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Saturday, 16 March 2013

Natural hair extensions by Secret Extensions

Long, thick, flowing hair. For me it is the epitome of femininity.

My love for hair extensions grew (unlike my hair!) after a traumatic episode at the hairdresser when my request for layers resulted in a horrific hairstyle identical to Bon Jovi's choppy barnet in the early 80's.

Oh how I cried as I tried to put my hair up and failed miserably when the shortest layers (about 2 inches from my head) poked up in wiry strands and needed to be pinned down with kirby grips.

After troublesome thoughts of suing the inept hairdresser disappeared and (after numerous meditations) my mind calmed down, I decided to get some hair extensions put in at the excellently named Secret Extensions in London's trendy Old Street.

This was many years ago now and I have always worn them with pride (apart from a couple of years when an ex boyfriend begged me profusely to take them out. on a daily basis. For 8 months).

Celebrity hair stylist Shannel Watson is the brainchild behind this renowned company and the inventor of her hand-tied extensions service which involves the attachment of thin strands of natural hair to the roots by organic cotton thread. The whole process takes about 6 hours but the results are truly worth it. 

After my first set of individual, hand-tied extensions I was amazed at my new longer, thicker mane and became prone to random outbursts of Pantene advert-style hair swishing - which was most unfortunate for the innocent people standing within close proximity to me.

There is also the option of a traditional weave which is a cheaper, less time-consuming choice (a full head takes approximately one hour) yet with the same gorgeous visual effect. The only main difference is that the weave lasts up to 2 months before another appointment is required to reattach the hair. The individual extensions last for approximately 6 months.

Shannel shuns the use of toxic glue which is the most common attachment method of extensions in the UK and known to cause damage to the hair, severe irritation to the scalp including dermatitis and all manner of allergic reactions.

The results are truly stunning with both the weave and the individual extensions and a number of various looks can be achieved.

Aftercare is minimal. I treat my extensions as I would my natural hair but Shannel recommends that I use a good, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner and plat my hair before I go to bed to minimize excessive tousling to prolong the life of the hair. 

'What about the damaging effects of extensions'?! I hear you cry. Well I admit I was worried about this after seeing Naomi Campbell's bare head in those photos on that super yacht, and Christina Agrillera's dodgy bald spots. 

I have been using hair extensions for 6 years now and whenever I have a break, my hair still looks thick and long. I am just unashamedly addicted to dramatically long hair and my hair only grows to just below my shoulders for some unfair reason (whyyyyyy damn it, whhhhy?) 

From my experience, I feel that as long as you look after your extensions (hold the hair from the roots before you brush, plat your hair before you swim/sleep and use high quality, nourishing hair products) and stay away from the ones that are attached by glue your hair will be fine.

Will I ever stop? Maybe. But for now I will continue to swish my long, bouncing locks at regular intervals (maybe checking who is next to me first) and continue to visit my hair extension guru Shannel, who in my opinion is the best at what she does, by far.

me without extensions (during a break after 2 years of  extensions)
with extensions (weave)

A full head of hand-tied extensions starts from £545
A weave starts from £195 and can be booked here.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Angela Langford's Take it Easy Body Butter and Body Wash

Oh London. How I loveth thee. Your history, shopping, culture, spa hotels, pie shops, counterfeit dvd sellers...I could go on.

But how I despise your despicable icy winters and the havoc they play on my skin! 

I'm sure many of us dread the wrath of the colder months on our epidermis and are longing for a sensuous, nourishing body butter to revitalize our bodies and make them gleam.

My latest body-smoothing find is Angela Langford's delightfully creamy Take it Easy Body Butter  (easy now) which is a true joy to use after lathering up with her equally lovely shower gel with the same fantastic name.

make me soft. pls.

Containing 100% nourishing, natural ingredients hand blended by Angela herself, this rich body butter contains shea butter, avocado butter, aloe vera and rice bran oil to deeply hydrate parched winter bodies.

I tried this product for the first time after my skin was still damp from the shower. I felt silky-smooth already after using the travel sized shower gel which calmed my buzzing mind with the relaxing aroma of mandarin and neroli essential oils.

The body butter has a gorgeous, airy texture which is a sign that it received a jolly good whipping at Angela's delightful country abode in Somerset (where she makes all her natural skin-care goodies).

mmm whipped pot of lusciousness

It absorbed into my skin quickly and left it glowing and comfortable. The neroli and mandarin scent also soothed my mind and helped me drift off to a very happy slumber.

I will happily make room for these aromatic skin-saviors on my bathroom shelves this winter, and all year round.

Angela Langford's Take it Easy Body Butter costs £17.50 for 200ml and the travel sized Take it Easy Body Wash is £5.50 for 50ml or £12 for 200ml.

Products can be purchased here.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Shimmering low lights by Karine Jackson

Ah blogging. Blogety blog blog. I have missed you. Due to a crazy few weeks frolicking about London Town, indulging in various pampering and preening activities and a spontaneous snowboarding/spa trip to Andorra, I have alas neglected my beloved beauty blog.

Oh the shame! It eats away at me like a rampant sea urchin.

But hoorah! I have now returned to merry blogdom with a buzzing mind and oodles of beauty blatherings to share with you all.

I have been itching to blog about my new, lighter mane of hair after my fantastic ammonia-free low lights by London's very own organic colour guru, Karine Jackson, at her swanky Covent Garden salon.

The gloriously bubbly and gorgeous Karine had tended to my locks before, when I opted for a mysterious shade of brown using the salon's Organic Colour Systems dye and products, loved by many an organic beauty junkie like myself.

The result was truly stunning and made me realise that we do not need to slather carcinogenic, toxic dyes on our scalps (arghhh too close to the brain!) when we have such a fantastic toxin-free alternative that is composed primarily of naturally derived ingredients - and smells of berries! And herbs! Mmmm erb.

So I fancied a change (with the newly emerging London sun and all) and decided to book myself in with Karine (who won hairdresser of the year a few years back) for a smathering of golden low lights around my face for a sultry spring look.

After I was happily nestled into the comfortable leather chair and nursing my fragrant cup of herbal tea, Karine began applying an ammonia-free high lift blond called Nature Light to thin strands of hair around my head.

This was left to develop in foils for 30 minutes and then rinsed off before a toner was applied in a warm golden brown shade to subtly blend the colour.

After another wash and a deliriously relaxing head massage by the lovely Georgia Stagg, my hair was given the best blow dry of my life by blow dry queen Alaina Blake who also used ghd's to create an abundance of bouncing waves.

Straight after leaving salon

The Result?

Big, glamorous hair with a subtle yet eye-catching array of glistening, golden low lights that emerge delightfully lighter every time I wash my hair and still look vibrant five weeks later.

Five weeks later!

So, for all you toxin-loathing, hair colour-loving folk who crave shimmering tresses but would rather not take the risk of nasty allergies (or cancer!) when getting your barnet dyed, Karine Jackson is the place to go.

A quarter head of low lights by Karine Jackson herself including blow dry is £95 and can be booked here.