Monday, 30 April 2012

Eyebrow tatoos

Hello beauties!

I hope your weekend was great! Mine was extremely busy, as it was Jan's birthday on Friday, and we had our family and friends over for the occasion. We literally had people over from 10 in the morning to 11 in the evening, with no gap in between. And since it's Franco's birthday today (Happy birthday!!), we spent Saturday with them to celebrate today. So, it was busy!

Anyway, permanent makeup has been around forever. Everybody has seen someone or knows someone who had or has it done at some time or another. Also, the 'permanent' in the name is misleading, since all permanent makeup needs to be applied again every three to six months, since it fades. So it shouldn't shock you that its the same with eyebrow tattoos or permanent eyebrows, which is a growing beauty trend.

How it works :

Basically, it's just what the name says, the brows are tattooed onto your skin. Some companies actually create fine strokes to make every tattoo line as long and thick as an eyebrow hair, but not all of them do this. So the ink is dropped underneath your skin, and it stays there for a long time before it starts to fade. I can get no indication of how long it lasts before it fades on the internet, but every eyebrow tattoo company that I could find stated that it does actually fade and will need patching up eventually.

Also, it will take about a month to heal and fade, since the initial colour won't be perfect straight up. You brows will scab and be unpleasant to look at, but if you remove the scabs, you'll actually be removing the tattoo, and the procedure will have to be repeated. So, for a month you may have way too dark and weird looking eyebrows, which is why you can't have this done two weeks before your wedding!

Filling in your eyebrows can have a dramatic effect on your overall look, and I have to say, I get a lot more compliments since I've started doing this! But would I get my eyebrows tattooed? No. However, this is a great way of filling very sparse or very light brows, and it can be awesome for people with Alopecia or Cancer who have lost their brows. You can get some more info here and here.

Let me know what you think! Have you had your brows tattooed before, or would you do this? Also, share your overall permanent makeup experiences with us!

By the way, Liani's blog has changed again, the title is now Living Creatively. Please follow her bloggie! It's really cool (when she actually blogs) and she has some awesome ideas and images on there too. If you followed her blog before, you're still on there, it's just got a new name now. I'll put the link in the sidebar anyway.

Stay beautiful, and be kind to animals!

Friday, 27 April 2012

Happy birthday Jan!

Hello beauties,

Today is a very special day in my home, it's my hubby's 27th birthday. I'm dedicating this post to him, so get ready for mushy...

Jan, I can't begin to describe how I feel about you. You found me when I was going through the darkest time of my life, and you saved me. You save me every day. If it had not been for you, things would have been very different in my life, and I know you were sent to me from Above.

Your love is incredible. I've never met anyone who loves so purely, so unconditionally and so loyally as you do. No matter how crazy, cranky or creepy I am, you never get angry, you never make fun of me, and you never send me away. Being an eccentric, I have more moods in a day than a whirlwind turns, and yet, you remain as calm as a stream and you smile at my weirdness and you hold my hand when it gets dark around me. Opposites really do attract!

Thank you for accepting me. Thank you for sticking with me. Thank you for loving me.

This is the sixth birthday I'll spend with you. Since 21, we've never been apart, and I promise you, I'll still be there when you turn 80. I'll be the one handing you your teeth before you get a slice of cake!

You're a miracle to me. I thank God everyday for you in my life. With you, I've experienced so many things. Good, bad and ugly. We've made the most incredible memories, and we'll keep making them. You and me against the world. You're a special one.

Jan, stay the beautiful being you are. I pray that you'll be blessed beyond belief today and always. May love, joy and peace rain on you. May you keep touching lives and leaving your footprints where you tread. I hope you look back on 27 and say, "That was an awesome year, but it just got better after that!"

I have died everyday waiting for you. Darling, don't be afraid, I have loved you for a thousand years. I'll love you for a thousand more. All along I believed I would find you. Time has brought your heart to me, I have loved you for a thousand years. I'll love you for a thousand more.

Rowing our boat.

Crazy love

Christmas the year we got engaged.

Another boat, another time, same river.

Jan, hammering me! (:

At a relative's wedding

Jan in one of his favourite places, the kitchen. He loves cooking!

Playing in the water

On our wedding day, looking awesome in his suit.

See what I mean?

This was taken at my 21st. Jan is almost always behind a camera. He takes beautiful photos!

On our first trip to Cape Town, with Cape Point behind him.

Our very first vacation together with my parents at Amanzimtoti, flying his kite.

Vacation goers.

On his graduation day, looking smug!

The day we got engaged! Picnicked in the Botanical gardens. I had to have my ring in the pic!

The love of my life.

Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,

Thursday, 26 April 2012

REACH and why it sucks.

Hello beauties!

Sorry my post is late today. I feel like I've been run over by a truck, and then reversed over again. :) My wonderful other half is turning 27 years old tomorrow. This means family and friends gathering at our little hole in the earth to celebrate. This means feeding a lot of people, which led to baking many, many sausage rolls. My husband doesn't believe in store bought, just-pop-us-in-the-oven-type sausage rolls. We had to make them all from scratch. So between cleaning the house and getting everything ready for tomorrow, I was cooking too. We finished last night at half past one. I AM TIRED. O_o Anyway, it's worth it. On today's production line I have 3 (yes, three) cakes to bake, as well as a batch of chocolate muffins for the occasion. I'll take a picture for you and post it tomorrow. (:

Anyway, today's topic is a heavy one again. I want to tell you about the European Union's REACH legislation, and what it means in the fight on animal cruelty.

REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemical substances.

What does that mean? Well, it means the EU want to protect human consumers, by testing all substances that are used in products used for human health and environment. Cosmetics fall in this group, so cosmetics are tested. The thing with REACH is, that even products that have been tested before, have to be tested again in most cases. Animal protection organisations have actually found a loophole or two, and could stop some of the tests from taking place.

Now REACH mostly consists of toxicity tests. This means that they test the poison level in ingredients, and thus it also means that many (and I'm talking millions here) animals are force fed chemicals and are poisoned by them.

The original amount of animals to be tested for REACH was estimated at 13 million, but this number has been replaced with 45 million estimated. All these animals are effectively poisoned. It's not a heartening thought at all. What makes it worse is that all these animals either die because of the tests, or are killed if they survive. So all of the 45 million will die.

Let's take it a step further. How many chemical stuff can't we use while we're pregnant? We can't dye our hair with things containing ammonia and peroxide just to name one. So every year, the cosmetic industry loses millions of women for around nine months, and maybe the time they spend breastfeeding. Don't you think they'd try to get products safe to use for pregnant women out there? This is why a lot of the animal testing is conducted on pregnant animals.

Let that sink in for a moment. This means that whenever an test is conducted on a pregnant animal, at least four animals die. So that 45 million is really a lot more, because they're not counting the unborn animals they're killing.

The most of the tests are carried out on rats, mice, birds, fish, guinea pigs and rabbits and REACH has been running from 2009, and will continue to go until 2018.

For more info, check here and here.

Another piece of breaking news is that the deadline placed for all European companies to abolish animal testing, 2013, may be pushed up to 2023. This means that L'Oreal and affiliates and all the other cruelty endorsing companies have ten more years added in their killing spree. Now there is a petition you can sign that was put into place by the BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) and the ECEAE (European Coalition to End Animal Experiments), which may make a difference in this regard. With enough signatures, they may be able to stop the ten years to be added. I hope you sign it. I have.

Stay beautiful AND BE KIND TO ANIMALS,

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

False lashes!

Hello beauties!

We all love long and sexy lashes, don't we? Lashes accentuate the eyes, which is usually the feature we want to stand out. All women have beautiful eyes (all men too), no matter the shape or size, there's something beautiful in eyes. While we can have a crooked nose and teeth, if we draw attention to our eyes, most likely people won't notice the other little imperfections we have.

Having said this, I don't mean at all you have to wear false lashes to look beautiful. It's not for everyone, and it takes some getting used to!

Anyway, there are a few different types of lashes, and today we're going to look at these differences. First up, we have individual lashes.

Of all the types of lashes, these are the most natural looking. They are applied from the outside corner of the eye inwards, and a little glue is applied to the point where the hair comes together. They come in different lengths, short, medium and long, and for the most natural effect, you'd actually use some of the different lengths together, the longer ones at the outside corner, and the shorter ones in the inner corner.

It's also a good idea to place on on the one eye, and the next one on about the same place on the other eye. This will allow you to get them around the same, and is a good way to learn if you've never done it before.

The lash should be placed touching your skin, but laying on top of your own lashes. It should also be as close as possible to the lash line, so it blends in better.

The pros of individuals are many : it's more natural looking, it doesn't feel as heavy on your eyelid and it's pretty easy to apply. But there is a con to it : if they aren't attached well enough and they start falling out, you'll look like a malting bird. So it's a good idea to carry along some replacement lashes and glue!

The most popular lashes are strip lashes. This doesn't mean they take off their clothes, that would be scandalous! They simply come on a strip that follows the curve of your eye. This strip can be either black or brown, depending on the colour of the lashes, or it can be clear.

It's obvious then that the clear strip will look more natural on your eye, since there is no hard plastic visible.

You should look for comfortable lashes. The harder and more unbendable the strip, the less comfortable it will be on your eye. Also, the more embellished the lashes get, the heavier they will be on your eyes, so if you're going for very dramatic feather lashes, they will feel very dramatic on your eyes as well.

You'll find the biggest variety of lashes here, from natural looking lashes, to ones that create cat eyes, to ones with pearls and feathers and glitter. There are some pretty wild lashes available out there!

Next up, we have demi lashes. These are also called half or three quarter lashes, and are applied to the outer corners of your eyes. At this point I just have to mention, 'demi' means 'half' in French. I don't know why some of the brands out there have full strip lashes and call them demi lashes. If you know, let me know! :)

They are also pretty natural looking, and simply create a more cat eye effect than full lashes, since they usually flare out at the ends.

If you can't find demi lashes, you can always cut up your regular old strip lashes. You can also cut up your strip lashes, or use individuals even, to replace the next type of lash, the bottom lash.

You can buy top and bottom lashes together like this, or you can get your bottom lashes on their own. Bottom lashes are usually alike to individuals, with the exception that they are small flat sections of hair, where individuals are more likely bunched up a bit.

They are applied the same way as individuals to the bottom lash line. These are very popular especially in Oriental countries, where the girls use them to drastically alter the shape of their eyes and make their eyes look bigger.

These also help in creating fantasy looks, and doll eyes as well, and can add a little something different too.

Now, if you ever decide to use strip lashes, demi's or individuals on the bottom lash line, just remember to flip them over, so the curve of the lashes runs downward. If you put them on wrong way round, it's going to look weird, except if that was what you were going for!

How to apply your lashes? Well, there are so many videos and tutorials out there, that I'm simply going to refer you there. Kandee Johnson's tutorials : strip lashes and individual lashes. Lisa Eldridge's tutorials : strip lashes and individual lashes. If you can't watch video's, here is a wiki how tutorial.

You'll find that most people don't use the glue that comes with the lashes, but rather uses their own brand of lash glue. This is because, frankly, the glue that you get with your lashes sucks, and really doesn't stick for long. You can buy lash glue at any drug store where they keep their lashes.

In my experience I've actually bought very expensive and very cheap lashes and used both on myself and clients. I've had cheap lashes that look more natural than expensive ones, and I've had expensive lashes with the most terrible strips in the world, that would not be concealed no matter what I did. Just as I've had cheap lashes that would not bend and expensive lashes that brought the wow factor. You need to find a brand you like and experiment!

Anyway, here are some wild and wonderful lashes for you to enjoy!

Tomorrow I'm going to write about the REACH legislation the EU passed, and I'm going to try and explain it as best I can. I really hope you all read it!

Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

My first henna experience

Hello beauties!

I'm loving the rain! I'm also very thankful for my tumble dryer, since Mondays are laundry days for me, and I couldn't finish the laundry yesterday because of the rain. But snuggling with Jan and Cupcake in the cold and rainy weather is awesome, and I wouldn't trade it!

First order of business, I got email replies from both Avon (who also sells Justine, it seems, since I requested an email from Justine and Avon answered...) and Revlon. I have both emails, and I'll send them on to anyone who wants to read them. Avon states that it does tests on animals where the law requires it. I'd be ashamed to admit it if I were them, after more than 20 years of cruelty free behaviour.

Revlon didn't really answer my question. They state that they comply with both American and European laws, and do not test on animals there. But I asked if they conduct animal testing in countries that require it, like China. I replied to them and asked again. Since starting to compile my list, I found Luxury Cosmetics, who sells Smashbox as one of their brands. They state that none of their products or ingredients are tested on animals, nor do any other companies conduct these tests on their behalf, except where required by law. I informed Luxury Cosmetics of this, and the friendly people who work there actually did further research into the matter. They came back to me with the promise from Smashbox that they only test on human volunteers in countries where the law requires it. That is a truly cruelty free company. If Revlon can give me an answer like that, my faith will be restored, but at this point, I simply feel they're dodging me. But I'll keep you updated.

Anyway, because of this whole uncertainty with Revlon, I had to find alternative means to colour my hair. I've been dyeing it for so long, I actually had my uncle ask me on his visit from Canada what my natural colour is. I don't even have a digital picture of it. My hair has been pink, purple, bright red and orange on the crazy side, and it's been black, any shade of brown and red too. I've never been completely blonde, but I've had highlights in all different blondes too, so I've been around the block with my hair!

This is why the thought of having to grow it out and never colour it again kind of freaked me out! I've done a lot of research into alternative methods of colouring, and I found a bunch of stuff, like tea and coffee dyeing and other natural ways of doing it, but the problem is that your hair would smell like coffee for about four washes, and it's still not permanent. And I've always been afraid of henna, since you can't use other dyes over it. But I mean, given the situation I'm in, I may never be able to use normal dyes again, and I honestly don't know if I care!

 I found this brand of henna dye (cruelty free of course) at Dischem, and it cost me R49.95. It has six applications inside, and I used two, so if I use two packets each times, I have three hair dyes left inside. For 50 bucks?! That's incredible. Also, it is all natural, ammonia free, safe for pregnant women and I can use it as often as I like, since it isn't damaging to my hair.

It's also really simple to get ready, since you really only cut open the packet, pour it into a plastic bowl and add 35 ml water to it. Then you simply mix it until it forms a thick paste, and apply it to your hair. It's really that simple. The paste forms quickly enough, and you just have to make sure it mixes well, so there are no powder lumps in between, but this is really easy.

The drawbacks are that the particular powder I bought is green. And not a nice green. I told my hubby that if it flopped I could at least tell people I went green for earth day. I've never had green hair before... I also applied the paste to dry hair, since the instructions don't specify. That made it a little more difficult to spread evenly, but I'll try it on damp hair next time. Most people prefer the damp hair method, and apparently it makes no difference in the outcome of the colour.

It also doesn't smell bad or sharp like store bought dyes. It has a herbal, tea-ish kind of smell that doesn't hang for hours or sting your nose and eyes.

The development time is 30 minutes, though some people leave it on for hours. I simply combed through my hair once or twice, and then left it in a bun for the half hour, playing Peggle on my computer. It washed out dark brown, like tree bark and I was amazed at how my hair felt. After traditional hair dyes, my hair always feels extremely dry and kind of stiff. This won't go away until I've put in the conditioner they add with the dye, and then my hair feels OK, but you can see it's been dried out. With the henna, my hair didn't fee damaged at all. I could run my fingers through my hair without resistance immediately!

Anyway, I washed and conditioned my hair like normal, and I dried it. Here are the before and after pics :

The big thing I found with the henna is this : it covered my roots perfectly. With other dyes, I usually have a pretty hard time getting my roots to match the other hair, even when I colour the roots first. This stuff just covered it all and I mean, you can clearly see in what bad shape my roots were... It also has a nice reddish shine to it that I love.

All in all, I'm impressed. Not only is it saving me a buck or two, but it's doing the job other dyes did better. Now I know a bunch of hairdressers are going to crucify me for this post. To them I say this : if our world wasn't so cruel, I would never have tried the henna. But there are no hair dyes in South Africa that are cruelty free, not even those they use in salons. The few cruelty free products in my country cost more than a salon colour, and my hair grows so fast that by the third week it's just roots. In fact, the before pic was on three weeks.

I hope you have an awesome day! Remember to vote in the poll and follow the blog if you love it.

Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,

Monday, 23 April 2012

Give yourself a facial at home like a pro!

Hello beauties!

Hope you all had an amazing weekend. We went away over the weekend, to a family member's weekend home next to the Vaal River. It was really relaxing just to stare at the water and I spent a lot of time reading the final volume of the Inheritance Cycle, Inheritance, by Christopher Paolini. We took Cupcake along, and she had a blast!

Just an update on the cruelty free campaign I'm trying to run, I have some safe companies under the Animal Cruelty free brands and companies in South Africa tab. I haven't heard back from most of the companies I've contacted, including Revlon. I'll let you know when this changes.

Anyway, on to today's topic : how to give yourself a home facial.

What you're going to need :

* A good cleanser.
* A light facial scrub.
* A mask for your skin type (I have a pretty extensive post on that, as well as skin seasons and undertones.).
* A good moisturiser, also for your skin type.
* Some essential oils (optional)
* Clean facecloths and towels.
* At least half an hour!

You can find home recipes for facial scrubs and masks here. If you have oily skin, use rosemary or eucalyptus essential oils and a clay or mud mask, where dry skin would be better off with lavender or sandalwood essential oils and hydrating gel or cream masks. Those of us with combination skins can use both (on the areas that are dry, the hydrating mask and on the oily areas the mud or clay) or either, depending on how dry or oily your skin is at the time.

1) Using the cleanser, wash off all the impurities and makeup on your face.

2) Apply the scrub, and massage it into your skin in small, circular motions for three to five minutes. Work in an upward motion. Don't use scrubs with too large beads, and never use a body scrub on your face, since the larger and rougher beads in the scrub can tear your delicate facial skin.

Also, never use any scrub on and around your eye area, since it is damaging and drying. The skin around your eyes is some of the most delicate skin on your body, so protect it!

3) Fill your sink with warm (not hot!) water and the essential oil you chose (about a teaspoon full would be enough) and dip your facecloth into the water. Hold the damp cloth to your face for around ten seconds, pressing down gently. Repeat this process a few times (around 8 to 10 times) until your face feels moist and soft.

4) Gently dry your face with a towel. Don't rub your skin, rather push down gently with the towel.

5) Spread your mask over your face, again avoiding the eye area. Leave on the mask until it is completely dry, this is usually between 10 and 20 minutes. It'll feel difficult to talk and smile as the mask dries out, so try and keep your face still! I know it's difficult! :)

When the mask has dried, wash it off with warm water.

5) Dry your face with a towel.

6) Apply your moisturiser all over your face, again in upward, circular motions. If you have an eye cream, apply that to the eye area using your ring fingers. Also, don't forget your lips! Apply some lip balm as well.

If you want to do a lip exfoliation along with your facial, simply wash your lips with water, scrub them gently with dry sugar or your toothbrush in circular motions for around a minute, and them moisturise them.

You can do this facial once or twice a week to keep your skin looking stunning. If you struggle with acne, or even if you don't, you might find that the condition will worsen with the first few facials, or there will be breakouts where you usually have clear skin. Don't panic, just persist. After about three times, your skin will definitely improve, the key is just to keep it up every week.

I find these days that if I skip a week, I break out, so I do my little facial routine every Sunday evening while taking a relaxing bubble bath. Though I have to be honest when I say this is about the third week I haven't had the time! I'll start it again, I promise! :)

Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,

Friday, 20 April 2012

Some nail hair and makeup inspiration for your weekend!

Hello beauties!

First of all U want to thank everyone who read and commented on yesterday's post either here or on Facebook, and also to all of you who blogged about it or told all your friends. We need to keep the word going, and make sure everyone knows and understands what is going on in the world's testing facilities. I'm doing a piece on animal testing again soon, since the European Union's REACH program is creating horror stories of its own. I'll do this next week sometime.

Just as an update on Revlon, I sent them an email yesterday morning asking them point blank if their sales in China means they endorse animal testing there. I haven't heard back from them yet. I'll give them a few days, since it's a pretty big company, and then I'll email again, and see if I can find alternative emails to reach them.

Because of yesterday's post, I'm really not in the mood to write about fluff and rainbows, so I'm simply going to post some 'inspirational' pics I found on Pinterest, that you can try this weekend. I've got some hair, nails and makeup for you, as well as a cool steampunk pic or two. How I love steampunk!

And now for the steampunk part of the post :

Stay beautiful, and have an amazing weekend. And be kind to animals, all sorts of them.