Henna

Henna is my new -old hair obsession. From now on I feel I should be recommending henna shampoos for gals with dark hair! Henna can be many types and while some can be used for deep conditioning, others can leave a short-term color (red or black). Like any herb it should be approached with caution if used in herb form: certainly no more than once a month as it may eventually have a negative effect on your hair. If you would like to dye your hair with henna or similar natural products I highly recommend it!

Hair

However do read the instructions carefully to avoid a Sienna Miller disaster.

I used to dye my hair with red henna when I was in highschool and I experienced very positive results: my hair was shiny and grew stronger and with less split ends. And it was also colored which was a bonus.
Then I moved to a blonde hair color and the quality of my hair went downhill from then on. 3 years of constant coloring and highlighting took their toll and my hair was noticeably thinner than before and I was 19.
So I stopped dying it, went back to brown, and have been waiting for the past 3 years for it to grow out completely. I have learned the hard way that my natural hair looks better with my skin, eyebrow and eye color..
Now I use a french shampoo and conditioner from Nectar of Nature with henna and hazelnut, but I have also tried other brands with henna and have noticed them to be quite nice.
My hair is visibly shinier and has a nice rich color, but is not dyed.
If you don’t have the time to search for a completely natural henna and apply it, then I recommend finding a good quality shampoo that fits with your hair type. I also recommend that you should avoid washing your hair more and more often as washing daily may make your hair more oily in the long term.

People keep asking me if I am having more fun, being blonde, but I always have fun! Whether I’m blonde, redhead, or brunette! I always have fun.
Kelly Clarkson


Love, Ina


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Triple Summer Combo


In the heat and sunlight of the summer, it’s very important that we take extra care of our skin, hair and lips. So here is a triple combo of products that I use to prevents dryness and irritation. And don’t forget your sunscreen: I have been using only piz buin since I was a kid: no spots or irritations. Always try to put sunscreen with as little sand as possible on you if you’re by the beach. And always apply thoroughly before sun exposure!

Rose Body Cream

Bulgaria is famous for its roses and rose beauty products, and surprisingly I hadn’t used bulgarian rose products until recently. My last tub of body cream just ended during my seaside vacation and I found myself with no moisturiser. So I took a chance on a large tub of bulgarian rose body cream and I have to say it is worth the try. I chose mine based on the ingredients: apart from water, rosewater and glycerin it didn’t have as many suspicious ingredients as my previous creams.

Rose water has a high content of antioxidants, vitamins such as A and E, and is also highly moisturising. It dries quickly, leaving no oily residue. The smell is strong though, so if you dislike rose smell you probably wouldn’t like it.

I love it for the summer because it leaves me subtly perfumed and it works great on sun burns.

Coconut milk

For dry hair I have discovered coconut milk recently. It is very nourishing and moisturising, so be careful to not use too much, it may lead to excessive oiliness. I rub it on the ends of my hair and wash it off thoroughly with shampoo. The first time I used it, I only rinsed it with water and my hair was more oily than before I washed it.

Coconut milk is very rich in fatty acids and vitamin C. Coconut milk starts out as a solid, if you keep it in the fridge, but it melts very quickly. I put some in warm water and massage it into my hair. I rinse it very thoroughly after and my hair has been very shiny and healthy because of it.  

A good lip balm

I don’t usually recommend branded items, but I’ve tried many lip balms, and have been disappointed by quite a few. There is only two lip balms that have worked for me Burt’s beeswax and Nivea Calendula and Camomile. I very much love both. I always have one or the other in my bag because my lips get choppy really easily.

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.

Russell Baker

Love, Ina


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Confessions of a Siberian Beauty

My cousin looks like Claudia Schiffer. Really. She does. Only brunette. Her outstanding outer and inner beauty made her the sensation of our Siberian village. What she really was admired for, though, was her hair. Long, thick and voluminous…achieved entirely without using expensive masks or conditioners. With only one small grocery shop there that was only selling, well, a limited amount of groceries, it would be a miracle to do so.

So how did she do it? My cousin’s trick was as simple as it was imaginative: She REGULARLY used nettle leaves for her hair (check out my last post about the advantages of nettle tea). Nettle starts growing in spring so you can pick the new fresh shoots around that time or alternatively collect the already maturing nettle leaves in the Summer to dry them (I always lie them to dry in my attic). Make sure to wear gloves when collecting the leaves! Wait until all the moisture has leaked out of the leaves, but don’t wait until they are brown. Gather enough together so the supply lasts through the winter. This is also a great chance to get out of the house and to appreciate nature outdoors!

Now you can make tea of the completely dried nettle leaves or, of course, a nettle hair water. Simply take a handful of the leaves and boil them. Then sieve them, wait until the water is only medium hot to pour the water over your entire hair. Leave it there as long as possible or simply overnight, then wash it out with your regular shampoo. Repeat once or twice a week.

Congratulations! You are on your way to healthy, thick and just gorgeous hair while appreciating the gifts of mother nature!

Women…Who made’em? God must have been a… genius. Their hair. They say that the hair is everything, you know? Have you ever buried your nose in a mountain of curls, and just wanted to go to sleep forever?

Bo Goldman in the movie Scent of a Woman

Love

Irina

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Almond blossoms - a gift from the gods

Many strive for smooth, soft and just healthy-looking hair. But only a few achieve this desired result with ordinary hair products and even less are naturally blessed with angel-like hair. These products in our supermarkets for instance, advertisting for divine gloss and miracle hair repairs, had a huge impact on me for a very long time: From an early age I was obsessed with the beautification of my hair, so I would read endlessly about new hair conditioners and masks on the market and would try almost all of them out. Some of them kind of worked, others achieved the opposite of what I was hoping for but never was I truly convinced by the results the hair product industry promised.

Then I recently stumbled upon a simple delicious hair beauty secret that I unknowingly had in my bathroom all along: a small bottle of almond blossom oil. As I mentioned in my previous blog posts, I mainly used this precious oil for my facial skin instead of a creme that also helps to diminish my innate dark eye circles.  I was surprised by the versatility of this oil and as a fan of good old house remedies, I immediately decided to pamper my hair with something that nature gives us in abundance. After the first use already I couldn’t believe my eyes: My hair became considerably shinier, softer and, to my delight (having naturally straight and thin hair) more voluminous! I simply rubbed a medium amount of almond oil between my palms and then applied it to my dry hair from the middle down to the tips. I put the left-over oil on my hands onto my scalp. I applied it in the mornings and so I wore my hair in a bun when I went out of the house which by the way looked amazing with the extra shine in my hair then (it surprisingly did NOT look excessively oily).

The results were so amazing that I plan to pamper my hair with this precious oil, that seems to be given to us by the gods, at least twice a week. It is an all-natural and in my opinion the best way to heal damaged hair, increase shininess and create truly gorgeous voluminous hair. It is time to rethink our beauty regimes and question the credibility of many marketers on the way to a new harmony with mother nature.

I said to the almond tree:”Friend, speak to me of God!”, and the almond tree blossomed.

Nikos Kasantzakis

Love,

Irina

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Beauty Secrets from an Italian Movie Goddess

I have always been a huge admirer of the amazing Sophia Loren. She is one of my favourite Italian movie stars of all time. In fact, I admire her so much that I completely changed (and thus simplified) my beauty rituals when I learned what exactly the movie star uses to make herself so incredibly gorgeous.

The answer is surprising because one is stunned how simple and cheap her daily skin routine is: instead of spending large sums of money on so-called miracle cures, she uses, not surprisingly, ordinary cooking olive oil. Italian olive oils belong to the best-known ones in the world due to their high quality. Read here about the exact unique consistency that makes this oil so special. Loren for instance applies pure olive oil onto her hair tips before taking a shower for an incredibly rich conditioning. Make sure you apply it on dry and not on damp hair because the oil won’t be able to penetrate deeply into your hair texture otherwise (oil is hydrophobic). For severely damaged hair, leave the olive oil soaked in over night, but make sure to wrap you hair in a plastic saran to avoid getting it all over your sheets and night gown.

Loren also uses pure olive oil as a heavy moisturiser to leave overnight on her face. I have tried it last night and I woke up with the divinely smoothest face ever. I felt like I was shining from within! This is also great as an anti-aging beauty therapy. Oh, and don’t be worried about clogged pores because the molecules of the oil are bigger than those of your facial skin. 

The movie goddess further uses the versatile oil as a make-up remover. She simply soaks a cotton ball in olive oil and then gently rubs the dirt off of her face. I personally prefer to mix Body Shop cucumber water with olive oil for a lighter make up remover at night, especially during hot summer nights where the unmixed oil can feel too heavy on your face.

Insider tip: Next time when you apply your body lotion, rub a bit of olive oil between your palms and then mix it with your lotion. Your skin will seem like it was made of silk!

Sex appeal is fifty percent what you’ve got and fifty percent what people think you’ve got.

Sophia Loren

Make sure you also check out our facebook page to find out what happens when an Eastern European beauty takes advantage of the Italian dolce vita!

Love,

Irina

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Chamomile Steam Bath

The name of the chamomile flower originates from the Greek word kamai which means melon or apple, most probably because of its subtle apple-taste and gorgeous scent and thus almost foreshadows its incredible ability to serve as a remedy for all kinds of external as well as internal illnesses. So, one of the very first beauty secrets that my mother taught me was the regular use of chamomile steam baths for my face. It is incredibly easy to make and has wondrous effects on your skin.

I personally can only praise the chamomile flower for its amazing results it had on me. It is very gentle on even the most of sensitive skins and famous for its soothing effects on blemished faces and easily diminishes rashes. Chamomile steam baths are especially great for clogged pores and for reducing inflammation or spots; the steam opens up the pores or spots and the chamomile soothes the skin, thus it is double effective.

Simply take 10 g of dried chamomile flowers, best bought fresh (if you cannot find any loose chamomile flowers, you could always use chamomile tea bags instead), put them in a pot with water and boil it. Take the pot from the stove and leave it uncovered for about one or two minutes to let out the hottest steam. Then lean over the pot and cover your head and the pot with a blanket or a towel. Let your skin absorb the chamomile steam for five to ten minutes then dab sweat from your face with a plain facial paper. Additionally, but not necessarily, you could now apply a homemade scrub (I wrote about how to make scrubs in my last post) or a very gentle scrub onto the skin in circular movements. Then rinse face with cold water (cold water has an incredible lifting effect and makes your skin look young and plump). If you have a lot of impurities, make a chamomile steam bath every day for two weeks, otherwise make it a habit to take a steam bath at least two times a week. Voila! 

 If you have blond hair, you can sieve out the chamomile flowers and use the remaining water as a hair mask. It will make your hair look even fairer and give it a divine shine! Just pour the chamomile water over your hair and leave it soaked in overnight. Wash hair with your regular shampoo the next morning and finish off by rinsing it with cold water for extra gloss!

As a popular remedy, chamomile may be thought of as the European counterpart of ginseng.

Varro Tyler


Love, Irina


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Great hair brushes

One of the ways I keep my hair shiny and healthy is with the help of two good quality hair brushes: a detangling brush and a natural bristle brush.

The detangling brush has flexible rubber finger-like grips that glide through your hair and remove knots without pulling at the roots or splitting the ends of the hair.  From my experience it has been quite an improvement, and works especially well on wet hair. I would say that a good quality detangling brush is a must-have for long hair.

The other brush has natural boar bristles. They are healthy for your scalp, and reduce extra oiliness by spreading the oil down to the dry ends. This way they ‘moisturize’ your hair. They also smooth it down and remove dust and dirt.

I use Kent’s AirHedz Maxi Phat Detangling Brush and Natural Shine Pure Bristle Brush Large, both available for around 10 pounds each in the UK.

Kent's AirHedz Maxi Phat Detangling Brush

Natural Shine Pure Bristle Brush Large

  • Use a bigger brush for long hair, and a smaller brush for short hair.
  • Metal and plastic bristles are a big no-no. They pull at the roots and make split ends.
  • Keep in mind that the natural bristles glide through the hair, so if you have thick hair, separate it into layers as if you are straightening or curling it.
  • Use a paddle brush while drying on low-heat for straighter, smoother hair.

The hair is the richest ornament of women

 Martin Luther

      ~ Ina

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