Fashion blog – Aussie Fashion Blog

Fashion that is evocative of sun, fun & life!


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Homemade facial & body scrubs- Exfoliates to help your skin wake up for spring!

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Spring is finally here and by here I mean Adelaide, Australia. As I put my knitwear away and unpack my shorts, I know I need a good exfoliation to be truly spring ready. Winter is awesome for bad skin as you can layer up and look chic. I treat my winters as therapy time for my skin where I massage them with warm almond oil and seal them in copious amounts of vitamin E moisturiser.

Spring ushers in shorts, sexy tops and flirty dresses, so no escape for dull, flaky skin. So what’s my secret to spring ready smooth skin? Exfoliation!

egypt

Exfoliation has its roots in ancient history with women in Japan rubbing rice bran on their face to keep skin smooth and bright. The anti-inflammatory properties of rice seeds and bran made them an excellent cleanser and softener. The Ebers Papyrus mentions the use of powdered alabaster, sea salt and honey by early Egyptians to keep the skin perfect! The Greeks invented the first body scrub when they oiled and then scrubbed their skin with sand.

Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells on the skin’s surface making it an ideal solution for dry flaky skin conditions. It is a safe procedure as long as you remember to be gentle and not to use harsh abrasives that can injure your skin. Once a week is quite sufficient to achieve that smooth soft glowing skin you have been dreaming of.

There are two types of exfoliation manual (scrubs) and chemical (enzymes from fruit). Chemical scrubs use fruit enzymes along with moisturising emollients like honey and yoghurt.  These rely on the enzymes to slog off the dead cells instead of the abrasive action of scrubs, its gentler and ideal for sensitive skin. The only down side being their preparation time, storage (fridge), need to be left on for about 5 mins and that they need to be used up before they spoil. Personally, I prefer manual scrubs since I can have it ready in my bathroom and don’t have to worry about an expiry date.

health Homemade scrubs:

Honey has anti-bacterial and rehydrating properties so a dab of it in anything is a good thing.url

Olive oil is great both inside and out! Known to keep cancer and heart disease at bay by incorporating it in your cooking. It’s an excellent moisturiser and makes a good base for scrubs.

Baking Soda or sodium bicarbonate is a versatile product and completely harmless. Make it into a paste rub it in round circular motions and rinse off, its gentle enough for everyday use.

 Sugar & Olive Oil facial scrub

Mix normal white sugar with enough olive oil to make a paste. Add a dab of honey for extra moisturising effect.

sea-salt1 Fragrant sea salt body scrub

Two parts sea salt with one part olive oil, add a few drops of your favourite essence (tea tree oil, lavender oil, lemon oil or try vanilla) and your heavenly body scrub is ready.

If you’re heading out to the beach, rub a little sea sand over your feet and wash off with seawater. The most natural sea salt exfoliate available and it’s free.

In fact washed sea sand mixed with olive oil is an excellent body scrub.

 Anti-ageing tip:

You won’t be 21 forever, how you protect your skin today will define how you look tomorrow. Using sunscreen keeps the wrinkles at bay and when you’re 50 you will swear by those empty tubs of sunscreen!

Lastly, smile and unleash the inner diva within! 


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Happy MakeupLicious- makeup removal tutorial

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Flawless, glowing skin is the hallmark of beauty and the first step to achieving it is to maintain a clean skin. Your skin needs to be completely free of makeup before you retire for the night. Even a smidge of makeup left overnight can result in blisters, breakouts and in some cases inflammation (eye makeup).  Aussie Fashion blog’s featured makeup writer, Muskaan Ahuja a Dubai based professional Make-up and Special effects Artist has come up with simple routine make up removal remedies for heavy to soft makeup. As she is often asked which products are best she has consolidated a list of products that she has personally used and is confidant of it’s quality.

To remove very heavy makeup and daily makeup.

 Heavy makeup:

Muskaan offers two solutions. One is a homemade oil mixture and the other is an easily available market product. Heavy makeup is usually designed to stay on for longer periods of time and tends to be waterproof, for example- stage or theatre makeup. It is difficult to remove this kind of makeup with simple surfactants, which are used in regular makeup removers. This type of makeup would require very harsh surfactant based makeup removers and loads of it for thorough cleansing. Muskaan offers two organic solutions, one is a home made, easy to make oil mixture and the other is an organic product readily available off the shelf.

How to make the oil mixture at home?

Ingredients:
Extra virgin olive oil– 5ml

Coconut oil– 3ml

Baby oil– 2ml

Mix it and store it in a clean container, use as often as required.

Here is a pic of the bottle that Muskaan has at home.

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To remove your makeup:
Step 1
Apply little bit of the homemade oil mixture on your fingertips and gently massage it in circular movements. Once the makeup has mixed well with the oil, softly wipe your face using a damp cotton pad. Repeat the process until your skin is completely free of makeup. Remember to be very gentle near the eyes as the skin in that region is very delicate. If it seeps into the eyes then rinse thoroughly with copious amounts of lukewarm water (shouldn’t be hot).

Alternatively you can use a market product.
Muskaan recommends Know-it-oil, which is readily available in the market. This is a VMV product, USDA certified (US department of agriculture) it is basically an organic virgin coconut oil that can effectively remove thick layers of make-up mainly stage or theatre makeup while providing intensive hydration.
Follow the directions given on how to use on the product.
This can be used as a daily make-up remover but she doesn’t recommend using it daily, only when you have heavy makeup on and don’t have time to whip up a homemade remedy.

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Step 2

Is very important and Muskaan recommends making it a daily mantra. CTM (clean/ tone / moisturize) using your regular or favourite brands for this step.

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Cleaning

 

Toning

Toning

 

 

 

Moisturising

Moisturising

For Daily makeup.

Step1
This kind of makeup does not need harsh surfactants so it can be removed using your regular makeup remover products by damping it over a cotton pad and wiping it gently over the face. And if you are a wipes person, apply a thin layer of your cleansing milk over the face before using the wipes as the cleansing milk will not only help to lift off more makeup but it will also prevent dryness. Muskaan doesn’t recommend using wipes as prolonged use of wipes daily can lead to dryness, soreness or sagging of skin at a later stage of life due to all that hard hand rubbing.
Muskaan uses and recommends dermalogica makeup removing products.

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She recommends Neutrogena wipes but advises the use of clarins cleansing milk under it before rubbing of the make up. Makes the rubbing less harsh on the skin.

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Step 2

CTM (cleansing / toning and moisturising) same as above.

Now, a common question Muskaan is asked is whether you need to use a separate makeup remover for the eyes.

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Answer to this is, ‘Yes of course!”
The skin around the eyes is highly sensitive. The reason being as we don’t have a bone structure underneath the eyes to support the skin and that is why it’s called an eye socket. The skin here is thin and very sensitive. This is worse for a person with bigger or inset eye sockets, which can result in visible dark circles. This area is prone to signs of early ageing like winkles and fine lines. Excessive rubbing while removing the makeup can lead to dry and puffy eyes. In the long run puffiness around the eyes is also caused due to accumulation of leftover eye makeup particles. Makeup left overnight on the eyes seeps through the tear duct and keeps getting accumulated under the eyes leading to heavy puffiness. Sometimes, at a later stage in life to cure this one would need proper medical attention or even undergo a surgery for worst-case scenarios. Thus it is very important to thoroughly remove any kind of makeup from the eyes every night or before sleeping anytime during the day. It is good to invest in a high quality eye make remover as these are usually very mild and these effectively remove makeup without drying the skin around the eyes. Have patience while removing makeup and cleaning the eyes, remembering to be gentle.
Do not dab or rub the product directly over your eyelids using fingers. Always damp the product over a cotton pad and gently swipe over the makeup. Use an ear bud dabbed in product to remove eyeliner that is stuck in-between the lashes and corners of eyes.

Products Muskaan recommends are Lancôme eye makeup remover or Sens’eye by Make Up For Ever and Camomile gentle eye makeup remover by Body Shop.

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In fact, there is this magical product by dermalogica called the PRECLENSE- it provides deep cleansing for every day use. It removes any left over makeup product on the skin. Do not use it if you are allergic to peanuts as it contains kukui nut oil.

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There are many products available in the market; in fact each and every brand has a range of makeup removers for different parts of the face and for every skin type. So explore, consult and use the one which suites your skin type best.

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Lastly, even after you have removed all that makeup don’t forget to Smile!

A Smile is still the best make-up you can wear every day.

Happy MakeupLicious!!

Tina

Muskaan Ahuja (AKA Tina)Dubai based MUA

Visit my page – https://www.facebook.com/MuskaanAhujaTinaMua

Professional Make-up and Special effects Artist.

Email add –  tin_195656@hotmail.com / TahujaMUA@gmail.com

Tel- +971 55 99585856

 


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Happy MakeupLicious! Forever-Young makeup tutorial.

The art of applying makeup is one of the oldest traits of civilized groups of people and according to Dr. Richard Russell there is a science in the art of applying makeup.  An assistant professor of Psychology at Gettysburg College, he has deduced that a face appears female due to facial contrast and application of makeup enhances this contrast making one appear more attractive. Female skin tone is also lighter than male skin tone, which supports the use of foundation that evens out skin tone and in some case makes the skin appear lighter.

face

Plucking of eyebrows, applying eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara darkens the eyes and lashes. Lipstick and lip liners darken the lips giving the face an immediate feminine appeal and thus making it more attractive. Rouge/blush applied artfully on the cheeks give a healthy rosy cheek look.

As part of our ‘Happy MakeupLicious’ series, we are starting a sequence of posts on the art of applying makeup like a pro. Our featured writer is Muskaan Ahuja, a gorgeous Certified Professional Make Up Artist and Special Effects from ESMOD University Dubai.

Muskaan Ahuja

Forever Young makeup tutorial.

You don’t need to undergo expensive and not to mention painful laser surgery to get a facelift or a youthful glow. A few clever makeup tricks will have you looking years younger and beautiful in 5 simple steps.

Muskaan has charted 5 simple steps to incorporate into your daily makeup routine that will have you glowing with confidence.

Step 1:  A good foundation.

Skin is the largest organ of your body and the one most prone to ageing as it is constantly battles harsh weather, chemicals and pollutants while it protecting your body. It deserves your care and respect. Fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, irregularity of pigmentation (age spots), and dryness are the tell tale signs of aging. Good genes are a major factor for youthful skin, however good lifestyle choices and makeup can help minimise the harsh effects of time.

Choosing a good foundation is the fundamental step in the art of makeup.

A good foundation has the following characteristics:

  • A light coverage formula: heavy foundations tend to make skin sag. A light formula spreads smoothly with out clumping and is gentle on the delicate facial skin.
  • Evens out your skin tone: Foundation should match your skin tone and mask age spots giving the appearance of youth.
  • Spreads smoothly instead of just filling up fine lines. If your foundation tends to fill up fine lines you will end up with skin that looks wrinkled. You need to experiment to find one that smoothens out your skin and tackles the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Addresses your skin’s specific needs. A dry skin looks aged and dull. A good foundation that moisturises without caking is what you should lookout for. If your skin is oily you need to find a foundation that isn’t oil based. If you have combination skin, oily T zone and dry rest of the area, you might need to experiment with perhaps two types of foundation. Needless to say money spent on good high quality foundation is worth it.
  • Ensuring that your foundation has a built in SPF of at least 15-20 will protect your skin from further harmful affects of the sun.

Step 1

 

Step 2- CONCEAL AND REVEAL

  • Pick a concealer two shades lighter than your foundation.
  • Place three dots under the eye where the shadows are.
  • Gently pat product into skin, working it into the inner corners, which tend to darken with age.
  • This will mask the dark circles and tell tale signs of a hectic life.

Step 2

Step 3 – OPEN YOUR EYES.

  •  Dust some shadow in a taupe or stone colour over the lid.
  • Apply a highlighting formula under the arch to give the appearance of a mini brow ‘lift’.
  • Finally apply two coats of mascara to top lashes.
  • If you use an eyelash curler you will want to curl your lashes before you apply your mascara.

Step 3

Step 4 – LET THE CHEEKS GLOW

  • Applying blusher to the apples of the cheeks gives skin a younger glow.
  • Cream formulas give skin a dewy look, but you’ll need to touch up throughout the day, as they aren’t very long lasting.
  • As most skin tends to dry out with age, cream blushers are a good choice and are best-applied using fingertips.

Step 4

Step 5 – PLUMP UP YOUR POUT

  • Unfortunately, lips tend to thin with age.
  • Counteract this with a lip-plumping formula.
  • They contain a special plant complex that boosts hyaluronic acid production, instantly restoring the plumpness.

Step 5

Lastly,

A Smile is the best make-up you can wear every day. 🙂

Happy MakeupLicious!!

Tina

Muskaan Ahuja (AKA Tina) Dubai based MUA

 

Visit my page:  http://www.facebook.com/MuskaanAhujaTinaMua

 

Professional Make-up and Special effects Artist.

 

Email: tin_195656@hotmail.com / TahujaMUA@gmail.com

Tel: +971 55 99585856


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Aussie style icon- Robyn Lawley

Robyn Lawley is an Aussie style icon!

Robyn Lawley is a Plus size fashion model and the first to appear in a campaign for Ralph Lauren. This gorgeous 6 ft 2 in size 12 model was Sydney Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People of the year award for 2011.

A foodie she has her own food blog Robyn Lawley Eats (http://robynlawleyeats.tumblr.com/ ) and is slated to host a cooking TV show on Australian network Foxtel.

A healthy revolution for fashion and modelling! Bring it in Robyn!

Robyn Lawley

Robyn Lawley

Robyn Lawley

Robyn Lawley

Robyn Lawley is Aussie style icon

Robyn Lawley is Aussie style icon

Robyn Lawley is Aussie style icon

Robyn Lawley is Aussie style icon


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Nail art: style signature of a fashion diva!

nail extensions with nail art

nail extensions with nail art (Photo credit: nailsbylisa)

Manicure

Manicure (Photo credit: trec_lit)

Day 19: Galaxy Nails

Day 19: Galaxy Nails (Photo credit: NailsandNoms)

Beautifully decorated nails are the ultimate fashion statement, a hallmark of a true Fashionista. For those of you who have read my pervious posts, you are quite aware that my fashion philosophy is simple; discover your unique personal style. Don’t be a mannequin for other people’s fashion ideas but create your own style. Confidence is the one must have accessory of every woman (read my pervious post)and nothing oozes confidence like your own personal style.
Nail art according to me is the ultimate form of personal expression. Nothing spells character like painted nails that are a work of art. The combinations are endless with your imagination being the limit, from pale one tone simple polish, to elegant nail art, or eye-catching colours and even bold nail art using feathers etc.
The only tip I can offer is, practice makes perfect, there really is no substitute to dedication, time and effort. For quick DIY salon quality nail art the only option is nail wraps and nail stickers.
Nail wraps need to be heated for 3 seconds using a hair dryer and you need to snip off excess and trim the edge with a file.
Nail stickers can be peeled and stuck directly to clean dry polished nails. A topcoat does the job of sealing it.

cindy.shot for sch project =)

cindy.shot for sch project =) (Photo credit: starapon)

Manicure

Manicure (Photo credit: kodomut)

Feather

Feather (Photo credit: Katt Claws)

Manicure

Manicure (Photo credit: firexbrat)

nail extensions with nail art

nail extensions with nail art (Photo credit: nailsbylisa)

Nail polishes

Nail polishes (Photo credit: The Style PA)

How long your style creations last will depend on the quality of products used and the stresses you subject your nails to. Washing dishes in hot water, swimming in the ocean, etc. can greatly shorten the life of your nail art.
Simple tricks for an instant diva style.

Nail art

Nail art (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nail Art in Vietnam

#1 Use tape to create patterns and shapes.
Cut a pattern (heart, square, triangle etc.) out of the tape and then tape it around your nail. Apply a different colour nail polish over this, peel the tape and you should have a clear image of your pattern on your nail. Apply topcoat and you are done. Using strips of tape or sticker you can create various patterns.

# 2 Two tone polish
Painting your nails with two different colours of polish is easy and gives a very stylish look. Using toothpicks or hairpins with the rounded edges you can create dots. You can either cover your nails with dots or just the corners.
For more complex nail art you can Google tube videos where talented nail technicians share their secrets but be prepared to arm yourself with a professional nail art kit.
Quick drying tips:
#1 Use a dry fast topcoat.
The Internet is abounding with tips raging form hilarious (soaking nails in ice cold water for 5 mins!) to positively ridiculous (sticking your fingers in the freezer!), nothing works better or safer than a dry fast topcoat.
If passing the time is your concern since we all know how entertaining sitting with your hands and feet in front of you can be, here are some ideas.
#1 Paint your nails just before you sit on your computer, works if you prefer short nails. We spend at least ½ hour if not more surfing the web, checking posts on FB, reading my blog…
#2 Set your self up with your favourite music (not the kind that makes you jump up and touch everything) and lie down and relax. Get a little sun in the garden or watch a movie.
Warning: nail art is addictive! Once unleashed there is no stoping the nail art diva within you! I would love to hear and see your creations!
full house nail art


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Curly hair- Sexy and you know it!

imgres-6This post is for Rhema who requested a few hairstyles for curly hair.

First of all the golden rule for curly hair is to condition it, religiously, the more coarse the texture, more frequently should you treat it to a nourishing rich conditioning treatment. A homemade oil blend that I personally use is what I have found works best.

½ part coconut oil

¼ part Olive oil

¼ part Castor oil (castor oil doesn’t smell too good but it is so richly nourishing, it is nature’s best kept secret!)

Heat this, low flame, extremely well, the oils need to blend. Let it cool and when bearable to touch apply it whilst warm onto your scalp, massaging well, then apply to the ends and finally massage the rest of your hair. Make sure that every strand is well oiled. Depending on how badly damaged your hair is your hair will absorb the oil. Leave it for at least an hour, best if left overnight (remember to cover your pillow with an old towel and avoid silk pyjamas), wash as normal and condition.

Towel dry, gently, just squeezing (do not wring) it gently between a well absorbent towel. Run a very, very wide comb, bottom to top, gently to remove any tangles. If your hair is brittle or badly damaged you might want to untangle it when you condition you hair after shampooing. Then rinse the conditioner without disturbing your hair, let it fall in front of you while you run water over it.

Depending on your hair texture, you might want to condition it with a hairstyling product (depending on you hair texture you will need to experiment with a curl enhancer or volumiser with varying strengths of hold, use sparingly) before you blow dry it, something that works on you, this will help hold the curls and protect your hair (wet hair is more prone to damage). Remember to crunch up your hair; bend your head forward, letting your hair fall in front of you. Take lumps of hair into open palms and then moving upward toward the roots crunch them. Do this to your entire head of hair. Blow-dry your hair with the large extension designed for curly hair, called a diffuser. Use it at its lowest setting for both air and heat; this will prevent frizzy hair on the surface of the individual curls.

Work from the back of your head to the front, bottom to top. If you have long hair clump it in a circular motion from the ends to the roots into the diffuser, else just hold it above your hair. Resist the urge to run your fingers through your hair, you will ruin your curls, just use your fingers to flick your hair at the scalp. Don’t blow dry for too long, your hair should be a little damp.hair 1855

When your hair is completely dry, grease you fingers with a little (very minute amount) hair cream and run though you hair to release curls and to bind them into locks, twirling the locks around your fingers. Practice makes perfect, and once you begin to understand you hair and how it behaves you can alter this technique to suit your hair type.

Now for some Fashionista hairstyles!

With curly hair, it’s not about your face shape as much as your forehead size. If you have a broad forehead you need to decide if you want it covered or emphasized. Experiment with both looks and see what suits you best.

If you want it covered, going in for curly bangs, works best.

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If you want it emphasized, pulling back your hair, leaving a little bump and just a single beautiful curly lock, works gorgeously.

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The second factor to consider is the type of curls, do you have thin, tight curls or loose round curls. Needless to say, finer hair tends to form small tight curls and thicker hair tends to form big round curls. Either way curls look best, when well conditioned and clumped into individual curls, which is why running a fine comb through curly hair is a bad idea as it ends up giving it a bushy appearance.

Be mentally prepared to invest a little time and effort into getting that Diva look, remember the old adage no pain no gain? When I had my long tresses permed, just bending forward blow-drying my hair was painful, but the end result was well worth the effort.

Before you go in for a hair cut, study your hair, most hairstylist are not well versed with curly hair, unless you go to a specialist saloon, so do you homework. You need to understand your hair, when cropped does it spring tightly going shorter or is it unaffected? When short does it defy gravity? Is it more manageable when long or does it get tangled causing you grief? Does it get too heavy if it’s long (giving you a headache)?

Your answers to these questions will help you decide which hairstyle is best, long or short. Once you have that figured you need to find a style that compliments your personality. A romantic look, well kept professional look or like me do you prefer the wild child look?

Personally I prefer long tresses just for the sheer variety of hairstyles you can experiment with.

Short styles:

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You can straighten just a few strands in the front and styling them into a soft wave, leaving the rest curly. If you want your hair to behave you could use pins designed to hold curly hair, to give a more defined appearance. Pinning the locks behind the ears higher up exposing your ear which could display  gorgeous earings, whilst highlighting your slender neck?

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Long hairstyles:

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For a more romantic appeal try twisting strands into a crown frame letting the rest just fall over your shoulder.

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Headpieces, ribbons, even braided hair can be used to hold and style.

If your hair isn’t too thick, you could use a hair band to create a  gorgeous cascading effect.

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A wild child look, according to me never goes out of fashion!

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Highlights look amazing on curly hair so go for it!

I hope you found this article informative, let me know about your style experiments!

PS. all these images were googled (free) and I hope I haven’t infringed on anyone’s copyright!


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Hairstyles and everything you need to know about it!

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imgres-11 imgres-10 imgres-9 imgres-7 imgres-6 imgres-5 imgres-3 imgres-2 imgres-1 imgresThere is enough information floating around regarding face shapes and what hairstyles suit best. Here is a different perspective, from someone who has experimented with knee length, to short crops and everything in between. I have had my hair permed, straightened, coloured orange, red, brown, and purple. Trust me when I tell you that I have learned a thing or two regarding hairstyles.

Hair Truth #1:
Don’t copy a celebrity or a friend with a great hairdo. Their hairstyle looks best on THEM, copy them only if you are the same face shape, size, personality and most importantly the same hair type as them.
That is the sad truth that even some hair stylists don’t tell you, each “look” can be carried only by a particular hair type, not to mention other factors like, quantity and texture.
Irrespective what any hair expert has told you, every hair is unique, for example limp hair. Hair that is limp might be so just because it’s too long; the weight drags it. Cut the same limp hair shorter and you might notice a bounce or a natural wave, it will even look a lot healthier. If you have (I envy you, if you do) a full head of limp hair it will behave very differently from someone who has scanty hair that is also limp.
Factors like pregnancy, medication, illness, the kind of stress and strain (colouring, blow-drying, straightening, perming etc.) also affect you hair condition and will change with altering the factors that affect them. Example: eating healthy, going off a particular medication, post pregnancy etc.

Hair Truth #2:
Each person has a unique hair cycle and hair length. Each strand of hair has a life cycle; it grows a certain length and then falls off. Pregnancy and some medication that alter your hormonal levels can change this cycle. Hormonal changes in pregnancy tend to extend the life cycle of hair, meaning they tend to live longer, giving an appearance of a thicker head of hair. Post delivery, the hormones are back to normal and all that extended life is abruptly cut short, resulting in massive hair loss.
Find out your natural length of hair, mine is until my knees but I have a friend whose hair never grows beyond her shoulder. Why is this important? Because it will help you choose your hairstyle, for example if you have shoulder length hair you might want to consider going in for extensions if you love that romantic tousled look.

Hair Truth #3:
There is no prefect hairstyle that you can roll out of bed and still look glam. Everyone has bad hair days and then some really bad hair days. If you choose a style that is closest to your natural style (poker straight or curly), chances are you will spend less time trying to get it to behave the way you want it to.
There are a lot of factors that affect hairstyles, apart form the above points, weather also affects you hairstyle. Humidity kills any blow dry or styling like curling or straightening, high temperatures makes you sweat and depending on how much your scalp sweats (yes, you have sweat glands on your scalp) you can find your hair turning greasy, ruining you look. Intense sunlight can even bleach your hair. Living in a dusty or polluted environment can also turn your hair dry, brittle and lack lustre. Basically the dust/pollutants stick to your hair, the more you condition your hair the more it sticks! Drive with the windows down for an hour and feel your hair; you’ll know what I mean.

The fundamental truth to a good hairstyle is to know your hair type, which can change depending on diet, physical condition and environment. When I had orange hair, I found it amusing how my ‘look’ changed when I was in broad daylight (looked like my head was on fire-absolutely loved it!) as opposed to when I was indoors. It changed tone depending on what I wore and the backdrop, I stayed away from orange walls and green shirts! I even had to change my makeup, had to go with one that had less orange pigments in it. I had to trim my thick black eyebrows very thin, etc.

The bottom line is, you need to experiment and find a style that is convenient to your lifestyle, flatters you body shape and suits you hair type. Yes, your body shape contributes greatly to your hair style, which might seem odd, since you only focus on your head. The truth is, your hairstyle can take years off your face and kilos of your waist, IF chosen correctly and the inverse is also true.
Personally, with my style experiments I found that long, slightly curled locks that fell across my face and covered most of my shoulders and back, gave me a slimmer look. As I was 90 kilos when pregnant, the soft curls that fell across my shoulders took the focus away from my bugle and centred it on shiny, dark curls. For a more styled look, I would straighten my hair and let it fall across my face, creating an illusion of slimming length, hiding my double chin and puffy face. Here are few photos, to illustrate, let me know if it worked or didn’t.

me


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Stretch marks an emblem of shame? I say wear it with pride, it’s your badge of honour!

shore line or stretch marks

shore line or stretch marks?

Now, before you skip to the comments post to ‘advise’ me of the best shrinks in town, I already have quite a few friends who already are shrinks (stop nodding your head!), hear me out or rather read my post.

We, women, get stretch marks for all sorts of reasons, pregnancy is a major cause but so is weight loss.  There are so many women who shrink from a size 20 to a size 12; don’t you think that will leave a few silvery lines on one’s body? As a mother of three I can assure you that my belly looks like a very intricate Mayan symbol that has been etched onto my skin! What was once ripped and taut, now is super soft and a little (just a smidge) jelly like! Now that I have shrunk from my pregnancy weight of 90 kilos, I can assure you those silver streaks are not just on my belly. My husband very loving used to call me a baby whale! No, he wasn’t being mean, it was because my one year old while he was in his bath tub and playing with his ‘bath books’ saw a picture of a big blue whale with a giant smile and pointed to it screaming, “Mommy!”

My loving and ever supportive husband fell on the floor laughing and the nickname stuck! Now, 23 kilos lighter I no longer bear any semblance to a whale but I assure you that, parts of my body look like the rippled shoreline of an exotic beach. I was contemplating buying a swimsuit to cover my belly, then I noticed my thighs, I then reached out for a sarong and then I stopped to just think.

English: Photograph of abdomen of a pregnant woman

English: Photograph of abdomen of a pregnant woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The marks on my belly remind me of the three most precious gifts that I have received from God. They remind me that for nine months at a time, I held life within me, it grew inside of me and I nurtured life itself. My stretch marks are my badge of honour, the proud symbol of a mother.

My stretch marks on my thighs remind me of the great battle I had waged with my weight and it was excruciating, I assure you. Every 100 Gms was fought off with a lot of sweat and pain, it is very painful to exercise after running around three kids all day and night long. It is my badge of pride, a badge that was earned for strong will power, after all chocolate fudge looks ten times more delicious when you have been off sugar for a month or worse a whole year, and it is a testament to my struggle.

So why should I be ashamed of it? My husband doesn’t mind, my family and friends look at it as a testament to my character and will power, a road map of my adventurous life. So why am I hiding it? Why am I hiding the one thing I can show off about without being conceited? Emblems of my successful battle against my bulge and my ordeal giving birth to three precious darlings are to be celebrated and not to be hidden out of a misplaced sense of shame.

I’m still wearing a swimsuit as I am a bit of a modest dresser but it’s not because I am ashamed of my marks. I think women shouldn’t be ashamed of their stretch marks, no more than a war veteran who bears a scar on his body from honourable wars well fought. Whether any war is ever honourable or well fought is a topic for another time!


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How to be a budget Fashionista, in five easy steps.

Nicole_Kidman_wearing_Ladymatic_in_red_goldfashionista

Did you ever walk into a mall/shop/party and immediately notice someone, who appeared confidant, cool and fashionably dressed? That’s a fashionista, the complete package of personality and flattering attire. It’s not your body type, good looks or just your outfit, it’s the entire package that makes you a Fashionista. It’s how you create the Chic image, irrespective of your body type or looks. Don’t be fooled by the biased media hype that you need to have a supermodel figure or movie star good looks to become a style icon. All you really need is a flattering wardrobe, good accessories and loads of confidence.

The step-by-step guide to be a budget Fashionista:

1. Love yourself! Appreciate yourself and respect your body. You are a female, one of God’s most precious creations. You are unique and already beautiful, you don’t need to look like someone else or wear what others are wearing to look good. You only need to discover how best to reveal your personality and to flatter your body. Fall in love with your self, discover your quirky behaviour, appreciate your personality and then create your own fashion style that reflects all that.

2. Determine your body type: Find celebrities who are that shape and study their styles to get an idea of what will flatter your image. Celebrities have style guides and designers to help them bring out their best, you can take advantage of all that free advice. Scan as many images as you can to find out what look worked and what didn’t, and how that relates to your wardrobe.
E.g.: Apple shaped: wide shoulders, heavier top than bottom.
Celebrities: Catherine Zeta Jones, Elizabeth Hurley, Jennifer Hudson etc.
V-neck tops, top flattering/emphasizing dresses, skinny jeans all form their basic wardrobe essentials.

3. Discover your colour: Stand in front of a full length mirror and wear all your outfits. Grade each outfit (1 -10) in terms of look (does it flatter you body shape or draw attention to parts you rather hide) and style (does it give you a frumpy look or does it strike as classy). Discard/donate any item that fails to get above 5 points. While you’re doing that find out which colours seemed to brighten up your face and which make you look drained or tired. Yes, colours have that effect depending on your skin tone. E.g., depending on how tanned you are, different shades of pink will suit you. Every woman has one particular colour that just makes her sparkle, note this down, this is the colour that you should look for in accessories like, eye makeup, scarves, pendants, earrings etc.
If there is nothing in your wardrobe that stands out, then it might be time to head off to the nearest mall and go towards the scarves section and try on different coloured scarves. Look for the colour which, when draped around your neck, seems to brighten your face. That’s your colour.

4. Determine your favourite feature about your self: Is it your beautifully sculpted calves? Your flawless skin? Your perfectly manicured hands or feet? Your slender neck? Thick shiny hair? Sparkling eyes? Whatever it is, make it your signature style feature. Every outfit you wear should accentuate that feature.

5. Invest in a set of classic accessories: Shoes, bags, scarves, belts, bags and jewellery. After Step 3, you should have a rough idea of what is your personal style and what wardrobe essentials are required. Try to buy accessories that frame the face like earrings, necklaces, scarves and makeup, in ‘your colour’, this will help brighten your entire look. Keep your personal style preference in mind when you go shopping and look out for items that complement or build your personal style. E.g. If you have discovered that you are a vintage girl at heart then keep an eye for any accessories that have a vintage appeal. You can pair them with a formal office attire whilst emphasising your individuality.

These simple steps can help you transform your image since most of the time it’s not a lack of designer pieces (there are only so many places you can wear a valentino gown) but a lack of theme, coordination and often unflattering pieces that prevents the Fashionista in you to shine through.
Give these simple steps a go and let me know how it turns out!

Next up, simple make up tricks that promise to transform!


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Lets start a Fashion Revolution!

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As we traverse through history it is quite shocking and saddening that we, women have been slaves to the dictates of prevailing fashion trends. Corsets that barely let a woman breath and even the odd little toe being severed so that one could fit in a shoe that was a full size smaller for the more genteel appearance of good breeding.
Having said that I must admit that fashion has accommodated to the demands of changing environments, the war most notably. Motoring suits, traveling suits, golfing suits etc. had been designed to do to exactly what fashion was supposed to do in the first place, make the wearer comfortable while still looking stylish.
Women’s liberation movement did a lot for women’s fashion but sadly today I find a reversal of the trend. In the old days we had the hobble skirts, wide at the hips and extremely narrow at the ankles, hence the name and today we have super short shorts where half your bottom lies exposed. It’s also fashionable if your pocket linings are longer than your denim shorts.
Offcourse, I should hardly be pointing that out, given that in my college days I used to run around (in a girls hostel) in denim shorts that were shorter than my T-shirts and I did raise a lot of eyebrows, mostly the nuns. In my defence I never wore it in public, no, a hostel full of girls and nuns does not count!
Rebellion? Maybe, but I blame the culture, the role models, where are the Amelia Earharts? Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks? Hunger games is a good start. Women need to be reminded of the innate power that resides within. I love JRR Tolkien but I would have loved him more if Gandalf had been a sorceress! That way C S Lewis does a fabulous job in creating Lucy Pevensie and the equally strong Susan. However, their personalities are lost in the sweeping landscape and adrenalin rush of the graphics.
It’s time we, women/girls/teens, started a new revolution, not a liberation movement but a fashion revolution. Fashion means a popular style or practice, so let us make this a popular practice, to acknowledge our inner strength and to embrace our destiny as beings of love, light and strength.
Let us as girls look upon women of wisdom and be inspired by them to march forward in life as confident women. Let us as teens idolise women of strength and character and emulate these traits in our lives. Let us, as women become role models to our sisters, colleagues, friends, and nieces, to be all that we can be. Let us as mothers mould our daughters and remind our daughter’s daughters what it means to be a true woman.
Lets start a fashion revolution!

The Hunger Games (film)

The Hunger Games (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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Fashion blog- what you need to be Beautiful!

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Love your body!

In this day and age there is a lot of talk about weight and appearance. Nutritionist distributing diet plans and hollering out health risks involved with being obese. Plus size women demanding acceptance for their genetic predisposition and ironically joining in the chorus are naturally size zero models!

Where do I fit in? I’m trying to get everyone to focus on the main purpose, to look and feel good! If you accept your body type then you will be less sensitized to what the world hollers out at you and the worldly wise will have something to remark one way or another.

As a kid who grew up in an Arab land where dressing was ultra chic but conservative and then finding my self in college where the style was uber cool and relaxed, I was a square peg in a round hole!

Four years later I arrived with my ripped jeans, tussled hair, heavy silver accessories and varsity tees straight into the corporate world where I was told to chop off my ‘overflowing hairdo’ and get some suits, black or charcoal if you please.

Now, I live in sunny Adelaide where I am back to my ripped jean shorts, flip-flops, floral tops and aviators to give a dollop of oomph. I can easily transform into a form fitting charcoal suit with court shoes and a tightly pulled bun. My stint in the aviation industry taught me that a neat hairdo and stockings always gives the impression of being well groomed.

I learned a lot from being cabin crew for one of the leading airlines of the world. One of the most shocking lessons was that looks aren’t everything, grooming is! Yes, I never believed it until I experienced it! Did you know that aviation uniforms are designed to make everyone look alike? Yes, the idea is to make every crewmember look like as if he or she just rolled off an assembly line! Which means everyone had to look similar whether they were tall or short (minimum height), fat (highest weight acceptable for that height) or thin (minimum acceptable weight), beautiful or average. There were variations I assure you, the criteria for choosing a crew was primarily personality, looks actually came second.

The uniforms are so styled that they overpower the wearers look and instead stress on the bold colours, the strong style and the overall effect. Once the most gorgeous girls wore them they were transformed into, wait for it, mannequins that afforded no competition what so ever to the overwhelming design, contour and colours. Yes, that’s exactly why normal guys in a uniform always look so much dapper and the wow factor just falls off along with the uniform! That’s also another reason, no crewmember actually post pictures of themselves in their uniform, we look much, much better in casuals.

So what’s my point? Clothes and good grooming is what one needs to look awesome. So stop beating yourself over your body type, offcourse by all means exercise if you have to loose those heath-affecting pounds but not because you want to look good. Looking good and feeling good about your body has nothing to do with your weight unless you intend to pose for a bikini photo-shoot for the cover of vogue, other than that it really isn’t important.

The biggest mistake a woman can do is try to look like someone she is not. You need to discover you true unique style, if you are a flower child (I know I am!) then stop trying to wear form fitting little dresses, even if you have a fabulous figure. It’s not you and that should be reason enough. If you always felt comfortable in leather and tight jeans and not just because ‘so and so’ looked wow in it then by all means go for it.

Naturally, if you haven’t been brainwashed by fashion houses and fashion forums into believing what is cool and what is not, then you will ideally end up choosing a style that not only feels good but also compliments your personality and brings out your personality.

So why do so many women end up not looking their natural best? Many factors, brainwashing is top most but also equally important is the fear to be themselves. I should know, I always wanted to wear denim but in my family it was considered unbecoming, I still cannot get myself to wear jeans for socially important events where the dress code is casual.

Another major factor is availability. How many times have you walked into a store wanting something and were told it’s not available, out of stock, no one makes them any more etc.? As a denim girl my signature outfit is stone washed sky blue jeans with a cool, tad oversized white shirt, usually tied. The problem with white shirts is that they never stay white for too long. Having three toddlers with a love for finger painting doesn’t help either.

I cannot recall the number of times I have come away frustrated at not being able to find such a classic, no, not the ones with the fancy cufflinks, no, not the latest form fitting stretchable office whites, no, just a simple white shirt, no, no pockets, it kills the ‘look’.

That’s why I’m excited about thebargainboutique.com.au it is supposed to be the answer to my prayers. With classic pieces and basic standard items that are essential to every wardrobe in classic colours and fabulous fabric, it sounds like a dream come true. I’m waiting fingers crossed and hoping for some goodies that they will be giving during their launch.

I’ll keep you posted!

The Bargain Boutique