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Beauty

SAMANTHA CUSICK LONDON: EXPERIENCE

KATIE HART

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Whenever I'm looking for a hairdresser, I get very nervous and not unreasonably so. I mean listen, my hair has been through a lot. It has been badly dyed blonde which resulted in the ends just snapping off (which might I say is very disconcerting) and has had plenty of cuts which ranged from bad to very bad. Basically, my hair has been through hell and I honestly feel awful for it. When I moved to the UK, my stress levels went rocketing and my poor hair, which was already in a bad way due to aforementioned salon disasters, just started to fall out. I was absolutely desperate to say the least. I had a rubbish cut as well because only half my hair had actually grown while the top bit remained frazzled. HELP! 

Eventually, I simply left my hair alone and wore some light weight real hair clip in extensions for a few months. I did nothing to my hair but styled the extensions and allowed it to finally grow and begin to heal. Just before I went back to South Africa in March I decided that enough was enough and made the rather stressful trip to a hairdresser. I chose 'Samantha Cusick' because of the incredible styles and transformations that I see come out of the salon repeatedly. I heard about Sam via Zoe Sugg (aka Zoella) and let's all be honest, her hair is incredible and even though its dyed blonde, it looks strong and healthy. I have always longed for that kind of hair but never ever had it. It is a very sad state of affairs when you are repeatedly spending around R1000 (around 70 quid) on your hair and always run from the salon either crying or covering your head and running for your car. We pay for this, it's a service and I feel that we should at the very least be happy with the results. You should not want to run home and wash and re-do your hair...that's so not cool.

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Before I continue with this story you need to know that my hair was still all different lengths. I just went for it and booked an appointment for the evening before my flight after work and by the way, I know this is crazy...I am crazy but I did have back up in the form of extensions. I rang up and was told that Samantha herself doesn't do cuts, only colours so I needed to find someone in the salon. I asked for the names of the stylists who would do it and once I had those, scoured Instagram pages looking for someone who could work a miracle. Out of everyone, I chose the stylist with the most images of great short hair, Kostantinos (www.instagram.com/konstantinos_hair)

Somehow I managed to get an appointment on the day I needed with the stylist that I wanted. I went to Konstantinos with my full head of clip in extensions still in my hair. Once they were removed he kindly informed me that what I wanted (the trendy lob which is all one length al a Poppy Deyes) was not going to be possible. To say I was devastated was an understatement. All I wanted was hair that I could actually like for once. I was starting to think that there was actually something wrong with me. He told me that he would cut it and style it in a way that I could wear it but that allowed the top part to grow to match the rest of the length.

 After having my cut with Konstantinos :)

After having my cut with Konstantinos :)

That cut was not easy for Konstantinos and it certainly wouldn't stand out for him as one of his favourite hair moments but for me? It absolutely changed my life because that cut changed my hair and for the first time ever, I walked out of a salon and did nothing to my hair. I liked it...no it wasn't exactly what I wanted but he explained to me that it would all take time but it would come right. He emphasised how important it was to get all the hair growing again so that I could have my dream hair long term.  He also recommended using Olaplex at least twice a week on my hair (about which there is a post coming soon).

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Sam for her part was actually doing front of house duties when I arrived which I have to say is something I greatly admire in any business owner. Sam is incredibly involved in that salon and definitely loves what she does. She is incredibly kind and always has time to chat to everyone.

She also has a dog called Sidney who comes to the salon with her. He is a bulldog and quite possibly one of the loveliest dogs ever. Remember those extensions I mentioned, well lets just say that Sidney the Bulldog shares his owners passion for hair ;) 

For me, the feeling of a salon is actually as important as the job they do. A good salon should make you feel relaxed and comfortable. It should look professional and clean but be welcoming. You want a stylist who takes time to understand you and what you need and want. Konstantinos was brilliant at that, he took a lot of time with me just chatting about my hair and what my options were. The cut was brilliant then and i'm still happy with it two months down the line. Konstantinos actually suggested that I only come back in June to see him for a cut. At no point did I feel any pressure to buy anything extra at the salon. I was not shamed for having a rather difficult head of hair nor did they make a big deal out of how long it took me just sitting in the chair and chatting to Konstantinos. 

Samantha is a brilliant young woman and by all accounts a hugely talented hair stylist and I hope that one day I'll be able to go and see her for a colour. As for Konstantinos, well I'm very very glad that he works there and for the first time ever, my hair is growing, it is shiny and healthy looking and i'm actually looking forward to my next hair appointment. What a difference a great salon makes...

To book visit the website: https://samanthacusicklondon.com

 

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** All images here have been taken from Google or Sam's and Konstantinos' Instagram accounts. Therefore I claim no ownership over any of these images and all rights lie with the people who originally took the pictures. 

Samantha's Instagram: www.instagram.com/samantha.cusick

Salon's Instagram: www.instagram.com/samanthacusicklondon

Konstantinos' Instagram: www.instagram.com/konstantinos.hair

MARIO BADESCU FACIAL SPRAY REVIEW

KATIE HART

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I first heard about Mario Badescu's apparently miraculous facial spray from a few Youtubers. I decided to finally buy it and give it a try in December. It's not expensive, only 7 quid. 

I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. I've never used a facial spray before. I sort of just started using it and I have to admit that I've loved it ever since. 

I use it every morning and every night before moisturising and it seems to just be really lovely for the skin. It's easy on the skin, easy to use and achieves good results. 

It hydrates very well but you do need a moisturiser as well. My skin has felt a lot more dewy and has a constant glow. 

The best results I have seen from it has to be when I flew to South Africa. The air on airplanes is always dry and difficult for skin. I always travel with make-up on but ALWAYS take it off during the flight to give my skin a break. I always take some facial wipes to take all the make-up off and this facial spray helped so much to keep my skin hydrated and fresh during the journey. 

I definitely recommend this as a product to buy and use especially if you do have a flight coming up.

Definitely on my best buy list, purchase here: https://www.mariobadescu.com/product/facial-spray-with-aloe-herbs-and-rosewater

Also available at Urban Outfitters 

CHANEL: A MASCARA WORTH PAYING FOR

KATIE HART

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For years, almost as long as I can remember, I was a constant cheap mascara user. I just couldn't see any reason to spend that much money on something like mascara, it just didn't seem like something worth spending that much on. Recently, though, I am somewhat of a convert and all thanks to Chanel. 

The reason behind the change in my point of view? It was really starting to get on my nerves that my mascara just was not staying put. During the summer, one could blame it on the heat and the sweat that resulted from that heat but when during winter, it was still flaking off? Not cool. Essentially, I'd start my day off with a full face of make-up and perfectly mascaraed lashes but by the end of the day, that thick coat of mascara was history. 

I've always felt that mascara really makes a make-up look. It's vital and you just don't look finished without it. In fact, with a full face of make-up and no mascara, you look a bit weird and definitely like you just sort of forgot something. 

Previous to Chanel, I was using Maybelline, so yes, it was a major step up. I went to beauty counter after beauty counter asking for testers. I would get them home and then I went through tester after tester of mascara, just waiting for one to hold. 

Then I finally found it. To me, this is the absolute holy grail of mascara and yes, it will set you back a bit. A bit as in 26 quid, which for mascara really is quite a lot. If you want great lashes with a lot of staying power though, I 100% recommend this over any other mascara currently on the market. Chanel is a holy grail product and that isn't a secret. 

Five stars
Highly recommend 

BALMAIN X L’OREAL LIPSTICKS

KATIE HART

Exclusive to Harvey Nichols : https://www.harveynichols.com/beauty/makeup/lips/

The new Balmain X L'Oreal Lipsticks: 'United, we are invincible. Introducing Color Riche by Balmain, L’Oréal Paris’ first limited edition collection of twelve tailor-made couture lipsticks. These edgy, rich matte shades, encased within an exclusive pack created by Olivier Rousteing, are designed to embody three femininities: Safari, Rock and Couture. These are shades for every woman, no matter her origin, no matter her tribe.'

Only: £12.99 per lipstick 

LOCA SKINCARE

KATIE HART

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The first product on here and it's something which I got free in the goody bag from the Coffee and Chocolate Expo Media Launch. I have absolutely fallen in love with the LOCA Skincare range of body scrubs.

The scrubs are made of coffee grounds and the exfoliation you get from them is so extraordinary. Remember that caffeine is very good for brightening and rejuvenating the skin and so absolutely fabulous for your skincare routine. This is quite a harsh scrub as you would imagine because it is so pure and made from coffee grounds. The coffee scrub is essentially reminiscent of the dregs of the coffee which we drink, think what's left in the bottom of the cup after a Turkish coffee and you'll get the idea of what the inside of the packet looks like. Except much better. 

They use Robusta coffee because it contains 90% more caffeine than the regular Arabica coffee (the one we usually drink). The caffeine stimulates the blood flow which in turn targets areas like cellulite and stretch marks in the most natural way possible. You get all different 'flavours' of body scrub, I was originally given the Orange one and I have to admit that I did find the smell a tad overwhelming at first butt you do adjust. However, orange is probably the strongest of the smells and choose something you are happy to smell of because it does somewhat infuse the skin. I have just used the Lavender and I have to say that I absolutely love that. Whilst Lavender is an incredibly strong smell it is still a relaxing and rejuvenating smell and works really surprisingly well mixed with coffee. 

I love the lingering smell of coffee in my bathroom after I use this product and I find that it really wakes you up. I have terribly dry skin in the winter anyway which can lead to some terrible eczema. This really helped me in treating that but you do have to use it continuously to see the results. I personally transferred mine into a jar just so it would keep a bit better because all the ingredients are so natural. 

The rest of the body scrub is just Green Tea Extract which is notorious for its healing properties, Shea Butter, Pure Coconut Oil, Coffee Essential Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Vitamin E, Peach Kernal ad then, of course, the smell you choose is just and essential oil. 

Loving this product, not expensive and 100% would recommend this whether your skin is tired, dry, dull or anything really - this is for you.

PS: You can buy online here: http://locaskincare.co.za

NYX: FULL THROTTLE LIPSTICK REVIEW

KATIE HART

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I decided to write this review because, without any press drops from NYX, I have managed to accumulate four of these particular lipsticks in only a couple of months. The first one I actually purchased was 'Con Artist' which is the very darkest of shades. I actually (huge surprise coming up here ladies and gentlemen_ got the idea to try a darker lip from Zoella. In the beginning, I really thought that I just wasn't one of those people who could pull it off. Turns out my mother still is of the mindset that I actually cannot pull it off but everyone else seems to disagree and I think it's cool so...I keep wearing it. It's so very close to black in colour, its a very deep red and not a very deep purple (which darker shades of lipstick often tend to be) and for that alone I love it! 

 

NYX really have done an amazing job, they have managed to bring amazing quality to the table whilst maintaining fairly reasonable pricing which is honestly incredible. I started using the brand a few years ago and it was very difficult to find back then. Only a few select Clicks stores stocked it and it uh, wasn't cheap. The price point seems a lot better now although I can't be sure of whether that's simply that everything else has got so much more expensive and so it just fits in. 

 

As a small statured person, I struggle big lipsticks as sometimes the actual point is bigger than my lip which makes life a little more difficult. So, one of the things that I really love about these lipsticks is their small stature and smaller size point (shaped very well for the lip). The small size also means that they are very easy to fit into just about any size handbag (although they have a tendency of getting lost more easily in big bags) and even if you don't want to carry a bag, this could easily fit into just about any pocket. These lipsticks also have amazing colour payoff and the price is just so damn good for what you get! One of my favourites is the red from this collection (the one I have is called 'Up the Bass') and it it is a true post-box red. 

 

The other great thing about these is that they are matte lipsticks which is very much on trend at the moment. The certainly don't dry your lips out too much although I might recommend applying a lip balm before and allowing it to sink in to stop your lips looking parched. They also stay on really very well. Especially when you consider the price and that the only other lip colour that has come close to this for me is a R300 Stila liquid lipstick. 

 

I am absolutely in love with NYX as a brand and you'll definitely be seeing more about my product favs from them very soon. 

 

All of these lipsticks are beautifully pigmented and when you consider that you're only paying around R100 per lipstick, it's hugely impressive. The range of colours that they have is also so amazing. There are 12 colours in the range but so much variety. It also makes being on trend a lot more accessible for everyone. Brilliant product and I would 100% recommend this to anyone who's on the hunt for a great matte lipstick. 

 

In South Africa, NYX is available at most Clicks stores (the main stores are Gateway Umhlanga, Mall of Africa and Manly Pretoria): https://clicks.co.za

OR online: http://www.nyxcosmetics.com/full-throttle-lipstick/NYX_312.html?cgid=lipstick