Today’s video is about my hair bleaching experience, back in July! A bit of background: The last time I had my hair coloured in a salon was in 2009. Those were the days before Olaplex, when hairdressers would just look at my coarse black Asian hair and shake their heads sadly. When I say coarse, I mean my hair should …
For my birthday I indulged in a Spa Socialising package with my best friends at The Day Spa by Chuan, situated in the Langham Hotel in Sydney. It’s a spa that’s regularly ranked as one of the best luxury spas in Sydney, so I was pretty excited! All three of us have full time jobs, and one has a toddler and the other is a doctor with an irregular timetable, so it took a while for us to find a time that worked for everyone, and a day spa in Sydney with a package we wanted. We were willing to splurge a bit more for this since it replaced a weekend away that we were originally planning, which meant we were saving a bunch on fuel and accommodation.
The Langham Hotel is situated a short walk away from Wynyard or Circular Quay station in Sydney’s CBD, near The Rocks and Barangaroo. We chose the Spa Socialising Afternoon Serenity package, which worked out to be $250 per person on a Saturday ($235 on weekdays). It includes your choice of an Ultimate Aromatherapy Massage or Babor Spa Facial (1 hour), followed by an Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood with a glass of champagne. You can also relax before and after with the hotel’s gym and swimming pool facilities (includes a jacuzzi and steam room). They have a no-rush policy so you don’t have to feel awkward about hanging out for too long!
Tattooing your eyelids is REALLY FREAKING CLOSE to your eyeballs, and would be much harder to ignore than for microblading my brows, where I just lay back and tried to zen out.
Doing my brows from scratch takes me a good 15 minutes, and I could never get them as good as Leona’s microbladed brows (which I am still loving). But eyeliner only takes me 20 seconds and I’m quite particular about how it’s done, so the payoff wouldn’t be that great.
I’ve seen permanent eyeliner tattoos fade into blue-green tones which look really unflattering. Semi-permanent eyeliner is implanted more shallowly, so this shouldn’t be a problem… but still.
But curiosity got the better of me, so I volunteered for it anyway. What’s the worst that could happen? I could surely hide it with more eyeliner for the next 2-4 years until it faded!
The Semi-Permanent Eyeliner Tattooing Process
Rita Porreca, the director of Sydney Permanent Make-Up Centre in Five Dock, was my semi-permanent make-up artist. She’s been doing permanent make-up since the 1980s, so I knew I was in experienced hands.
After filling in the release and medical history forms, she took some “before” photos of my eyes, then applied some gel eyeliner on me so we could work out what I wanted.
Semi-permanent eyeliner is quite sharply defined while I usually go for a smudged pencil line, but we came up with a thicker line than most people opt for, which I was quite happy with. Since I like my eyes to look bigger, I opted for just the upper lid line, though many people like to tightline their bottom lid as well.
Next, Rita told me about the two instruments that she uses for permanent eyeliner: a cosmetic pen which was a bit slower but also a bit quieter, and a tattoo gun that was about twice as fast but louder and shakier. We opted for the quick option.
She then applied the numbing cream on my eyes and left me to lie back and contemplate my poor life choices while it sank in.
I recently got my eyebrows microbladed, after years of trying to draw them on consistently. You might have noticed them in my YouTube videos and selfies – I’ve gotten so many unsolicited compliments on them! Brows are probably the thing I find the most annoying in my make-up routine, and I’m not alone. Even drag queens who do their own …
I talk a lot about topical products, but hardly ever about treatments! Today I’m diving into THE most popular cosmetic treatment: Botox.
What Is Botox?
I’m sure you’ve all heard of Botox – the (sometimes accurate) stereotype of how Botox stops your face from moving and you become an expressionless human mannequin with perfectly smooth skin.
Botox is actually not the name of the chemical that gets injected. It was the first brand of botulinum toxin that was used for these anti-wrinkle injections back in the 90s. But much like Kleenex and hula hoop and jacuzzi and trampoline, people use “Botox” as the generic name for Botulinum toxin (I’ll be using the two terms interchangeably).
Botox is the most toxic poison known to science – just 100 nanograms will kill you if injected. That’s about 1/6 of the weight of a grain of sand! It’s a mixture of proteins produced by several types of bacteria, most notably Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes deadly botulism when you eat poorly preserved canned food. Botox paralyses the muscles it comes into contact with.
What Can You Use Botox For?
While botulinum toxin is very deadly when accidentally taken, it was discovered that tiny tiny amount were actually very safe when injected into a specific muscle.
Botox was originally used to treat overactive eye muscles in the late 1970s, and since then has been used to treat all sorts of disorders related to dysfunctional muscles, including spasms, cerebral palsy, chronic migraines and jaw grinding. In the early 90s, a couple of ophthalmologists noticed that patients who got Botox for eyelid spasms also had less frown lines (glabellar wrinkles) as a side effect. This sparked the popularity of Botox as a cosmetic treatment.
In cosmetic treatments, Botox is particularly good for softening the look of dynamic wrinkles, or wrinkles in motion – folds that appear or get more prominent when muscles contract. In some cases, they can disappear entirely! Commonly treated wrinkles include:
frown lines (glabellar wrinkles – vertical lines between the eyebrows)
crows’ feet (at the edge of the eyes)
Botox won’t work on static wrinkles that are visible even when your face is relaxed, since it works by acting on muscles, but it can slow down how quickly wrinkles in motion turn into static wrinkles.
Apart from wrinkles, Botox can also be used for:
excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
turkey neck (platysmal banding)
lifting the nose tip
jawline contouring (masseter muscle injections)
How Does Botox Work?
There are 7 types of botulinum toxin in total, of which two used in cosmetic treatments: type A and type B. They paralyse muscles in pretty much the same way.
Muscles are triggered to clench up or contract by nerve signals. The nerve and the muscle are separated by a small gap (neuromuscular junction or NMJ). The nerve releases a chemical messenger called acetylcholine into the gap, the acetylcholine sticks to the muscle, then the muscle contracts.
Botox stops the nerve from being able to release acetylcholine. Without acetylcholine, there’s no way for the nerve to communicate with the muscle, so the muscle is paralysed.
The Lip Lab is a chain in Australia where you can get your own custom lipstick made to suit your specifications. There are a few similar services overseas (Bite Beauty is a big one in America), but this is the only brand in Sydney as far as I know. There are 15 Lip Lab branches across the country so far.
I was invited to the lovely bright airy Lip Lab store on Oxford St in Paddington to get my dream lipstick shade made. I’ve been in love with nude shades recently, so I wanted to get a sheer satin nude that was would essentially be the lovechild of Marc Jacobs No Angel and the discontinued-in-Australia Revlon Lip Butter Pink Truffle (“they’re not the same, they’re similar“).
The Lip Lab’s Shauna made my lipstick for me. After listening to my description and peering intently at the lipsticks I brought with me, she measured out drops of various pigments onto a plate and mixed them with the shea butter-containing base with a palette knife to create my custom shade.
If you’re like me, Christmas is 1/3 food, 1/3 fun and 1/3 hair-tearing stress. Gift-buying, feast-cooking and end-of-year deadlines – it gets pretty overwhelming come mid-December! If tea-drinking, baths and stress balls aren’t cutting it, it might be time to step up to a professional massage, which has lots of health benefits according to science!
How to tell if you’re stressed
Here are the classic signs of stress, according to Dr Lily Tomas, an expert in integrative medicine:
I was recently invited to the gorgeous Lite Luxe salon in Double Bay to try my first laser skin treatment. It would be a Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) session that would take 11 minutes, and promised to be “painless, non-invasive, risk free”. Initially, I was a bit dubious and slightly frightened (in my head there would be lightsabers caressing …