Sunday, 25 December 2011

Happy Christmas!

Sorry I've been a bit lax on the posting recently. Law application deadlines are looming and the whole thing is like a full time job!

I hope that wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you have a lovely Christmas and New Year. This is my first Christmas with a dog, and despite my best efforts to keep wrapping paper out of her reach, she still managed to find something to chew!

Looking somewhat sheepish....
On a final beauty related note, the Zuneta and Space NK sales have started already. There are some nice bits from By Terry at the latter and if you like Guerlain, House of Fraser has some products in the sale. My aim for 2012 is to hugely reduce my spending on beauty products so I will be refraining, but to the rest of you, happy shopping!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

The wonder of eyelash extensions - Daxita Lashes

Ever since I first heard about them a couple of years ago, I have always wanted to try eyelash extensions. I am useless with false lashes and if I do manage to get them on after attempts in double figures, I am usually too scared to leave the house wearing them for fear a few hours later they will be stuck to my cheek. Although my lashes are naturally long, they lack thickness and the tips are fair so the length is lost unless I use mascara, and finding a mascara that doesn't smudge is a difficult mission. I hoped that extensions would solve this problem.

I admit I am not too keen on beauty treatments. I like them in theory, but in practise, the thought of a stranger in close proximity to my face fills me slightly with dread. Luckily, my curiosity and desire for beautiful lashes outweighed my fear and I got a full set of eyelash extensions in summer, just in time for bridesmaid's duty at my brother's wedding.

Eyelash extensions in action as a bridesmaid at my brother's wedding (would have been helpful if I had dieted before the wedding rather than after....)
Eyelash extensions have become a lot more popular in the last few years, particularly for brides, and are far more widely available, but on average they take around 2-3 hours to apply. What sets Daxita lashes apart is that Daxita herself specialises just in lashes and eyebrows and has done for years. This has meant she has developed her own technique which minimises application time. It took me less than 45 minutes for a full set (although this is advertised as taking 1 hour), which when I have considerable joint problems, made a huge difference. There is no way I would have been able to last a couple of hours.

Daxita herself couldn't have put me more at ease and she is an incredibly relaxing person, making something I had been very nervous about an enjoyable experience. There are 4 different looks you can go for with the lashes, ranging from natural to full on fake. I chose the natural but with some added length at the edges and centre. The application wasn't painful at all, maybe an odd sensation for the first few minutes but you quickly get used to it.

Daxita prides herself on knowing what will suit her clients, from face shape to lifestyle, and mine were perfect. So much so that when I went to get my hair done on the day of my brother's wedding, all the girls in the salon wanted to know exactly where I'd had my lashes done as they were so impressed. It took one brave girl about 30 minutes before she finally asked if I had extensions, as they look natural, and then everyone was gathered around having a look. 

Olivia Palermo
I have often looked at certain celebrities and wondered quite how they get such a lovely eye shape, almost like a cat eye but not using very heavy liner a la Angelina Jolie, think more Olivia Palermo and Olivia Wilde. Now I think I know the answer, eyelash extensions. The whole time I wore them I used barely any eye makeup because I didn't need it. The fullness and slight curve of the lashes gave the effect of eyeliner and it is a huge and welcome boost to the ego to be able to wake up and look far better than usual. Add to that never having to worry about mascara smudges etc, and you begin to realise their true value.

This brings me to the one downside of extensions though, they can easily become a very expensive addiction. You very quickly get used to seeing your face with this added benefit so when the lashes are finally no more, it is a bit of a shock. The lashes can last up to 6 weeks but in reality, they do need a little maintenance. After a couple of weeks, a few of the lashes were slightly askew so needed moving back into place. Usually at this stage though you would return to Daxita for maintenance, which costs £45 for 30 minutes, making them as good as new again. This, along with removal costs of £15 for 15 minutes, should really be factored in when you decide to go for extensions. As I don't live in London, I fooled myself into believing I could remove the extensions myself. Big mistake, do not try it, whatever the youtube videos say! You are much better off paying £15 than have puffy, weeping eyes for over a week. 

Wedding makeup including eyelashes
I think I have been very spoilt by having only experienced Daxita doing my lashes as I have heard many not so great stories from cheaper places. A full set costs £150 which is definitely a lot, but I would prefer to spend that and have it done well, than a little less and be very unhappy. One woman even did lash extensions herself and admitted she couldn't have done them as well as mine, let alone in such a short time, a testament to Daxita's expertise.

A few weeks after the wedding, my cousin got some lash extensions done locally and in my uncle's words, 'she had spiders attached to her eyes'. Not a look many people would intentionally want, so if you are considering eyelash extensions, don't go for the cheapest price, do your research first would be my advice.

As I was rather preoccupied with my brother's upcoming nuptials, I wasn't very experimental with eye makeup when I had the extensions as I wanted to keep them in pristine condition. You must avoid using oil based makeup and eye makeup removers as this can affect the glue, and obviously try not to rub your eyes, but other than that they are hassle free and lasted beautifully the two weeks between application and the wedding. I really regret not taking more photos immediately after I had my lashes done, but Modesty Brown has a great post on her experiences of the same lash extesnions, complete with comprehensive before and after photos, which you can see here.
Eyelash extensions 2 weeks after initial application in the context of my whole face

My eyelash extensions just before I attempted DIY removal. You can see that a few gaps are appearing and this is normally when you would go for maintenance, but the photo does demonstrate how dark the lashes are that I chose.
Even though lash extensions are a very expensive beauty treatment, I do think they are worth the price. For weddings and especially this time of year when there are plenty of parties and functions, I think they can give that extra bit of confidence and save a lot of time in terms of getting ready. To be frank, if I was dating, I would definitely try and budget (live on baked beans) so I could afford extensions all year round, that is how much I love them. Luckily for my costly Tom Ford habit, I'm not in that situation at the moment but when the time does come, I will be making another appointment with Daxita as I don't think I would trust anyone else.

Daxita Vaghela Eyelash Extensions are available at Atherton Cox, which is just off Marylebone High Street in London. For more information see here.

Full set of eyelash extensions costs £150

Maintenance costs £45

Eyelash removal cost £15

Disclosure: I was invited to try out these lash extensions free of charge for review purposes

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Favourite Nail Polish of the Year - Butter London The Black Knight

Title of the post says it all really. I tend to shy away from glitter polishes because some can seem very tacky and they can be awful to remove and often require 4+ coats to get an opaque finish. I have none of these problems with The Black Night from Butter London.

Butter London The Black Knight - £12

Released as part of the Butter London Christmas collection, it is a charcoal/black base with very fine red, fuchsia and blue glitter. It sounds like it probably shouldn't work, but it does. It is a sophisticated take on glitter, an alternative to red and metallics for Christmas and just two coats gave me a perfect finish.

I picked up Estee Lauder Metallic Sage (finally) this week as well and thought that could be a favourite, but when The Dark Night arrived through the post Metallic Sage was removed straight away to make room for this stunning colour. If you have been looking at the latest OPI Collection, which is very glitter heavy, but not necessarily the best quality glitter, I would highly recommend this. I doubt it will be coming off my nails until 2012!

2 coats of The Black Knight + top coat

I bought The Black Knight for £12 from