Backcombing For Beginners

If like me you’ve got fine hair, one of the best ways you can cheat the appearance of having big hair is by backcombing. For years I actually had no idea what backcombing was but basically, you comb the underside of your hair backwards and then smooth over the top section so it looks volumised and has added height. If you’re creating a beautiful ‘up-do’ or hair for a special occasion, backcombing is a great place to start. It is also how hairstyles such as Amy Winehouse’s trademark ‘beehive’ are created. Before you try backcombing your hair for yourself, there are some points you need to consider. Firstly, if you are trying to add some volume to your hair, it’s a good idea to use a clarifying shampoo every so often. These work by stripping away gunk and oils that have built up from other products that you have used which can weigh your hair down and make it appear flatter.

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Backcombed hair on my wedding day

You can also use volumising products such as shampoos, conditioners and mousses which can help to boost volume. Apply conditioner to the mid-lengths and ends of your hair only though as applying it to your scalp can weigh your hair down and make it appear greasy. Aussie have some really good volumising products which I highly recommend. Personally I find my hair easier to style a day or two after shampooing. I have very dry hair and if I try and style my hair when it’s freshly washed, it’s too slippery and the style just doesn’t hold as well, if at all. If you wish to backcomb freshly washed hair, try adding products that make your hair feel less slippery such as salt spray. 

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I like Aussie volumising products as an inexpensive, salon brand alternative 

Another good tip for adding volume to your hair is to blow dry it upside down. It’s an old trick which my mum was taught by a hairdresser years ago but it really does work as it dries your hair almost weightless. Next time you dry your hair, turn your head upside down and use the diffuser attachment on your hairdryer. And remember to use your hairdryer on a lower temperature setting to minimise heat damage. In terms of actually backcombing your hair, I would suggest watching some good tutorial videos before you attempt it yourself as backcombing can damage hair if done incorrectly. The basic technique is to take a section of hair that you wish to add volume to (most people choose the area right on top of their head and sometimes the sides too) and hold it straight and taught as close to the end of the hair as possible so that no strands of hair can work loose.

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L’Oreal Elnett is an easily available, inexpensive hairspray that works well for long lasting hold 

Then using a brush or comb halfway between the roots of your hair and your hand, repeatedly and firmly brush downwards towards your scalp to create a volumised ‘cushion’ of hair. If done correctly, it should look a complete mess at this point! But don’t worry, the next step is to use a brush to smooth over the top layer of hair. Work from the roots and brush very gently over the top layer only so you don’t remove the backcombing or flatten the volume you have just created. Once you have finished styling your hair, you can then set your style in place with hairspray. L’Oreal Elnett is a good, inexpensive hairspray to hold your style. I’m not overly keen on the smell but it holds really well and brushes out very easily so it is still my ‘go to’ hairspray. Backcombing isn’t the ‘dark art’ that many people consider it to be and as long as you use the correct technique, it’s a style that you can easily achieve at home. 

Until next time, stay beautiful x 

Younique Moodstruck Addiction Shadow Palettes

When I began my Younique makeup business, I was sent a makeup kit for new Presenters. Inside it is a huge array of samples and full sized products including the amazing 3D Fiber Lashes which Younique are best known for. But another product which I’m a big fan of which is included in the New Presenters Kit is the Moodstruck Addiction Shadow Palette. If you’re a fan of the Naked Palette by Urban Decay, you will love this… 

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The Younique Moodstruck Addiction Shadow Palette

Younique is still a very new and relatively unknown makeup brand. Those who have heard of it usually think of the 3D Fiber Lashes but they also offer a comprehensive collection of high quality makeup and cosmetics, of which it’s possible to build an entire makeup kit. Younique currently offer three different Moodstruck Addiction Shadow Palettes – numbers 1, 2 and 3. Palette 1 contains warm, neutral tones, Palette 2 contains cool tones with black and silver shades and Palette 3 contains cool tones with pink and purple shades. The palette which I own and am reviewing today is Palette 1.

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There are three different palettes available

As I’ve come to expect with Younique products, the packaging for the Addiction Shadow Palette is lovely. It comes in a high quality box with a magnetic closing lid that contains a large mirror. Like the 3D Fiber Lashes, this product would make a beautiful gift. There are seven different shades, all with fun ‘mood’ names like ‘Elated’, ‘Chipper’ and ‘Zealous’. The shadows are pressed and contain a large amount of product. Due to the amount of product the palette contains and the large mirror, the palette is slightly larger than some other palettes I have come across but is still small enough to be able to store comfortably in a makeup bag or drawer. 

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The palette has a magnetic lid containing a good sized mirror and seven warm, neutral shades of matte, semi-matte, pearly satin and metallic shadows

The colours in this palette are warm, neutral tones which would compliment any eye colour. Younique themselves say that the colours in all three palettes are inspired by the desert sky. The finishes are matte, semi-matte, pearly satin and metallic so there are colours suitable for both day and evening wear. All of the different colours coordinate and compliment each other really well so you can have fun and experiment with different looks. I have very light blue eyes and I love the way darker tones of chocolate and taupe contrast with them. There are lighter highlighting and transition colours and darker colours to create a beautiful smokey eye look. Whether you use a brush or an eyeshadow applicator, the shadows go on to your eyelids velvety smooth and are really easy to blend. Some cheaper, lower quality pressed eyeshadows that I have tried have a tendency to drop flakes down your cheek as you apply them but that certainly isn’t the case with the shadows in this palette. The colours are buildable and can be applied dry for highlighting and shading or you can add a drop of water to make them more intense for outlining and contouring eyes. 

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A fellow Younique Presenter wearing colours from Palette 1 

I applied eyeshadow from this palette first thing in the morning along with my other makeup. I usually apply some translucent face powder to my eyelids before applying eyeshadow to prevent creasing but for the purposes of this review, I left them bare. Although the shadows are solid and can be built and shaded as such, they go on with a creamy smooth texture like a cream shadow. Twelve hours later, the colour hadn’t creased or faded at all and still looked as fresh as when I first put it on. In actual fact, I fell asleep wearing it and it still looked good the next morning! So it’s really long-wearing! Like all Younique products, the shadows are hypoallergenic and made from natural, mineral ingredients that are gluten, paraben and carcinogen free. Younique products are also cruelty free. 

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Colours from Palette 1 – Elated, Sincere, Brassy, Chipper, Swanky, Forthright, Zealous

This palette is a luxurious, premium product and is not a cheap purchase. However, as a makeup investment it is definitely worth it. The packaging is gorgeous, the colours are beautiful and long wearing and there is a good amount of product so it will last you a long time. Younique are an online only brand available from authorised Younique Presenters only. If you would like to treat yourself (or a friend) to this beautiful palette, please click here (currency can be changed in the top right corner). 

Until next time, stay beautiful x 

Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes

In my last post, I talked about the natural based, American makeup brand Younique and how I’d been so impressed with the company and it’s products. To follow on from that, as promised, I’d like to introduce you to their best selling product – the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes. This is the first Younique product that really took off and the one which most people think of when they think of Younique. It is also the first product I was introduced to in the Younique range. The UK newspaper The Sunday Times declared it ‘The World’s Best Mascara’ and it’s even been given away in goodie bags at the Golden Globe awards. Here’s what I think of it…

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Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes. My first experience with Younique products

Younique is an American online only brand whose products are available to purchase from the website of independent representatives known as ‘Presenters’ so this is not a brand you will find on your local high street. As part of their agreement to represent the brand, Presenters are also not allowed to sell on other websites such as ebay so if you’re tempted to purchase from there – beware, your product is highly likely to be counterfeit… 

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The product is beautifully packaged in a gift-like box

Like many people, when I was first introduced to the 3D Fiber Lashes, I’d never actually heard of Younique so had no idea what to expect. I’ve never been someone who is loyal to one or two brands so I tried it with an open mind. The product has patents pending and claimed to boost the thickness and volume of your lashes by up to 400%. Not so great if you like ‘natural’ looking lashes but if like me you love the look of false lashes or lash extensions, this sounds fantastic! 

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The patent pending formula can boost lash volume by up to 400% (and more if you add more layers!) 

Your first impression of this product is the packaging. It comes in a lovely box – almost like a gift box (it would make a great last minute gift or stocking filler), within which you will find a handy travel sized pouch containing the product itself. Another thing that I like about the packaging are the clear viewing panes along the side of the tubes so you can see how much product you actually have left. I’ve never come across a mascara with this before so it’s a neat touch. 

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Not false lashes – 3D Fiber Lashes

Many people refer to this product as a mascara (which given that you apply it like mascara is an accurate description) but I would say that it is more of a ‘false lash effect system’. The product consists of two ‘mascara’ tubes – one containing transplanting gel and the other containing the dry 3D fibres (the product is ophthalmologically approved so don’t worry, they are safe and are suitable for contact lens wearers). The only difference to applying this mascara is there are three steps involved.

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Inside the box is a handy travel pouch for keeping the tubes together in your makeup bag

Firstly, make sure your eyelashes are completely clean and free of any residue from any other mascara or cosmetic products you have been using (this is important to get the best out of this product as any grease and grime left over on your lashes mean that the product won’t adhere as well – or look as good). Apply a few coats of the transplanting gel first for the fibres to adhere to. Then apply the fibres over the top which will grab on to the transplanting gel and build volume and add length. Finally finish off with more coats of the transplanting gel to seal the fibres. So it’s actually very easy apply and not a great deal different from applying regular mascara. Keep going until you have created your desired look. You control how much or how little you apply and where which is why you see a variety of results in photos. Depending on how heavily you use it and how many coats you apply, it will typically last 12-18 weeks. Another option is to apply 3D Fiber Lashes over your regular mascara. This helps to build volume and is a great way to transform your look from day to night. 

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Loving my 3D Fiber Lashes. You can build layers until you have created your desired look 

As I mentioned earlier, both parts are applied just like mascara so it’s really easy to do. A good tip is to make sure you only work on one eye at a time and don’t start your other eye until you have finished the first. Once you have finished, the difference is remarkable and your lashes look long, volumised and dramatic. Once applied, it is very long lasting (the above photo was taken 14 hours after I first applied it) with no flaking or residue. The ‘mascara’ is really easily removed with soap and water or a good quality makeup remover (Younique recommend using their Shine Makeup Remover Cloths). I have been really pleased with the results of this product and now use it as my regular mascara. I’ve tried other volumising mascaras such as Too Faced’s ‘Better Than Sex’ and Urban Decay’s ‘Perversion’ and this product beats it hands down. 

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The tubes contain viewing panes so you can see how much product you have left

One of the main selling points of Younique makeup is that it’s hypoallergenic, mineral based and uses natural ingredients. It’s also cruelty free and gluten free. Unlike many other mascaras, 3D Fiber Lashes is free of fragrance, dyes, parabens, latex, sulfates, PABA, BPA and nano-particles. There is also a 14 day money back guarantee if you don’t like the product – not many brands offer this! The mascara contains collagen which is used to boost the appearance of the length and volume of lashes. It also contains other natural ingredients such as beeswax (which is good for holding an eyelash curl and makes mascara formulas last longer), carnauba wax (which has water resistant properties) and 100% natural green tea fibres. This is great as so many other mascaras and eye makeup products contain harmful carcinogenic ingredients which are absorbed into your body (eek!). It also contains Younique’s ‘Uplift Serum’ to help nourish and condition your eyelashes and promote healthy lash growth and doesn’t damage your eyelashes unlike falsies. 

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3D Fiber Lashes allow you to easily recreate the effect of false lashes and extensions

As a natural redhead, I have light blonde eyelashes so mascara is probably the most important makeup product I wear and the only one which I refuse to leave the house without (I look like I have no eyelashes without it!) so the fact that this ‘mascara’ is water resistant is great. I can go swimming, exercise or go to the beach without having to take it off! If you like the false lash look then you are going to love this product. It’s beautifully packaged, contains quality, natural ingredients and really frames your eyes and makes them stand out. And it is so much easier (and cheaper) than applying good quality false lashes or extensions. As I mentioned earlier in this review, Younique are an online only brand available from authorised Younique Presenters only. If you would like to try the Moostruck 3D Fiber Lashes for yourself, please click here (currency can be changed in the top right corner). 

Until next time, stay beautiful x

Starting My Own Makeup Business

I’ve been a little bit quiet on my blog recently and not posting quite as often as I usually do. But I’ve had a very good reason for not doing so – I’ve recently started my own makeup business! A friend of mine and fellow beauty blogger recently introduced me to an American makeup and skincare brand called Younique. I’d never heard of it before, probably because it has only been in my native UK for less than two years (the company itself is only four years old) so I didn’t know what to expect. Like other direct sales cosmetic companies such as Avon and Mary Kay, Younique is sold entirely through independent distributors known as ‘Presenters’. 

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Me! 

Some people are completely loyal to one or two makeup brands and some are ‘brand snobs’. Me? I am a total makeup junkie and am open to trying products from any brand! So with an open mind, I tried Younique’s best selling product – the 3D Fiber Lash Mascara. And wow! I was totally blown away by how amazing my lashes looked after applying it. If you love the false lash look (which I do), you will love this product! I will definitely write a product review and tell you more about it in a future post… 

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The incredible 3D Fiber Lash Mascara was my first introduction to Younique

As I was so impressed with the mascara, I also decided to try the Touch Liquid Foundation and also treated myself to an Addiction Eyeshadow Palette. I was equally impressed with the performance of these products too. As the brand was completely unknown to me before, I decided to find out a little bit more about them…

They are a premium brand (many customers liken their products in quality and performance to MAC but with the ethics of Bareminerals) and they use all natural ingredients and minerals in their products. Although products are natural, they are innovative too. They are cruelty free (currently in the process of receiving Leaping Bunny Certification) and products are hypoallergenic and suitable for women of all ages, colours and skin types. Their products are also free of talc, paraben, carcinogen and other nasties often found in cosmetics. Many products are also gluten free and vegan friendly. As I said before, they sell their products through independent Presenters so they also offer a business opportunity for women with a love of makeup (like me!)

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Before and after results from the Touch Foundation

After finding out more about Younique, I was really curious about the business opportunity. My friend who is a Presenter seemed to have so much fun and had made some great friends with her ‘Y-Sisters’ (as Younique Presenters refer to each other). As a company, their mission is to ‘uplift, empower, validate and ultimately build self esteem in women around the world through high quality products that encourage both inner and outer beauty and spiritual enlightenment while also providing opportunities for personal growth and financial reward’. A pretty impressive mission. The other thing that really impressed me about Younique is their Foundation which helps women who were sexually abused as children or adolescents. Younique also support, recognise and reward their Presenters and really value their contribution to the business – very rare in this day and age!

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Younique provide support to women victims of sexual abuse through The Younique Foundation

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and am always on the lookout for a good business opportunity. They are a relatively new but fast growing company with so many markets they are yet to enter, they have a fantastic range of high quality products… So I decided to become a Presenter too! I am very early on in my journey with Younique but I am already having a lot of fun sharing the wonderful products with everyone and I have also had the pleasure of being introduced to some really lovely, inspirational women who are fellow Presenters.  This is the beginning of a fantastic journey. If you are interested in coming with me on it, please head to my website to find out more. 

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I am really enjoying my Younique journey – building my business each day and meeting some really inspirational women

Until next time, stay beautiful x 

In Pursuit Of Success

Any of you that follow me on Facebook or Instagram will know that I’m a big fan of inspirational quotes. Some people love them and some people hate them but I am firmly in the love them camp. Sometimes we all need a bit of motivation and a few simple words can sometimes encourage you to think about your life or your present situation. I once read somewhere that success in life such is 10% skill and 90% mindset. I think there is a lot of truth in that. I personally know some incredibly successful people – self made millionaires and people that have built up a successful business empire from scratch. Not all of them work in the same industry, not all of them do the same things but they all share one thing in common – a positive, focused, motivated mindset. Even when they first started their journeys, they all believed in themselves and had visions of their future success. It’s not arrogance, it’s confidence and self belief. These people inspire and attract others who want to emulate their success. 

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Try and spend your time with people who lift you higher. There are too many people in life who will try and bring you down. 

Being self employed and starting your own business is hard. I know because I’m currently doing it. It involves early mornings and late nights, seven days a week. You have to make personal sacrifices so that you can invest time and money into your business. In the beginning, the financial rewards are small compared with the amount of work that you are putting in. It would be so easy just to give up but unfortunately, that is what the road on the way looks like. The difference between people that are successful and the ones who are not is that the successful ones don’t give up. You have to remind yourself why you are doing it. Whether you want to earn lots of money for expensive things, financial freedom, to travel or whether like me, you want time freedom. The freedom to use your time the way you want, to take days off and holidays when you want, to spend your weekends with your loved ones, to spend Christmas at home with your family – that is why I am building my business. Remind yourself of your ‘why’ motivation every single day. If you have visions of living in a beautiful home, owning an expensive car, being your own boss, travelling the world… Don’t call it a dream, think of it as a plan. If you want nice things and the freedom to do what you want, you can pin your hopes on a lottery win (it won’t happen), or instead you can try and build your own success. 

Some people have an incredibly negative mindset. We all have bad days. And it’s ok. That’s life. It throws challenges, hurt, obstacles, sadness, tragedy… Downright horrible things at us that we have to deal with. But some people just go through life under a permanently dark cloud, constantly pessimistic, moaning, feeling sorry for themselves and dwelling on everything that has gone wrong and waiting for the next thing that will go wrong. It’s almost as if they set themselves up for failure after failure. I believe that positive people attract positive things and that your life situation will be as good as your attitude towards it. If you have the right mindset, you will attract people to you who will lift you up rather than bring you down.

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Spending time with negative, moaning people is one of life’s miseries. Don’t let them drag you down to their level. 

 

I love the quote ‘Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning how to dance in the rain’. It’s been shared so many times on social media now that people ignore it but it’s so true. A negative mind will never give you a positive life and you just have to learn how to deal with the rubbish life throws at you sometimes. In the past few years, I’ve had to deal with a lot of sadness, hurt and grief but I’m sure as hell not gonna let that defeat me. There are people no longer with me that I wish were, there are things people have done to me that I really wish they hadn’t but I can’t change any of them. All I can do is look forward, smile and keep living my life, doing the things that make me happy with people that make me happy. I don’t think about what’s wrong, I’m thankful for what’s right. When something bad happens in your life, you have a choice. You can let it define you, let it destroy you or the one which I’ve chosen – let it strengthen you. If you can build a firm foundation with the bricks that have been thrown at you in life then you’re onto a winner. 

Think of a negative attitude like a flat tyre – you won’t go anywhere until you change it :-) 

Until next time, stay beautiful (and positive) x

Keeping Fit With HIIT

In my last post I talked about my recent experiences with ballet fitness. The exercise which I’ve been doing a lot more of recently though is HIIT – high intensity interval training. HIIT is basically alternating really intense aerobic exercises with less intense recovery periods. It’s a more efficient way of exercising than running on a treadmill for example. One of the other benefits is that you can also burn calories for hours afterwards. 

I’m not overweight by anybody’s standards but I’ve been making an effort to ‘tone up’ and to incease my overall fitness level. At first I found it quite difficult but I quickly began to really enjoy the challenges of trying to attain my fitness goals. As I’ve mentioned before when talking about fitness, I don’t like gyms. They’re expensive and not always convenient to get to and dare I say it – I feel slightly foolish working out in front of other people! I don’t really know why but I just prefer to do it alone. I can’t even work out when my husband is at home and I wait until he has gone out to work! So instead of the gym, I’ve been working out with my trusty fitness app on my smart TV with a wonderful personal trainer called Leigh Linton. Leigh is incredibly fit and has a great personality that really motivates and inspires you to work hard and keep up with her. 

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I will get abs…

So my main goals at the moment are increasing fitness, body toning, a little bit of weight loss and if possible, maybe even get my abs back! A high intensity workout begins with an aerobic warmup with activities such as jogging – this is so important for getting your muscles ready for your forthcoming workout and for increasing your heart rate. Some of the exercises I’ve been doing include bicep and hamstring curls, hamstring bridges, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, press ups and tuck jumps. Variety is key. Exercises that are great for working and toning your abs include bicycle crunches as well as the normal crunches, deadbugs, sit ups and v sits. If you have a flat bum and want to tone that up, good exercises include lunges and jumping lunges, plies and squats. Another thing that many of us hate is the dreaded ‘bingo wings’ – tricep dips are a great exercise for toning them up. 

Burpees are a fantastic exercise for building strength and working loads of different muscle groups (a compound exercise) – they are really hard when you first begin but they do get easier as you increase your strength. You can also incorporate press ups into them. Another exercise that has gained notoriety is the plank which is great for building strength in your back and core. Variations you can do include one arm planks, one legged planks, side planks and ‘travelling’ in plank position.  

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Side planking

As well as warming up, at the end of a HIIT workout it’s important to stretch out your muscles and allow your heart rate to slow down. I’ve been mixing HIIT with slower, gentler exercise such as yoga and I’ve really been reaping the benefits. I sleep a lot better, have a lot more energy both physically and mentally and feel a lot more awake and alert. I use social media a lot and I see so many people that seem sceptical about fitness and working out and I think that’s a real shame. If you stick with it, push yourself and rise to the challenges, not only is it good for you but it is incredibly satisfying. If you’re like me and enjoy fitness, here’s a quote to help motivate you – ‘sweating is just your body crying fat’. I don’t know who originally said it but I think it’s great! 

Until next time, stay beautiful (and fit) x

Keeping Fit With Ballet

In recent years, there’s been quite a few different fitness crazes that myself and my friends have taken part in – spinning, zumba and pole fitness to name a few. But one which none of us (to my knowledge) have tried is ballet. Maybe some of us took classes when we were children but I don’t know anyone who has tried it again as an adult. I have a smart TV which has apps on it (just like a tablet or smartphone) and there are a number of apps which offer fitness classes with personal trainers which you can complete at home, most of which are of an excellent standard and offer a great way to keep fit if you don’t have time or just don’t want to take classes at a gym. 

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The traditional image of a ballerina. Ballet is now growing in popularity as an exercise that can be enjoyed by all

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of high intensity interval training which is a lot of fun but hard work! So I went scrolling through my fitness instructor app looking for an alternative and I came across a series of classes called ‘Ballet Tec’. As the name suggests, they are workouts inspired by ballet movements. I’ve tried dance based fitness classes in the past but I’ve struggled with some of them (I always end up getting completely out of time!) But ballet workouts are slower paced and consist of wonderfully named moves such as adages, beats, degages, grand battements, plies, port de bras, retires and barre work (at home you can use a dining chair). You also learn the basic positions which some of you may already be familiar with. I’ve also been practising conditioning exercises used by ballerinas.  

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Proving you can do ballet anywhere! 

As someone who has been practising more intense fitness recently, ballet has been a nice change. It is far slower paced than what I’m used to but still offers challenges. I have a fairly good level of general fitness but even I found some of the elements tricky, particularly the ones which require balance. Regular ballet would certainly improve this. A beautifully graceful form of exercise, as well as improving your balance, ballet can also help to develop your flexibility, posture, agility and coordination. Ballerinas are known for their long, lean muscles – a physique which many aspire to have so I can certainly see the appeal. It can also help to improve the strength of your core. 

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Regular ballet practice can improve your flexibility

Exercises such as ballet, yoga and pilates are also great at improving the connection between your mind and body. I find that when performing slower, more deliberate exercise, I tend to think a bit more about what I’m actually doing with my body than I do with more explosive exercise. The other good thing about ballet is that is doesn’t leave you looking like a sweaty racehorse at the end which is usually what my fitness regimen does to me! It’s suitable for young and old and you don’t need special clothing either, socks or bare feet are fine for a ballet workout. 

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Pointe shoes are not necessary for a ballet workout

I think for me personally, ballet on it’s own isn’t enough to push me physically and to achieve results quickly. But I think combined with other exercise, it’s a nice addition to any fitness programme. I think of exercise like food. To get the maximum benefits, it’s good to enjoy a variety. Any way of getting people up and moving though is good so if you’re new to fitness and would like to start off with something a little slower paced that will still work your muscles, then an adult beginner’s ballet class I think is definitely something worth looking in to. 

Adult ballet classes have been growing in popularity in recent years so you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding one if you would like to go to a class with others. Otherwise, search on YouTube as there are beginner’s classes available to follow on there which you can do at home. Try it for yourself. 

Until next time, stay beautiful x