Tag

Beauty

Browsing

Self-care is a term we are all aware of; its importance in maintaining psychological wellbeing is well-recognised, yet few of us seem to engage in it. Self-care can involve anything from cooking to cleaning, taking yourself on a walk in the woods or reading a book in the garden. However, one simple and easy way many of us could take care of minds and bodies is through the humble manicure.

However, there are far more benefits than first meet the eye when taking the time to care for your fingertips. By focusing on the intricacies of filing, shaping, moisturising and painting each individual nail encourages us to be mindful. By concentrating on the present, it gives our minds a moment to break away from the recurrent list of responsibilities we are regularly reminded of. As polish dries relish in the respite; for fifteen minutes there’s nothing to do but remain still. Even checking your phone can be difficult, which brings the rare opportunity to switch off from your online existence too.

But if this restful style of relaxation isn’t your idea of peace, painting your nails can also provide a way to bond with friends and family. Unlike other popular activities of indulgence like shopping, there is much less emphasis on body shape and size and therefore offer less of a chance to engage in unhealthy comparisons. Even when going to the salon isn’t an option, hosting virtual manicure sessions with friends could be a fun way to unwind and catch up.

The benefits of having neat and tidy nails extend further than the momentary mindfulness the process creates. Although only a small part of our appearances, our nails can in fact implicitly portray a particular image to others. Pleasantly presented hands and nails have been associated with holding a position of power and in 2012, The Wall Street Journal reported nail salons as being popular locations for meetings amongst professional women.

Much like the colours of clothes we wear, the shades we choose to place upon our nails can reflect aspects of our personality and influence our mood. Some scientists have suggested that certain colours can affect our heart rate and brain signals in different ways, and in turn how we think and feel. These biological influences seem to be reflected in our behaviour too – whether it is consciously or subconsciously. Patterns have been identified amongst nail salon customers when it comes to selecting the colour to decorate their nails with. People often opt for shades that either match or help to modify their current mood. Here are just a handful of ways your go-to nail varnish might be revealing aspects of yourself, you never even realised: 

  • Black – symbolises mystery and can be worn to share a slightly more rebellious, daring side of yourself.
  • Blue – is thought to reflect trust and peace; this sense colour’s sense of tranquillity can be soothing in times of uncertainty. 
  • Orange – is an optimistic colour, portraying someone who is self-assured and sociable. When confidence is running a little low, glancing down at your orange fingertips can instantly inject a sense of positivity! 
  • Pastels – provide a soft and delicate finish, perfect for times of relaxation, comfort and signifying new beginnings.
  • Yellow –an energetic, eye-catching shade often chosen by those who have a positive presence. This colour can be chosen when experiencing burnout, to reignite an inner energy.

In essence, there is far more than first meets the eye when it comes to manicures. Serving as an act of socialisation and self-care, the benefits of the beauty treatment can be significant for us all. If investing time and effort into your fingertips brings you joy, confidence and helps to wind-down after a busy day, there should be no shame in dedicating an evening each week to doing just this.

If you’ve ever suffered the misfortune of losing a loved one as well as witnessing a friend experience loss, then you’ll know that grief looks very different on different people. Although scientists such as Barbara Fane have revealed that individuals experiencing grief suffer from a similar disruption to the following brain areas, the outcome can vary. After losing someone the parasympathetic nervous system is impacted, resulting in insomnia and shallow breath. The effect on the prefrontal cortex/frontal lobe can impact your ability to express your emotions. The impact on the limbic system, can cause you to be easily triggered by things that remind you of your lost one. Whilst experiencing this biological onslaught, after losing someone, many people put their appearance to the back of their mind. However, as our contributing beauty writer Alysha Yates recounts, relief may come in the form of your beauty routine.

My mother would always dress herself in red. Her toenails gleamed with a glossy merlot finish come rain or shine.  In a reoccurring six-week effort to mask her relentless greys, she’d blitz intruders with her favourite semi-permanent dye, Crazy Colour- Fire. When she discovered my Sleek eyeshadow palettes, her request never wavered, “red with a little smoke on the sides.” Of all the ways she’d wear red, nothing served her better than sporting her signature scarlet smile.

So when I lost my mother in 2015 to the beast that is breast cancer, I couldn’t look at red the same for a while. My memories of overturned bloody dye bottles and dwindled lidless lipstick applicators brought me nothing but instant flashbacks of what I had lost.

Days after she passed, at each family gathering, I’d be swarmed by sympathetic apologies and faces filled with commissary for what could not be helped. With each pat on my back, I grew to fear the pain of my mother’s memory, serving only as a reminder for the unnerving fact that I’d no longer see her bright red smile again.

Alysha Yates Fashion Psychology
Alysha Yates Wearing Mac Dance With Me & Fenty Beauty Uncensored

Nevertheless, I had already agreed to write my mother’s eulogy for her funeral. I had run out of words while trying to finish writing and I decided to search for inspiration. I sat knee deep in photo albums, flicking through images of my mother, wadding my way through years of her life, buried in her memory. Hour after hour went by and I found myself with her again. She was aged 20 at a party, posed arm in arm with a best friend, both with matching classic square red manicures. Aged 25 on her wedding day, lips deep scarlet pursed and pouted for a glamorous flick.  She was aged 36, hair tinted and aflame, head down styling one of her clients at her hair salon.

Tears met my lips as I surrendered to her vivid red memories and I felt her with me once again. Fond memories rushed back and gave me the comfort I needed as I saw how attached my mother had been to this colour, how she would always endeavour to express herself throughout her life with these red accents.

At her funeral, we wore red rose brooches and our lips beamed a deep raspberry red. My mum loved to wear a mix of MAC’s Rebel with Russian Red. On that day, we brought her memory to life. Now, as her 4th year anniversary approaches, I soothe my grief by wearing red and my most treasured way of remembering her is by embracing a beauty routine that reflects my mother in spirit.

The world’s most influential makeup artist, Pat McGrath MBE recently left her mark all over Couture fashion week. Her delicate touch has resulted in many arresting looks in fashion weeks the world over, several of which were created with products from the self-titled Pat McGrath Labs. In order to gain a deeper insight into McGrath’s transformative powers we’ve conducted an investigation into the science behind some of her latest looks.

Extreme Eyelashes - Valentino

Fashion Psychology
Source: patmcgrathreal/Instagram

Delicate feathers fluttered down the runway with every blink at Valentino’s Spring 2019 Couture show. To create the bold look, the intricate feather-lash extensions were glued to the model’s lashes and coated with McGrath’s new FetishEyes™ Mascara.

So what does science say about this mesmerizing look?

Our collectively admiration for longer eyelashes dates back thousands of years. Researchers Mulhern and colleagues found that enhancing the appearance of women’s eyes through the use of eyelashes and mascara significantly increased attractiveness as rated by both male and female observers. Eyelash growth is also said to have a positive psychological effect on women (Jones, 2011).

Some researchers have reasoned that we find long eyelashes endearing because they are typically possessed by those who we are hardwired to find cute – babies! And as we have learnt from the Baby-Face Stereotype, adults are rated more favourably when they have features (such as long eyelashes) that draw similarity to infants.

Glitter and Gloss - Givenchy and Margiela

Fashion Psychology
Source: patmcgrathreal/Instagram
Fashion Psychology
Source: patmcgrathreal/Instagram

In a show that largely featured simple, minimalistic makeup looks, McGrath ensured that Cara Taylor took center stage. Following her third haute couture collection for Givenchy, Clare Waight Keller said “I tried to take the most modern approach possible with everything.” McGrath compliment the modernity of the garments by adding in this futuristic look that saw the top half of Taylor’s face covered entirely in glitter. Over at Margiela, the model’s faces were a playground for McGraths brushes. One look that particularly stood out were the smudged gradient fuchsia lips topped off with a glossy top coat worn by both male and female models.

And the science behind all this glitter and gloss?

Evolutionary psychologists claim that are attraction to shiny things is linked to our ingrained need for survival. For example, in a study on children, infants aged 7-12 months old were found to put their mouths to glossy plates much more than to dull ones. Children had also been seen lapping shiny toys on the ground, the way an animal might drink from a puddle. Researchers have concluded that the connection between drinking and shiny design was an evolutionary artifact–a sign that “our crush on glossy is rooted in a primitive desire for water as a vital resource” (Coss, Ruff & Simms, 2010).

Alongside the revival of gloss, glitter makeup is one trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. An easy way to incorporate both of these trends into your 2019 looks is with Pat McGrath Labs’ Lust Lip Gloss Kits.

Flower Power - Valentino

Back at Valentino, McGrath went to work to create an intricate floral makeup look to compliment the gorgeous floral gowns. While the petals were lightly dusted in glitter, McGrath used a small cluster of crystals for the flower’s pistil – a 3D element that helped bring the look to life.

Studies on adornment have long highlighted the positive impact that flowers and floral motifs have on attraction and wealth. In a study on tipping behaviour, researchers found that diners left larger tips for waitresses who wore flowers in their hair compared to when the same waitresses served them minus the flowers (Jacob, Guéguen & Delfosse, 2012).

To get these makeup looks and all of the psychological benefits that come with them, check out the stunning new collections over at Pat McGra