Emily the Strange Make Up Tutorial

So I’m still waiting for the white hair to arrive for the Lily Munster tutorial, in the meantime, here’s another thing you can do with a black wig (or straight long black hair if you’re so blessed), white foundation and black eyeliner.  Enjoy:

Emma Peel The Avengers Cosplay Tutorial feat. Eyelash DISASTER!!

I’m mixing it up a bit this week so here’s today’s Youtube video, it’s a thrilling black-and-white (changes to colour) cosplay tutorial of Emma Peel from The Avengers (fyi it was a TV espionage series starring Patrick MacNee, Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg). There is also an eyelash disaster in this video.  For me, Emma Peel (played by Diana Rigg, currently known for Oleanna Tyrell in Game Of Thrones) is the ultimate female character, she’s just perfect.  She’s warm, witty, intelligent, and can thoroughly hold her own in a gunfight, fistfight, or a swordfight but regularly thinks her way out of dangerous situations.  What more could you possibly want?  Oh yeah, and she was played by the drop-dead-gorgeous Diana Rigg who was later a Bond Girl (as was Honor Blackman).  I have wanted to dress up as Emma Peel ever since I first saw her on TV when I was 7 or 8.  Here’s what she looks like (in case you have no idea), with the caveat that her hair varies in length and colour from black to reddish brown and from a bob to below her shoulders, and she is a spy so she wears a huge variety of costumes.  No single photograph can do her justice:

Emma Peel The Avengers Patrick Macnee
Emma Peel. Obviously I don’t own this picture.
Emma Peel The Avengers Diana Rigg
Emma Peel in the costume that got her banned from American TV. I didn’t have the right corset/bodysuit to do this costume/makeup look but perhaps in the future. Obviously I don’t own this picture.

 

Emma Peel The Avengers Cosplay invoke delight Diana Rigg Jasmine Honey Adams
Emma Peel The Avengers Cosplay.  I didn’t have a gun because you’re not allowed them in the UK.

And I will continue my Interrail adventures tomorrow.

Three Classic Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Hairstyles

Today’s video is a hair tutorial showing how to do three classic Lara Croft hairstyles from the video game and film franchise Tomb Raider.
In this video, I show you how I did the original video game bobble braid, how I did the pigtail bobble braids from the first level of Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (and those Irish levels from Tomb Raider: Chronicles) and how I did the Angelina Jolie French Braid (with my short hair…) from the first film.  Which one’s your favourite?  I love the French braid in the middle best, and I think the pigtails didn’t suit my angular features at all!

Lara Croft Tomb Raider cosplay fancy dress tutorial hair
The title card from today’s Lara Croft hair tutorial video.

Also after a lot of thought about my longer-term Youtube plan I have decided to drop back to one video a week rather than two, now that my backlog of finished videos have all made it onto Youtube. I had a period of time at the start of the year when I was very active at making videos and I wanted them to all get onto Youtube sooner, so I’ve been updating twice a week since the New Year, but now I’m back to my usual update schedule of one video a week.
I had so much fun doing this video and when I recorded the shower scene at the end I just couldn’t stop giggling, I had to re-take it about 12 times with the shower door open and my tripod half in the bath and my bathroom floor got soaked!! It was one of those “THIS is why I make Youtube videos” moments.

You can watch the latest video here

I’ve also changed my update day to Thursday because I think it’s going to work better with the rest of my schedule.
I’ve also stopped embedding my videos onto WordPress because I want to keep track of how many views they’re getting and I can’t tell if anyone’s clicking the play button or not on here; if no-one’s actually watching my videos when I link them on WordPress, there’s probably a better thing I could use a full day’s post for. It’s still one click to get it to play, and it’s still going to take pretty much the same time to load, it’s just now it takes you to Youtube when you click the link so you can do Youtubey things.

When I see other people link their videos in WordPress I always prefer to go to Youtube to watch the video so I can like the video over there and comment on it. Let me know if you preferred it when the videos were embedded in WordPress or whether you like the new system better!

I know I haven’t written a beauty post in a little while but don’t worry, I’ve got some doozys* coming up in the near future that I’m so excited to share with you!!

* What’s the plural here?  Is it doozies or doozys?  They both look wrong.

Hair Trends for 2016: My Favourites

So there’s been enough fashion shows by now to be able to work out what’s trending and what’s over for 2016.  Here are my 5 favourite hair trends for 2016 (I don’t own any of the images in this article):

1. The very slightly off-centre parting: Of the 10 best trends chosen by Vogue, 5 of them incorporated a parting which was lined up with the center-tip of one eyebrow or other. I like the natural parting look because it looks so DIY and ‘normal’ compared to those unachievable looks of recent years, which were very contrived.

Natural hair
Image from: Buzzfeed.

2. Anachronistic accessories: Ok, so I’m not completely sold on this one, because the last time I put princess crap in my hair, I was probably 7, but I have a feeling this trend is going to grow on me. Fashion-wise, it’s being teamed with boyish clothes and wellies, to create a gender-bending look that I know is going to either be totes awesome or an utter disaster.

Accessory hair style trend
Image source: Harpers Bazaar

3. Big Fringes: I knew big fringes were going to be big news because there’s a lot of 70’s imagery in popular culture this year. The fringes I’ve seen coming from catwalks are all very 70’s-style, so I think this is a case of a back-door revival – nobody’s actually said “this season’s a 70’s revival” but when I look around at the designs people are using, the influence is very definitely there.

Hair fringe trend 2016
Source: Harper’s Bazaar

4. Braids and Cornrows: The thing I’m most excited about for the coming year are the braids and cornrows. My stepdad had dreads when I was growing up (after he got rid of the mohican lol) and I always loved getting the chance to spend hours plaiting my hair into different styles, but I had to take them out for school because braids and cornrows were NOT what the cool kids did in my all-white village school (later I realized they weren’t so much cool kids as narrow-minded insular bullies, and that it wouldn’t have mattered whether I’d had the same hair as them or turned up with a pink clown wig, they were going to bully me regardless as I was different). I can’t wait to do my hair in some of these styles again. If you teamed this up with number 2, you could put beads and stuff in your braids and it would be da bomb. Both Valentino and Chanel showcased models who rocked cornrow braids on the catwalk.

Cornrows example
Source: Listaddicts.com

5. Bleach blonde: The platinum blonde trend of 2015, which reached its zenith in Autumn/Winter 2015 with silver hair being the biggest trend of the year (I should know, I’ve made loads of tutorials on how to achieve silver hair on my Youtube channel), has turned it down a notch. Now that silver hair is starting to look a bit shit, because there’s people wearing it when it a) doesn’t suit their complexion, general skincare routine or clothing choices, and b) not looking after their hair so it looks scabby rather than deconstructed and c) People are doing it in a half-assed kinda way so I’ve seen quite a lot of skanks whose silver colour is literally sitting on top of their hair instead of shining out of it, it really just looks terrible. It’s put me right off wanting to be silver again for a long while because there’s just too many people who are doing it badly. Like Lycra leggings in the early 90’s were ruined for a whole generation by fat women with bad pantylines, this silver hair trend has gotta die! If you’re wondering where to go next with your hair colour, block colours are still really big, and bleach blonde is still the base colour that celebs are choosing this year. If you are still tempted to go silver, check out my silver, platinum and white hair tutorials on my Youtube channel (scroll to “popular uploads” and take your pick) so you can do it right and rock it like you got it done in a salon (or at least like you didn’t just wash out some greeny-blue).

zig zag parting
Source: Harper’s Bazaar
freckles makeup 16 1
Source: Harper’s Bazaar.

So that’s the top 5 hair trends of 2016, of course I couldn’t wear all of them together, and I can’t wait to maybe do some tutorials on some of these styles, although, oddly enough, I’m considering keeping my hair dark for the time being because after hating my colour all my life, I’ve started to like it.  There are several other trends I haven’t mentioned here, chiefly the “lob” (long bob) which is a stupid name for a nice hairstyle, and the “bronde” (light brown/dark blonde hair colour) which is another stupid name for a nice but utterly unremarkable hair colour.

Have you seen any of these trends out and about yet? What do you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

Images are attributed to their owners in the captions.  All interpretations and explanations are my own.

UV Glow In The Dark Rainbow Hair and Make-Up Tutorial

Today’s video is how to do UV Glow in the Dark Rainbow Hair and Rainbow Eye Make-Up, and it’s probably the most exciting thing I’ve ever done on camera.

….Scratch that.

It’s definitely the most exciting thing I’ve ever done on camera and then uploaded to Youtube!  Stop sniggering at the back, girls (and stop texting in class).

Coming in at around 18 minutes, it shows you how to get the glow in the dark hair trend that’s gone viral on Buzzfeed!  I’ve taken it to it’s logical extreme and done it as a rainbow braided effect.  The best part?  You don’t even need to bleach your hair!  Even if your hair is black!  Next time I go raving THIS is what I need to look like:

The rainbow glow in the dark UV hair tutorial came out like this.
The rainbow glow in the dark UV hair tutorial came out like this.

But that’s not all.  It doesn’t take 18 minutes to do some braids, make them rainbow then speed it up for Youtube.  What else is in the rainbow glow in the dark UV hair video?

You guessed it, there’s this awesome full rainbow eye tutorial as well!  That’s right, it’s a double rainbow!!  I have wanted to put this rainbow eye tutorial on Youtube since April 2014 when I first came up with it, it’s actually what prompted me to start my blog in the first place because I wore the rainbow eyeshadow look to a party and literally everyone (even the boys) were asking me how I did it.

 

And you’ll have to watch the video to see how to do it:

To get the UV glow in the dark hair gel back out of the hair, unfasten the braids, gently comb them out (or unravel with fingers – be prepared to get fluorescent UV gel under finger nails and all over the floor so I did this in the shower cubicle because I hate cleaning) and then wash the UV paint glow gel out of the hair with shampoo.  Paint Glow UV Gel is 100% safe,* it contains no radioactive ingredients, the glow is caused from the fact that it’s more reflective of UV light (although technically UV hair gel doesn’t have an SPF)!  I used Alberto children’s shampoo followed by plenty of conditioner because this hair tutorial can dry your hair out a bit.  It did wash straight out in the shower though.  I was very disappointed by the size of the Paint Glow UV Hair Gel tubes but each braid used about a toothpaste-on-toothbrush amount of gel, and next time I’m buying anything for a similar tutorial I will buy the more expensive UV hair dyes that last a week or two instead.  The UV hair gel is obviously MUCH better if you have a job and don’t want to turn up fluorescent on Monday after partying all weekend.

*But don’t eat it.  C’mon.  Moisturizer is safe to wear, and we don’t eat that either.

I purposely designed the hair look to be androgynous so anyone with enough hair can do it.  The eye make-up, of course, is down to preference.  This would be an AWESOME look for a pride march, a rave or dubstep gig, or any other time you want to show that you love glow in the dark rainbows!

Rainbow eye make up from the front (goes with glow in the dark rainbow hair)
Rainbow eye make up from the front (because what else goes with glow in the dark rainbow hair????) in normal light.
Rainbow glow in the dark UV hair and make-up tutorial results.
Rainbow glow in the dark UV hair and make-up tutorial results: In a UV light AND normal light together.

What do you think?  Do you like it?  Next week I’m doing a rainbow UV glow in the dark no-shave mohican because I’ve wanted to try a mohican since I was like 6 and saw my stepdad’s mohican (y’all probably call it a mohawk in the United States but we invented punk so I’m not fully translating this one).

How to find your perfect red lipstick

perfect red lipstick

Have you ever fallen in love with a beautiful bright red lipstick that you had to stop wearing because it didn’t look right? When we get the wrong shade of red, we look washed out or sickly, regardless of skin tone. I decided to investigate exactly what you need to do, to find your perfect red lipstick to wear this season’s most daring lip color so you can look like a sparkling ruby, rather than a shrinking violet.

There are two schools of thought on finding the right shade of red lipstick: The traditional method says that it’s got to match your skintone, by which they don’t mean you should choose a lipstick that’s the same colour of red that your face goes when you accidentally inhale a cranberry.

red lipstick mouth
Apparently, four is the number of lipsticks I can fit in my mouth at one time, so the fifth had to remain in my hand.

Instead, you should look at red lipsticks closely and decide whether they are a yellow based red (are they slightly orange) or a blue based red (are they slightly pink). By matching up the base colour of the red with the amount of orange or blue in your skintone, you should apparently find your perfect red.
Problem: We aren’t orange and blue based. If you are warm toned, you have yellow base, and if you are cool toned, you have a red base. And most of us are neutral-toned anyway, and just veer more towards one or the other.
Second problem: If everything you wear (clothes, make-up, hair etc) matches your skintone, you start to look a bit invisible, a la Jennifer Aniston in 1999, fading into the sofa at Central Perk in Friends:

jennifer aniston 2002

See how her hair, skin and clothing are all nearly the exact same shade, and so is the sofa behind her?  If she was next to someone else, you’d be able to see that they popped out of the screen while she faded away, which I’ve noticed about Rachel in quite a few episodes of Friends.  This is a real danger if you are almost 100% neutral toned (like me) because everyone tells you that you’ll look good in neutrals (which is true, but it’s also only part of the story; you’ll look good in most other colours as well, including red).

I decided to investigate whether this was a good way to choose the perfect red lipstick by buying the W7 “The Reds” collection from Amazon (which was £4.79 for six tubes of red lipstick: scarlet fever, racing red, red hot, bordeaux, very red and kir royale, which isn’t really red so got ditched at the start of the experiment) then I swatched them on my arm before trying them on my face. That (putting one on my face) was when I discovered I was allergic to one of the red lipsticks (apparently lipstick allergy is the most common make-up reaction but I’d never heard of it before my lips started getting bumpy swellings and a lovely couple of splits in them). When my lips swelled down 2 days later, I tried again with the protection of two layers of foundation and a layer of silicon primer.  Turned out the one that caused a reaction was the only red lipstick didn’t remotely suit me anyway.  Apparently orange-based red lipsticks look best on me but I can also wear neutral based ones (neither orange nor blue is predominant), which figures.  I’m slightly on the warm side of neutral skin tone, so I expected the neutral red lipstick colors to look best, but the orange-based shade really surprised me, I think it was my best red colored lipstick.
Here’s the video of me showing how to find the perfect shade of red lipstick using this warm and cool method:

The second school of thought, invented (as far as I know) by Makeupgeek.com, is that the perfect shade of red lipstick isn’t anything to do with blue or yellow undertones, it’s to do with the vibrancy of the lipstick, and how that matches up to the vibrance of your skin colour.
For example, if you have a very pale or fair skin, you don’t need a PALE red, you need a MUTED red lipstick, one that can be as light or dark as you like, as long as it’s not super-vibrant, because vibrancy will overpower the color of your skin, your eyes, your hair and everything else. If you have dark skin, your red lipstick can go as vibrant as you like, the brighter the better.
You can read more about this theory here:
https://www.makeupgeek.com/best-of/my-top-5-red-lipsticks/

And if you’re still stuck between all the shades on offer, according to most well-known glossy magazines, MAC’s lipstick in Ruby Woo is apparently somehow flattering to everybody. Whether you’re fair, dark, olive, neutral, warm or cool; this red lipstick will suit anyone.  That sounds very mysterious (but I expected nothing less from MAC); I look forward to trying Ruby Woo out.

Check out this article if your lips are on the skinny side and you want to know how to plump your lips (without getting a filler).

Do you wear red lipstick?  Do you have a perfect shade?  I suspect red’s going to be popular again this year since we’ve just had two years of neutral and nude lip colors!

Caring for long hair

Caring for long hair:

The best advice I have ever been given about caring for long hair is this:

“Treat your hair like your grandmother’s best antique lace.”

Obviously we don’t want to put it in a drawer and dry it flat, or only use it at Christmas, but there is a lot of wisdom and insight in this quote.

Your hair is, really truly, as delicate as antique lace. It is dead from the moment it leaves your head. Not only that, but it is barely anchored to your scalp, and it’s relatively easy to pull out any individual hairs.

I was told by a friend that (biological) male hair roots are deeper than roots of (biological) female hair. Perhaps that explains why there are so many rock gods still sporting trouser-length hair thirty years after their prime! Women’s hair tends to be finer, too – the individual hair shafts are slightly thinner than in men’s hair.

Ways to care for long hair and help it grow faster:

Massage, gently: I have been told by a hairdressing guru that the reason that men get receding and thinning hair (apart from genetics) is because they stimulate their hair follicles less. Since this guru is now retired, still sporting an amazing mop of hair, I would be inclined to believe him. Women, who statistically are more likely to choose to have longer hair than men, tend to poke and prod at their hair with brushing, straightening, massaging the shampoo and conditioner in; all this activity keeps the hair follicles stimulated. I did an experiment last year, where I massaged my hair twice a day for a month. It grew two inches in thirty days. I didn’t do anything else differently, such as changing my diet, so this really can work. One thing I’ve been warned against is over-stimulation – massaging too roughly or too often can have the opposite effect, as it causes an abrasive action that harms the hairs near the scalp, which will lead to more hair loss, so make sure to only do this in moderation.

Wash weekly (unless you eat oily fish): To keep your hair in its best condition, you should reduce the frequency of washing. Daily hair washing is reserved for owners of a number two buzz cut, and hair shampoo sales reps; it says “suitable for daily use” on your shampoo, not “use daily.” The key word is suitable – it means the product is gentle and won’t cause a product build up as quickly, it doesn’t mean you truly ought to use it daily (unlike moisturizer, which you should definitely use every day). Your hair produces natural oils, and by washing them away too much, you not only strip the hair of its protection (which means you need to use more oils you bought from the beauty store – hey, who’s really cashing in on this “wash your hair daily” rubbish? The hair product companies), but you also cause a negative feedback loop – your scalp detects that it feels too dry (un-oily, not non-wet) and ramps up oil production, which you promptly wash away, and it keeps on going. After a couple of weeks of feeling like your hair is super-greasy, it will settle down to a less aggressive oil production schedule. Also washing less frequently means that when you brush your hair, the oil gets further down the shaft to where it is needed – the ends of your hair. This will make your hair look stronger, shinier and less brittle. But if you eat an oily fish, wash your hair the same day, because that smells nasty!

Brush carefully: Remember the antique lace? Be very gentle, like you’re trying to brush the tail of a baby squirrel. Or something else super-delicate. Start at the ends of your hair; grasp your hair part-way down to support the strands, so all the pull of the brush doesn’t rip any hair out, and gently brush the ends. When the ends are totally tangle free, move up inch by inch, until your hair is detangled carefully. This minimizes hair breakage and loss (think about how a lever works – this is the same, if you put force on a long hair it’s got more chances to break than if you put the same force on a shorter hair) because there is less force being put upon your hair’s shafts.

Choose your brush carefully: I didn’t believe the first ten people who told me this, but the eleventh? I listened. Get thee a Tangle Teezer! Don’t get a cheap knock off, don’t get something with a similar sounding name that looks totally different, the brand is Tangle Teezer and it’s an investment in your hair. Even with a Tangle Teezer, I would still brush as outlined above. I know some people just drag them through from root to tip but obviously if you care about your hair, you need to use brushing techniques and good brushes that will minimize damage – a brush on its own won’t fix your hair, but when you use it properly, it gives less breakage than a plastic vent brush (my previous preferred type). I keep hearing amongst older hair growers that boar bristles are good, but I can’t really recommend them because a) I’ve never tried them and b) they come from a dead animal, and you’re rubbing that through your hair! Ewww! Before I get a plethora of snarky emails about hair products, they have this list on the side of the packet called “ingredients,” and because I used to be a chemistry teacher, I actually know what those long words mean and where they come from, most of them are synthetic by-products of the petroleum fractional distillation process (think Vaseline, mineral oil, and anything ending in “-ane” or “-ene”) if they’re really long words, and the industry is leaning more towards animal-free products these days anyway, so no, I don’t inadvertently put dead animal crap on my hair. If you want to know the real meaning of “all-natural” I’ve got an article here: What Is All Natural?

Take supplements: Obviously before changing your diet and exercise routine, consult a doctor blah blah blah, but seriously, I saw loads of people recommending omega 3 fish oil, so I was all like “can’t I use omega 3 non-fish oil?” The internet didn’t know, so I bought some omega complex linseed oil from the supermarket, nothing fancy, and tried it for 2 months. It accelerated my hair growth by about 50%, so I’m going to be possibly the first person on the internet to say through anecdotal evidence that the vegan sources of omega complex are good for your hair. If I’d bought a more expensive, cold pressed refined whatnot, it probably would have worked better because it would have been more concentrated in the amino acids which are a large part of why this works (amino acids are building blocks of protein, which is what hair is made of – that’s exactly what keratin is, it’s a protein). You need very specific amino acids to achieve faster hair growth, hence my uncertainty as to whether the flaxseed would work or not, but it did so yay.

Exercise: See above about doctors. Exercise increases your metabolism, meaning that if you eat right and exercise, those building blocks will get to where they need to be faster, which will mean you’re ready for more of them sooner. Don’t overdo it though – over-exercise, particularly coupled with under-eating (or INAPPROPRIATE eating) can cause hair loss, eek!

Minimise stress: So easy to say, so hard to do. Most of us wouldn’t ever be stressed if we had a choice about it; don’t get me wrong, I know it’s unrealistic to say “remove all stressors from your life.” What you can do, though, is change the way you manage that stress. For example, meditation, kundalini yoga, mindfulness, exercise, inspiring and calming music, and of course, making time for things you enjoy. I have a big list of planned articles, and stress management is on the list.

Consider whether your contra^ptive pill is causing hair loss: I won’t start on all the things that the pill can cause that most people aren’t warned about, because obviously it has some amazing benefits – regulating your cycle, clearing up acne, boob growth, oh and I guess stopping you from getting pregnant! If you’ve got one that works for you for mood swings, PMS, PMDD or any other life improving reason, keep it, it can take forever to end up on the right pill, and that process can be stressful. I do not advocate stopping medication if it’s doing the job and helping you in some way. However, if you’re just using it for pregnancy worries, and you haven’t really looked around, it might be worth considering an alternative method because the pill sometimes causes hair loss which stops long hair from looking as long as it really is, and thinner hair is more prone to breakage because there are less individual strands to disperse the forces from everyday life.

Use coconut oil: I’ve seen a lot of different sites touting a plethora of different oils, but if you like your hair to stay icy-pale, use coconut oil; I have tried two brands of argan oil (one courtesy of a gift, the other a freebie) and I’ve used extra virgin olive oil (it was The Last Big Thing, based on the anecdotes of a woman who lived to be 117 years old, who attributed this to lack of stress and lots of olives and olive oil, so it obviously became a health fad but it’s gone out of fashion now, probably because they can make more money selling you some other oil that isn’t as readily available in the supermarket); while they both do the job well enough, the problem is that they are coloured oils, and while the inherent colour might not be the thing doing it, something in these oils definitely makes my hair yellow/orange after I use them. I have tracked this over time and it’s definitely the oils that do it – argan oil is the worst for this. I think it’s something to do with the antioxidant properties, which, if you are a bleach blonde, you will probably know are what makes hair orange, e.g. if it’s gone green (from being oxidised in the sun by UV light) you use tomatoes or tomato ketchup to fix it (antioxidants), but if it’s not green, the antioxidants in tomatoes/ketchup make hair orange. So instead of them, use coconut oil, it’s colourless and doesn’t react with the hair colour molecules, which is my kind of protective oil. I buy mine from Sainsbury’s, the Lucy Bee brand, I’ve had it for a year and I’m only halfway through a jar. You can also get it from Amazon or Holland and Barrett. Make sure it’s got all the right labels that float your boat – pure, cold pressed, extra-virgin, and whatnot, so you’re satisfied with it. Someone recently raised a concern about whether it was watered down if it doesn’t specifically say “pure” on it. Nope, it’ll all be coconut if that’s what the ingredients say (do check them). Also, look up the coconut oil bleaching method (just type that into youtube) if you want to try it – I can’t recommend because I haven’t done it myself, but it certainly looks interesting.

Plaiting your hair/using protective styles: I got this from Afro-Caribbean hairstyling sites, basically a protective style is one you can put your hair into that protects it from traction and friction in everyday life, so a plait (or a set of plaits) would be a protective style, a ponytail would not because it leaves the individual strands vulnerable to the entire world. This is particularly sound advice at bedtime. Do be careful with how you tie off your plait though – a very tight hairband can cause traction alopecia, which nobody wants!

Silk Pillow/night cap: I bought a couple of scarves for outside, a silk pillow for at home, and a night cap for if I am away. I found silk to be helpful; it reduces friction compared to cotton so your hair doesn’t get stuck on the pillow, and it’s also got bizarre chemical properties (chemical as in, the fundamental chemistry of silk, I’m not saying it’s got “bad chemicals” in it) that cause it to interact with anything that touches it, mean it can help with healing your skin and protecting your hair.

Snag Free Bobbles: Hairbands that don’t have metal clasps have reduced hair damage and split ends when I tie off a plait. They’re more expensive than regular ones; get a good feel of the connecting glue before you buy, as some of the cheaper ones have thick, sharp glue splodges where they connect, which is almost as bad as the metal bits on regular bobbles. I like Scunci brand.

And finally, the things that didn’t work:

1. Biotin: This was my biggest disappointment, and an expensive mistake. I found it to be not only useless for my hair, but also caused my skin to break out, left me irritable and moody, and basically had a caffeine effect on me – super energized an hour afterwards, then in tears twelve hours later from exhaustion and over-blowing some silly problem. This one was definitely not for me, which I was really disappointed about because I heard such good things. My biotin was only 500 micrograms per tablet, I tried various different doses (800 should be optimal according to one study, 5000 according to another study) and just had to write it off as a bad job. I decided any hair growth effects from the supplements were probably being reversed by the stress they were causing me by unseating my emotions, resulting in a net gain of zero. I even tried them alongside other B vitamins, as suggested by a handful of reviewers on Amazon, and that didn’t make any difference either. I guess my biotin levels are naturally as high as they’re going to get.

2. Nope, it was actually just the biotin. Every other piece of info I’ve ever read on hair growth and caring for long hair has been pretty helpful.