After a week of box-hauling and inevitable yet unforeseen expenses, I hopped out of the shower and straight to the wardrobe to shake things up from the norm; untamed hair, that ‘difficult’ wardrobe item that never seems right for the day’s occasions in the morning, and a wine-phobic pair of white jeans that managed to survive the day.
To an extreme. A, dare I say it, religious extreme. We wake up most mornings thinking about it. Praying our efforts don’t get ruined by forces out of our control. We obsess over the loss of it, change of it, silver-crept ageing of it, and more.
And few of us are atheists. Despite priding myself on my intellect and kindness far above my follicles, I have spent decades tonging, bleaching, and masking my hair. If anything ‘of the flesh’ was to consume me, it would be the mass of tortured strands on my head.
The realisation came unexpectedly and I knew I had to break the chain.
Aptly named as it could could be, The Chapel provided a personal hair mecca.
While my first visit had little to do with hair whatsoever, the environment left such a positive imprint on me I knew it was the place to turn to cut more than half my hair off. To finally fill in those over-bleached ends. To get over the use of hair as a security blanket*.
In two separate appointments, Oliver (and a slew of truly kind salon accomplices) took me from weighed down to the glossiest, bobbed version of myself I could hope for. With the service, laughter, and know-how of proper barnet apostles.
As my hair grows out, the gloss will fade into a healthy version of the natural colour I can barely remember. And I can’t wait.
As someone with naturally long but ‘heavy’ eyelashes, my friends and acquaintances will comment that I look tired without makeup or a good lash curling. Unfortunately, when an expensive lash curler snapped mid-curl (and next to my eye) a few months ago I developed a small phobia of the devices.
It seemed, without investing in the hassle of eyelash extensions, I would have to subject my face to simply looking a little bit sleepier from then on.
The Lash Bar‘s Lash Lift honestly changed everything. Without makeup, the Lift gives the impression of full and fluttery lashes. Volume and all.
Though a patch test is required (as it should always be with most cosmetic treatments), the process is pain-free, pregnancy-safe, and a great excuse to add a nap to your day. There is also no down time (bar 24 hours of no lash-to-water contact), no real care requirements, and the results have lasted months with no visible difference as new lashes grow in.
Tangle Angel Pro
From an OCD perspective, I hate having things ‘out’ on my dresser. All but a few aesthetically-planned fragrances or oils tend to stay on show. Until this Tangle Angel Pro came along and delighted my hair as much as my eyes.
The heat and water-resistant brush is a detangler on crack. The scientifically developed blade-shaped bristles flex in opposite directions to loose tangles gently while its unique anti static earthing strip minimises flyaways and helps you master a truly banging blow dry.
For my naturally renegade ringlets, it has been a godsend.
Beauty Boulevard Glitter Lips
It doesn’t get any better than glitter lips for my fellow unicorn types. This product – which has remarkable staying power – has the power to transform a bare face into babe face in literal seconds. The colour, comfort, and durability meet every expectation you could possibly want and the glitter – compared to other sparkle-toting competitors – cannot be beat.
Forbidden – their intense red shade – is my dream come true.
We all use a wide range of cosmetics on a daily basis to help us stay squeaky clean, smell nice, and look our damned best. We need them and we cannot imagine our lives without them, but the cosmetic products most of us are using are also rather, well, toxic. The beauty industry is the driving allowance of countless companies’ production of cosmetics with abnormally high levels of chemicals. Some are used to prolong a product’s shelf life, some provide them certain desirable aesthetic characteristics, and some simply cost the companies a lot less than the natural alternative. Which would all be fun and games, I suppose, if they didn’t run the risk of causing major health problems…
• Why do people buy cosmetics if they are toxic?
It is enough to take a look at the label of one of the products you use and you will see at least several ingredients that you won’t be able to understand. These ingredients are chemicals created in laboratories that most certainly have a set of undesired side-effects for your health and wellbeing. But what if the label of a product mentions that it is “natural”, would that make the product safer? The truth is that the word “natural” does not indicate that a cosmetic product is chemical-free. Any cosmetics manufacturer can use the word “natural” on the label of his products even if the products contain as little as 0.1% natural ingredients in their composition. In fact, not even the mention “organic” can guarantee the fact that the products you use are entirely safe. Organic products must have at least 70% ingredients that were certified as organic. This means that there is still 30% left of a product’s content that can easily contain a wide array of chemicals. So, people buy cosmetics because they either don’t know what they contain, they don’t care because they are not aware of the consequences, or they don’t bother to look at the label because they can’t understand the ingredients.
• Toxic chemicals are more present then we’d like to admit
As long as there are laboratories functioning out in the world, there will be chemicals created in an alert rhythm. Without us, the consumers, knowing too much about it, it is believed that somewhere around 1000 new chemicals hit the marketplaces of the world every single year. And each of these has their own ways of doing damage to our body. In fact, researchers in the US identified no less than 82,000 different ingredients, which can be found in personal care products, with extremely toxic consequences. Some of them are responsible for triggering cancer, other are causing reproductive issues, while some are affecting the levels of our natural hormones, just to name a few of the severe issues caused by these toxic chemicals . Like the alarming appearance rate of these toxins is not good enough to get us in trouble, the rather elusive language used in the cosmetic industry puzzle us even more, making us trust products that can actually produce permanent damage to our body.
• Chemical exposure due to beauty products may be to blame for the increasing infertility cases
It is not a secret anymore that the birth rate in many areas around the globe, in particular in developed countries where the population has easy access to a wide range of cosmetics, is
going down for the past decades. And even if women do get pregnant, there are many situations in which the unborn baby or the young child, experience a set of health problems. These conditions may be triggered by the chemicals stored by the mother’s body while she used cosmetic products. Several reports were created that looked at how the chemicals contained by shampoos, nail polishes, skin lotions, makeup products, and other personal care products lead to infertility, birth defects, and other pregnancy-related issues. It is true that the studies were conducted on animals and that it is not known with certainty if the same results can appear in the case of humans as well, but since they are toxins, we can’t expect anything good to happen if we use them .
• Some of the most commonly met chemicals –
These are the preservatives used in the cosmetic industry to provide cosmetic products a long life on store shelves. They can be found in almost any type of cosmetic products and can act as endocrine disruptors. Plus they can act like estrogen, a female hormone, and lead to the formation of breast tumors. You can see them under the form of Methyl paraben, Ethyl paraben, Propyl paraben, and Isobutyl paraben, the last two being the most toxic.
They can be found in nail polishes, lipstick, hair sprays, shampoo, perfumes, and nail polish removers, and may be listed as Diethylhexyl phthalate, Dibutyl phthalate, which are the most toxic, Dimethyl phthalate, and Diethyl phthalate. They are usually linked to birth defects in the case of boys, can affect male fertility, and lead to liver cancer.
It is a substance found in soaps and anti-bacterial products in general, although you can find it in deodorants, toothpaste, and body washes. It is believed to affect hormonal balances, lead to improper function of the muscles, heart disease, and heart failure. The worst part is that it may appear under a wide variety of names, such as microban, Cloxifenolum, Lexol 300, Tinosan SDC, just to name a few.
SLS is a group of compounds that include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, which can appear under the names of sulfuric acid, sodium salt, aquarex ME and aquarex methyl, dodecyl sulfate, monododecyl ester, and others. These chemicals can irritate the eyes, the skin, are toxic to our organs, act as neurotoxins, affect fertility, can produce gene mutation and even cancer. They can be found in make-up foundations, scalp treatments, hair dyes and hair bleaches, shampoos, liquid soaps, bath oils and salts, and body washes.
• Is there a way to stay away from these chemicals?
Yes, you need to replace your daycare routine with products that are entirely safe. There aren’t very many in comparison with the rest, but you can find them. In order to be sure that you are using safe products, always read their labels. If you can’t pronounce something on the label, then that’s probably a chemical. There are many natural oils and herbal extracts that can be used for the making of safe cosmetic products, for a natural beauty and great health. In the case of reverse hair washing for example, which is great for thin or dull hair, you can use coconut oil to moisturize the hair, using a safe sulfate-free shampoo afterward. There are alternatives out there; you just need to look for them.
Or so I’d imagine.
The purple LED walls, the rambunctious international clientele, the nightclub-worthy booths…it is just all so undeniably extra.
It was an organic choice for one of our city’s most celebrated beauty brands to collaborate with STK’s London outpost to launch their latest product.
The long-awaited arrival of Ciaté’s Glitter Flip – an immovable and sparkle-packed matte lipstick – encouraged a partnership of glitter-topped cocktails and desserts with the modern steakhouse.
After being greeted by the manager (not a food writer privilege but a valued facet of the brand’s flawless service), I read through the menu at the speed of a paradoxical turtle. Though a rare fillet was the inevitable choice for an evening of carnivorous fork-waggling, STK’s smaller seafood options were too enticing to go unordered.
To soak up some of the Ciaté Glittertini (a grapefruit, orange sanguine and passionfruit bitter concoction housed in a glitter-rimmed martini glass – conceivably created for Instagram alone), we started with wasabi remoulade-filled soft shell crab sliders (heightened to genuine perfection with pickled ginger) and sesame-seeded tuna tataki plated with wasabi and an avocado & dashi salad.
Decidedly focused on rare fillets from then on, my date opted for his steak pepper-crusted in a peppercorn sauce while my smaller version came beneath an indulgent duck egg and light flashes of Béarnaise. Both were, requisite of eponynimity, high quality but a tad too expensive to give the likes of Goodman any sleepless nights.
The best of the mains, surprisingly, took the form of a shared citrus marinated Burratina salad with smoked aubergine puree, heirloom tomatoes, and olives.
But you guys know how I feel about ye olde mozzarella pouches.
Full beyond any dessert requirement, we couldn’t leave without sampling the trio of Ciaté Glitter Cones (glamorously designed homemade rhubarb ice cream cones) and gargantuan crème brulee.
As the old adage goes; when in first class unicorn lounges…
(Until September 29th, guests who order the specially created Ciaté Glitter Cones or a Ciaté Glittertini cocktail at STK London – from Monday to Friday – will be treated to a complimentary full size sample of the Glitter Flip liquid lipstick in Fortune, a £10 Ciaté voucher, a 20% STK London voucher, and a mini bottle of Belvedere vodka.)