Wednesday, 3 May 2017

How I get defined curls

I'll be honest my hair isn't always defined. Some days it's a big ball of frizz and I've learned to love it either way. That said, I do have my method down for when I want definition and here's a few things which work best for me...

Wet hair 
My hair lacks definition if it's dry (like most curls) and for best results I'll apply any and all leave-ins whilst in the shower. I've tried applying on dry or damp hair but I always end up having to re-wet sections to really see definition. My hair is low porosity too so the water gives my hair moisture and the heat from the shower actually allows it to penetrate instead of just rolling right off. Product then also has a chance to absorb and as my hair is wet I don't have to use a lot.

My hair doesn't stay curly on in it's own and is naturally frizz-prone so I'll always rely on leave-ins. I tend to start with a leave-in conditioner like  (£5.75/240ml) or (£10.99/236ml). Both are pretty similar in terms of results so I usually rely on one or the other and once applied that's when I go in with a defining product. Not all defining products are made equal so if you've found one you absolutely love stick with it. I've found these types of products can be hit and miss - many giving me crunchy or limp strands with the definition only lasting a day. As a result for months I rejected these types of products altogether and just used a moisturiser but I have settled on a few favourites. I love  (£23.50/250ml) most as it doesn't weigh down my hair. It's pricey but as I apply wet I don't use a huge amount and I can usually get away with just rewetting my hair the next day to reactivate the product if needed.  (£10.99/340ml) is another favourite as the definition lasts but this can make the hair a little sticky if you use too much.

Scrunching, smoothing and finger coiling 
I'm really lazy with my hair so most days I simply apply the product and smooth or scrunch into the hair. I very rarely use combs or brushes so I tend to work in the product or rake through with my fingers. I see the best results when working in really small sections so I'll start at the back and slowly work my way up. When I've got more time (and patience) I'll coil tiny sections around my finger to make my hair more spring-y.

Air drying or diffusing
My hair and blowdryers don't seem to get a long so I prefer to airdry which means on wash days I tend to run around with wet mop of curls and a microfibre towel draped over my shoulders. Not ideal I know, so if airdrying isn't an option I'll reach for my blowdryer and use with a diffuser. Diffusers gently dry curls without disturbing the pattern too much and using these on cool or low heat will limit damage.

Piling all my hair into a loose ponytail on top of my head (like a pineapple) is the only thing I do to help my curls last past the first day. I try to make sure my hair has dried fully first (otherwise my hair can look a little like a mushroom when I untie it the next day) and I'll use a  (£4.75) or similar as these don't leave a noticeable dent in the hair. Sometimes I'll use a satin scarf but mostly I sleep on a satin pillowcase to stop my hair drying out. The next day my hair usually just needs a little shake and it's as good as the day before and I can usually do this for a couple of days before needing to start the process again.

Christine Stewart x

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Saturday, 15 April 2017

Style | Borrowing from the boys

I have a habit of buying men's shirts and jackets lately. It stems from a few years of pinching my boyfriend's clothes, much to his annoyance. I just love the simplicity of menswear and a boxy cosy fit. I spied men's yellow denim jacket recently on ASOS and the colour made me 'add to basket' real quick. I bought it in a small and it's still pretty huge as the fit is oversized but I'm in love with it and it definitely ticks the comfortable box!

I know us Brits always go on about the weather constantly but you can't blame us really. It's actually been warm enough in Manchester to brave bare legs again which has gotten me so excited for Summer. I love how uncomplicated style can be in the warmer months (as the city gets so humid and you can't wear more than a few pieces without overheating). I paired the jacket with a crop top and black denim skirt here as I still wanted to still keep the look feminine and Vans because they seem to go with everything!

Jacket & Skirt - | Top - | Shoes -

Photography - Mike Burchardt | 

What have you been wearing?  

Christine Stewart x

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Saturday, 8 April 2017

Beauty | ASOS x Deciem

Self-dubbed the 'abnormal beauty company', Deciem is an umbrella of beauty brands including Hylamide, The Chemistry Brand, The Ordinary and NIOD all of which are making waves in the industry currently. With the brand's head office based in Toronto, Canada, the products are mostly available online from a few retailers including ASOS. They also opened their first UK store recently in Spitalfields Market, Manchester and another is set to open in Covent Garden soon. To celebrate the sale of new Deciem products on ASOS, a few ASOSers and beauty influencers were invited to the Deciem flagship store on Thursday evening. It's the first time I've visited the store and it has an apothecary feel to it with a modern and minimal aesthetic, definitely my kind of settings!

At the event, co-founder Nicola Kilner focused on Deciem's newest brand The Ordinary, which is only about 6 months old. The key selling point of The Ordinary products are that they use effective ingredients and technologies but they're sold at a very affordable price point - you can pick up most of the products for less than £10 each. The brand calls it "Clinical formulations with integrity" and it's not hard to see why this brand has struck a chord with skincare enthusiasts across the globe.

I've had quite a few of The Ordinary products amongst my skincare arsenal since the end of last year but it took me a while to work out which products were best for my skin. The brand's website is extremely helpful however, giving suggestions on how to slot these products into your skincare routine based on your needs. It also goes into detail on which products work well together (and which don't) as well as what order to use them in to reap the most benefits. 

At the event Nicola ran through the most popular products from The Ordinary sold on ASOS which were Niacinamide (£5/30ml)*, Hylauronic Acid (£5.90/30ml)*, Advanced Retinoid (£8/30ml) and Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil (£9/30ml)*. I have all of them and will post a review at a later date of these when I've got more of a feel for how they're working for me. Nicola explained the benefits of each - the Niacinamide is great with helping with blemishes and congestion (nighttime use only), Hylauronic acid is key for hydration and Retinoid and Rose Hip Seed Oil both help with signs of ageing.

Nicola also briefly touched on the brand's latest product addition Colours, a 42-strong collection of mineral-based foundations priced at less than £6 each. I sampled a few shades at the event and the foundation applies so smoothly. Nicola explained that the way the pigments are suspended in the formula means that they can't stick to each other so they don't gather in fine lines giving a 'flawless' look. I didn't have the product on long enough to really test this out but I'm intrigued to see if there's a product that doesn't crease under my eyes or in my smile lines so I'm eagerly awaiting the launch of these foundations later this month. 

You can get  products in-store, online or on .

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Have you heard of or tried anything from Deciem? 

Christine Stewart x

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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Review | Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse

Skincare has definitely been more a priority for me recently and one of the most important things in my routine is cleansing. One of the cleansers I've been relying on for the past couple of months is the newly launched (£24/2x50ml). It's a 2-in-1 product with cleansers to both remove makeup and sunscreen and prep the skin for your nightly skincare.

I've only really become familiar with Pixi products since last year but the brand launched over 10 years ago in Manchester. Creator of the brand Petra Strand has a wealth of experience as a makeup artist and product developer and her mission with Pixi products is to bring out the natural beauty in all women.

In creating the Double Cleanse Pixi partnered with , a globally qualified advanced aesthetician who's one of the first beauty bloggers I started following several years ago. She's also a massive champion of 'double cleansing' (using more than one product to clean your skin). Caroline is so straight talking and knowledgeable in her field that she's main reason I grabbed this product.

As you can guess there's two parts to this product - side 1 and side 2 and it's intended for use in the evenings. The Solid Cleansing Oil in side 1 does most of the dirty work to remove makeup and sunscreen and it's formulated with natural oils including Macadamia, Evening Primrose and Avocado. To use I scoop out about a pea-sized amount (you really don't need a lot) and massage onto dry skin. After a few seconds of working the product into the skin my makeup feels like it's melting off my face and it's at this point I remove everything with warm water (or you can use a moist facecloth if you'd prefer).

After the first step my face usually feels pretty clean but I've always gone in a second time with the same or another product to ensure all traces of my makeup are gone. Caroline recommends cleansing the skin with different types of products depending on what needs to be removed from the skin. The Cleansing Cream in side 2 is richer and feels like applying a moisturiser. It's described by Pixi as a luxe cleansing cream and it's intended to prep the skin for the next steps in your nightly skincare. It's so buttery, I just rub in and once it's rinsed off my skin feels so soft.

Together the two parts work well and I have loved using this product nightly for the past couple of months. I've tried a few cleansing oils before to remove makeup and some have made me breakout with regular use, I suspect as they had coconut oil in which this doesn't so I'm assuming that's why so far I've had no trouble with this. The only thing I don't like about this product is the packaging. It's quite bulky given that there's only 50ml of each cleanser and I prefer to have a pump rather than scoop out of a tub but it's not a deal-breaker. Neither of the sides drip despite the design of the tub - I've actually knocked it upside down by accident and the product barely budged so you can travel with this if needed. I now have about a third left in each side and I'm planning to grab another Double Cleanse when this runs out.

Have you tried anything by Pixi?

Christine Stewart x

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Monday, 20 March 2017

Style | Back in Black

Just as I was starting to retire my Winter clothes to the back of my wardrobe the sunny weather quickly faded back to grey and windy this weekend. As much as I'm itching for some more sun I do love having an excuse to throw on this faux fur aviator jacket from Topshop. I bought this jacket at the beginning of January and it has got me through so many cold Manchester days. The lining makes it so warm and cosy I've only really needed to wear a t-shirt underneath recently.

Jacket - | Top & Joggers - | Shoes - | Choker -

I've been trying to experiment with colour but I always gravitate back to black, hence the almost all black affair here. I can't help it, it's my comfort zone. Speaking of comfort, I'm pretty much always in slouchy, oversized fits now too. I've been wearing these ASOS White denim joggers almost constantly since I got them so I think I'm going to have to grab another pair. As usual the styling is simple and I teamed them here with a cropped polo and converse that have seen better days.

A tad sidenote but I just wanted to take a moment to thank the photographer who took these photos - Mike Burchardt aka . Style posts have always been few and far between on this blog mostly as I usually take a lot of my photos myself indoors where I don't have much space. It's that or have to pester my poor boyfriend to tear himself away from work or studying to take a few shots. I've always felt really awkward in front of the camera too and hated taking pictures in public (ironically) but in the last year my confidence has soared and I'm definitely excited to work with more photographers in the future.  

What have you been wearing lately?

Christine Stewart x

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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Style | Jaded Manchester Mesh T-Shirt Dress

The grey and cold has finally started to ease off slightly lately which means I've been ditching the extra layers and showing (a little) more skin than usual. I've always been obsessed with mesh pieces and I've somehow managed to accumulate quite a collection. My favourite at the moment has to be this mesh shirt dress with embroidered detailing from Jaded Manchester. It's technically an ASOS Tall exclusive but I've found this fits my 5'6" frame perfectly and sits above my knees.

You all know by now that I like to keep styling pretty simple so I wore the dress over an old slip from Miss Selfridge and paired with a denim jacket and Puma Suede Hearts. The Jaded Manchester dress also works really well worn over a bralet and shorts so I think this will be one of my go-to pieces as the temperature (hopefully) heats up.

Mesh Dress - Jaded Manchester via | Black Slip Dress - | Denim Jacket - | Shoes - * | Necklace -

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

What have you been wearing lately?

Christine Stewart x

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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Skincare | Frank Body

I've always been a bit obsessed with body scrubs so it was only a matter of time before I got my hands on Frank (Frank Body products that is). Famed for their coffee scrubs, the Aussie brand has taken Instagram by storm and 'babes' across the globe (myself included) are hooked on the so called 'Frank effect'.

I grabbed the Original Coffee Scrub (which I've now finished), Coconut Coffee Scrub, Body Cream and the Lip Scrub and Balm duo at the end of December. My skin was looking pretty lacklustre at the time, partly from a neglected bodycare routine and the cold weather just made my skin so dry. Since I've noticed continued use of these products together has helped my skin feel the softest it's been for a long time.

My favourite product of the bunch is the Coconut Coffee Scrub (£13.95/200g) which contains only a few (all natural) ingredients including brown sugar, Grapeseed oil, Vitamin E, Jojoba beads, sea salt, coconut flakes and, of course, coffee. The ingredients are stated to help with a number of skin-concerns including stretch marks, psoriasis, cellulite, eczema and acne. Huge claims right? I apply the scrub on damp skin in the shower and scrub well before allowing to sit for a couple of minutes and rinsing. It's messy so I tend to do this on days I have time to spare but the results are so worth it. The oils in the product keep moisture locked into my skin and I've noticed scarring and dark patches on my legs are gradually lifting though old stretch marks on my inner thighs seem the same. I'm not crazy about the packaging as I find awkward to scoop the product out of, but there's always the option to transfer the scrub to a pot. The scent does linger on your skin too which some will love or hate. I don't find the Coconut Scrub too overpowering but with the Original Coffee Scrub I used a little shower gel afterwards to dull the scent before exiting the shower.

The Lip Scrub and Lip Balm Duo (£12.95) are also solid favourites and they smell so delicious. The balm contains natural ingredients including Coconut, Safflower and Olive Oil and Lanolin which absorbs and keeps in moisture. I reach for the balm daily but only need to dab a little on to keep my lips soft and hydrated. I tend to use the Lip Scrub weekly and it contains raw sugar, beeswax, Macadamia Oil, Coffee and Coffee Seed Oil. Again I only need a little product to smooth and buff away flaky patches. Together these are perfect.

The Body Cream (£17.95/200ml) like the other products contains natural ingredients and literally has the scent of cake icing. It smells beautifully sugary and I get so hungry (for cake) when I've applied it. This cream is so thick and rich I find it takes time to really settle into the skin. I usually have to dot small amounts onto my body and work it in well. Of the products here it's the only I don't think I'd repurchase as it just takes too long to apply and I find I'm reaching the other creams I have first.

Overall I'm in love with most of the Frank Body products I've tried and the Body Balm and newly released Glow Mask are now on my wishlist.

Have you tried Frank Body or Coffee-based products?

Christine Stewart x

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