Dealing with Rejection

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Rejection- no one's favourite word.  It's hard to see the positives when receiving news or encountering such a situation.  Today, I have been rejected from doing something I was extremely excited and passionate about pursuing.  Despite being upset initially, I began to see the bright side and wanted to discuss this revelation in hopes to bring light to someone in a similar predicament. 

A huge source of rejection is timing.  We may not be ready, but doesn't mean we aren't suitable.  It's easy to convince ourselves that we aren't good enough when facing rejection, regardless of the specific circumstance.  However, the gift of time to prepare and ready yourself for a similar opportunity or chance in the future is just that, a gift.  In my case, I will not be on the competing dance team which I prayed God for on the daily.  Was I crushed to learn that I didn't get past the second stage of try outs? Of course!  Nevertheless, I can attempt to compete next year and have been granted one year clean up my technique and gain the required skills.  I'll be more confident, stronger, and better when it comes to auditions second time around. 

This was a similar case when it came to applying for medicine as a graduate.  Looking back, I realise that being a graduate on my course rather than coming straight out of high school is a better path for myself because I have achieved multiple transferable skills to enable me to optimally utilise this degree and experience. 

Along the same lines, I now have more time for self development to seek other interests.  I can take dance classes, focus on my studies with more intensity, and spend more time with loved ones.  One day I may wish I had more gaps in my planner, so it's better to express that gratitude now.  Furthermore, I can place more effort into my blog (and actually stick to a posting schedule) and perhaps begin vlogging like I've stated in previous posts.  It's an opportunity to try something new!

Lastly, rejection is humbling.  For me, it has certainly resulted in self-realisation.  Sometimes, it is scary to be a small fish in a big pond but that is what will facilitate growth.  This experience, although not that 'deep' with regards to other contexts of rejection, will motivate and drive me to be and do better.  After all, we should always aim to be better than who we were yesterday. 
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Best Drugstore Brushes

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1. Moda Pro Chisel BMX-250 100% Vegan - £7.99


I always found angled brushes very ergonomic.  This brush is stiff and dense enough to hold and blend product thoroughly whilst getting into the nooks and crannies of the face.   It doesn't absorb product onto it's bristles allowing for even application. I use this for both my foundation and concealer as it provides a flawless and streakless finish.   Whenever I plan on using makeup, this is my go-to staple. 


2. ELF Powder Brush - £5.00



Everyone loves ELF for their cheap as chips prices.  This powder brush mimics a flat top kabuki brush, although it may not be as dense.  It is perfect for blending out foundation for a selfie-ready finish.  I personally prefer using it to apply powdered foundation as it ensures you do not use too heavy of a hand but you can build up your coverage from medium to full.

3. ELF Eyeshadow Brush - £2.00



This was my very first eyeshadow brush and will be the last one I use as well.  The bristles are so dense that it picks up an amazing amount of eyeshadow for an opaque application.  I personally have not experienced any fall out when using this brush and have owned it for 5+ years which demonstrates its sustainability.  Whether you're a beginner or professional makeup artist, this eyeshadow brush is fool proof.

4. EcoTools Retractable Kabuki Brush - £12.99



Kabuki brushes are great for blending out foundation, applying powder to set the face, or ensuring there are no harsh contour or blush lines when using blush, highlight, or bronzer.  I personally love the Ecotools retractable kabuki brush, even though the price is at the higher end of the spectrum.  For similar reasons above, I've owned this brush for 5+ years and have not experienced fall out or irritation as the synthetic bristles are extremely soft.  EcoTools is known for sustainability and long-lasting products that never fail the consumer. 

5. Moda Pro Crease BMX 430 Brush - £5.99



I'm tempted to invest in all of Moda Pro's brushes!  We all need a crease brush to blend out our eyeshadow.  Blending is the most important step in makeup!  This brush is extremely soft and picks up product like a pro.  I prefer the long handle as, the further away you hold the brush, the better the blending when it comes to your crease.  The handles itself of the Moda Pro brushes have a synthetic leather texture which feels luxurious and professional at the touch.  

In essence,  I use these brushes on a day-to-day basis.  They are staple for all my makeup looks: for occasions and everyday.  They've never failed me and wash easily with soapy water without fall out or loose bristles.  The price range falls far below most high end brushes but can easily compete with luxury brands.  10/10 would recommend!  
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Sort Out Your Wardrobe in Three Easy Steps

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I love to hoard my clothes.  It's an unhealthy habit that causes me to hold onto pieces that I swear I will wear when x, y, or z happens.  But that day never comes.  Over the past couple of years, I've been living in student accommodation which means very little storage space.  I do not have a house or home where I can store any excess clothes so I have to carry my entire wardrobe wherever I relocate.  Therefore, I've been forced to be very strict with what I can keep or donate.

With each piece, it is vital to consider three important questions.  If you answer 'no' to any of the following questions, donate it.  Try not to think twice unless there is serious sentimental values attached to the clothing.  Let go of the old to welcome the new!

If you randomly picked a piece in your wardrobe- would you wear it?

Before, if I picked a clothing piece from my wardrobe at random, it would be nearly impossible for me to integrate it into an outfit that I would feel confident in.  Having cleaned out my wardrobe, it is significantly easier to work around any piece in my closet (granted it is weather and occasion appropriate) to conjure up a look. If you are more than likely to put the piece back and pick something else, it may be time to donate it.  It's like the concept with flipping coins to make decisions: there is always something we like more than the other.

Does it fit?


We all like to lie to ourselves.  I am a prime example.  'Of course I will fit into those jeans when I'm skinnier or gain more muscle in the derriere', but until then, it takes up useless space.  For sure we should allocate some of our clothes for when we attain those fitness goals but it if more than 25% of your closet is made up by pieces that you cannot physically wear, it may be time to donate them.  A better scenario is to air-tight pack them to store elsewhere so you can maintain your closet/wardrobe space.  It gives you a better idea of what is readily available to wear.


Do you have anything to go with it?


Black leggings are a staple for me.  Thus, I try to make sure my dresses and skirts will match black leggings or tights.  Given that I do not feel comfortable bearing my legs, it is important to ensure that my tops can compliment black leggings in a flattering way.  You don't need to compromise on style or warmth!

Hence, try to ensure that the pieces in your closet can easily form an outfit that ensures you are dressed appropriately for the weather and oozes confidence.  There is no point in buying a lone top that you believe has no complimentary bottoms.  If you cannot bring yourself to get rid of it, then send yourself on a shopping spree!  Make a pile of all the clothing items you own that currently cannot be made into an outfit.  Try to find pieces that work with, not only these products, but also easily fit into your everyday style and wardrobe.


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What is Hyaluronic Acid?

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Source: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Molecular-structure-of-repeating-unit-of-hyaluronic-acid-HA_fig1_7519315

 I am excited to bring another 'science that underpins beauty' post about hyaluronic acid.  



DISCLAIMER: Take my scientific findings with a pinch of salt.  Be sure to always do a patch test before incorporating any new products into your regime.  Do not hesitate to discuss and seek advice from a GP or dermatologist for further information about any skin care products you are concerned about.  I am not a doctor nor cosmetic chemist.  

Hyaluronic acid ([ C14H21NO11]n) is a very common skincare ingredient that many brands are promoting in their products.  It is also known as hyaluronan and is a anionic, non-sulfated glycosaminoglycan.  In other words, it is a natural occurring sugar which appears in our connective, epithelial, and our neural tissues.  It is a major component of the extracellular matrix, which holds the cells, and acts to retain retain water or moisture.  Therefore, hyaluronic acid has the ability to hold 1000 times its own weight in water, which makes it a keen supplement for beauty products.  However, due to it being a polysaccharide, it is in fact a huge molecule that cannot penetrate into the dermis layer of the skin. Nevertheless, it attracts water to the surface of the skin to give the appearance of hydrated skin and prevents water from leaving the skin cells. Thus, it acts as a humectant. (6)


It has been found to be a major component of the skin and is involved in repairing of tissues due to exposure to the sun's UVB rays.  This results in the dermis layer to slow down and stop the production of hyaluronic acid, and increases degradation of hyaluronic acid.  (1)  On top of this, it acts as a vital player in wound repair and healing, such as the formation of scaffolds by attaching to fibronectin to accelerate would-healing processes.  (2) 


Furthermore, it induces early inflammation, working in both promotion and management of inflammation, which helps improve the wound healing process.  Finally, with regards to skin, hyaluronic acid is crucial in ensuring re-epithelialization in the normal epidermis.  This is where epithelial cells migrate to the injured region in the skin for healing and repair.  It acts to regulate free-radicals, and keratinocyte proliferation and migration. (3) 


Sodium hyaluronate has proven to aid in treating dry skin due to atopic dermatitis via topical application in a lotion form.  (4) It is also the primary component in many cosmetic surgeries such as dermal fillers for the lips.  (5) This blogpost is only going to focus on the topical use of hyaluronic acid, not surgical.


A huge reason why hyaluronic acid is a key ingredient in skin care is because as we age, we naturally produce less hyaluronic acid.  This results in fine lines, wrinkles, and sunken skin.  This explains the need to inject it to give the illusion of youthful, plump, and healthy skin. (7) 


Nevertheless, some studies suggest that there is still a knowledge gap and more trials should be carried out to justify the claim that hyaluronic acid used topically is as effective as injectables. 


A study by Poetschke et al in 2016 found that the dept of perioral and orbital wrinkles (mouth and eyes) decreased in dept by from 10-20% and skin tightness increased by 13-30%, but little change in skin elasticity.   (8) This is a very promising clinical trial which involved the use of skincare products from Nivea, Lancome, Chanel, and Balea.  Only 20 people were enrolled in the trial which is a small sample size, and other ingredients in the four products chosen could also be playing a role in improving skin tightness and reducing wrinkle dept.  Jegasothy et al in 2014 also found that there was increased reduction in skin roughness and skin elasticity after 2, 4 and 8 weeks of use and reduced dept of wrinkles by up to 40%, skin hydration by 96%, and skin tightness/firmness and elasticity by 55% in 8 weeks.  (11)


Bukhari et al in 2018 has found that hyaluronic acid is not limited to just wound healing and repair, but diagnosis of cancer, tissue regeneration, anti-inflammation, and immunomodulation.  Through a literature review, it was concluded that hyaluronic acid exhibits significant anti-wrinkle, anti-ageing, and face rejuvenation properties via improved skin hydration, collagen, and elastin stimulation. (9)


One of the primary side effects to hyaluronic acid is a result of the size of the molecule.  Hyaluronic acid can come in three forms: 



  • High molecular weight hyaluronic acid at 1000-1400 kDa
  • Medium molecular weight hyaluronic acid
  • Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid (20-300 kDa)

Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid can cause inflammation which could actually lead to ageing so this highlights the importance of a patch test and checking the label. 

Therefore, if you would rather indirectly incorporate hyaluronic acid into your regime, you can use hyaluronic acid stimulators such as vitamin C, glycine saponin, green tea extractors, and glycolic acid (read more here).  (10)


In essence, I do believe that the mechanism of action of hyaluronic acid in our body naturally and topically could prove very beneficial with regular use.  Furthermore, studies seem to demonstrate significant results.  I do believe that further studies should be conducted to look into side effects associated with long term use and products should be labelled appropriately if low molecular weight hyaluronic acid is present.   Finally, as always, do a PATCH TEST FIRST before incorporating any new products into your skin care regime and do not hesitate to discuss and seek advice from a GP or dermatologist.  


References:


1. Averbeck M, Gebhardt CA, Voigt S, Beilharz S, Anderegg U, Termeer CC, Sleeman JP, Simon JC (2007). "Differential regulation of hyaluronan metabolism in the epidermal and dermal compartments of human skin by UVB irradiation". J. Invest. Dermatol127 (3): 687–97. doi:10.1038/sj.jid.5700614PMID 17082783.


2. Shu XZ, Ghosh K, Liu Y, Palumbo FS, Luo Y, Clark RA, Prestwich GD (2004). "Attachment and spreading of fibroblasts on an RGD peptide-modified injectable hyaluronan hydrogel". J Biomed Mater Res A68 (2): 365–75. doi:10.1002/jbm.a.20002PMID 14704979.


3.Chen WY, Abatangelo G (1999). "Functions of hyaluronan in wound repair". Wound Repair Regen7 (2): 79–89. doi:10.1046/j.1524-475x.1999.00079.xPMID 10231509.


4. "Hylira gel: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings"Drugs.com.


5. Edwards, PC; Fantasia, JE (2007). "Review of long-term adverse effects associated with the use of chemically-modified animal and nonanimal source hyaluronic acid dermal fillers"Clinical Interventions in Aging2 (4): 509–19. PMC 2686337PMID 18225451.


6. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/beauty/skin/what-is-hyaluronic-acid-beauty-by-the-geeks/


7. https://www.dermalogica.co.uk/what-is-hyaluronic-acid%3F/what-is-hyaluronic-acid,en_GB,pg.html


8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27221554 Anti-wrinkle creams with hyaluronic acid: how effective are they? PMID: 27221554 DOI: 10.1007/s15006-016-8302-1


9. Bukhari, Syed Nasir Abbas, et al. “Hyaluronic Acid, a Promising Skin Rejuvenating Biomedicine: A Review of Recent Updates and Pre-Clinical and Clinical Investigations on Cosmetic and Nutricosmetic Effects.” International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, vol. 120, 2018, pp. 1682–1695., doi:10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.09.188.


10. http://www.honestyforyourskin.co.uk/hyaluronic-acid-side-effects/


11. Jegasothy SM, Zabolotniaia V, Bielfeldt S. Efficacy of a New Topical Nano-hyaluronic Acid in Humans. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. 2014;7(3):27-29.
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Benefits of Bangs/ A Fringe

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I've been contemplating getting bangs/a fringe for a few weeks now but continuously chicken out when it comes to booking an appointment.  The type that I wanted were wispy and across the forehead style - a full time management job.  Nevertheless, I was ready for the change because my hair has grown a lot and just required some sort of body, texture, or personality.  However, the hairdressers said that such a cut wouldn't suit my face shape.  Apparently, my forehead is too short (I always thought I had the opposite problem).  Instead, she suggested getting a wispy side fringe and allow my face to be framed better.  She demonstrated 

Fun Tip!  I highly recommend going to training academy salons to get your hair cut as they are significantly cheaper and sometimes even free if you are a student with an ID card.  Although it may be nerve-wrecking to get it done by students, bare in mind that most of them are working full-time in a salon whilst studying for their hairdressing qualification.  Also, a fully trained professional is always on site to oversee what is being done by all the students.  They are happy to intervene when necessary or if you ask.   On the other hand, most salons only charge up to £5 to get bangs/a fringe so be sure to specify if you don't want a full head styling.  

Here are the benefits of getting a fringe/bangs!

1. If you tend to wear your hair up (in a bun, ponytail, braids/plait etc.), having some sort of fringe that frames your face will make the look 100x more flattering.  It will also help prevent you from getting a receding hairline due to constantly scraping your hair back!  You can see the difference if you compare the below picture (without fringes) to the above one (with fringes).



2. My wispy side fringe actually blends into my hair really nicely when I let my hair down.  You can barely tell if I've gotten it shaped or styled.  This is beneficial if you want the best of both worlds!  It is a lot more noticeable when my hair is styled or pinned.  

3. Less headaches!  Because I can wear more low ponytails (pictured above), there is less tension and thus, pain in the long run.  In addition, if I wear my hair in a high ponytail, there is less strain at the front of my roots above my forehead which also helps to reduce any impending headaches but not completely. 

4. You can maintain professionalism with a side fringe/bangs.  They are actually very elegant and add sophistication.  A fear of mine was that I may end up looking childlike or having hair in my face can seem unprofessional.  Nevertheless, I do think it is a significant improvement to my peeled-back hair look I rocked previously.  

All in all, I highly recommend getting a wispy side fringe if it is an idea you have been toying with. Don't hesitate to ask your hairdresser for advice (and a student discount!) because they've dealt with many head shapes and knows what works best for you.  



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