What’s Your Secret Weapon?
BY: CLAIRE – DAYS [DAYS SINCE Today] AGO
No matter who we are or where we are from, women everywhere have something they swear by as part of their beauty routine. It could be as simple as a specific type of soap, a home-made remedy or type of mascara or maybe even a moisturising lotion or eyelash curler.
Everyone has something in their arsenal that they pull out for special occasions and really make themselves stand out from the crowd. For me personally, my daily ‘swear by’ item is coconut oil. It does everything for my skin and hair and I cannot leave home without it. As for my ‘secret weapon’ for the special occasions, I love my Xlips Instant Lip Plumping Balm! It is great for that last-minute pouty look to add to any evening outfit and conditions my lips to keep them smooth and soft for the evening.
So, now you know mine, what about yours? I have friends and colleagues who swear by certain items and cannot imagine trying something else. But maybe sharing these ideas is what could open up a new world of possibilities. Think of all the skin care solutions, or makeup items you may have passed up on that you could be missing out on now. Let’s take a look at some of them!
Daily Solutions to Swear By
It’s probably done less these days than it used to be but giving yourself 20 minutes away from the grind and giving your face a full steam facial can be so beneficial and is definitely a beauty secret many people swear by. Ok, so it’s not realistically a daily ritual, but it is really good for your skin so I’m adding it to the list.
If you can give yourself a little downtime, fill a bowl with boiled water (be careful!) and make sure you are in a comfy position. Perhaps for this one, leaning over the sink may be uncomfortable so grab a chair and a big, fluffy towel and get ready for some steaming. If you are using essential oils, add a few drops into the water, or otherwise add any herbs or lavender or maybe even tea tree oil, get yourself into position and place the towel over your head and create a tent over the water.
Then all you have to do is sit there and relax over the water for about 5-10 minutes and feel the steam getting into those pores. This technique helps loosen them and allow excess dirt to be cleansed easily. Dead skin and other impurities will soon be banished for your skin to feel really clean and clear and it works magic for circulation in the face, blood flow increases oxygen and cells are easily regenerated. So go on, put one day aside each week for a little facial steam and you may just add this to your list of daily solutions to swear by!
Natural Body and Face Scrubs
We have many options to go out and buy body and skin scrubs or we can use home-made remedies that even the A-Listers swear by. One of my good friends absolutely recommends using a coffee grind mix to scrub her skin and I must admit, her skin glows! She says she uses a mix of part coffee and part honey with some shea butter thrown in for a great scent and uses it mainly on her face. If you are up for trying this one, rub it into the skin, don’t go too rough on the face though as your skin is thinner there and more sensitive, leave it to soak in for a few minutes and then wash away with cool or warm water on a soft cloth.
Your skin will be left feeling gently exfoliated and dead cells removed, meaning dry skin will be kept at bay and you can feel smooth and soft all day long. The best thing about this is, you can try your own remedies, whether home-made or shop bought to give your face a good scrub and you will be able to see what works for your skin type and stick to it. The main message is to start scrubbing and get the skin on the face renewed every day for a fresh and youthful appearance. So, start saving that coffee! It could just be your new secret weapon!
Eyelash Growth Serums
This wonderful remedy is definitely a daily ‘must have’ solution and is one I absolutely swear by. Eyelashes are unique and we all have them in some shape or form. The problem is, we all want what we can’t have and unfortunately not everyone is blessed with super-long or super curled eyelashes naturally.
If you are looking to pull all the stops out for an event, you may want to look into eyelash extensions which are amazing but can be costly. But if you are looking for a new item to put in your little box of secret beauty weapons, then this is it. As a daily product you can use to boost the length of your eyelashes naturally and to give them a thicker, darker and fuller appearance then I would go for Xlash Eyelash Serum. It can be applied every night with ease after your nightly cleansing routine and it basically does everything so that you don’t have to.
Once you start to see the results after a couple of weeks, you will make sure to never leave home without it. Fair enough, if you are just going to work, or out with friends or family, it will be safe in your beauty box, but for travelling away or holidays, eyelash growth serum is easy enough to take with you for your daily applications to continue as you watch your eyelashes transform with next to no effort! Add this one to your daily arsenal of beauty hacks and you won’t look back!
This is my main ‘must have’ for all daily solutions to pretty much anything! It is so versatile, and I definitely won’t be turning my back on it any time soon.
Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids, healthy saturated fats and antioxidants so it is a great all-rounder and substitute for using cooking oils and butter in foods. But as for the hair and skin, it gets such a good reputation as it is hydrating and natural. I use coconut oil on the ends of my hair to prevent them from drying out or looking frizzy and it gives hair a really natural beachy look in the summer and a smoothed out and sleek look in the winter.
I use it to remove my makeup as it is not harsh on the skin and it sinks in deep to keep the top layers moisturised and hydrated all through the night. If you have areas of inflammation, puffiness or redness, coconut oil does wonders for this as it helps to reduce the effects and you can wake up feeling and looking like a brand-new person if you keep it up daily. It is very rich so it doesn’t need applying by the bucketload, but I always keep a little pot of it handy in my bag for a little touch up to my hair in the day, or to give my lips a little extra moisture on a hot, dry day. Add this one to your list of secret weapons and you won’t look back!
Tweezers? Yes, tweezers! These little pain-inducing contraptions should be a staple in most make up bags anyway, but we either ignore them or use them improperly. So they should definitely be in your day to day arsenal of secret weapons but with a little more care when used.
Hopefully, the days of tweezers being sold out at every beauty counter are over, those days where we used to pluck our eyebrows beyond all recognition and be proud of having the thinnest lines above our eyes. It was a painful time for all of us, but the tweezer has got a bad reputation and actually we can use them as a friend to help us in the ‘in between’ days and even as a regular solution to eyebrow hair removal.
Who doesn’t love a fuller brow these days? But that doesn’t mean we don’t get stray and unwanted hairs that need to go to give us the perfect set. The thing to remember is to get a decent set of tweezers that have a great grip and are angled perfectly to grab each hair by the root and not break it off instead. Tweeze after a shower or after applying a warm cloth to the area for a few minutes to make sure the hairs are loose enough to be plucked and only aim for hairs at the very end, underneath your arch. This will ensure you don’t go overboard with the plucking and end up looking like you’ve just stepped out of the late 90’s and it will also start to become less painful the more you look after your skin.
Refrain from moisturising straight after as the pores will be open, it can lead to them becoming clogged and anything with a perfumed scent will only irritate and sting the skin. Oh, and stay out of the sun immediately after your little tweezing party, the skin there is highly sensitive, and you definitely don’t want your newly tamed arches to burn! So, keep your tweezers in your list of secret weapons, just please, use them wisely!
Secret Weapons for the Special Occasion
This one is a little more specific. I have a good friend who loves her white or nude eyeliner and while her eyes are small, they are piercing! White or nude eyeliners can be work at any time of the day, but I always like to keep the looks toned down for work so that when you really want to drop jaws, you can tone it up for a big occasion and really stand out.
White or nude eyeliners have been around for years and used in many capacities, but they are really best put to good use on the waterline to open up the eyes and give the illusion of wider or bigger eyes. The best way to do this is to apply it after applying make up and you can gauge just how much you need to apply without going overboard and trying to carry off the circus face paint look! Nude eyeliners are also great for sharpening up black lines. You can trace the edges of a black wing over the top of the eyelid to give them more emphasis or you can even use nude liner in the middle of your cupids bow above your top lip to make lipsticks pop!
Definitely keep this one in your arsenal for that special occasion, the best part is it is small, it is easy to apply in seconds and you can keep yourself topped up throughout the evening, so no excuses!
Carbon Black Eyeliner
While we’re on the subject of eyeliner, I think somewhere near the top of every list of secret weapons in a makeup bag is (or should be) a really good eyeliner. Eyeliner obviously comes in so many different forms these days, there’s liquid, gel, pencil, kohl, amongst others so it can be hard to know what to choose but there only way to know is to either try them for yourself or take someone’s word for it! So, trying them yourself would start to get really costly, and at the end of the day, you just want a staple item that you can rely on and trust with your skin type and tone. So, let’s take the cost out of it and look at our options…
Pencil eyeliner – This one is the most versatile in terms of how, when and where you can apply it. Pencil eyeliner doesn’t require too much time as it can just glide on really easily when you’re in a hurry and you can apply as necessary throughout the day or evening. The only thing with pencil eyeliner is it is soft and therefore gets blunt quite easily. So you need to have your makeup pencil sharpener to hand most of the time to try and get a bit of definition. If you are looking for a softer look to your eyeliner though, this one is the way to go.
Liquid eyeliner – This one is also really commonly used but it requires a little more patience than the trusty pencil, to get perfectly straight lines this needs a steady hand, some good lighting and a few minutes of your time. Liquid eyeliners are great for drawing a cat eye shape, or a wing at the outer corners of the eye or even just a little flick. You can create really strong lines over the lashes on the top lid and manipulate the appearance of your eye shape. I do love a liquid liner for the evenings, definitely. You can be who you want to be that day, with just a few strokes of the brush.
Gel eyeliner – Makeup artists swear by this type of liner so if you are relying solely on word of mouth for the professionals, then you might want to look up a type of gel that will work for you. They are very versatile but not the most mobile. Sure, you can take your pot of liquid gel with you, but you’ll need your brush and a steady space to apply it so unlike the trusty pencil, it isn’t as easy to just throw on without some care. The good thing about gel liners is they last longer but take a little longer to dry, they are also really easy to manipulate so you can create that sharp and crisp evening look or even a more smokey-eyed look to add some sultry vibes to your style.
Pen eyeliners – Every increasing in popularity, the pen liner is the best of all worlds. It can be handled like a pencil due to the stiffer tip, this gives you more control over your lines, they are usually waterproof and you can control the thickness of your lines and create a shape before you commit to the full thing. Xlash Carbon Black Eyeliner is one of these options and it is perfect for the on the go make up solution as it can just be carries everywhere for touch ups if needed, but this stuff really stays put once it’s on so there shouldn’t be any need for that. Create a wing or a subtle day time look with Xlash Eyeliner and you may just add this one to your secret weapons.
The eyelash curler may look like a modern torture device and tends to scare people off at the thought of putting some strange contraption next to your eye, but once you curl those lashes, you won’t look back, so they are definitely one for the bag of secret weapons. Eyelash curlers are actually fantastic, and I always have mine ready especially for a night out to really give my lashes the start quality without having to get eyelash extensions. They are relatively simple to use, you just kind of clamp and release all the way to the tip of your eyelashes from the base but being very careful not to get to close to the skin.
The key with these is to make sure you have a pair of eyelash curlers that have a good grip and soft pads where your eyelashes will sit, or you could end up doing some damage in the long run. Xlash have also got you covered there with their professionally designed set of eyelash curlers that you can rely on before reaching for the mascara. Trust me, adding this one to your list of secret weapons will give your eyelashes the added “Wow” factor your eyes have been crying out for!
Makeup Setting Spray
It doesn’t matter how good the make up we use is, unless we sit still in a cool room for eight hours after applying it, it will find a way to disappear from our face. So many factors need to be taken into consideration with makeup such as skin type – dry, sensitive, oily, or what the weather is like – baking hot sunny day or cold, crisp winter morning, and all of these factors can change how our make up sits on our faces and for how long!
That’s where the trusty makeup setting spray comes in. Helping you to keep that beautiful face of newly applied make up exactly in place, setting sprays are just designed to be our best friend no matter the weather. And these days, the options are endless in what you can grab, form setting spray with SPF, to matte setting spray, to sprays with sheen. If you are looking for your final secret weapon to add to your makeup bag, this is definitely it! Finish your look and keep it there as you go to work or a big night out and be photo ready at any opportunity!
Must-haves and Secret Weapons
If we all new all the secrets of professional makeup artists, well, they wouldn’t be secrets anymore! But we can learn a few little tips and tricks that help us stay confident in our own beauty and use our own trusty secret weapons to enhance that beauty for confidence that skyrockets!
If you can see any of the above that you haven’t tried out yet, give them a whirl and see if they become a staple in your makeup kit. Whether it’s eyeliner, eyelash growth serums, tweezers or eyelash curlers, pass along a few pearls of wisdom to your friends and colleagues if you have your own tips and tricks, as you could just be saving their eyelashes from falling flat, their make up from running down their face and their lips from lacking in shine and health. Afterall, a few secrets are meant to be shared!