Friday, February 24, 2012

Statement Handbags: the latest Spring/Summer Trend

From Prada to Bottega Veneta statement brightly colored bags in beautiful rich materials are very much IN this 2012 spring/summer season. I'm not going to lie I love a fabulous handbag as much as the next girl but this season's exotic looking bags in oranges, reds, greens and blues are making me look forward to summer even more. This trend has been around for several seasons now and it is still going strong because a statement bag can simply transform any outfit into a show stopper!  Whether with a flowy white summer dress (white happens to be a big trend this summer as well which works perfectly with any strikingly colorful bag) or  jeans and a t-shirt, get that neon blue satchel out of the back of the closet and strut your stuff this summer!

Here are some of my favorite handbags from the 2012 Spring/ Summer collections!

Hayley Menzies 


Bottega Veneta


Lots of love, 

Ultimate DIY Facial for Glowing Skin

In these hard times we can't all afford an expensive spa facial , that doesn't mean we still can't pamper ourselves a little at home! This facial came about when I took a look at my face one day and felt it looked really dull (*ehm* just that ONE day my skin is actually AWESOME ALL THE TIME! *cough*) so I thought I should try a DIY facial because I hear great things about them all over the web. Hence my 6 easy steps to glowing skin facial was born!! TA DA!

All of the products I've used in this facial are available in Middle Eastern markets at most pharmacies, drugstores and even supermarkets and I'll link to the products so you can see descriptions and more pictures. If there is anything you can not find just shoot me a quick email at  and we can figure out some alternatives. So read on to get amazingly glowing skin from the comfort of your own home (too much infomercial talk?? *blush*)

Step #1 Squeaky Clean
The first step of your facial is to make sure your face is free of make up, dirt and oils so just wash or cleanse your face as usually would.

I  used the 'Seba med' cleansing bar soap to wash my face and neck just because it's my ABSOLUTE favorite facial cleanser and it works really well for my skin type (I have combination skin) but you can use whatever works best for you. 

Step #2 Steam time
So after we've made sure that our face and neck are nice and clean then we need to get all of the dirt and grime out of our pores, I apply Neutrogena's Visibly Clear Blackhead Eliminating Daily Scrub on my T-Zone (forehead , nose and chin) and then start steaming my face so the pores open up and the product can work its magic properly (if there are any gentlemen reading this: Women don't have oily skin or blackheads this is just a hypothetical exercise! *wink wink*) .

Anyways back to our hypothetical facial now to steam your face you can either take a hot shower and let the steam from the shower do the magic OR the way I prefer is to get a bowl of HOT steamy water and hold my head over it. To trap the steam from the water I hold a towel over my head and the bowl.  Just make sure the water isn't boiling hot and your face is not too close to the water so you don't burn yourself. 
Sit in front of the steam for 10-15 minutes and then wash off the product with warm water (you can just use the edge of the towel you were using with the steam dipped in warm water to remove the product from your t zone)  and DO not rub it in because the yummy scrubbing part comes next!
Farah's TIP: please e careful when steaming your face if you have dry, sensitive or broken skin because the heat from the steam irritates all of the above skin types. If you have any of those problems please avoid the steam.  

Step # 3 Scrub, Scrub Scrub! 
Now comes my favorite part of the entire facial: Exfoliating! This will remove all the dead skin cells and the dirt and excess oil that we just steamed out of your pores. After removing the Neutrogena product, I apply some of my homemade scrub all over my face and start rubbing it in in circular motions gently.  Please do not go to harsh with the exfoliation because your skin is now pretty sensitive after the steam and we're not trying to remove one of it's layers (did you just picture that in your head too? *ouch*).
Let the scrub sit for a couple of minutes then again with the edge of your towel dipped in warm water just remove the scrub gently from your face and by now you should start noticing how refreshed your skin looks and feels !

Step # 4 Tone it up! 

After all of the steaming and exfoliating your skin now needs a little refresher so I use some strongly brewed cooled pure green tea applied on a cotton pad as my homemade toner .  If you feel like using a store bought product my two absolute favorite toners are the Body Shop's Cucumber Water and Bioderma's Sensibio H2O, just apply a little on a cotton pad and use all over your face.

Step # 5 Facial Mask: Funny or Scary?
I guess it depends who you ask!! HAHA. Regardless of whether you think you look like monster or  just plain hilarious facial masks do your skin a world of good. You can either make your own masks at home from this incredible list depending on your needs or you can just be lazy that day like I was and use a store bought mask.

I personally prefer a clay based mask and Mudd products are just great, I used their Original Mask and left it on for about 15 minutes or it has completely dried. It does get REALLY dry so don't worry it's normal if you can't frown when it's on. Again with a towel dipped in warm water remove the mask after it has dried and you'll uncover baby soft glowing skin.
Farah's tip: Always use a mask that is suited for your skin type, for example I would not recommend the Mudd mask to women with dry skin because it will dry it out even more. This mask s best suited for oily to combination skin. When you find the right mask for you stick with it because it really does make a huge difference. 

Step #6  Moisture-tastic! 

The Final step in our now almost complete facial is to moisturize our lovely refreshed skin. Moisturizing your skin is probably the most important part of any beauty regimen and especially after a facial because it restores all of the moisture that was lost during the process as well sealing it in so you don't lose anymore. Again always use a moisturizer that is best suited for your skin type, you can make a homemade one from one of my recipes or you can just use your daily moisturizer although I do recommend using something with a slightly richer texture because your skin will need it after the treatment. I used my almond oil and rosewater moisturizer but if you do go for a store-bought moisturizer, I love Nuxe's Reve de Miel Day Creme as well as The Body Shop's Vitamin E Moisture Cream. If you use an eye cream this would also be the time to use it, I prefer just a couple of cooled tea bags on my eyes for 10-15 minutes before I apply the moisturizer but there is no right or wrong here, do whatever works best for your skin.
Farah's Tip: Make sure to moisturize the skin on your neck and décolletage as well because most people neglect them. The skin on these areas is thin and can show signs of aging faster than you face so please show it some love too! 

So turn off your phone, shut down the laptop and relax for an hour. Take some 'me time' and give yourself a refreshing DIY facial and see the difference in your skin! Try it out and let me know in the comments box below how it worked out for you! 

As always if you have any questions about any of the info in this post  just let me know BELOW or email me at and if I have the answer I'll be sure to get back to you or write a post for your specific request.

Lots of Love,


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

5 Foods Your Skin and Hair L.O.V.E

Well yes it's right there in the title, the big L word and if you live under a rock you probably still know  today is Valentine's Day (or as it's know in Egypt B for Balantine! ha! Get it?) . So in honor of this uber-cheesey lovey- dovey day I have decided to give you the 5 foods that your skin and hair will love. These food are not only great to put into your body but are also incredible to put directly onto your skin and hair. Keep reading for tips and recipes!

#1 Eggs: Not just for Omelets Anymore 
Eggs and egg whites specifically are a great source of protein and both your hair and skin love a good boost of protein; it makes for stronger hair and healthier skin. Try this homemade hair mask recipe that I've tried and tested and L.O.V.E.D

Mix 1 whole egg, 1 eggs white, 1/4 cup of whole fat yoghurt and 1 Tablespoon of Olive oil (you can use almond as well but Olive oil is just more readily available). If the mixture is too heavy to handle, you can add just a dash of water to thin it out. Distribute the mixture evenly through your hair and leave on for 15-20 minutes then rinse it out with a gentle shampoo (I'll write a post soon about what to avoid when buying shampoos). This mask works wonders for dry, frizzy or over processed damaged hair. Your hair will be more manageable, look smoother and appear shinier.

#2 Oatmeal: Breakfast and More! 
Continuing with the breakfast theme that seems to be taking over this post, Oatmeal is another amazing food that is great to incorporate in your daily diet because it's rich in fibers, vitamins and antioxidants. It can also help reduce the risk of heart disease and lower your cholesterol. For your skin, it can act as a great exfoliant, natural acne treatment and soothing agent for irritated skin.

Using it as a skin treatment can be as simple as cooking the oatmeal (makes sure it's natural unsweetened unprocessed) according to package directions, letting it cool and then applying it directly to your acne prone spots. You could also make a great natural exfoliator by grinding up 1/2 cup of oatmeal in a food processor or blender, add enough brewed and cooled green tea to make a paste and then add a tablespoon of warm honey (you can warm it for 10 secs in the microwave). The green tea has amazing antioxidant properties that will make your skin look younger and healthier, and the honey is a natural antibiotic that will remove bacteria that creates acne and spots.  
Gently rub the mixture on your face in circular motion just as you would any other exfoliant, leave it on for about 10 minutes and then rinse with warm water. It will leave your skin supple and glowing. 

#3 Bananans: Your Hair will go Ape for them! 

As you may already know Bananas are a great source of potassium, fibers and B12 vitamins which give you an energy boost, improve digestion and promote good cardiovascular health (big word alert!! it's basically good for your heart). Imagine what they can do for your hair! Bananas help seal split ends, restore moisture and detoxify your hair from the constant exposure to pollution and dirt.  There are several ways to use bananas in hair treatments out there but this is mine which I have tweaked after several mishaps  trials.
Puree a banana until completely smooth (you can use more than one depending on the length of your hair of course) make sure there are no lumps in your mixture or else they will be difficult to wash out at the end. Add 2 tablespoons of whole milk , 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of your choice of essential oil (just to make your head smell less like baby food but that's an optional step). Make sure  hair is completely tangle free and then apply the mask evenly through your hair masking sure you get to your scalp, put on a shower cap and then a towel over your head. Let the mask sit for 30 minutes then wash your hair thoroughly with COOL water so you do not end up with cooked banana pudding on your head. 
This mask is not just a one time thing: keep using it once a week for optimum results. 

#4 Tomatoes : Go Red! 

Chock full of Vitamins A and C tomatoes are in my opinion one of the most underrated super foods for your skin. Tomatoes absorb excess oil, minimize pores and brighten up the dullest of complexions. Using them is as easy as just cutting a ripe tomato in half and rubbing the flesh on your face, neck and décolletage! If you are consistent and do so at least once a week you're golden (literally!), you'll notice a brighter sunnier complexion with less breakouts.

#5 Avocados: Power to the Guacamole!  
This is definitely not a very widely used fruit in the Middle East but it is readily available  in most supermarkets and fruit grocers. The benefits of avocados range from helping the body fight and prevent some types of cancer to better eye health. In our case it is one of the best sources of vitamin E out there. Vitamin E is essential in maintaining skin , nail and hair health (did I just sound too much a like a medical journal? Dr. Farah has a nice ring to it, don't you think?) .

For your hair mash one avocado with one egg yolk and one teaspoon olive, castor or wheat germ oil (زيت جنين القمح which can be found at most pharmacies in gel capsule form, you can pierce the capsule to get the oil out). Apply the mixture to your hair and let soak in up to 40 minutes then rinse off with lukewarm water. The high fat content in the avocado and the protein from the egg will seal your cuticle and make for shinier, smoother strands. 
As for your face avocados make my favorite face mask of all time: mash an avocado till really smooth with 1/2 cup of plain yoghurt  and a teaspoon of honey. Apply the mask to your face and if you have under eye circles I would recommend also adding a couple of cooled cucumber slices to your eyes for ultimate pampering and double duty benefit from the mask. Just relax for 10 - 15 minutes with the mask on and then rinse it off with warm water. 

These are only a few of the super foods (that I LOVE) that are amazing for both your body as well your skin and hair others include almonds, peaches, papayas, cherries and the list goes on and on. The key here is to know that there is no right or wrong when it come to these recipes. Since they are all natural and unless you are allergic to any of these ingredients you can tweak and alter them to match your skin or hair type. Add more of a moisturizing ingredient for dry hair or skin and add less if it's not just not right for your combination skin. It's all in your hands and out of your own kitchen. Hassle free beauty! 

Go on, try the recipes and share your experience  in the comments box below. Also I would love to hear about any of your natural beauty tips, what works best for you? Or has been in your family for a long time? 

As always if you have any questions about any of the info in this post  just let me know BELOW or email me at and if I have the answer I'll be sure to get back to you or write a post for your specific request.

P.S. I couldn't resist the valentine's day themed heart shaped pictures this week! too cheesy? 

Come back for more every 'beauty tuesday'! 

Lots of Love!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mourning the loss

Due to the recent tragic events in Egypt I've decided not to write a  post this week in order to respect this time of mourning and grief for the families and loved ones of the people who lost their lives. May their souls rest in peace and may God give us all the strength to get through this difficult time.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Breaking the Habit: 5 Beauty Habits you need to STOP Today!

As my fiancé would say "You telling people what NOT to do, that's a first!" (he loves me, I swear! ;). You may have noticed my posts normally revolve around giving you advice on what to do rather than not. So I've decided to 'break' that habit and give you some insight on bad habits I noticed we ALL (especially us Middle Eastern chicas) tend to fall into. Some of these 5 habits can be accounted to just plain laziness (you know i'm right!) and others may be misinformation but they are definitely things you should STOP doing today and never go back to again! (I just wrote that with the sound of my mother yelling in my head! *blushing*  Apologies.)

#1 Conditioning = good. Over conditioning = BAAD! 

Let's face it our weather between the sweltering heat, sandstorms, dust and then sudden cool in the evenings can take a toll on our normally *ehm ehm* luscious locks. So conditioner is a staple in every girl's shower, maybe even a leave in conditioner after the conditioner to get extra soft 'Kim Kardashian-esque' hair. However believe it or not there is such a thing as over conditioning your hair which can leave it sticky, dull and greasy.
No one understands the need for baby soft hair more than me and if your hair is over processed or highly heat damaged you may need to use more conditioner than others but as a general rule you should condition your hair ever time you use shampoo. In my experience you should not wash your hair more than 3 times a week and if you condition in the shower I would skip the leave in condition afterwards to avoid weighing down your hair (especially if you have fine hair like me).  It is important to know (especially if you have hair that tends to get oily) that your hair produces natural oils that condition your roots and most of the hair at the top of your head so when you do use conditioner that is NOT the hair that needs the most nourishment. Instead focus on the middle and ends of your hair which do not receive as much natural oils. If you do feel like your hair is over conditioned, don't fret: the it's fixable! Just do a vinegar rinse on your hair or use a clarifying shampoo (Pantene makes them in a transparent container, it's sold at most pharmacies in Egypt) once a week and you'll hair will back to it's old 'normal conditioned' self in no time.

#2 Not using SPF

It's a no brainer that you need to use sunblock every time you are at the beach and most of us (I hope! ) slather on the SPF loaded lotions and potions during the summer months thinking that we have done our part to protect our skin. WRONG! SPF should be the first thing you look for when buying your daily moisturizer and even foundation. Especially if you live in the Middle East where we have longer sunnier months SPF is a must , it protects your skin from the harmful UV rays which  keeps it looking younger and wrinkle free longer. If you have oily or combination skin you can opt for a tinted moisturizer that has a lighter formula than liquid foundations and heavy SPF sunblock. You can even make your own tinted moisturizer at home just add a small amount of your foundation (whether it be liquid, mineral or powder) to your daily moisturizer and mix them on the back of your hand (you can use a container if you want to make the tinted moisturizer in quantities in advance) and apply the mixture to your face just like you would any moisturizer. Here's a fun and easy tutorial on this DIY project.

#3 Not cleaning your make up brushes

When I started applying make up no one had told me that the brushes I used needed to be cleaned ( don't ask! did I think make up was a self cleaning product?!). After several unexplained break outs I was told by a very wise friend (thanks Sarah wherever you are!) that the acne maybe because I didn't clean my foundation brush after using it . SOOO I did!  and the difference in my skin since then has been drastic, I've had fewer breakouts and my make up always glides on flawlessly. I'm thus passing on my accumulated wisdom to you my fellow 'acne prone, nasty makeup brush using' women of the world. A little baby shampoo and warm water rinse for your make up brushes will go a long way in helping you have better skin. Make up brushes accumulate oils and dirt from your skin, combine that with your leftover make up and you have a hot bed of bacteria that is more than happy to give you that huge red zit the next day.

#4 Going to the Nail Salon Unprepared

We have all used tools (nail clippers, cuticle trimmers, nail files, nail brushes...etc.) at the nail salon before ( if you always take your own tools, then high five to your awesomeness! ) where we've had second doubts about their cleanliness. TRUST me when you had second thoughts about that nail clipper the manicurist used on your toes you were definitely right and should have said something that instant. Nail salons are filled with nasty germs from the foot baths to the technician's hands. The range of infections you can catch from an unsanitary nail salon range from staph, fungal , bacterial to hepatitis and even herpes (Yes gross, I know but i had to)! 
I have certainly been guilty of being too embarrassed or lazy to take my own instruments to the nail salon but since I've started my visit has always been anxiety free and frankly way more pleasant. When you do go to the nail salon please make sure that:
a)  the foot baths are washed with warm water and sprayed with disinfectant before you use them
b)  the technician has washed his/her hands before starting your treatment
c) if you do not take your own tools (well shame on you!) that the tools they use are sterilized and opened from the sterile bag right in front of you
These are just a couple of tips that I have found helpful but for a flu article on nail salon safety check this article out.

#5 Not Using a Heat Protectant

I discovered heat protectant in my twenties and have never looked back since! It is just not prevalent in our culture to use it as a styling product, the hair dresser never uses it  at the hair salon (which is where 90% of Middle Eastern women get their hair done) , you've never seen your mom use it growing up and very few people actually tell you about the great difference you will see in you hair once you start using it. 
You will notice that your hair feels less 'fried' after using your straightener or curling iron and you'll notice less split ends as well as less breakage. Let us just be clear I am not condoning excessive use of heat but when you do it's always better to protect your hair from it's damaging effects.  So the next time you go to your hair salon take you heat protectant with you and ask the stylist to spray it on your hair before starting your blow out. You can thank me later ;) 

As always if you have any questions about all of the info above just let me know BELOW in the comments box and if I have the answer I'll be sure to get back to you or write a post for your specific request.

Come back for more every 'beauty tuesday'! 

Lots of Love!