My Summer Hair Routine

As the temps start to do a happy upward dance (ever so slowly), I'm naturally dreaming of updates to my beauty routine for the warmer months. I mean, from sunny brunches to outdoor music festivalsto long days spent poolside, rosé in hand (and yes, maybe a few days a week in an overly air-conditioned office), there are so many occasions for which to prep and take preventative action.

My Spring-to-Summer transition plan calls for protective hair care and beauty, and ultimately, keeping my fine-but-somehow-thick, straight strands healthy lets me feel my best and enjoy Summer to the fullest.

From the big (or not-so-big) chop to strategically choosing products, this is how I prep my mane for the brighter days ahead.

Grow, Then Chop

My fine hair plus bangs (or any slightly shorter sections of hair vaguely skimming my bare skin — choppy angles and even baby hairs included, unfortunately — equals Grease City. In the first days of Spring, I make a note to start growing these pieces out to be easily swept behind my ears or into a pony on sweltering days.

Awkward growing-out lengths might occur, and their extremity will obviously depend on the length of said bangs throughout the cooler seasons. But either way, I embrace whatever these ex-bangs become. One year, I had straight blunt bangs going into Spring and so, a Farrah Fawcett-like, wavy curtain bang became my Summer lewk. The bangs paired awesomely with band tees and denim cutoffs, and in short, I was festival ready every day. So if you're like me and choose to grow bangs out bangs for Summer, just go with the flow and see where it takes you — awkward lengths and all.

And why not get a fresh cut in the meantime? As I grow out any face-framing bangs, a trim is usually in order for my hair, which is oh so prone to breakage. This is Spring cleaning at its best.

Choose Lightweight Products

Lightweight, sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners will quench dry strands without weighing them down. I opt for a much lighter formula for both in early Spring to give my locks time to adjust. The barely there consistency of these products helps my hair feel spry and bouncy after a shower — and this feeling is #goals, especially in the Summer! There's no room for feeling weighed down when humidity strikes.

One of my favorite, cost-effective tricks is to add a couple drops of tea tree oil to my conditioner before applying. I'll also apply a few drops of keratin-infused oil on my strands before heading out, guaranteeing frizz-free smoothness all day long.

I also take time to stock up on other lightweight products like powdered dry shampoo — aerosol products tend to leave a heavy residue on my fine hair — to combat oiliness, along with clarifying shampoos and gentle, creamy hair masks to use postswim (chlorine, be damned).

Invest in Sun Protection

We often associate SPF with skin care — and it is so, so vital to wear sunblock year-round, not only for Summer! — but, it's also important to sun protect your hair.

I work in an office editing articles all day long, and I used to grossly underestimate the importance of sun protection. I would take walks during my lunch break, grab a coffee, and sometimes, go on runs outside after work — all without a proper SPF and heat protectant for my hair! To shield my hair from the sun's harmful rays, I'll now comb a heat protective product through my strands before heading out. My favorite is infused with argan oil. On beach days or at outdoor shows, using heat protectant is even more essential!

It also helps that hats of all kinds are currently de rigueur, so choose your favorite style! This year, I'm looking forward to rocking my sports cap and classic straw hat for the beach.

Warm Up With Color

When all the practical stuff is out of the way, I like to start thinking about coloring my hair to lighten it up. In the past, I've welcomed the warm weather with radiant, new locks via ombré or subtle balayage.

But these days, I don't like to commit to a high-maintenance color job (as beautiful as they are!). This year, I"m looking into a spray that creates subtle highlights with the help of the sun's rays and have found a pretty good selection of such products at my local drugstore. There are also tons of DIYoptions on Pinterest that I've saved, and I can't wait to peruse them! These superchill products simply let you go outside and let your hair enact its magic.

Accessorize, and Have Fun

Don't forget to have fun with your hair! I enjoy using pretty, minimalist clips to keep the hair out of my face and inject a little playful girliness into my look. From classic barrettes to flirty, vintage headbands, there's no end to accessories for your hair. Adding a unique clip or head wrap is just as fun as experimenting with highlighter or a new lipstick shade — I promise!

The updates to my hair routine are prescribed according to the needs of my own daily life, hair texture, and beauty preferences. Whatever works best for your unique (hair) situation is absolutely the way to go!Read more at:vintage formal dresses | marieaustralia


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Step out in style

Summer is here; time to rearrange the wardrobe to beat the heat. It is the season when one bids goodbye to those figure-hugging attires and tight, slim jeans and embraces the coolest outfits. Changing wardrobe according to weather conditions has never been on the priority list of Malayalis. However, experts say it’s changing. The current generation is stylish and health conscious, and feels it’s worth spending on clothes, or perhaps they believe it is the need of the hour.

“Fashion sense and awareness of people have changed a lot,” feels Rajeev Peethambaran, celebrity designer, who recently launched his own clothing label Rajeev Peethambaran. This change struck him during the recent flea market held in Kochi.

“I post photos of my collection on Instagram. During the flea market, many who came to my stall enquired about the ones I posted on Instagram. Not just that, communication with them helped me realise their depth of knowledge about fashion. These days, they specifically ask for cotton,” says Rajeev. Airy and comfy are the two terms that define summer fashion. Rajeev, who created a ‘breathable’ summer collection says, “Cotton and handloom are used to make attires with minimalistic designs. When it comes to shades, earthy tones have been used.” Anu and Reshma of Mannath have used cotton and muslin fabrics for their collection. “We have done a collection of checks, stripes and floral in pastels,” says Reshma.

Kurtas, short tops and palazzos, everyone’s all-time summer favourites, are there in almost every designer's collection. The relatively new entrant is the dress. It is available in short and maxi styles. It has been there in the market, but was not worn by all. “There is a good demand for dresses now, especially among teens and young persons. People are open to experiments other than kurta,” says Reshma, who has introduced a budget-friendly collection so that everyone can afford it. “We are also working on an anarkali collection.”

Rajeev also agrees with the demand for dresses. “It is trending now,” he says. “It is because it’s very comfortable to wear,” he adds. Another factor that makes the dress a favourite is its multi-use nature. All one needs to do is aesthetically pair it up. In Rajeev’s opinion, shirt dresses, a variant of dress can be used both as casual and party wear. “Wear it casually during normal occasions. Accessorise a bit and it would turn into stunning party wear,” he says. “One can create one’s own style by doing mix and match. For instance, pair a palazzo with a casual top and jacket, it would look good,” he says.

So what are the styles youngsters are opting for this summer? Nidhi James, third year Fashion Technology student at St Teresa’s College, Ernakulam, knows it well. “In our campus, we wear long (maxi) dresses along with white shoes and a sling. White shoes are a hit among us now. We have shelved jeans and other tight attires this summer. It is because we get very sweaty these days and tight clothing may cause rashes on the skin. The reason for choosing long dress for college is that it is easy to carry off and they are allowed on our campus,” she says.

“When we go for events outside, we choose short dresses. Chances of sunburn is there, still we prefer them as they are very airy. We also sport off-shoulder tops. We dress up according to the occasion,” she explains. Saree is also a popular choice. Rajeev, who did a collection of sarees, says, “There are youngsters who ask for sarees. My mother was the model for my saree collection. There have been enquiries for that design,” says Rajeev. The brighter side of summer is the increase in people’s fashion know-how. It is a good sign that people understand the effect fabrics have on one’s body and consider dressing up for seasons as a part of their lifestyle.Read more at:formal dresses online | evening dresses online


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Fashion Show Without Catwalks

A weeklong fashion event in Dubai is being held without catwalks, models or skin-baring designs.

Instead, around 30 designers of fashionable modest wear – some Muslim and others not – from nearly two dozen countries showcased their long-sleeved and floor-length pieces on large screens. Buyers could see and touch the collections up close in one of Dubai’s newest shopping districts, a shimmering maze of walkways and fountains.

At the start of the event, a handful of designs were paraded around the plaza.

“We did away with the catwalk. We thought that was one of the most antiquated things,” Alia Khan, chairwoman of the Islamic Fashion and Design Council (IFDC), said, explaining the decision to nix the most common elements of fashion shows around the world.

Khan spoke recently, the opening night of the event dubbed ‘A Modest Revolution’. It showcases the latest creations by designers hoping to capitalise on a growing desire by Muslim shoppers to wear modest clothing that is also fashionable.

Italian designer Isabella Caposanno’s long-sleeved evening dresses can take months to make by hand, and some cost upward of 30,000 euros ($37,000).

Her clients include Arab royalty.

Under-Rapt offers modest sportswear, with longer, looser tops. Its leggings include flaps that fall just below the hips to give extra cover to the rear and front.

Another line, called Blue Meets Blue, employs refugees who have resettled in the Chicago area to make dressy and formal wear.

“We’re trying to change the stereotypes of refugees in the US, as well. We want people to know that they’re very hardworking, they’re very excited to be in their new country and they want an opportunity to show that,” said Shahd Alasaly, designer and founder of the American-made brand.

Alasaly says her customers aren’t just Muslims, but also Orthodox Jewish women who want to wear something that’s “classy, timeless and elegant”.

How women choose to dress modestly varies around the world. Often, Muslim women who cover their hair with a hijab, or headscarf, in public do so in ways that reflect the local culture and their interpretation of Islamic guidelines.

But even women who dress modestly and cover their hair can find themselves at odds with conservatives who say the hijab should not be eye-catching and should conceal a woman’s beauty from strangers.

“Modest fashion comes in so many different ways and I think people tend to pigeon-hole it and stereotype it,” Khan said. “Designers are coming from all walks of life. All have their own interpretation.”

Malaysia has been a trailblazer in the so-called halal industry, an estimated $2.6 trillion global Muslim lifestyle market that includes everything from halal food products that adhere to Islamic principles on how to slaughter animals, to halal tourism, where hotels cater to Muslim visitors by offering prayer rugs, halal food options and even gender-segregated beaches and pools.

On the opening night of the event, Vivy Yusof, a designer and businesswoman from Malaysia, wore a cream-coloured headscarf by her brand, ‘dUCk’, paired with a Petite Malle Louis Vuitton bag and a bejewelled black blazer and black slacks made by South Asian designers.

“I think it’s really funny that now modest fashion is booming so much, because that’s how we’ve been dressing for ages,” she said. “Layering, covering, long sleeves, long pants, you know, wearing the hijab or not, that’s how we’ve been dressing as Muslim women.”

The 30-year-old and her husband co-founded Fashion Valet, an e-commerce website in Malaysia that features more than 400 South Asian designers, many of them selling modest wear collections. She selected six South Asian designers to showcase their pieces at her stall.

Yusof declined to disclose specifics on the company’s annual revenue, but said that since launching the site eight years ago, business has grown by 100 per cent annually.

Mainstream designers and retailers are also trying to tap into the niche market for modest clothing.

Just last month, US retailer Macy’s launched a modest clothing line targeting Muslim fashionistas. The new line, available online for now, includes ruffled high-neck tunics, flowy jumpsuits and bell-sleeve ankle-length cardigans.

Nike has debuted a hijab designed for female Muslim athletes. US fashion house DKNY in 2014 launched a modest wear collection for Ramadhan, the holy month when Muslims fast from sun-up to sundown.

High-end label Dolce & Gabbana has also released a collection of headscarves and coordinated abayas, the loose robes worn by women in Arab Gulf countries.

The IFDC says Muslims are expected to spend as much as $322 billion on fashion this year. That figure is projected to grow as the Muslim population expands to 2.2 billion by 2030.

For the first time this year, more than half of all apparel and footwear sales will originate outside Europe and North America, according to consulting firm McKinsey & Co’s ‘The State of Fashion’ report.

The main areas of growth will be in emerging markets in Asia where fashion sales are expected to grow by 6.5 to 7.5 per cent this year.

In the Middle East, fashion sales are expected to grow by six per cent, compared to two to three per cent growth in Europe and one to two per cent in North America.

Syrian sisters Nazek and Rama Jandali searched the fashion stalls for unique and modest pieces to wear this Ramadhan, set to begin mid-May. Nazek was dressed in an off-the-shoulder cream embroidered top.

Her younger sister Rama wore a colourful Fendi top and Chanel shoes. Neither covered their hair.

“I really like this event because it supports all these new designers and it’s something you don’t see in the market, or you don’t see it in shopping malls. It’s something new – not many people (have) worn it,” said Rama of the collections on display.

Nazek agreed.

“It’s not like the usual exhibitions or usual fashion shows. I found it really interesting that it inspires the conservative woman who would like to really be trendy in a very modest way,” she said.


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