Sunday, 27 March 2016

Beauty for everyone

I remember when I bought my first foundation, I was 14, it was the Maybelline dream matte mouse, the one with the super high coverage that transfers on everything (I used to accidentally leave brown spots all over my worksheets at school from touching my face) I remember looking in Boots and Superdrug for a long time before I found that foundation, the only other brand that had foundations in my shade was Revlon. Every other brand had no shades that came anywhere near matching my skin tone.

Can I also say, that the one shade of foundation I found from Maybelline is the only shade for black people? and there are 11 fucking shades for all variations of white skin tones - varying from the palest to the most tan, but just one for women of colour, as if all black people fit into the same shade of foundation? We need different shades too! I had someone ask me why there are make-up brands made specifically for black people (ones like IMAN) and its because there are no colour selections out there for us.

I hear girls in the shops saying 'I think I need to go a shade darker/lighter - I don't have that luxury, most foundation colour charts go from pale for fair skin, to one shade for black people. I cannot go one shade lighter, and there doesn't even exist a shade darker for me.

I remember picking up a copy of GLAMOUR magazine a few years ago and was genuinely shocked when I saw a black girl modelling in the make-up section. A beauty magazine? Giving make-up tips and advice using a black model? it was unheard of.

Even now, Rimmel don't do shades for women of colour, neither do Bourjois, Chanel (although they are expanding their range soon), Natural Collection, Soap and Glory, Maxfactor, Seventeen, Collection or Barry M -  and literally every store own make-up brand ever such as MUA (with the exception of No.7 at Boots) Sometimes a brand will do one or two darker shades but they'll never be stocked in store, and those shades will always be sold out online because online is the only place you can get them.

I still don't understand why make-up brands, specifically ones stocked in high street stores like Superdrug and Boots, refuse to carry (or even create) shades for anyone that isn't white. Its ridiculous, its racist, its infuriating. Part of my obsession with beauty is because I have to work so hard to find flattering colours for my skin tone, it took me 3 years to find one nude lipstick on the high street, not even kidding. its not just foundations and lipsticks, there are no darker shades of concealer, face powder, no darker blushes, nothing is catered towards us, and I can't fathom how this hasn't changed by now.

In the high end beauty industry, with brands such as MAC, Bobbi Brown, Fashion Fair and the like, there are endless shades with colours catered to suiting the different undertones of dark skin. But why should I have to spend more to find my shade? Some high street brands have made slow progress over the years in expanding their colour selections (note: I bought a contour palette from Seventeen actually created for deep skin tones! and yet Seventeen can't create foundations for us? Hmm) however this progress is going at a snails pace.

A beauty blogger I love called Shana Moore realized the issue I'm talking about, and created something called 'The Painted Lip Project' which is where she films herself trying on different shades of lipstick from brands, to show what they look like on deeper complexions. Its started a YouTube trend and now other darker women on Youtube are joining in the project, showing lip colours on an even wider range of deeper complexions. In beauty campaigns, lipsticks especially - are never shown on women of colour, so we never know what they will look like on us unless we buy it, which is so unfair! Nude lipsticks are the worst, often they look lovely on paler skins and look ashy and washed out on us. I think the painted lip project is a genius idea and I've found it very helpful, but it makes me angry that its even needed.

Extreme racism was such a prevalent part of our culture for such a long time, that its unsurprising racism has filtered into every aspect of life, even beauty - although the world is a lot better with racism today than it was back then; thankfully. Why then, is the beauty industry acting like black people don't exist? Beauty should be for everyone, we love make-up too, and its unfair to give us such limited choices.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Thoughts on happiness

A lot of people have similar ideas on what happiness is: A high earning job, material possessions, a partner, a house, sex, children. There are people who have all of the above and are still miserable, which got me thinking, what does happiness look like, and is it actually achievable?

Happiness is different to different people, and yet its ingrained in us from an early age that happiness is marriage, children, lots of money (I blame you Disney)

but it isn't just the media, its instilled in us from parents and friends, you'll hear people say things like:

"Oh I really need to be married by the time I'm 30"

"I want to be earning 40,000 in the next two years"

Money and love can definitely give you comfort, but I truly think happiness has to come from within, you can't rely on outside sources to make you happy. It's good to be ambitious and its even better to go after what you want, but will these things make you happy? or have you just subscribed to the societal consensus that these things must make you happy because everyone does them.

Confident people often look the happiest and I think I know why, confident people genuinely like and believe in themselves, they are happy with who they are. Most people aren't, and its no wonder with all the mixed messages out there about confidence.

"Be more confident! be yourself!"

"Oh god look at them they are so arrogant!"

In what you might call the 'selfie generation' there has been rising concerns about narcissism of the youth, but I don't think its that at all. I think of all the wasted effort that goes into picking the right lighting, composition, angle, filter, blah blah blah all so that you can feel adored for 5 minutes by people you don't even know. People who post a lot of selfies and hope to get a thousand likes on those pictures are usually looking for validation, this is not narcissism its insecurity. If they get a certain amount of likes they may feel happy for a while, but putting your happiness in the hands of the anonymous public is never a wise thing to do. Its much better to put out a selfie and not care what people think of it, that's confidence, and I believe confidence leads to happiness a lot faster; and its more sustainable.

Happiness is an elevated state, it shouldn't be a constant one. If you go searching for a constant state of elevation, well, to use an extreme example, that's how harmful habits form such as alcoholism, drug abuse, sex addiction, etc. We should be striving for moments of joy, not a life of constant joy because really, if life were a constant high how would we ever appreciate it? There is a reason pain exists, you cannot have good without bad. Happiness is a state of mind, its being content and grateful, no matter what happens, which is hard, but no one ever said it would be easy.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Current skincare routine

A lot of nice people have been saying my skin looks good lately (thank you nice people!) so I thought it might be beneficial to mention what skin care items I've been using lately. I like to try new things so I tend to change up my products day to day, but for the past few months I've gotten my routine down to a streamlined, consistent thing that really works for me. I have combination skin, my chin, nose and forehead get greasy throughout the day and my cheeks are dry.


I've not strayed from the Boots Botanics cleansing balm for what seems like forever. This Olive oil based cleanser comes in a solid balm that easily melts into the skin, removes all the grime and dirt and most importantly, doesn't leave any residue, just baby soft skin. You take the tiniest amount (about the size of a big pea) and massage into the skin, run a flannel under hot water, ring out the excess water, and buff the product away with the hot flannel.

This used to be a lot cheaper but since its becoming more popular recently the price has been hiked up, still affordable, still amazing skincare - particularly for the price point. In fact the whole Boots Botanics range is a godsend.


I'm still in love with the Hydraluron serum by Indeed Labs. This is hella expensive, but it works - and is often 1/3 off at Boots. If you're skin is dry, lack-lustre, dull, dehydrated, then your skin needs this. It contains a pure form of Hyaluronic acid that draws water to the skin and traps it there. Its a light balm that sinks in insanely fast, you only need the smallest amount to cover the entire face. This plumps up the skin and gives it life.

Eye serum:

I didn't even know an eye serum existed until a year ago, you live and you learn. Since I'm approaching my mid twenties, eye potions are something I've become recently obsessed with, I have many I plan to try out, but for now the Dr. Organic Rose Otto eye serum is really making an impact. You pat it on around the eye area, delicately, with your ring finger until the product is absorbed. This is softening beyond belief due to the rose oil, it has rave reviews online and I can see why.

Day cream:

In the day time, I want something potent enough to really hydrate the skin, but not so heavy that my make-up will slide around over top. My current favourite is the Alpha H daily essential moisturiser with SPF 50. First of all, what an insanely high SPF for a moisturiser? for that high a percentage you'd think it would be thick, tacky and leave a white cast on your skin; it does none of these things. It applies thick at first but then quickly absorbs. Skin is left radiant, soft, protected from the sun and matte. The perfect base for make-up. Amazing on all skin types.

Night cream:

I've been using the REN Frankincense revitalising night cream for years now, and I've rarely strayed because it does everything a brilliant night cream should do. It softens, hydrates, comforts and cushions the skin. I remember the first time I tried this (it was actually my first luxury skin care item ever) my skin felt so unbelievably, angelically soft. I take it for granted now that I use it every day but this is a serious powerhouse of moisture. Its packed with a tonne of great oils and is perfect for dry/ageing skins. Everyone, in fact, can use it, except perhaps the super oily.


I'm loathe to mention this product, because I paid an absolutely obscene amount of money for it, but nothing has ever worked nearly as well as this - that's my justification. The Doctors scrub by Goldfaden MD is the stuff dreams are made of. Funnily enough I used it just before writing this (feels face) it pretty much gives you new skin, that's what it feels like. Its like I have the perfect, untouched, unblemished skin of a newborn, no joke. Created by a world renowned dermatologist, this contain thousands of tiny, uniform Ruby crystals (yes, actual fucking Rubies) and Hyaluronic acid to gently, but thoroughly, buff away dead skin cells and moisturise at the same time. This says to use it daily but I find once a week is more than enough. If you like to invest in skincare, this would be fantastic for all, except the acne prone.

Note: this is currently on 'back order' on the Space NK website because its so popular now, may the luck of the gods be with you when ordering.

Face Masks

I've been using these two face masks, once a week, religiously for a long time now. I've raved about the Origins drink up intensive mask before, but it is the most thirst quenching thing I've ever put on my face. It contains a shed load of high grade oils, smells like a mango cocktail, and a little goes a long way. If you're super oily this might be too rich for you, everyone else should use it, especially the dry skins out there.

Although my skin is clearer than its ever been, I do still get spots at random times, and I notice I get even more if I forget to use this next mask. It is pricey, but you only need a small amount, I'm only just coming to the end of mine and I've had it for 2 years! The Aesop range of masks are brilliant for congested, spot prone skins, the Chamomile concentrate anti-blemish masque is intense, expect to break out the first time you use it because this thing will suck all the dirt from your pores, dirt you didn't even know existed down there. It is strong, but with continued use, effective. I can't remember the last time I had a massive spot, that's all down to this mask.

Special mention mask:

I didn't know what category to put this in, so its a 'special mention' I use this every single night. The Sleeping pack mask by Etude House is a Korean skincare product, its essentially a clear gel that you apply all over the face as the last step in your skin care routine. The gel sets and forms a clear film over the face, which protects your skin as you sleep and seals in the moisture from all the products you used prior. I find this incredibly helpful because I used to wake up with very dry cheeks from where the cotton of my pillow case had sucked out all the moisture over night. This has made a big difference to my skin. You can get it on YesStyle but its much cheaper on Ebay.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Weekly Inspirations

Around the web:

Jason Vlogs

There's something truly satisfying about watching vlogs, for those that don't know a 'vlog' is short for video blog, essentially you follow around someone as they go about their daily life as they narrate it for you. Most of the vlog channels I watch are women but I stumbled upon Jason and cannot stop watching. He uses great time lapses for cinematic looking footage, and always chooses fantastic, moody and original music. The video I've posted here by him is my favourite so far, he gets his friend to talk about his career in the photography business and the basic functions of a professional camera.

Kicki yang Zhang

Oh my fucking god I love this woman! she is so funny, definitely my kind of humour. She is a very real, honest and fun loving Chinese girl living in Germany. She swears like a sailor, shows us how to make really tasty vegan recipes and finds the interesting/funny in everything. I love her vlog's but her 'what I eat in a day' videos have been very helpful in me finding new, healthy recipes to try.


American Psycho

I'm using the film dust jacket here because I thought it was funny. Although this book is anything but funny (the film is another story) There is a lot of dialogue in this, in fact 90% of the book is made up of conversations between characters so its one you have to really pay attention to as you read. There is a lot of what could be called 'useless' passages describing what people are wearing, but this only shows how important appearances are in this fragile society of ego's. Bateman is a self obsessed narcissist that develops into the most debased and twisted character by the end. Its a true masterpiece of horror, an absolute must read. Fair warning, this is one of the most graphic books I've ever read, very detailed descriptions of gore.


I've been meaning to read this for a while, I loved the film so much when it came out (if you haven't already, go watch it!) this is about a young girl who moves into a new house. Within the house she finds a door that leads to no where, or at least she thinks it does, at certain times it leads to another house, one that's identical to her own, with two new parents. Its a children's book but I enjoyed it a lot, Gaiman doesn't dumb down the language for his younger readers, which I appreciate. It shows all the whimsical and dark fantasy of his other works. A short, but fantastic read.

Just so happens

This is a very simple story, displayed in equally simple, but stunning, watercolour illustrations. A young Japanese girl living in London must return to her home country for her fathers funeral, she remarks on the cultural differences between the two places, and how different she feels towards both countries. I loved the artwork but I wish the story was a little longer.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

February Favourites

Revlon Colorstay foundation

This sets matte and really does hold for 24 hours as it claims. It helps control oil throughout the day and is a medium coverage but is definitely build-able to heavy, be weary though, if you apply too much you can start to look a bit cake face. There are not enough colours for darker skin tones though, which is surprising coming from a brand like Revlon. This dries quickly, so you have to blend it in one part of the face at a time. Annoying that it doesn't have a pump so you have to shake it on the back of hand to get product out.

Soap and Glory one heck of a blot

This transluscent blotting powder has a fine, silky texture. It instantly removes excess shine and leaves a smooth looking matte base, with light application lasts a good few hours, I tried setting my concealer with this but I needed a lot of powder to do so, this is best as a touching up throughout the day powder, not to set with.

Models Own eye liner pencils (blue and black)

I have this in black as well as blue, the blue is a very dark colour, it sets and doesn't budge all day, unlike many a kohl pencil I've used from other brands that end up half way down my eyes by lunch time. It is a thick formula, so if you're too heavy handed with application it can drag across the eyes a bit, but you sacrifice this for the amazing longevity of the product.

Pixi lip balm

I've never been a huge fan of tinted lip balms, but this one by Pixi is lovely. It has a fairly decent amount of pigment, not as much as a lipstick but enough to leave a pretty stain. This is super moisturising and long lasting, it also smells like cake which is always a plus.

Soap and Glory righteous butter

As I've said before, it takes a lot for a moisturiser to impress my dry, eczema skin. This Soap and Glory one is indulgently softening. It has quite a strong scent to it so I'd recommend smelling it in store before purchasing to make sure you're okay with it. This is just as good as my much loved dove intensive moisturiser, if a little heavily perfumed.

Revlon matte balm in fierce

I'm very into brown purple tones right now for lipsticks. The revlon matte balms are one of my favourite lipstick formulas. They set matte (but aren't transfer proof) so they are very comfortable and not at all drying on the lips. For a lip colour that transfers, this lasts a good while, that is, if you're not eating and drinking a lot. When this wears off it leaves a pretty stain so you don't have to worry so much about touch ups throughout the day. Their shade 'shameless' is a beautifully striking purple I've had my eye on for a while. very similar to MAC's Heroine.

Nails Inc - Grosvner Crescent

All I've been wearing on my nails is this dark purple, almost black colour from Nails Inc. Its a very dark shade, that looks purple in sunlight and black at night. It takes 2 to 3 coats for full opaqueness, but with a decent top coat lasts 4 to 5 days, that to me, is good. Particularly for someone like me who usually chips their nails on the same day she paints them.

Superdrug clear make-up bags

These make the ideal storage space for make-up. These bags are structured plastic, they have handles making them easy to transport, they are transparent, making it easy to see what you have in it at a glance, and they have 3 seperate sizes. I use the biggest one for the bulk of my make-up, the medium sized one for brushes and the smallest for lip colours.

A beginners guide to fitness

I get asked a lot of fitness related questions, how do I find motivation to get in the gym? What exercises are best for weight loss? I...