Thursday, 2 February 2017

My Hair Journey: From Platinum Blonde to Caramel

In the last few months my hair has gone through a rocky journey, transforming from platinum blonde to caramel golden light brown. It all started with a major roots outgrowth situation as seen in this image above. Historically I had my hair done in high end salons only and wouldn't dare to do any DIY as I didn't want to ruin the highlights that would take hours to get done and cost a ton of money. The result was totally worth it, the hair was healthy, beautiful and natural looking. 

However during pregnancy and postpartum highlighting didn't seem to agree with my hair, it could be pregnancy hormone related. So for that reason I was very unhappy with the last couple of times I went to see my colourist and I actually ended up changing him as he did mess up one section of my hair so badly that even after correction it was still slightly visible. Becoming a mother changes everything, and I no longer have hours upon hours to sit in a hair salon covered in foil. 

So the last time I went to a salon I have tried a different colourist and different salon. I made a conscious decision to get my hair bleached to platinum blonde hoping to reduce the colouring time as I would then only need to get my roots done. I did not want any yellow tone in my hair and explicitly asked for cool toned platinum blonde. The colourist explained that she will do the best she can but it really depends on the hair. Unfortunately there was a lot of yellow that kept coming through more and more with each wash. After the roots have grown out quite a bit I decided to try and do the roots myself at home. 

One day doing groceries I noticed Jerome Russell Bblonde Maximum Blonding Kit in N.1 (Maximum Blonde) and it looked quite promising. The packaging stood out and I felt fairly confident that not only will this kit take care of my roots but also kill the yellow in the length. Comparing this colour to other brands it was the lightest blonde I could get and it had no trace of any yellow tones. So I went home and opened the kit...

I was impressed by all the extras included in this kit: a fancy mixing tray, a brush and a development hat and all the other products that came out of the box. Of course you also get the protective gloves and other items that you tend to get in other brands like conditioning shampoo etc. 

When I started mixing the High Lift Powder Bleach and Maximum Cream Peroxide I immediately noticed how dry the mix was and I had no idea how that amount of dry paste could cover all of my hair. My hair is medium long, on some images it looks longer than it actually is due to the angle the image was shot. I should also mention that my hair is not thick, and it's not very fine, so medium. 

After I covered the roots I had still some paste left but not much. Unfortunately, there was only enough mix left to cover about half of my hair so as a result I tried very hard to spread it as much as I could, but again the dryness of the mix made it pretty impossible. Later, as I was in the middle of washing the bleach off I realised that the brand for some odd reason forgot to put a cut on to the conditioning shampoo sachet for an easy tear. So I had to stop and get scissors as there was absolutely no other way to tear that stubborn sachet. As a result all three of my brand new beautiful bathroom matts have been ruined by bleach stains. 

At that point I started to get pretty p*ssed off with this product... Once I dried my hair the amount of yellow tone that was actually added to my hair was horrific and to top it all off it was pretty patchy over the length of the hair as this there was not enough product provided to treat medium length hair.  And even some patches on the roots were left untreated as the paste is so dry it makes it hard to evenly coat the hair, pretty damn awful! This product is particularly harsh and damaging on the hair compared to the other products. I would not recommend this product unless you don't mind  yellow toned platinum blonde roots as that is what it is able to deliver. Out of 10 points I would give this product 1.5 and that is for the supplies.

At that point I had to get another hair dye urgently to try and correct the mess that Jerome Russell Bblonde left me with, including lovely patches of unbleached roots. I spent a lot of time trying to find a hair dye that would kill that yellow tone. L'Oréal Infinia Préférence in 10.21 Stockholm (Very Light Pearl Blonde) seemed to be the right fit. It really did what it said on the box. I loved the texture of the mix which was very creamy and easily covered the roots and length and the smell was a lot more pleasant too. It also seemed less abrasive on the hair, after washing off the product hair was left silky smooth. Out of 10 this product gets an 8.

At first it left a little of the purple tint which created that cool tone which kind of looked trendy so I didn't mind, the purple does wash off with time and just leaves your hair with that clean cool tone. It has killed most of the yellow and I wish I went for this product to begin with. So it definitely did what it said on the box and I was very happy with the result. 

This image was taken after using that purple Colour Extender a few times, it has visibly toned down the yellow even further. However each time after using that purple conditioner the hair had a very strong purple tint but does wash off with subsequent washes. I was happy to continue using this product however unfortunately it was sold out at the place where I was buying it from for a few weeks and I did not want to have another root situation. So I had no other choice than trying another similar product from the same brand and range.

L'Oréal les Blondissimes Préférence in 8L (Extreme Platinum). On the box this colour was lighter than the 10.21 Stockholm but not as light as Bblonde N.1. I decided to risk it and apply all over the hair as I didn't want to end up with different colour on the roots and length. And that was a mistake as it fried my hair quite badly. The hair was left very very dry and the colour was super light and very "noticeable" to the point that I started hating taking my own pictures. Also in some random places it pulled yellow again. Out of 10 this product gets a 6.

You can see the yellow tone appeared in random sections of the hair, for some reason mainly in the ends. At this point I was left rather frustrated at how difficult it is to maintain platinum blonde hair at home and so I decided to wave goodbye to the platinum and go in to a more natural looking direction and easy to look after. 

Being at a point where my hair is at its most driest it has ever been from all that bleaching I decided to pick a product this time that would be more natural and less damaging. It is of course not a completely natural product it still has lots of chemicals in there but at least it is a more gentle on the hair. Garner Nutrisse Créme in Caramel 6.3 (Gold Light Brown). It is very easy to use, and I absolutely loved the result. The fact that it is more gentle means that this hair dye will have a fluctuation, it will come out at its darkest straight after and thereafter every wash it will get slightly lighter and lighter which is perfect for me as I don't want to go too dark anyway and want to maintain that goodness. Out of 10 this product gets a 9.

So here you can see the result straight after I have used it for the first time. The bleached platinum hair provides a great base for caramel toned colour as it will give it that golden glow/lift and makes it look like you just came from a sunny holiday. So I really loved the result and it is a very flattering colour to shift to from platinum blonde. 

Here you can see what the colour looks like after it has settled after a few washes. It's still very natural and warm. Because the colour does wash off in the beginning I would highly recommend to use an old towel as it will transfer and stain. After about second or third wash the colour settles and you don't need to worry about getting your normal towels dirty.

Now I always make sure to have two boxes of this hair dye as a back-up because I don't want to mess with my hair anymore. So here you see the colour after second colouring, I could have just done the roots but I did the lengths as well just for the initial two colourings to get the colour even. After all that messed-up over-bleaching the colour would concentrate on some of the areas deeper than others  but after the second colouring it is all even and good now. It seems to colour the natural darker roots and over-bleached length equally so there doesn't seem to be a colour difference. 

The only criticism I do have for this product and that is why it does not get a 10 out of 10 is because when I coloured my hair second time it came out much darker for some reason and did not look like the image on the box. However after the first wash it does wash out and looks like it is supposed to, so don't panic if that happens to you. For now this is what I shall stick with as being a mommy to a 15 months old baby boy means lots of running around and not enough time to myself.


Friday, 23 December 2016

Last Minute Personalised Christmas Wreath!

If for whatever reason you still have not had a chance to decorate your home yet, there is never such a thing as too late. Here is an idea of how to create a beautiful and unique wreath with your personal touch. And also on a plus side whichever wreaths are still available at the shops at this point they are likely to be discounted.

I have been given this faux wreath as a present and although I like the combination of pastel tones, snowy effect and the succulents accent it nonetheless was lacking that Christmasy je ne satis qui... So here is what I did to spruce it up and give it a warm decorative touch. 

Firstly this wreath comes from Sainsbury. I went and bought baubles different size and colour which adds a bit of interest. The slightly larger golden baubles also had different texture, some smooth and others covered with glitter. I randomly secured them all around the wreath but mostly keeping them more in the middle of the wreath as they are chunkier than the small baubles. 

The smaller rose gold baubles also had two textures, glossy and matte. Some of them I placed in clusters of three and some singular, this time taking them closer to the inner and outer edge of the wreath, which helped to brake up a structured look. 

And finally I had some old led lights form last Christmas and I decided to go for a clear cord and red led lights [I believe I got these at B&Q]. They are really neat and resemble little red winter berries when lighten up. The red lights also help to transform an otherwise chic wreath into a more festive Christmas decoration. It was a quick job and I know for sure no neighbour down the road has the same wreath hanging on their door! 


Friday, 9 December 2016

Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel in Awe

Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel in Awe

Shade: Awe

As a comparison, this is a brow powder product I used previously,
this product had a warm tone to it and therefore looked less natural and was more obvious when filling gaps.

Brow products are the hardest when it comes to finding a perfect match as it has to complement your complexion and still look natural. And even then blondes have the toughest time with their brows as most of the brow products pull either warm toned ginger or cool toned ash, neither are natural looking or flattering for that matter. So I am very happy to have discovered Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel, this shade is Awe and it's their lightest shade. 

It looks very pretty on and the colour looks very natural and somehow does not pull a warm tone neither a cool tone but is right in the middle, creating a super flattering eyebrow shade. I have used an angled brush to apply the gel and it was very easy to work with. Apply the product on the back of your hand first to avoid a too strong brow. This brow gel fills gaps very naturally without looking obvious. Once it sets it doesn't smudge or move after application as easily as some of the other brow products I have used before.


Thursday, 8 December 2016

Smokey Eye: MAC Patina, Mystery, Brulé

Wearing: MAC Patina, Mystery, Brulé eyeshadows

This is a very quick smokey eye for all those gorgeous mamas out there or anyone who is very busy and has little time for make-up. To begin with I primed my eyelids with MAC Bare Study Paint Pot, it's a shimmery light base which helps to emphasise the sheen of MAC Patina eyeshadow. In the socket I have blended in MAC Mystery eyeshadow which is a satin finish and great to tone the sheen of the main eyeshadow slightly down as you don't want to go overboard with shimmers and sheens. A blend of both eyeshadows was also applied under the lower lash line as well as smoking out a black kohl eyeliner. I tend to wear matte or semi-matte highlighters on the eyebrow bone with shimmery eyeshadows and vice versa a shimmery highlighter with matte or satin eyeshadows, they lift/tone down each other in a complimenting way. MAC Brulé eyeshadow is my old time favourite satin highlight, it's almost matt but not in a flat way, it has a slight dimension to it which makes it a very credible and flattering brow bone highlighter.


Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Topshop Fur Heart Bag

Topshop Fur Heart Bag

Necklace: also Topshop, Mood Stone Choker

Being a mama means your handbag is no longer your fashion item, it is a necessity that is filled with baby stuff, diapers, bottles, dummies, snacks, bibs the list goes on... So it is quite refreshing to have a teeny-tiny little thing that belongs just to you and has nothing but your lipstick in it. Quite literally this is about what you can fit in, I also manage to squeeze my house keys, car keys and banking cards. iPhone 6 does not fit in. But I absolutely adore this sexy little burgundy fluffy heart. It brings a nice accent and a bit of colour to a wintery outfit.


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

John Frieda Frizz Ease Miraculous Recovery Deep Conditioner

I am currently having a bit of a hair dilemma. After years of highlights I had to step down because having a one year old baby means I no longer can sit for three hours in a hair salon looking like a satellite dish. So a couple of months ago I decided to have my hair bleached and just get the roots quickly done every month, [I am now rethinking that decision]. 

Bleached hair needs a lot of regular deep conditioning. Although I have a few expensive favourites I also like to have an affordable option that I can easily pick up when doing the groceries shopping. This hair masque would be great for any hair colour that needs to be rehydrated. When I used this John Frieda Miraculous Recovery for the first time I was blown away with the result. My hair looked as if it had a professional blow-dry, incredibly sleek and shiny. I don't remember last time my hair looked that healthy. Thumbs up! 


Friday, 2 December 2016

BaByliss Boutique Salon Ceramic Rollers

BaByliss Boutique Salon Ceramic Rollers

When it comes to hair, again mama doesn't have that much time. And when I am in the mood to dedicate a few minutes to hair styling then this is a trusty [new] friend that helps me out. If I have an extra 5-10 minutes before applying my make-up I quickly roll these ceramic rollers on and take them off when I finish with the make-up. I am not fond of a crispy curl, so the soft curls you get with these rollers are right up my alley. 

The rollers heat up really quickly as they are heated up from the centre as visible on the image above, this makes them the perfect temperature to work magic on those curls. What I also like about these rollers is that they are ceramic, which enables them to keep the heat for longer and the luxurious velvet coating makes the hair curl beautifully against the soft base of the roller. The velvet seems to help with making the hair shiny!

Another huge bonus is that the clips have a separate heat bar that gets them to the same temperature as the rollers and so the hair gets infused by the heat from both the inside and outside of the curl. The end result is a gorgeous soft curl/wave that looks modern and sophisticated. I have not used any hair products to achieve this look and kept the ceramic rollers on briefly, about 10-15 minutes. If you prefer more definition to the curl then keep the rollers on for longer and use adequate styling products to set the curls.

Also on a separate note. I ordered these BaByliss hot rollers from and along with a couple of free samples I also got a neat iPhone cover also for free! It was a great surprise as actually my old cover was all cracked up and needed urgent replacement. So thank you feelunique for being so generous, these little touches make ordering beauty products even more fun!


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Youth Boosting Perfect Skin Foundation SPF15

Shade: 5 Medium [pink tone]
       Wearing Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder Foundation in 5 Medium

As you may have discovered from reading my previous come-back post last year I became a mommy to my gorgeous son who has turned one year this month, time truly flies. Being a full-time mother has decreased my beauty indulgence time quite significantly and as I have only limited time to get ready these days this has been my go-to foundation in the past six months. So I decided what could be a better first beauty come-back blog than a luscious foundation.

First things first. Way before mommy days I have been a huge fan of Charlotte Tilbury beauty range. I particularly love her eyeshadow palette and the Rock'N'Kohl eyeliner. Charlotte Tilbury's beauty products are fail-proof to me and especially when I have very little time to get ready this Light Wonder foundation is the perfect option.

Texture-wise it's a light-weight foundation with a slight luminosity that creates a youthful glow on the skin. At the moment my skin is in desperate need of a good exfoliation routine, but even so you can see that the foundation sits very natural yet provides enough day-to-day coverage. A major plus point for me is that the foundation washes off very easily, which means washing the foundation brush takes hardly any time!

One thing I would advice on is that it seems the 5 Medium shade is the most popular hence it is actually sold out on the Charlotte Tilbury website, I might be wrong but I think that the sales people at the CT beauty counters seem to recommend this shade most to women with my complexion. When the CT beauty counter at Selfridges was first launched I went to check it out and was given the 7 Medium to try, and it was a perfect shade for me although I must say in the winter-days I do have to fake tan for it to look natural with the rest of the body. But the yellow-tone and the actual shade is incredibly flattering.

When I went to buy the foundation at Brent Cross CT beauty counter I was recommended 5 Medium by the salesgirl. I find that the Selfridges CT beauty counter has always the best salespeople that give you a great advice and a truly helpful, so if you need an advice this is the right place to get it! I explained that I need a yellow-tone and that this 5 Medium seems to have a pink base in it. She was convinced that 5 Medium is yellow-tone and that anything above would be way too dark for me. Having recently found those 7 Medium samples I actually regret listening to the salesgirl as the 7 Medium is a much better match for my complexion. Next time I will re-purchase this foundation it will definitely be the 7 Medium, it has that sexy St.Tropez tone which makes the rest of the make-up look even more beautiful.


Sunday, 20 November 2016

New Blogging Beginnings!

My lovely readers,

it's been a very long time since I have written a blog about the subject I love so much. In fact looking at the date of my last blog it's been exactly one year and eight months since my fingertips touched the keyboard to produce a piece of writing... I took a long break to concentrate on my personal life and now I am not only a wife but foremost a mother of a beautiful boy! It is interesting that the last time I wrote on my blog it was to feature Mother's Day gift ideas and now I am coming back as a mommy myself! Becoming a mother has been an incredible experience, which I feel very fortunate for.

Beauty has changed for me in so many ways, during the last year it sort of almost vanished from my life as I had absolutely no time to do my make-up or paint my nails every other day. But now my boy is one year old and I am managing to have some me-time and indulge in the beauty world and be girly again. My beauty routine has changed somewhat, I now tend to use only products that are on the top of my list. 

In addition to all of that over a month ago we have also moved out of London to live in a gorgeous countryside close to Cambridge. I am still in the process of decorating the house, which is another one of my big passions and we are loving our new life in our new home. It's been an incredible journey and having now accomplished all three parts of my life I want to return to blogging and hopefully filming beauty tutorials soon too. Currently I am setting up my vanity room which will double as a studio. But first things first, back to blogging! 

I'd like to thank all of you who have supported me through my blogging years on different social media platforms! I have missed blogging dearly and today as I put my baby boy down for a nap, looking outside of the window covered by rainy mist and seeing beautiful landscape of fields I decided it is time to come back. So lets toast to new blogging beginnings! 

Much Love,
Alyona X

Friday, 13 March 2015

Mother's Day Gift Idea: L'Occitane Almond Collection

Here is a slightly more lux Mother's Day gift idea. L'Occitane is a very safe choice when it comes to gifts, have you ever met someone who doesn't like L'Occitane?! Their skincare products are not only gorgeously scented but they also feel beautifully nourishing on the skin. This particular Almond Collections would be great as a Mother's day gift as the scent is very gentle and most moms are likely to love it! 

The Lighter Legs cream with Almond Tree Bud helps to relieve achy legs which is always a plus point for Mothers and Mothers-to-be, along with an almond milk hand cream which is pretty much a must-have all year around! The Tonic Body Oil is a bit of a special one, the powerful combination of Pink Pepper Oils and a cocktail of five essential oils: immortelle, palmarosa, mint, carrot, and cypress help the skin to look more refined and toned. It's a dry oil which doesn't stay greasy on the skin, while a micro exfoliating lemon extract makes the skin feel smoother and look firmer.