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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Dry Shampoo – Is it for you?

Dry shampoo is a greasy hair life-saver. It is a quick and easy way to banish oily roots and
give dull, lifeless hair the makeover it needs without water. A once over with dry shampoo can
revitalise your hair. It can add body, absorb excess oil and leave your hair with a refreshing smell. What more could you ask for?

How does it work?
Dry shampoo is a powder which absorbs the excess oils (sebum) produced by the glands on
your scalp. When there is a build up of these oils, your hair will look greasy and may begin to smell.
By absorbing these oils, therefore, the dry shampoo is basically de-greasing your hair without the need to wash it.

How to apply it
1) Wash your hands with soap and water.
2) Apply the dry shampoo to the roots of your hair especially along your parting and around
your face (these are the most visible parts of your hair and usually the greasiest).
3) Massage the powder into the roots with your fingertips for about 30 seconds.
4) With a clean brush or comb, brush out the powder or rub it out of your roots with a clean
5) Don’t tell anyone that you didn’t wash your hair properly or they’ll think you’re dirty!!!!

Products Available
There are a number of different brands of dry shampoo available. They are all relatively
cheap (approx. €10) and are a good investment considering they’re only used for hair emergencies.
Batiste® is probably the most popular brand and is my first choice, as it’s widely available in
most supermarkets and pharmacies. As well as this, there are a number of different Batiste®
products designed for all hair colours and with varying scents. They also come in small travel sizes which are handy for those weekends away where you don’t have access to a hair-dryer.

The major shortcoming with dry shampoo is the white residue that it can leave on your roots
after each application. My advice to you therefore is, go easy on the application and make sure you brush it or rub it all out before leaving the house.

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Friday, 25 November 2011

How to file your nails

Choosing a nail file
Nail files come in many different grit types. This basically mean some files are stronger or more abrasive than others. Most nail files have two different grits on each side of the file. Some grits should only be used on false or extended nails, such as acrylic and gel nails, as they are very coarse. If the file is too strong it may cause you to lose control and file off more than you intended to! This can also lead to painful cuts and slices on the side of the finger and can cause the nail to become weaker and start peeling.

Buying your nail file
If you are tending to your natural nail, always buy your files from a pharmacy or supermarket. Buying from a salon supplier can be tricky because they carry a very wide range of files and some may be too coarse for your needs.

Breaking in your new file
To break in a new file and avoid unwanted nicks, scrape the each side of your new nail file against an old file - this will take the sharpness off the file.

The filing process
When filing your nails, always file the nail in one direction only. Do not file back and forth, as this can cause peeling. Always use the weaker side of the file for finger nails and the stronger side for toe nails. Do not soak your finger nails before filing, as soaking will soften the nail which will make it harder to shape and easier to demolish!

Nail shape
The healthiest shape for growing nails is square-like i.e. straight across the top with the sides slightly tapered off at the corners. This avoids the nails snagging or getting caught in anything and breaking.

Finishing touches
To finish off the nail so that no bits lurk underneath, there is a salon trick called 'Bevelling'. To do this, simply run the nail file or a soft buffer gently and quickly from side to side underneath the nail. This will remove the debris and leave you with a perfectly clean shape. - Book Manicures Online

Monday, 21 November 2011

Lather, Rinse, Repeat: The Art of Shampooing Your Hair!

Shampooing your hair is a fine art. Trying to balance the frequency of shampooing your hair to keep your hair clean, whilst retaining its healthy condition, can be pretty tricky. Shampooing your hair too frequently can strip it of its natural oils. This can make your hair dry and more prone to split ends and breakage. On the other hand, shampooing infrequently means your hair gets greasy and smelly. So, how often should we be shampooing our hair?
Here’s the science
Your scalp produces a natural oil or wax called sebum,which acts to protect your hair and skin and can stop the growth of bacteria. The pores in your scalp are constantly producing sebum which coats your hair follicles. Although sebum is odourless, when it’s broken down by the natural bacteria on your skin, it can produce an odour, hence the nasty smell of greasy hair.

How often to wash your hair?
As a general rule, hair should be shampooed every 2-3 days at most. Some lucky ladies get away with shampooing their hair twice a week. The even luckier ones (usually those with curly hair) can do it once a week. If you find your hair getting greasy in between shampoos at this frequency, I’d recommend trying a dry shampoo. Spraying this powder based aerosol onto the roots of your hair will absorb the excess sebum and freshen up your hair in between shampoos.
Lather, rinse, repeat!
When applying shampoo to your hair, you should work it in from the roots to the tips. Remember that there’s skin under all that hair, so try and work the shampoo into your entire scalp with your fingertips first. On this first round, your shampoo is unlikely to produce a lot of lather – this just means that it’s working.
Rinse your hair thoroughly (for about 30 seconds) to make sure all the built up sebum and left-over shampoo are washed away. It’s good to work your fingers through your hair whilst doing this to get to the hard to reach areas. As nice as it is to just stand under the shower head and let the water do the work, it’s not very effective at rinsing everything away.
     The last step in the shampooing process is to... repeat the whole thing all over again. The purpose of the first shampoo is not to wash your hair but to clean your scalp and remove all the sebum and dead skin (gross!) since your last shampoo. The second shampoo is needed to clean the rest of your hair and ensure all the dirt and grime is gone. You won’t need to use as much shampoo the second time around there is likely to be more lather. After rinsing your hair should feel ‘squeaky’ clean.
Swap shop
It’s always good practice to change around the brand of shampoo that you use. This is because different shampoos are made up of different ingredients. Your hair can adapt to the ingredients in your shampoo over time, which makes them less effective if used continuously over long periods.
I often find that after using the same brand of shampoo for about three months, the roots of my hair are still greasy after a thorough shampoo. This can be really annoying, especially when you only realise it AFTER you’ve blow-dried your hair. Rotating your shampoos every three months should help you to avoid this nasty phenomenon, but make sure you’re not wasteful. Don’t throw away a full bottle of shampoo just because it’s not cleaning your hair as well as before. Shelve it for a few months and use a different brand, then swap back when you need to. Waste not, want not, eh???

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The Paraffin Pedicure

My pedicurist suggested that I get a paraffin pedicure after seeing the state of my heels. She was half-way through my pedicure, having soaked my feet in warm water and aggressively filed my soles with a foot file to remove the dead skin.  I spend a lot of time in heels, and walking is my preferred means of transport to and from work, so I have developed very thick and rough soles. Before moving to paint my toenails she suggested a paraffin treatment to soften and moisturize the skin of my feet.

What is a paraffin pedicure? I was about to find out. My pedicurist arrived with a bowl of hot, red, viscous liquid and presented it to me to dip my feet in. Warning: make sure you have checked the temperature before you plunge your feet in; it is pretty hot and although your sole may be thick and tough, the upper side of your foot has delicate and sensitive skin.  

I dipped my right foot into the bowl of wax. My pedicurist held it down for a moment, long enough for a thick film of wax to encrust over my foot. She guided it out after a minute to harden and then dipped it in again for a second coating. My left foot then followed with a similar treatment. 

Next step the booties: first two plastic bags shaped to cover my feet, where my pedicurist made sure that the plastic clung to the wax to seal in the moisture; followed by two cotton booties to keep my feet warm for the duration of the treatment. 

After ten minutes, it was time to remove the two layers of booties. The pedicurist took the cotton covers off and began to slowly roll-back the plastic layer, peeling off with it the congealed wax. The whole treatment took less than 20 minutes. And the result? My feet certainly felt softer, especially around my heels, which are particularly rough and chaffed. However, in order to make a meaningful impact, it is recommended to use the treatment twice a month. I am not sure if I will have the time to keep it up, but in the meantime, I was recommended to keep my heels moisturised on a daily basis by applying a special foot cream. The other recommendation from my pedicurist for soft and beautiful soles was to stop wearing heels, but that is never going to happen!

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The Fish Pedicure

I was horrified the first time I heard about the new craze that sounded more like some sort of weird fetish than a form of foot therapy! The thought of having hundreds of little fish nibbling at your feet is a little gross to say the least. I have to admit Salonaddict set me quite a challenge when they asked that I have this ‘beauty’ treatment done!

I was by no means excited at the thoughts of getting my feet nibbled at from 100 hungry little fish but I was certainly curious. I imagine on the way to the fish spa all the little fish, known as *Garra Rufa, gleefully swimming around in the tank rubbing their downy fins together in gleeful anticipation of what is now considered lunchtime at the garra rufa fish zoo. Euwww!

On arriving at the fish spa I immediately bombard the therapist with lots of questions while my feet are still safely secured behind socks and laced-up shoes. Do they bite? How does it work? Will they stop if I suddenly want to lift my feet from the water or will they cling in angry retaliation?  I am assured by the lovely therapist that they do not have teeth and they clean your feet by gently hoovering your feet of its dead skin cells in small crumb-sized bites. Mmmm!

The therapist then talks me through the careful sanitation procedure in keeping the water clean by a round-the clock sterilising system reassuring me further that everything is above board.
It takes a few anxious moments before I finally thrust my feet into the tank of fish. If I don’t look into the tank it actually feels quite nice. I begin to feel the first tingle followed simultaneously by one hundred more. When I do look down and realise what’s really happening I feel nauseated.
After a couple more glances I am comfortable enough to look into the tank to see how my feet-loving friends are doing. I see fish circling like miniature hungry sharks deciding which part of my foot looks the most appetising. I can’t help but curl and squeeze my toes inwards in defence of these skin-eating creatures trying to rob the skin off my feet! 

It takes a few minutes to unwind and concentrate on the experience of how this bizarre form of foot therapy actually feels. Once relaxed, I become fascinated as I watch the fish nibble away at my ankles, toes and surface of my feet. There is certainly no denying these little guys have a genuine appetite for dead skin! 

After 25 minutes of my feet in the tank I feel I’ve had enough and I’m hoping the fish have too. I say a quick prayer there are no clingers-on before I release my feet from the water into the safe hands of the therapist who gently rubs and massages my feet marking the end of the strange ritual. I almost expect the fish to applaud graciously for their meal however instead they slow their pace in annoyance while others plop lethargically to the bottom of the tank, tired no doubt from a hard day of pedicuring.

I touch my feet and notice how baby soft they feel on the surface. There is definitely a noticeable difference in the texture. I thank the therapist and she asks me how my feet feel. I tell her my feet feel like new. She advises I get the all over body pedicure done if I ever visit Japan. I look at her with a pair of raised eyebrows and she laughs and goes on to tell me that in Japan they go for the whole body fish spa. Hopefully that craze never reaches our little isle!

All in all, a good experience for both my nerves and my feet. Undoubtedly the strangest therapy I have ever undergone in the name of beauty but I’m thankful for the experience.

* Garra Rufa, also known as Doctor Fish or the Surgeon fish amongst other names, have been used to treat psoriasis, eczema and other skin disorders for years in their homelands of Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq. 

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