A Blast from My Past: Japanese Gyaru Fashion & Life in Japan

A few weeks ago I went back to my parent’s house for a few days. Whilst I was there I decided to raid the attic, and see if I could find my old textbooks. I found myself knee-deep in university papers and old cuddly toys from my childhood. Amongst these were a few boxes of items from my time living (and studying) in Tokyo, Japan. Suddenly my objective was out the window and all I wanted to do was reminisce.
Japanese fashion has been a part of my life for over 10 years now. One fashion sub-culture in particular took up a decent amount of that time – gyaru. With hair high enough to reach the gods, and enough make-up to make an MUA weep, gyaru was an enigma wrapped in a mini skirt and fuzzy leg warmers. I was automatically drawn in, and spent most of my time reading magazines and blogs dedicated to the style. Gyaru is the reason behind me starting this blog in the first place! So you can imagine that finding these magazines and books was something quite special. Memories flooded back: Buying the Ranzuki Hair & Make-up Book in a small conbini in Kyoto. Adding points to my WC loyalty card as I bought everything and anything from the brand. Getting a ‘hair set’ (that has since created perpetual hair envy) with a friend for our joint birthday party. 
I met some amazing people because of gyaru, people who I can now call good friends.  So naturally it will always be a big part of my life and although I’m sure there were bad times, I can only remember the good. Recently I’ve missed my time living in Tokyo, but I do wonder if going back might tarnish those memories. It’s safe to say that things wouldn’t be the same now, but maybe that’s a good thing? Gyaru has faded from it’s origins and seems to be evolving into something all together different. So for now, I’m happy to keep my memories as just that. 
Interested in reading more about Japanese fashion and how my blog started?
Check out my Style Evolution post or browse my Japanese Fashion tag.

Review: Organix OGX Tea Tree & Peppermint Shampoo & Conditioner

Every time my hair needed a sleek pick-me-up I’d head to Organix. Their Argan Oil shampoo and conditioner would leave my hair shiny and smooth. Well now they’ve changed their name from Organix to OGX, without changing their products. I tested out their Tea Tree Mint Shampoo & Conditioner to see just how good they are.
+ Smells lovely
+ Nourishing
+ Left my hair moisturised
+ Gentle on hair
– Jelly texture to shampoo
– Doesn’t lather easily
I haven’t reviewed too many shampoos and conditioners on the blog, mainly because I stick to my tried and tested favourites. However over the last few months I’ve been eager to try new brands and switch between them, so OGX came along at the right time. I’m not a fan of tea tree oil so I was happy when I opened these and was greeted by a delicious peppermint scent. The jelly-like texture of the shampoo is a bit odd, and it also made it slightly harder to lather, but this didn’t bother me too much. Of course with shampoo and conditioner it’s all about the outcome. Luckily for me the outcome was good. My hair didn’t feel dry like it can so often do after I’ve washed it. It felt nourished and hydrated. These don’t help get rid of frizzy hair like the Argan Oil, but then they never claimed to. After styling my hair it felt even better and my hair stayed like that for a couple of days. As a fan of Organix, I can say that just because they’ve changed their name it doesn’t mean they’ve lost any of the quality in their products. They have such a great variety of products in their hair care range, and I’d love to try more. For £6.99 these aren’t cheap but they’re worth the money!
You can buy OGX’s Tea Tree & Peppermint Shampoo & Conditioner at Boots.
You can also find some of the other varieties at Superdrug.

Inspiration: Japanese Beauty Trends

After my Japanese fashion trend post, it only made sense to compliment it with a beauty post too. Most Japanese fashion magazines have a feature on complimentary beauty looks and tutorials. I’ve always loved the in-depth tutorials and product recommendations Japanese magazines offer. So I flicked through some of the latest issues of Vivi, Jelly and CUTiE looking for inspiration.
It didn’t take long before I found some gorgeous looks that I’d love to imitate. There’s a lot of emphasis on ‘natural’ make-up lately and that suits me just fine. As of late, I’ve come to love a natural look with nude shades and a prominent lip. I also liked the variety of hair styles, from straight, to wavy, to bouffant, it’s all there. I’ll certainly be trying out some of the shorter wavy hairstyles, and the up-dos. Throw in a cheeky nail art tutorial and I’m sold; no need to to show me twice!
You can buy Japanese fashion magazines on eBay or from the Japan Centre.
Unfortunately they’re usually overpriced online, but there are resources to view them online.

Pink Hair, Don’t Care!

Yesterday I stopped by Bleach in Dalston to get my hair topped up. Now by ‘topped up’ I mean darkened at the top and lightened at the ends. As I had such a vivid red before it’s going to take a while to get rid of it all.  So Carl matched my roots again on top with a dark brown and bleached the ends.  My tips are slowly lightening but are going to need more bleaching before they’re blonde. In the meantime he suggested having a colour on the tips that would wash out over time. So he convinced me to go for the pink-purple tips that you see above, and I love it! I’ve never had a colour like this before and the gradient on my hair is just perfect. It’s fun not having a ‘natural’ colour as I always want something vivid and different. 
What do you think?

Review: Essential Nuance Airy Japanese Hair Mask

The Essential hair masks are a product I’ve been wanting to try out for a while.
When I say a while, I mean I’ve had this on my list for several years now. Crazy, right?
Even when I was living in Japan I never got round to actually trying the hair masks out.
Well I finally decided to buy one of these from Alpha Beauty Store a few weeks ago.
There are a couple of hair masks in the collection, and I went for Nuance Airy.
It claims to give damaged and limp hair a new lease of life, with a light and bouncy feel.
Naunce Airy is specifically aimed at helping those with coloured/heat styled hair.
It aims to repair the last 15cm of your hair, but you can use it over all of your hair.
After washing your hair and towel drying it, pop this on for 5mins and then wash off.
You can use this 2 to 3 times a week, when washing your hair.
+ Smells amazing
+ Left my hair soft & silky
+ Adorable packaging 
+ Good for coloured/damaged hair
+ Lots of product

– Won’t smooth out frizzy hair

The Essential hair mask lived up to all of my expectations. First off, can we please talk about how gorgeous the packaging is? I’m not a fan of pink but this is adorable and definitely lives up to the high standard set by Japanese packaging. The product itself has a rather buttery, thick texture to it. It’s not unpleasant and actually makes it a lot easier to handle. The shea butter and honey in this means that it smells amazing whilst you’re wearing it, and the smells lasts long after you’ve washed it off too. I thought it might weigh my fine hair down slightly, but that wasn’t a problem at all. It left my hair soft and silky feeling, although it didn’t stop my hair from frizzing…but then not much does. It’s also worth mentioning that I had my tips bleached a couple of weeks ago, so they were a bit dry but this At £9.58 this isn’t cheap, but there is plenty of product to go around. It’s definitely something I’ll be buying again. 
The store may be closed for the first week or so of February due to Chinese New Year.

Review: Hair Styling & Nail Art at Cheeky Parlour, Shoreditch

 Manicure & Nail Art, and Up-do created by the lovely people at The Cheeky Parlour
For my birthday celebrations I knew I wanted something a little special. I didn’t want to go over the top but I wanted to be pampered, and look good too. For me, that meant someone styling my hair for me, as I find it such a task myself. So Anna & I returned to our new favourite haunt – The Cheeky Parlour.

Cheeky Fix Me Up

Last time we went we both had a manicure and nail art – rememberThe parlour has been renovated since then and looks even better. This time we went for the ‘CHEEKY fix me up’ hair & nail combo. This entitled us to a file & paint manicure, a blow dry/up-do and a free drink. Anna went for a blow dry, with big luscious curls, which looked amazing on her. I went for an up-do partly due to the weather, and partly because I just wanted to…ok? My stylist asked me what kind of up-do I would like and I told her “Anything with plaits.” Since my hair is so short I didn’t expect anything amazing but it turned out wonderfully.  She did French Plaits down both sides and secured the rest in a big fluffy bun – impressive! Then it was time for our manicures – I had given my nails a fortnight rest from polish in preparation. Anna decided on a gorgeous mocha nail polish, and went matte. Yes you get to decide matte or shiny! I went for black, because black goes with everything duh. I also added some gold polka dot nail art. I went for shiny, of course, to accentuate the sparkly gold of the polka dots even more. All during this time we sipped on cocktails, and laughed about all kinds of nonsense.

Final thoughts?

For only £25 the CHEEKY fix me up combo is definitely worth the money! I can’t say I’d do it every Friday night, but I’ll definitely be going back again, for sure. The combo is perfect for a night out, and I love treating myself every now and again to a manicure. If you’re looking for something a bit more special, they now offer make-up and pedicures as well.
Visit The Cheeky Parlour for more info and a list of beauty treatments.

New Hair, Don’t Care!

After literally months of debating it, I have changed my hair colour.
I went back to Bleach, as they’re the only hair colourists I trust now.
If you don’t remember (shame on you!) my hair was a vibrant red before.
I wanted to go darker, back to my natural colour, so they matched up my roots.
My natural colour is a very dark brown (almost black), so it was a big change!
As they matched my roots, it means there’s pretty much no maintenance involved.
I wanted it a bit different though so I asked for an ombré dip-dye on the ends.
I’m hoping to go back soon and get the ends bleached/lightened a bit more.
Bleach may like using bleach, but they know how much and when to do it.
I’m so happy to have darker hair again, it’s been forever!
I was genuinely shocked when they matched my roots up and I realised how dark they were.
It’s been a long time since I saw my natural colour properly, but I think I’m gonna like it.