End of the Road.

Yes, hello, it’s me, that blogger everyone forgot existed and barely watched in the first place! Now, the title of this post is a tad extreme: the truth is, I’m not quitting blogging (as if my inactivity means quitting would be anything different at this stage, whoops), but instead I’m consolidating my two blogs together: that is, this one, and my Reconstructive Demonstrations one. It’s come to the point where I don’t feel like separating any parts of my personality from others now, so I feel no need to keep my beauty posts separate from anything else I want to blog about. The new space will really just be everything I want to blog about in the one place.

I was going to move all the posts from this blog across to the new one, but then I had a look and was surprised at the number of posts on here; more than I was expecting! So instead I’m just leaving this wee note to say that I’m jumping ship, and any future blogging will be done in the other space. Thanks to everyone who is currently following this blog; it has meant a lot to me that you would consider my space worth coming back to! If you’re still interested in my blogging journey, you can follow the new space, which has its own new name, at fluffyowlfeathersblog.wordpress.com.

Hopefully having everything in the one place will stop me feeling overwhelmed with the idea of having TWO blogs and TWO YouTube channels to keep up, and will mean that instead of freezing up and being completely inactive, I’ll have the get-up and go again and it will all feel a lot more manageable. But then I remember it’s me talking and my motivation has the tendency to depart from me more often than I’d like. We shall see!

Anyway, that’s it. Check out my new blog for a lot more variety and a bit of everything, and thank you for engaging with me at all. 🙂

Sascha x

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Cheap beauty?

So, if you haven’t gathered already from the contents of my haul videos on YouTube, I tend to have a small budget for things. It’s not really a habit I have deliberately, but I just can’t get past my frugal standards. This is something I’m going to talk about generally on my other blog, Reconstructive Demonstrations (and I’ll pop the link here when it’s uploaded), but here I’m going to focus on the beauty end of it.

I tend to buy cheaper versions of items first of all, as a test run, then if they’re absolutely no good, I upgrade to a slightly more expensive version. I never jump in to the £30 lipsticks and the £50 highlighters, because if I can get more bang for my buck with cheaper products, I will stick to them. I reckon, with certain things, it was probably cheaper in the end to begin with more expensive products rather than starting from rock bottom, but I will say that you won’t see me reaching for the Asda Smartprice shampoo, so I’m not that frugal!

An obvious pro: saving money, as just discussed. This is especially apparent for me when I’m clothes-shopping; yes, often there is a discernable increase in quality with more expensive clothing, but it’s very disproportionate when you’re talking £100+ on items that aren’t hiking boots, for example. When you’re talking tops, T-shirts, or leggings, there’s really not much need (for me, anyway) to immediately spend £50 on one, because the quality simply can’t increase fivefold from that of a £10 top; the quality increase does not reflect the increase in price, in general, if you ask me. I’m a pretty clumsy person, so I always run the risk of spilling stuff on my clothes, or catching or ripping them, and there’s no way I’m dropping a lot of money on something I know I might easily destroy in a matter of seconds. If you’re more upmarket with your purchases though, do your thing! There’s a good side to how you less thrifty folks do your shopping!

The biggest disadvantage: apart from sometimes having to go through five different shampoo types till you find the formula that works for you? Sometimes I settle for products; if there’s a better version out there that is outwith my budget, I generally don’t give in to my demons and purchase it, but rather live with what I’ve got. It’s ridiculous sometimes, when I have that block that says “oh, you can’t possibly spend more than £5 on a good skincare product; you just don’t have the money!” because 1) good skincare is the one thing I recommend investing in, if you have more problematic skin; chances are the cheaper stuff isn’t going to be as effective for you, and 2) I do have enough money to do that, happily. But I just can’t bring myself to do it sometimes! This has improved now that I’ve generally got a bit more money than I used to – my default maximum price I’d pay for things is increasing for most items, whilst still not becoming sky high.

I suppose it’s just trying to break out of that lifetime habit of having to watch my pennies – all my life I’ve been content without having to buy into the designer and high-end products, so I tend to want to retain that attitude, but I know I can relax it a bit and my wallet will still be grateful. It means I won’t have to deal with lipstick that fades quickly, dry shampoo that doesn’t do its job properly; I won’t have to forgo eyeshadow simply because what I buy is not long-lasting enough for my oily eyelids. I’m not going to start buying high-end products, because it’s really not ‘me’ to spend so much on one product, but there’s no harm in spending a bit more to get something that really works for me.

Now I’ve just got to tell myself that!

What about you? Do you have too low a budget to get the beauty products your heart truly desires? Do you think being cheap isn’t effective in the long run? Or do you think it’s ridiculous to scoff at the idea of a £30 lipstick if it’s a really great product? Let me know your spending habits!

Until next time,
Sascha x

Dry Shampoo Review.

Since my last post which discussed different shampoos I’ve been using recently, my hair condition has improved massively. I can’t pinpoint what’s helped it so much, whether it’s the products I’m using or my diet or the weather, but I’m certainly not complaining about it! Because I still don’t wash my hair every day or even every second day (it’s currently every third day, which is working very well with my newly improved hair), on the third and sometimes the second day, I need some dry shampoo just to spruce my roots up a bit. I’ve been using a combination of two dry shampoos, depending on how much my hair needs it, and I thought I would discuss how I’ve found them, and the pros and cons of each.

(excuse my poor photo here!)

First up is the popular Batiste. I have the cherry one which is for all hair types. The price is £2.99 for a 200ml bottle, and you can buy it from Boots and Superdrug. Quite often you can pick up a deal on them as well, and there are many types to choose from, from a variety of different scents to choosing the most suitable type for your hair color and type. It lasts a really long time, even if you use it on your roots most days.

The biggest pro of Batiste? It actually works very well! Lacklustre roots are immediately more clean-looking and less greasy, and the volume is boosted as well. A little goes a long way with this product, and second-day hair is easily fixed without the need for emergency hairdos. The thing I find most frustrating about this product though is that it applies as a very opaque white powder if sprayed on too close to the hair. The downside to this is that you have to choose between being more accurate with where you’re spraying and how long you want to spend getting rid of the ‘it snowed on my head’ look. But before dry shampoo I used to use talc for the same purpose, so it’s a problem I’m well versed in – all it takes is some brushing and rubbing to get rid of the white areas.

 The other product I’ve been using gets its strength from the fact that it doesn’t have the white powder problem. The TreSemmé InstantRefresh Dry Shampoo is a bit more expensive than Batiste, costing £5.25 at Boots for the same 200ml size of bottle and slightly cheaper at Superdrug at £4.79. I have the one for normal to oily hair. As I mentioned, the biggest pro to using this dry shampoo is that you don’t really ever have the white powder in your hair, regardless of how close you spray it. It can happen very sparsely, but then, you’re spraying a powder-type product into your hair at close proximity, so it’s inevitable sometimes. Still, it’s a great advantage for when you’re in a hurry and need to very quickly spruce your hair up without having to stop and deal with the fallout.

 

However, I find this product, despite its higher price tag, doesn’t work quite so well as the Batiste. It’s good for when you don’t need a whole lot of improvement, if your hair’s just looking a little limp but not altogether oily, but when you need a more effective result, Batiste will be your best friend. I like having both products to hand for when things are pretty grim – I use Batiste liberally and then use the TreSemmé in little spritzes afterwards to keep everything looking healthy. The TreSemmé adds a shine that the Batiste doesn’t – it doesn’t put a greasy look back into your hair, but since the Batiste can make hair look quite shineless when you’re done with it, it’s nice to be able to add something extra at the end.

 All in all, the Batiste is the winner for me. I’ll be trying different types and scents to see if they will have a different effect. I’m not sure I’ll be repurchasing the TreSemmé unless I find it on sale, but instead I intend to try a few different backups to Batiste to experiment without being left high and dry on bad hair days!

 Do you use dry shampoo? Which products have you been loving to spruce up your limp hair? Any particular recommendations?

Until next time,
Sascha x

 

The End of the Unintended Hiatus.

Hi, guys; I definitely did not intend on taking a few months’ absence from this blog, but that’s exactly what happened. I probably mentioned my job at some point, and that was very stressful at first trying to manage my time around it, but frankly, for a while now, there’s been no excuse: I’ve just been lazy! I lapsed out of the habit of blogging and filming for YouTube, so it seemed like a big effort to go back. But I missed it, and hadn’t deliberately ‘quit’ or anything, so watch this space for me finally getting up off my ass and doing some new videos and content for you!

I have truckloads of plans for the YouTube channels; that’s probably the most infuriating bit. I’ve sat on tons on ideas and haven’t done anything with them; Major Procrastinator Extraordinaire, me. But I’m trying this thing where I don’t just say I’m going to stop being lazy and unproductive – I’m trying to fully effect a lifestyle change, so that it’s more permanent than on-and-off whims. So hopefully in the near future things will get moving along nicely again!

I’ve got a few reviews I should be writing soon, plus my very first ’empties’ video to film, and loads of collections to share with you, including the third part of my shoe collection videos that I very inconveniently haven’t done yet! I know I’m not exactly leaving a gaggle of fans hanging while they await my next video and/or post, but I have felt bad for it, partially because it also says a lot of bad things about my personal commitment to the channels and blogs.

But rest assured, I’m coming back to things, and I don’t intend on taking more months away – and if I do, I’ll be sure to inform everyone in advance! Look out for some new content over the next few weeks, while I work myself into a bit more of a routine (I’m not sure if I’m going to designate ‘filming’ days, since my shifts at work differ every week). Starting up again in winter is an especial challenge, since it gets dark very early, so I’ll know for sure I’m committed if I get things up and running again!

Thank you for all the support I’m currently receiving from you guys – I really appreciate it, since we’ve just been through how I’m not the most reliable blogger! I think I’ll be creating a Tumblr for the channels and blogs altogether, but more on that in a later post. I’ll quit my rambling now 😉

Until next time, and thanks again,

Sascha x

Shampoo Review.

Over the past few months, I’ve tried out a few different shampoos and conditioners in a bid to find something that will work for my very oily-prone hair that doesn’t seem to want to appear very nice, shiny, or healthy, even on the day it’s washed. I have a few problems that I have to keep in mind when choosing shampoos – for example, despite the oil, I rather unpleasantly also have a dry scalp and lots of flaking – and I try to follow all the tips I read about having greasy or prone-to-grease hair (not washing with hot water, not using a towel for a prolonged time while drying, leave to air dry, don’t keep the product on the hair for a long time… the list goes on!), but I don’t find them very successful for me and my hair, so I’ve been trying to find a product I really love to keep these problems in check. Here’s a quick review of some of the latest products I’ve been trying.

For a couple of months, I used the Alberto Balsam Herbal Shampoo in Tea Tree Tingle shampoo and conditioner (both 400ml). I’ve been a fan of the brand for years (I usually use the Green Apple version for hair prone to oiliness, but was finding it lacklustre recently) but this was my first time trying these specific products. The website describes the products as such: “Alberto Balsam Herbal Shampoo Tea Tree Tingle is perfect for when your hair needs a bit of extra nourishment, this tea tree shampoo gently cleanses to energise and replenish moisture, leaving your hair looking and feeling fabulous.”

An additional benefit is for the scalp, which the website doesn’t mention at all – the primary reason I chose this product of all those in the range was the fact that it advertises itself for “healthy hair and scalp”. Because of the dryness on my scalp, the skin can become tight, sore, and flaky very quickly.

I found that the shampoo did soothe my scalp a lot, thanks to the tea tree, but be careful you don’t get it in your eyes – it does more than ‘tingle’! It helped reduce the dryness and flakiness of my scalp immediately, but the effects don’t last quite as long as I would have liked and after a few months, there was virtually no effect at all – I don’t know whether the whole ‘desensitization’ of hair to using the same products has any basis in truth, but I found with this product, and some other shampoos in the past, that the overall effect on my hair definitely became less and less as time went on.

The conditioner was not very good at detangling my hair, but the combination of both products definitely worked wonders for the overall condition of my hair. I’ve found that with some shampoos, my hair can be oily the next day or even the same day I wash my hair, but these products drastically reduced the oiliness of my hair – I had nice, clean hair that was able to be worn down for two days usually. My hair felt light and unburdened for most of the time I was using them, and I found that the color of my hair was a lot brighter too.

The 400ml bottles are only £1 each. In Scotland, and I think the UK, you can buy them in most supermarkets and drugstores. I know some people have reservations about cheap shampoos, but Alberto Balsam themselves claim (note I’m not a complete sucker for choice words in advertising, by the way) that “[a]s with all Alberto Balsam products Alberto Balsam Herbal Shampoo Tea Tree Tingle uses ingredients common to much more expensive products and leaves your hair with a firm natural scent; perfect for when you need to exude awareness”, and I am frankly too frugal to have disregarded them before giving them a try. The packaging of the bottles doesn’t scream ‘cheap’, the products have lovely rich smells, and they did their job (for a while). I was definitely pleased.

As I found the effects of the Alberto Balsam to be ‘wearing off’, so to speak, I decided to move on to a different shampoo; this time I selected Timotei Pure, an organic green tea shampoo (250ml) and conditioner (200ml) that have 0% silicones, 0% parabens, and 0% colorants – all the ingredients that it is apparently good to avoid putting on your hair. You can buy them in Superdrug for £2.99 each. The packaging is also 100% recyclable – a nice bonus! Now, I feel it’s almost unfair to give these products a review, as I did only use them once, and I was heavily disappointed in the result – BUT, a few factors mean that I am not ready to put this in the bin quite yet! Since my hair’s a bit unpredictable in terms of how lank and limp and greasy it’s going to look after washing, depending on what I do at each step – how much product I use, how hot the water, how long I leave it to air dry, everything mentioned earlier – I think a few of these spoiled the overall result. I intend on giving them another run, though I have been hesitant because I haven’t wanted to have to deal with limp hair any more often than I should! I’ll give a full, proper review when the time comes, but it’s safe to say I wasn’t exactly impressed with these.

The last product of this review, and the one I am most impressed and happy with, is perhaps surprisingly a Head and Shoulders product. Perhaps unsurprising when you take into account my dry scalp, but of course I have to be the weird person whose hair seems to dislike the organic products! I’ve used Head and Shoulders in the past – it’s often been my brand of choice – and when I saw that they’d released a version that is specifically “for greasy hair that needs some conditioning”, I jumped at it! A problem I’ve had in the past, through my own fault, is avoiding conditioner entirely, thinking it bad form to put moisture back into my oily hair, but of course, all that means is that my natural oils are stripped out, and the scalp and hair become starved, so overcompensate by producing too much oil to counter that. So to use a product designed for hair that needs some, though not intensive, conditioning seemed perfect for me. I use the ‘2 in 1’ version (you can buy this in Boots, Asda, or Tesco for £4.99 for a large 450ml bottle).

Packaging is average – I don’t think we expect elegant or particularly appealing designs from this brand. The product has a citrus scent, which falls on more of the pineapple end than the lemon that I usually find citrus scents smell of. It’s not an overbearing scent, and it doesn’t linger for too long a time. What I found with this product is that I can use quite a lot of it on my hair (usually using too much means my hair is overloaded, since it’s a fine texture) and it stays lightweight, shiny, soft, and not appearing greasy or limp. Result! The best combination for me is using this product and then blow-drying my hair, after using some heat protectant, of course! (Air-drying my hair adds to the ‘limp’ appearance.) I’ve been loving this product, and now that the bottle’s almost empty, I’m definitely intending to repurchase this. I can only hope that my hair doesn’t become ‘accustomed’ to it too much, because I’m glad I’ve found a product that, combined with the blow-dryer, will not fail me, which for me is no small feat!

I know many people are not very impressed by the Head and Shoulders brand, especially because of the presence of SLS and other things, but I’m fairly impressed because it works for my hair. What more could I want? 🙂

What shampoos have you been trying out recently? Have you tried these products in particular? What did you think of them – do you agree or disagree with my thoughts?

Until next time,
Sascha x

A tale of shopping and clumsiness.

I tend to film for both of my YouTube channels in one sitting if I have time to film more than a single video, and here are the latest pair: a very quick shopping haul and a discussion of accidents I had in my childhood. Not the most complementary pair, perhaps, but there you are!

First of all, the haul, to which there isn’t anything further to add:

And the chatty video:

I’m quite naturally clumsy – I can’t remember if I mentioned it in the video or not, but my childhood nickname in my family was Butterfingers! Even now I find myself sometimes poorly co-ordinated and holding/doing stuff in the weirdest of ways; maybe being left-handed has something to do with it? I was left a teensy bit underwhelmed when I realized my major accidents tailed off around the age of 12, but I can assure you I do stupid little things almost every day! I’m not the most graceful in movements 😛

Are you a clumsy person? Is it something you have never experienced or simply grew out of? A big thank you for reading and watching, and until next time,

Sascha x

Lupus Awareness Month.

I’ve noticed, especially since the beginning of this year, when my twin brother received the dreaded diagnosis of lupus, that there’s a lot of ignorance about the disease – indeed, a few years ago I didn’t really know what it was either. It doesn’t get much coverage except amongst support groups, which makes it a big problem when you suffer from lupus and your friends and family don’t really have a clue. It’s a lot of work to repeatedly explain to people what lupus even is, let alone explain the effects on everyday life, and I think there’s a lot of room, and opportunity, to spread awareness of lupus, so that the next time you mention it to someone, the answer isn’t simply “what’s that?”

(I apologize in advance for the parts of the video where the audio doesn’t quite match up with the video!)
Since I’m posting up a video, I don’t want to simply regurgitate what’s in there, but I’ll write for those who don’t want to undertake the watching of a nearly twenty-minute video of me rambling without a plan (and I don’t blame you either!). May is Lupus Awareness Month. Maybe the order of the items I discussed in the video is a testament to just how much awareness is needed; I found I couldn’t be satisfied talking about my plans to support charities such as Lupus UK without going into what lupus is and what it does. Because Joe Average really doesn’t have a clue. And it’s not your fault if you don’t.

In fact, what we call ‘lupus’ is actually a specific form of it: Systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE. (You can read about SLE in particular here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systemic_lupus_erythematosus, or about the different types of lupus here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lupus_erythematosus. These links are quite scientifically inclined, but the NHS site – http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Lupus/Pages/Introduction.aspx is a very good simple introduction for those who don’t understand it at all.) Put simply: with lupus, the immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells as if they were pathogens. It can affect every organ and tissue in the body, especially the kidneys. Most lupus-related deaths involve the kidneys failing. (Something I’ve kept in my mind; I view donating my kidney to my brother in the event that we’re a match as a very likely possibility.) The hallmark of the disease is essentially pain; it’s everyday and relentless, though many sufferers have flares and remission periods. Everyday activity can be affected; in the case of my brother, he can’t work, walk far, or even get of bed some days.

The worst thing about lupus, perhaps, is that there’s NO CURE. Once you’ve got lupus, you’ve got it for life. In fact, something I view as worse than that, is that it tends to progress throughout life; it gets worse as you age. In fact, someone who has had lupus for 20 years has a 1 in 4 chance of dying of it. My brother will have a 25% chance of dying by the time he’s in his forties, and that’s ignoring the risks and probabilities related to everything else: lifestyle, diet, habits, etc. The mortality risk is fivefold compared to ‘normal’ people when sufferers are in their 60s, and, according to the Wikipedia article, the leading cause of death is actually the consequences of corticosteroid therapy – the drugs used to help. It might not sound like a lot, but to know you have something inside you ravaging at your body every single day that will get a lot worse and eventually most likely kill you, well, that isn’t good news.

Some lupus sufferers, and indeed those suffering from other chronic and/or autoimmune conditions, have said they wish they had cancer instead. It’s not to be dismissive of the suffering and fatality of cancer, but to wistfully think about the chance of a cure. My brother had a leukaemia scare in the initial stages – it’s now been over eight years – and often he wonders why it couldn’t have just been leukaemia and not lupus. It’s a strong wish and something that really drives home how awful living with lupus can really be.

Luckily, there are online support groups that can really help lupus sufferers feel less alone: Lupus and Me (www.facebook.com/LupusAndMe), for example, welcomes people from all walks of life to share their stories and support each other. Suddenly you realize those pins and needles you’ve been getting aren’t just you; you’re not alone in all the little weird things you didn’t realize were typical of lupus. You can ask questions and not feel like an idiot. Often, family and friends need support too, and I’m pretty certain support groups like Lupus and Me are happy to help with any queries about being a good supporter and help for your friend. It’s not only the one with lupus who is affected.

All that and more are discussed in the video! Do feel free to ask any questions you may have, and I, or my brother, will be happy to answer them! May is Lupus Awareness Month, so become aware! Banish the days where you’ll ask “what’s lupus?” It affects around only 20 to 150 cases per 100000, but to any one sufferer, the stats almost don’t matter – their whole life is still affected regardless of how many are affected beside them. Remember the universality of the disease within the body, so that you don’t end up like the ignorant people who simply refuse to believe someone with lupus must be exaggerating when they list their symptoms and ailments. Remember there’s no cure. Remember the lifelong struggle. Remember lupus.

Visit the Lupus UK site here: http://www.lupusuk.org.uk
or leave any comments or questions below or in the comment section on YouTube.