How Easy It Is To Not Like Yourself

So obviously I watch Love Island… and on last night’s show one of the contestants had a mini break down about her lack of confidence and how she can’t help but compare herself to the other women on the show. This hit home with many of the program’s female viewers, including myself.

My boyfriend didn’t get it, “What is she on about?! Grow up!” but I knew exactly how she felt. Gabby is one of the more natural looking females on the show. She doesn’t appear to have plumped up lips or fake boobs. She has hair extensions but her hair is at a chic, blunt lob (long bob, duh). She’s a personal trainer so her body is phenomenal and she has gorgeous blue eyes and a lovely smile. She also seems to be one of the more mature, “down to earth” characters, not as interested in drama or game playing. But she was in tears saying she felt like as soon as she got out she wanted to book herself a boob job and get hair extensions down to her bum.

Gabby

It may seem ridiculous but almost all women do this. It’s impossible not to! We compare ourselves to women on TV, on Instagram, at work, on the bus! I’ve been unhappy about various parts of myself for as long as I can remember. I’ve never been “the pretty one” in any of my friendship groups. WHO CARES? WHY DOES IT MATTER?! I don’t know but for some reason it does and for most of my life it made me feel like shit.

Ok, when I was at school I had a lot going against me (braces, acne, the lack of decent hair straighteners on the market…) and sadly I had a group of skinny, straight-haired, perfect skinned friends to contend with. At Uni however I’d come out the other side of all that, I’d medicated my skin into looking better than ever and GHD’s had been invented (praise be)! I was more confident than I’d been at school as I felt like I was coming into my own, looks wise. But two of my closest friends (and flatmates) at Uni were tiny, blonde haired, blue-eyed pixies so really I paled in comparison. In my mind this was the best I’d ever looked… but it still wasn’t good enough. I still wasn’t the pretty one when I was standing next to them, watching them get chatted up by many a passer by. Now don’t get me wrong, I did alright! But I was constantly comparing myself to them because we looked so different. Now I was a bit (gag) “alternative” in those days and my Uni really wasn’t. Who’s to say in a different school or city or group of friends I wouldn’t have been the pretty one? But in that place, at that time, I was not many people’s cup of tea. Or at least that’s how I felt.

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Uni days- HEY ALEXA IF YOU’RE READING THIS! x

Even today, even though I know its wrong, I still do it. If you know me you’ll know I HATE HATE HATE my nose, my upper (ham) arms and my entire, middle. I have tried to lose weight, I’ve had personal trainers, I’ve joined gyms, I’ve tried spin, swimming, yoga and am always going on and off diets. None of the girls in any of my friendship groups has a body even similar to mine. It makes me feel like a freak, many of them appear to be able to eat want they want and don’t seem to ever gain weight where as I have steadily been gaining weight every year since I was about 19.

Sometimes I look at my face in the mirror and I catch myself thinking its OK. Then I’ll see a picture of my massive fucking snoz taking centre stage and I’ll all but run to grab the kitchen scissors and try to lop it off! (Your nose NEVER stops growing people, it’s not looking good for me but damn, nose jobs are esspensive! Plus they look hella painful…)

I can’t even get a hair cut without over thinking it! My hair has been long and layered for years and I felt like it looked stale and boring. So I did my classic move of cutting in a fringe and then instantly regretting it. I kept seeing pics of girls with these stylish, choppy haircuts that they were curling to look tousled and effortless and I thought, “I want dat”. So I got it cut and I loved it for 24 whole hours and then I thought, shit, did I look better with long hair? Does this length age me?! Should I grow it back out?! But wait, does long hair look as edgy? Am I too old for hair that long?! These are the thoughts that now go through my head about once a day.

Now it’s not all doom and gloom. I’ve always been pretty happy with my legs. My calves are skinny, my thighs are thick but in an OK way and now that they’ve been lasered to within an inch of their life, I look forward to getting them out in the summer. Something my boyfriend has previously commented on is that fact that I don’t have cellulite. Welp, at the ripe old age of 32 guess what I got now… you guessed it- cellulite baby! On my thighs. I know he was trying to compliment me and meant well but now I don’t feel so great. Now I feel like the one good part of myself has been tainted. But everyone has cellulite! Skinny people have cellulite! Doesn’t matter. I didn’t have it and now I do and I hate my thighs. (Calves- you still good, I know you got my back.)

It really hit home when it came to my lips. I have NEVER had a problem with them. I love their shape I’m very happy with their fullness, they look great with a bright lippy. HOW-EV-ER, as someone with an interest in beauty, I follow a lot of “influencers” on Instagram and YouTube and there is a big trend in that scene at the moment of getting lip fillers. Some of them are huge and obvious some of them are more natural but a lot of them do look good and for the first time in my life I found myself questioning whether my lips looked their best.

It’s been said a thousand times before but I’m gonna say it again for the people at the back; there is a huge amount of pressure on women to look good all the time. But good by whose standards? The ones we’re surrounded by. If big lips are in but your aren’t big enough you better do something about it! Straighten you’re hair because curly hair isn’t fashionable. 10-20 years ago skinny eyebrows were the thing, so we invested in Tweezermans and plucked the shit out of them. Well sorry, that’s considered gross now you moron! Grow that shit back out if you don’t want to look like a weirdo! People might not like it if you wear “too much” makeup up but then they ask if there’s something wrong or tell you that you look tired when you don’t wear any. It’s simple really just wear the CORRECT amount, jeeze! Crop tops are in I’m afraid so if you haven’t got the body for them then you must dress like a middle aged art teacher because there’s no in between. It kind of feels like a lose lose stich.

Last night I was comparing myself to a Swedish YouTuber. She’s tall, athletic, has long, icy blonde hair and equally icy blue eyes with a cute little nose to match. I AM NEVER GOING TO LOOK LIKE THIS WOMAN. EVER. But I wish I did because she’s beautiful. But I also wish I looked like Lourdes and Dua Lipa (have you SEEN her stomach?!) and they look totally different! So it never ends really. I’ll probably never be happy with the way I look. But hey, maybe in my own way I’m also beautiful? Maybe I have nice eyes and good skin and ok hair and straight teeth- but I didn’t always! I fucking suffered through a lot of shit to have that stuff and a lot of money was spent! If I hadn’t done that I’d look completely different and maybe be even more unhappy.

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YouTuber Katrin Berndt, taken from her Instagram @katrinberndt

What I’m saying is, the cycle never ends so maybe just let us off for not wanting to wear makeup everyday or wash our hair because chances are we’re giving ourselves a much harder time for it.

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Dua Lipa, taken from her Instagram @dualipa

The Look: Autumn Glam

So I had some fun with makeup the other day and got my lovely friend to help me do a mini shoot.

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If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter you’ll know I’m a big fan of the cut crease, glitter lid look. I first attempted this with an Urban Decay glitter liner as you can apply it straight from the tube and was surprise and how well it turned out first time. I purchased a few LIT glitters at IMATS back in the Summer but was a bit nervous to try them as they are loose glitter with the adhesive applied separately but it turns out they are just as easy to use. I used the Lit glitter in Rhinestone Cowboy #2 for this look. I’d alway suggest wearing a shimmery shadow of a similar shade underneath to make the glitter really pop and so you can’t see your lid underneath (although thats a look all of its own!) I used Pewter from the Lorac Pro Palette and then just some warm browns in the crease.

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I then took the look “from day to night” with Too Faced Melted Matte liquid lipstick in Evil Twin which I LOVE so much! I actually thought it was dark brown at first but turns out it’s a super dark, deep plum colour with a brown undertone. Come to mama!
Even though it’s quite a full on look I think it’s quite wearable (particularly pre- lipstick).

This is such a great way to do a bit more of a “glam” look, I’ve had so many compliments on the various versions I’ve tried so far. You’ll definitely see me rocking this look more often and I’ll prob be dropping a bomb on more Lit glitters in the near future.

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Vampy af.

Photographer: Jess Masterton- Smith

Things I Like 3

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Mini reviews of some beauty stuff I accumulated recently.

PRODUCTS MENTIONED:
Nip + Fab Dragons Blood Fix Hyaluronic Shot
Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base
Queen Of Oil Argon Oil- **USE CODE QUEENY FOR 20% OFF!**
No.7 Beautifully Matte Foundation in Honey
NYX Doll Eyes Mascara
Colour Pop Eyeshadows in Nillionare & So Quiche, Matte X Lippie Stick in Topless, Gel Liner in Swerve
Too Faced Melted Matte Liquid Lipsticks in Evil Twin & Mrs. Roper

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Twitter: @SavedByTheBlush

Reach For The Lasers

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Body hair and hair removal was pretty much the bane of my life. Due to my Asian heritage I have dark, thick hair that is very visible and I’ve had it since I was pretty young. If I wasn’t hairy I was covered in red dots and ingrown hairs from various methods of hair removal (when I was about 15 I was wearing a midi skirt to the park because it was a really hot, sunny day and one of the boys we were with pointed to said bumps and shouted, “What the fuck is wrong with your legs” in front of everyone and I wanted to die.) It’s something that I was incredibly self conscious about for many years, something that I would try to hide and something that I truly hated about myself.

I was about 10 when I went for my first leg wax. I was with my mum and my cousin who was a few years older than me and who I looked up to hugely and I was really nervous. Everyone was really nice, my cousin held my hand when it was painful, I was definitely not an easy customer! I winced and squirmed at the temperature of the wax, I yelled when the strips were being pulled off, I wanted to give up half way through but when it was all over I could not have been happier with the results.

Now I know you’re all thinking 10 is pretty young to be getting waxed but believe me, by then it was necessary. As anyone with an Asian heritage knows, we don’t grow up with invisible, blonde hairs. My hair was dark and definitely visible. I’d always been warned against shaving from my mother, hearing horror stories of ingrown hairs and the hair coming back thicker and stronger so my hair removal journey began with waxing.

Anyone that’s been waxed will know it’s not what you’d call a fun experience and can really vary depending on where you go and who’s doing it. Boiling hot wax being scraped against your flesh and then ripped off, it’s nothing short of eye watering. And by the way, my leg hair didn’t stop at the knee like most people, I had to wax my entire leg. Waxing has great results, you’re left with super smooth legs, no in grown hairs if it’s done properly and it can last 2-3 weeks (depending on how fast your hair grows- mine grew fast.) However it’s, painful, time consuming and you have to wait for your hair to re-grow to a certain length before you can get it done again. So there was always an in between hairy stage. This is all well and good when you’re young but as you become older it can become a problem. Obviously eventually the bikini line and underarms came into play and soon going through an in between hairy stage just isn’t an option.

So into my teen years and early 20’s I’d flit between epilating, hair removal cream and- against my mother’s wishes, shaving. For those who don’t know, an epilator is an electronic, hand held machine with loads of little tweezers that spin round plucking out all of your hair. Funnily enough I find epilating really painful, especially around the thighs. I would literally be in tears as I was doing it. However it is super convenient and as it’s plucking the hairs from the root they don’t grow back as quickly. Again, there has to be a bit of hair there to be plucked so there needs to be a regrowth period. It also took ages and I was often left with sore, red legs for the rest of the day. I wouldn’t even DREAM about trying to epilate my own bikini line (just writing that has made me shiver) so that’s where the hair removal cream came in. Easy, quick and painless but with a pretty short window before regrowth started to appear.

When I was 20 I was with my first serious boyfriend and that’s when I started shaving regularly. I needed to be smooth fast and be able to do it as often as I needed. It would take SO long I’d literally have to set aside an afternoon for hair removal of basically half my body and I’d be stubbly again by the next day. The worst part about shaving though was the ingrown hairs. This is when the hair grown downwards into the skin for some reason and because it has nowhere to go it sort of coils around itself. If they’re really bad they can get infected. Some of them you can sort of scratch out if they aren’t too deep, some can be squeezed or popped out like a black head (sorry, gross) but some are so deep it’s impossible to get them out. I remember having to perform MINOR SURGERY on my own calf once with a pair of tweezers and was left with a hole in my leg for 2 weeks. The ones you can’t get out and that don’t get infected kind of just stay there. So I spent most of my teens and early 20’s with tiny grey and red dots covering half my legs JUST WHAT EVERY GIRL WANTS!

*(The below pic is NOT of my legs)

These are NOT my legs, this is an example from the internet of what ingrown leg hairs can look like. Source: https://i.redditmedia.com/8z1haLWIcBJTAcewKBTiWGW6vZYTKAX64VrJktrMorM.jpg?w=320&s=d77163dc36efb39f9d874c208f3c2407

These are NOT my legs, this is an example from the internet of what ingrown leg hairs can look like.
Source: https://i.redditmedia.com/8z1haLWIcBJTAcewKBTiWGW6vZYTKAX64VrJktrMorM.jpg?w=320&s=d77163dc36efb39f9d874c208f3c2407

Due to all of the above I have always been INCREDIBLY self conscious of my body hair. All of my friends were blessed with that invisible hair that you can’t even see when it’s been left to grow for weeks on end and that basically falls out at the sight of a razor. I hated getting my legs out, they never really felt or looked smooth unless I’d been for a wax, and even then I still had all the ingrown hairs. The first time I went to Ibiza I was so scared about going out with my 2 super smooth legged friends I had packed tights with me even though it was like 30 degrees. The saddest part was that my legs are like my only decent feature, I’m not a fan of the rest of my body shape but I have an o.k pair of pins! Hair removal was a constant struggle for me. It was painful, time consuming and never truly gave me the results I so badly wanted.

That is until I started Laser Hair Removal. I started doing it YEARS ago when it wasn’t that easily available and it was super painful and super expensive but I’d spent so many years feeling shit about myself that I thought it had to be worth a try. To be honest with you in those early days it wasn’t anywhere near as effective as it is now. I went to a lot of different clinics over that time and I can’t count the amount of times I’ve actually had it done. However I’m so happy with the results of the last 3 or 4 years I literally want to do my entire body! I’m a different person come Summer time, I’m happy my legs out now, I finally feel confident enough to do so. Apart from my legs I’ve also had my bikini line, under arms and arms done and for me it was worth every single penny. I still go back for top up sessions (there can be areas that grow back even after you’ve completed a full course) but every time I go I come back with even less hair. Lucky for me thick pigmented hair on my skin tone is pretty much the perfect candidate for laser hair removal so I started seeing results straight away. I know it may sound shallow or trivial but this was something that deeply affected me, I was so embarrassed about my body hair, I’d had people make comments about it all my life, from teenage boys to grown men and it was absolutely mortifying!

It’s amazing that Laser Hair Removal is now so accessible to most people and it’s nowhere near as painful as it used to be. It can be done so quickly now and can be pretty affordable if you find the right place. I highly recommend my clinic, Lazeaway if you’re thinking about it and are in the London area. It really has changed my life.

So why am I telling you all this you may ask? Well female body hair is one of those things that isn’t really talked about, men just expect you to be as smooth as a fucking seal at ALL times but wince if you dare to mention what you had to go through to achieve it and I just don’t think that particularly fair. We’re all human we all have body hair, some more than others. That’s the way it is, whether you like it or not. Somewhere along the line society decided that women weren’t allowed to be hairy, not just that they weren’t allowed to be but that it was gross and weird if they were! Well I just want people to know that being hair free is not fucking easy, it’s not fun, it’s a ball ache and it’s expensive. So maybe just think about that next time you run your hand up a girl’s leg and it’s a bit stubbly.

Sephora Haul!

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Picked up a few things from Sephora… Please LIKE if you do and SUBSCRIBE if you like! x

PRODUCTS MENTIONED:
Anastasia Beverly Hills Liquid Lipstick in ‘Soft Lilac’
Sephora Matte Lip Stain in 08 & 09
Beauty Blender
Anastasia Brow Wizz in ‘Ebony’
Kat von D Tattoo Liner in ‘Trooper’

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Saved By The BRUSH

Hiyerrrr.

I’m gonna do a bit of a brush lowdown today because I’m still seeing flat foundation brushes knocking around and it’s making my teeth itch.

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Real Techniques Buffing Brush

The Real techniques range are the best brushes on the High Street in my opinion and actually stack up pretty well off the H.S too. The quality is excellent and they’re v. reasonably priced. They’re the brainchild of Makeup Artist and YouTuber Sam Chapman of Pixiwoo fame and the brand is growing more and more. This buffing brush has been my go to foundation brush for ages now and it is my all time favourite face brush. Soft dense bristles that are tightly packed but fan out enough to blend foundation seamlessly. It comes in the ‘Core Collection’ set with the contour brush (mentioned below) a small detail brush which makes a good lip brush and a flat foundation brush which you can throw out straight away. Its an award winning set at a great price so go buy it now from Boots, Superdrug or online.

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Morphe E6 Flat Top Buffing Brush

Because I watch a lot of YouTubers from the US I tend to want to try a lot of the stuff that they use out there and boy do they all rave about Morphe brushes. Luckily there are some UK sites that have started stocking a selection so you don’t have to pay for shipping, I got mine from Cocktail Cosmetics. They are crazy cheap in the US, I think they’re a bit more pricey from here (but again you save on shipping) but are still super reasonable and really good quality. I bought this just to try an alternative to the above, I’ve seen a lot of YouTubers using flat top brushes and I do really like it, the bristles are ridic soft and does a good job of blending. I would say you definitely don’t need this if you buy the Real Tekkers one but I’m obsessed with buying brushes and really wanted to try it so I flit between the two.

Morphe flat top web

Morphe E53

I love this brush for using powder to set the area under my eyes, it’s the perfect size and shape thanks to the tapered end. It would also work really well for contour application and blending and also blusher.

Morphe under eye web

Real Techniques Contour Brush

I use this brush to apply and blend out concealer under my eyes, on my nose, forehead and chin and then anywhere I have blemishes. Again its a really good size. I apply the concealer with the wand or my finger and then use a combo of a dabbing & sweeping motion to blend out, if you just sweep you’ll rub the product off. Also would work well for contour as the name suggests but think it would be better with creams rather than powders. It comes in a set with the Buffing Brush (above) and a couple of others.

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Real Techniques Dup Fibre Powder Brush

I’m not sure if this particular Duo Fibre set was limited edition or not but tbh any Real Tech powder brush is gonna be good. I use it to apply finishing powder and then if I need to tone down blushes or contour I’ll blend it away with this. I like it because it doesn’t pick up too much product so you’re not caked and it blends well too. Would also work well as a bronzer brush.

Duo fibre powder web

Charlotte Tilbury Powder & Sculpt Brush*

I use this brush for powder contour, its perfect because it has a tapered end to fit into areas where it needs to and its fluffy so good for blending. It would also work well for highlight but I think it’s pretty expensive (I was luck enough to get it for free) and you can probably find a dupe that’s just as good. It is good quality though.

CT contour web

Real Techniques Blush Brush

I’ve tried a lot of blusher brushes and this is the only one I really like, I do think it’s slightly big but it is tapered and the bristle are packed in a way that it picks up and deposits a good amount of product but also blends really well and it’s really soft. Would also work well with finishing powder or bronzer.

RT blush web

I wash all of my brushes with hand soap (gel) but baby shampoo or a gentle, non stripping clarifying shampoo would be a bit better, I also use a rubber brush cleaning glove with little bumps that I found on eBay (swirl the soapy brush around in it, the bumps get out all the remaining product). Hold them upside down so you don’t get water in the ferrel (it’ll fuck with the glue). Gently squeeze out excess water then wrap the end in a sheet of paper towel and leave on their sides to dry. I dry mine upside down in a brush holder that I also found on eBizzle. Make sure you wash all the soap out thoroughly or the brushes will be kind of sticky when they dry. I only use my brushes on myself so I’m kind of lazy with how often I do it as it’s a ball ache but obviously I’ll always wash them if I’m going to be using them on someone else.

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