It’s the festive season! Lights are up, Christmas carols are being played everywhere and parties are taking place. I love this time and getting all dressed up, creating different looks and experimenting with different styles, but one thing I believe must remain consistent and stress-free are your nails. A great outfit is incomplete without a perfect manicure. So I thought it timely to share my favourite nail salons in Leeds, my current residence.
As with my hair, the most important thing for me when it comes to my nails is health. I want to ensure that treatments I have on my nails do not only look good but also have a positive effect on my nails. I have struggled since forever, birth, I can remember with brittle, fragile nails. This year my nails began splitting from mid-nail bed all the way across, which was not only unsightly but quite painful too. So I have become quite choosy about what I do to my nails and where I go to get it done.
When I moved to Leeds this year, the mission was on for me to find somewhere that cared about my nails as much as I did. Not just for the style but for life *ayyyy*. So below I share some of the best nail salons in Leeds.
This quainty nail bar is conviently located right next to the train station entrance in Granary Wharf. It’s a cosy and relaxing space, with a vast menu of styles to pick from. I visited a couple of times and opted for the gel manicure. The online booking is slightly confusing so I spoke to someone over the phone about my booking and felt they were very understanding. I did like the space, while small, I found it comfortable and well arranged. My nail technician was friendly, she answered the questions I had about my nail health and offered me some advice. My actual nails came out well. I am very bad with my nails and was worried about how long these would last before chipping. Unfortunately my pinkie finger did chip within 3 days. It was only a small chip but the salon have a policy to fix chipped nails within a week of treatment.
Overall it’s a good space and I was comfortable knowing that my nails were not damaged. I would rate this salon 7/10 based on my experiences.
I neeed to break down this salon into location and hair loss treatment.
Mint Nails – Leeds City Centre:
Here I had bio sculpture gel extensions. They were done by a senior technician which I did not request but was very pleased about. The service was great, my bestie came with me and she was able to pull up a chair next to me and we chatted it up during the entire time. They had a great nail colour selection. The nail bar is arranged quite professionally, and I didn’t doubt the wellbeing of my nails in this environment. The technician was great and achieved the shape and result I wanted. It was quite pricey for this treatment £55 in total for the application, which hurt a little but I thought it was worth having nail extensions that would maintain the health of my real nails.
However, I must admit that these nails were quite painful and they did not even last a week before one broke off. They looked so good but after breaking off within the week while I was abroad, I just wouldn’t consider them worth it for the price. My nails did end up getting damaged as so many broke off and I ended up having to trim the rest. So although I would recommend the salon, perhaps not for this treatment unless you’re very careful with your nails unlike me!
Mint Nails – White Rose Centre:
At the Mint nail salons here, I had a manicure and pedicure done. This visit was quite important to me as I had taken my mum along for a treat and some bonding mother-daughter time. The manicure was quick, not as technical as I would have liked but the service was good and we had a very friendly technician. I felt they could have shaped the nails better or paid more attention to the cuticle detail, but they made mum comfortable and that made me happy.
I had a quick pedicure which came out great! The technician shared some tips with me and was VERY patient with me picking a colour. Mum had a proper pedicure with foot scrub and soak. The lady who did her feet was called Claire and I must say she surpassed both our expectations. The girl put in a real scrub down! She was so professional and focused, it was wonderful. Mum was pleased with her feet as was I. I think I prefer the White Rose Mint Salon vs the one in Leeds city centre. But overall I would rate their salons as 7/10 based on my experiences.
This place was actually brought to my attention via wahanda Treatwell. It is opposite the Nando’s on Briggate Leeds, I’m sure I’m not the only one who has walked past it and wondered what’s it like. Amazing. That’s what. They specialise in OPI polishes and have alll the colours you want. I booked it via Treatwell but spoke to them on the phone as well. The service from the start was excellent. They took my coat without me asking and offered me a selection of drinks including a glass of prosecco if I so wished (perspective ladies). The nail technician was highly skilled, my nails were sore from a very bad nail job in London (thanks Grace!) but she managed to trim and buff without causing further pain. She also allowed me take my time with the different nail varnish, patient while I chose the right colour. This was my favourite place of all the ones I’ve visited, the service, quality and actual salon were the best I’ve experienced.
The colour came out great and my nails lasted me 2 weeks without chipping! Me?! I was convinced I had a problem with being too rough on my hands but this has restored my faith! I am a lady! *twirls imaginary skirt* 9/10
So there you have it, my favourite nail salons in Leeds. Have you been to any of these and how did you find them? Let me know if there is somewhere you would recommend me to try. The ones I have my eye on are below:
- Essie Nail Bar – House of Fraser, Leeds HOF
- Luxury Nail bar – Aveda, Leeds RM UK
Thanks for reading, share with someone you think will enjoy! MC x
Big hair, don’ care
Dress: Mango £19.99 | Jacket: Zara | Heels: Zara | Lips: MAC Ruby Woo
Hi loves I hope you are doing great. I am excited to be talking about hair today! Now we here in UK have officially stepped into winter, and it is fair to say – particularly in Yorkshire, that the weather outside is frightening! My natural hair and I have struggled through many a winters and I thought it might be helpful to share some of the techniques and tricks I have developed on keeping natural hair healthy through the winter.
- Up the moisture
Similar to skin, hair is much drier in the winter and requires some extra TLC. When it comes to moisture I start from the very root of my hair regimen, by swapping lighter products for more nourishing and creamier formulas instead.
- I use a moisturising shampoo from Giovanni or Aubrey Organics hair lines.
- I switch to a thicker deep conditioner (my favourite is Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose conditioner, but I am trying out a few other ones at the moment).
- I also add penetrating oils to my deep conditioner – olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil (mmmm yessss to Avocado oil my hair loves it so much).
- And I always deep condition with heat for at lest 20 minutes, so sometimes I put a plastic cap on top of my hair and sit under the dryer or I use my portable heating cap.
- I use the LOC method to ensure my hair is efficiently moisturised and stays that way! LOC is Liquid, Oil, Cream moisturising method. My L is usually a water/conditioner mix, my oil is usually castor oil or my cheater mix and my cream is Shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie or Mizani Butter Rich hairdresser mmm.
2. Be consistent
It’s tough on your hair out there. There can be no slacking. If you have fine hair like me, you will experience tangles after one day outside in the cold.
- I attempt to moisturise my hair EVERY night before bed.
- I use a water-based moisturiser and seal with a special Shea butter and oil mix or a thick oil like castor oil to keep all the moisture trapped in.
- Sometimes I take a hot shower with my hair out, allowing all the steam to penetrate in and then I just seal it in with an oil after and braid up or twist for bed.
- I also deep-condition my hair every week.
3. Keep your hair away
Despite the mighty fro I am rocking in this post, I actually opt to put my hair away in winter.
- So I usually wear my hair in a low bun with my ends tucked underneath
- Or I wear twists through the week and only let my hair out at the weekend
- Or I opt for protective styling
Wearing low-manipulation styles keeps my hair less prone to tangles and minimises single strand knots. It allows my hair to stay moisturised for longer too.
4. Increase your hydration
Water is the key – both internally and externally. It is important that you drink even more water in winter to keep your body hydrated. I find that all the dry heat from radiators and central heating makes my hair even drier and prone to breakage so I try to replenish my strands by:
- Utilising the Greenhouse Method every time I am in the house. It simply involves moisturising my hair – using a water/conditioner mix then covering with a plastic shower cap while I am in the house.
- I sometimes even sleep with the plastic cap on my head, the result is hydrated, moisturised strands full of life and health!
- An alternative to this is to buy a humidifier – this will put back some moisture in the air so that it is not as drying.
5. Protective styling
Wearing your hair out in dry conditions can affect the state of your hair by making it more dry and thus prone to breakage. Moisturising regularly is a good way of overcoming this but sometimes leading the busy lives we do, it is easy to get behind in your moisture game and decrease your hair health in the process. A good way to keep your hair protected and healthy in the winter for those with less time and busier lives is by protective styling. This is putting your hair away in a style that covers it or exposes it less to the elements.
There are several forms of protective styling, but my favourite has got to be wigging! The wig life is the easiest way I find to keep my hair away from the harsh, dry air yet accessible for my moisturising and washing routines. I recommend using wigs for those who are to busy to style and wash through the week, but care must be taken to ensure that your hairline and hair remain healthy and moisturised. I always wear the wig in front of or behind my hairline and I always remove it when I’m home and put on plastic cap. I love me a good natural looking wig particularly those with natural hair extensions!
I think my next post will be about my favourite natural hair extensions and perhaps some photos of various ones I have tried and own. Let me know if you would like this in the comments below! I hope this has been useful for anyone struggling with winter hair care. Feel free to post any questions or suggestions for how in the comments. All my love and light x MC
Playsuit: Topshop| Heels: ZARA | Hair: My natural hair in a Twistout using TGIN
Happy Sunday darlings!
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading this post. I feel like I have been gone for a while and I really missed blogging (it’s only been 10 days…) This is quite an exciting post for me – its one of my favourite shoots and I am excited to share some BIG news too!
Some of you might know that this is not my first blog or first experience of blogging. I first started blogging in 2009 as Afrochique Honey. My blog was all about natural hair, I talked about hair regimens, hair styles and growing natural afro hair long and healthy. I am still obsessed with afro hair, I find it so beautiful and still get surprised when people act like they cannot grow their afro hair hair long or wear it out as I do. It is really important to understand our hair as unfortunately there is not that much information about it in the way there is for Caucasian and other hair types in the industry. My change from medicine really was led by the passion I had for afro hair, I decided to focus more on the integumentary system and was very fortunate to work with one of the leading skin scientists in the country who helped to produce dissertation analysing the science of black skin and hair. There are so many misconceptions about afro hair in our community and I am very passionate about education in this area.
This leads on nicely to my big news. I was actually invited to be a part of a panel discussing Natural Hair in the UK for BET International TV! It was part of a special for Black History Month in October and such a wonderful 360 moment to be talking about something that started this whole journey for me. My clips are now airing on BET (sky channel 187) – unfortunately I do not have the time schedule but it’s on rotation so please let me know if you catch me there! I do not have the official film reels yet but you can catch the clips on my Facebook and Instagram pages @metiyachique.
I am now working on a platform that will focus solely on afro/curly hair. There are so many more resources now than there were back when I went natural in 2009, and I hope to be able to contribute to this community particularly with providing scientific information. Details of this will be coming up soon so please do keep checking back for that announcement.
In the meantime I really want to focus on personal growth, finding your purpose and deriving meaning from life here on earth. I want to get really real as we grow together and delve into those things we don’t talk about so much such as mental health, domestic abuse and self-identity. The clocks went back today and dreaded winter is truly upon us here in UK. I was actually going to just ignore it completely on the blog. I still have a few travel pieces to share with sandy beaches and clear skies of sunshine. But I figured that it will be better to share my winter struggles with anyone else who might be going through the same. I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) so winter is really tough on me. To make it easier, I will be implementing some changes in my diet, lifestyle habits and fitness. I am going to share some of those changes and really encourage you guys to join me in what I hope will be an open and safe space for discussions, reflection and growth.
All my love, light and peace. x MC
‘You cannot efficiently care for others without first caring for oneself’
Top: Brother’s shirt from Ethiopia | Jeans: Topshop | Heels: ASOS | Hair: Adama
This post has been long coming, its a really important matter to me and is on the topic of self care. I have been practicing self-care way before I even recognised it as such. I suppose at the time it didn’t register to me that life could affect me so much as to require special care, me time.
So what is self-care? I could define it as taking time out to cater to one’s own needs resulting in a better more settled state of being. That is my definition as that is what I have found self care to be. Growing up as a black African girl, I had this perception that women just handled it all. It was as if you were just expected to be able to clean, cook, study and be social like it was nothing. I think there is a lot of pressure put on women to hold together the household, the family, themselves and everything else, without the acknowledgement of limits. Probably the reason I didn’t realise I was engaging in self-care practices was because such little emphasis is put on taking care of your wellbeing as a woman. Not of your children, or your family or your physical appearance (to please the opposite sex, or other women) but really of you – what makes you happy for no-one else except you to understand and enjoy.
In the world we live in, so many different factors outside our own lives affects us constantly. I find my time is spent between working my 9-5, catering to my family, supporting my friends and community. However, I have learnt to prioritise me time. I cannot serve anyone to the best of my ability without first taking care of me. Initially, I felt some guilt about doing things just for me. But I have gained so much peace and self-knowledge through this process that I now see it as essential. As an African black female immigrant, my journey is complicated by several factors from hair to skin,to perceptions and fighting stereotypes everyday as well as others’ expectations for my life. Even when I don’t think I need it, the unseen battles can get so weary that it is imperative for my sanity to shut out the world sometimes and spend some time with myself.
So I would like to urge you to make time for ourself. It might mean taking a long bath one evening with some candles and rose petals, or taking a hike in the forest like my friend Harriette, jumping on a plane to a far off city like my friend Amaira or just getting lost in a good book like my friend Shahrazad. Whatever you need to do, make sure you are taking care of you… you’re worth it! 😉 x MC
Regardless of the outcome, failure and success is your perception.
Top: Zara | Skirt: Mango | Dress: Instyledress | Jacket: Zara | Hair: Twist out on my natural hair
September is my favourite month. I get myself together and get ready to WORK. Success does not come by accident. Gather your thoughts, write down your plans, set your goals and get to work. Nobody else can do it for you and time waits for no man. Lets go!
PS: how y’all like my little top bun natural hair thingy? I did a twist out using TGIN and Shea Moisture leave in. Let me know if you want more hair details or natural hair related posts! x MC