Bronzed and beautiful: a guide to glow

This is orange (aka bad)

Avoid skin that is too orange (a.k.a Oompa Loompa)

Golden tanned skin is always tres popular in the beauty world – but we all know that bronzed skin is safest from a bottle, not the sun. But while embracing the faux glow is better for both health and skin, there are certain tricks that will keep things easy, golden and even – rather than patchy, time consuming and, well, orange (see picture for example).

Top faux glow tips – get a spray tan

The easiest way to glow is to head to your local spray tanning specialist. A spray tan can be customised to what will work for your skin, usually lasts for a full week, and even better, comes out even and golden all over. But there are some spray tanning points to keep in mind. First, talk to the tanner. Tell them what you want (and if you’re new to to all, start with the lightest shade to be safe). Ask questions about the tan spray they use. Is it suitable for sensitive skin? How does is work on different types and shades of skin.

There are a few drawbacks to a spray tan. Firstly, it’s expensive, especially if you get them done regularly. Secondly, you’ll have to strip down (we’re talking panties, or for the best effect, birthday suit), so make sure you’re comfortable with that. Thirdly, you really need to go in clean, with no make up, moisturiser or even deoderant, then not wash it off for about 9 hours so it can develop.  But, particularly for a special occasion, it’s worth it.

Top faux glow tip –  tan in a bottle

There are a myriad of DIY fake tans on the market. It’s easy to choose your preferred depth of tan, and apply it from your own bathroom.  St Tropez offer a great range of products, from tanning mists, to mousses, to even tan extenders to prolong that golden glow. Ella Bache also has a good array of different tanning products that suit a variety of skin types, and ModelCo’s ‘Airbrush In A Can’ can give you the seamless look of a spray tan whenever you like. On the cheaper end of things, Palmer’s ‘Bronze Sunless Tanner‘ is just as a effective, smells yummy, has a built in bronzer – and is a snip at under $12.To be honest, it’s one of The Beauty Sneak‘s personal faves. Just remember, with any of these sunless tans you need to EXFOLIATE like a demon first to remove any dead skin cells (and guarantee an even application).

Gradual tanning is a more subtle way to build up a golden bronze, combining a gentle glow with a body moisturiser that you can use every day. It’s a great way to gradually get to the colour you want – and perfect for beginners. Palmers do a great one called ‘Natural Bronze‘, which keeps your skin soft as a baby’s, all while giving you a natural tan. Dove ‘s ‘Summer Glow‘ is another such easy-to-use gem.

Top faux glow tip –  bronzers for face

The Beauty Sneak not a fan of the tanning one’s face with a DIY, since it’s a tricky one to hide if things go pineapple shaped (or orange coloured). So bronzers are key to keep your face and body all matchy-matchy. A good bronzer is a great investment – whether you’re tanned or not. It gives you a quick boost of instant colour, and can be a great beauty pick-me-up when you’re feeling a bit blah.

Stila’s ‘Sun Bronzer’ is a fantastically easy way to sweep on a gentle tan. And Too Faced’s ‘Chocolate Soleil Bronzer‘ not only delivers a great colour, it smells like – you guessed it – chocolate. On the more affordable side of things, Natio serves up both powder and liquid bronzers to give your face a golden tan, without costing a bomb.

So it’s easy to get that natural ‘I’ve just spent a week at the beach’ look without patchy colour, hours of effort or too-orange skin. But remember, whether you’re rocking a fake tan or not, make sure you ALWAYS have sunscreen on.

Do you prefer bronzed, beach bunny skin, or the flawless porcelain look? Share, and pass on your top tanning product (if you have one).

Rockabilly hair – a few steps and you’re there

Rockabilly hair - the cheat's way!

Rockabilly hair - the cheat's way!

Okay, we might be stretching the truth a little. It’s not true rockabilly hair – BUT – it’s close enough, and using our sneaky tips can have your hair looking pin-up worthy faster than you can say “Big Bad Voodoo Daddy“.

Yeah, yeah, rockabilly hair – step 1

It all starts with a coif. Flip you head upside down and blast with a good hairspray. Shake a little (still upside down) and flip you hair back up. Is that body or what?

Yeah, yeah, rockabilly hair – step 2

Okay, so now your hair roots are showing a bit of volume. If they’re not showing enough, back comb a touch. Still no? Crimp your hair a few sections back from the front of where your coif will be. Boom! Instant height.

Yeah, yeah, rockabilly hair – step 3

Now section a chunk of your hair at the front (about 10 wide, going back to mid-scalp). Pull and twist that section (while gently pushing up for more (yes, more) height) and use a pin or clip where the twist sits. If your hair is quite thick, do this in a smaller section to combat the weight of your hair. Smooth the ends of your twisted section into the rest of your hair at the back, before spritzing again with a good hairspray for hold. Give the front of your hair a quick mist also, and smooth any fly-aways upward.

Yeah, yeah, rockabilly hair – step 4

Now pull the rest of your hair into a ponytail. Grab a 10 cent glug of a good hair paste or texturiser and rub it between your hands (to warm it so it’s pliable). Now smooth the hair at the sides and base of your ponytail back tight. You may need to use a fine-toothed comb to get dead smooth. Now re-tie your ponytail now it’s tighter, and spritz the sides with hairspray again.

Yeah, yeah, rockabilly hair – you’re there!

It may take a bit of product, but it sure doesn’t take a lot of time. Now get out there and get your rock ‘n’ roll on!

Hair care – when to snip and when to save at the hairdresser

Do you go to the hairdresser - or DIY?

Do you go to the hairdresser - or DIY?

Feeling a bit blah? One of the fastest beauty tricks is to get your hair in check. Whether you head off to the hairdresser or decide on the do-it-yourself option, giving your hair a bit of attention doesn’t have to be costly. Here’s how to get healthy, glossy hair without it costing your too much time – or money.

Hairdresser know-how – how much hair dye do you really need?

Suffering regrowth? Instead of paying for a full head of dye, why not get some graduated foils? They’ll cover your hair to the root, banish regrowth – and don’t cost as much (or take as long). A good half head of foils on top of your head can hide any sins underneath. You’ll feel great – and your pocketbook will love you for it.

Hairdresser know-how – to snip or not to snip?

Do you really need a hair cut and style? Unless you have (or need) a really textured style, a quick trim from your hairdresser will remove any split ends and leave you with healthy glossy hair. And take a hair tie to save on that ridiculous styling fee!

Hairdresser know-how – wash and blow dry

Going into the hair salon just for a deep wash and pro dry is a cheap fix when your hair needs a pep and you don’t have the cash for a full treatment. Plus, not only will you be luxuriating in their best products, a good blow dry can last up to a week (and hey – who doesn’t love cutting down on home hair washing/styling time?).

Home hair know-how – DIY hair dye

Packet hair dyes are a godsend for those of us short on time and money. Buy a good packet dye, follow the instructions, and not only have you covered any regrowth or given yourself a new shade, you’ve scored the free hair conditioning treatment that comes in the pack. Try and save some for the next time your hair needs a pep. One of the easiest cheats around to boost hair shine is to use a semi-permanent rinse. When it comes to regrowth and permanent dyes, be mindful of the colour chart on the side of the packet – if your hair is dark and you expect your hair to go golden blonde in one sitting, you may be disappointed. Also, if you have a lot of colour in your hair already, it may be best to do some research first.

Home hair know-how – invest in a good treatment

A good hair treatment – or even a good conditioner – will do wonders for your hair. Wash your hair, comb it through (being sure to work that comb around your scalp to boost circulation and hair growth), and give yourself a few extra minutes with it on. Rinse, and you’ve got salon worthy hair – without forking out the big bucks for it.

How much is too much when it comes to your hair care? Do you go to the hairdresser, or prefer your own home hair salon?

Know the skin you have to get the skin you want

Sourcing great skin care

What to ask yourself before you fill the cabinet

Perfect skin is something can often feel like the unattainable dream. All those skincare potions can end up half-used and littering the beauty cabinet – an visual reminder of dollars wasted or bad results. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Before you go opening that purse, keep the following in mind when in comes to skin care – and you’ll not only find something that works for you – you’ll save a bundle at the same time.

Know the skin you have – and the skin you want

“What kind of skin do I have?” This is THE question to continually ask yourself when shopping for skin care. Why? Because it changes. All the darn time. Oh yes, that oily T zone you sported as a teen is entirely different to your late 20’s skin. And its not just age to take into account. Where do you work? Is air conditioning dehydrating your skin? Or do you only need something light? What time of year is it? Summer skin care needs are a world apart from to what winter skin craves. Everyone’s skin is different, and if you stick with the same ol’ routine, or buy skincare without knowing what your skin is like, or needs, you’ll keep wasting money and never get the skin you want.

Ask the right skin care questions

The consultant at the beauty counter is there to help you. When shopping for skin care, use them as your ultimate tool to get what you want. They will (or should) know any skin care product inside and out – its ingredients, the type of skin it suits, the recommended application, and the ingredients. Be honest in what you want, and they should help you. But remember – any skin care consultant has sales targets to make. Be critical that they are trying to help you – not just make a fast buck . If in doubt, put your purse away and do a bit of product research online. There are a heap of skin care product review sites that can help.

Sample, sample, sample skin care first!

Most skin care companies offer samples. Use this to you advantage. Ask for a skin care sample first, and try it on your skin for a week or so first. That way, you can gauge how any skin care product works for you, and you can make sure you’re not at risk of any reaction. The consultants at both Mecca Cosmetica and Aesop skin care are both great for this.

It can be daunting to ask for samples after a long skin care consultation – but don’t be shy. Any skin care consultant worth their exfoliant knows that proper product sampling results in a sale. If they give you grief, maybe their product just isn’t that good and its a sign to shop around. Just remember – it’s your money  – and your skin!

Do you sample skin care or read reviews first? Or do you find it easier to buy skin care on a whim?

Child beauty pageants: right or wrong?

Beauty pageants

Are pageant kids growing up too fast?

Kids and beauty pageants. They seem a world away to the typical Australian childhood. But are they? With Australia holding a wildly protested child pageant in Melbourne earlier this year, and Sydney shortly to follow suit, it seems the “Toddlers And Tiaras” mentality has taken a dinky di turn. But are we ready for it? Do we, as beauty fiends, support it? And what does it mean for kids and self image?

So what is a child beauty pageant?

Child beauty pageants are a competition between children, rating them on elements such as costume, performance and of course, beauty.

Australian Royalty Pageants describe child beauty pageants as “…a fantastic opportunity for Australian families to enjoy competitive modelling experiences together with establishing modelling  skills, stage presences, personal grooming, confidence, self esteem with a healthy self worth while having fun!”

The upcoming “Tinsel Town” pageant is scheduled for October 8 2011, and follows on from the rampant success of this year’s Melbourne Universal Royalty Beauty Pageant (despite the controversy surrounding it including the no-show of child star Eden Wood).

So little girls want to dress up. What’s wrong with that?

Do you think they’re anything wrong with a child wanting to dress up? Or play in mum’s make up? No? But then could you imagine your child (as young as two) competing and ranked on prettiness?

Child pageants have long been seen as sexualising children, and no more stunning an example is there than the recent “Pretty Woman” routine that featured a child of three, dressed and strutting as a prostitute.

Beauty, self image and kids

Aussie children already have many issues stacked against them. So do you think we should add “competitive modelling”, (as cited by Australian Royalty Pageants), into the mix? Sure, confidence is also mentioned – but if confidence is attached a lot of make-up, spray tan and even some fake hair, is it really confidence?

You probably have established issues with beauty.  The Beauty Sneak certainly does. But when your child is  judged for elements we judge ourselves for, what does it mean when she grows up? This increased trend in pageants certainly says a lot for what some parents want for their children, but the true test will come when Aussie kids have to deal with their own spray-tanned, fake-eyelashed issues of self image. In their case, a slick of lip gloss may not be enough…

What do you think? Are pageants just a bit of fun, or something more sinister?

Beauty? It’s all about… you

A rose

True beauty is born, not made

So what does this beauty blog mean for YOU? Whatever you want it to.

Do you dread the idea of fiddling with cosmetic pots and potions? Don’t worry – so do we.  But should you feel you need a little beauty boost, there you can employ tricks to make you look and feel great – in a tenth of the time. By cheating. And that’s why this blog was created. Years in the industry has provided some gems of knowledge on how to cut corners – and they’re about to be revealed, just for you.

Should we care about beauty?

In a nutshell, you shouldn’t. This blog is not about enforcing  unrealistic standards of beauty is or a Vogue-esque regimented routine – far from it. It’s not about wasting time or money either. It’s about discovering beauty ideas that YOU are comfortable with. But make-up tricks or no, to quote Bridget Jones’ Diary – we like you, “just as you are“.

Needless to say, there is a lot of pomp and ceremony applied to modern skincare and cosmetics.

“Interested in this skin care product? Well, it only works as part of a 7 step routine.”

“You use that makeup? It’s going to look silly without the right brush.”

And so on it goes, fuel for the retail sector, where there is always something bigger and better (and more expensive). And in some cases it’s true – but rarely. Mostly what they’re trying to sell is spin.

It’s all about feeling good, fast

There is something to be said for the effect a swipe of lip gloss can have for a girl on a gloomy day. How a little extra liner can make us feel like we can take on anything. How a hair treatment makes one feel a little bit closer to a slow motion shot in a haircare commercial. And that’s why we’re here.

Really, this blog is all about YOU. You really are beautiful just the way you are. But should you need a boost, you can get an instant hit of beauty confidence. Or employ sneaky ways to make you feel fab with next to no effort. So if you need to feel a little more glam than normal, we can arm  you with the tips and tricks to do it. Or not. Because that’s cool too.

Do you have any sneaky beauty tricks? What’s your fastest trick to feel gorgeous?

So why beauty – and why be sneaky about it?

So why beauty?

Why be a beauty sneak? Why not?

There are a heap of blogs out there, some good, some bad, but all sharing their innermost thoughts on… something. But what makes someone stumble into the big bloggy world and choose the vain subject of beauty?

 The beginning of a beauty fiend

To nut this one out we need to get personal. It all started at the age of 11. Discovering mother’s make up bag revealed all manner of beauty products. But this fascination was not just with the glamour of these bright tubes and jars – but what they promised. And to an 11 year old who didn’t feel as pretty as her friends, it promised the world. And so the romance began.

Hours of self-training explained how to widen the eyes, mix the perfect face mask or just play with colours that no one else dared. And as the skills grew, so did the collection of make up goodies (and the attachment to them).

Countless lipsticks later, traipsing the cosmetic floors of various department stores bestowed a knowledge of skin care, and a fascination in products more detailed than the prior skill of application.

The birth of a beauty sneak

After a little time, a funny thing started to happen. The gloss started to lose its shine. In watching both product and procedures that customers were plied with, a question started to form. Was it really all necessary? Could one love all things beauty – but not be bothered with the full daily rigmarole of routine? Who has the time for such frivolity?

And so the hunt began. Corners were cut, and beauty tricks were realised. A well-timed masque here, a good product invested in there, and you could still get the look – without the effort. A personal passion formed: the quest for the look, without spending heaps of time and money in the process.

Hello beauty blog!

And here we are. A couple of years later, the drive is still there. A few co-conspirators have been gained, a few articles have been written, and few more tricks learnt. So it’s time to share the dirty secrets of the cosmetics world. You don’t have the time for the cosmetics products and routines that the beauty world pushes? Few people do! So together, let’s suss out your bloggy cheat sheet to all things pretty.

Does a daily beauty routine fit into your life? Why/why not?