Beauty DIY: Super-simple and super-effective home remedies for thicker, darker and bolder eyebrows

Bold eyebrows seem to be in perpetual fashion and with them come a zillion pencils, powders and gels to enhance what you (don’t) have. But what if you could actually grow more hair, making the whole process of getting your eyes all dressed up both natural and effortless? It’s not too difficult, especially with these tried, tested and timeless home recipes.

Audrey Hepburn: The 'brow original

Audrey Hepburn: The ‘brow original

Eyebrow booster #1: Castor oil

Massage castor oil into your eyebrows every night. Its proteins, vitamins and antioxidants not only nourish the hair follicles, they also help in resisting any microorganisms that hamper eyebrow hair growth.

Eyebrow booster #2: Olive oil

Olive oil is extremely rich in Vitamin E, which is known as the beauty vitamin that makes eyebrow hair grow faster and thicker, while keeping it dark-hued. You do not need a large amount of the oil – dab a drop on both brows and massage gently, preferably twice a day.

Eyebrow booster #3: Whole milk

Whole milk is super-effective for achieving thick eyebrows. Simply dip a cotton bud in whole milk and apply it daily on the eyebrow area.

Eyebrow booster #4: Aloe vera

If the blockage of hair follicles on account of excess sebum (this is normally the case if you have oily skin) hinders the growth of your eyebrows, apply pure aloe vera gel directly onto your brows.

Lily Collins: Image courtesy Tatler

Lily Collins: Image courtesy Tatler

Eyebrow booster #5: Fenugreek seeds

Grind fenugreek seeds into a paste and mix with a little almond oil. Massage this into your eyebrows every night and wash off in the morning.

Eyebrow booster #6: Essential oils

Mix together one teaspoon each of lavender oil, rosemary oil, thyme oil, pine oil, sandalwood oil, lemon essential oil and olive oil. Massage this mixture into your eyebrows daily, before going to bed.

Eyebrow booster #7: The internal story

Nutritional deficiencies hamper the growth of eyebrows, so make sure sure your body gets all the minerals, proteins and vitamins in appropriate quantities – especially magnesium, silica, biotin, zinc, sulfur and vitamin B6.

Once your eyebrows are thick and lush, get them reshaped professionally. And remember to keep checking the progress of your technician every few minutes – that way, if your hair is being plucked or waxed too thin, the situation can be immediately remedied.

Sleep less, weigh more: 6 ways lack of sleep is making you pile on the weight. LOTS of weight.

What if I told you there’s a super-effective weight loss technique that costs nothing and doesn’t need a single change in your diet? Yes, it’s true. No, it’s not a magic potion.

It is – wait for it – SLEEP. Yes, saying that that people who sleep more end up eating less (and being less hungry) might be oversimplifying a little too much, but in essence, that’s what multiple studies have found. Along with a host of other facts that have a massive impact on your weight. Read on.

Sleep controls your hunger levels

Constantly feeling a niggling hunger? That doesn’t go away even with proper meals? It may be down to your sleep cycle. Cortisol levels start rising when you’re short on sleep. This shuts down the regions of your brain that make you feel satisfied after a meal, meaning you feel hungry all the time – even if you just ate mammoth portions.

And that’s not all. Cortisol doesn’t just make you crave any food – it specifically makes you crave high calorie foods, adding insult to injury. Research by the American Heart Association shows the sleep deprived usually end up gorging an extra 500 calories a day. This roughly translates to two pounds of weight gain over a month.

All because of simple lack of sleep.

sleep and weight2You can’t shift the weight

Working out, eating right and still can’t budge those pounds? Poor sleep literally changes your fat cells, making it near-impossible to lose weight. The American Health Association steps in again, with statistics that prove those on a sleep-deprived diet experience a 55% reduction in fat loss compared to their well rested counterparts.

How? Why?

According to researchers at the University of Chicago, when your body is sleep deprived, it suffers from “metabolic grogginess”. This basically means your fat cells become exhausted, dazed and confused when you’re short on sleep – just like the rest of your mind and body. Unfortunately, they can’t be revved up by multiple shots of espresso and within just four days of sleep deprivation, your body’s ability to properly use insulin drops by more than 30%.

Why’s that bad?

Insulin instructs fat cells to flush away the fatty acids and lipids from your blood stream. When it’s disrupted, these fats keep circulating in your blood, ultimately getting stored away in all the wrong places – such as your liver. And that is exactly how you become fat and suffer from diseases like diabetes.

You have inane food cravings

Contrary to popular belief, hunger and cravings are not a function of willpower. They are actually controlled by two hormones: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is the hormone that tells you, “Put down the fork, I’m full”. So, high levels of leptin keep hunger at bay. Ghrelin, on the other hand, makes you feel hungry, while slowing down your metabolism (hence reducing your calorie-burn) and increasing the amount fat you store.

It’s a cinch to figure out why throwing leptin and ghrelin out of balance is the last thing you need. But sleeping less than 6 hours makes leptin levels plummet and ghrelin levels rise, setting the stage for high calorie feasting after a restless night. QED.

sleep weight lossSleep deprivation sabotages gym time

To make a bad situation worse, lack of sleep doesn’t just affect your diet – it also sabotages your workouts. And it’s not just that when you’re suffering from slept debt, everything you do feels tougher. Scientists from Brazil have found that sleep deprivation decreases your body’s protein synthesis, causing muscle loss and creating a higher potential for injuries.

Plus, lack of sleep also slows down the production of growth hormones, which makes it harder for your body to recover from exercise, lowers the fat burn and leads to premature ageing.

Sleep (literally) helps you burn more calories

Another inducement to sleep on time? Your body will burn more calories throughout the day. How? According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, normal sleepers’ resting energy expenditure (the amount of calories burned when you’re not moving) was 5% higher than their tired counterparts. Plus, the former also burned 20% more calories after a meal.

Sleeplessness leads you to poor decisions

Skimping on sleep dulls your brain’s frontal lobe – the region that controls decision-making and impulse control – thereby setting you up for bad decisions. Plus, when you’re overtired, your brain’s reward centers rev up, looking for something that feels good, aka energy-dense, high-carb junk foods. In short, while you might be able to squash comfort food cravings when you’re well-rested, your sleep deprived brain may have trouble saying no to that third doughnut.

Skip the booze, try these fabulous Irish beauty recipes for St. Patrick’s Day!

Between St. Patrick’s Day, Kendall Jenner and Jamie Dornan, it seems the Irish are taking over our world. Which is not surprising, considering the beauty of the Irish has been renowned across continents for centuries. Which is why we’ve dug up some of the most unusual Irish beauty secrets ladies have kept to themselves for generations… after all, why should the wee little technicality of not being born in Ireland stop you from looking like a bonnie lass!

Irish-beauty-secrets-2Irish beauty recipe #1: Have an oatmeal facial

Not only is oatmeal healthy, delicious and filling, it also has proven skincare benefits. That’s because oats are a terrific source of skin nurturing avenanthramides and beta-glucan, which relieve itching, tackle acne, lower redness and inflammation, firm and moisturise – all in one go. Plus, finely milled oatmeal sticks to skin’s surface irritants, which can then be gently rinsed away for thorough cleansing sans the dryness.

So, try this popular Irish face mask: Take a quarter cup of very fine oatmeal and combine it with a beaten egg white. Spread this paste over your face, leave it to dry (15-20 minutes) and remove with a towel soaked in warm water.

Added points for authenticity: Use McCann’s oats, which have been an Irish staple since the early 1800s.

Irish beauty recipe #2: Drink barley water

My taste buds are not too fond of barley water but even science swears by its health and skincare quotient. Drinking a cup everyday will cool down your body, control acne breakouts, sort out urinary tract infections, digestive problems and sore throats, while boosting energy levels. So, go ahead and guzzle up some barley water like the Irish do. Right NOW.

Irish beauty secrets 3Irish beauty recipe #3: Try a beer rinse

Ireland = beer = Ireland. And even if it’s bad for the waistline (though see if I care!), beer makes for a phenomenal beauty product. The delish brew is chock-full of proteins from its malts and hops, which bind to the hair shaft to restore its strength, shine and suppleness. Plus, it couldn’t be easier: Shampoo you hair, then douse the wet strands with enough beer to coat the tresses from root to ends. Let sit for a minute, then rinse and condition as usual.

Added points if you go for Guinness – it’s the Irish cult classic, after all.

Irish beauty recipe #4: Indulge in a seaweed soak

The Irish have known for centuries what global spas are just discovering: seaweed is brimming over with alginic acid, a silky compound of essential oils that helps purify, firm up, nourish and rehydrate the skin. Plus, it also has a potent combo of vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbed as this gelatinous substance’s unique molecular structure is very close to that of human skin. It also slows down ageing and boosts cell generation, all while improving skin texture and tone. Plus it makes tresses super shiny and stimulates blood circulation to promote hair growth.

Traditionally in Ireland’s bath houses, seawater was pumped directly from the ocean into large cast iron tubs, into which piles of locally harvested seaweed were added. Today, you can bring a close enough copy of this experience right into your own bathtub. Simply fill up the tub with warm water, add a cup each of sea salt and dried seaweed. Mix and soak till the water runs cold.

Irish beauty #5: Comforting Comfrey

Time to hunt out the comfrey – a plant native to the British Isles and Ireland that’s famous for tackling everything from super-sensitive skin to muscle aches. Ireland is not in your backyard and you can’t find fresh comfrey anywhere? Don’t fret: over-the-shelf organic comfrey salves work just as well. But do remember: While comfrey is super-safe when used topically, doctors warn against ingesting or applying it on open wounds.

Irish beauty #6: Soak up the showers

Trust the laid-back, happy going Irish to find the easiest, most chilled out way to look fab! Simply walk out into a rain shower and allow your hair and skin to soak up the soft natural moisture. What could be easier? Or more refreshing?

Beer or beauty? Which Irish traditions are inspiring you on St. Patrick’s day?

Parfum vs EDP vs EDT: What the brands will never tell you (it’s more than just concentration levels!)

This time in Paris, I had an epiphany. A huge one: All these years, I have been wearing a false Chanel No. 5. Not fake, just false. That’s because what we know as Chanel No. 5 Eau de Parfum is not really the legendary fragrance created by Ernest Beaux for Mademoiselle Chanel in 1921.

It is, in fact, Beaux’s parfum, as re-imagined for a more contemporary audience by Chanel nose Jacques Polge in 1986. And the difference, contrary to common belief, lies not just in the concentration of oils. In fact if, like me, you are only familiar with Chanel No 5 EDT or EDP, discovering the parfum will be like finding a completely different fragrance.

parfum vs edt vs edpIsn’t it just about the proportion of oils to alcohol?

No, it’s not. Definitely and absolutely not. As you go up the fragrance ladder, it’s not just the concentration that changes but also the materials and their quality. The EDP and Parfum versions might, in fact, have additional notes that are left out of the EDT altogether because of their price and “heaviness” (EDTs are typically fresher and lighter).

For example, it’s believed that only the Chanel No. 5 parfum contains jasmine from Grasse – the EDP is crafted with flowers from other, lesser sources. Impossible to say for sure but when you smell the two simultaneously, the parfum does deliver a fresher, more rounded jasmine story.

The second thing you notice is that Polge has underlined the original’s bright citrusy top notes and made the vanilla drydown much warmer in order to create a modern twist. The creamy notes of peach that lace the rose, lily of the valley and jasmine heart are also more prominent, while the amplified voluptuousness of sandalwood and the darkness of leather and incense replace the plush, rich muskiness of the original.

The EDP sillage itself is beautiful and long lasting but definitely less powerful. I would say that if the parfum is haute couture, the EDP is the Little Black Dress – both are thrilling in their own right but the former is definitely more majestic.

While I use Chanel No. 5 as an example, the same story runs across all perfume houses, from Dior to Van Cleef & Arpels.

And that’s why, price matters…

  • Chanel Parfum: $260.00 per ounce
  • Eau de Parfum: $33.82 per ounce
  • Eau de Toilette: $26.47 per ounce
  • Body Spray: $13.10 per ounce

What’s you take? Do you wear Chanel No. 5? Which one? And would you rather buy a Parfum, an EDP or an EDT?