Male hand care

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, 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.

5 Make Up Trends – AW14

5 Make Up Trends Autumn/Winter 

1) Statement eyeliner – Picture the perfect combination of Arabian eyeliner with Rita Ora’s daring look at the GQ Awards 2013 – this is the recipe for success.

2) Dewy – Celebrities such as Nicole Scherzinger and Kourtney Kardashian have showcased their bare faced looks on Instagram, this year is set to be the celebration of natural beauty. Swap your heavy foundation and concealer for BB cream and moisturising lip balm with a slight colour tint.

3) Bright lips – Winter is that time of the year in which we dread the dreary, dark mornings, battering weather and long for Christmas to come. Dare to be different and pair a bright lip with smokey, smouldering eyes.

4) Iridescence – Think metallic eyeliners and eye shadows – cool blues, sparkling silvers and glorious golds with a touch of bronze which are well suited to the Christmas/New Year party season and will ensure that all eyes are on you.

5) The reign of the red lip has captivated the fashion world and its faithful followers. This year will be the reign of the dark lip – purples, burgundy, deeper reds and browns.

7 Hairstyles You Can Do At Home

Originally published on Afronoire – 21st February 2014

1) Braid out/two strand twist – This is great for natural ladies as well as those who are relaxed/texlaxed who want to recreate their pre-relaxer locks. Start with dry or damp hair, if your hair is damp, apply a leave in conditioner. Section hair into four and use a curl defining hair crème with a dap of gel and work through each section of your hair. Decide how you wish to part your hair and use this as your guideline for the formation of your braids/twists, remember, the smaller the plait, the more defined the curl. Cornrow your hair using two strands of hair for a twist and three strands for a plait. This will ensure your roots aren’t straight and blend in with the overall hair aesthetic. Use small rollers or flexi rods at the ends of your hair to ensure they’re curly too. Brush any fly away hair down and wrap in a satin bonnet to ensure any pesky baby hair will be cooperative the following day. When it comes to unravelling, apply a drop of oil to finger tips and unravel carefully to avoid disturbing the curl pattern that’s been formed. Finger comb to disguise the hair section made the previous day until you achieve your desired look. Apply a couple of drops of oil to your palm and distribute evenly to your whole head for a glossy finish.

2) Roller set – What woman doesn’t want fresh out of the salon looking cheveux at the fraction of the price? Start with damp hair, detangle with a wide toothed comb and apply leave in condition, mousse for added volume. Due to the porous nature of afro textured hair, adding a couple of drops of jojoba, cocout or Argan oil is essential for extra moisture. Decide where you’d like your parting as this will be the guideline for your rollers, however, do not work in systematic rows to avoid these sections being prominent once you’ve dried and styled hair. Use a rat tail comb, section hair and comb hair light

ly before placing hair onto the ends of hair, rolling towards to the root while simultaneously keeping the hair as taut as possible. Bear in mind that the bigger the roller, the bigger the curls. If you worry about shrinkage, use bigger rollers at the nape of the neck for a looser curl. Once you get to the temple area of your head, put rollers on horizontally for added volume and allow to air dry or use indirect heat via a hooded dryer. Once dry, apply a few drops of a light oil to scalp and hair and brush gently for bouncy curls. Top Tip – if you allow hair to be about 60 to 75% dry before applying rollers, this gives even more volume to your hair.

3) Pineapple bun – this hairstyle is quick and can be achieved in under ten minutes and can be achieved on freshly washed or five day old hair. Brush all hair to the temple of your head and tie with a hair band, then, split ponytail into two and form the desired shape by pushing your hair forward and securing it with a butterfly hairclip. Use ORS edge control to complete sleek look.

4) Diffused curls – The perfect curly defining tool for natural girls. Start with damp hair and use a cotton t-shirt to soak up excess moisture while simultaneously reducing frizz and damage. This will also prevent product from clinging to water molecules as opposed to hair. Part hair into four sections and apply leave-in conditioner, fingering combing to ensure that product is evenly distributed from root to tip, we recommend AFRICA’S BEST ORGANICS Kids Shea Butter Detangling Moisturizing Hair Lotion and follow up with a leave in conditioner such as Cantu shea butter. Allow hair to be about 45% dry before using your diffuser, scrunching gently simultaneously to aid in curl formation.

5) Janelle Monaé inspired pompadour – This works best on stretched or blown out hair – the bigger the better! Brush all of your hair to the temple of your head and secure with a hair band. Begin to roll the hair inwards to form a C’ shape pompadour and secure with bobby pins, if done correctly they will remain unseen. Sleek down edges with an alcohol free gel such as Eco Styler’s Olive gel.

6) Side swept – Get instant Hollywood glamour in only five minutes. Begin with hair that has been set with rollers or flexi rods. Comb your hair to the opposite side of how your hair falls for added volume at the roots before securing hair in place discreetly by using bobby pins that match your hair colour.

7) Flexi rods – This effortless hairstyle is suitable for the various hair textures of ladies of colour, whether you want Tracee Ellis Ross’ bouncy curls or a wavier variation and it doesn’t require heat. Start with damp hair and apply a water based moisturiser before sectioning hair and rolling ontoflexi rods vertically from root to tip, keeping hair taut and securing in place with a knot once you get to the root. Repeat this step until all of your hair is in flexi rods. Cover in a satin scarf to protect hair from breakage while maintaining sleek edges and allow to air dry overnight. Rub a drop of coconut oil (which penetrates the hair shaft for extra moisture) between fingers and unravel gently, the oil will help to reduce frizz. Finger comb delicately until you reach your desired look. Finish off by adding a few drops of coconut oil in your palm, rubbing together and applying to your head to prevent the evaporation of the water based moisturiser and to add shine.

Danger of acrylics

13th October 2013

As a nail biter since my days of cherubic innocence, when I reached my later teenager years, I found myself partial to acrylic nails as a solution to my terrible habit. I’m a pioneer of the idea that your outfit isn’t complete without gorgeous nails, and when it came to important occasions, I refused to fall short. The problem with acrylic nails is they are time consuming, from waiting to be seen to fortnightly infills. I wasn’t aware of the extent of damage that was being inflicted onto my nails and general health although after the removal of the acrylic nails, I was left with soft, brittle nails in the name of gorgeous nails. The most aggravating factor was the fact that when I allowed my nails to grow, it proved that the money I had spent on acrylics was unnecessary.

The chemicals used to apply the artificial nails are known to cause cancer and can cause complete nail loss if frequently used for a long period of time. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have bitten nails than none at all. The drill used before the application of the nail removes layers of your nail plate resulting in weaker nails prone to infection.

For those who bravely pull the acrylic from the nail, the pain that is experienced is a telltale sign that you are doing more damage than you think. The strong between the artificial and real nail means that when you rip the nail off, the natural nail is stripped off its natural oils resulting in damaged, dry nails. If the acrylic isn’t adhered in the correct manner, this can lead to nail breakage, infection or complete loss of the natural nail.

Allergic reactions – inflammation and thinning of nail bed healing can last more than 12 months

Some nail salons use MMA (Methyl Methacrylate) which was originally used for use in the dental and orthopaedic industries but not to come into contact with skin or nails and only to be used by trained technicians in a laboratory environment. It can tear the nail from the bed easily and is very difficult to remove and must be soaked in acetone for a long period of time. A manicurist should always protect the natural nail whatever the circumstance. Additionally, it can cause permanent loss of sensations in finger tips, deformities and respiratory problems. The FDA classifies the substance as a “poisonous and deleterious.”

Go to a reputable salon and avoid cheap offers (as a university student I know how hard that can be) look at the products being used, are they unlabelled?

Now that I’ve steered you away from acrylic nails.. the most important thing to do is to look after your natural nails. I suggest investing in a quality nail hardener – I love Sally Hansen’s range.

Kickin’ Keratosis Pilaris

Originally published in MACs Magazine – 7th October 2013

Kickin’ Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis Pilaris is a non-contagious genetic skin condition that occurs on the upper arms, buttocks, front of thighs, forearms and upper back, in rare cases it can appear on eyebrows, face, scalp or on the entire body surface. It affects 50 to 80% of adolescents, 40% of children and the likelihood of development is increased within those of Celtic origin. It is often associated with dry skin conditions such as eczema and scaling of the skin (Ichthyosis).

Keratin is usually attributed to luscious locks, a glowing complexion and healthy nails, however, within sufferers, the protein that is found on the outer layer of skin becomes superfluous causing skin to thicken. The keratin blocks the opening of hair follicles thus forming a scaly plug on the surface of the skin. Additionally, when the hair shaft cannot penetrate through the hair follicle, this also said to cause Keratosis Pilaris. Its bumpy appearance is often diminutively referred to as chicken skin and can be rather bothersome for sufferers.

The hereditary disease is thought to develop during childhood and worsen throughout adolescence. It often improves and disappears during adulthood and is extremely uncommon within the elderly community.

As mentioned previously, the skin condition is associated with dry skin conditions, during the cooler months when skin tends to become much drier, the follicular condition becomes aggravated. In order to combat KP, it is essential that you exfoliate and moisturise. Exfoliation has been pioneered as one of the number one processes for the improvement of skin aesthetic as it aids in unclogging pores. Invest in a granulated scrub and make sure that you pay special attention to affected areas, working in circular motions. Remember that you cannot scrub the bumps away as the problems lies beneath the skin’s surface; you’re simply removing excess epidermal cells. Our MACs salons offer a skin exfoliant service which digests the protein of dead skin cells, stimulating skin renewal. Call 0207 7328 9777 for pricing and more information.

If manual labour isn’t your forte, glycolic acid is one of many chemical alternatives of exfoliation. It’s available at an optimum pH in body lotions and shower gels. Products containing salicylic acid and beta hydroxyl acid are highly recommended as they dislodge the keratin plug from hair follicles and are great for those with inflamed bumps – salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory properties. In terms of moisturising, coconut oil (and many other oils) has a number of great qualities and its lubricating effect on the skin is one of them, apply as frequently as required to maintain suppleness. Avoid using bar soaps as they dry out the skin and contain pore clogging ingredients which makes matters worse, opt for shower gel or soaps with moisturising properties such as added oils. This may require some trial and error in order to find the product that best suits your skin’s needs.

Remember that the key to conquering Keratosis Pilaris is through up keeping maintenance. Although it may be incurable, it doesn’t have to take over your life or your wardrobe choices for that matter. There’s no reason why you can’t have enviably smooth skin.