How Wall Stickers and Decals Will Take Your Room to the Next Level

A wall decal, more commonly known as a wall sticker, is one of the simplest tools in the box when it comes to interior design. If time is of the essence, or if you just have too much on your plate to spend a lot of time designing a space, then wall decals are the solution for you. When before there was a limit in the choice of design for your sticker, technological advancements mean that almost anything can be imagined, designed and produced precisely to your specifications.

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Wall Stickers

Owl and Tree Wall Sticker

Owl and Tree Wall Nursery Wall Sticker

Decals will add another layer of depth and creativity to your home, with a massive advantage being that they do not require maintenance. Unlike plants or greenery that you have to tend to regularly. Once they’re on, they’re on, and the only time they’ll catch your attention is when you get lost in their beauty. What’s more, a decal, or maybe a set of them, will rarely require you to break your bank as you may have to do for a fine art piece or a wall mural, yet they can still add marvellous charm and elegance to any room in your house or even in your office space. Wall decals would be particularly apt if you find you have a rather large, bare and tired wall. They can cultivate atmosphere depending on the style of decal you opt for and will be sure to create conversation amongst guests who will marvel at your savvy and stylish interior. Stickers allow you to add “more” to your room, to make it infinitely more interesting without making it feel too cluttered or suffocating. They take up little to no space, yet bring another layer of creativity to space, so are perfect if you find yourself a bit short of space in your home.

Blue Lighthouse Wall Stickers

Decals offer you a lot of creative control and opportunity for personalisation, in any place and at any time. There need not be a limit to the size of your decal/s, it could be a small cut-out or a massive mural covering the length of your entire wall. The decal could be your favourite quotation, a quirky illustration, or an aesthetically pleasing pattern or design – it all depends on the sort of atmosphere and mood you want to cultivate for your particular space. A couple of well-thought-out decals will effortlessly transform the look and feel of your room within a matter of minutes, maybe from cold to relaxing, or quirky to sophisticated. Gone are the days where if you wanted to customise your home you would inevitably need to hire an expensive graphic artist or interior designer, as well as budget for various costly materials like the finest paints and most luxurious wallpapers. Instead, decals are quickly becoming a popular alternative to wallpaper, because they require less effort, planning, time and money, while still revamping a dreary and uninspired wall just as some new wallpaper might do.

With remarkably little preparation time, decals can add character not only to walls but also to furniture and appliances – anything that you think could do with a bit of sprucing up. You can also use vinyl wall stickers or 3D wall stickers to add another element to whichever theme you have decided on. Wall decals and stickers are particularly popular with renters who may not be able to use wallpaper or paint on their walls, but still, want to personalise their living space and make it feel like home. Wall decals can be removed in a matter of minutes to restore the wall to its original condition, avoiding any spats with the landlord! However, in some cases, walls can become stained once you remove a decal if this is something you are keen to avoid, make sure to opt for fabric stickers because they won’t leave any residue behind after the sticker is removed. Re-usable vinyl also mean that you can reposition your sticker until it sits on your wall perfectly before the adhesive wears off and it is sticks entirely to the surface. Removable vinyl decals are great if you only want to decorate on a temporary basis, for example, a nursery or a play area. You can put the vinyl in storage and bring it out again if you have a new idea about where you want to place it, or if you move to a new property but want the same charm and vibe again.

Love Wall Decal

Love Quotes Wall Decals

Versatile decals and stickers can be a great statement piece in your living room. They would thrive on an accent wall where they could stand out or perhaps blend in with your chosen theme. Decals are particularly fitting in bathrooms as they can be quickly applied to tiles and other such surfaces, which can be a struggle for other materials like wallpaper or paint. Bathrooms are often left plain and are therefore somewhat dull to the eye, but a decal or two can change that in an instant. In fact, many decals are designed with tiles in mind and can create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere in your bathroom while you are having a bath and preparing to wind down for the night. Perhaps butterflies, fish or greenery and nature will create the right atmosphere for you. Nature-inspired decals can create a uniquely serene and calming mood.

Deals are also a great look for a nursery or playroom, especially due to their flexibility and versatility. As your child grows up through the years you can simply chop and change the decals to adapt to their developing taste, with minimal fuss. Wall stickers are one of the easiest ways to achieve that fun, friendly and carefree atmosphere in which children can play, learn and thrive. Wall stickers need not only be decoration, they can also be utilised as educational tools, i.e. sticking up decals of maps, solar systems, the alphabet and maybe even a number line! You can keep switching the theme of your child’s room, perhaps on a seasonal or yearly basis, to give them something new that will set their imaginations alight.

Similarly, add life to your kitchen if a dull colour scheme looks too stark and unimaginative. Truth be told decals need not even be on the wall, you could decorate countertops or fridges too! If you have a theme, colour scheme or accent wall in your living room they could also be enhanced with decals. Decals can complement other statement pieces or perhaps be the focal point themselves. A grand and intricate decal is sure to steal the spotlight in your living room and make your space vibrant and homely. It is likely especially important to you put your own creativity in your living room and make sure it reflects you and your personal taste considering the living room is often where you entertain guests or spend quality time and make memories with your family and loved ones, on a day to day basis as well as during the holiday season. If you want your decal to have a more subtle effect, perhaps to draw eyes towards a statement piece or focal point, then a good idea would be to place decals in corners and on the borders of your point of interest, i.e. a photo, painting, or even your television. Decals also make a savvy replacement for a headboard in the bedroom, adding some pizzazz and life whilst simultaneously saving you space and money! If that isn’t a win-win, I don’t know what is. As always, you can chop and change the decal the instant you become bored of it, which is not quite so easy with a headboard!

HAPPINESS QUOTE WALL STICKER

Happiness Quote Wall Sticker

You can alter your theme in any room to fit in with your decal/s, or you can change your decals in hue, shape or size so that they fit the theme you have chosen for your room. If you want a complete revamp, take the decals down and try an entirely now look – new wallpaper or paint, new colour scheme, new accent etc. and reincorporate your decals to see a whole new side to them. If you are bored of your current layout, want to try out a new colour scheme, or want to liven up a decorated yet dull space, wall decals are probably the answer for you, especially if you are working with a tighter budget. Think of them like putting stickers in a scrapbook – they are a way of telling a story and showcasing who you are and what you like.

Of course, it helps that you the decision is yours regarding how many and how large or small your wall decals will be – you could buy several small ones, one massive wall covering an expanse, or maybe mix and match for a more eclectic style. Mirrored decals are sure to be a firm favourite for those working with a tight space – they reflect light, making a room feel more spacious rather than tight and strained. If you want to cover an ample space, consider buying several smaller decals and arranging them in a continuous style or pattern to create the illusion of filling up a wall. It would most likely be a lot more costly to cover the same amount of space using wallpaper or expensive paintings. And of course, unlike paintings and frames, you don’t need to drill any holes and potentially damage any walls, which will be an especially big relief for renters. Large decals will boldly attract attention and most likely be the crown jewel of any interior – they bring an extra air of drama and daring into any room. They can easily transform a blank wall into a masterpiece of design.

You can also find extensive wall decals that mimic sought-after wall materials and textures, like stone and marble. You can apply wall stickers like these just as you may apply wallpaper, and perhaps create an accent wall by covering only one wall. If there are eyesores or problematic wall features that you’d rather not have, decals can shift attention away from them and towards them and other, more flattering, features. If you use decals in the form of horizontal stripes you can create the illusion of a large room if space is particularly tight. Of course, before purchasing any decal or sticker take some measurements and make some observations to see how much space you have and which walls could do with a bit of extra TLC. Consider whether you are happy with the atmosphere and vibe created by your current layout and whether you want decals to add to this or to shift the mood to something more befitting.

3d Wall Art

When you are happy with your purchase, applying the decals will be a piece of a cake. Before beginning with application process ensure that the wall is clean with no dirt or bumps on the surface. This is so that when the decal is applied it is flat rather than with unsightly bumps which might require you to have the remove the decal entirely and reapply it, which can often be a bit of a bother. One the wall has dried, peel the sticker and smoothen it onto the surface of the wall. That is pretty much all there is to applying a decal, but of course, you can be creative and apply decals in your own way, perhaps in a continuous pattern, in a zigzag or in a loose and carefree manner. Try and consider the decals in relation to the furniture and statement pieces, to make sure that the different elements aren’t fighting for attention but working together harmoniously.

If you want something truly eye-catching and “out there”, why not try out 3D decals, they will add new textures if your walls are covered primarily in 2D art. You can be quirky and use funny decals, more chic and sophisticated with black-and-white decals, or maybe a bit of both by incorporating pop art stickers! With all art and interior design, there are rules, but they don’t always need to be followed. Once you have your hands on your decals, you can personalise them further with the way you arrange them, or maybe even cut them up and display them in a more “avant-garde” style – the point being, your imagination is your limit. It is advisable to put your own spin on your wall and make it “you” – a style that is unique and can be appreciated as a breath of fresh air rather than the same old space. Decals can range from landscape, greenery, animals, insect, quotes, geometric designs and patterns both intricate and simple as well as more abstract styles. If you consider yourself a creative individual, wall decals will truly have your brain buzzing with ideas and your rooms will flourish!

from Otomo – Blog https://www.otomo.co.uk/blogs/news/how-wall-stickers-and-decals-will-take-your-room-to-the-next-level

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Top 15 Pearl Facts

Top 15 Pearl Facts

Want to know more about the pearls within our pearl necklace, pearl ring, pearl bracelet or pearl jewellery sets, then carry on reading for our must know pearl facts. 

  1. The first cultured pearl was created on July 11th, 1893 by Kokichi Mikimoto.  The pearl created was hemispherical and was the first successful cultured pearl creation after many failed attempts.  The Japanese island the pearl was created on has since been renamed Mikimoto Pearl Island.
  2. Natural and cultured pearls are both created when a substance called nacre is produced in response to a foreign body or damage to the mollusc.
  3. Cultured pearls are created when foreign tissue is implanted into a mollusc from a donor oyster.
  4. Pearls are largely made from Calcium Carbonate.  As such, they can be dissolved in a solution of vinegar (this might take some time, possibly days).
  5. The viable process of creating artificial pearls largely destroyed the economy of Kuwait, which was very much dependent on pearl fishing before the explosion of the oil industry and the discovery of Kuwait’s massive oil reserves.
  6. The word pearl, as with many English words, is derived from a Latin word.  In this case, the Latin word for the thigh-bone, which was given to the thigh shaped oyster.
  7. Pearls come in a variety of shapes which are classed as: circled, oval, pear, drop, semi-round, round, button and baroque.
  8. Harvesting Pearls will not kill the mollusc, in fact, the mollusc will be re-implanted again to produce even more pearls with every chance of being part of the next quality pearl necklace to hit the UK.
  9. Pearl colour originates from the colour of the inside of mollusc they are growing in.  The colours range from gold to white, through to purple and black.
  10. No two pearls are alike, every pearl is unique and contains imperfections.  Being unique is part of the charm of quality pearl jewellery. 
  11. Pearls are considered to the only gemstones to be made by living animals.
  12. The famous Jacques Cartier 5th Avenue store was purchased by trading in two pearl necklaces.
  13. Virtually every pearl harvested today comes from cultured pearls, which is good news for wild pearl producing molluscs which were largely devastated by the pearl fishing industry.
  14. The technique to farm pearls is known as “Periculure”.
  15. Perhaps the most famous pearl story originated from Cleopatra.  Legend tells us that Cleopatra bets Marc Antony that she could provide a banquet which cost more than the assets of some countries.  She won the bet by removing her pearl earrings and dissolving them in a glass of vinegar, which she then proceeded to drink.  At that time those pearl earrings are estimated to be worth around 10,000,000 sesterces or $30 million in today’s money.

from Otomo – Blog https://www.otomo.co.uk/blogs/news/top-15-pearl-facts

Otomo to Stop Selling Diamonds

Otomo Jewellers are opting out entirely from the diamond-selling business to avoid any involvement in ‘blood’ or conflict diamond selling.

The Edinburgh based boutique jewellers are leading a change in the jewellery industry by refraining from stocking or selling pure diamond jewellery. They will continue a variety of precious stone jewellery which is created ethically. They will also be continuing to supply diamond stone alternatives such as moissanite.

Commenting on the announcements, Otomo managing director Jonathan said, “Otomo have decided to remove themselves entirely from the very tarnished diamond industry. We no longer want to be involved in an industry that can at times involve or fund violence and bloodshed. Our customers are also not interested in giving gifts that potentially fund rebel groups or evade any type of regulation or are anything other than ethical diamonds. In today’s marketplace, we cannot guarantee that the diamonds we source are ethical.”

He went on to say, “It is extremely difficult to accurately track the origin of a diamond and there are many fraudsters in the diamond industry. Those who are the first level of purchase cannot always know who is who, let alone others further down the buying line. It’s for this reason that we have decided to take a stand and remove ourselves entirely from this part of the jewellery industry.”

“In some cases, these illegitimate funds are a source to buy weapons and ammunition to overthrow local governments. From day one we have been working hard to avoid all contact with such diamonds, but these days, that is not a guaranteed outcome. We are also aware of the price gauging, the monopolisation and resulting pressures that are put on young couples to choose artificially priced diamond engagement rings. We do not want to support this and want to lead the way in stopping it.”

Over 20% of diamonds are thought to be from or processed in countries that have rogue regimes governing them. The funds are associated with funding war crimes or other crimes against humanity including those committed by government forces. Although there is a regulation in place to attempt to keep diamonds legal, there is not a way to entirely prevent the legal trading of blood diamonds in the precious stone market.

Otomo will continue to focus on providing precious stones and pearls to their jewellery customers.

from Otomo – Blog https://www.otomo.co.uk/blogs/news/otomo-to-stop-selling-diamonds

13 Perfect Moissanite Rings

There are a fair few misconceptions about moissanite and what it is, as well as what it isn’t, and so hopefully reading this will clear up any misinformation you have about this often overlooked crystal. Moissanite is a mineral that occurs naturally on earth, but large moissanite crystals are rarely used in jewellery due to their immense scarcity. However, because moissanite has highly desirable qualities for a jewel, scientists have worked to recreate it in within the lab, and have been successful in doing so thanks to years of research, experimentation, and scientific advancements.

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Moissanite Rings

Some believe that because the moissanite used in jewellery is lab-made, moissanite is a “fake” jewel, however just as certain medicines have been created through a scientific process but we would not call them “fake medicines” it’s false to consider moissanite “fake”. Moissanite is simply not mined – this is no reason to damage moissanite’s status as a marvellous jewel. A lot of time, effort and skill are required to produce moissanite, and scientists and craftspeople must labour for months before the remarkable final product is produced – moissanite is a child of both awe-inspiring art, and methodical science.

Some people have the misconception that moissanite is actually diamond or some form of it. This is likely because of moissanite and diamond share incredibly similar optical (though not chemical) properties, making them appear, in many cases, as identical. This is why moissanite is touted as a great alternative to diamond. Another similarity between diamond and moissanite is durability. Moissanite beats ruby, sapphire and emerald in terms of hardness (how easy it is to scratch a mineral), coming second only to diamond. This means that moissanite can only be scratched by diamond, or by itself. It is extremely resistant to inclusions such as chipping, fractures and abrasion, which means that you can have peace of mind that this precious jewel won’t get damaged if you store it with your other jewellery. Moissanite is undoubtedly a jewel that will go the distance, and could even possibly last a lifetime. What’s more, in the rare event that the moissanite incurs inclusions of some kind, these defects will not be visible to anyone unless observed by a microscope, due to moissanite’s impressive clarity.

Another significant advantage of choosing moissanite over the traditional diamond is that moissanite is obtained through cruelty-free means, seeing as it is lab-made. It is more ethical to opt for moissanite over diamond because there is no pollution or harming of animals and humans as a by-product because moissanite (for use in jewellery) is not mined. Mining for diamonds is infamously a dangerous trade for those involved, and it also has a negative impact on our environment.

Moissanites are the perfect jewel to celebrate milestones and achievements – be that a wedding, engagement, graduation, or a new addition to the family. Traditionally a jewel for women, a moissanite ring will be greatly treasured by the special woman in your life, perhaps your wife, your mother, or your grandmother. Moissanite has a universal appeal, and no matter the age and preference of your lady, she will no doubt be charmed by such a mesmerising jewel on her finger. Moissanite dazzles with its flashes of whites and the sparkles it produces in the sun, and can even refract rainbow to give you a truly wondrous light show. Moissanite’s scintillation means it will be sure to twinkle and shine, even if you’re not in the most flattering lighting, or are standing in dark lights. It’s available in a spectrum of hues, ranging from cooler to warmer, depending on what catches your loved one’s eye. Moissanites have a vivid and rich “brilliance”, exhibiting the kind of clean and crisp colours that even a diamond would fail to match.

However, if we are honest, moissanite is probably not the first jewel that pops into our minds when we consider jewellery and rings in particular. In fact, if you had to think of the most precious, and most memorable ring you could ever buy for say, an engagement, there’s no doubt that one jewel would stand out above the rest. Diamond. Diamonds have long been seen as the pinnacle of luxury and indulgence, as the most beautiful and decadent of all the jewels. There have even been various songs about diamonds and diamond jewellery, and the jewel has been put on a pedestal within popular culture.

Our infatuation with diamonds has been fuelled in part by rigorous marketing campaigns over the decades that have targeted women, in particular, conveying the message that diamonds are superior to all other jewels, and the ones to be desired (“diamonds are a girl’s best friends”). In reality, you have many more, equally gorgeous, options other than diamond such as ruby, sapphire, opal, and of course, moissanite. If you really do prefer the charm of a diamond above all other jewels, that’s no problem, but you should consider looking into moissanite as an alternative, as it comes with many of its own perks.

Moissanite is almost identical to diamond, some would say indistinguishable, and yet it retails for anywhere from 10% to 30% the cost of a diamond, so your bank account would no doubt be thankful if you opted for moissanite! Most certainly, your friends and family would never know you were wearing moissanite rather than diamond unless you told them. In fact, even some industry experts have been to known to be unable to identify a moissanite ring from a diamond one! Not bad going, eh?

Moissanites are likely the choice for you if you are considering investing your money in something other than jewellery, or perhaps in a jewel other than diamond, but still, want to own a jewel similar to a diamond. If you are willing to look beyond convention, moissanite can also make the perfect ring for your wedding or engagement. Even though it is much more affordable, you will never have to sacrifice or compromise on the glamour and charm that you would get with a diamond ring. Moissanite is the perfect accompaniment to any joyful occasion, and its mesmerising glow is not one that will be quickly forgotten by anyone who is lucky enough to wear it!

from My Pearls – Blog https://www.otomo.co.uk/blogs/news/20-perfect-moissanite-rings

The Best Hair Straighteners – 2018

Are you looking to get those curls under control? Read on for our recommendations for the best hair straighteners in 2018 from £25 to £165.
GHD arguably changed the way that women do their hair when they launched the first commercially available hair straighteners in 2001. Now nearly 17 years later, it is estimated that more than a quarter of women in the western world own a set of hair straighteners. With more brands and options available than ever before, and even men beginning to take advantage of this wonderful technology, we have never been more spoilt for choice when it comes to hair straighteners.

Best Hair Straighteners

 Hair Straighteners Plate Size Price
GHD IV STYLER – Editors Choice 2.7cm Check Price
BABYLISS 3Q 2.8cm

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CLOUD NINE ORIGINAL IRON 4cm

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TONI & GUY STYLE FIX 2cm

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CORIOLISS C3 2.2cm

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T3 X SINGLEPASS 3.8cm

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HERSHESONS TITANIUM IONIC PROFESSIONAL 2.3cm

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WAHL PENCIL 1.5cm

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A quick search on Amazon and you’ll come across a huge quantity of customer reviews for hair straighteners and it quickly becomes apparent that not everyone is happy with their purchase. Like most other electrical goods, hair straighteners have a shelf life, so even if you liked your last ones, new advances in technology invariably mean that your old ones are no longer available or are no longer the best available.

So without too much further ado, here’s our guide to the best hair straighteners available today for frizz-free, sleek and glossy locks. Whether you want perfectly straight hair, sensual waves or classy curls, these are our favourites. If you also want help finding out what all the different features mean before deciding to buy, then read on.

How to buy the best hair straighteners to suit your hair

Hair straighteners are relatively simple devices, they tend not to come with a range of buttons or a collection of interchangeable attachments, their goal is a simple one, which is to create smooth and straight hair. As they all do the same thing, it would make sense if there wasn’t much between different between models and that they would all cost roughly the same. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Does Size Matter?

Everyone knows that wider plates are the best to use as they’ll work their way through your hair in no time at all, right? Wrong! If you happen to have curly, thick or long hair, then large plates are definitely the way to go. The major drawback is that you’ll not be able to do much in the way of curling or styling with thick plates. Plates that are under one inch are much better suited are much better suited to this and are likely to be better for most other types of hair. If you have short hair, you’ll definitely benefit from thinner plates which are less than one inch, this will allow for greater control and afford you the precision you’ll need.

Are hotter hair straighteners better?

I have in the past bought hair straighteners with the highest claimed temperature setting, crank them up to the maximum setting and assume that my hair would straighten faster and stay straighter for longer. However, this can do more harm than good. High heat can break and irrevocably damage fine hair, even if your hair is thick and curly, you’ll only need plates that are slightly hotter. It’s worth noting that keratin, which makes up your hair, starts to melt at around 233 degrees.

One of the more recent advances in hair straightener technology is the introduction of plates that can automatically detect your hair type and adjust the temperature to match. If you have a straightener that requires manual adjusting, you can follow the basic recommendation that fine or treated hair should be set to around 160ºC, else you risk damaging your hair. Medium textured healthy hair can use straighteners set to around 185ºC. And for anyone with thick, tightly curled or coarse hair, you can probably set the temperature to around 210ºC, but only if you straighten our hair infrequently. If you’re straightening your hair on a regular basis then it’s best to keep the temperature at around 185ºC.

What are the must-have features?

It perhaps goes without saying but a long cable is an absolute must-have, you really don’t want to be tethered to the wall socket, especially if it’s in an inconvenient location. Anything less than 2m can be considered unworkable, ideally, you’ll want a cable of around 4m. As an added bonus, if you can get a rotatable cord which can swivel 360 degrees, then this can make your job much easier, allowing you to reach all parts of your head with relative ease.

If you’re someone that travels a lot, then cordless straighteners would be an obvious choice, the downside is they will not heat up as quickly as a mains powered straightener. Safety should also be a consideration when looking for the perfect model, some irons will switch off automatically if they’ve been left idle for a period of time – this can prove a great deal of peace of mind, especially if like me you begin to wonder if you switched everything off when you left the house this morning. A straightener that heats up quickly can shave a decent amount of time off your morning routine, which is especially important if you’re someone that’s frequently in a rush. Lastly, if you plan to do any styling with the straightener, creating curls, flicks or waves, then an iron with curved edges is a must have.

The best hair straighteners to buy – 2018

GHD IV Styler Review – The best hair straightener under £150 – Editors Choice

Image result for ghd IV Styler

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Despite an ever-increasing amount of hair straighteners available in the world, you can invariably rely on the legendary GHD to provide products which are well made and capable of lasting a lifetime of use, and they will also straighten and take care of your hair too. Advertised as a straightener which will only ever need one stroke, the plates have been designed to provide the ideal heat for your hair type, and additionally maintain that temperature consistently, ensuring there are no unforeseen temperature surges or drops. This means there is less chance of damaging your hair as you’ll only need to run the hair straightener through your hair once. The obvious upshot of this is that they are very quick, you can be finished straightening your hair in around half the normal time, and additionally, you’ll have less chance of breakages and shinier locks as well.

In terms of aesthetics, the GHD IV Styler is a good looking piece of kit, it’s available in both a traditional understated black. The colours work well and the shape of the straightener is uncomplicated and sophisticated looking. All round is an excellent piece of kit.

• Key specs – 2.7cm-wide ceramic plates
• Maximum temperature: 185°C
• Universal voltage
• 2.7m swivel cord
• Automatic 30-minute shut-off
• Two-year warranty

BaByliss 3Q Hair Straightener Review

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BaByliss is no stranger to making hair tools and accessories, their innovation in the industry dates back to the 60’s. Many of its inventions, which includes the Perfect Curl and Big Hair, have made a huge impact in the industry and have likely changed more than a few lives. These are just a few of BaByliss’s latest straighteners and we absolutely love them, from the way they heat up quickly, through to how well they can transform even the most unruly hair into something glorious, they are fantastic. That’s without even taking the ‘Protect’ feature into consideration, which quickly and accurately adjusts the straightener’s temperature to avoid damage to your hair. The BaByliss 3Q Hair Straightener is no exception, it features several features which are normally only found on professional or very high-end models, for example, the sensors which work out the perfect temperature for your hair type, to the slick plates which consistently maintain an accurate temperature. But, they aren’t without their minor niggles; the straighteners can be quite noisy, producing a sometimes unpleasant buzzing sound. You’ll also need to be careful when manually selecting a temperature to not overheat your hair on the highest temperature setting. Overall they are a very capable set of hair straighteners and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.

• Key specs – Quartz-ceramic 2.8cm plates
• 12 digital heat settings
• Maximum temperature: 235°C
• 3m swivel cable
• Automatic 72-minute shut-off
• Five-year warranty

Cloud Nine Original Iron Hair Straightener Review: The best GHD alternative

Image result for Cloud Nine Original Iron Hair Straightener

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What happens when the original founder of GHD leaves in order to make something even better? If you have correctly guessed that the result is the Cloud Nine Original Iron Hair Straightener, pat yourself on the back, because you are of course, correct. It’s perhaps no wonder that these beauties slide through hair with very little effort, leaving behind flawlessly shiny, silky and most importantly, straight locks of hair. The straightener has a choice of six heat settings to choose from, but in our testing, we found that the lower temperatures would normally do the job perfectly well. This can mean less stress placed on your hair and decreased the chance of damage. In terms of ergonomics, they felt great in my moderately sized hands and are lightweight as well, I personally found them very easy to use for curling and flicking. It’s worth noting that there have been reports of the straighteners breaking after a year or two, especially with very heavy users. We’re told measures have been taken to avoid this happening in the future, but only time will tell as to how successful this has been.

• Key specs – 4cm-wide mineral-infused ceramic plates
• Five temperature control options
• Maximum temperature: 200°C
• Universal voltage; 2.6m cord
• Automatic 30-minute shut-off
• One-year warranty

Toni & Guy Style Fix Straightener Review: The best cheap hair straighteners

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One of the most striking features of these straighteners is the vivid and cool blue plates, which is a unique selling point and helps them stand out from the normal blacks and whites. Additionally, they’re also perfectly proportioned for the frequent traveller, easily fitting into a handbag and they weigh next to nothing. If alarm bells are now ringing in your head due to the smaller size and diminutive price, then you can rest assured that the straighteners actually work surprisingly well. They are ideal for someone with short to medium length hair. The plates heat up very quickly and are more than capable of giving your hair a nice gloss, but the downside is you’ll need to work on smaller sections of your hair at a time due to the smaller plates. They are less than ideal if you have thick or very long hair, if you do, you’re better off picking a model with thicker plates. There are several other hair tools in the Toni and Guy range if you’re looking to complete the whole range.

• Key specs – 2cm-wide tourmaline plates
• Maximum temperature: 210°C
• Universal voltage
• 1.8m swivel cord
• Power on/off indicator
• Five-year warranty

Corioliss C3 Gold Leopard Hair Straightener Review: The best £75 straighteners

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The gold leopard c3 hair straighteners are a sight to behold. They are bold, bright and not shy about their looks, whether you think they look gorgeous or garish is a matter of opinion, but regardless of how they look, they definitely do the job. These straighteners will effortlessly glide through most hair types to create ruler straight classy results. You’ll need to spend a bit of time experimenting with the different heat settings in order to identify the optimal temperature for your hair type. Generally speaking, a lower temperature is better for finer hair, while a hotter temperature is better suited for thicker hair. Once you’ve found the golden temperature setting for your hair, the extra-long titanium plates will make short work of your hair, leaving you with soft, smooth, frizz-free perfect locks. Thankfully the straighteners don’t pull on your hair when using them and the swivel cord affords a ton of manoeuvrability, which makes the job of straightening so much easier. The C3 uses infrared technology to heat hair, which should, in theory, result in more uniform heat coverage and increased efficiency, this was difficult to test and we cannot honestly say if this method is more effective compared to traditional heating methods.

• Key specs – 11.5cm extra-long floating titanium plates
• Maximum temperature: 235°C
• Universal voltage; 3m swivel cord
• Automatic two-hour shut-off
• One-year warranty

T3 X SinglePass Straightener Review: The best hair straighteners – if you can afford them

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Reassuringly expensive. These glossy white multi award-winning straighteners are universally praised by A-list celebrities and top hair stylists from every corner of the world. The extra wide plates which heat up in a meagre six seconds are capable of straightening, curling and flicking even the coarsest, thick and longest hair in just one pass. Clever engineering has integrated a digital microchip into the design which keenly monitors the performance of the straighteners; making adjustments to the temperature in fractions of a second in order uniformly straighten your hair with the minimal of fuss. As the plates are made from tourmaline and ceramic, they are exceptional when they need to tame frizz and wiry locks; hair will end up looking healthy and full of life. So, if you’re looking to spoil yourself or be spoiled, we can without a moment’s hesitation recommend these hair straighteners to anyone that doesn’t object to spending a little bit more.

• Key specs – 3.8cm-wide ceramic and tourmaline plates
• Maximum temperature: 220°C
• Worldwide voltage
• 2.7m swivel cord
• Automatic one-hour shut-off
• Two-year warranty

Hershesons Titanium Ionic Professional Straighteners: The best straighteners for £100

If you’re looking to create perfectly straight hair with no sign of kinks, then these are probably the perfect hair straighteners for you. The blurb for the straighteners tell us that the straighteners impressive ability is down to the innovative titanium production, the results really do speak for themselves, with shiny, glossy hair which is soft and an almost liquid appearance that easily lasts a full day. No bulky arms required, the straighteners are very lightweight and will never snag, which is largely due to the very flexible rotating cord. The plates heat up in a matter of seconds, which is perfect if you find yourself in a hurry in the mornings, and the temperature panel is conveniently located so it’s dead easy to see. We didn’t find many drawbacks with the plates, but we have seen reports of inaccurate temperatures, which is something we didn’t personally experience.

• Key specs– 2.3cm-wide ionic ceramic plates
• Maximum temperature: 230°C
• 2.5cm rotating cord
• Automatic one-hour shut-off
• 180-day warranty

Wahl Pencil Hair Straightener Review: The best budget hair straighteners for short hair

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If you have short hair, then this might be the perfect product for you. The Wahl Pencil straightener has been designed with short haired women in mind and has ultra-thin plates to make the job much easier. So, whether you’re looking to tame a frizzy bob or create a sleek fringe, these are ideal for long lasting straightness. As a testament to their effectiveness at quickly styling short straight hair, they are increasingly popular with men as well. These are a no-frills hair straightener, with limited features and no way to change the heat settings, but they are effective and heat up quickly, the plates are very smooth and the cable length is generous. We used these for every hair type we could find, from thin hair through to thick curls, and they worked on everything, creating sleek straight hair which any professional hair stylist would be proud of. At this price point, these straighteners are an absolute bargain and come highly recommended.

from My Pearls – Blog https://www.otomo.co.uk/blogs/news/the-best-hair-straighteners-2018

13 Perfect Moissanite Rings

There are a fair few misconceptions about moissanite and what it is, as well as what it isn’t, and so hopefully reading this will clear up any misinformation you have about this often overlooked crystal. Moissanite is a mineral that occurs naturally on earth, but large moissanite crystals can’t be used in jewellery due to their immense scarcity. However, because moissanite has highly desirable qualities for a jewel, scientists have worked to recreate it in within the lab, and have been successful in doing so thanks to years of research, experimentation, and scientific advancements.

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Moissanite Rings

Some believe that because the moissanite used in jewellery is lab-made, moissanite is a “fake” jewel, however just as certain medicines have been created through a scientific process but we would not call them “fake medicines” it’s false to consider moissanite “fake”. Moissanite is simply not mined – this is no reason to damage moissanite’s status as a marvellous jewel. A lot of time, effort and skill are required to produce moissanite, and scientists and craftspeople must labour for months before the remarkable final product is produced – moissanite is a child of both awe-inspiring art, and methodical science.

Some people have the misconception that moissanite is actually diamond or some form of it. This is likely because of moissanite and diamond share incredibly similar optical (though not chemical) properties, making them appear, in many cases, as identical. This is why moissanite is touted as a great alternative to diamond. Another similarity between diamond and moissanite is durability. Moissanite beats ruby, sapphire and emerald in terms of hardness (how easy it is to scratch a mineral), coming second only to diamond. This means that moissanite can only be scratched by diamond, or by itself. It is extremely resistant to inclusions such as chipping, fractures and abrasion, which means that you can have peace of mind that this precious jewel won’t get damaged if you store it with your other jewellery. Moissanite is undoubtedly a jewel that will go the distance, and could even possibly last a lifetime. What’s more, in the rare event that the moissanite incurs inclusions of some kind, these defects will not be visible to anyone unless observed by a microscope, due to moissanite’s impressive clarity.

Another significant advantage of choosing moissanite over the traditional diamond is that moissanite is obtained through cruelty-free means, seeing as it is lab-made. It is more ethical to opt for moissanite over diamond because there is no pollution or harming of animals and humans as a by-product because moissanite (for use in jewellery) is not mined. Mining for diamonds is infamously a dangerous trade for those involved, and it also has a negative impact on our environment.

Moissanites are the perfect jewel to celebrate milestones and achievements – be that a wedding, engagement, graduation, or a new addition to the family. Traditionally a jewel for women, a moissanite ring will be greatly treasured by the special woman in your life, perhaps your wife, your mother, or your grandmother. Moissanite has a universal appeal, and no matter the age and preference of your lady, she will no doubt be charmed by such a mesmerising jewel on her finger. Moissanite dazzles with its flashes of whites and the sparkles it produces in the sun, and can even refract rainbow to give you a truly wondrous light show. Moissanite’s scintillation means it will be sure to twinkle and shine, even if you’re not in the most flattering lighting, or are standing in dark lights. It’s available in a spectrum of hues, ranging from cooler to warmer, depending on what catches your loved one’s eye. Moissanites have a vivid and rich “brilliance”, exhibiting the kind of clean and crisp colours that even a diamond would fail to match.

However, if we are honest, moissanite is probably not the first jewel that pops into our minds when we consider jewellery and rings in particular. In fact, if you had to think of the most precious, and most memorable ring you could ever buy for say, an engagement, there’s no doubt that one jewel would stand out above the rest. Diamond. Diamonds have long been seen as the pinnacle of luxury and indulgence, as the most beautiful and decadent of all the jewels. There have even been various songs about diamonds and diamond jewellery, and the jewel has been put on a pedestal within popular culture.

Our infatuation with diamonds has been fuelled in part by rigorous marketing campaigns over the decades that have targeted women, in particular, conveying the message that diamonds are superior to all other jewels, and the ones to be desired (“diamonds are a girl’s best friends”). In reality, you have many more, equally gorgeous, options other than diamond such as ruby, sapphire, opal, and of course, moissanite. If you really do prefer the charm of a diamond above all other jewels, that’s no problem, but you should consider looking into moissanite as an alternative, as it comes with many of its own perks.

Moissanite is almost identical to diamond, some would say indistinguishable, and yet it retails for anywhere from 10% to 30% the cost of a diamond, so your bank account would no doubt be thankful if you opted for moissanite! Most certainly, your friends and family would never know you were wearing moissanite rather than diamond unless you told them. In fact, even some industry experts have been to known to be unable to identify a moissanite ring from a diamond one! Not bad going, eh?

Moissanites are likely the choice for you if you are considering investing your money in something other than jewellery, or perhaps in a jewel other than diamond, but still, want to own a jewel similar to a diamond. If you are willing to look beyond convention, moissanite can also make the perfect ring for your wedding or engagement. Even though it is much more affordable, you will never have to sacrifice or compromise on the glamour and charm that you would get with a diamond ring. Moissanite is the perfect accompaniment to any joyful occasion, and its mesmerising glow is not one that will be quickly forgotten by anyone who is lucky enough to wear it!

from My Pearls – Blog https://www.mypearls.co.uk/blogs/news/20-perfect-moissanite-rings

Why Moissanite is far Superior to Diamonds

Diamonds are well known as the undisputed king of engagement and wedding rings. Perhaps only slightly less well known is the often dark and exploitive history of the stone which you might already be wearing. Most people are aware that diamonds often originate from war-torn countries, where adults and children are often exploited to produce blood diamonds, which go on to finance all sorts of nefarious industries, not to mention the impact that diamond mines can have on the environment. Coupled with the fact that it’s nearly impossible to identify the true source of a diamond, it’s basically impossible to hand on heart declare that your diamond ring was ethically sourced and not mined by an 8-year-old forced to spend hours toiling in a catastrophically unsafe mine.

Diamond vs Moissanite

DeBeers have managed to not only perform a miracle of marketing, but they have also created a near impenetrable monopoly on diamonds. There is already so much information on the internet as to why diamonds are a ripoff and why even diamonds that have been ethically sourced rarely are. Check out this video which shows how one of the biggest suppliers of ethical diamonds actually has no idea where their stones originate from. Do you really want to support an industry that has artificially inflated prices and has blood on its hands?

So, what’s the answer? No other gem even comes close to a diamonds clarity, brilliance, fire or hardness, right? There are of course many alternatives to mined diamond, including lab created diamonds, but we’re here to talk about a very little know gemstone that hands down kicks diamonds butt in nearly every way. This gem is called a moissanite.

What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is an extremely rare gemstone which was first discovered by Henri Moissan in 1893. Henri was surveying a meteor crater near Arizona when he came across rock samples which he at first thought contained diamond crystals, it wasn’t until 1904 that further analysis proved that the crystals were, in fact, a new type of gemstone (silicon carbide). Thus moissanite was born. Some years later advances in analysis techniques showed that the moissanite in Henri’s crater wasn’t formed during any natural processes on earth, or when the meteorite impacted earth, these mysterious gemstones didn’t even originate from our solar system. These gems are quite literally gifts from the stars, or giant branch stars to be precise.

To this day moissanite is only very rarely found in the wild, making it one of the hardest to find gemstones around. However, lab-produced moissanite has been produced consistently and efficiently for a number of decades now, and it’s an amazing gemstone.
While most diamond alternatives are often poor imitations of the real thing, normally displaying characteristics that are similar to diamonds, but just not quite as good. Take Cubic Zirconia, for example, it’s Refractive Index, Dispersion and Luster are less than Diamond. However, the opposite is true of moissanite, which exceeds diamond in every single one of these criteria, it’s more refractive (brilliance/sparkle), it has better lustre (shine) and it has a higher dispersion (fire). And like a diamond, it’s incredibly durable, with a nearly unparalleled hardness. Check out the chart below which illustrates these points brilliantly.

 Brilliance Refraction Index (RI) Fire Dispersion Hardness Mohs Scale Toughness
MOISSANITE: 2.65-2.69 MOISSANITE: 0.104 MOISSANITE: 9.25 MOISSANITE: EXCELLENT
DIAMOND: 2.42 DIAMOND: 0.044 DIAMOND: 10 DIAMOND: EXCELLENT
RUBY: 1.77 RUBY: 0.018 RUBY: 9 RUBY: EXCELLENT
SAPPHIRE: 1.77 SAPPHIRE: 0.018 SAPPHIRE: 9 SAPPHIRE: EXCELLENT**
EMERALD: 1.58 EMERALD: 0.014 EMERALD: 7.5 EMERALD: GOOD TO POOR

 

Moissanite Cost

One of the biggest appeals of moissanite vs diamond is the fact that it can be manufactured efficiently and reliably in a laboratory. The end result is a flawless and brilliant gemstone which costs roughly 10% of the equivalently sized diamond.
For example, a 1.0ct diamond white gold solitaire ring will cost between £3500 and £8000, depending on the diamond characteristics and setting. A 1.0ct perfectly formed moissanite white gold ring will cost between £400 and £1000. That’s an incredible saving, one which can make the difference between years of debt, a luxury honeymoon or the beginnings of a deposit on a house. Why would anyone want to buy anything else?

20 Reasons Why You Should Think Twice Before Buying a Diamond Ring

1. Diamond Engagement Rings are a Marketing Ploy

The tradition that dictates that you must have a diamond engagement ring in order to propose doesn’t ark back to some olden day tradition. The admittedly brilliant concept was made popular during the 20th century by De Beers, which perhaps unsurprisingly controlled in excess of 90% of the operational African diamond mines.

2. Diamonds Are Not As Rare As You Might Think

One of the ways we’re manipulated into believing diamonds are worth a lot is by the fact that they are incredibly rare. In actual fact, they are one of the most common gemstones available on earth.

3. They Don’t Increase In Value Like Other Assets

Diamonds are sometimes portrayed as a sort of investment, but nothing could be further from the truth. If you ever try and sell a diamond ring yourself, you’ll be lucky get around a third of its original value.

4. They Are Overpriced

There’s a persistent myth that you need to spend at the very least 2 to 3 months salary on a diamond engagement ring, which is an incredibly large amount of money to fork over for a ring. If you do, you might be surprised to hear that the diamond may have been marked up between 200% – 500%. So that £6000 ring you bought might have cost the jeweller £1000.

5. Synthetic Diamonds are Superior in Many Ways

Diamonds that have been created in a lab are just as good as mined diamonds but are also substantially cheaper. A synthetic stone is typically between 20% – 40% cheaper than a mined diamond, and they are physically and chemically identical.

6. Their Quality Is Often Exaggerated

A diamonds value/quality is based on the 4 C’s, cut, clarity, colour and carats, but you shouldn’t necessarily trust what the jeweller tells you. In 2014, a study found that the European Gemological Laboratory was consistently misrepresenting the qualities of the stones that passed through its walls to be graded.

7. An Expensive Diamond Can Spell Catastrophe For Your Marriage

Spending a princely sum on a diamond does not necessarily translate into a lifetime of wedding bliss. In fact, the opposite seems to be true. Emory University discovered a correlation between marriage happiness and engagement ring price, generally speaking, couples that opted for a cheaper ring tended to have happier and longer lasting marriages.

8. You Really Can’t Tell Where They Came From

While the stones might be beautiful, the stories behind them are often appalling. Some companies have attempted to implement schemes where they guarantee ethically sourced diamonds to assure buyers that they are purchasing a conflict-free diamond. But the truth is that it’s near enough impossible to accurately trace a diamondback its roots. Several outstanding journalistic articles have come out to expose this deception, but sadly the practice is still popular.

9. The Demand Can Bring Out The Worse In People

A large proportion of the diamonds originating from Africa are unregistered, which means they are ripe targets for smugglers, some of whom are in a desperate situation. In 2012, the South African police force arrested a smuggler who had swallowed close to £1.8 million in diamonds in a failed attempt to smuggle them out of the country.

10. Many Communities Associated With Mining Are Exploited

A study by Manchester University found that De Beers avoided paying taxes in many of the countries where its diamonds are mined. These avoidance schemes directly impact some of the poorest nations on earth, where even a small amount of money can have a significant effect on communities.

11. Many Diamonds Are Mined Using Slave Labor

Diamond mining is hard, dangerous work, and modern day slaves are exploited in many countries to perform this work. Sierra Leone and Angola are both known for using forced labour to mine diamonds.

12. Children Are Exploited

It’s not just adults that are forced into mining. Children are also often basically slave labourers, either forced to work in the mines themselves or in the processing of stones. Liberia, Zimbabwe and some parts of India are all guilty of this practice.

13. Mine Workers Are Under Paid

Any worker that voluntarily enters the mining world won’t necessarily be paid a fair wage. A mine work in Zimbabwe will typically earn around £180 a month.

14. Many Workers Live In Horrendous Conditions

Meager wages aside, a diamond miner will often be without access to any health care or insurance. If they are involved in an accident while working they can expect to receive no compensation. Basic amenities such as clean water and plumbing are not guaranteed.

15. Physical Abuse Is Commonplace

Physical violence, which is a frequent occurrence is some mining camps, is often a direct result of workers being unable or unwilling to pay bribes to soldiers. A Daily Mail article detailed firsthand accounts of miners being beaten and tortured in mines in Angola.

16. STD’s Are An Epidemic Within Mining Communities

Sex trafficking has partially lead to an incredibly high rate of HIV and other forms of sexually transmitted disease within mining camps. In one study of workers in India found that more than 10% of miners had an STD.

17. Diamond Miners Face A Range Of Health Problems

Working in a diamond mine can pose other health problems beyond contracting an STD. One study of diamond miners in South Africa found a significant link between mining and asbestos-like respiratory symptoms.

18. Diamonds Contribute To Wars

As popularized in the 2006 film ‘blood diamonds’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio, mining for illegal stones has a direct correlation to wars all over the world. Amnesty International has estimated that the wars in Angola, Sierra Leone and Democratic Republic of Congo have claimed the lives of 3.7 million, at the center of which is a thriving trade in ‘blood diamonds’.

19. Corruption In Diamond Mining Countries Is Widespread

The worldwide demand for diamonds continues to drive up prices, and in some instances it’s the corruption at the top of the government which is reaping the rewards. A report delivered in 2012 estimated that $2 billion worth of diamonds has been diverted directly into the pockets of Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe and his inner circle.

20. Diamond Mining Wrecks The Environment

The various mining and processing methods used when mining for diamonds can have a long-lasting and devastating effect on the local environment. Diamond mining causes toxic air and water pollution and is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

8 Reasons Why Moissanite is Superior to Diamond

1. Engagement / Wedding Rings Are Not An Investment

Weddings rings can be priceless in terms of sentimental value, but they are not an investment. A wedding or engagement ring needs to do two things, look pretty and symbolize the commitment two people have made to each other.

The wise thing to do is buy the best quality ring that meets those two requirements at the best possible price. The quality, durability and price point of moissanite makes it an incredibly attractive option.

2. Every Moissanite Gem Is Near Perfect

As the processes that go into making a moissanite can be tightly controlled and monitored in a laboratory setting, it’s far easier to carry out quality control. So, rather than selling everything that has been mined, even if they are far from perfect, any flaws in moissanite can be readily identified and discarded. For the purchaser, it means you’ll end up with a far superior stone for much less money.

3. Spending Less On Stone Allows For More To Be Spent On The Perfect Setting

After noticing the stone, the setting is the next thing that draws peoples eyes. If you’ve spent less money on purchasing an amazing stone you suddenly have far more options available to you for purchasing a perfect setting. Side stone, engraving and personalized accents can now all be considered to truly make an amazing ring.

4. You Won’t Begin Your Married Life With Unhealthy Debt

One of the biggest contributors to an unhappy marriage is financial worries and arguments, which can occasionally even lead to divorce. It makes an incredible amount of sense to start your married life together with as little debt as possible. Having the financial freedom to create an emergency fund, to save for a luxury purchase or to save for a rainy day is incredibly liberating. This is much easier to accomplish if you don’t have to pay hundreds of pounds every month to the financial institution that lent you the money to buy a diamond ring.

5. As Moissanite Is So Affordable, You Can Probably Pay By Cash

If you plan your purchase ahead of time, you’ll likely be able to pay for your ring with the balance in your account or by cash, which will save you any credit charges, 19% APR is never fun.

6. Other People Will Probably Think It’s A Diamond

I’m not one to advocate passing one thing off as another, but the reality is that most people assume that an engagement ring is a diamond ring, so anyone that sees your fiancés stunning moissanite ring will assume it’s a diamond. In all likelihood, it’s probably not worth your time explaining that it’s not, unless of course they specifically ask what kind of gemstone it is, which is never likely to happen. I wouldn’t suggest passing it off as a diamond to your future wife, honesty is an important trait.

7. You Can Be Guaranteed That Your Purchase Isn’t Inadvertently Financing An African Warlord

Sleep with a clear conscience – no innocent children, men or women were killed in order to create your engagement ring.

8. You Get Far More For Your Money

With a fixed budget, you so much more creative freedom to get the perfect ring with moissanite than you’d ever have with a diamond of the same price. Would you like to get a 2-carat solitaire the size of a grape? Go for it! A custom designed setting is also very affordable. Design the perfect ring the match your fiancés style and tastes! Your bride to be will likely love the fact that you put so much effort into creating the perfect ring.

Take a look at moissanite yourself

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re massive fans of moissanite and not just because we sell some on our site, we truly believe that moissanite needs to claim its spot as the number one choice for engagement and wedding rings. Don’t just take our word for it, take a look at some of the stunning options we’ve included in this page, some are sold by us and in the interest of being impartial, some are sold by our competitors. I can almost guarantee you’ll love moissanite as much as we do.

Good luck in your search for the perfect engagement/wedding ring and we hope you have a very happy life together.

from My Pearls – Blog https://www.mypearls.co.uk/blogs/news/why-moissanite-is-far-superior-to-diamonds

The Best Hair Straighteners – 2018

Are you looking to get those curls under control? Read on for our recommendations for the best hair straighteners in 2018 from £25 to £165.
GHD arguably changed the way that women do their hair when they launched the first commercially available hair straighteners in 2001. Now nearly 17 years later, it is estimated that more than a quarter of women in the western world own a set of hair straighteners. With more brands and options available than ever before, and even men beginning to take advantage of this wonderful technology, we have never been more spoilt for choice when it comes to hair straighteners.

Best Hair Straighteners

 Hair Straighteners Plate Size Price
GHD IV STYLER – Editors Choice 2.7cm Check Price
BABYLISS 3Q 2.8cm

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CLOUD NINE ORIGINAL IRON 4cm

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TONI & GUY STYLE FIX 2cm

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CORIOLISS C3 2.2cm

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T3 X SINGLEPASS 3.8cm

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HERSHESONS TITANIUM IONIC PROFESSIONAL 2.3cm

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WAHL PENCIL 1.5cm

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A quick search on Amazon and you’ll come across a huge quantity of customer reviews for hair straighteners and it quickly becomes apparent that not everyone is happy with their purchase. Like most other electrical goods, hair straighteners have a shelf life, so even if you liked your last ones, new advances in technology invariably mean that your old ones are no longer available or are no longer the best available.

So without too much further ado, here’s our guide to the best hair straighteners available today for frizz-free, sleek and glossy locks. Whether you want perfectly straight hair, sensual waves or classy curls, these are our favourites. If you also want help finding out what all the different features mean before deciding to buy, then read on.

How to buy the best hair straighteners to suit your hair

Hair straighteners are relatively simple devices, they tend not to come with a range of buttons or a collection of interchangeable attachments, their goal is a simple one, which is to create smooth and straight hair. As they all do the same thing, it would make sense if there wasn’t much between different between models and that they would all cost roughly the same. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Does Size Matter?

Everyone knows that wider plates are the best to use as they’ll work their way through your hair in no time at all, right? Wrong! If you happen to have curly, thick or long hair, then large plates are definitely the way to go. The major drawback is that you’ll not be able to do much in the way of curling or styling with thick plates. Plates that are under one inch are much better suited are much better suited to this and are likely to be better for most other types of hair. If you have short hair, you’ll definitely benefit from thinner plates which are less than one inch, this will allow for greater control and afford you the precision you’ll need.

Are hotter hair straighteners better?

I have in the past bought hair straighteners with the highest claimed temperature setting, crank them up to the maximum setting and assume that my hair would straighten faster and stay straighter for longer. However, this can do more harm than good. High heat can break and irrevocably damage fine hair, even if your hair is thick and curly, you’ll only need plates that are slightly hotter. It’s worth noting that keratin, which makes up your hair, starts to melt at around 233 degrees.

One of the more recent advances in hair straightener technology is the introduction of plates that can automatically detect your hair type and adjust the temperature to match. If you have a straightener that requires manual adjusting, you can follow the basic recommendation that fine or treated hair should be set to around 160ºC, else you risk damaging your hair. Medium textured healthy hair can use straighteners set to around 185ºC. And for anyone with thick, tightly curled or coarse hair, you can probably set the temperature to around 210ºC, but only if you straighten our hair infrequently. If you’re straightening your hair on a regular basis then it’s best to keep the temperature at around 185ºC.

What are the must-have features?

It perhaps goes without saying but a long cable is an absolute must-have, you really don’t want to be tethered to the wall socket, especially if it’s in an inconvenient location. Anything less than 2m can be considered unworkable, ideally, you’ll want a cable of around 4m. As an added bonus, if you can get a rotatable cord which can swivel 360 degrees, then this can make your job much easier, allowing you to reach all parts of your head with relative ease.

If you’re someone that travels a lot, then cordless straighteners would be an obvious choice, the downside is they will not heat up as quickly as a mains powered straightener. Safety should also be a consideration when looking for the perfect model, some irons will switch off automatically if they’ve been left idle for a period of time – this can prove a great deal of peace of mind, especially if like me you begin to wonder if you switched everything off when you left the house this morning. A straightener that heats up quickly can shave a decent amount of time off your morning routine, which is especially important if you’re someone that’s frequently in a rush. Lastly, if you plan to do any styling with the straightener, creating curls, flicks or waves, then an iron with curved edges is a must have.

The best hair straighteners to buy – 2018

GHD IV Styler Review – The best hair straightener under £150 – Editors Choice

Image result for ghd IV Styler

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Despite an ever-increasing amount of hair straighteners available in the world, you can invariably rely on the legendary GHD to provide products which are well made and capable of lasting a lifetime of use, and they will also straighten and take care of your hair too. Advertised as a straightener which will only ever need one stroke, the plates have been designed to provide the ideal heat for your hair type, and additionally maintain that temperature consistently, ensuring there are no unforeseen temperature surges or drops. This means there is less chance of damaging your hair as you’ll only need to run the hair straightener through your hair once. The obvious upshot of this is that they are very quick, you can be finished straightening your hair in around half the normal time, and additionally, you’ll have less chance of breakages and shinier locks as well.

In terms of aesthetics, the GHD IV Styler is a good looking piece of kit, it’s available in both a traditional understated black. The colours work well and the shape of the straightener is uncomplicated and sophisticated looking. All round is an excellent piece of kit.

• Key specs – 2.7cm-wide ceramic plates
• Maximum temperature: 185°C
• Universal voltage
• 2.7m swivel cord
• Automatic 30-minute shut-off
• Two-year warranty

BaByliss 3Q Hair Straightener Review

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BaByliss is no stranger to making hair tools and accessories, their innovation in the industry dates back to the 60’s. Many of its inventions, which includes the Perfect Curl and Big Hair, have made a huge impact in the industry and have likely changed more than a few lives. These are just a few of BaByliss’s latest straighteners and we absolutely love them, from the way they heat up quickly, through to how well they can transform even the most unruly hair into something glorious, they are fantastic. That’s without even taking the ‘Protect’ feature into consideration, which quickly and accurately adjusts the straightener’s temperature to avoid damage to your hair. The BaByliss 3Q Hair Straightener is no exception, it features several features which are normally only found on professional or very high-end models, for example, the sensors which work out the perfect temperature for your hair type, to the slick plates which consistently maintain an accurate temperature. But, they aren’t without their minor niggles; the straighteners can be quite noisy, producing a sometimes unpleasant buzzing sound. You’ll also need to be careful when manually selecting a temperature to not overheat your hair on the highest temperature setting. Overall they are a very capable set of hair straighteners and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.

• Key specs – Quartz-ceramic 2.8cm plates
• 12 digital heat settings
• Maximum temperature: 235°C
• 3m swivel cable
• Automatic 72-minute shut-off
• Five-year warranty

Cloud Nine Original Iron Hair Straightener Review: The best GHD alternative

Image result for Cloud Nine Original Iron Hair Straightener

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What happens when the original founder of GHD leaves in order to make something even better? If you have correctly guessed that the result is the Cloud Nine Original Iron Hair Straightener, pat yourself on the back, because you are of course, correct. It’s perhaps no wonder that these beauties slide through hair with very little effort, leaving behind flawlessly shiny, silky and most importantly, straight locks of hair. The straightener has a choice of six heat settings to choose from, but in our testing, we found that the lower temperatures would normally do the job perfectly well. This can mean less stress placed on your hair and decreased the chance of damage. In terms of ergonomics, they felt great in my moderately sized hands and are lightweight as well, I personally found them very easy to use for curling and flicking. It’s worth noting that there have been reports of the straighteners breaking after a year or two, especially with very heavy users. We’re told measures have been taken to avoid this happening in the future, but only time will tell as to how successful this has been.

• Key specs – 4cm-wide mineral-infused ceramic plates
• Five temperature control options
• Maximum temperature: 200°C
• Universal voltage; 2.6m cord
• Automatic 30-minute shut-off
• One-year warranty

Toni & Guy Style Fix Straightener Review: The best cheap hair straighteners

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One of the most striking features of these straighteners is the vivid and cool blue plates, which is a unique selling point and helps them stand out from the normal blacks and whites. Additionally, they’re also perfectly proportioned for the frequent traveller, easily fitting into a handbag and they weigh next to nothing. If alarm bells are now ringing in your head due to the smaller size and diminutive price, then you can rest assured that the straighteners actually work surprisingly well. They are ideal for someone with short to medium length hair. The plates heat up very quickly and are more than capable of giving your hair a nice gloss, but the downside is you’ll need to work on smaller sections of your hair at a time due to the smaller plates. They are less than ideal if you have thick or very long hair, if you do, you’re better off picking a model with thicker plates. There are several other hair tools in the Toni and Guy range if you’re looking to complete the whole range.

• Key specs – 2cm-wide tourmaline plates
• Maximum temperature: 210°C
• Universal voltage
• 1.8m swivel cord
• Power on/off indicator
• Five-year warranty

Corioliss C3 Gold Leopard Hair Straightener Review: The best £75 straighteners

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The gold leopard c3 hair straighteners are a sight to behold. They are bold, bright and not shy about their looks, whether you think they look gorgeous or garish is a matter of opinion, but regardless of how they look, they definitely do the job. These straighteners will effortlessly glide through most hair types to create ruler straight classy results. You’ll need to spend a bit of time experimenting with the different heat settings in order to identify the optimal temperature for your hair type. Generally speaking, a lower temperature is better for finer hair, while a hotter temperature is better suited for thicker hair. Once you’ve found the golden temperature setting for your hair, the extra-long titanium plates will make short work of your hair, leaving you with soft, smooth, frizz-free perfect locks. Thankfully the straighteners don’t pull on your hair when using them and the swivel cord affords a ton of manoeuvrability, which makes the job of straightening so much easier. The C3 uses infrared technology to heat hair, which should, in theory, result in more uniform heat coverage and increased efficiency, this was difficult to test and we cannot honestly say if this method is more effective compared to traditional heating methods.

• Key specs – 11.5cm extra-long floating titanium plates
• Maximum temperature: 235°C
• Universal voltage; 3m swivel cord
• Automatic two-hour shut-off
• One-year warranty

T3 X SinglePass Straightener Review: The best hair straighteners – if you can afford them

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Reassuringly expensive. These glossy white multi award-winning straighteners are universally praised by A-list celebrities and top hair stylists from every corner of the world. The extra wide plates which heat up in a meagre six seconds are capable of straightening, curling and flicking even the coarsest, thick and longest hair in just one pass. Clever engineering has integrated a digital microchip into the design which keenly monitors the performance of the straighteners; making adjustments to the temperature in fractions of a second in order uniformly straighten your hair with the minimal of fuss. As the plates are made from tourmaline and ceramic, they are exceptional when they need to tame frizz and wiry locks; hair will end up looking healthy and full of life. So, if you’re looking to spoil yourself or be spoiled, we can without a moment’s hesitation recommend these hair straighteners to anyone that doesn’t object to spending a little bit more.

• Key specs – 3.8cm-wide ceramic and tourmaline plates
• Maximum temperature: 220°C
• Worldwide voltage
• 2.7m swivel cord
• Automatic one-hour shut-off
• Two-year warranty

Hershesons Titanium Ionic Professional Straighteners: The best straighteners for £100

If you’re looking to create perfectly straight hair with no sign of kinks, then these are probably the perfect hair straighteners for you. The blurb for the straighteners tell us that the straighteners impressive ability is down to the innovative titanium production, the results really do speak for themselves, with shiny, glossy hair which is soft and an almost liquid appearance that easily lasts a full day. No bulky arms required, the straighteners are very lightweight and will never snag, which is largely due to the very flexible rotating cord. The plates heat up in a matter of seconds, which is perfect if you find yourself in a hurry in the mornings, and the temperature panel is conveniently located so it’s dead easy to see. We didn’t find many drawbacks with the plates, but we have seen reports of inaccurate temperatures, which is something we didn’t personally experience.

• Key specs– 2.3cm-wide ionic ceramic plates
• Maximum temperature: 230°C
• 2.5cm rotating cord
• Automatic one-hour shut-off
• 180-day warranty

Wahl Pencil Hair Straightener Review: The best budget hair straighteners for short hair

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If you have short hair, then this might be the perfect product for you. The Wahl Pencil straightener has been designed with short haired women in mind and has ultra-thin plates to make the job much easier. So, whether you’re looking to tame a frizzy bob or create a sleek fringe, these are ideal for long lasting straightness. As a testament to their effectiveness at quickly styling short straight hair, they are increasingly popular with men as well. These are a no-frills hair straightener, with limited features and no way to change the heat settings, but they are effective and heat up quickly, the plates are very smooth and the cable length is generous. We used these for every hair type we could find, from thin hair through to thick curls, and they worked on everything, creating sleek straight hair which any professional hair stylist would be proud of. At this price point, these straighteners are an absolute bargain and come highly recommended.

from My Pearls – Blog https://www.mypearls.co.uk/blogs/news/the-best-hair-straighteners-2018

10 Stunning Celtic Rings

Celtic History

To truly understand the rich history of Celtic jewellery, you must understand the history of the Celtic people. Celts rule lands throughout Europe for hundreds of years. Today’s main population is centred in parts of Ireland and the beautiful highlands of Scotland. The Celts were proud warriors, merchants and rulers. Nomadic in nature, which allowed them to learn much from other cultures, including the Druids. Celtic lore was passed down through legends and word of mouth across the clans and timeless stories of battle, romance and mischief are the chief underpinnings of Celtic jewellery symbols such as the Claddagh and the Trinity Knot.

Celtic Jewellery

Celtic jewellery dates back to around 2000 B.C. Celtic rings, shields and other stunning metalwork have been discovered all over Europe and are celebrated examples of this rich culture. Tribute to nature of one of the most common themes in Celtic culture and Celtic clans would emblazon symbols onto their swords, clothing and even on their bodies that would reflect a kinship with the land, people and God. These symbols were also incorporated into various types of jewellery as adopted by very talented craftsmen across Europe.

The art of Celtic jewellery craftsmanship is a time-honoured one that has been passed down from generation to generation. This mystical craft incorporates intricate knots and geometric symbols with the precious metals of gold, silver and bronze. Some of the earliest pieces of artwork can be found today at the National Museum of Ireland. Irish monks have honed the tradition further by creating the revered Celtic Cross that is prominently featured in so many ancient illuminated manuscripts such as the Books of Kells and Durrow.

The unique style of the Celtic jewellery attracted many traders and who began to sell the jewellery to foreign buyers. Celtic jewellery continues to hold a special meaning for many people all over the world. There is a unique piece of jewellery for everyone!

The Different Types of Celtic Symbols – Rings

Various popular Celtic designs are incorporated into beautiful rings made out of gold, bronze or silver. Some the designs consist of the following Celtic symbols; Trinity Knot, Celtic Spiral Knot, Celtic Love Knot, Sailor’s Knot, Dara Knot, Shield Knot or the Celtic Cross. Each of these Celtic symbols has a unique meaning:

• Trinity Knot: The Celtic Trinity Knot, which is also known as the Triquetra and is one of the best-known symbols in Celtic history. It has been used by the Celtic Christian Church in earlier times, but other cultures used the symbol too and each attached its own meaning. One of the great things about the Trinity Knot is its versatility; it has been used as a symbol in a variety of religions and even today, it has new significance. According to the Celts, the most important things in the World came in threes: three domains, three elements, three stages of life etc. It is also thought that the Trinity knot signified the lunar and solar phases. In today’s times, you can find the Trinity Knot on jewellery, clothing and even CD covers!

• Celtic Spiral Knot: Derived from the Greek word “Triskeles” meaning three legs, the spiral knot is a complex ancient Celtic symbol, which was used consistently in Celtic art for 3 millennia. The triple spiral is often interpreted as standing for the three realms – land, sea and sky.

• Celtic Love Knot: The Celtic Love knots are complete loops that have no start or finish. It’s believed that they represent eternal loyalty, faith, friendship and love. Interestingly only one thread is used in one design which symbolises how life and eternity are interconnected.

• Sailor’s Knot: The Celtic Sailor’s knot is made from tow inter-twined ropes and dates back to ancient times when the Celtic sailors who spent long months at sea would remember their loved ones. The knot consists of two entwined knots and so, symbolizes harmony, friendship, affection and deep love.

• Dara Knot: The word ‘Dara’ can be traced back to the Irish word, Doir which means ‘oak tree’. The Dara Knot is associated with the root system of grand oak trees. The oak tree symbolizes destiny, power, strength, wisdom, leadership and endurance.

• Shield Knot: The Celtic Shield knot is an ancient and while known symbol across the world. The Shield knot has been used for thousands of years by a variety of cultures for protection and warding. Although the common design is most often associated with the Celts and ancient Norse, the most basic form goes back much older. There are two different versions; the Fourfold and the Four-corner emblem. The Fourfold version is older and is associated with protective spells invoking the Gods of the four corners of the earth. The Four-corners emblem is the newer version and used in the Kabbalah as a symbol of prayers to invoke the four Archangels and in still used in magic today. This knot is sometimes referred to as the ‘Earth Square’. The Celtic version of the knot is used for the same purposes of protection but are related to the fourfold solar cross in origin.

• The Celtic Cross: The Celtic cross is probably one of the most popular ring symbols and is a form of Christian cross featuring a nimbus or ring that emerged in Ireland and Britain in the early middle ages and it has become a staple of Insular art. Essentially the symbol is a Latin cross with a nimbus surrounding the intersection of the arms and stem.

Buying Your Statement Celtic Ring

Celtic rings and various other jewellery pieces are highly popular and desired, despite being age-old designs. The patterns found on rings are magnetic and highly alluring and the majestic beauty that the Celtic era signifies flows through these rings and it comes as no support that many jewellery stores are proud stockists of Celtic jewellery. 

When buying your ring look for a jeweller that uses excellent quality silver, gold and platinum and remember that your ring can even be adorned with corals, semi-precious stones or even precious stones like emerald and rubies when creating your unique piece. Keeping the advice listed below will go a long way in ensuring that one is able to pick the right kind of Celtic jewellery.

Celtic rings can be for everyday wear! Not all of us go to jewellery stores looking to buy grand and expensive pieces. Most of us are hoping to buy jewellery that we can wear casually too. Celtic designs can easily be incorporated into your daily wear, despite their grand designs. Try and pick Celtic patterns that look complete even though they have been incorporated into smaller pieces.

If you are looking for a special occasion, then larger Celtic rings are sure to be awe-inspiring. Pick out a slightly larger piece than a smaller one. These can be in either gold or silver, according to your budget and preference.

You can even get Celtic wedding rings! Celtic bridal jewellery is very popular since it lends a majestic aura to the bride. You can pick designs that have semi-precious and chunky stones in them in order to add some colour to the jewellery piece. Working with moonstones and even corals will work quite well since these stones blend rather nicely with the Celtic patterns. Keep in mind that these designs usually look better in an antique finish as opposed to a glossy one.

The bottom line is that when choosing a Celtic ring there are no restrictions. Be it traditional wear or everyday casual attires, these rings mix and match with everything. The very fact that Celtic jewellery has been around for all these centuries goes to prove that these patterns are going to live as long as your ring does!
Caring guide for your Celtic ring

Over time, jewellery rings can become a very precious family heirloom. However, taking care of your ring to keep it in prime condition require effort. The gemstones of your ring can lose their clarity from things such as daily wearing, pollution, and fine dust. The surfaces of gold, silver, and platinum rings can become dulled. This is why it’s essential that your Celtic jewellery ring receives the proper care and attention it deserves.

We recommend that your ring is professionally cleaned at least once a year in order to maintain its clarity and beauty. For the ‘in between’ care we suggest the following:
Platinum, Gold & Silver Celtic rings: A non-abrasive cleaner will help to maintain your gold and platinum jewellery between annual professional cleanings. Salt air and products containing sulphur, even some papers and rubber bands, can cause rapid tarnishing in sterling silver jewellery. Silver will stay at its best through regular use of a non-abrasive silver polish.How you store your ring is also a very important part of taking care of it. We recommend that it always be placed in a lined box or pouch, such as the original case, when not being worn.

Cleaning your ring: Your ring is prone to getting dusty, soiled and smudged, the natural oils from your skin, lotions, powders and soaps can all create a thin film on the surface of the metal and in between the groves of the Celtic design. There are several ways to clean your ring:
• Detergent Wash: You already have what you need to clean your ring: an old toothbrush and some dishwashing detergent. Dish detergent is designed to cut through grease and grime and to rinse off easily, which are exactly the properties needed to clean jewellery. This can be used safely for cleaning both gold and silver jewellery, etc. It will not harm gems or metals.
• Cold Bath Water: Using 4 parts of cold water and 1 part of a very mild dishwashing detergent, make a solution to soak your ring in for several minutes.
• Dip Method: Find the brand name liquid jewellery cleaner that’s best for the kind of ring you have according to the stone and metal type. Follow the instructions on the label of the cleaner carefully.

from My Pearls – Blog https://www.mypearls.co.uk/blogs/news/10-stunning-celtic-rings

Fashion as Rejection, Fashion as Submission: A History of Opposing Trends

Every generation struggles to reject the culture of the previous generation and create its own unique style of music, art, literature, politics and even food. Although some aspects of culture change permanently, there is also a sense that everything comes full circle. The swing music of the 40’s became popular again in the late 90’s. Nostalgia for the past prompted auto manufacturers to build cars reminiscent of styles from the 40’s and 50’s. There has even been a resurgence of fondue parties, a throwback to the 70’s. Reflections on these defiant changes and inevitable returns to the past can be found nowhere more prominently than in fashion. Like a rebellious teenager, fashion continually defies old styles, yet ultimately revisits its roots.

This is evident in the flow of fashion styles over the last half-century. Inhibition leads to rebellion, which leads to a longing for the good old days. The starched repression of the 50’s giving way to the flowing looseness of the 60’s, the flashiness of the 70’s paved the way for the elitist preppy look of the early 80’s, angry punk succumbed to grungy slacker in the 90’s. Today in the early 21st century, when we should be wearing shiny space-age fabrics cut in utilitarian styles, our fashions seem to encompass the gamut. Anything that is old is worthy of respect.

Fashion is a statement of rebellion against many aspects of our culture. We are constantly crossing ethnic, gender and economic boundaries, but after a while, we rebound back to our true heritage. In searching for their cultural and personal identities, teenagers often find it necessary to cross that ethnic fashion bridge. We romanticize what is not right in front of us, whether it is the past or the future, another group of people, or another environment. Malcolm X wrote about his experience “conking” his hair to make it straighter and more like the white man’s ideal. He later realized that these efforts were more than a fashion statement-they were a rejection of his ethnic identity. As the civil rights movement progressed, more and more blacks began to reclaim that identity, celebrating traditional African customs, food and dress.

Fashion tells us that it is all right to cross boundaries, as long as you are doing it at the right time when the right people are crossing them as well. Years ago, a man who wore an earring in his left ear would have been sneered at. Today, it is socially acceptable. The same is true with tattoos-whereas they were once reserved for men only (and tough, weapon-toting men at that)-women from all types of backgrounds now freely get tattoos.
Fashion is often used as a form of expression: of values, beliefs, protest. Women suffragists in the mid-nineteenth century shocked society by wearing bloomers instead of dresses. These garments served two purposes: they were practical and comfortable, as well as a symbol of the women’s rights movement.

A similar trend occurred over a century later in the 1980’s, as more and more women were attempting to break into the male-dominated corporate world. In order to be taken seriously, women’s attire became more masculine. Feminine colours and lines were traded for mannish suits, shoulder pads and even ties.

In current times, as women have established themselves in the business world, their fashion styles have softened. Women are encouraged to use their femininity to their advantage. It is encouraged, even trendy. Corporate professional females are depicted on television shows as constantly wearing short skirts and revealing blouses. Pop singers in tight jeans and revealing tops climb the music charts. Girls wear t-shirts emblazoned with self-descriptive words like “princess” and “cutie” (and even more suggestive phrases). We boomerang from one fad to the next, and back again once the mission has been accomplished. We remain complacent until the next uprising.

So who decides what the next trend will be? Designers may create the clothing, but the people who take those trends and turn them into fashion crazes are our cultural leaders-film stars, pop singers and athletes. Millions of Americans tune into celebrity awards shows, where the primary focus seems not to be on the quality of the art produced, but on what everyone is wearing. Red-carpet pre-shows consist of interviewers inquiring about designers and styles. Entertainment magazine articles either admire or attack the best and worst dressed celebrities.

There is also an underground fashion world, made up of those who resist whatever is considered by the mainstream to be trendy, not modelled on the runway, but just as popular. In a world of six billion people, it is difficult to be unique, to stand out from the rest of the crowd. The leaders of the underground strive to be different, whereas their followers just want to fit in. It seems that as soon as something becomes fashionable, it goes out of style and even becomes the subject of ridicule. And so the underground style works its way into the mainstream, resulting in the need for a new movement.

Fashion runs in circles. It is a continual give and takes the trendy defiance of a select few and inevitable surrender to the masses. If everyone is wearing conservative clothes, a select few will be outrageous and provocative. We go from baggy to skintight, from neon to monochrome, from ear piercings to ear, nose and mouth piercings. Just as a virus mutates to stay alive, fashion styles must change in order to stay cool and hip. And although it seems sometimes that fashion is dead, that there is nothing left to regurgitate, something either new or twisted will always come along.

from My Pearls – Blog https://www.mypearls.co.uk/blogs/news/fashion-as-rejection-fashion-as-submission-a-history-of-opposing-trends