids are also available in white, brown, black, red and blue which perform different functions from making make up lighter (white), darker (black) to removing luminosity (brown). I've heard the red and blue colours are very good for mixing the perfect foundation shade for dark skin tones, and I think a tiny drop of the black or brown colours would be helpful for anyone who tans well in the summer but hates having to buy a whole new set of foundations.

Make Up For Ever Chromatic Mix liquid pigments are available in the UK for £12.95 here.

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