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Pretty perfect

The party season is nearly upon us, so how can you get great party hair, nails, cosmetics and pampering – without the nasties?

I want party hair

Rebecca Goodyear is a blogger at biteablebeauty.com: “Coming in from the cold and into overly warm centrally heated buildings can cause hair to become frizzy. To help combat this, use a treatment once or twice a week. You can make one at home with nourishing oils such as jojoba, coconut, avocado, and butters such as shea and cocoa. When it comes to the party season, I will use heat styling when I am going to an event, but I will always ensure I use a styling product that also protects my hair.”

Niamh Larkin is a beauty specialist at Evergreen healthfoods: “With the party season just around the corner, now is a great time to start prepping your locks for flawless party hair. A weekly hair mask can make such a difference to condition and manageability. Ready-made masks come in all sizes and price ranges, or if you’re feeling adventurous why not get creative and make your own. Base ingredients like coconut, argan and castor oils make a great starting point, and after that the world is your oyster. Different essential oils can be added for different needs e.g. rosemary for hair growth, chamomile for blondes and rose oil for dry hair. Hair styling products (sprays, mousses, creams, serums, waxes and oils) are all available chemical-free, so now there’s no need to weigh your hair down with toxic ingredients.”

I want fabulous nails

“For brittle or weak nails, soaking them in a bowl of warm coconut or olive oil for 20 minutes three times a week can really help to strengthen them,” says Niamh Larkin. “If you love a bit of colour on your nails but don’t fancy the chemical overload, there are a few brands of natural nail polishes available which leave out some of the nastier ingredients such as formaldehyde, camphor, toluene and phthalates. Most health stores sell a decent selection of hair, skin and nail supplements if you feel your nails need some internal conditioning.”

“Giving yourself an at-home manicure can be easy,” says Rebecca Goodyear.

  • Firstly, remove any nail polish that is currently on your nails, using a natural remover.
  • Soak your hands to soften cuticles and make it easier to remove any hard skin or to push back your cuticles.
  • Clip, file and buff your nails. Buffing helps ensure a good smooth surface.
  • Use a facial exfoliator to treat your hands. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry, before applying your favourite moisturiser. Leave to soak in.
  • Apply the nail polish base coat. Non-toxic base coats tend to take 2-3 minutes to dry.
  • Apply the first layer of colour nail polish. Don’t apply too much in one go. Use three strokes - one up the middle, one to the left and one to the right then fill in the gaps around the edges.
  • Follow up with a second coat and finally the top coat. Try not to touch anything for an hour to ensure no smudging!

I want gorgeous make-up

“The colour, staying power and quality of finish of natural and organic make-up has improved dramatically in recent years,” says Rebecca Goodyear. “My favourite look of the moment is berry stained lips and smokey eyes. To create the berry stained lip apply a lip primer, or use a face cream as a lip primer. Once set, apply a pinky coloured lipstick all over. Then once dry take a berry coloured lip gloss or lip tint and apply to the centre of your upper and lower lip. To make more of a night-time look, I switch the pink lipstick for a deep blackberry lipstick and then layer an even deeper lip gloss over the top.”

Party Preparation

According to Virginie Vuillaume of V Claire Natural Cosmetics you should give a minimum of one week to turn your skin around from tired and dull to smooth and radiant when preparing for the party season.

Your skin prep will reflect on the radiance of your make-up look.

1 Cleanse every night with a gentle cleansing milk – avoid soaps, wipes and foaming gels as these are too harsh.

2 Exfoliate once or twice during the week with a gentle exfoliator. Avoid aggressive scrubs, they can irritate and make your skin red.

3 Apply a mask or serum straight after the exfoliation to improve the brightness.

4 Finally, moisturise and a good night’s sleep and plenty of water will definitely help.

I want natural pampering

“If you’re going to have a bubble bath, sure you may as well make a night of it,” says Niamh Larkin. “Natural face masks, foot creams, hand and body lotions and balms all make for a lovely evening of pampering – finish the night off with a relaxing massage and you’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep.”

“As with all experiences to indulge the mind and senses, ambience is key,” says Rebecca Goodyear. “Take time to make a relaxing environment in your own home. If you’re taking a bath, try scattering rose petals or small flowers in it, and light some scented aromatherapy candles. You may also wish to use an essential oil burner to intensify the fragrance. A large, comfortable organic cotton towelling robe and a pair of slippers are the finishing touches, and perhaps a glass of wine.”

10 ways to fabulous party skin

1 Drink 1.5 litres of water a day to keep your skin hydrated.

2 Try a cup of hot water with a slice of lemon in the morning.

3 Use moisturisers with a medium to high water content.

4 Exfoliate your skin twice a week to remove dead skin cells.

5 Avoid any products that irritate or strip your skin of moisture.

6 Use natural products with ingredients such as sunflower, blackcurrant and grapeseed oils to help maintain skin’s moisture.

7 Go for tepid rather than hot showers.

8 Take iron, folic acid, vitamins B12 and C to help maintain a fresh complexion.

9 Keep your skin elastic with zinc and amino acids.

10 Take omega-3 and beta-carotene to help prevent your skin becoming tight and red during the winter.

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