Category Archives: Beauty

Men: Can’t Get Skinny with Them, Can’t Get Skinny without Them

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In general, all holidays and social situations can be linked to weight changes in both men and women. There’s the commonly recognised periods of weight gain like the Christmas bloat, the Easter sugar level rise, and the summer diet that fails miserably and results in even more chocolate than before. However, there is one particular situation that all women can agree has altered their weight – relationships. And not the obvious types of weight change either like that of pregnancy or leaving yourself go in your eighties because neither care what the other one looks like. This is the type of weight change that, in your loved up state, you don’t notice it creeping up on you. Or it’s the type that you can credit to the bloke who left you not only with a broken heart but drove you into the arms of comfort food. I’m not going to dive into the cliché mind you, no woman really sits there holding a tub of Ben and Jerry’s weeping into his sweatshirt. Women gain weight in real ways for real reasons.

Certain reasons for pilling on pounds during a relationship are purely practical, while others can be attributed to a certain frame of mind. Some women just give up once they’ve bagged a man, considering the fight for a fit body to be over. They’ve won the man and so why struggle to impress anymore? Others don’t even notice it, for gaining weight comes with the couple lifestyle. Club nights, midday yoga and liquid lunches with friends are swapped for movie nights in with a Chinese takeaway. It’s an unnoticed fact that eating with a man-beast who devours cakes whole and asks for a second pizza for himself will make a girl feel less guilty for her third slice. The mentality exists that if he’s having a mountain of food, then I can get away with a bit extra too. For others, exercising is simply pushed as far back in their minds as possible, their couple hibernation comes first and keeping fit is no longer a priority for their time – cuddling is.

Then there’s post relationship weight gain, where after the cheating slime leaves you, your friends finally own up to the fact you’ve put on a few. So he’s left you with a burning hatred for men, two years’ worth of stupid fluffy teddy bears that just take up room and fat ankles as well. At this stage in any chick flick or American sitcom it’s the time for an inspiring montage of the girl standing up, burning the teddy’s, hitting the gym, getting a makeover and taking to the town with her friends. In real life, most Irish girls simply run home to mammy for a whinge and a roast dinner. Your friends sit there offering you cigarettes and endless cups of tea and in your heartbroken state you couldn’t bear the thought of a gym full of self-obsessed men. Wallowing in your own pity party and unable to face the social scene yet, you lie at home eating takeaways in your pyjamas feeding the scraps to your dog. Thus more weight gain.

But eventually your attitude will find balance with your single life. You’ll find the motivation to hit the gym or go for a run in all the obvious places. In the form of pushy friends who want to get fit for the summer. For the look of pure regret on you ex’s face when he sees you and your no longer fat ass in the tightest of tight jeans. And that guy you flirted with once that said hello and actually acknowledged you last week. You’d like to think you’ve thrown out all the takeout menus, except for the one that’s stuffed under the sink, you know just for emergencies. You’ll get approached by luring creeps in the pub again and get stalked by them on Facebook, returning your confidence and balance to the world. The aforementioned certain someone will catch your eye and convince you he’s not like the others, even though he clearly is. Just like the man that has made you gain weight this one will influence you to lose it. You’ll push yourself to look your best to bag him, and when you finally do – let the cycle begin again.

 

Tanning – A Fatal Attraction

We always want what we can’t have, fat-free chocolate, a rain-free summer, instantly glossy hair out of the shower and particularly in the case of Irish women, a tan. We are a nation who pine for darker complexions, and the gathering of freckles across our cheeks and shoulders during the two scarce months our watery sun decides to grace us with its presence doesn’t count. Therefore to not look like a support group for the deathly pale when we hit the pub, Irish women resort to fake tan. But just when you think you’ve found the answer at the bottom of a bottle, a whole new world of problems crop up. Keep in mind this is strictly referring to self-tan; we don’t have near enough time to branch into sunbeds, injections, tanning pills and the world of complications they bring. To join the cult of pale, freckly, tan-happy girls is a big commitment, and it doesn’t come cheap or easy. Such tormenting difficulties that come with wearing fake tan are the cost, the frequency, the choking and suffocating biscuit smell, brand judgement and stigma, stained hands, a hoard of orange mitts stacked in the corner of your room and the nightmare of scrubbing it all off – just to name a few.

Cost and frequency go hand in hand; they’re part of the everyday problems that come with wearing tan. The amount of money you spend and sheer quantity you apply typically depends on how vibrant your social life is and how much skin you dare to bare. You could be the type of girl to only need a bottle a month to apply the barest coat each time they get their legs out. Or you could be the other type of girl we all know and love to mock – you know the one, she uses an entire bottle on her face just popping down to the shops so her skin tone matches her maroon pyjamas. As it currently stands, the fake tan business is worth over €100 million and is still growing. You’d think with all that money tucked away nicely in their back pockets, they could finally figure out how to get rid of that annoying biscuit smell. Certain brands of tan should start marketing their products as not only offering flawless coverage, but includes its very own scent of burnt toast free of charge.

The reputation of a fake tan can crop up out of nowhere, both good and bad. They can get shamed for dousing you in that biscuit smell, get praised for their easy application, and others can become stigmatised for the most bizarre reasons. Some of the most reliable fake tans known to our very own Limerick City are Sally Hansen and the budget tan St Moriz. Conveniently enough both are sold in Penny’s, who have made it easier once again to gather all the ingredients for a night out in one stop. But despite being sold in the same place as Sally Hansen and widely sold in all manner of other stores and pharmacies, I don’t know one girl who doesn’t refer to St Moriz as the “Penny’s tan.”

Women and fake tan share a love-hate relationship full of orange mitts and stained clothes. No matter how much fun it is to bond over a glass of wine with fellow females about the stress of finding a good tan, we can’t take it for granted. It’s there for us on hand before all special occasions, it’s there for us at a budget price when we’re stuck and at an outrageous one when we’re in the mood to brag, it’s there waiting to take us back into its open arms when we’ve cheated and gone on holiday for two weeks. Bless its little heart it’s even there for us to put up a fight against the lashings of pouring rain that attack our exposed legs on the run from taxi to bar, mind you often enough it loses that fight. That’s usually where the hate part of the relationship comes screaming back into it. But come the next night out and we’ve manage to get the right balance of sun-kissed glow before reaching Fanta Orange delivery truck car crash, all is forgiven again.

Body Modification

Rick, the Zombie boy

Rick, the Zombie boy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a slippery slope alright, this whole body modification thing. You start off with one piercing, maybe even go as far as a tattoo, but before you know it bam – you’ve turned yourself into a cat clone or a walking zombie. I’m not condemning these people who feel being human just isn’t enough anymore – but I wouldn’t want to hold a conversation with one.

It’s an art form, its self-expression, its visionary – it’s creepy. Who in their right mind would want to look like a giant cat? Well there’s a few out there. One man has a leopard print tattoo all over his body. He is named Tom Leppard and appropriately adopts his persona by living in an isolated cabin off Scotland and travelling ashore by canoe once a week to collect his pension – oh did I mention he’s 73?

Now as far as cat people go, the least I can say is that I find it unnerving. I don’t like body modification, I don’t get it and I don’t ever want to get it. But there is one guy who throws me off a little; because I think what he has done is kinda cool, albeit crazy. You may have seen him in one of Lady’s Gaga music videos, ‘Born This Way’? Does Rick Genest ring a bell?

Now this guy is known as ‘Zombie Boy’, but he is by far the coolest and best looking zombie I’ve ever seen. Props must go to Miss Gaga for unearthing this modern walking sensation. I can’t say that he’s changed my mind on the entire issue, and he’s probably going to look like a wrinkly skeleton when he’s sixty. But right now he’s young, handsome (you know, in that rugged zombie way) and has caught my attention. While it lasts.

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Audrey Hepburn, Style Icon

Black Givenchy dress of Audrey Hepburn

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Audrey Hepburn, the woman who created the little black dress. Simple, elegant, beautiful and charming. Her style is one that has been revered throughout the ages, her outfits and poise material for inspiration. Who doesn’t recall that classic black dress, hairdo and pearls in front of Tiffany’s window? It has reached icon status and is right up there with Marilyn’s white dress and Channel’s suit. Granted Marilyn may have been sexy and Channel a fashion powerhouse, but no one has class or style like Audrey.

She is no doubt the only woman in the world eligible to play both a nun and a call girl with effortless beauty and grace. Albeit Julia Roberts was lovable in Pretty Woman, her leather boots couldn’t hold a candle to Givenchy’s dress on Miss Golightly.

What has spawned Audrey into the good graces of fashion was her love of designer Hubert de Givenchy. And he loved her right back, catering to her whim and desires and designing almost every outfit in every role she played.  The two became inseparable, and with Audrey’s charm and Givenchy’s grace they set the trend that rocked through the 50’s, through Vogue covers, the runway and the movies.

When she’s remembered for her fashion style, it’s mostly in those of the films she starred. The dress and pearls in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the towering  hat and parasols in My Fair Lady, her Capri pants in Sabrina and running around Rome in a pair of pumps in Roman Holiday. But whilst the camera stopped rolling, Audrey’s eye for style continued.

Her tight hairdo’s, fitted pants, slim silhouette and basic colours. She refrained from bold colours, preferring instead staples of black, grey and brown which equalled Instant 50’s glamour. She brought Italian demure to Hollywood, with ballet pumps and clinched waistlines we could only hope to get around our ankles. She brought Parisian sophistication to New York, with turtle necks and trench coats. And she brought Hollywood glamour to the world, with satin dresses and long gloves that never looked tacky.

Audrey in her time was never rivalled, and still no one has managed to step up to the plate and remain standing.  She is the poster girl for sophisticated glamour. She was always modest, never self-important or arrogant, and grateful for her good fortune and fame. Even to her lasting legacy and in the face of icon status, she remains refined and effortless – “I never think of myself as an icon. What is in other people’s minds is not in my mind. I just do my thing.” And we will always love her for just doing her thing.

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Feed Yourself Pretty

Español: Glass of water. Español: Copa con agua.

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We all ignore it. The fact that vitamins, water, spice and everything nice actually do great things for our appearance. Instead, being the lazy make up reliant generation that we are (myself included), we say ‘meh’ to the healthy goodness of food and instead pull out the ever reliable concealer. So instead of thinking fruit is your enemy and water its evil twin, why don’t you give mother natures intended make up a go and give your cosmetic bag that well deserved rest.

Drop that bottle of coke immediately and I don’t even care if its diet.  How many times did your grandmother say you can’t drink better than water? And don’t you always see the pretty skinny girls carrying around huge bottles of water and think what the hell is in that bottle? Well I’ll tell you – there’s radiant skin, brighter eyes and shinier hair.

For your skin and hangover cure there’s nothing more rejuvenating than water. Its trick is that it hydrates skin cells and improves their elasticity, making them look less haggard and you less demonic after a wild night out. For your eyes, the simple method of dabbing them with water will leave the under eye area and tough bags brighter and cooled. And for shiny hair, the secret is to grit your teeth and stifle a scream, because giving hair a last-minute blast of cold water after washing will increase its shine tenfold.

And don’t forget your vitamins deary, another classic line from grandma but one that’s right yet again. The papaya fruit, exotic enough your grandma wouldn’t know whether to kill it or eat it, is stocked in vitamin A. The exact vitamin that is an antioxidant, removes dead skin cells, exfoliates and firms – something that will come in very handy when you’re nearing good ole grandma’s age.

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The weird and not so wonderful

English: Handmade soap

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To my knowledge, the only reason people would partake in extremely weird beauty treatments would be a slight lack of excitement in their lives, and a total lack of sanity. People who want to stick snails on their faces, snakes on their backs and lather up in someone else’s breast milk. Ew. Snails should be kept out in the garden under pot plants. Snakes belong only in tombs waiting for their enemies, Indiana Jones and Saint Patrick. And did these people not know of the age limit on breast milk? If there was a taboo on older children breastfeeding, then what social boundary did the people who use a soap made out of strange women’s breasts leap over?

Ok, so the snail bit first. There is a whole line of snail serum products on offer, to get rid of acne, stretch marks and dull complexion. Their slime boasts these fabulous results, and it’s the slime of not just any snail but the fanciest of all: Chilean snail “Helix Aspersa Muller”. Just let this elite snail slide around on your face or use his line of cosmetic products made from his ooze, and you’ll have your €70’s money worth. Il take a bottle of Clearasil instead, thanks.

Or why don’t you travel to Israel, where the lazy massage therapists let seven snakes do their job for them. Don’t worry, their non-venomous and I’m guessing they probably have years’ worth of training and a degree under their belt. Without expertise or a man in a turban playing a flute next to you, I can’t see the appeal or the reasoning for this one.

And the breast milk soap. Women who wake up one day and say, hey, my baby isn’t enough of a reminder of my pregnancy so I’ll make a bar of soap with my leftover milk. And for the people who use it, when it has no proven results better than normal soap, please go get your fetish kicks somewhere else and leave the poor sentimental mothers and their milk alone.

I don’t care what kind of flawless skin or muscle loosening these treatments bring. For a lot less money, disgust and weirdness I’m sure they stock something with the same results in Brown Thomas. This is where you will find me, safely hidden away from the snakes, snails and breast soap, and away from the “risk takers” of our world. I’d much rather talk to some nice sales lady.

 

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Needles are the new Sally Hanson

Hypodermic Needle Stomach Injection 3-1-08 8278

Hypodermic Needle Stomach Injection 3-1-08 8278 (Photo credit: stevendepolo)

Our country is riddled with the disease of paleness, but blessed be the bottles of fake tan at our exposure or I would never wear a dress again. Those of us who like the bronzed lifestyle buy fake tan by the bucket load, stand naked for spray tans, lie in UV light for hours and pop tanning tablets. We’ll go to pretty much any length to stay glowing, but would you go to the lengths of a drug addict?

Tanning injections are the new black market buzz that’s peeking interest in Ireland. Illegal, dangerous and not even approved for human use, these injections are the worst extreme Irish lasses have ever turned to for a tan. And I am truly worried. So much is wrong with them that I don’t even know where to start.

Let me explain what these injections are. They come as sachets of Melanotan powder, which is a chemical hormone that is being developed for skin intolerance to the sun. It then must be mixed with a “solution”, and injected daily with an insulin needle to the stomach area. Sounding a bit dodgy yet? It’s bought and sold over the internet, and contents can include an already used needle and incorrect dosage. Now I think were past dodgy.

Immediate side effects can range from nausea to increased blood pressure. That might not sound too bad, maybe you’d even be ok with the long-term side effects, a small thing known as cancer and that tingly feeling you get called organ failure. Do you really want to stab yourself to the point of sickness to look darker? The only thing I’ve left to say to this train wreck of dodgy needles, sickness, disease and desperation is thanks, but no thanks. I’ll take mine out of a bottle any day.

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The Man Behind the Window

Val Holmes, the man behind the window. That window being Brown Thomas’s ever changing front display windows. And that man being the display manager spanning over 3 decades. He has been the one to entertain Limerick city with scenes of the world, St Patrick’s Day pride, glamorous catwalks and of course, Christmas spirit.

For over 37 years now Val has been with brown Thomas and been working on their windows. A job that suits his talents so perfectly, it’s hard to imagine it’s a job which he got by chance. Thinking back to the start of his career, he remembers simply walking in to Brown Thomas looking for a job and getting landed on the windows. Even without a fancy degree, he made manager in under four years in 1978 – and has loved every day since.

33 years later and Limerick has seen one of the best Christmas display windows in a long time. Working in his team with two others, Anne and Marie who he speaks of fondly, he explains how every month their given a theme from the head Brown Thomas store in Dublin. This year the Christmas theme is “Windows from around the world” and the Limerick store has run with it. Walk down the street and you’ll see Russians hunting in their furs, the French eating expensive cakes, and the Chinese with their porcelain faces and china sets.

You’ll also see the usual arrangement of snow covered reindeer and wrapped up children. They put so much thought into the display that he modelled the French window on Marie Antoinette’s famous proclamation: “let them eat cake!” Hence the frosted pink cakes of grandeur in the window.

All Brown Thomas stores across Ireland synchronise their windows, and change them on a monthly basis. But being a Limerick man himself, Val sees no harm in making us stand out a little more and going that extra mile with the windows. It takes them 2 to 3 weeks to do the Christmas display alone. And not only do the windows entertain the city, they give back to the community too. Limerick’s Live 95 D.J lived in the window for 95 hours for charity in September of this year. In that amount of time, they raised €50,000 for charity, and it was their way in helping to give back to the city.

Val has spotted trends come in and out in his windows display, picking and choosing the Brown Thomas labels and merchandise to include. He was the man that brought the beloved animated Santa to Limerick back in the 80’s. However, having developed an eye for trends, he admitted it had run its term and the millennium meant new things for Limericks windows. Val has brought us a little bit of other worldly culture this Christmas. So far the response from the city has been great, with customers in the store frequently offering compliments on the display. So if you’re in the store this Christmas, don’t forget to thank Val and his team for the years they’ve spent making our city look beautiful.

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2012 Makeup trends

English: Freehand cherry blossoms and koi fish...

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I bet by now most of you have already forgotten the new you that lasted two weeks on her  healthy diet, gym commitment and new style. I know I have. But in the beauty world, 2012 is bolder and better – with a few makeup trends that are a lot easier to keep than a diet.

Anyone catch the new reality favourite, Desperate Scousewives? These girls running around Liverpool, glitter clad with their rollers still in, are responsible for the newest and funniest trend yet. The scouse brow. Thick and square and dark no matter what the hair colour, these girls are adding powerful frames to their faces. I’m not saying that we should all tattoo caterpillars onto our forehead because they do, but thicker and darker brows are bang on trend this season.

If you’re too afraid to go bold with your eyebrows, then do it with your eyes. We’ve moved on from colour blocking to colour popping. Line your eyes with contrasting colours to stand out from the crowd. If you have blue eyes, go for orange eyeliner. For brown, try blue. For green, inject a bit of fiery red.  I know that black is the makeup safe house, but for once step out of your comfort zone and see how many eyes are winking back at yours.

But the boldest of them all this year is here to stay for life. Yes, tattoos. Tattoos are no longer just for muscly men who love their mother; they have become decorative, expressive and meaningful for women. Even Topshop has gotten its own tattoo parlour for its fashion forward customers. And for those who fear needles and commitment – and dare I say it, eventual sagging – there are transferable tattoos available that are just as fabulous. So go on, this year be bold, be brave, and flash your tat.

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Herbal remedies to get you through Christmas

English: Herbs for Grüne Sauce/Green Sauce - a...

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We all know Christmas is a time for giving. But this Christmas, take the time to give a little something back to your body also. Over the past year you’ve probably exposed it to a stream of medication, antibiotics, fast food, stress and anxiety.  We all know what a typical Christmas has in store for our bodies – more exposure to harsh chemicals (that fourth glass of wine), inhaling mountains of your mum’s food and listening to your relatives moan (migraine much?). So this year, bring things back to basics and give your body a break.

Eats of Eden on Thomas Street is a great place to start. If you find in the past years you’ve had to loosen your belt after Christmas dinner then come prepared this year. Dorothy Anslow, the shops advisor, has helpful hints on how to avoid that bloated belly feeling post dinner. Drink plenty of water, “and even though we love our coffee, its best to avoid caffeine if you don’t want to feel bloated.” So that’s breakfast sans coffee and dinner with water. Check. If you find that isn’t helping and you want to resort to something stronger, then she suggests trying ‘Optibac Probiotics’. These are natural supplements for those who suffer from poor digestion and want to enjoy their meal.

If you find that your skin suffers at Christmas time when it’s exposed to the Irish weather at its harshest, then turn toward Holland and Barrett. They stock natural Aloe Vera gel, so instead of using soaps and shower gels with the extracts of aloe Vera, go straight to the source. Rub this gel onto your hands, lips and face to keep them soft and supple throughout the holidays, even if you’ve to deal with dirty dish water whilst washing up. If you suffer from more than just dry skin, like eczema or psoriasis, then Dr China packs some great remedies. All are natural and you can consult with the staff to find which one suits your skin type best.

If you find it hard to sleep the nearer it gets to holidays, be that the stress of buying presents, the late night family gatherings or your dads bad karaoke – Lavender Oil may be your answer. Dorothy, from Eats of Eden, has a few tips on sleeping easier through using the oil. “You can burn it, sprinkle it on your pillow or place a few drops in your bath.”

The oil also has uses for tension headaches. You can massage the oil directly into your skin, around the forehead and temples, for quick relief. Another natural remedy for migraines is peppermint tea. You can buy these tea bags in a local supermarket, or from health shops like Holland and Barrett. Just brew some tea bags or fresh leaves if you really want to feel in tune with nature, and relax. Let you and your body enjoy this Christmas.

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Beware the Baby Oil

Massage in Frankfurt, Germany

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Body oil should come with a warning on the packaging, or at least a set of instructions.  It’s not me being daft here, its basic common sense. Body oil can go terribly wrong, or terrifically good. Before I start off, however, I want to make the assumption that both I and the readers are fully aware of what body oil can do behind closed doors –  so there will be no stating of the awkwardness here thank you very much.

Use it in a couple’s bath to soften both of your skin, but be careful of letting your man know. Baby oil in his bath might be the tip of an iceberg of bubbles, scented candles and Adele on the iPod. You want to keep a slight bit of his masculinity intact, so what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him – just soften his skin.

It can be a great way to suggest romantic cuddling or it can be an awful mood killer. Every lady wants her man to hold up a bottle, dim the lights, spark the candles and offer a sensual massage. No one wants the “What’s the story with me, you and a bottle of baby oil?” text. Another thing the lady wants is smooth strokes with the right amount. She doesn’t want to feel like a slip and slide for your hands. Baby oil is messy, so use it sparingly with small amounts in the palm of your hand to avoid staining the sheets.

But don’t go too far on the massage. It’s better to safe and dry than sorry and slippery. Oil breaks latex, so if you are having sex, and safely, do not involve the poor bottle of baby oil. It will render the condom useless and become a real mood killer nine months down the line.

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Organic vs. Chemical

Internationally recognized symbol

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When we think of chemicals, what comes to mind is the bleach under the sink and the oil rigs out in the North Sea– but most people forget about the chemicals going on their face.

Some chemical exposure is inevitable for our bodies, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a chain smoker or not. But the biggest chemical parasite lurking in our bodies and on our faces is makeup. For all you know, that expensive new foundation of yours is slapping a big biohazard sign on your forehead, instead of the great coverage that the nice sales lady promised you.

It’s hard for a girl to find out what the big industry is putting in her products, since even the ingredients are a game of cloak and dagger. Women typically use over more than 250 chemicals on their face daily, from crushed beetles to animal fat.

The cochineal beetles in South America are full of cactus juice, so when crushed they add the red tint that you put on your lips and cheeks. But the scariest part is that cosmetic companies don’t have to disclose any bug ingredients. It seems were going to be playing bug roulette with our lipsticks for a little while longer.

Animal fat is the stuff that makes your foundation spread and your lips glossy. The animal in question can range from road kill to strays to expired meat. For the sake of womankind’s compassion, I won’t disclose the journey from stray doggy to sparkly lip-gloss.

But don’t worry; a simple switch to organic products can quickly remove the ick factor. Zuii organic range is good for skin, with 95 % pure ingredients and against animal cruelty. Make the switch to this or any brand like it, and sleep with a little less toxins and a lot less horror at night.

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Blinding Boy Bits

Disco ball in blue

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Male grooming. We were delighted when they started shaving their chest and tweezing their unibrows. We begrudgingly allowed them to do the odd sunbed and steal some of our fake tan when needed. We even braved the man eyeliner for god sake. But I can honestly admit that I am truly terrified of the next step I hope only a minority of men will take. It’s a big bejewelled glittering penis and it’s coming our way. Introducing the male version of a vajazzle: the pejazzle.

For those of you manly men that are reading this and shaking to the core but can’t look away, I will explain the nitty gritty details as painlessly as I can. A pejazzle followed from the female vajazzle, which is basically a decoration of a woman’s nether regions with nice pretty crystals. The trend became massive after it was seen on TOWIE, and no, I’m not obsessed with the show. Most commonly used are the Swarovski crystals, which Essex lad Mark Wright is supporting and launching his male version of designs.

If any man is outrageous enough to go ahead and attempt this, you my good man are a brave one. Make sure to prep the area first, as in shave it and then clean it with the provided alcohol wipe. We don’t want any sticky bits getting caught in any hairy bits now do we?  Then simply peel off the design (a pair of lips or a cross – whichever makes you feel well hard man) and stick. Congratulations, you now have your very own disco ball for night time when the lights go out.

Granted there are no harmful side effects from this beauty treatment, and it can be done either professionally or at home. So technically there is nothing stopping men from flooding salons nationwide to bling their bits.  As the spokesperson for this development, and self-confessed pejazzeler, Mark Wright said “each to their own”. He’s absolutely right, if any man gets a pejazzle he will most definitely be on his own. Or at least until the diamanté’s fall off.

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Something Smells a Bit Fishy

unedited My new pedicure free for use My photo...

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I’m sure by now most of you have heard of the fish spa. If you have, or if you’re reading about it here intrigued and want to partake, then let me warn you.  You could easily be contracting a disease the minute you put your feet into the tank.

This craze has swept from across the world – it came from Turkey, stopped briefly on an episode of Ugly Betty and hit the high street (including our own Limerick City) with a plunge.  These little fish, called Gurra Rufa, eat the dead or infected skin of a person’s foot.  It is sometimes popular among people who have eczema or psoriasis – not that it’s a recommended medical treatment.

It seemed amazing that putting your feet into a tank of water filled with tiny, little, flesh-eating fish left your feet supple. And personally, I cheered for joy when I saw such a salon come to Limerick. But then I asked myself, and now I am asking you, would you use a treatment that has been banned in 14 states in the U.S?

Standard regulation in all salons is that they must sanitise or throw out tools after being used on a patient. But in this case you can’t exactly sanitise the fish, and their too expensive to throw away. For all you know, you could be letting fish chomp away at your skin when they’ve just been chomping on an infected foot. Most fish spa’s will check and inspect the feet of patients, but who’s to say they’re 100% legit? What disease one man had on his foot you could be getting on yours.

Currently the Health Protection Agency is investigating the treatment and sanity risks. But until the filed report is released, I’m not risking my own feet to find out.

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Are you going to the Botox party?

Botox

Image by AJC1 via Flickr

Hi come in, the party just started. Have a drink while you wait, the professional is preparing upstairs. Once you relax it’ll be over soon, it’s a simple injection of paralysing toxins into your forehead. It might pinch a bit. Yes you read correctly, and don’t be shocked just yet. For all you know your closet friend could greet you with the same insane reasoning in a matter of weeks.

Welcome to the Botox party ladies, the newest and in my opinion most bizarre fad that’s swept the world of beauty as of yet. More and more frequently women all over the country have been hosting these parties, a mixture of cute fruity drinks and toxic injections. Once considered a pastime of the rich and beautiful, no one but the celebrities dared to be so self-indulgent.  But of course once we saw an actual party on the reality TV show of guilty pleasures, TOWIE, then everyone had to have one.

However Botox certainly isn’t something to be played around with, and here comes the science bit to explain why. Botox is in essence a paralysis that originates from a germ called Clostridium Botulinum. This germ was found in badly prepared food, but now at the price of €400 and above, it can be found in your forehead too. If this drug is not refrigerated at the proper temperature, if mixed with alcohol, or if your head is not in an appropriate headrest – you’re in the hazard zone. All of the above cases will lead to bruising on your face, drooping eyelids, headaches and the drug not taking effect at all.

Fully licensed practitioners will not give the injection to anyone drinking alcohol or without signing a release form – if you can persuade them otherwise then they probably have a lot more uniforms than the doctor’s one. So take a friendly suggestion from me if you ever get such an invite, or find yourself in a situation as horrendous as this. Take one good hard look at the needles lying on the frilly pillow, chug that drink and run straight for the door.

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