Originally published in My Early Hour Magazine

I interviewed the founder of Bravura London (a British brand that specialises in chemical exfoliators, as well as other skincare products such as cleansers, toners, moisturisers, serums, dermaflannel and tattoo aftercare) and mum-of-three, Amanda Elias about her morning routine, life in rural Wales, working around her daughters’ routines and why she set up a beauty company, selling skincare products…

February 2017

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Originally published in My Early Hour Magazine

“The greatest challenge when running your own business in the makeup industry is staying relevant,” says makeup artist Sadia Akhtar or IBESADIA. She entered the industry at 16, left to complete a law degree, and is now back, making “people feel beautiful”.

January 2017

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Written January 2016

For many women of black descent, relaxing your hair is considered a right of passage, a transition from childhood to adolescence or adulthood, from an unruly bed of hair to smooth, soft, free flowing silk. The underpinning rationale behind this supposedly joyous, momentous transformation shouldn’t be overlooked….

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4th April 2014

As the owner of combination/oily skin, it is such a nuisance trying to find products that hydrate the drier areas of my visage while tackling my troublesome T-zone area.

After reading a number of reviews, I decided to take the plunge and purchase Neutrogena’s Visibly Clear Pore & Shine Daily Wash in late September last year. It comes in a convenient pump format with a gorgeous fruity smell, my only wish is that the pump allowed more product to extrude through, you’ll need approximately four pumps to get an adequate amount which, in conjunction with its medium sized bottle, means it finishes quite quickly. Additionally, the consistency of the facial wash is quite watery which means it’s difficult to create lather. Psychologically, I’ve grown accustomed to products with a slightly more creamy consistency which give me that satisfactory squeaky clean feeling, but this does making rinsing an easier task. When I first bought the wash, I used it in the morning and evening with the expectation that I would have to wait for a considerable amount of time in order to see gratifying results – I was happy to be terribly mistaken. Neutrogena claim that “the formula removes 77% of excess sebum” while providing “a lasting matte effect without over-drying the skin.” They have certainly lived up to this expectation, I must say. My complexion had an instant matte appearance and friends and family noticed this too.

After washing my face, it can become incredibly dry due to the nature of my skin type and this is the perfect foundation for my skin to produce large amounts of sebum in an attempt to replenish my face which is where the problem lies. It’s imperative that combination/oily skin is at an equilibrium to avoid this. I highly recommend using the facial wash followed by Neutrogena’s Visibly Clear™ Oil-Free Moisturiser. It promises to “hydrate, smooth and even skin tone.” When it comes to hydration, it definitely does the job, squeeze approximately two to three pea sizes in the palm of your face and rub in between your palms before proceeding to massage your face. I strongly detest the feeling of heavy moisturisers, but this light creamy concoction ensures this is certainly not a cause for dilemma. My skin adores Neutrogena’s stroke of genius and absorbs it almost instantaneously. However, I do have one qualm, it takes quite a bit of effort to extract product when you’re half way through usage.

Although I am not entirely convinced that either product used in isolation could make such a gargantuan change, I have noticed a slight change in the clarity and smoothness of my skin which I attribute to the tangerine and lime extract. Lime and tangerine both have attributive elements; lime reduces the occurrences of acne and acts as an exfoliant which aids in the reduction of scarring while tangerine contains Vitamin A which rebuilds skin tissue. In addition, the presence of the salicylic acid removes skin cells on the upper layer of the skin, thus facilitating in the penetration of other products on the skin which explains why these products work so well together.

If you’re looking for long lasting control with a reasonable price tag, I urge you to try both of these products in combination for optimum results. I can guarantee you’ll be thanking me later.

Dry, scaly, calloused and rough – these are adjectives that rarely have positive bearings, especially when used in conjunction with the human anatomy.

In a survey conducted by AskMen.com, one woman revealed that male hands offer a series of revelations. I cannot disagree. The close examination of the appendage at the end of your arm used primarily for everyday activity may seem somewhat peculiar, but hands speak utter unspoken words and answer that have yet to be communicated – hygiene first and foremost, the manner in which he conveys his being to the wider public, marital status, his hobbies and occupation.

Another individual commented about the size, thickness and cleanliness of her other half’s hands, all of these attributes seemingly evoke serene thoughts of supreme masculinity, the mention of cleanliness seems to suggest that having well manicured, presentable hands needn’t strip away one’s overall manliness. We are very much in the age of open, celebrated metrosexuality, often associated with American presenter and TV producer Ryan Seacrest, which is a microcosm for our present generation; males of today are more interested in their general aesthetic. I’d like to think that we are past the confines of gender judgments. Fashion and appearances goes beyond the hemlines and seams of cashmere, tweed and silk, and delves into the finer, attributive details.

Male mitts are also seen as instruments of sexual pleasure with one woman admitting she enjoys emulating fellatio. Sexual preferences aside, it’s as a universal truth – women desire presentable hands.

The key to male hand care is within product choice, routine, patience, and continuation.

In order to choose the right product, it is imperative that you become familiar with the basic compounds within high-quality male skin products. Scour for products with lanolin which will strengthen and moisturise skin. Alpha hydroxyl acids as known as AHAs have exfoliating properties, aiding with the removal of dead skin cells and the appearance of smoother skin. The skin on our hands age more rapidly and the breakdown of collagen and elastin is more apparent, this breakdown allows wrinkles to form with ease. Free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules, produce UV light and pollution that destroys collagen, however, the presence of antioxidants helps to neutralise oxygen molecules thus keeping skin protected.

It is a well known fact that the human body consists predominantly of water; our skin requires 10-15% of this component to maintain hydration and prevent irritated, dry skin. The consumption of your eight glasses of day is essential. Additionally, the oil ducts on our hands are miniscule meaning that products with fatty oils, vitamin A and E are optimum to replenish lost oils and seal in moisture.

Moisturizers that contain ingredients such as oils help seal water into your skin, while ingredients such as glycerin or alpha-hydroxy acids attract moisture from the air to your skin. This is particularly quintessential during the colder months when the atmosphere, in combination with everyday tasks such as washing your hands, strips your skin of moisture. Invest in lotions with petroleum jelly and lanolin which will create a barrier between your skin and the impurities of the environment.