Min's Beauty Equipment: March 2014

Friday, 28 March 2014

My Acupuncture Experience For Relieving Back Pain and Constipation

In my previous post I mentioned the neck and back pain that I was experiencing recently. To cure it I went to a little Chinese Medical Practice for an acupuncture session. If you are to try this out, make sure you don't undertake the treatment in a Chinese whore house masked as a medical practice, which I also talked about in my last blog post. The consequences of using somebody with questionable qualifications and experience may give you the opposite effect from what you are trying to achieve.
Chinese Traditional Medicine Acupuncture - back after cups
My back after cups. Five days later I still
have marks, but they have subsided

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a method by which an acupuncturist tries to cure a patient using application of heat, pressure, laser or penetration of needles.

It is a key part of traditional Chinese medicine which often talks about energy flows and other things that may or may not exist. A lot of doctors laugh at it and call it nothing more than a placebo.

Other scientists and practitioners believe that acupuncture stimulates nerves and muscle tissue, which is what gives benefits for the patient. I am a believer of this last theory. People may not necessarily understand why and how it works, but from clinical trials it has been shown that acupuncture works better than a placebo effect.

The acupuncture treatment process

I went to have an acupuncture treatment done for my upper back and neck pain.  The doctor inspected my tongue, measured my pulse by putting her fingers on my wrist. She asked if I slept well and, to my surprise, if I was constipated. Well, I was. I said that constipation was a permanent fixture in my life. The traditional Chinese medicine doctor said that she would do a bit of something to help me out with that as well.

The lady told me to undress myself and leave only underwear on. She left the room. I followed the instructions and lied down on the massage table. The table had a hole for my mouth and nose for comfortable breathing.

Chinese Traditional acupuncture left a bruise
A bruise left after the needle
The doctor came back, turned the heat lamps on to keep me comfortable and warm. She massaged my neck and back to feel where the pain was. She also massaged the legs and feet to find out where it hurt. Next, the acupuncture cups followed. It didn't hurt at all, but I could feel the heat and I could hear the flame. It didn't scare me nor surprised me, because I had seen cups before. My mom used them on the other members of my family when they had some lung or chest problems. The acupuncturist slided the cups down my back, then she held some of them in one place for a little while. Nothing hurt, but I could feel strong suction. Also, they left marks on my back, so don't have this done if you are going on a beach holiday soon afterwards. Give it at least two weeks for the marks to go away.

Needles followed the cups. I was lying on my tummy; one needle was inserted into my calf and a couple into my foot, a few into my back. Then I was left to lie on the table on my own for approximately 15 minutes. When she came back, I had to lie down on my back and a few needles were inserted into my stomach area, one into my head, one into my hand and a couple into my foot. I was left to lie on my own for another 15 minutes.

I could hardly feel the needles being inserted into my body. To be honest, I felt nothing, I heard a little puncture sound each time a needle was inserted into my skin. The only two places where it mildly hurt was my hand and my calf, but it was a very mild discomfort.

The acupuncture results

Neck and back pain

On the same day right before the acupuncture session, my upper back and neck were quite painful. I was able to do things and move around, but I could not move my neck to the left. Immediately after the acupuncture session, I could move my head quite far to the left, not as far as I could move my head to the right, but almost as far as that. My neck and back became mobile. Before acupuncture I felt like I was partially paralysed. I regained 90% of my normal mobility and only a little bit of pain was left.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends acupuncture for lower back only. In my case, although it was the upper back that was treated, it certainly worked for me.


I emptied my guts after a few hours and again the next day in the morning which is quite unusual for me. I was impressed! Unfortunately, I didn't last. Now I am back to my usual state. To be fair, constipation was not my main treatment, so I shouldn't expect amazing results nor blame anyone. I went there for back pain and it worked.

I have signed up for another session one week apart. The traditional Chinese medicine doctor said that I needed two to three sessions to cure my pain. I can't wait to see if the session on Monday will take the last 10% of the pain away. I don't feel like a cripple any longer, but washing my hair at the hairdressers would feel a bit painful.

The treatment costs £40 per session. It's a one hour long session. Dr. Ling Chen is the doctors name and the practice is called the Chinese Medical Centre, which is in High Barnet.

Final word

Have you ever used acupuncture? If not, would you use it? What do you think of traditional Chinese medicine or any other alternative?

Update on 23rd of April 2014

I went back to the practice one week after the first appointment to have the same treatment for neck and back pain. The procedure was similar and the pain almost went away. However, I could still feel very mild pain when I was trying to move my head to the left.

Unfortunately, a couple days later, the pain came back and I took some painkillers. The pain was nowhere near as bad as it was at its worst, but I would say I had around 30% of the original pain back. Luckily the painkillers sorted me out and the next day I was totally fine again. That was the last time I had that pain. Now I fully pain free, even when I move my head far to the left.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Six Tell-tale Signs that a Chinese Medical Practice is a Whore House

Some of you may already know that I struggled with my back and neck in the last 10 days or so. It all started after I decided to go for a run on a beautiful Saturday morning. 20 minutes of running, then a bit of stretching and a few hours later I was crying from pain. It seemed like it all came out of the blue.

I still haven't been at the doctors, but I think it's a muscular pain as I don't have any spine nor back problems running in my family.

Eastern medicine
Signs for traditional Eastern medical practice
After spending the whole Saturday in pain, Sunday was still pretty bad, but on Monday the pain subsided and my neck and back seemed to slowly keep on getting better. I didn't go to the doctors. You probably know about the horrible medical practice that I am registered with. I am determined not to go there ever again, but I still haven't signed up with any new one.

A few days ago, which was again on Saturday, a week after my first outburst of pain, my neck and back started to hurt badly again. I was in tears and I needed help urgently. The doctors are closed, A&E should probably be left for more urgent cases, so the only thing that came to my mind was a little Chinese medical centre on the high street. There are a few of them.

I rang the doorbell of a tiny Chinese medical practice. A nice English woman opened the door for me and signed me up for an acupuncture session on Monday morning. Great, but I am in pain. I want the acupuncture now or at least today or tomorrow, not on Monday! So, I am going to the other Eastern medicine centre which is also not too far away.

Six tell-tale signs that a little Chinese Medical Practice is a whore house

  1. I get in to the second Chinese medical practice and I say that I want acupuncture as I am in pain. The Chinese receptionist looks totally perplexed. She asks if I want some massage and looks totally confused when I say that I have a back pain and I want acupuncture. She offers me some massage, but she is not convincing and seems to have no idea about the fact that acupuncture can treat pain, so the girl whose English is quite limited rings her boss and talks to her in Chinese. Then she says that she can book a doctor for the next day. Asks for a deposit.
  2. Slowly I start noticing all the details. I see a hand-written sign that 'Viagra is available for sale here'.
  3. The next sign tells something like that: 'Please don't use the back door as CCTV has been installed there'.
  4. The menu does not consist of illnesses and problems that doctors normally help in solving, but it is a price list for a four-hands massage and equivalent things. Forget acupuncture even though 'Acupuncture' is written on the window and is clearly advertised from the outside.
  5. Another lady, a middle-aged Chinese woman who is obviously part of the staff, is wondering around having nothing to do, but she is not able to perform acupuncture nor treat my back pain in the usual way typical to traditional eastern medical practice. She wears make-up and obviously thinks she looks sexy.
  6. The opening hours of the place are 9am-9pm seven days a week, but there is no doctor.

How to know if it's a 'real' Chinese medical practice?

Well, you can't know, unless you have a recommendation from a friend or you read reviews on the web. From the outside both practices look the same. If anyone asked me to guess which one was the whore house I would have probably picked the first one due to the confusing signs that I mention below.

The confusing signs

  • The real doctors medical practice is tiny with the reception area of a toilet size, so the Chinese whore house looks more like the 'real' place.
  • There is a bell on the real medical practice door, but there is no bell on the whore house door. I would expect the dodgy practice to have a door bell.

Final word

I have already been at the 'real' Chinese medicine centre and I am very pleased with the results so far, so I will talk about my acupuncture experience in the next blog post.

Have you had similar experience? Have you ever used traditional Eastern medicine to treat any of your illnesses or problems?

Friday, 21 March 2014

10 Benefits Of Rose Water

Younique Refreshed Pure & Natural Rose Water
Younique Refreshed Pure & Natural
Rose Water
This is an article about how to use rose water in your beauty applications and its 10 benefits. You will find out the skin problems that it helps treat, what it protects you from and what you should use rose water for.

A few weeks ago I received a beautiful pink bottle from Younique with rose water in it. I put the water on my make-up table and I forgot about it. I know I read a few blog posts about it a while ago, but the only thing I could remember was that I had to spray it on my face. Great, but what for? What are the benefits of spraying it? What's the point? As usual I set off to investigate; I can't keep that beautiful bottle decorating my room forever.

What is rose water used for?

There are many uses of rose water and the list seems to be endless, starting with the benefit of face cleansing, healing power, preventing gum problems, therapeutic effect and finishing with some benefits for hair and scalp.

I won't talk about everything, but I will name a few uses and benefits that I find particularly relevant or interesting to me. Bear in mind that you can make your own stuff such as cleansers, tonic and so on with rose water, but I am not into making things. I prefer to buy a ready made product and simply use it, so I will focus on those things and uses that do not require any extra effort.

The 10 most important benefits and uses of rose water:

  1. Rose water has antibacterial properties which help in controlling or reducing acne breakouts.
  2. Anti-inflammatory properties help in reducing redness that is caused by irritated or overheated skin, such as after gym, sauna, steam room, facials.
  3. Astringent qualities help shrink and tighten large open pores, capillaries, reduce redness and blotchiness. As mentioned before, rose water can be used after gym, sauna, steam room and facial procedures due to its anti-inflammatory as well as astringent qualities.
  4. It has aromatherapeutic effect on our mood. The aroma is powerful enough to enhance our mood, relax, promote emotional well-being and help us have better sleep.
  5. Rose water works as a cleanser or toner if used after washing your face. It aids in removing oil, dirt and helps in clearing clogged pores.
  6. Using rose water after make-up seems to be the most popular use of this ancient product. It helps set the make-up, control shine and it gives skin a natural glow as opposed to cakey appearance that we often get after using some powdery cosmetics. I remember my friend told me that her make-up artist sprayed some hair spray on her face after he did her make-up on her wedding day. I was totally shocked, but there was a good reason for that. It was a hot summer day and hairspray apparently helps in keeping make-up in place in case you sweat or alike. I guess rose water would have given her a more pleasant experience. 
  7. Helps control shine in case of oily skin.
  8. Rose water can be used before a moisturiser or instead of a moisturiser.
  9. It smells nice, so it can be used as a refresher. Rose water spray is wonderful to use on a hot summer's day. You can keep it in a fridge and spray on your face when you are very hot. It feels amazing and lifts your mood instantly.
  10. Some people use rose water spray on a make-up brush to moisten it before applying minerals pigment powder.

Now you must be aware of the amazing benefits of rose water in your beauty applications. Knowing of all the benefits and uses of rose water will help you incorporate this amazing ancient solution into your daily beauty routine and regimen. Time to blossom like a rose!

Final word

Do you use rose water? If so, how do you use it and what for?

Monday, 17 March 2014

Nice To Feel Like a Model (My Fashion Shoot)

A few days ago I went on a photoshoot with Sid from www.sidphotographic.com. We took some pictures and we had a great time chilling out between the shoots. I had a great time and I love the pictures, so why would I want to keep them to myself only?

Geometric patterns, slogan tees are all in full swing in 2014 spring/summer collections; I feel totally in tune. Although, I have no intention to become a fashion blogger, here are a few pics with my patterned outfit which I love. Let me know what you think.

Mingaile Tarpy modelling
Modelling for Sid from www.sidphotographic.com

Where did my stuff come from

Jacket: Asos
T-shirt: River Island
Trousers: Monton
Shoes: Dr Marten which I also bought on Asos website

Final word

Do you have any outfit that you absolutely love and you would want to share with the rest of the world?

Friday, 14 March 2014

Review of Silhouette Dermalift Eye Neuvo Triple Action Eye Revival Serum

I started using Silhouette Dermalift Neuvo Triple Action Eye Revival Serum a few weeks ago. The area around my eyes is feeling great and I feel that it's time for me to review the product and share my experience.

Silhouette Dermalift Eye Neuvo Triple Action Eye Revival Cream
Silhouette Dermalift Eye Neuvo Triple Action Eye
Revival Serum
First of all, I will use the words serum and cream interchangeable, because the bottle has the name serum on it, but the consistency of the product calls for it to be called a cream. Also, a piece of paper that came together with the anti-ageing treatment in the parcel called the product a cream.

What's claimed on the bottle?

It is claimed that Silhouette Dermalift Eye Cream is an effective and extremely innovative treatment for the reduction of lines, wrinkles, bags and dark circles around the eyes. Also, it delivers a more smooth and youthful skin texture and renewed elasticity.

The Eye Nuevo serum will not cause soreness or skin irritation, but care must be taken not to get the cream into the eyes.

The ingredients

It contains two 'magic' ingredients: Eyeseryl and Matrixyl. Both of them are peptides.

Eyeseryl is effective at reducing puffy eye bags and Matrixyl is an active ingredient which helps stimulate collagen synthesis.

Approximately a year ago there was a lot of buzz about the Reading university professor Ian Hamley discovering that Matrixyl could have some anti-ageing skincare benefits. Now a lot of skincare brands are trying to benefit from the new buzz word by creating and marketing products that contain Matrixyl.

Absorbsion of Matrixyl

So, if we accept that Matrixyl in the right quantities can give us smoother skin, how do we know if the active ingredient will be absorbed into the skin? Well, we don't, this is where we either trust the manufacturer or not.

Why is Matrixyl not on of the ingredients list?

Matrixyl is the name given to an ingredient that has a chemical name known as Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 or Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4. If Matrixyl is used in a skincare product, The International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients requires to have the following elements on the contents list: glycerin, water, Butylene Glycol, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20 and Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3 or Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4. The mentioned elements represent Matrixyl.

Matrixyl 3000 is claimed to be superior to Matrixyl in some cases. In reality they are completely different peptides and the only thing in common is their name. The underlying chemical elements are different and the name Matrixyl 3000 may have been chosen only for marketing purposes, i.e., to benefit from the popularity of Matrixyl and make it appear that Matrixyl 3000 is better in some way. The reality is that there is no independent studies to prove any superiority of Matrixyl 3000 over Matrixyl.

What do I think about Silhouette Dermalift Eye Neuvo Triple Action Eye Revival Serum?

  • I like the texture of the cream: it's very light and easily absorbed.
  • It has no smell, which is also a plus for me.
  • The area around my eyes is feeling and looking good.
  • I do not dare to claim that it has reduced my fine lines, but I don't say that it hasn't either. The appearance of my face skin is dependent on a lot of factors such as getting a good night's sleep, washing my face properly, eating well and drinking lots of water. One day I am very happy with my skin, next day I am not. I don't think I am able to evaluate the effects of the cream objectively just yet.
  • All in all, it's a good eye serum, which I have enjoyed using and I will keep on using until I run out of it. I do not discount the possibility of buying it in the future.
  • The product is retailed at £25. If you were interested in acquiring one, please contact silhouettebeauty to find your nearest stockist.
If the skin around my eyes becomes noticeably better in terms of wrinkles due to the use of Silhouette Dermalift Eye Neuvo serum, I will update the article accordingly. At the moment, after the use of the cream for a month, the difference is not totally obvious. Nevertheless, it is a good eye cream and a product worth a try.

Final word

Do you use any products containing Matrixyl? What's your favourite eye cream or serum? Do you use an eye cream?

Monday, 10 March 2014

My Favorite Eye Pencil - Maybelline Master Drama Khol Liner

Top eye pencil: Maybelline Master Drama Khol liner
My favorite eye pencil: Maybelline Master Drama Khol liner
A couple weeks ago I bought Maybelline Master Drama Khol liner. I thought it was very good, more precisely, it was love from first sight.

Then on a skiing holiday just over a week ago I went down to the hotel restaurant for some food and my friend asked me what eyeliner I was wearing, because she was very impressed that it didn't smudge at all and, obviously, looked very good too. I couldn't believe that someone noticed a good eyeliner, then I realised that it actually is very very good and the best eye pencil out of all that I have had so far.

The three pencils compared

Dior, Estee Lauder and Maybelline eye liners
Dior Crayon Khol Pencil 099 Noir Black,
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place eye pencil and
Maybelline Master Drama Khol liner

I will compare Maybelline Master Drama Khol liner with another two eye liners: the first one is Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place eye pencil and the second one is Dior Crayon Khol Pencil 099 Noir Black. They are not the only pencils I have had in my life, but they were the only ones that were currently in my drawer.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place eye pencil 01 Onyx colour

Maybelline vs Estee Lauder and Dior eye liners
The three pencils before gentle rubbing in the direction of
the line and after.  The first line from the left is drawn with
Maybelline eye liner, the middle one is Estee Lauder
and the third one is Dior 
  • Glides well on the eyelid.
  • Sharpens well.
  • Soft
  • Does not smudge a lot, but I do get a stamp on my upper eye lid
  • It does need sharpening a lot as it is rather soft.
  • Price £16 online on Estee Lauder website.
  • All in all, I like it and I have been using it for a while now.

Maybelline Master Drama Khol liner

  • I said that Estee Lauder glides well on skin, but Maybelline eye pencil takes this concept to the whole new level. I barely touched my skin and it glided like a dream, absolutely no friction.
  • Does not smudge even though it has such strong colour and it looks like it might smudge. Sometimes I see a hint of a line stamp on my upper eyelid after a long wear, but it's very small and it's better than anything I have had so far.
  • Gives dramatic sultry look.
  • It didn't break when sharpening.
  • It does not stay sharp for long, however, due to the fact that it just glides on the skin, I still manage to do a sharp edge, for example, for a cat's eye look.
  • Highly pigmented.
  • Available in any drugstore.
  • Absolutely gorgeous eye pencil. It is by far my favourite.
  • You do need to have another pencil for fine lines though. I use Maybelline Master Drama Khol liner on my upper lid and Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place eye pencil for lower lid.
  • Maybelline Master Drama costs £4.50 at Boots online, so it's also a bargain.

Dior Crayon Khol Pencil 099 Noir Black

What does Dior website say?

The pencil is formulated with a super-smooth texture to dramatise the eye and highlight the colour of the iris. Its easy-glide formula allows for maximum comfort and outstanding staying power, while its integrated sharpener makes it a practical beauty essential.

What do I say?

  • The pencil is as hard as an ordinary drawing pencil, scratches the skin when trying to glide on it. The only way to draw a line is by pressing really hard onto the skin, which is not good.
  • Pigmentation is weak.
  • Easy to sharpen as it is so hard.
  • Smudges easily.
  • Does not match description. It's the worst eye pencil I have ever had. I bought it 5 or 6 years ago and I still have it. I have no idea why as the only place for it is the bin. 
  • from £15 onwards online. Although there is a lot of Dior Khol Pencil, it's useless for me, so it was a waste of money.

YouTube video

There is nothing new in this video, but if you prefer to watch about Maybelline Master Drama Khol liner and its comparison to Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place eye pencil 01 Onyx colour and Dior Crayon Khol pencil 099 Noir Black, then this video is for you.

Final word

Do you have an eye pencil that you really love? Which one is your favorite and which one is the worst that you have ever had?

Update on 9 December 2014

Today I tried to use a new Maybelline Master Drama khol liner and guess what I think about it! You have to watch this video to see how I changed my opinion about this eyeliner.

Monday, 3 March 2014

How To Make Eyelashes Longer With Mascara

Before and After Younique 3D Fiber Lashes
Top picture: Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme
Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara applied
on my eyes. Bottom picture: Younique 3D
Fiber Lashes
This is an article about how to make your eyelashes appear or look longer with mascara. I will review a few of the most popular methods and then I will tell you my favourite way of getting eyelashes look longer without having to use any falsies or making your eyelashes look clumpy.

Long eyelashes have always been a necessity for a glamorous dramatic look. We have all tried various brand mascaras to make our eyelashes look thicker and longer. Some of them deliver better, others worse results.

If you are happy to use false eyelashes then they are probably the most promising solution to longer thicker hair above your eyes, but if you want a bit of drama without glueing any fake stuff, then I may have the right product and the best solution for you.

What do others recommend?

After a bit of 'googling' and a bit of 'youtubing' I found that the following are the most common methods for getting thicker and longer looking eyelashes:

  • Using the eyeliner in the water line of your eye to make eyelashes appear longer. My opinion: although this may make the eyelashes look longer, unfortunately, this will compromise the size of your eyes as this method will make your eyes appear smaller. It's up to you whether you want to use this method, but it's probably not for me.
  • The second popular solution is to use the eyeliner very tight to the lashes roots. This will create the illusion that the lashes are tighter than they really are.
  • The other popular advice is to try out an eyelash curler. Curled eyelashes always appear longer.
  • Don't be afraid to apply many layers of mascara to get the thickness that you like. Not my preferred method as it makes the lashes look too clumpy and fake, but it's always a possibility if it is the look that you like.
  • Apply an eyelash primer before using a mascara. The primer conditions and lengthens the lashes.
  • Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara
    Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume
    Mascara - the mascara I used together with the fibers
  • Try out eyelash extensions. They may be used to enhance the look of your eye. They usually last a few weeks, but there are some dangers associated with using them. The dangers are: allergic reaction, infection, permanent loss of your real eyelashes.
  • Do apply mascara on the tips of your lashes only, then use mascara for another few layers on top. I quite like this method and I always use it myself. 
  • There are natural ways to lengthen your eyelashes by using vitamins, oils, vaseline and other stuff.

I recommend: use Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes

Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes
Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes
This is the product I had never heard of until I got it delivered to me all the way from the US. I received it from the lady who didn't ask me to do a review of their brand, nor she asked me for anything else in return. She was so confident in Younique products that she just wanted me to have them with no further obligations.

If you keep on reading you will see how to use the fiber lashes to achieve longer eyelashes with mascara without using falsies and getting your lashes looking clumpy.

What are Younique 3D Fiber Lashes?

The product REALLY volumises and lengthens the lashes. It is NOT a mascara as it is used on top of it. Younique 3D Fiber Lashes come in a beautiful box with two mascara type bottles in it. One of the bottles contains Transplanting Gel and another one contains Natural Fibers. This way you can enhance your lashes by adding 300% in thickness and volume with lashes still looking totally natural.

The product is sold for US$29 or CA$35. The company is set to expand to the UK within the next couple of months.

How to use the product?

Transplanting Gel and Natural Fibers
Younique 3D Fiber Lashes. Left picture: Natural Fibers. Right picture:
Transplanting Gel
First of all, apply your usual mascara and let it dry. Then use the Moodstruck Transplanting Gel, which contains conditioning collagen. Apply it to your lashes. Don't let the gel dry out and immediately use the Moodstruck Natural Fibers by applying them on your lashes. Reapply the Transplanting Gel again to secure the natural fibers.

My verdict:
  • It is totally a revolution as far as I am concerned.
  • I don't like glueing things onto my eyes, so if I want to create a dramatic glamorous look Younique 3D Fiber Lashes seem to be a perfect alternative to false lashes for me.
  • Do use the fibers if you want to look totally natural without any clumping of mascara.
  • I love the product. Do have a look at the before and after pictures to see why.
  • Don't be put off if it takes a little bit of practice to get the right amount of fibers on your lashes. Once you get it right and once you know how to use this product, you will never skip this step in your make-up routine.
I hope you got an idea of how to get the beautiful long eyelashes in the most natural way without clumping or ten layers of mascara. There are many tricks that girls use to extend the length of their eyelashes. Some of you will prefer one method to the other, but most importantly don't be afraid to experiment and you will find what works for you best.

Have a happy long and thick eyelashes day!

YouTube DEMO video

Watch the DEMO video to see how to lengthen your eyelashes with Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes:

Final Word

How do you make your eyelashes long and thick? Do you use false lashes, extensions? What's your favourite mascara? Do you care about the length and volume of your eyelashes?