Amla + Hair Conditioner = Wonderful Things!

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetThose that know me and try to make plans will know that Sunday is my day – a day to sleep in, catch up on my reading, go for a run and of course, a day of some much needed pampering. Sunday is where the week’s madness comes to a halt and gives one the chance to recuperate in order to face the week ahead; some just prefer to face the week looking their best.

Unless I’m using a hair mask like the Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask or Aussie 3 Minute Miracle I’ll often resort to concocting a mask of my own, and one of my trusty recipes is a generous helping of amla oil mixed into a basic conditioner (I use Alberto Balsam for co-washing, and at £1 a pop it’s a steal). Found in many a Saudi household, I discovered Dabur Amla Hair Oil through a friend and it’s been dressing table staple ever since. Amla is a powerhouse of benefits including its anti-dandruff, properties and its ability to strengthen your locks and give great shine. To condition, most amla devotees favour it in powder form and add water to turn it into a paste, but since amla powder is hard to find I’m happy to use an oil instead. I’m not one for following exact measurements, but I guess I use roughly a quarter to half a cup of conditioner and around 2 tablespoons of amla oil.

Because Sunday means me not leaving the house, I take full advantage of the fact that no one has to see me with a shower cap on so anything less than 3 hours to let this mask work its magic is a no-no – the longer, the better and after lazing around for that long and finally rinsing the mask out you’ll find your hair to be instantly softer, but over time you’ll notice your hair becoming shinier, thicker and just generally healthier. However I’m in need of more moisture, so for next Sunday olive and avocado oil, I’m looking at you.

Estee Lauder Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Makeup

Estee Lauder Youth Infusing Makeup 1

Serum + foundation = a base with added skin benefits… a formula I’ve found to work for me when I combine Estée Lauder’s Double Wear and Advanced Night Repair serum and it seems that Estée Lauder have cottoned on and taken it that extra step further by creating the Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Makeup* infused with their Perfectionist Serum, a product designed to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. While I thankfully may not need help with reducing lines and wrinkles, I’ve been blown away with this foundation ever since its launch in September – it’s light, has a medium coverage, is a dream to apply as it blends into the skin seamlessly and gives the most beautiful natural glow and satin finish which is everything I look for in a foundation. It couldn’t be further from their Double Wear which has a tendency to look cakey if I’m a little heavy handed with my foundation brush because of its high, matte coverage whereas Perfectionist is easily buildable making it a great foundation to use on a day-to-day basis. With the exception of days when my skin is crying out for some coverage my usual go-to base is NARS’ Radiant Creamy Concealer and MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish Natural but the Perfectionist foundation is all I’ve been wearing lately and it’s been making my skin look like… perfection.

Sali Hughes Pretty Honest

Sali Hughes Pretty Honest Book 4Sali Hughes Pretty Honest Book 3Sali Hughes Pretty Honest Book 2
Other than my features, something else I’ve inherited from my father is my love for a good book. As a child I would steal his books on just about everything from East African politics to encyclopaedia’s and deem them my bedtime stories. 9 year old Hafsa would also take her mother’s beauty books from the late 80’s and 90’s – that’s where it all began. Despite the now outdated advice, I learned all about the manicure and frosted lipstick from my mother’s books. I was 16 and in a Dubai bookshop when she bought me my first Bobbi Brown book, and I’ve since acquired many more for my coffee table such as Pretty PowerfulFrancois Nars’ Makeup Your Mind Express Yourself and Makeup Is Art by Jana Ririnui and Lan Nguyen. The latest addition to my coffee table, Sali Hughes’ Pretty Honest, is somewhat different to the previously mentioned books - there are no glossy images, smoke and mirrors, instead what you have is a book armed with simple, honest advice.. beauty without the marketing nonsense.

Already being a reader of Sali Hughes‘ Guardian column I find her writing style to be straightforward and refreshing, but also rather friendly. The advice is timeless, mainly because Hughes covers topics that women will want to know throughout time such as teen beauty and how a bride can look great on her big day, but also because there aren’t any product reviews – the internet is a great medium for news and reviews due to its dynamic and ever evolving nature, but it’s not so with books. I’ve flicked through many a beauty book to find specific mentions and reviews of a product only to later find that it’s been discontinued or the formula has changed. Hughes on the other hand chooses to mention general brands she finds are great for products such as Mario Badescu, Clarins and Pixi being great for liquid exfoliants and NARSGuerlain and Rimmel for bronzers perfect on women of colour.

Referring back to the so-called print vs. online dichotomy, Hughes proves that the two can come together by recommending beauty blogs and other online beauty resources thus making Pretty Honest a beauty book of our time and definitely nothing like my mother’s old books. Moreover, with chapters dedicated entirely to red lipstick, the Little Black Dress of beauty, and beauty during sickness (very few consider the therapeutic effect that self-care can have when one is faced with ill health) Hughes’ book is a game changer if I’m pretty honest.

The Mixstress Workshop | Peppermint and Frankincense Foot Scrub

Body Scrub

It was only until recently after speaking to a journalist from The Sunday Times Style about my love for whipping up my own beauty products that I realised it’s been a very long time since I’ve shared a recipe – and so I confess.. I haven’t made anything in months. With my bathroom cabinet bursting at the seams with products to finish and continuously forgetting to stock up on ingredients it just hasn’t happened. However I’m promising myself to find the time to get back into the kitchen and rediscover the Mixstress. I have a few things I want to try like a bath oil with lots of heady jasmine and ylang ylang, a massage bar à la Lush and even a bath bomb or two. But in the meantime I thought I’d share a recipe I’ve perfected over the years and adore very much, a peppermint and frankincense foot scrub. The amount of body scrubs I routinely get through make me somewhat of a body scrub connoisseur, and for me most foot scrubs in the market lack the grit and exfoliating power I look for in a scrub; they’re often useless jojoba beads suspended in a shower gel-like formula so you’re not able to get the kind of exfoliation your feet needs. However this scrub of mine is super thick and creamy thanks to a special foaming butter but there’s also ground pumice in the scrub to really smoothen the skin. I’ve thrown in peppermint, tea tree and frankincense essential oils for their antifungal properties and together create a great fragrance.

This scrub will ideally keep for two weeks – for roughly three cups you’ll need:

  • One full cup of foaming butter and half a cup of any carrier oil of your choice such as almond oil, olive or even coconut (but note that the latter may solidify). Using an electrical whisk, blend the butter and carrier oil so that the butter softens to a fluffy texture.
  • Frankincense, peppermint and tea tree essential oils – add a couple of drops of the essential oils each into the mixture whilst whisking.
  • Now it’s time for the exciting bit! Add the ground pumice to the mixture very slowly and gradually – too quick and you risk the pumice flying everywhere! I use around 2 cups for a super gritty scrub, but use more or less depending on your butter to exfoliant ratio preference.
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