Friday 14 October 2016

How to go on a social media detox

I'm writing this just after deleting Instagram and Snapchat off my phone. This is something I do fairly regularly for a few days, sometimes a couple of weeks and I've even deactivated my Facebook for a couple of years before needing it back for work or uni. It might seem attention seeking through trying to be elusive (oxymoron?) but having a social media detox from time to time makes me personally feel a lot anxious and a lot less jealous.

There are many reasons why you should go on a social media detox rather than, say, an alcohol detox. As we all know, social media just shows us the best snippets of people's lives and then we take it out of context and think other people's whole lives consist of them drinking colourful cocktails on a beach. Jealousy is very normal but I think it's easier than ever for us to feel jealous of people's lives that are actually not much more (if not less) exciting than our own. Another thing is measuring our worth based on the number of likes we get on a photo we posted, it's pretty exhausting and it is not something we should need to worry about it when lets be frank, we all have bigger fish to fry.

Social media is great for keeping in contact with people, spreading ideas and just generally for interacting with other human beings you would never meet in your everyday life. I think social media is great but it's also addictive and moderation is a good thing.

Everyone might have their own reasons for having a social media detox. Maybe it's because you've been through a break up and you don't want to see what your ex is up to. Maybe you've got an exam coming up and need to concentrate. Or maybe you're just sick of comparing yourself and your life to other people's. Either way, here are some tips on how to go on a social media detox (if you're thinking of going on one).

Set yourself a time frame
You probably won't want to delete all of your social media accounts forever, rather just have an amicable break. Whether you want to have a weekend off of Facebook or a month of all social media platforms, give yourself a realistic time frame and stick to it.

Delete the apps off your phone
Most of us spend more time on our phones than on our laptops so just delete your social media apps. I personally always keep Twitter because I mainly follow news or funny accounts so I actually enjoy it and find it more useful than other platforms. If you delete the apps, you won't spend your time reopening and closing them without even realising that you're doing it. Because that is the biggest waste of time when you're using social media just instinctively and subconsciously.

Do all the things you thought you didn't have time for
A lot of us complain that there aren't enough hours in the day when really we're just not using those hours to be productive or do the things we really enjoy. If you usually waste an hour on Instagram a day - read a book, draw, write... just do something that you've always felt you don't have time for.

Let your friends know
Let your closest friends know that you're not on social media so they know to contact you in another way. We're not limited for choice - I am personally sick of people thinking they can only contact me on Facebook or Snapchat when they have my number. It requires no more effort sending a text than it does a message on Facebook. Although you should maybe tell your closest friends and family, to be honest most people won't care because we're all too caught up in our own lives.

Realise that you are not missing anything
Realistically, in the time that you are away from SM, you will not miss a single thing that will be of any importance to you. Nothing. When you return, everything will be as it was. All the important things you will find out another way. It's really that simple.

React to how you feel
If being off of social media just feels inconvenient, maybe social media detoxing isn't for you. If you feel freed and more relaxed, think about what you can do to keep it that. This might mean limiting your use of social media to certain hours of the day, or limiting how many social media apps you have on your phone. Either way react to how being on a social media ban made you feel.

I by no means think that everyone needs to go on a social media detox, but if you're finding yourself a bit stressed or in a bad state, I think removing yourself from social media can be pretty liberating.

Thursday 22 September 2016

2016 So Far

I feel like every time I write a blog post I have to explain why I haven't been blogging. And it's pretty much always down to laziness, which is something I have to snap out of because I always enjoyed having a space to write my thoughts and opinions (even though they have in the past been mostly about lipsticks...). I thought what I would do to get back into the swing of things I would update you (if any readers have stuck around?) on what has been going on this year.

I decided in about May of 2015 that I wanted to move to Australia. I had only ever been to Sydney (for one day after a three week trip to New Zealand in 2008) but my dad had told me I would love Melbourne. As he's my dad (and a bloody good one) I trusted his judgment and moved to Melbourne in February of 2016 to do a masters in Media and Coms.

Moving to Melbourne was hard. My mom came with me for the first ten days to help me get settled so at the beginning it just felt like a holiday. When she left, I suddenly felt more lonely than I have ever felt in my whole entire life. I was on the other side of the world, I had the odd acquaintance here but I still felt very much alone and very far away. I really struggled to find somewhere to live and the first month involved a lot of moving from one place to another until I found somewhere. I then started university and have since made a few friends and am friends with a few people I knew back home in the UK.

I went home in June for about five weeks back to New York and as much as I loved being in New York and seeing my family, I actually missed being in Melbourne. Melbourne is unlike anywhere else I have ever been. It has all the aspects of a big city but with less people (and the people are way more friendly), strange looking birds, not-so-crazy prices (relative of course) and just an amazing culture. I love the fact that it's a city but it's also by the beach and I generally just love everything about Melbourne (apart from the unpredictable weather). But that doesn't mean that it hasn't been difficult. I hate not being able to see my closest friends and I hate the time difference from here to the UK and the US. I also feel like while I am studying, everyone else is getting on with their lives and their careers.

My younger sister came to Australia and we spent part of August together. We went to Sydney, she came to Melbourne and then we went to Cairns - where we both did our first skydive. Kind of terrifying, kind of amazing. It was so nice to have her here and it made me appreciate being in Australia a lot more when I had her to enjoy it with. 

I appreciate that I am very fortunate to be in a position to be able to live here for a while and that not everyone gets an opportunity like this. I know that when it is all over I will miss Melbourne terribly, even just thinking about leaving brings a tear to my eye. But I also know that being near my closest friends and my family is more important to me than I thought. At this point I don't know what I will do after I graduate and where I will go. Going back to the UK doesn't seem entirely appealing but being so far away is also quite difficult and I am not sure I could do it long-term.

In November I am off to New Zealand for a week and then I will be going home to New York for a few months which I am really looking forward to.

So that's basically it! I just thought I would get back into the swing of things by updating you all on where I have been and what has been going on. I'll be back... SOON.

Friday 1 July 2016

Kylie Cosmetics Lip Kit in Exposed

When Kylie Jenner first released her lip kits I was so desperate to get my hands on one and I rushed online to get one as soon as I knew they were in stock. This happened about three or four times until I gave up because they were selling out in minutes. And you know what they say: 'If at first you don't succeed, give up'. But a few months into the launch of Kylie Cosmetics, I managed to get one three hours after they were back in stock and I got the shade Exposed, which is supposedly Kylie's favourite shade.

At first glance I thought it might be a bit too dark of a nude for me to pull off. The shades seem to be ones that suit her own complexion best as well as darker skin tones. As of yet there aren't many lighter shades. I believe that Exposed and Koko are the two lightest matte liquid lipsticks. When I swatched it on my hand I thought it was way too dark and peachy for my pale skin. However! I actually think it works nicely as a browny almost bronzey darker nude, along the same lines as MAC Velvet Teddy so I am pretty pleased with this shade.

I love the fact that it comes with a matching lip liner because I'm all about that lip liner lifestyle because my lips are kind of small so I like to make them a little bigger. The lipstick takes a few minutes to set so at the beginning I thought it was a bit too tacky and shiny to be classified as matte but it does dry down. I have only tried the Anastasia Liquid Lipsticks so I can't compare it to the Kat Von D, Stila or Tarte ones but I would say this is pretty comfortable to wear but you do need to put on lip balm a while before applying. 

The real selling point with this are the shades and longevity. Although the shades aren't great for paler people, they still look good and look incredible on people with tan and dark skin. When I have worn this lip liner and lipstick, it lasts on me the whole day - no touch ups whatsoever. And I tested it on a day where I was out all day, eating and drinking wine (tbf the wine is most days...)

Also excuse my moody mug but this was the day after the UK referendum results :| 

Monday 6 June 2016

The beauty industry - no longer fashion’s sidekick?

The aspirational world of beauty has changed over the last few years due to many reasons. Once a sidekick to fashion, the beauty industry is one of the fastest growing industries, and it really goes hand-in-hand with social media. One of the key reformations to shake the beauty world has been the evolution of social media – from personal, to business-minded and then back to personal again.

Five to ten years ago saw the career launch of beauty bloggers along the likes of Tanya Burr, Zoe Sugg, Michelle Phan etc. Their careers began as a hobby, using YouTube as a platform to showcase their latest beauty buys and makeup tutorials. A small percentage of beauty bloggers are professionals, the others are often self-described amateurs.

One of the UK’s most successful beauty bloggers, Zoe Sugg (otherwise known as Zoella), began her career as a hobby, filming in her bedroom. She now has over 7 million subscribers on YouTube, two best-selling books and a beauty range selling in the UK’s best-known drugstores. Sugg successfully turned what was initially just a hobby into a worldwide business.

The 18 months has seen an additional 18 Mecca Cosmetica stores open as well as the first three Australian Sephora stores. Luxury beauty products are more in demand now than ever, and this is largely thanks to the online beauty community. Whenever a top beauty blogger mentions a product, it is guaranteed to be sold out within a day. You don’t have to be a beauty professional to become a beauty expert, with the help of an internet connection and thirst for knowledge (and the latest liquid lipsticks in every available shade of course).

Social media has had a large impact on how we shop for products. It has also changed who the authoritative voices in the beauty industry are and who we turn to for advice. Everyone nowadays can be a “beauty guru”. All you need is a computer, a camera and… a bit of money to keep being able to afford posting hauls and unboxing videos.

The accessibility of all things online has made beauty and all its tricks less of an underground art. This is especially the case because cosmetics create visual effects after all.

Credit: L'Oréal Paris Instagram

Casandra Ramos, Social Media Assistant Manager at L’Oréal Paris in the US, says: “The beauty industry lends itself so well to social media because social media helps make tips and tricks more accessible to everyone. Consumers can share their learned techniques and newfound expertise that were not easily accessible before social media. Because of that there has been an increase in demand for products that otherwise would not have been desired or really known about. Beauty content is visual and inspirational.”

With social media has come a demand for all things beauty to become personal. Customers are no longer content with recommendations from beauty journalists alone. We crave full knowledge of products before we decide to take the plunge. This has been facilitated by the almighty beauty bloggers of the world and the use of social media. Over last few years, social media has seen a shift and the big corporations have had to adapt in order to keep up with what customers want. What this shift in social media has done is that it has made unlikely products from faraway lands become cult items. Or if we’re sticking to the beauty blogger lingo: holy grail products.

As beauty product information becomes more accessible, the want for more unique products has developed. With image-based social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, and video-based platforms such as Youtube, the latest beauty products are at our fingertips before even committing to purchasing. There is an online beauty cult in the shape of bloggers and their monthly favourite products, vloggers and their hauls and Instagrammers and their lipstick swatches. If you have ever delved into this world, you might be able to name the shades of eyeshadows you haven’t seen in real life.

Steven Waldberg, Vice President of Integrated Marketing Communication at Maybelline New York says: “Companies used to sell products based on a promise. Consumers had to take a leap of faith and trust their brands to give them better skin, a beautiful red pout or smoky eye for instance. Image and video-based platforms such as YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat, have given consumers a platform to play in front of an audience and truly put to test the saying ‘seeing is believing’. We’ve gone from a one-way monologue to a conversation involving many, often times millions!”

Waldberg argues that this shift has put the power into the hands of cosnumers. He says: “These platforms have further democratized beauty (and makeup in particular) and made it by the same token more popular with all age groups. Consumers are now empowered to experiment with beauty, sometimes even coming up with amazing ‘hacks’ which perhaps even brands had not thought of. Brands and retailers have reacted and also launched their own apps (like Makeup Genius for L’Oréal Paris) enabling consumers to try on makeup virtually which was a first at mass, when in most countries, consumers don’t have beauty advisors at point of sale to help them navigate shades and textures. In essence, brands cannot only sell products anymore, they have to also provide service and education to add value to the experience and to their consumers.”

Credit: Maybelline New York Instagram
The rise of Snapchat has certainly changed the way in which customers or fans of brands experience products. With the likes of the Kardashian sisters and other high profile celebrities giving a real insight into the products they use and how they achieve their look, beauty is becoming more accessible and in a personal way. Snapchat allows for 10 second long videos, which demands concise communication but it is at its core, visual. The visual aspect of social media is perhaps why this change can be considered so important.

Platforms such as Snapchat also allow for a behind-the-scenes exclusive content, which means that consumers know what kind of beauty looks are going to be hitting the world by storm. As much as editorial, highly produced content is still en vogue, there is a want for more personal, raw content.

Ramos says: “Snapchat allows for behind-the-scenes of fashion shows and events. This offers a glimpse into the exclusivity of events they could not access before. Snapchat can now also be used to filter our looks and optimize our visual content, which works well alongside the beauty industry.”

Although some may view the cosmetic industry as frivolous, it has played a large part in social acceptance and progression. The fascination involving creative makeup and drag has pushed for a wider acceptance of men wearing makeup. It has also sparked debates on what society considers to be beautiful and how it should be defined. As social media platforms allow for discussion and debate, it has allowed for progression to be made in the real world.

A love for cosmetics is also more wallet-friendly than a fashion obsession, as Waldberg says: “When the last recession hit in 2008, a lot of people were no longer spending the same amounts as they had been on clothes. Beauty became more of a thing because, as Anna Wintour once said on David Letterman, if one can’t afford an expensive dress, one can perhaps spend $10 or $20 on a lipstick, which is just as much of a statement and accessory of sorts to express one’s mood. Beauty brands have also widened their offerings creating many new products to address every inch of one’s face and body - bronzers, brow products, highlighters, to name just a few. In other words, the beauty category is more complete and interesting than it’s ever been.”

According to Statista, the country with the largest revenue from the cosmetic market is the United States, with a revenue estimated to exceed $62 billion USD in 2016. As the beauty sector continues to innovate and adapt alongside social media, the real question is: when will there be London, New York, Paris and Milan Beauty Week?

Monday 4 April 2016

Skincare for hormonal acne

Sometimes I really cannot be bothered with skincare and I feel like it only makes matters worse. That's usually when it turns out my skincare isn't working for me anymore and is just breaking me out. As I'm getting older, my skin is becoming increasingly sensitive and if you thought acne was only for teenagers nuh uh uh... think again. Most girls I know actually developed some form of mild hormonal acne in their mid twenties. That being said, I feel like these four products are some that I can rely on to make things a little bit less lumpy bumpy and inflamed.

When I first moved over to Melbourne I basically got hives and it has been coming and going. So I went into Aesop (which is from here so it's cheaper, wahoo!) and asked for some recommendations. The guy in the store recommended the Aesop Chamomile Concentrate Anti-Blemish Masque to help calm the situation down. It's full of lovely oils and smells really herby. I do find that this helps makes my skin chill the f out when it's looking pretty angry and it also makes me skin feel less itchy.

Another favourite (I'm trying to spell like a British person again!) is the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic (Combination antioxidant treatment containing l-ascorbic acid, alpha tocopherol, and ferulic acid) - I have no idea what any of this means by the way but maybe you do? It's an orange liquid that dispensed through a little pipette and on the back it says it 'Combines proven antioxidant vitamins C+E with ferulic acid to maximize antioxidant performance. This synergistic formulation enhances protection against damaging UVA/UVB rays to better prevent premature signs of aging, while simulating collagen production to help diminish the appearance of photodamage.' All I can say is that I like to apply it in the morning before my SPF because it makes my face feel a hell of a lot smoother. But I'm warning you, it's pricey...

If my skin is a bit dry I wear the Vichy Normaderm Daily Anti-Acne Hydrating Lotion which contains salicylic acid. If you have acne prone skin this is pretty good because it hydrates your skin without being too heavy or clogging up your pores. And salicylic acid is supposed to be good for blemishes.

The last product is the SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 which is a cream you can use by itself as a night cream or mixed in with your usual night cream. I swear by retinol when my skin is really congested and it is supposed to help combat signs of aging so it's a win win product. Some people find that retinol is too strong for their skin so you can use creams with a lower strength of retinol in it and then build it up as your skin becomes more tolerant.

I hope this is helpful if you're having hormonal acne/similar sensitive skin issues!

Tuesday 29 March 2016

How To: Cope With Studying/Moving Abroad

New blog name, new me. Just kidding but yes this used to be but I changed the name because:
1. It was an inside joke no one got
2. I can't think of a second reason

My first post under this new name is going to be about studying abroad. I don't go into too much personal life information on this blog but if you follow me on twitter or instagram you might know that I recently moved to Australia. Yep, half way across the world, away from all my friends and family. I moved here because I had always wanted to live in Australia for a year or two and I thought if I was going to do a masters I might as well do it now and I might as well do it abroad. Why the hell not.

I'm currently living in Melbourne and I love it. Even though I have lived in quite a few places in Europe and in the US, this has by far been the most challenging move for me. First of all, I don't have any family in Australia and second of all, it's so bloody far away. So yes, I have sometimes gotten a little homesick so I thought I would share with you some of my tips to deal with moving abroad.

1. Get to know your surroundings
Walk around. Get on a random bus. Go to a local coffee shop. Go to the park. Just get out of wherever you're staying and get to know your new home. Seeing new and exciting things will make you feel much, much better.

2. Meet new people
If you're a student, GO TO ORIENTATION. This is how I met my closest friends here and if I hadn't gone the whole thing would have been a lot harder for me. If not, just speak to people even if it feels really intimidating because worst comes to worse, it's a little awkward and you never see them again. Join some kind of community club, go to the gym, sit in a coffee shop... you never know who you might meet.

3. Do not call your loved ones everyday 
If you keep calling your nearest and dearest you will never get used to being away from them. Sure, text whenever you want but constantly hearing their voices will make you miss them more and you could be outside getting to know new people.

4. Tinder
I used to live in New York and I definitely used Tinder mainly just to get out of the apartment in the evenings. Even if it's not love (slash you don't wanna bang 'em, sorry just being real here) you'll have met someone new and engaging in conversation will make you feel... well, less lonely. They could even become a friend or more.

5. Print photos of your friends/family
Post some photos of your friends/family on your wall (IRL, not fb). Seeing their friendly faces will make you feel closer to them. Having said this, don't plaster your walls with hundreds of photos of them for the same reason as tip #3.

6. Research
Find out what people love about your new city/village/creek. Melbourne is famous for its coffee and brunches so I'm making the most of that.

7. Go to a bar by yourself
If you really just want to get out, go to a bar by yourself. Have a little drink. People watch. Someone might even come up and talk to you, but if not, so what? Enjoy your own company.

8. Remember why you decided to move in the first place
When I first moved to Australia (ok my mom came with me for a bit, but after she left) I was crying my eyes out thinking WHYYYYY DID I DO THIS. But then after I did a bit of tip # 1, I remembered I was bored of living in London and I was actually getting to experience something pretty amazing. Not everyone gets the opportunity to go on holiday let alone live abroad.


I hope this was vaguely helpful for anyone thinking about moving abroad or anyone who has just moved away. I read posts like this when I was feeling down and they made me feel a little bit more positive.

Tuesday 26 January 2016

Recent Favorites 1.22.16

I've had a long break from blogging for no reason so I don't have any explanation but I'm just going to jump back into it as if nothing ever happened. I'm still alive and I still wear makeup. I thought I would share some recent favorites with you all because why the heck not?

I'm once again really into piling loads of things onto my cheeks. I'm talking contour, bronzer, blush, highlighter... the whole situation. And one of my new favorite things to create that kind of cheek situation is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit, which has three powders (I would say one is an all-over powder and the two others are highlights), two blushers and one bronzer. It is absolutely beautiful and I use every single powder in there which means it's really worth splurging on. Although granted I got it for Christmas so who am I to say that... I have also particularly been loving the theBalm Mary Lou Manizer highlighter recently. I've written about this before but it's just the best. It works really well on super pale skin. I went to Sephora recently and bought the Tarte Amazonian Clay Matte Waterproof Bronzer to replace my old bronzer which smashed *sad face* because I had heard it's really pretty on paler skintones and it really is. It's buildable but it's not too pigmented so if you like a natural look then this one is for you (providing you're fairly pale).

Another thing I bought on that trip to Sephora is the Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara. A lot of people say this is good but not necessary but as someone who wears mascara on their bottom lashes most days I would say it's 100% worth getting if you do too. It just looks so much better and it doesn't smudge. I've also been liking the Charlotte Tilbury Brow Pencil in Grace K because the color goes well with my blonde hair and it's really quick and easy to use. It also doesn't smudge in the gym and it comes with a nice brush on one end and a powder highlight which I occasionally use (if I remember). The final product is an oldie that I have gone back to and it's a NARS Eyeshadow Duo in Cordura. Both shades have a golden shimmer running through and blend really beautifully. I like to wear the darker shades along my upper lashline over a gel liner to soften it. 

What makeup have you been loving recently?

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