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Wow it’s Sunday already! Almost the end of my holidays… 😦 The good news: it’s time to share a beautiful story‘s first guest post!

What follows is from Canadian blogger Jake Sauvage. If you would like to read more from Jake check out his blog at http://gimmejakesauvage.com, which features both text and video posts, and includes DIY health and beauty tips! He knows his stuff; he’s a qualified makeup artist and is expanding his skills further into hairdressing, having just started professional studies in this field.

Jake and I hope that you enjoy this post. We welcome your thoughts via Comments and/or a rating (the latter if you have a WordPress profile!)! 🙂

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The men’s grooming market is growing exponentially with each passing year, but it’s not only skin care guys are starting to worry about…but makeup too! Well…a little bit. Right now it’s just bronzers, tinted moisturizers and lip balms (anymore and they’ll be fighting with their girlfriends over products in the bathroom every morning, right?)…but I’m so glad men are starting to transition into the idea that healthy, radiant looking skin also equals a good looking man (and more girl action). Today we’re going to get into a few of the products I recommend if you’re just starting to get familiar with the idea of men’s makeup…but don’t worry, I’ll take it slow.

Smashbox  Sheer  Focus Tinted Moisturizer

image: kissandmakeup.blog.ca

An oil, paraben  and fragrance-free moisturizer, this is one of the very first things you’ll want to invest in. This lightweight, sheer color moisturizer provides superior hydration and antiaging benefits (from vitamins C, E and peptides), as well as a UVA/UVB SPF of 15. The color is sheer, meaning it’ll be practically see-through and help to mask any redness or imperfections you may have…while only looking like a second skin. You won’t look like you’re wearing makeup at all, in fact you’ll just look like a better-skinned version of yourself! At $30 this is a great investment because it covers quite a few bases (moisturizer, antiaging and complexion enhancing) and with only a handful of global shades, you won’t need to be a master of makeup to find the shade that suits you!

Clinique Non-Streak Gel Bronzer

image: instyle.com

In my experience, I find that a lot of guys seeking to enhance their complexions are looking to get the look of beautifully tanned skin…but aren’t comfortable with the idea of wearing a powder and using a big fluffy brush. This works well because it creates a believable tan and comes in a gel formula, making it easier to apply. It’s also not a self-tanner either, so it easily washes off with soap in water (just in case you make a mistake). Now, two things you’ll want to keep in mind when trying to create a natural bronzed look is that you’ll want to massage the product up into the hairline and down into the neckline…this creates an optical illusion that you’re evenly tanned, rather than having a fake concentration of color.

RoC Enydrial Lip Balm

image: thecosmetichouse.co.uk

I find that nothing turns a girl off more than having chapped, coarse lips…I mean, and that would turn you off too, right? This lip balm solves a big issue for men…the consistency of it means you won’t have to apply it often (really, twice a day will have you covered) but even with the rich consistency of it there’s next to no shine to it…so you won’t have to worry about looking like you have an effeminate pucker either! This is so important if you’re ever looking to come off as a well-polished guy because the state of your lips can really tell somebody how well you take care of yourself…so don’t get lazy, now!

Special Announcement #2!

Hiiiii!

So, it is time for my second special announcement!

image: goretro.blogspot.com

*Drumroll please….*

The “GUEST WRITER” section of the blog will open tomorrow!!! 🙂 Following on from my post last week in which I put out a call to guest writers, Canadian blogger Jake Sauvage has stepped up! If you are curious, click here (or visit my blogroll via the homepage) to check out his own blog – which is pretty awesome if I do say so myself – right now! 🙂

I am open to receiving guest posts from male and female bloggers on topics relevant to a beautiful story, but am particularly keen to hear from male bloggers to add a bit of balance! In return for you taking the time to guest post on my site I will be happy to guest post on yours. 🙂 Please direct any enquiries about guest posting to abeautifulstory@hotmail.com

Hope everyone’s having a fabulous weekend! 🙂 Mine’s been busy so far but now taking some time to put my feet up and watch more of the Australian Open (tennis) on the telly!

Pampering @ home Sarah style!

Good evening all! 🙂

I meant to post about this on Tuesday, when I actually took some time out to do a little pampering session for myself at home, but time has flown like crazy this week! (Probably because I have been on holidays, ha! 😉 I return to work and the world of reality on Monday.)

I thought that people may be interested in some DIY pedicure and hair treatment tips, so I took photos to document parts of my pampering session (just the essentials – otherwise this post would really be overloaded with pics!) to help me explain it to you.

Before we get started, I would like to remind people that I am not a trained beauty therapist. Also, the way in which I have done these things is pretty much “my way”! This means that you may agree or disagree with the steps I did or didn’t include in the process. So if you read this and think to yourself “hmm I would’ve done that differently” – that’s fine! However I hope that you may learn some new things from this post. 🙂

Part One – Hair Treatment

I typically start with the hair treatment as I will leave it in for a few hours, and won’t wash it out till I’ve done my other pampering bits n pieces. I like to go natural with hair treatments and have read a lot of good stuff about the use of virgin coconut oil as a hair treatment. I started doing this weekly early last year, when I was desperately wanting my hair to grow, but now I tend to do it monthly as my hair is pretty close to my goal length. (Also because I am a bit lazy! ;)). There is a lot of information online about coconut oil and using it as a hair treatment – I found YouTube tutorials particularly helpful (there are TONS to choose from there). Coconut oil can also be used as a moisturiser on your skin (you’ll see it as an ingredient in many body lotions), in cooking, and also as a dietary supplement.

Here are some pics of the coconut oil that I use. It cost me <$20 AUD on eBay (including postage) and I have only used 1/4 of the jar in approximately a year – great value!!!

So how do you do the “coconut oil treatment” for your hair? Easy peasy! 🙂

1. Grab the jar of oil, some cotton wool balls, and a wrap for your hair (scarf, bandanna, old towel, old cloth headband, etc). Set it up in your bathroom in front of the mirror because you’ll need to see what you are doing!

2. If the weather is warm (say, around 30 degrees Celsius or higher!) you won’t need to do this step as the oil will already be in liquid form. If it is cooler, however, the oil will appear solid in the jar. Use a teaspoon to scoop a heaped teaspoonful of oil into a small glass or ceramic bowl. (My hair is approx. 20 centimetres long; if your hair is longer you may need more oil.) Run some hot water in your bathroom sink and sit the bowl in it, and stir the oil for a minute or two until it is completely melted. ***Safety alert*** make sure you test the temperature of the oil before applying to your hair – you do not want to burn yourself!

3. Grab a cotton ball and dab it into the oil.

4. Gently apply the oil around your hairline. You can also then section your hair and dab directly onto the scalp all over. This takes a long time so if you’re like me and would like a “cheat’s version” 😉 ~
I simply use a teaspoon to pour a small amount of oil into the palm of my hand, slap it onto my fingertips, tip my head upside down and massage the oil into my scalp for a few minutes.

5. Then apply a small amount of oil to the ends of your hair.

6. Using a wide tooth comb, comb your hair.This distributes the oil through the hair.

7. Wrap your hair up on top of your head using the scarf, bandana, etc. Here’s a shot of my hair!

8. After a couple of hours (some leave it on overnight but I would not recommend that as if you leave it on for that long there is a risk it’ll make your hair quite greasy. Also it is likely to make a big mess on your pillow unless you take precautions!), wash your hair thoroughly with shampoo, but remember to skip the conditioner. Dry/style as per usual.

Tada! You should now be left with shiny hair and a happy scalp! (My scalp can be quite dry and improved significantly when I did the treatment weekly.)

Part 2 – The Pedicure

I’d read about the use of green tea as a good DIY foot soak and thought I’d give it a try! As it was a very hot day over here, I knew that I wanted it to be cold, not hot, when my feet were in it. So I prepared this part first thing that morning. Grabbed a big bowl that was OK to put my feet into, added a few green tea bags (they also had mint in them – I thought this would be a bonus and help my feet smell nice! ;)) and some hot water. You could recycle the tea bags after that and use them (when cold) on your eyes to reduce puffiness, but I only thought about that later when they were in the garbage bin (too late! :-0).

mmm green tea + mint goodness! 🙂

I also gathered a few other things that I would need. As you can see in the picture I included a nail file, nail scissors, nail polish remover, moisturiser, and so on.

I didn’t bother to get my orange stick as my cuticles were looking fine and didn’t need to be pushed back. I did however plan to use my imitation “Ped Egg” (anyone remember those? ;)), here it is if you haven’t heard of these before….

I also grabbed a towel and the big bowl of tea (with teabags removed… eww how weird would they feel to step on?! LOL!) and sat on the lounge chair in front of the TV. 🙂

Here’s what I did next:

1. Remove any old nail polish with nail polish remover and then soak feet in the tea solution for approximately 15 minutes. (I did not need to scrub my feet as I’d already given them a good wash in the shower earlier that day.)

2. Gently dry feet with a towel. Trim and file your nails.

3. Use pumice stone part of “Ped Egg” to buff away dead skin on rough patches of soles of feet. I did not need to use the cheese-grater-look-a-like part but if I did, I would use it very very VERY gently. Don’t want to do any damage!

4. Moisturise feet with a good quality moisturiser. I used my yummy smelling Nutrimetics one (previously reviewed here).

5. If cuticles are looking daggy/in need of a tidy up, I would gently push them back with an orange stick between steps 2 and 3, when the cuticles are still soft.

6. Apply some cuticle oil to cuticles and rub in well. Leave for a few minutes (I used Nutrimetics’ Ultra Care+ Vitamin Oil. A good multipurpose oil – you can use that on your hair too but given the cost/size ratio I prefer to use the coconut oil for that!).

7. Apply 2 coats of your preferred nail polish; let dry between coats. (If I’m wanting my pedicure to really last well I also apply a base and top coat. I was in a very casual mode on Tuesday so didn’t bother!) I used Sally Hansen’s Extreme Wear in “Crushed”.

8. Enjoy having pretty feet! Here’s how my tootsies looked (and still look – pedicure has lasted well so far):

it was hard for me to pick a photo of my feet that I at least sort of liked! feet are a bit weird if you ask me! 🙂

***

Let me know what you think of this post… I guess this could be considered my first tutorial post! Never thought I would do tutorials but there you go! 🙂 I think it could also be my longest post of all time – if you are still reading, well done!

Have any of you tried coconut oil on your hair before? My biggest tip with it is “less is more” – so the first time you try it, it is better to not use enough than to overdo it and be left with limp locks!

What are your tips for DIY hair treatments and/or pedicures? 🙂

Special Announcement #1!

Happy Friday everyone! 🙂

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have some announcements to make! Today I would like to make the first of two announcements…

I have been lucky to have been given the opportunity to try out a skin care range that is new to Australia and not yet available in stores! 🙂 I received a package of goodies on Wednesday as you can see below:

I’m not able to provide more details on the particular brand or range as yet, hence bag logo. However, as soon as I can, I will (along with my review)!

This is a short post so I plan to upload another tonight. 🙂 I’ll be making announcement #2 during the weekend!

Bye bye for now,
Sarah

PS. Thought I’d share a funny photo with you all – some friends of mine put this at the front of their house so people could easily find the house on Australia Day, where they were having a BBQ! They’ve named him “Frank”. 🙂

A great Aussie skincare brand – Sukin

Evening all! 🙂

Tomorrow is Australia Day, Australia’s national holiday. It is a public holiday and, as it is during summer, people typically celebrate with family and/or friends by getting together and having a barbeque (“throw another shrimp on the barbie!” – lol not quite!), or perhaps going to their local beach. A popular national radio station, Triple J (listen online here!), also plays its “hottest 100” songs of the previous year, as voted by their listeners, on this day. Most years I’ll go to a friend’s barbeque at their house and just hang out and listen to the JJJ count down! 🙂

In recent years there has been some controversy around Australia Day, but I’m going to leave that well alone! If you are interested in that you should be able to read more about it online. To me it’s a day about celebrating what makes our country great (so, being thankful about the privileges we enjoy as residents of Australia), and spending quality time with friends and/or family.

Anyway, let’s get on with the show! 🙂 Tonight I’m going to review:

Sukin’s Hydrating Mist Toner

Sukin are a great Aussie brand (and so I’ve selected to review a product of theirs to coincide with Aussie Day) who pride themselves on producing quality skin care products that use natural ingredients, are carbon neutral, are not tested on animals and have recyclable packaging. (A link to their website is here.) To top it off, their products are reasonably priced! 🙂

Cost: $9.95 AUD

Where can I buy it? Priceline.

I found this product when looking for a new facial toner that would not dry my skin out. To date, even non alcohol based toners were doing this! 😦 What attracted me to Sukin‘s product was the spray format (meaning that application is easy – spray and you’re done!), the knowledge that it is alcohol and paraben free (as per packaging) and also the fact it is labelled as being a hydrating toner, with listed ingredients including chamomile and rose water.

Sukin mention on the packaging that this product can be used in a range of ways – on the face before OR after applying lotions or makeup, as well as all over the body if simply wanting to refresh your skin. I use it in the way I’d usually apply a toner – after cleansing and before moisturising. It does feel refreshing on my skin and does not dehydrate it, which is key for me! It has a bit of a fragrance (the rose water stands out) but this doesn’t irritate my skin.

However, you do need to be careful when spraying as it is quite powerful – one squirt can almost completely do your whole face and neck/decolletage!

I’ve been using this for approximately a month now and intend to keep buying it in the future.

Beautiful rating: quality 5/5, value 5/5 (if you don’t mind a toner in spray format and are keen to buy products that are sustainably and ethically produced, you can’t go wrong with this one! :))

***

How do you celebrate Australia Day (if living in Australia) or your own country’s (if overseas) national day? 🙂

I wish all of my readers a very happy, safe, and relaxing 26/1/12!

PS. I have some exciting stuff coming up over the next few days for the blog… I will share this news with you all soon!!!! 🙂

It’s getting hot in here – 2 hot weather essentials!

Hey! How has everyone’s week been going so far? I am a lucky critter to be on holidays this week but of course (knowing my so/so “luck”!) it’s a week when the weather has been extremely hot. In my hometown, when we say that it means the weather is at least +35 degrees Centigrade. Today is forecast to be 37 degrees, I believe, and the hot weather is not due to settle down a bit till at least Monday.

Here are two products I have found to be very effective and helpful in this heat!

#1 – Face of Australia (FOA) Face Base Primer

Cost: $11.95 AUD

Where can I get it? Priceline and other selected chemists and discount department stores (e.g. Big W).

I’m a noob when it comes to primers but have heard a lot of good stuff about them. For those who are also noobs like me (! ;)), primers are now available for your face and also eyelids and lips. They are a type of cream or lotion which forms a protective layer over your skin, and then helps the makeup go on smoothly as well as last longer. Some are also very effective in evening out any fine lines or enlarged pores, so that these are much more hidden once make up is applied.

Laura Mercier‘s primer was recommended to me by friends but I decided that for my first foray into this area I would go more budget. FOA‘s products that I have used to date have been of good quality and so I decided to give their brand’s primer a try.

It has a light gel-like texture and absorbs into the skin quickly. There is no notable fragrance which is always a + for me! (I then know it is unlikely to irritate my skin.) I wait a few minutes after applying for it to kind of “set” before I then go ahead and apply my makeup.

This formulation also contains Vitamin E and chamomile to provide some extra goodies for your skin. I noticed that FOA also has an SPF 15 version of this primer, but I already use a day moisturiser with 30+ so didn’t think that one was necessary for me.

I have tried this product on cooler days, when putting on my makeup in the morning for work (and then having to go out at night straight after work), and also the past week when the weather has been scorching. It certainly works in keeping my makeup on; I’ve also noticed that my face doesn’t get as shiny looking during the day as it normally does (if I wasn’t wearing primer).

The only downside to this one is that I don’t think it does a very good job in camouflaging large pores or fine lines. I have a few enlarged pores and some fine lines around parts of my eyes and didn’t notice much difference on those. But hey, when it’s 37 degrees, if your makeup is not melting all over the place, you’re on to a winner! 😉

Beautiful Rating: quality 4/5, value 5/5 (overall it performs well for a budget product)

#2 – Garnier Deodorant: invisi mineral

Cost: I picked this up for $2.50 AUD when it happened to be on sale, typically it retails for approx. $5 AUD.

Where can I get it? Most supermarkets and chemists.

Yes, it does go without saying that deodorant is essential at any time of year. However, when it is boiling hot outside I want a deodorant that I know will provide super duper protection. Our climate can be so extreme here that I have had experiences where a deodorant that I thought was performing well completely bombs as soon as the mercury hits 30 or so! 😦 (Unfortunately this happened with the Nivea deodorant I have previously reviewed.)

I have been using this one for the past fortnight and find that it is working well so far. I have had a day or two where I did notice that I was sweating but there has been no odour, which was awesome! (However I wouldn’t leave it on for “48 hours non stop” as they suggest, I like my daily showers lol!). I have tried it wearing white, light, and dark coloured clothing and no marks or stains, so that aspect of the product works just fine too.

Additionally, this deodorant is different to many others on the market at the moment in that it is free of alcohol and parabens. However it does contain aluminium and I understand that there is some debate about whether or not that is a “healthy” ingredient to include in deodorants.

Nevertheless, I’m giving this product –

Beautiful rating: quality 5/5, value 5/5.

***

What are some of your hot weather essentials? 🙂 To this list I’d also add sunscreen (I’m finding the Coles supermarket brand in the orange packaging to be working well for me and not causing any breakouts), sunglasses, and some form of hat or umbrella. Oh and let’s not forget a bottle of water!

Maybe she’s born with it? Maybe it’s photoshop!

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to share with you a funny video I found this morning –

Hope you have an awesome week! 🙂

Dear Blokes… (an open letter to my male readers, followers, & fans)

image: resumewriting.biz

As you know, I have set up “bloke’s corner” on the blog to provide a guy’s perspective on different health and beauty products for time to time.

I am wanting some feedback from you, so if you have some spare time please respond to my little survey (you can respond via comments, email, twitter, or whatever floats your boat!) 🙂 …

  1. Do you find the “bloke’s corner”/”a bloke’s perspective” posts interesting?
  2. Are these posts useful to you?
  3. What do you like about these posts?
  4. What don’t you like about them and/or think I could improve?
  5. Do you have any suggested topics/products for discussion and review?
  6. Any other comments?

I am also wanting to know if any of my male readers, followers or fans would like to feature as a guest writer for the blog now and again? You could do a product review or write about a topic relevant to men, health and/or beauty. Of course, you would get full credit for your post and retain ownership (copyright) of your post, and would be able to link back to your blog from the post.

Now, for some interesting articles I’ve found in recent times online relvant to dudes, but that all my readers may find interesting and/or funny:

> Bald Guyz for Bald Guys review from a fantastic blogger who writes about all sorts of stuff, known as Canadian Bald Guy

> MAN-i-cure from a fellow Adelaide beauty blogger Sakura, who is a very skilled nail artist

and

> Basic skin care routine tips for men from Youtuber Ross @ MensSkinCareWithRoss:

Hope you all have a great weekend! 🙂

Best wishes,
Sarah

White Glo Take 2 – White Glo Express Whitening System kit

You might recall when I tried White Glo’s Tea & Coffee Drinker’s formula whitening toothpaste and had considered the jury out. Well, a few months down the track I don’t think the whiteness of my teeth is any better than when I started! 😦 However, my boyfriend tried out White Glo’s Express Whitening System product at around the same time, which seems to be a much stronger formulation. So I chatted to him about his experiences with the product.

R's teeth on Day 1...

... and on Day 8!

S) What led you to buy this product?
R) I had been using Colgate’s whitening toothpastes for a while but wanted to see if other products would make my teeth whiter, so I decided to try it.

S) How much was it and where can you get it?
R) approximately $15 AUD, if I remember right… I bought it a few months ago now!

S) What do you like about it?
R) I thought it was relatively easy to use.

S) What don’t you like about it?
R) The first few times you use the trays, you have to soften them with hot water and they don’t fit very snugly around your teeth, which means they can be uncomfortable to wear.

S) Do you think it worked for you?
R) Yes when using it regularly (S – he was using it daily for several weeks). However I don’t think it was better, in the end, compared to my usual Colgate whitening toothpaste.

S) Would you buy it again?
R) Yes if my teeth start to discolour in the future.

S) Any other comments on this one?
R) It definetly works.

S) What would you rate the product out of 5 for quality, and for value for money?
R) Quality I’d give a 4/5, and value 4/5 – it was very cheap compared to seeing the dentist to get your teeth whitened!

*Note: The packaging on this product recommends that it is not used by pregnant women or those who have sensitive teeth or gums.

***

Has anyone else tried this kit? Did it work for you? Feel free to share your own teeth whitening stories and recommended products! 😀

PS. Sorry for the so/so quality pics readers, I took these before getting my new camera! 😦

fundraising from a galaxy far far away…

Hi everyone how has your week been so far? I’ve been quite busy at work so looking forward to knock off (finishing) time tomorrow! 🙂

I forgot to mention this earlier – those of you in Australia will probably already be familiar with this awesome fundraising story, but others may not. Anyway, this guy was in Adelaide on the super hot day we had earlier this week and so I wanted to talk about him, his creative fundraising efforts, and the great charity he is supporting (please note I have no connection to the fundraiser or the charity concerned and am not receiving any form of compensation for this post). I think he is a truly inspirational person!

In 2011 Jacob French created a unique fundraising idea. He decided to do a “Trooper Trek” – to WALK from Perth to Sydney (which is a huge distance across a whole lot of desert!) – to raise funds for children’s charity the Starlight Children’s Foundation. To give you an ever better idea of how big a challenge this is, it is expected to take him 8 MONTHS. What was even more amazing about the challenge he set for himself was that he decided that he would do the walk in a Storm Trooper (Star Wars) outfit!

He has recently reached the (roughly) half way point (which was Adelaide) and continued with his walk across parts of the Tour Down Under race (which I mentioned earlier) so that he can veer towards Sydney.

Here is a video about Jacob and his efforts as well as a link to his fundraising page. So far he has almost raised $50 000 AUD.

All the best for successful completion of your Trek, Jacob! 🙂

***

Who are people you find inspirational, and why?

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