Hair Care Routine I: My Hair History

When I was 14 I chopped my hair off and bleached it platinum blonde.

And that was that. At 23, it’s still the same – save a touch of lilac.

This is the first half of my hair care routine series, my hair history; I thought before I babble on about how I colour and condition my hair, I best show you what states it’s been in over the years and how I have managed (and, at times, rescued) it.

The Cut

So in the vaguest terms I have a pixie cut, but a pixie cut has many variations: fringe length, fringe shape, choppy or sleek and – the-be-all-and-end-all for me – the length of those bits that fall in front of your ears.. My first style (top left) was heavily influenced by my eternal girl crush, Agyness Deyn, who had just hit the big time with her signature über short choppy style with a mini fringe.

By the time I went to university, my fringe had grown to an asymmetrical style. Though this is my personal favourite, there’s a fine line between it looking funky and old-fashioned. In the second photo, my layers were still quite choppy. While this is great and quite ‘modern’ looking, I like a bit of poof to my hair. The issue with wanting poofiness is clear in the third picture… hair bear bunch, anyone? This was taken in my paranoid phase, when I was anxious that super short hair only made my face look bigger.. Eventually my layers became so long that, once I had blow-dried it, I looked a bit like a mushroom 😦

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Another issue with this look is those bits in front of my ears – they’re just too long. Over the years, I’ve realised just how much difference these wisps make to your overall look. Too long and you stray into ‘mature woman’ territory, too thick and the whole style becomes a bit confused. It’s very difficult to get these pieces to lie flat to your face, so they often kick out, which can make the cut look unfinished and outgrown, imo.

It’s only in the last few months that I’ve really started to love my hair, the length, the style and the colour. I think I’ve finally found my style: choppy layers cut tightly around my neck and my ears with a sweeping full fringe.

Special Mentions

This cut (left) was for a hair competition that focused on new angles and sharp lines. The section above my ear was cut to a straight edge while the piece underneath tapered to a super precise point (I should also add that that huge mohawk was not my own, but a considerable bunch of extensions). I loved this hairstyle because it was so different and almost futuristic looking, but ultimately it proved too hard to maintain.

My paranoid phase culminated in this block fringe (right). A fringe like this is a great way to mix up your pixie cut style with a youthful, modern edge. It also provides a great frame for your face, which is ideal if you like to showcase your make-up.

The Colour

For years and years I bleached my hair with Schwarzkopf Live Colour XXL 00A Absolute Platinum. £4 and forty minutes later my hair was white blonde and I absolutely loved it. But during my first year of uni, I fancied a change and agreed to take part in a hair competition that involved having these huge tiger stripes added to my fringe. The stripes came out a lot darker than the hairstylist was happy with, so just a day later, they massaged (or should I say scrubbed) bleach into my fringe in an attempt to lighten the dark brown to an auburn colour.

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Though this worked out for the photo, it absolutely ruined my hair. I remember brushing through my fringe and having my hair stretch like elastic; it completely lost its shine and took hours and hours to dry. If you’re thinking of bleaching your hair at home, particularly if you want to go from brown to white blonde, please please PLEASE remember that it carries risks. Dark hair won’t lift to an even white colour in just one sitting, but repeatedly bleaching will ruin the condition of your hair. Bleach breaks down keratin – the element that gives your hair shine and strength – so try to space out bleaching to avoid ending up with a dull, gooey mess.

My hair was in such bad condition that I had to grow the bleach out to give my hair chance to repair itself. This meant living with my natural hair colour 😦 I have naturally ashy hair, which felt a little bland after having Draco Malfoy-esque white so, with all the bleach gone, I snuck in a few subtle highlights (left). Annnnnnd, not long after, I had it bleached again *face palm*… I couldn’t resist.

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That brings me up to last summer and my latest obsession with toners! I’ve tried pink and peach, but – as with make-up – these warm colours work better with skin that has an equally warm under-tone. For me, cooler hues of blue and purple suit my fair skin best, but my ultimate favourite is my current lilac colour. Toners are becoming a lot more popular now with great, cheap brands available in most drugstores, i.e. Bleach London. There’s also a growing trend for colour-depositing shampoos and conditioners, which provide a gentle, non-evasive way of adding colour to your hair – the colour/conditioner combination is a particularly good way of maintaining smooth, shiny, rainbow, locks.

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So there’s a potted history of my hair! To see what products I use to keep the colour and cut looking as fresh as possible, watch out for my second instalment of my hair care routine – coming soon!

Hope you like!

Molly x

How to Make the Most of Pure Pigments

It’s the perfect time of year for adding a touch of sparkle to your make-up routine and pigments are by far the best way to do so. With Christmas parties and New Years Eve in mind, I recently bought both Beguile – described as “light shimmer” (?) but actually an iridescent white – and Furore – “champagne peach shimmer” – by Illamasqua.

Having swatched them under bright lights in store, the colour and sparkle was self-evident, I had to buy them! But when I applied them to my lids the next day, I was a little underwhelmed by the pay off. So here is a quick guide on how to make the most of your pigments.

Of course, you could just simply apply the powder to your bare skin for a simple, stripped back look, but the party season demands something a little more dramatic. The strength of your pigment depends on the base they are applied to; below I swatched the pigment alone; with Illamasqua’s Sealing Gel; with Illamasqua’s Vintage Metallix in Courtier; and with MAC’s PaintPot in Painterly.

Beguile

Beguile

Furore

Furore

As you can tell from these pictures, the difference is striking. On my pale skin, both pigments, particularly Beguile, are barely visible when used alone and only add a slight shimmer (which could work well as a subtle highlighter, though Beguile is a little less ‘natural’ due to its iridescent pink and green tones).

MAC’s PaintPot was also pretty useless; I initially thought an eyeshadow base like this one would be perfect for pigments, but the formula is too heavy and thick to allow the powder to be distributed evenly.

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For a daytime look, I was looking for a product that would carry my pigment as well as tone down the glitter. My favourite thing to do this would be Illamasqua’s new Vintage Metallix in Courtier (£16.50). This cream-gel is intended to be used alone (Courtier is a gorgeous “vintage nude” with slight gold shimmer) as a smudge-resistant eyeshadow, however it provides a light but opaque, smooth but slightly tacky base – perfect for a layer of pigment!

For nighttime looks, I needed something that would make my pigments ‘pop’ (cringe… but you know what I mean), so I opted for Illamasqua’s Sealing Gel. This dinky bottle may seem expensive at £7, but it’s uses are endless. It is a mixing medium revered amongst make-up artists for turning eyeshadows into liquid eyeliners. However, if you place a few drops on your eye lid, tap with your finger until it becomes tacky. Once your pigment is applied on top, you’ll see an unbelievable transformation: the colour is bright, the shimmer intense and the coverage even (no lumps of gunky glitter clogging your lid).

This is my version of a day and night look using Pure Pigments (Furore on the left, and Beguile on the right):

How do you make the most of your pigments?

For FOTDs and previews of my blog posts, follow my instagram: http://instagram.com/beautsoup

Hope you like!

Molly x

In Defence of: the Ugly Jumper

It’s that time of year again. The time when that jumper, blazoned with snowflakes, reindeers and christmas puddings, is unearthed for the office party or dinner with the family. It has become a collective, if embarrassing, token of our festive cheer.

But why should the ugly jumper only be for Christmas?

By ‘ugly’ I mean garish, OTT, outlandish and out-dated; the jumpers abandoned in charity shops and vintage markets. They’re hidden gems – the uglier, the better!!

This was my first: an eighties beauty with a bold geometric design found in my local vintage shop. It soon became my go-to “lectures are too early and I can’t be bothered” jumper. It’s bat-wing shape is so comfortable to wear and, with jeans and a simple jacket, can add colour and kookiness to an outfit without any fuss (the pink stripes are interweaved with wisps of white thread).

My next new-old jumper is this zebra print crop found in Cow Vintage. Okay, it’s not exactly ugly, but it’s different to anything I’ve seen in TopShop or Urban Outfitters recently. Its monochrome style means that it can be paired with anything from Levi’s to a pencil skirt.

And finally… my ultimate ugly jumper. Another eighties throwback with bold stripes of different coloured animal print. This jumper knows no bounds when it comes to colour combinations and clashing patterns. Like the first, it has an exaggerated bat-wing sleeve and a loose fit, but it’s gorgeous v-shaped back shows a little bit of flesh in a way that is both unique and feminine.

Throw on a pair of black leather-look jeans and voilà – a complete outfit sans effort, but with tons and tons of character.

What do you guys think of the ugly jumper?

Hope you like!

Molly x