Jesska Denise is an Irish beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog



Dying My Hair Pink: The How To.

bleach london rose dye how to
As far as lockdown boredom goes, I actually haven't been that bored? So this leap into pink hair has nothing to do with boredom, and more an annoyance at my ever-growing brassy/orange blonde balayage. The last time my hair was done was just before Christmas, so I would usually be booking myself in again around now to get it back looking nice and freshly blonde. Naturally, that is not an option. Brow lamination, shellac, and a good trip to the hairdressers are not on the agenda anytime soon. I weep. Normally I'm opposed to the idea of dying my hair at home. I spent many years as a teen butchering my hair with home dye, blonde to be specific. So once I started investing in letting a professional do my hair, I essentially turned my nose up at the box aisle in Boots. Like my skin, I just saw it as an investment. But then, I was reading a magazine during the week and there was a section about temporary hair dyes and my interest peaked. Lilac hair? Now that is something I could get on board with. I read the article, promptly went on Boots, text my cousin who is an expert in funky colors and 11hours later I was rocking some pink hair. Boots had no lilac, but that's okay. I'm oddly obsessed with this pink. It's throwing me right back to being 13 and highlighting my hair pink and getting told off by a home ec teacher. The simplicity.
pink hair bleach london diy
I purchased two different semi-permanent/temporary dyes in Boots, the first one being a Schwarzkopf Live Pretty Pastels in Rose Gold, and a backup, the Bleach London Super Cool Color Rosé. I thought I would use the Bleach London to top up the color I was hoping to achieve using the Schwarzkopf, but I actually didn't get my hair to go pink using it because I did it wrong and used all the product. My Mum used a different shade doing it correctly and she got no color from it so I can't recommend or not recommend this as I used it wrong, but Mum used it right but either way, neither of us achieved a color. Disappointingly as Mum perfectly applied it to my hair using a brush and sectioning to cover all the blonde. When I saw there was no color I was pretty disappointed. I was buzzing for pink hair and I wanted it then and there. I pulled out my 'backup' and referred myself to Google to make sure I did this perfectly. Obviously, the instructions on the bottle weren't enough okay?
bleach london rose before and after
I discovered that you do not put this on your hair if you still need to wash your hair. Double shampoo and conditioner are going to rinse the color right out of your hair. It's temporary, not permanent. Rookie mistake. I took myself back upstairs. Wet my hair as it had just been freshly blow-dried. This is how determined I was to go pink guys. Toweled off the excess water and applied the product to my now clean, damp hair. Not my dirty - needs to be washed - along with this color hair. Argh. I just threw it on, to be honest. So my application could have been better, at that point, I just wanted it pink. It was 10pm and I was done with this experiment. I also didn't use gloves, so my hands were a delightful shade of pink. Although, good luck finding gloves to dye your hair with at this moment in time. I left the color on for 30mins and went about my business. ie. scrolling Instagram at pink hair inspo and praying to whatever god that this would actually work second time around.
rose gold hair at home
I then rinsed my hair. This is important. Do not WASH your hair. Get off the residue of the product but do not wash your hair. The pink running down the drain? Yeh, that's the color. If that all goes down the drain, you will not have pink hair. This was the mistake I had made earlier. I cleansed my hair, shampooed, and conditioned. All the while my color was running down the drain. I didn't make this mistake a second time. My main concern was the color transferring onto clothing etc, but I used a dark towel to wrap my hair and promptly got to work blow drying it. SUCCESS. Pink hair. Never been so satisfied with a DIY job in my life. I know some people probably know how to achieve this, maybe your seasoned experts at the art of dying your hair funky shades. But this was a wash in, wash out. It doesn't work like the permanent shades which are how I approached it, and after my extensive Googling, I discovered there wasn't really a wealth of information on how to successfully use these products from your average Jane so I figured I would put it on here to make sure none of you waste your time, and product like I did. I'm going to keep applying the pink for now. So the next time I wash my hair it will go like this - shampoo x 2, condition, towel off the heavy wetness and apply color and rinse lightly. Boom. Who knows, this might save me some €€€ in the long run when salons do reopen. I still want to go lilac, so that should be fun. Everyone else is just as obsessed with the pink as I am though so that could be a while away yet.


My Skincare Staples

My skin and I have a very love, hate relationship. With a little bit more hate than love on my behalf. Sometimes it seems that no matter how much money, attention and water I tend to it with, it's still not enough and it hits back to look, dare I say, worse?
Thankfully (what?), being on lockdown has provided me with ample time and opportunity to work on my skin. Nurture it. Pay attention to it. And I think, I have finally cracked it. A rare occurrence without the help of fancy monthly facials which to be honest, I cannot wait to fork over 100 quid for some to squeeze and extract the shizz out of my face. Wow. Simpler times.
Now, some of these products are on the pricier end of things. But after years of slumming it in the middle aisle of Tesco, I have learned that sometimes it pays to splash out on your skin. It only took me to the ripe age of 27 to suss this, however.
First, a background check on my skin. Oily t-zone. Acne-prone, especially in the chin area. Dry cheeks and flakiness in previously mentioned oily t-zone. Combo not welcome. Scarring and redness, with a pinch of anger.
If you're a long time reader of my blog, you will know that my skin is something I have fought with for years. I've taken medication, used antibiotic roll-ons, took the contraceptive pill and briefly considered Roaccutane and thought better of it. In comparison to others, my skin isn't actually that bad. A lot of it probably boils down to poor eating habits, poor hydration and stress. Stress flares it up a lot. So it is manageable. It's just managing it with the right routine. I'm a massive fan of those Chinese skin maps that shows you what triggers breakouts on certain areas of your face. It's very fascinating and has allowed me to learn a lot more about my skin. I think knowledge is power when it comes to managing acne, knowing what makes your skin thick being the biggest piece of info you can have. My skin isn't amazing. But it's much better than it was. I feel that because of these products I've gotten it into a place where I feel comfortable enough with it, it's not perfect but it's not the worst either. I feel less self-conscious if I'm not wearing makeup, which is all I ever wanted anyway.
Just like there are lifestyle things that I can attribute to my breakouts, there are also products too. One of which I actually included in this post (you gotta keep reading to find out which) just to show that just because it works for everyone else, doesn't necessarily mean it's the one for you.
Let's break it down. The pictured products. What are they. Where do they come into the skincare routine and where can y'all buy them.
  • Cleanser - to cleanse, I've been going in with the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. I've been using this for two weeks, and guys, this is where I break hearts. I am not loving this. I thought after years of reading all about it and how it was such a holy grail item that I would be converted for the rest of my life. But I really don't rate it. I much prefer my Kiehls cleanser that I was using prior to this, and will be repurchasing when I can find somewhere online. I don't find it amazing at taking off makeup, I don't think my skin feels squeaky clean afterward, and if anything I feel like it leaves a residue on my skin, no matter how many times I rinse it. I'm not a happy camper. I expected so much, and the disappointment is high. I had previously purchased the Aldi version of this last year and can say, they are pretty much the exact same thing except one is less sleek in packaging and has a more purse-friendly price. I wanted to love this but unfortunately, it just doesn't do it for me. I can't wait to have my Kiehls back. I double cleanse, so I always go in with micellar water after this, and thank god, because I would hate to think I wasn't getting a good clean. Cleanser is so important, especially when you cake on makeup like I do.
  • Spot Treatment - the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion has become my number one staple item over the years. This is my second bottle of the stuff, and if I was to only be allowed one product out of all of these - this would be the one. I apply this using a cotton swab and then let it do its work over night. It's magical. It just has this way of reducing/almost killing spots overnight, that I've never experienced any other product do. It is extreme, you have to be careful not to put it on damaged skin because it burns. Horrendously. But on spots? No feeling. It dries those buggars right out, and after a few nights, they're gone. I bought this in Urban Outfitters because I wanted the glass version of the bottle, rather than the plastic. I'm pretty sure it cost an extra few €€ but I'm very conscious of how much plastic I buy so I like to make changes where possible. If you have acne-prone skin, you absolutely need this in your routine. This has changed everything for me.
  • Scarring - when I have my breakouts under control, I slide in with this bad boy. Now, this isn't something I get to use a lot, because my skin can be problematic, but when I do, I can really see where this Kiehls Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution makes a difference. Because I've had problem skin most of my teen/adult life, my skin does have quite a bit of scarring/redness as a result. Specifically the chin area. Half the time its not active breakouts making my skin look bad, it's the scarring. And being so pale it highlights it more than it should. It just doesn't look even. Since I've been using this I've seen massive improvements in redness along my jawline and my forehead. I would imagine if I could get my skin majorly under control, that with continued use of this, my scarring/redness would be non-existent. I wouldn't describe it as bad scarring, it just needs some TLC. But if I have Mario on my skin, it's not the time to use this. This is one of the more expensive products, sliding in at nearly 50€ but I would buy it again and again cause it definitely makes a difference when I can use it.
  • Hydrate - alongside moisturizer, I use The Ordinary 100% plant-derived squalane. It's such an amazing product for under 10€. I apply it all over my face and I can feel it sinking into my skin. Since I've started using this, the dry patches along my forehead and cheeks are no longer noticeable, and flakiness isn't anything I need to worry about. A pea-sized amount goes such a long way. I honestly just can't get enough of The Ordinary. I have yet to use a poor product by them.
  • Eye Cream - the Kiehls Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, this is up there as one of my all-time ultimate 'treat yourself' purchases. I bought it this time last year when I was wandering in Arnotts feeling like splashing out, and I smelled this and I knew I had to have it. I've never really bothered with eye creams before this, aside from a Simple eye gel in Boots, I never saw the point. I am dumb. Eye cream is very important. Especially as you get older as those lines start to creep in. I love this. It makes my under eyes much brighter. They look less puffy. And I just feel like I'm doing something good for that delicate area on my face. I apply a dab using the end of a cotton swab and then slowly massage it in, being careful not to tug the skin too much. Eye cream is definitely one of those products you feel like you can skip but I would say if you're feeling spendy and you don't have one already. This is for you. at 28€ for the tub I have, it is steep but you can also see for yourself how little its budged in a year.
  • Lips - to be fair, you don't need to splash out huge amounts of €€ on your lips. But I was feeling super spendy when I bought the Nuxe Lip Balm one day when I was waiting in Lloyds. This is so creamy and hydrating. I use it every night without fail and more so during the winter months. If you're a heavy matte lipstick wearer like me, hydrated lips are a must. And other than making sure your water intake is solid, this really helps make them all soft and lovely. I exfoliate too using a lush lip exfoliator, but I can't recommend this enough. I have a travel pot that I scooped some into for when I'm on the go or at work. Rather than having to carry such a big pot.
This Mario Badescu spray is such a guilty pleasure product for me. This is my second bottle of the stuff and I swear I just adore it. Lather my entire body in the stuff, please. A lot of people I know use this mid routine, before moisturizer. I like to use it at the end. The cherry on top of the cake if you will. I just love how refreshed it makes my face feel. Likewise, I spritz a bit over my face when I've finished applying my makeup, and also throughout the day just to refresh. It's even way nicer if you keep it in the fridge, especially during the summer months. This is basically just a nice cheap mist for your face, but it is a nice cheap mist that I can't see myself living without. I've previously used the green tea scented version of this, but I like that there's lavender in this for night use. I'm all about lavender during this lockdown and it's relaxing benefits.
The Ordinary Peeling Solution is a very new addition to my routine. But the second I tried it, I knew I was going to tell everyone to buy this and share how amazing it is. It's blood-red, you apply it with the little pipette to your cleansed skin. Spread it to make a mask. Leave for 10mins and then wipe off with a damp cloth. My skin tingled so much. Which I had read about prior to buying. But it felt so nice. Like it was burning away the bad top layer of my skin with all the impurities. Sadly, I only got this a few days ago so I can't properly say too much about it. But like I said above, I love everything I've used by The Ordinary and so far so good with this.
Despite some of these being super pricey, they really do go a long way. A couple of them I've had well over a year, and some even two. I've recommended them to friends who have also grown to love them and incorporate them into their own skincare routines. A definite win for me, as I wouldn't exactly consider myself an expert on skincare, I just know what does and doesn't work for me. I've also been repetitively influenced by Gracey over on Instagram here.
We only get one face and I think it's so important to look after it. It's worth noting that I haven't included sun protection above, but I think it goes without saying that that's such an integral part of any skincare routine.
I use other products outside of these too, moisturizer, anti-aging and brightening serums, but there hasn't been a holy grail product for me in these categories which is why I'm reluctant to share anything there till I've found yano, 'the one'. There are other bits too like overnight masks (The Origins) and more from The Ordinary that I don't use on a regular basis but do when I'm having a 'spa' night. So it's good to stress that this isn't everything I use. I'm not an expert but these are just some of the products I've been using a while now and just find really nice, and do what they should do. Except for Liz Earle. Disappointed in that. If you have anything you like to use or something you would recommend I try, comment below or message me on Instagram @JesskaDenise.


Top 5 Kindle Reads - The Lockdown Edition

Top Five Kindle Reads

You're stuck in lockdown or your self isolating, whatever the reason, you now have a lot of free time on your hands. I don't know about you, but there is only so much Netflix I can stomach, I am not a binge-watcher. Okay, if it really hooks me á la Spinning Out, then I am. But the vast majority of the time I prefer to read. Losing myself in a good book feels more fulfilling in a way. Probably because of my GoodReads reading challenge not gonna lie, but it's good. I love it. This year I've challenged myself to read 50 books and so far I've read 12 out of that 50. Pretty good going, and putting me 2 books ahead of schedule. Last year my goal was 30, and I hit that goal of 30 pretty easily. Was 50 a bit optimistic? Maybe. But guys, my schedule has blown wide open for the next two weeks at least so I'm thinking I can squeeze a few books in during that time?

This is why considering our current situation, I thought I would share with you all my 'Top 5' books to read, the eh Lockdown Edition? Books that you can just lose yourself in. Forget about the world around you. The ultimate checkout. That's what we all want right? To escape for an hour or two? I do anyway. Now, I read everything on Kindle. Kindle for iPhone to be specific. I know some people shudder at the thought of eBooks but I find them really convenient. If you're on the go, if you find yourself with a few spare minutes waiting for a friend or yano, it's 1am and you've finished the second book of the Crazy Rich Asians series and you desperately need your next fix. One-click Amazon purchase and ready to continue reading into the night - class.

Below are just some of my favorite books that stick out in my mind. The ones that I've told others to read, that I've bought for others or just can't shut up about. I'm not going to go into a synopsis because you can find that all at the link, but I am going to tell you why I enjoyed it which is usually how I find what I'm going to read next.

  • The Woman in The Window - I read this book well over a year ago and I'm still recommending it to anyone who will listen to me. Its set to be a movie with Amy Adams, and is due for release during Summer, which probably will be pushed back now, the way everything has been pushed back but oh boy was this glued to my hands. It's a psychological thriller which isn't something I would typically go for but I read it so fast and it was so good that I wanted to savor every last bit of the end that I told myself to slow it down. I was reading it in the car, at home, on the sly at work. It was too good. There's so many twists and turns that you can barely keep up, and the whole time you're just trying to guess what is going on.
  • Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling (the trilogy) - I'm cheating here a little and including three books in one. But trust me, once you start reading about Aisling and all her little antics between Dublin and Ballygobbard, you won't want to stop. I read the third book way too fast and now I'm here, counting down to the day that book four eventually releases. When will that be? God knows. Sometime soon preferably. If you're Irish, you will absolutely appreciate the hilarity that is Aisling. You either are Aisling or you know an Aisling. Every reference, anecdote, and phrase is so uniquely Irish you will be in bits because you'll know. You'll have uttered something similar to yourself. You'll have been right there. You'll have a Majella in your life. It's appealing to everyone and so light-hearted. The perfect pick me up. And like I said - three books to completely get lost in.
  • All the Bright Places - like every good Young Adult Fiction, this book is now on Netflix (Spoiler alert this links to the trailer). I read it in two sittings. Yeh. Two. I was addicted to the intertwining stories of Finch and Violet. Their individual struggles. The path that brought them together. I appreciated the real, honest approach to mental illness and how despite the love of those around you, sometimes their love is not enough. This book was raw, emotional, and frankly, pretty damn painful. Maybe it isn't a book to distract you from the world, but it is a book that will distract you from the sorrows of your own life and make you wonder about those around you. To appreciate the simplicity of life. The beauty of simple friendship that flourishes into more. It's heartbreaking on a scale similar to that of The Fault in Our Stars, and you will cry. But this book can't go without being recommended. I swallowed it up. Perhaps too fast. At times I even found it difficult to read so I will add a slight trigger warning for mental illness, suicidal ideation and just urge you to read with caution if you're vulnerable to this sort of content.
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - this one is a bit of a slow burner, but please, trust me with this one. You will not regret it. Eleanor is one of those characters you will grow to love, you'll want to protect her at all costs. She's loveable, endearing, quirky in a way that you wouldn't necessarily expect and her story is one of unique sadness. It is not a happy go lucky book, but some of the best books aren't. Everyone I've spoken to about this book is in collective agreement - it is tough to get into, but once you plow through those first three chapters you're just itching to read more. You'll find some bits of her story you relate to, you'll see bits of yourself in her and despite the title of the book, Eleanor is far from fine but you hope she will be.
  • Supernova - another book with a theme of mental health/illness. Again, I became immersed in this. I related deeply to April's experience of anxiety. I could see parts of my own struggles, albeit massively different, in her. Writing about anxiety, especially in the young adult genre is always tricky, but I feel like this book encapsulated it in a way that others have failed to do so. I never see anyone raving about this book which is why I opted to include it, it's a rare anonymous gem. A story of friendship, young love, and the difficulties of living life with a constant bully in your head. This one is definitely worth a read if you'd like to understand a bit more about how the mind of someone with anxiety sounds like. It is a bit heavy on the 'teen', but relatable none the less.

There you have it, just a few books for you to submerge yourself in over the next couple of weeks. If you head over to my GoodReads account you can see more of what I've been reading. There's a mix between young adult, thriller, and memoir so if you're stuck for something to read and you like what I mentioned above, it might be of help. If you're self-isolating and don't want to leave the house, this is another reason why Kindle is so so practical. You can download the app on your phone, log in through your Amazon account and just buy your next read. No need to run to the shops or the library. It's a great way to pass the time. If you've read any good books lately, make sure you comment them below so I can check them out.