What is Regret?

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Regret.  A type of sorrow that devours each living cell.  Breathing is effortful, emptiness takes the cake, and one will rue relentlessly.  The greatest pain is felt when one says: If only. 

Whether a minor or major situation, the ache will be of the same level regardless.  Although duration differs, the intensity remains uniform.  The power of this sensation is unconquerable.  It is as though every inch of your skin is being torn away; amassing to slow and supreme throbbing.  Someone is consistently kicking your stomach.  The wind is knocked out of you and you’re gasping for air, relief and freedom.  One’s mind is in shackles- unable to escape this whirlwind of emotions.  Your heart crumbles into fine powder.  Whole of nerves are swamped by numbness.  The brightest of headlights cannot overcome the fogginess crowding your mind.  Contemplation ricochets back to repentance without exception. 

If only.

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.  The delicacy of bliss is evident as remorse causes optimism to be forgotten.  Like a light bulb to a mouse trap, it’s shattered in seconds.  Opportunities disappear instantaneously.  Joy quickly becomes hurt; pulling at each individual heartstring.  Worst of all, this can happen knowingly or unknowingly.  Before the flood of distress, one may mindlessly believe everything will fall into place.  However, the feeling changes.  All belief is crushed. This will kill like a knife through your being. One may even begin to question their purpose as two words keep ringing through the wavelength of thoughts.        

If only.

When do we feel regret?  It can be due to a variety of reasons: not studying for exams, giving up on a dream, or letting go of a loved one.  Amongst these circumstances, one supposes that the solution provides the best consequence.  We are preached to live in the moment but the message to follow one’s heart has vanished.  Sometimes we must think of the future.  Logic, rationality and judgment won’t ease a bleeding soul.  A minute of peace cannot substitute lifelong craving for what is now lost.  It could’ve been in your reach.

If only.

Don’t be blindsided.  Don’t be rash.  Don’t put yourself in a situation where grieving is inevitable.  The possibility of harmony can slip through cracks far too easily.  Regret can break any ounce of delight.  For said reason, live freely.  Wear your heart on your sleeve and allow life to trample you.  It is far less excruciating in the long run.  Be accepting.  Permit enlightenment through whatever mechanism.  Go to bed, laughing to yourself, thinking, ‘I shouldn’t have,’ rather than ‘if only’. 
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Review | MVP Watch in Rose Gold

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When Trisha Patel had released a video (link here) discussing her launch of 'MVP Watches' I knew that I really wanted to lay my hands on one.  However, I hesitated in fear of the watch being slightly bulky on my wrists which are abnormally small compared to the rest of me.  Nevertheless, to my pleasant surprise, this watch fits like Cinderella's glass slipper and glimmers with so much elegance and sophistication.


**NOTE: All pictures were taken in natural lighting without any filter**


Look 

The MVP Watch selection is diverse and offers something for everyone's taste: elegant and sophisticated, or youthful and mysterious.  Rose Gold has always been my favourite color for accessories so I couldn't help but gravitate towards it.  The face of the watch has a gorgeous silver reflex; aiding that chrome and luxurious appeal.  The detailing at each number is a subtle touch to break up the chromatic pattern.  As for the strap, it is a textured mesh rose gold that matches the outer casing of the face which is a different shade to the rest of the watch.  The rose gold of the face has a pink undertone whereas the strap is more yellow which demonstrates the effort placed in the design.  Lastly, I do believe the watch design is one that is timeless and compliments various outfits: casual to occasion wear.  It will suit all generations of fashion and individuals.  It is evidently a staple piece that can work in any situation.

Feel 

The watch feels very well made but isn't too heavy to hold or uncomfortable to wear.  As mentioned before, the fit of it is perfect and the size of the face does not overpower smaller wrists.  Hence, I believe it is a very flattering accessory.  

Adjustability 

One thing I love about this watch is the Mesh/Milanese watch band which is adjustable.  It saves you the hassle of visiting your local jeweller to remove or put in any excess links.  It's quick and easy to do at home.  I adjusted my watch in seconds without struggle and the band does not move or budge.   It's perfect for lazy people like myself that puts off chores like no tomorrow.  In addition, if you want to share your watches with loved ones then it's easy peasy.

Price

Unsurprisingly, many watches are three figures which is a lot of money for an accessory.  Nevertheless, MVP Watches are a brand built upon being affordable and luxurious.  This Rose Gold watch costs £55.00 which is a steal compared to prices on the high street.  I know some may claim this is still expensive, but for the quality, durability, and manufacturing of the piece it is a great investment.

Packaging 

The watch had come packed safely in a beautiful gold-embossed box with cushioning that enables it to be fitted appropriately; protecting the face from scratches.  This makes it the perfect present to loved ones or yourself!



Overall,  I 100% recommend checking out MVP Watches because not only do I believe in the owners of this brand who hold great sentiments, but the foundation and aims of MVP Watches, to provide affordable fashion, is an unmet gap in the market.


Check out MVP Watches here:

Instagram: @MVPWatches
Twitter: @MVPWatches

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The Flow State

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“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. 
A state of flow can be intertwined with pleasure. It is usually reached when the difficulty of a task is optimal: not too easy that the project is sluggish nor too challenging for it to be demotivating.  This was determined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who is renowned for his research in positive psychology regarding the flow state.  Follow this link here for his TedTalk.  
The flow state is where our focus and attention is completely unavailable to all but a single activity which isn’t seen as effort, but enjoyment.  One receives a high level of gratification during and from the experience.  For example, hours spent browsing the web, reading a good book, or staring at a blank wall with a textbook open that you’re meant to study. 
Flow uses an individuals’ maximum capacity for a task of maximum difficulty.  It is a form of intrinsic motivation.  You lose track of time, awareness, consciousness, and concentrate only on the present which feels highly rewarding. The flow state can be reached in a wide variety of contexts, including the work place.  Therefore, Csikszentmihalyi states that there are three conditions that should be met to achieve a flow state:
  1. A clear set of aims and objectives. 
  2. Progress can be determined immediately. 
  3. Confidence. 
Activities can be classed as high-flow or low-flow activities.  We tend to choose low-flow activities as more motivation and drive is required to begin a high-flow one.  Thus, explaining the phrase ‘A job begun is a job half done’ as starting is, more often than not, the hardest part. 
How to enter and elongate the flow state:
A clear set of aims and objectives is necessary because a defined goal acts as a driver.  Prior to commencing any task, write or objectify what it is you want to achieve upon completion.  This will provide direction, guidance, and control during the process.  If you know what it is you are working towards, you are more inclined to finish or deliver the activity.  Hence, strengthening that intrinsic motivation.
It is extremely satisfying to see hard work pay off.  Thus, immediate feedback from the task has been proven to elongate the state of flow: whether it be an essay, reading a book, painting, or learning new skills.  Over time, it is visually detectable that you have improved and have gotten from point A to B. Whatever the business at hand, don’t hesitate to take a break and evaluate your progress.  Constantly refer back to the aims and objectives to assess how far you’ve come within a specific time period or when you’re lacking flow. 
Lastly, confidence is vital.  The task is challenging enough to push the limits of your brain, without seeming impossible.  Mental strength will exacerbate and lengthen the state of flow.  That is why one should enjoy the journey and learning process.  Therefore, self talk and faith in your ability will act as fuel.  Refer to the article on how failure is success if you’re finding the third condition difficult to meet.  If, during the task, you’re hitting a wall, try to hit some of the easier aspects of the work to regain your confidence.  
In essence, the hardest part of a flow state is initiation, but once you start it’s nearly impossible to stop.  You’ll become addicted to the feeling like a constant adrenaline rush.

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Dissertation Diaries | Entry 1

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I am so sorry for taking a week long hiatus as a result of my birthday.  I was lucky enough to celebrate with my parents and a few friends at Tinseltown.  More details to come in my monthly memories. 

In the UK, dissertations/thesis are a very common practice at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  During my bachelors, I undertook a lab-based dissertation project wherein I worked in the lab from sometimes 7:30am-5:00pm.  If you've worked in a lab before, you know that it is a struggle especially working with very small concentrations that are naked to the human eye.  Although I've changed paths from hard-science to social sciences, more often than not I do miss laboratories and molecular medicine. 

On a happier note, I did get my first choice and dream dissertation project.  We have 4 months to complete this which demonstrates the intensity and time required to do well.  As I'm unsure of how much detail I'm allowed to share, here is the gist: it involves using vaccine coverage data of 195 countries to determine why vaccine-specific country-level coverage varies as it does over a period of time and predicting future vaccine coverage levels of these regions.  We aim to look at about 10 vaccinations and analyse the data in accordance to demographics and GDP levels of the 195 countries.   

Evidently, there is a lot of data to work with.  On top of that, I am to learn a new statistical programming language called 'R'.  We were trained in STATA throughout the year but it seems that R is that bit more powerful and sought after by employers which was another incentive for me to pick this project.  Overall, however, the driving force for me to pick this topic was because I have always had an avid interest in immunisations/vaccinations which is a field of research I could see myself working in. 

Given that this project does not require anything bar a desktop/laptop with R, I have the blessing and curse of working from home.  This means that I am more prone to procrastination and my project is arguably a bit 'dull' in comparison to those who are travelling and conducting surveys in exotic countries such as Uganda or Ghana.  Nevertheless, I myself, am very very happy with the nature of my project as it will teach me R, data analysis and handling, discipline, and quantitative explanations to variations in vaccine coverage. 

Advice for anyone choosing topics for their dissertation:
  1. Pick a topic you can see yourself working in.  This will provide innate motivation to do well and excel in your project. 
  2. Learn new skills.  If your research topic gives you a chance to learn new and important skills, there is no better time to acquire that knowledge than now with academic support available. 
  3. Supervisors are important.  I am very blessed that my supervisor is as involved in the project as myself and is willing to meet in accordance to my schedules.  In addition, my supervisor is aiming for top marks as much as myself.  
  4. Discipline is vital.  Work on your project everyday if possible and give yourself the weekend off.  This will ensure that you do not need to scramble last minute before meetings or deadlines to produce sloppy work.  
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Tag | 100 Questions No one Asks **100th Blogpost!**

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To celebrate my 100th blogpost, I decided to do the '100 questions no one asks you' tag because it seemed the most fitting!  I am so happy at how far my blog has come in such a short amount of time.  I love this and I'm so pleased I finally plucked up the courage and disciple to follow my passions and dreams.  I'm grateful for everyone who has helped contribute through interviews and readers that have remained loyal from the beginning.  I get lovely DMs from you guys saying how you like my work, asking for advice, or giving me ideas on what to talk about.  I am so exceptionally grateful.  Enough with the Hallmark moment, let's move on to these weird and wonderful questions!
1. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed?
Oddly enough, I'm alright with them being open. Some of my closets are so old they physically don't close so I have to live with it.
2. Do you take the shampoos and conditioner bottles from hotels?
Depends on the brand, the only time I have done it was when it was Peter Thomas Roth (which did wonders for my hair at the time, by the way).  My parents are usually against it.
3. Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?
I feel it's too restricting if it's tucked in.  I'm a very restless and dynamic sleeper.
4. Have you stolen a street sign before?
HAHA. No, I can't imagine how that's possible.
5. Do you like to use post-it notes? 

Not really anymore but I use to buy them without fail every 'back to school' season.
6. Do you cut out coupons but then never use them?
All the time.  I'm one of those strange Desi people that's too lazy to hunt for discounts or coupons though I should be more frugal with money.
7. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees?
Big bear!  He's more likely to kill me quickly whereas the bees may not even kill me and just leave me really itchy and in pain. Plus, insects give me the heebie jeebies.
8. Do you have freckles?
No sadly, I sometimes wish I did.
9. Do you always smile for pictures?
Not really, I use to love smiling in pictures but I've grown very insecure that I don't do so anymore - only subtly.  My best friend tells me off for it.
10. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Cheaters, liars, people who don't take responsibility/ownership, and people who chew really loudly.
11. Do you ever count your steps when you walk?
No, but I work out the time it takes for me to get somewhere by foot.  That isn't as fun.
12. Have you peed in the woods?
No but I bet it would feel rather freeing?
13. Have you ever pooped in the woods?
No, I've never been in the woods for a long enough period of time to be in that situation.  I don't think I'd ever want to either as I'm not much of a camper.
14. Do you ever dance even if theres no music playing?
All. The. Time.
15. Do you chew your pens and pencils?
I don't, which is surprising as I have bruxism.
16. How many people have you slept with this week?
No one ever except for my teddy bears.
17. What size is your bed?
Queen.
18. What is your song of the week?
Rewind by Raxstar and Yaar Tera Lit by Mickey Singh.  They're my songs of the year.
19. Is it OK for guys to wear pink?
Of course!  It's actually a super flattering color.
20. Do you still watch cartoons?
Yes. Oswald the Octopus, Arthur, Blues Clues, Moose-A-Moose and Zee, you name it.
21. What is your least favorite movie?
Usually if I don't like a movie, I stop watching it within the first half-n-hour.  Perhaps Babadook and The Sixth Sense I didn't enjoy despite being a horror fanatic.
22. Where would you bury hidden treasure if you had some?
I can't reveal my secrets!
23. What do you drink with dinner?
Pink lemonade is my favorite, but more often than not I'm cheap so I prefer water.
24. What sauce do you dip a chicken nugget in?
Supercharger Sauce from KFC, Ketchup and Mayo, BBQ, or even Curry sauce.  I use to dip it in honey when I was younger, not sure if my pallet still likes that.
25. What is your favorite food?
Hard one!  For fast food, a KFC Zinger Burger, but I love fat noodles so Wok to Walk extra spicy sauce with prawns and pineapple, and Palak Paneer with garlic naan or Hydrabadi Biriyani.
26. What movies could you watch over and over again and still love?
Bahubali The Beginning, Bahubali The Conclusion, Dil Toh Pagal Hai, and Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana.  
27. Were you ever a boy/girl scout?
I was a girl scout!  I absolutely loved it.  Representing Troop #358
28. Last person you kissed/kissed you?
My mom!
29. Would you ever strip or pose nude in a magazine?
Never.
30. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?
Just recently for a friend's birthday- a motivational letter.
31. Can you change the oil on a car?
No idea what that even means.
32. Ever gotten a speeding ticket?
Nope, I haven't driven since passing my test.
33. Ever ran out of gas?
No, thankfully.  Can't imagine how stressful that situation is.
34. What’s your favorite kind of sandwich? 

A sandwhich I love to make: Quorn Turkey Meat, Pesto Sauce on both sides of the bread, Avacado or Guacamole, Lettuce, Ketchup, Mayo, and Tomatos.  Delish! OR from Subway I do love their Tandoori Chicken or veggie patty with jalepenos, olives, peppers, lettuce, pepper jack cheese, and chipotle sauce.
35. Best thing to eat for breakfast?
Pancakes with maple syrup!  But it's rare when I get the chance to have those.  So second best is granola with yogurt and jam.
36. What is your usual bedtime?
Varies a lot.  Currently, it's around 1-2am.
37. Are you lazy?
Sometimes I am.  Physically, yes I am lazy to work out or sometimes even go out but more often than not I get my work done and don't procrastinate too much.
38. When you were a kid, what did you dress up as for Halloween?
What Indian girl didn't put on a Salwaar and call herself an 'Indian Princess'?  It was until I was around 9 I decided to go for witch costumes or fairies instead.
39. What is your Chinese astrological sign?
A rat. Seems fitting.
40. How many languages can you speak?
Barely any to be honest.  I speak English and Telugu fairly fluently, and Hindi and Tamil I can generally understand most of it but I speak quite slow.
41. What magazines do you read?
New Scientist, Vogue, and Elle.  I use to love Teen Vogue when I was a little younger around 15-17.
42. Which are better: legos or lincoln logs?
Lincoln logs without a doubt.  They're way cooler, rustic, and sound epic when you smash them together.
43. Are you stubborn?
I'm a taurus. So of course.
44. Who is better: Leno or Letterman?
I had to look this up because I'm so not cool.  I would have to say Letterman because I've watched his talk-shows more for the sake of the question.
45. Ever watch soap operas?
Oh my gosh, I use to watch so many Indian/Pakistani ones.  Saath Nibhaana Saathiya (the infamous washing laptop serial), Ek Hazaaron Meh Meri Behaana Hai, Punar Vivaah, and Diya aur Baati Hum are the ones I kept up with about 5/6 years ago.  I don't watch any Indian ones now, but as for English ones I love The Resident for its cynical and political aspect, and The Good Doctor because you cannot watch a single episode without crying.
46. Are you afraid of heights?
Not at all.  I was never afraid to climb up high in jungle gyms, playgrounds, or even wall-climbing and outdoor circuits.  I use to love it.  It's more the physical effort I'm afraid of.
47. Do you sing in the car?
When I'm alone or with someone I am 100% comfortable with.
48. Do you sing in the shower?
All the time.  I become the next Beyonce in there.
49. Do you dance in the car?
Too much.
50. Ever used a gun?
Nope and never will.
51. Last time you got a portrait taken by a photographer?
I think this was during my second year of undergrad, I was scouted in a mall and just went with it.  Who doesn't want a free makeover and photoshoot?
52. Do you think musicals are cheesy?
Not at all if it's not too over the top and the lyrics intertwine with the story line and further develop the plot.  I want to see The Lion King so badly in theatres.  Fingers crossed I can soon with my bestie.
53. Is Christmas stressful?
Not at all.
54. Ever eat a pierogi?
I had to look it up.  I haven't, but there is a very similar Hydrabadi equivalent that my mom makes which I've eaten.
55. Favorite type of fruit pie?
I've only ever had apple and cinnamon which I loved.
56. Occupations you wanted to be when you were a kid?
Everything but I think the biggest one was a Vet, Fashion Designer, Lawyer, or Dancer.
57. Do you believe in ghosts?
I'm not sure?
58. Ever have a Deja-vu feeling?
At least once a day.
59. Do you take a vitamin daily?
I am so bad with adhering to any kind of medication.
60. Do you wear slippers?
Not in the house, I guess that's a south-asian thing as my parents find it disrespectful.
61. Do you wear a bath robe?
I don't sadly.  Not quite that bouijee.
62. What do you wear to bed?
PJs. Loose pants and short sleeves. Sometimes socks.
63. What was your first concert?
The Cheetah Girls! I was 10 I believe but Raven wasn't there as she was filming a movie I think.
64. Walmart, Target, or Kmart?
Target for sure.
65. Nike or Adidas?
Adidas.
66. Cheetos or Fritos?
Ooh. This was a tough one.  I would have to say Hot Spicy Cheetos against Fritos, but otherwise I prefer Fritos.
67. Peanuts or Sunflower seeds?
Honey roasted peanuts.
68. Ever hear of the group Tres Bien?
I haven't.  May have to look them up.
*Moments later after googling* Ooh a Jazz Group, I'm sure my dad knows of them in that case.
69. Ever take dance lessons?
Yes, thousands.
70. Is there a profession you picture your future spouse doing?
If the guy is absolutely perfect for me, his job does not even matter one bit.  As long as he's hard working, honest, and noble in his career.  However, I suppose it would be one of the typical Desi Three: Engineering, Medicine, or Law.
71. Can you curl your tongue?
I can! I'm very proud. It's like my only body skill bar being hyperextensive.
72. Ever won a spelling bee?
No sadly, but I've done well on spelling tests, does that count?
73. Have you ever cried because you were so happy?
I'm so over dramatic.  I cry at everything.
74. Own any record albums?
No, sadly.  I use iTunes.
75. Own a record player?
No which is why I don't own any record albums.
76. Do you regularly burn incense?
Everyday my mom does and I personally love it.
77. Ever been in love?
Yup.
78. Who would you like to see in concert?
I love BBC Asian Network Live, I regret missing it this year and completely forgot that it was happening.
79. What was the last concert you saw?
BBC Asian Network Live.
80. Hot tea or cold tea?
Hot tea.  I'm not a cold-drinks person.
81. Tea or coffee?
Coffee.
82. Sugar cookies or snickerdoodles?
This is so hard! I love Snickerdoodles because cinnamon is life, but then frosted sugar cookies are so amazing.  I would have to say Snickerdoodles though as the sweetness is more subtle.
83. Can you swim well?
Yes, I love it.
84. Can you hold your breath without holding your nose?
Yes because half my nose doesn't work anyway.
85. Are you patient?
Really depends on context.  But I would say no.
86. DJ or band at a wedding?
Band/Live performance over a DJ.  Or both.
87. Ever won a contest?
Haha no!  I never enter because I have little confidence in winning.  I think the last time I won at a contest was when I was 7 and drew grapes really well.  The same year I believe at school, one of my writing pieces was put up on the 'Writers Wall of Fame' about a lost kitten.  
88. Have you ever had plastic surgery?
No.
89. Which are better: black or green olives?
Black olives.
90. Can you knit or crochet?
The absolute basics.  My mom's an amazing crocheter and knitter.
91. Best room for a fireplace?
Living room.
92. Do you want to get married?
Yeah, but no rush.
93. If married, how long have you been married?
Never been married.
94. Who was your high school crush?
Didn't really have any.  No offence to my fellow high-school friends.
95. Do you cry and throw a fit until you get your own way?
Not every time, but I have done it before.
96. Do you have kids?
Do my teddy bears count?
97. Do you want kids?
If I find the right spouse, then yes.
98. What is your favorite color?
Orange (Pinky coral orange especially), or any pastel color.
99. Do you miss anyone right now?
I miss my grandfather.
100. Who are you going to tag to do this next?
You!

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Review | L'oreal Matte Lip Paint and Infallible Lip Liner Duo in Stripped Brown

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These are one of my favourite posts and I say that at the start of all of my lip product reviews.  I haven't been buying any new makeup for the past few months. Therefore, I decided to take it upon myself to buy some cool makeup products that I've not yet tried in honour of it being my birthday month.  


I have never ventured into brown lipsticks before.  My safety blanket has always been deep purples and burgundies because everything else appears to wash me out.  Nevertheless, we all have to dive into the deep end at least once so I picked up this Lip Kit for said purpose. The brown lip liner would work with a majority of lip colours in terms of toning down intense shades.  



Price: £6.99

Color: This brown has warm and maroon undertones which would suit those with deeper skin beautifully.  It does not accentuate any ashiness and works with both natural and heavy makeup looks.  Should you be more fair, this could appear very overpowering but with lighter eyeshadows and heavy mascara this could be adapted to suit all spectrums of skin colour.  

Formula: The lipliner applies like a pro. It glides on smoothly and resembles butter.  Many pencil lip liners tend to cause dryness and result in cracking/lines on the lips.  However, this lipliner has quickly become my go-to staple product.   Similarly, the lip paint is very easy to use considering the doe-foot applicator to enable precision.   It is opaque, requiring only one coat on top of the liner and does not make lips appear dehydrated which is a huge plus considering it is the 'matte' formula.  I did find that the lip paint had a slight glossy sheen to it despite it being in the 'matte' range.  

Price: For a drugstore price, it may seem surprising to pay £13 for this duo.  I do believe that is quite expensive but. as I've mentioned before, drugstore brands are raising their prices. However, you can get this as as a limited edition Lip Kit for £9.99 here. 

Longevity:  These two products, when paired, do transfer.  As long as you don't touch your lips or smack them often, you can prolong their wear.  In addition, do not expect any remnants of the shade after eating.  It cannot withstand food which is frustrating but reapplying your lips 2-3 times a day (assuming you're out for 12 hours) is not too much hassle and goes along the same lines for most lip products.  Overall, in my experience, I found that after 3-4 hours there is evidence of fading so touch ups would be necessary and complete clearance of product post a meal.  

Scent: It smells a bit like cherries but not the medicinal kind, the sweeter and delightful kind of cherries.


How it wore throughout the Day
**All pictures are taken WITHOUT filters or editing on my lips**

2:00pm: I'm having a bit of a late start to the day as I'm heading to a little conference.  This morning was just spent lounging in bed but I knew that I wanted to wear this duo today to try it out.  I was incredibly impressed at how well it suited my skin despite being a shade I never would venture out to try.  There are great perks in breaking out of your comfort zone!   I paired it with very heavily mascara-ed eyes to pull the focus on my lips.  


3:30pm: The lips look the same.  I just finished my 40 minute walk to the other campus in the blazing heat but was pleasantly surprised to find that the color remained.  The color became more matte over time perhaps via oxidation.  I didn't drink, eat, or touch my face so there is little chance of transfer.


5:30pm: There is evidence of fading as the room was both hot and cold as the air conditioners were positioned at my knees.  In the centre, my natural lip colour appears to be shining through so there is loss of opacity whilst also becoming more matte.  I wouldn't be inclined to re touch my lips because there is still satisfactory evidence of tint.  However, there is slight dryness on my upper lip and cracking from the product.


6:30pm: Food-1 and Lip Products-0.  So the meal certainly won this fight.  My lip products couldn't stand a chance and there is very small patches on the upper lip with a bit of lip liner on my bottom lip as depicted.  


Overall, I do think the L'oreal Matte Lip Paints and Infallible lip liners are good for events and pictures as the pigmentation is very impressive. However, it may prove a struggle to work with everyday as reapplication will be necessary after eating.  This does open up the opportunity of changing your lip colour throughout the day with ease if that is something that appeals to you.  I will most certainly be using the lip liner as a staple as applying it felt extremely luxurious.  Furthermore, I have purchased another L'oreal Lip Paint but this one is from their 'Lacquer' range instead of 'Matte' which will feature in a separate post.  In essence, I do think I will gravitate to their other matte lip paints for events with intention to reapply.  


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What's inside the Creme de la Mer? Part #2

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The first 'What's inside the Creme de la Mer' was extremely fun to do so, as promised, here is part 2!  You can read the first one here if you haven't yet which discusses, I believe, the main components of the cream that are in highest concentration.  Concentrations are not listed on the product therefore, this is simply an educated guess.  

**DISCLAIMER: I am not a dermatologist.  If you have any specific questions or issues, do consult a GP or qualified dermatologist first before introducing any new product into your skincare regime.  My information is based on the sources listed below and my own knowledge and understanding obtained from my undergraduate degree in Molecular Medicine.  I simply wanted to share my findings and verdict.  Take whatever is said with a pinch of salt.

Heliantus Anuus (sunflower) seedcake

I was struggling to find information using the term 'seedcake' but there is a wealth of information discussing it in oil form.  In fact, there is a skincare brand called 'My Trusty Skincare' which is a brand made and ran leading NHS scientists.  They discussed the importance of linoleic acid in sunflower oil which has many beneficial properties in the skin.  The product range is centred around sunflower and their benefits.  (1)  In 2016, a randomised control trial was conducted regarding the use of olive oil, sunflower oil, or no oil for babies with dry skin.  It was found that the oils did improve hydration but this study was not powered for clinical significance and was a pilot study that focused on the correlation between oils, dry skin, and dermatitis/ezcema formation.  (2)  Going back to linoleic acid, it was found to increase wound healing mass and aid in the inflammatory phase in rats.  Thus, it could speed up the wound healing process which is beneficial. (3)  Other studies have labelled it as an essential nutrient that could help treat skin-related disorders that can result due to linoleic acid deficiency.  (4)  Along similar lines, it was found that dietary alpha linoleic acid suppresses UVB induced skin injury in hairless mice in comparison to other linoleic acids.  However, the same result was not seen when used topically.  (5) Overall, there seems to be positive results with regards to the use of sunflower especially with regards to wound healing and scarring.  

Prunus Amygdulus dulcis (sweet almond) seed meal 

I was really struggling to find evidence for sweet almond in skin care in scientific journals.  However, it goes without surprise that almond is used in a lot of product ranges of various companies and brands such as Holland and Barretts and The Body Shop to name a few.  Almonds are rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids and vitamin E and zinc, which we learnt was an antioxidant to help with free radicals.  Apparently, almond is not only beneficial for the skin topically, but also has dietary benefits in hair growth and acne but there are no official scientific studies supporting this claim.  (6) A 2007 study found that topical use of sweet almond oil in mice can prevent initial UV light induced photoaging and have protective effects.  It can also decelerate the effects of photoageing. (7)  Furthermore, it has been found that sweet almond oil helps brighten and depuff the under eye area which could be beneficial with regards to the Creme de la Mer.  (8)  Lastly, sweet almond has been found to have a protein hydrosylate fraction which can modify the proinflammatory cytokines and enzymes in activated macrophages.  This means, that the use of sweet almond could potentially aid inflammatory conditions such as ezcema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.  (9) A list of all the potential benefits can be found here but do mind the credibility of the source.  However, it can be helpful guidance. 

Sodium/Potassium/Copper/Magnesium Gluconate 

So there are many gluconates.  Copper gluconate is found to be an antioxidant molecule with anti-ageing properties.  (10) Sodium gluconate on the other hand is a skin conditioner that aids in moisture retention and is commonly used in mouth washes, bath, shampoo, and skin care products. (11) Magnesium gluconate is meant to function similarly as a skin conditioner. (12) (13) Potassium gluconate is also a skin conditioner. (14) In terms of gluconates, there is little scientific research about gluconates and their benefits or risks in skincare.  

Paraffin 

Apparently, there is a risk of catching fire and dying with regular use of paraffin due to its flammability. Between 2010-2017, there have been 37 deaths. A common cream being E45 so a warning label must be on the product for flammable risks.  (15)  Paraffin is commonly used to soften and smooth the skin, and act as a barrier to prevent moisture loss.  However, some dermatologists believe that paraffin is not actively aiding skincare repair but rather helps the product spread easily.  Therefore, this is most likely added to improve the texture of the cream than to have skin care benefits. (16)  However, as with anything listed here DO NOT EAT IT.  

Tocopheryl Succinate 

Tocopheryl succinate has the chemical structure of C33H54O5.  It is also known as Vitamin E succinate, thereby exhibiting antioxidant properties which will aid in counteracting free radicals.  It has shown use as both a supplement and topically in creams.  (17) This suggests that it is safe to use topically and will provide a level of skincare benefits.  However, other sources are concerned with its use as an ingestible as there are data gaps present. (18) The CIR claims that Vitamin E succinate acts more as a light stabiliser and skin conditioner than an antioxidant but dermal use showed very little side effects or negative outcomes. (19) There has been debate on whether synthetic vitamin E succinate is as favorable as naturally occurring vitamin E succinate.  Unfortunately, studies have demonstrated that naturally occurring vitamin E succinate is more effective.  (17) Although there are studies which suggest that it can prevent free-radical mediated damage (21), it was found that it does not aid in preventing photocarcinogenesis which should be considered. One must use an SPF with this product because studies shows that it does not protect against UVB rays. (20)

Niacin 

Niacin is also known as vitamin B3, a water soluble B vitamin, which facilitates metabolic reactions, cell signalling, and DNA repair.  (22)  It plays a vital role in getting rid of toxic and harmful chemicals from the body and is said to have anti-ageing properties.  This is done by increasing vasodilation which allows increased blood flow to the cells for oxygen saturation and removal of waste products of metabolism such as carbon dioxide.  (23)  The American Academy of Dermatology believes that topical use of niacin has anti inflammatory properties, treat dry skin, and improve discoloration.  (24) Users have also shown a reduction in wrinkles with the use of niacin published in March 2010 by Proctor and Gamble after 8 weeks of use with 0.02 concentration.  Lastly, there have been claims of it being beneficial against acne and acne prone skin such as study published in 1995 in the International Journal of Dermatology. (25) In relation to dermal toxicity, studies did not find any irreversible side effects.  For example, although there is risk with irritation of the skin and eyes, these were recorded as 'marginal' and is to be expected with multiple skincare products. (26)

1. https://mytrustyskincare.co.uk/about-us/
2. https://www.medicaljournals.se/acta/content/abstract/10.2340/00015555-2279
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17918246
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3650500/
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3650500/
6. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/Benefits-of-almonds-for-skin-hair-and-health/articleshow/26842229.cms
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17348990
8. https://draxe.com/almond-oil/
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23575976
10. https://www.paulaschoice.com/ingredient-dictionary/antioxidants/copper-gluconate.html
11. http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/sodium-gluconate
12. https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/703692/MAGNESIUM_GLUCONATE/#.Wu3lKNOUu8o
13. http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/magnesium-gluconate
14. http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/potassium-gluconate
15. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/skin-creams-paraffin-link-fire-death-inquest-christopher-holyoake-a7637806.html
16. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/paraffin-wax-beauty-products-treatments_n_7544194
17. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/425400#section=Top
18. https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706907/VITAMIN_E_SUCCINATE/#.Wu3rPdOUu8o
19. https://www.cir-safety.org/sites/default/files/tocoph032014FR.pdf
20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8875555
21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12227877
22. https://www.dermstore.com/blog/niacin-skin-benefits/
23. https://www.dermascope.com/aging/niacin-more-than-anti-aging
24. Hilton, Lisette. An Update on latest in cosmeceuticals. Cosmetic Surgery Times Reports 2004.
25. https://www.livestrong.com/article/461488-skin-benefits-of-niacin/
26. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16596767
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