I love having different hairstyles. I think hair can be a great accessory and can finish off an outfit. How many times have you seen the fashion police go off on a celeb for making the wrong hairstyle choice with a gown? Personally I love a chic, sleek look and then also a messy vibe – like I didn’t try at all. New to the hair world are these heroes, and I love using them to create these looks.

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SLEEK CHIC

The process of getting my hair nice and glossy begins in the shower. I start off by using the shampoo and conditioner from the L’Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil range, which was developed for dry hair. Even if you don’t have dry hair (which is a tough ask in winter) your hair is left feeling incredibly soft and nourished, and never weighed down. The Nourishing Shampoo (R49.95 for 250ml) does a good job of lathering up and the Nourishing Conditioner (R49.95 for 250ml) is nice and rich and reminds me of liquid honeycomb. Even though that sounds delicious, neither the shampoo nor the conditioner smell amazing. When I’m brave enough, and if I REALLY want my hair glossy, I’ll finish off by rinsing it with cold water (I first rinse it completely with my warm shower water, and just finish it off with a blast of cold water). I promise, it works. The cold water seals the cuticles and my hair is always shinier when I do this. After I’ve wrapped my hair in a towel, I use another super absorbent towel especially for hair (you know what I’m taking about, right? I can’t find any examples online to show you). This helps to get most of the water out of my hair and lessens drying time. Also, I’m a little bit lazy when it comes to hair things. Once I’m happy that it’s semi-dry, I apply a pump of Moroccanoil Blow-Dry Concentrate from mid-lengths to ends. The Blow-Dry Concentrate is for coarse, unruly hair, and although my hair is fine with a slight wave to it, I’ve heard how it works miracles with thicker, more difficult hair. Also, because of my hair’s texture, I just use a bit less than recommended. R395 for a bottle might sound steep, but a little goes a long way. It has the delicious signature Moroccanoil scent to it and gets the job done right! After I’ve dried my hair (always upside down for better volume) I mist on some GHD Heat Protect Spray and then get on with straightening with my GHD straightener. Once the straightening is done, I apply a teeny bit of the Blow-Dry Concentrate to smooth any flyaways, and silky, lustrous locks are mine. Boom.

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MESSY UNDONE

The undone look takes just as much effort, if not more, as the sleek chic look. For this look, I use pretty much any shampoo and conditioner, but tend to favour these guys. Once my hair is clean, I use the same towels as above. Once my hair is semi-dry, I use GHD Heat Protector Spray and apply a dollop of L’Oreal Studio Pro Boost It Volume Mousse* all over my hair, concentrating on the roots. The trick is not to use too much, otherwise your newly clean, fresh head of hair will look dirty and product-laden. It gives my hair a nice injection of volume that lasts for a decent amount of time (although not 48 hours, as the product suggests). It also smells crazy good. Once my hair is dry, I use my Babyliss Pro Titanium Tourmaline 38 mm Hair Curling Iron, which I adore. It makes the easiest, coolest waves and my hair looks perfectly messy after I spritz a bit of L’Oreal Studio Pro Boost It Volume Hairspray to hold the look in place. To finish off, I spray a bit of Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo (R395 for 205ml) on my roots for extra volume. Important to remember, when you want that tousled, undone look, don’t use any serum as it can weigh your waves down. Who has messy, glossy hair though right?

* Sometimes I’ll dry just blow dry my hair at night and apply some mousse to my roots and clip my hair up. In the morning, I brush it out and it gives me great volume. Then I continue on with heat styling.

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According to Bioderma, dehydrated skin is the most commonly cited skin problem. Women want smooth, radiant, plumped up skin. With this in mind, Bioderma developed the new Hydrabio range, and I was pretty damn excited when I got the invitation to attend the launch.

The Hydrabio range offers intense hydration properties due to a Vitamin P and Apple seed extract which claim to “stimulate the activity of Aquaporins, the natural channels allowing water flow within the skin”.

Hydrabio Perfecteur SPF 30

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Initially I was a bit confused as to the actual function of this Smoothing moisturising care and Radiance Booster. As I deduced from the name and by using it, I decided that it’s basically a lightweight moisturising cream with SPF that has a slightly pearlescent, skin blurring effect (thanks to soft focus, fine powders of pearl). It gives a subtle iridescent finish to the skin and doesn’t leave skin feeling dewy, which is what I associate with a slight shimmer. Because of that I was able to use it as a primer and it worked well too. It gets the thumbs up from me as a fancy sunscreen – not only does it protect your face from UVA and UVB rays, it also provides a blurring effect. The tube is nice and hygienic, with a pump that dispenses the optimum amount of product for use each time so no wastage! I love clever packaging.  R319.95 for 40ml.

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Hydrabio Crème – Riche 

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This moisturising cream is for dry to very dry, sensitive skins. As face creams go, it’s okay. It gave me a few pimples and I didn’t see much in terms of hydrated skin. R319.95 for a 50ml jar.

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Hydrabio Masque

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This moisture mask is the business and I would recommend it as the standout product in this range. I took it with me to use on holiday (I always take some form of face mask in case me and my family want to get rowdy with a face mask party) and was super impressed. The directions say to use it every day for the first week and then once or twice a week thereafter. I followed the instructions diligently and used it as per the recommended time of 10 minutes, sometimes even leaving it on for longer. Then I had a brilliant idea to apply some organic rosehip oil to my skin first before applying the mask. Well, this just enhanced the way it performs and it’s the only way I use this mask now. When all the goodness has soaked in, just dab off the excess. You don’t have to go rinse it off. R249.95 for 75 ml.

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Hydrabio H20

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Along with the face mask, this product is a superstar. I actually stopped using micellar water a while ago because I felt that my skin was too dry, and the micellar water was contributing to said dryness. I love a good micellar water cleanse because its quick and painless and was quite bummed to be doing away with one of my favourite products. When I laid eyes on Bioderma’s Micellar Water for Sensitive Dehydrated Skin, I swear my eyes turned into little hearts. hydra6

I love this micellar cleanser, because it does what the beloved Sensibio H20 variant (the one with the pink cap) does, but is for dry, dehydrated skins. And I can use micellar water now! R199.95 for 250ml or R299.95 for 500ml.

Bioderma is vailable at selected Clicks & Dis-Chem stores, independent pharmacies and Dermatologists.

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As the dryness and cold of winter sets in, so we start to experience drier and drier skin. This has happened to me for the past 5 years but I am elated to report that NOT ANYMORE! I have cracked the dry skin code, folks.

First up, I love a hot shower. Dermatologists say that hot showers aren’t good for you because they turn the natural oil in your skin to liquid, which then rinses away, removing that oily/protective layer from your skin. I say they can go suck it. In an ideal world I would have marble EVERYTHING, lots of designer shoes, I would wake up with perfect hair, I would eat whatever I wanted consequence-free and I would have warm showers in winter. But this isn’t the ideal world. So, this is how I have my cake and eat it…

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In the shower

I use L’Occitane’s Almond Shower Oil (R545 for 5ooml) because it isn’t harsh and doesn’t strip skin like some shower gels do. It sounds counter-intuitive to put oil on your skin when you want to clean it, but this oil emulsifies with water and cleans skin gently. I squeeze out one pump, rub it all over one leg, and then go in with my Body Shop Body Polisher (R49) and give myself a scrub. Even though it’s expensive, a little goes a long way. I’ve had my 500ml bottle for over a year now, but I do also use other shower gels because I like variety. I’m also a huge fan of Lush’s Buffy (R125). It’s an exfoliator in bar format and contains ground bits of rice, beans and almonds. I first use a shower oil or shower gel and then go in with Buffy to smooth my skin. Buffy came about when the product designer, whilst on a trip to Brazil, was inspired by the women who rub a mixture of sand and suntan oil on their backsides to improve circulation and reduce cellulite. She came home, mixed together cocoa and shea butters (to soften and moisturize), ground rice, almonds and aduki beans (to polish and smooth) and Buffy was born. Once I’ve scrubbed myself (Buffy is quite rough, which is good for thighs, bums and rough areas – I don’t use it on my torso and anywhere else that’s sensitive), I wash off any remaining bits and then dry myself. It’s like an in-shower moisturiser that exfoliates and conditions too. No need for body lotion. At R125 a bar it is quite pricey, but I only use it once every 2nd/3rd day. After using Buffy, and because I don’t use it everywhere, I like to use a light body cream like Bio Nike’s Defence Body Hydraboost Moisturisation Fluid just in case. It works to top up the moisture and is great for sensitive and intolerant skin. If I’ve showered sans Buffy, I like to either use Avène’s Akérate 10 Body Cream (R250 for 200ml) or Bee Natural’s Luxurious Body Butter (R102 for 200ml) in Rose Absolute. The Avène body cream is quite intense and is a bit sticky initially, but it keeps my skin nice and hydrated. It’s also hypoallergenic, fragrance-free and designed for sensitive and intolerant skins. If I feel like it’s too bland, I’ll just add a few drops of orange or lavender essential oil to it in the palm of my hand. The Bee Natural Body Butter is more luxurious and smells divine. Because of it’s balmy texture, it also keeps skin soft and moisturised.

For the face

I used to use a micellar water followed by a gel cleanser every night. I also used to manually exfoliate my face every other day because the cleaner and shinier and smoother the better, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. A day after scrubbing, my skin was so smooth and lovely. Two days on and it was dry and patchy. Same thing with Retinol. I’ve stopped using it because I found out that it can wreak havoc on dry skin, making it drier. I’ve also learnt, courtesy of the facial wizard that is Caroline Hirons, that I should use gentler products on my skin. I gave up my regular micellar water (which is lovely, just not for my skin) for a cleansing oil, the Body Shop’s Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil (R175 for 200ml), as step 1 before a cleansing cream (one that I already had from the States). During this process of transformation, after a week or so, I noticed a few pimples, and decided that I needed to clean my skin another way. So I tweaked my routine and it works like a charm: if I use a micellar water, which is the new Hydrabio H20 Micelle Solution from Bioderma (R200 for 250ml), especially made for dry skins, I’ll second cleanse with a cleansing cream and a face cloth (The Body Shop’s Pomegranate Softening Cream Cleanser comes recommended by Caroline Hirons). If I use a cleansing oil, I’ll second cleanse with a gel cleanser, typically Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Wash (R395 for 200ml). I’ve also gone cold turkey on all granular exfoliators and only use my beloved REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask (R595 for 50ml). Once I’ve cleansed my skin, I use Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion 1 (R380 for 400ml), which is a gently exfoliating and hydrating toner. It will change your skin and your life.

If you’re embarking on a product formula switch, see what works best for you and fine tune your routine.

Next up, during the day I use Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate (R700 for 30ml), followed by Avene’s Tolérance Extrême (R300 for 50ml) and at night I go for either Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate or a hydrating serum (like Hydraluron) followed by any of Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal creams (R420 for 75ml) for maximum hydration. I keep Dermalogica’s Antioxidant Hydramist (R550 for 150ml) in my desk drawer to keep my face moisturised during the day. Mid-morning I just spritz 2-3 sprays on my face and I’m happy.

When it comes to face masks, I absolutely adore Bioderma’s new Hydrabio Masque (R250 for 75ml). I apply a few drops of Nautica Organic Rosehip Oil (R150 for 50ml) underneath, and then let it work it’s magic. I also like Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask and Avène’s Soothing Moisture Mask. On days where I don’t wear any makeup, I stick to a very simple routine. I don’t double cleanse (because why?) and I use Nautica’s Organic Rosehip Oil to moisturise. I think foundation can be quite drying so a makeup-free day once a week is a must.

Internally

I take Best 4 Adults Brain Power Krill Oil capsules daily, and have an app on my phone called Waterlogged that motivates me to drink enough water during the day. Drinking water isn’t fun in winter, but I notice that when I don’t drink enough, it shows on my skin, so I make sure I get the correct amount via loads of green and other herbal teas, as well as water.

Phew! That was a lot of info. I hope it helped, lovelies.

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By now, dear reader, you will know a few things about me. One of them is that I am on the eternal search for the best mascara. I have had a few beautiful encounters with a few near perfect mascaras, but because there are so many of them out there, find myself drawn to trying new ones all the time. I can’t help it!

The latest mascara to rock my world is Revlon’s Dramatic Definition. Revlon have apparently done away with all their other mascaras and now offer 5 brand new mascaras, all targeting different areas for perfect lashes – definition, volume, length, volume and length and an all-rounder. I have never been a fan of Revlon mascaras and I had a pretty dismal experience with this mascara of theirs but I was super intrigued by the fun looking tubes whilst browsing the cosmetic aisle at Clicks and, given my weakness for mascara, decided to get the one that appealed to me the most. I’m so glad I did.

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I love a strong yet natural and defined look and was BLOWN away the very first time I tried Dramatic Definition. It literally made my mascara dreams come true! I could see it separating and defining each lash as the brush combed through, all while adding length and volume. Each brush is specialised for its own unique purpose, and this brush has tiered bristles for defining and separating every lash. I am head over heels in love. Not only does it separate and define (no clumping guaranteed), but the formula is flake free. FLAKE FREE! Do you know how long I have searched for a mascara that is truly, completely, 100% flake-free? For forever! That’s how long. Not only do you not have to wear a primer prior to applying this mascara, you will also never look like a panda bear! The formula is also perfect. It’s not too wet or too dry. As if those two spectacular achievements aren’t enough, there’s the pricing. At only R149, Revlon has neatly presented the mascara trifecta for the taking. It does what it says it’ll do, it is flake- and clump-free and it’s affordable. The packaging is also simple and gorgeous. I love the shape of the tube and how the wand feels in my hand. Moreover, the unique shape helps me to identify what product it is if I’m digging in my handbag while, say, driving. I know, I know. Removal is also a breeze. No hard rubbing required, and it comes off with my pre-cleansing micellar water or oil and then my regular wash-off Ren cleanser. All in all I’m obsessed! Can you tell?

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I only tried the purple kind, but I am keen get my hands on the red one (All-in-One) as I’ve heard lots of good things about it. My friend who is a Beauty Editor tells me that the pink one (Ultra Volume) is all kinds of amazing. I will be trying it out when this tube is done.

Rating: 6/5
Product: 6/5
Packaging: 6/5
Quality: 6/5
Price: R149
Would I buy again?: Absolutely!
Where to buy: Clicks, Dischem or anywhere Revlon is sold

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Face masks are one of my favourite things from the beauty world. Because I don’t go for monthly facials anymore (I’d rather use brilliant products on a daily basis), face masks are one of the ways to perk up, tighten, detox, deep cleanse or hydrate your complexion. In this world of instant gratification, and when I want to look gorgeous in a flash, I don’t feel like using masks that take ages to work. Twenty minutes feels like an age sometimes and I usually either end up forgetting about them and go well beyond the 20 minute mark. Sometimes I feel like it’s simply too much of a schlep and I skip it altogether.

Initially when I heard about REN’s Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial, I was skeptical and doubtful of any face mask’s ability to work in 60 seconds. Happily, all my preconceptions were wiped clean the minute (see what I did there) I tried the product for the first time.

What is it?

It’s a firming and toning facial treatment formulated with 10% vitamin C that turns a dull complexion bright in 60 seconds.

What does it do?

Formulated with potent water-activated vitamin C, it turns dull complexions bright to achieve immediate spa facial results, leaving skin firm, toned, and smoothed. It reduces signs of fatigue, photo-aging, and skin imperfections.

How to use it?

I apply it to my face and do a bit of manual exfoliating (once the water is applied, the exfoliating bits kind of disappear and they aren’t effective). Once I’ve exfoliated sufficiently, I wet my fingers and massage it all over my face (this is to activate the vitamin C). Leave on for one minute and rinse. Recommended use is 2-3 times a week.

My thoughts

The first time I used it, I couldn’t believe how soft and smooth my face felt. I couldn’t stop touching my face! My mom used it too and even came to me and told me to touch her face. Smooth skin is a guarantee. It does a good job of getting rid of dull skin cells and impurities like pesky blackheads. The only thing I noted was that it was quite difficult to rinse off, with an oily film being left on my skin. To remedy that, all I do now is use a bit of cleanser to remove any last traces. It has a sort of metallic citrus scent, which I’m not a fan of, but I’ll put up with it for the end result. The end result being immediately smooth, tightened skin with a healthy glow (once you’ve applied moisturiser).

How much is it?

It’ll cost you R525 for a 75ml tube, and I definitely think it’s worth having. Available online here or most major Truworths and Woolworths Stores.

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