I am not a makeup artist by any means, but I do love a good makeup brush. Because I want my makeup to be flawless, I have learnt what brushes work best to provide the best results.

 

Here are 5 tips to help you choose the right brushes for your needs which will leave your face looking like your make was applied by a Professional.

1. Decide what Brushes you need based on Products you use

Although having a matching set on your dresser may look good, the individual brushes may not work for all your needs. The best way to choose would be to identify what steps you use in your routine and identify the best brush that would work for each task. A basic collection should consist of at least 5 brushes (foundation, blush/highlighter, eyeshadow, concealer, brow brush with a spoolie)

 

 2. Natural or Synthetic?

 

 

Most of the cheaper brush sets are made from synthetic fibres which make them affordable and more accessible; however, they do not work well with all product formulas.

Synthetic fibres work best with liquids and creams and provide a smooth finish. Natural fibres on the other hand which are made from animal hairs than to work better with powder formulas because they pick up more product. This is because the hair shaft if not smooth as seen above.

 

3. Get the best quality you can afford

Brushes have a wide range of price points, and you do not have to spend a tonne of money to get good results. So do your research and pick the best you can afford, and learn how to use them properly to get stellar results. Your technique rather than the brush itself may be the reason for your ‘not-so-great’ results. If you want brushes that will not need frequent replacement, go for synthetic brushes. They do not shed as much and tend to last much longer saving your pocket.

Hakuhodo $72 | Sigma $25 | Real Techinques $9 | I have all three brushes and they work equally well.

I have had my Real Techniques-Expert Face brush and Sigma F80 brushes since 2012 and they still work like a dream.

 

4. Allergies or sensitive skin

Depending on your needs, natural or vegan could be better for you. For people with sensitive skin animal or natural hair may cause allergies, not the makeup. So if you have sensitive skin or are allergic to animal products like dairy or have animal allergies stick with synthetic fibres. This is also important for people with combination or acne prone skin because synthetic brushes ‘’cleaner’’ because their bristles are flat (they have no cuticles) and they can be cleaned more frequently with little or no damage.

 

5. Choose the right size

As much as having unicorn or mermaid shaped brushes looks like fun they are unlikely to work well in real life. Having brushes with the right size and weft will determine how often you reach for and use them. Brushes which are easy to use make your makeup application easier and consequently your look flawless. Expensive brushes tend to be heavier and sit better in your hands also make sure the brushes you choose are the right length. With the proliferation of makeup brands, there are many affordable brush ranges to choose from so that you can find one to fit your needs.

 

Those are some of my tips on the factors you need to take into account when choosing makeup brushes for your collection.

 

How do you choose what brushes to use and which brushes can you not live without?

 

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Chizo is a skincare and makeup enthusiast who likes to travel and explore new places. When not working, she is browsing skin care and beauty sites looking to try new products or binge-watching series online.

You can find her:

Instagram @BeautyHarbour

Website: www.beautyharbour.com  

I am strangely one of those people who really enjoys working out. I love the rush it gives me …..on the days I actually do workout. There are numerous articles telling us the benefits of working out including benefits to our skin. When you exercise, you sweat and blood flow increases, carrying oxygen, nutrients (and waste) through the body so if you fail to cleanse properly you may be inviting problems for your skin.

Before your workout

  • I know you want to look really pretty on the treadmill but please take off your make up before you start exercising. All that sweat and make up may clog your pores. You can use a light mist for hydration
  • When running outdoors, don’t forget to wear SPF and try to get your run in before 10am or after 4pm. If in cold climates, apply a light moisturizer or facial oil as well.
  • At your local gym, take along antibacterial wipes to wipe down the machines and benches before you use them as you may be transferring someone’s dried up sweat to your face!

During your workout

  • Have a clean face towel to wipe sweat off your face.
  • Drink water during your workout
  • Put your hair in a ponytail or high bun or better still wear a headband (don’t forget to take it off immediately after you finish your workout.

After your workout

  • Wash your face immediately after your workout. If it isn’t convenient to do so at your gym, have a travel sized micellar water and cotton pads in your gym bag or worst case, face wipes and ensure you finish your full night routine as soon as you get home.

I hope these tips help you especially if you are still working on your summer bod

 

Till next time

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Olabisi is a Medical Doctor and Skincare Blogger based in Lagos. When she is not busy working with vulnerable women and children, she is writing blog posts on www.thatgeminigirl.com.

You can find her:

Instagram @that.geminigirl

Twitter: @geminigirl03

Email: olabisi@thatgeminigirl.com 

An Entrepreneur earning a steady income from their business(es), is a sign of sustainable growth and success. Unfortunately not a lot of Entrepreneurs know this, most people believe that once they step into the world of entrepreneurship, salaries become a thing of the past.

As an Entrepreneur one of the crucial ways to monitor if your business is growing or successful is when you are able to put yourself on the payroll.

So at what point does an entrepreneur start earning a constant salary? The business’ ‘Break-Even Point’ is the key determining factor.

“The Break-Even Point is the production level where

Total Revenue = Total Expenses.”

Basically in layman terms, this means when the money coming into your business is enough to cover all the costs associated with running the business; essentially the business is running itself. Until you achieve this benchmark, you have no business putting yourself on a fixed salary. There has to be discipline on the part of the Entrepreneur not to touch their business’ earnings till the business can cover its costs of production.

 

The second key factor is to identify ‘Indirect Costs’ associated with running your business. These are usually things most Entrepreneurs overlook and consider as their own personal costs, it is crucial that all Indirect Costs be identified and captured, otherwise you will, unknowingly, be running your business out of your own pocket. Indirect costs are usually things like petrol in your car/transportation costs if you’re an Entreprenuer that moves around (e.g. MakeUp Artist, Nail Tech, etc.) or if you’re a Influencer: data, editing software, phone credit etc are indirect costs. For more about Direct/Indirect see my previous post here, where I explained how to determine the direct & indirect costs in your businesses. It’s a MUST READ!

 

Once you determine your indirect costs, you realize that it takes a huge burden off you, these then become part of the costs & expenses that contribute to production of your goods or fulfilment of services. When your business’ income can cover these costs and expense, then you may begin to consider a salary.

The next stage…..

How do you determine your salary?

First you divide your needs into the sub categories in order of priority: Healthcare, Feeding, Rent, Transportation, Bills, Pension, Grooming & Leisure.

Healthcare & Pension

There are so many options for healthcare and pension in Nigeria these days AVON, AXA MANSARD, STANBIC PENSIONS to name a few. The HMOs offer a variety of packages at very affordable premiums to cover a range of healthcare services at multiple hospitals all over Nigeria. You may decide to cover the one-off fee from your personal funds and the company will make monthly remittance to you as part of your salary earnings.

Pensions

These can be remunerated monthly at your own discretion and can be as high or as low as you decide to set it.

Rent

If rent is one of your expenses or you are considering living on your own, then divide your annual rent and service charge costs(if any) by 12 months and see how much it will cost you monthly. There are a number of property websites in Nigeria now one that really caught our attention was www.fibre.com for those individuals who do not mind shared accommodation. Platforms like this create options for monthly rent payments. However if you currently have accommodation and your business is your only source of income and said business cannot bear such a cost it is advisable to table that cost until you scale.

Bills & Transportation

It is also important to calculate how much transportation and bills cost you monthly and include in your salary breakdown. Bills include phone & data costs, DSTV,gym etc. However if your business requires frequent use of your phone and constant internet, then these should be covered in your business’ costs & expenses.

Grooming & Leisure

In this area, you can calculate how much you spend on grooming yourself in a month or socialising? For example, hair appointments, going to the cinema, drinks with friends, etc. There is a reason why these are the last sub categories; they are not necessarily priorities even though the saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is relevant. These are the luxuries you can afford to scrimp on for the first few months till you can steadily cover your other more important expenses.

 

Below is a salary breakdown for a female entrepreneur in her mid 20s. She recently invested in an HMO policy with premium of NGN42,000 for the year and is making a monthly remittance to her company. She has also decided to start depositing NGN100,000 annually into her pension account with plans to review upwards. She was fortunate to find a beautiful studio in Lekki via www.fibre.com. Her leisure budget is currently too high but she feels she deserves it especially since she hadn’t taken money out of the company for 8 months.

The breakdown should look something like this:

 

Its important to state that the sub categories listed are based on our research and client demands and can be tailored to include domestic staff salaries and other expenses. This is just a blueprint to get you on your way.


If you’re interested in learning more about MASAL Consultants “Budget & Savings” services feel free to contact us and sign up for a free consultation. (contact details below)

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Muna is a finance professional and beauty enthusiast based in Lagos. She is the Principal Consultant at MASAL Consultants, a financial management firm that provides: public accounting, bookkeeping, financial planning & advisory services to SMEs, Entrepreneurs and Private Individuals.

You can find her:

Instagram @Masal.Consultants

Twitter: @MasalFinance

Email: consult@masalconsultants.com

photo source: cosmopolitan.com

We’ve all heard how great protective styles can be for our hair – they protect your hair, they help you retain length and moisture and they can give you a much needed break from your hair. Plus there are so many cute styles you can do, from box braids to two strand twists to buns. But the same styles that help your hair flourish and grow can have some unintended consequences for your hair. There are certain mistakes that people make when protective styling that can actually lead to breakage, excessive shedding, dryness and hair loss.

 

So to define it, a protective style is a hair style that protects your hair from the elements, physical damage and general wear and tear. The aim of these styles is to help your hair retain moisture and, therefore, retain length and potentially even gain thickness. We ALL love the convenience of getting braids or having your hair neatly woven into cornrows under your wig, knowing you won’t have to comb and detangle for the next couple of weeks but where do we cross the line into ‘destructive style’ territory? As the name suggests, a destructive style is a style that causes damage to the hair, usually in the form of breakage, excessive shedding, hair loss and even heat damage.

photo source: Instagram – Anitabrows

Here are a few tips to help you avoid a destructive style:

  • Don’t keep your protective styles in for too long – I know we all love the extra time we save in the mornings from having our hair braided up but keeping your protective style in for too long is a recipe for disaster, particularly if your hair style involves synthetic hair. The hair tends to get extremely dry and the prolonged tension on the strands can cause severe breakage – this is worsened when your hair is woven with synthetic hair because it tends to absorb a lot of the moisture in your hair as well as weighing the hair down. Of course, you know your hair best, but when it comes to box braids, I suggest a maximum of 4-6 weeks to maintain optimum hair health.
  • Don’t make your styles too tight – yes, your braids may last longer and look neater when you braid tightly or your wig may lay more nicely but it can wreak havoc on your hair, ESPECIALLY your edges. Traction alopecia (the loss of hair due to tension on the scalp) is real and VERY common – and in some cases, it can be permanent. So loosen up!
  • Remember to moisturise your hair – your protective style is not an excuse to completely forget about and neglect your hair. You still need to moisturise your hair and keep your scalp clean even with that protective style. All it takes is a spray bottle with water, your favourite leave in conditioner and a few drops of oil – spray it on a few times a week and off you go! Don’t forget to protect while you sleep – as I said in the last point, a protective style doesn’t mean you should forget all about your healthy hair care practices. You should still sleep with a satin pillowcase, scarf or bonnet regardless of the style your hair is in. This will keep your hair neat and prevent dryness.
  • Size matters – okay so this one is always up for debate but the size of your twists/braids/cornrows do matter. If you make the braids too big and the extensions are heavy, it can literally rip out strands of your hair. If your twists or braids are too small, it can cause problems for your edges. This is particularly a problem for the wig/weave-wearing ladies – try not to make those cornrows too small. It really puts a lot of pressure on your edges!

 

There we have it guys! Just a few tips to make sure that protective style doesn’t ruin all your progress.

 

Happy styling!

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Tara is a hair and skincare blogger living and working in Lagos. She works a 9-5 job whilst building the business she is passionate about, Nature's Locks (a hair and skincare line of products and tools), which started out as a blog, natureslocks.to. You can find her:

I’m sure you’ve heard a ton of people talk so much about their face routine that it’s almost as if they forget that their body is also skin and should be cared for. That’s why I’ve put this piece together on how you can have naturally glowing and beautiful skin without having to turn to bleaching creams to do the magic.

1. Exfoliate. Honestly, the first guide to naturally glowing skin is exfoliation! There are many ways to exfoliate your body and you can either explore the physical or chemical route. Lately, I’ve been using viscose mittens which are quite popular among Koreans to slough off dead skin. Only recently did I get to know about dry brushing, which is an excellent way also to physically exfoliate the skin and improve blood circulation. If you’re too lazy to do any type of scrubbing at home, there are spas that offer full body scrubs. Alternatively, there are quite a number of body care products that contain AHAs/BHAs which gently removes dead skin cells to reveal smoother, brighter skin.

2. Choose products with skin brightening ingredients. I love to glow, and another thing that aids that, asides exfoliating my body, is using products with natural brightening ingredients like Turmeric, Licorice extract, Papaya, or Lemon. My favorite skin brightening ingredient is Turmeric. I usually love to have them in my body washes as turmeric also helps to fades dark spots on my body. The good thing about these lighteners is that they gradually help to fade discolorations while evening out the skin tone without making you three to four shades lighter like bleaching creams do.

3. Choose body care products with skin-loving ingredients like Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Aloe Vera, Cucumber, Vitamin E and plant oils. I especially love Cocoa butter and Vitamin E because they help to even out my skin tone so I reach for body butters & lotions with these two ingredients. Oils also make the skin glow so you could opt for body butters with light oils or just light body oils themselves to keep your skin glowing. I have dry skin on my body and in the colder months of the year, I always mix my body lotion with body butters to keep my skin hydrated for a longer period of time.

4. Choose hydrating bath and body care products. Truth is dull skin is not only skin that isn’t exfoliated but also skin that isn’t hydrated either. When skin is well hydrated, skin glows from within so look for body lotions and creams that contain ingredients like honey, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides and squalene that will help maintain your skin’s moisture levels.

5. Eat fruits and veggies! As cliché, old and over-flogged as this may sound, taking fruits and veggies will really help your skin glow from the inside out. Fruits and vegetables supply antioxidants and vitamins that help protect our skin from free radicals, help blemishes heal fast and properly and promote radiant skin. They also help to detoxify, regenerate and renew the skin from inside out.

6. Take supplement for beautiful skin; Vitamin supplements are an easy way to help your skin stay healthy and glowing. Some good vitamin supplements to take include Fish oil, which is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which support collagen growth and promote skin moisture, Zinc and calcium which helps fight wrinkles, keep skin tight, promote cell regeneration and cell growth, evening primrose which smoothens skin, improves its elasticity, moisture and firmness, Probiotic supplements that help to reduce skin conditions like acne, rosacea and eczema to mention a few. Because of the stress associated with having to swallow many tablets, there are actually supplement tablets like well woman which combine all the essential vitamins for good skin and health in one capsule. That way you get to only take fewer tablets.

7. Exercise! Probably another cliché statement but by increasing blood flow, exercising helps nourish our skin cells with nutrients that repair damage from the sun and from environmental pollution. When we work out, our sweat carries toxins to the surface of the skin to be released. More so, exercising encourages the production of the skin’s natural oils (although in moderation) which help to grease the skin and made it plum and healthy.

8. Wear Sunscreen: Don’t be that person who would religiously wear SPF on the face but leave out their body. I can be very guilty!! Just as you protect your face, it’s also super important to protect your body from the harmful effects of the sun. It’s really common knowledge that the sun causes sun burn, wrinkles, rapid aging and makes you more predisposed to skin cancer so slather your body as well with SPF 30 or above!

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Ifeoluwa is a skincare blogger with growing interests in esthetics skincare & product photography. She shares most of her knowledge on caring for acne-prone skin on www.sheisnaturallybronze.com.

You can find her:

Instagram @sheisnaturallybronze

Facebook: sheisnaturallybronze

Pinterest: sheisnaturallybronze

 

As promised in my last post about hair levels and undertones, I’m back to continue the series sharing how to safely colour your hair. In this post I’ll be talking more about bleaching powder, developers and a step-by-step guide on how to safely bleach your hair.

 

First things first, bleaching comes before coloring; you can’t put hair dye or color on dark hair. For every hair coloring process, it is always necessary to mix bleaching powder with a developer. Bleaching before coloring, aids deeper penetration of the color.

 

BLEACHING POWDER

Achieving your desired hair colour depends hugely on the  type of bleaching powder you use. Premium quality bleaching powder, makes all the difference! Compromising on that is like gambling, it can make or break the hair’s outcome. Remember in my previous post, I mentioned the fact that there’s melanin in your hair right? So bleach mixed with the developer strips the hair’s melanin.

 

HAIR DEVELOPER

Hair developer contains hydrogen peroxide, which opens up the hair cuticles and reacts with the bleach to lighten the hair. The developer choice depends on how light you’re trying to go with the hair. Developer comes in different volumes: 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%. The volume represents the developer’s oxidizing potential

  • 10 Vol – is the lowest volume and can only be used to lift hair by 1 level.
  • 20 Vol – will lift 2 or 3 levels and can be used for color removal as well. Best for subtle highlights and for people with sensitive scalps.
  • 30 Vol – one of the best options for lightening hair. It lifts up to 4/5 levels.
  • 40 Vol – lifts up to 8 levels. Best use for black hair, always recommended to use on weaves and wigs if trying to go from hair level 1 to hair level 9/10. Always advisable to take extra precautions when using 40 Vol to prevent or reduce damage to the hair.

There are other developers in the market i.e. 50% Vol. I, personally, will not recommend you use that at all, unless you’re a professional.

 

IMPORTANT TIPS

  1. A mix of 1-part bleach and 2 parts developer is recommended, mixture shouldn’t be too runny or too thick.
  2. The only time you need really thick consistency is when bleaching closure and frontal knots.
  3. Bleach shouldn’t be on head for more than 30 – 45 minutes, on weaves and wigs, it can last for about an hour.
  4. Having the perfect mixture makes it easy to cover the hair evenly and avoid patchy results.
  5. Once the bleach mixture is dry, it doesn’t lift anymore on the hair.
  6. You must keep watching the hair during the bleaching process to see how fast it is lifting
  7. Rinse hair using acidic shampoo to close the hair cuticle after bleaching process.

 

If you would like to see all I mentioned broken down in a video format, here is the perfect tutorial on how to bleach hair: @shadesofbella_

 

In the concluding part of this series, I will share about the different types of hair dyes and how to use them. Make sure you check back, and if you’ve got any questions leave me a comment in the comment section below and I will respond.

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Ajoke runs a hotel in the day, and a hair colorist at night. When she’s not doing either, she's Netflixing all her favourite TV shows.

You can find her:

Instagram: @shadesofbella_ / @adejoke_

I discovered this brand as one does while scrolling through my Instagram feed and after looking at the reviews and the website I decided to try one of their products. Because my main skin issues are active acne and hyperpigmentation I decided to start with the spot eradicator mask. The main active ingredient in the mask is glycolic acid and activated charcoal which should work well on active acne.

Glycolic acid is useful in dealing with skin pigmentation so is helpful for my acne scars and skin discolouration. In addition the activated charcoal and tea tree oil also help with dealing with active acne.

 

 

How To Use

The actual mask is dark grey in colour and has a pudding (custard) like consistency, which allows it to be spread evenly across my face. I generally used the mask twice a week, after spreading it thinly on my face I let it dry and sit on my face for 20 minutes or more. Make sure you shake the tube before application as its got a runny consistency and may separate slightly, so shake it up first.

 

Results

I absolutely love the product, it does what is says. When I have had active spots after using the product the acne reduces significantly and disappears within a day. It has also helped with some off my texture and pigmentation issues. Despite the size of the tube I have had mine for over 2 months and have used it pretty consistently and I am yet to put in dent in the tube. The mask also helped in lightening some of my post acne hyperpigmentation which were pretty dark and although they have not completely disappeared they are less visible.


AT A GLANCE

Cost – N10, 000/60mls

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Is effective for active acne
  • No irritation and is suitable for sensitive skin
  • Quick delivery
  • Easily accessible (the brand is active on Instagram and very responsive)

Cons

  • A bit runny, so ensure that you shake before each use
  • Must use a sunscreen

Who it is for – For people with active acne and hyperpigmentation

Rating –  4/5 it is a very effective mask and one I will keep on rotation as part of my skincare routine

Where to buy –  www.ormaskincare.com

Alternatives

  •  NIP+FAB Glycolic Instant Fix Mask – Glycolic fix
  • StriVectin Advanced Acid Glycolic Skin Reset Mask
Follow:
Chizo is a skincare and makeup enthusiast who likes to travel and explore new places. When not working, she is browsing skin care and beauty sites looking to try new products or binge-watching series online.

You can find her:

Instagram @BeautyHarbour

Website: www.beautyharbour.com