// What Is The Cost To Our Health Of Being Beautiful?

How much do we really know about the products we apply to our bodies? Unlike what we choose to eat and drink, we tend to be a whole lot less picky about beauty products - but the fact is, they are absorbed into the body just the same. Plus, the market is a whole lot less strictly regulated, so the margin for error is much larger. We should be a lot more concerned about what we are using when it comes to the pursuit of beauty and self-indulgence. Chemicals, bacteria, trace elements of metals, bleach and other toxic ingredients regularly crop up in products we apply to our skin or our hair, and have resulted in serious illness. From the scandal around harmful skin lightening creams popular in some communities, to injuries from talcum powder, the contents of our bathroom cabinets are rapidly becoming the subjects of some of the most concerning consumer lawsuits seen in years. So what should we be concerned about when it comes to grooming and beauty products?

Look Out For Lipstick
When you’re feeling down, a slick of bright lipstick is a guaranteed shortcut to looking and feeling great, right? In fact, data shows that when the economy hits a recession sales of lipstick go up. But new studies into the contents of many common brands of lipstick are now uncovering worrying evidence of heavy metals like lead. The Food and Drugs Administration in the US has uncovered lead of up to 3 parts per million (not a small amount) in almost all of the brands they tested, including globally popular makes like L’Oreal, MAC and Revlon, and even brands marketed as natural, such as Burt’s Bees. The problem comes because lipstick gets ingested when we lick our lips or eat and drink. So although it may technically be safe sitting on top of the lips, it's likely to be having effects that we don’t fully understand yet.

More About Minerals
It’s even more worrying when a product that is marketing as a less chemical-filled, more natural cosmetic alternative turns up some concerning ingredients, and one of the worst offenders is mineral powder makeup. These powders contain mica, which can be extremely harmful if inhaled enough. In fact, if you were to be a construction worker, using a product containing mica, you would be required to wear a protective mask. Although the exposure of the average person or even a makeup artist, is much lower, it's certainly something to be considered, and not much is known about the effects from this form of use yet.

Wary Of Hair StraightenersChemical hair straighteners can definitely cause deadly effects. Most, when tested, were found to contain the dangerous chemical formaldehyde, even when they were expressly labelled as NOT containing it. This chemical is a known carcinogen, or cancer-causing agent, and should be taken very seriously. If you’re a regular home user or a stylist using these chemical straightening products on hair, you have every right to be concerned about your health - after all, what really is the price of looking good?

// this contributed post was written for this charming life.

// Embrace A Little Self-Indulgence

We all have responsibilities and things we have to take care of, but that does not mean that you should always cast your own wants and needs to the sidelines. It does not take long for constant self-neglect to wreak havoc on your health and wellbeing. If you want to be the best you for your children, partner, work, and family,  then a little bit of regulated self-indulgence is what you need. Being able to spend a bit of time and money on you can be some much-needed therapy. 

How about a nice warm bath
When you know you will have the time when Dan is with the kids, why not run a nice hot bath. Make sure you have some bath salts, and some bubbles, how about a little aromatherapy too? Think about the ambiance, candles, and little chilled out music on low. That sounds good doesn’t it? Can you even remember the last time you had a bath like that? The truth is, a nice hot bath isn’t just about a little self-indulgence, it is actually good for your health and wellbeing too. It can reduce stress hormones, such as cortisol. It lowers blood sugar levels too and is also a benefit for your skin. 

Buy some gifts for you
Is there something that you have been putting off buying for fear it is too expensive. Or maybe you think that a luxury item is not essential in your life right now. The thing is if you are working hard and have a lot of responsibilities, you need a few things that are yours, so you know it is all worth it. You should treat yourself. Maybe a new wardrobe would be enough, maybe something a little more expensive like that Rolex Day Date President you always wanted. If you shop around you can always find the things you want at less expensive prices. In addition, if you never treat yourself, you run the risk of building up some kind of resentment.

Learn the magic word - No
Being more self-indulgent is about finding more time for you. In a busy world, it is easy to lose track of what is important. You may have got into the habit of always saying yes to certain things. Perhaps you help people out too much or are always trying to involve yourself in community activities and social events. When you step back and think about it, what are your motivations, and are you getting anything out of it? If you can't really answer these questions, then maybe it is time to stop. Being a people pleaser will not get you anywhere. It does not gain you respect or friends. You don't even respect yourself for it, so how can you expect other people to? When you begin the process of stopping all the things that are not helping you in your life, you will feel more confident. Saying no will make you feel powerful. So stop taking on extra chores, putting yourself under pressure, and concentrate on you for once. 

// this contributed post was written for this charming life.

// Revamping Your Look On A Budget

When you’re getting bored of your current style and want to revamp your look to boost your confidence and reflect your current aesthetic, it can be really hard to achieve your goals without spending a ton of money. Updating your style on a budget is actually more achievable than you might think, as there are many different ways that you can save on your favorite clothes, accessories and makeup! You needn’t stress about the price tag of your favorite products and pieces when there are a wealth of more affordable alternative options that you can explore. So, if you want to revamp your aesthetic but don’t have a wealth of money to splash out with, then read on for some of the best super-saver tips that you can make the most of today! 

Shop Smart 
If you don’t want to miss out on those all important big brands then do not stress, as there are several different ways in which you can shop smart to bag a few bargains. First off, there are a few certain seasons that are the best times for you to shop, including the post Christmas sales (especially Boxing Day!) as well as Black Friday too. These periods can encourage some amazing deals and the chance to save a whole load of money yet still buy your favorite products and pieces. You can also take a quick search online to uncover some wonderful deals and voucher codes that you can utilize for percentage discounts and 2 for 1 offers etc, as something like an Ulta coupon can be an absolute dream come true when revamping your makeup bag on a budget. Shopping smart may mean that you take a little longer to completely redesign your look, but you will be able to make use of the best products and brands for much more reasonable prices. 

Find An Alternative 
Brands recognize that it’s unlikely the entire market can afford all of the big name items, so there are many smaller, more affordable companies popping up that offer cheaper alternatives. Whether they pose as a copy of a big brand original or are based on a similar design or purpose, they can often provide all of the same features for a much better price! Clothes are a prime example of this, as so many inexpensive outlets are appearing online that offer amazing outfits for less than a couple of hours wages. They take inspiration from influencers and fashion focused celebs to recreate iconic items for the masses without the usual designer label price tag - so what’s not to love?!

Don’t just focus on your wardrobe

One of the quickest, easiest, and probably most noticeable ways to revamp your look is by changing something to yourself. So instead of focusing just on your wardrobe and accessories draw, why not get a new hairstyle, go all out and be daring with a titanium septum ring, or change your hair color altogether, to reflect your current aesthetic and how you are currently feeling.

Revamping your look while sticking to a smaller budget has never been so simple when you are able to make the most of the top tips and tricks detailed above! Start off by searching for some deals and voucher codes to shop smart, and wait for sale seasons to bulk buy your products and pieces at a much more affordable price. Look for alternative brands that can provide you with the same style without the need to fork out a fortune! 

// this contributed post was written for this charming life.

// 6 Steps To Finding True Happiness

It’s a wise idea to focus on what you can change so that you can create a life that’s right for you. It is possible to find true happiness, but you have to be willing to take actions that are going to help you achieve this goal.
The process of becoming a happier person takes time, and you shouldn’t necessarily expect quick results. However, stick with implementing the following suggestions into your daily life, and you’ll likely soon find yourself on a path to happiness and success. Enjoy this time of self-discovery, and remember that you should go after it because you deserve it.
1. Follow Your Passion
Work takes up a lot of your time and energy, so it makes sense that you want to find a career that makes you feel excited. When you follow your passion, you’re able to find your purpose in life. Therefore, take time to think about what job will put your skills to use and challenge you regularly. Once you pinpoint a direction, research what you can do to make your dream a reality. For example, if you like to travel and have always wanted to fly a plane, then hop online to learn more about how to become a pilot. You not only have to have an idea of what you want to be but then put goals and a plan of action in place for following through with it so you can begin working in your career of choice.
2. Build Positive Relationships with Others
Life is challenging at times, and no one should have to go at it alone. Focus your efforts on building positive relationships with others who put a smile on your face. Remove yourself from negativity and only let others in who inspire you and make your life more fulfilling. It’s healthy to have a social life and friends and family who you can depend on throughout your lifetime. It’s about giving and taking, so make sure you’re there for your loved ones in their time of need as well. Surround yourself with other happy people, and you’ll likely soon find that this positivity rubs off on you, and you have a more optimistic outlook.  
3. Make Time for You
Another step to finding true happiness is to make time for you and to practice self-care. Make your health a priority, and you’ll have more energy and be in a better mood most days. Adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy meals, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep. Also, find hobbies you enjoy participating in and that utilize your other talents. Make more time for doing what you love and spending time with people who you love, and you’ll naturally become a happier person. Learn to say no to others who ask for your time and energy when your schedule is full and don’t feel guilty about it.
4. Learn to Let Go
To be happy, you have to learn how and when to let go. Holding onto ill feelings and emotions is only going to drag you down over the long-term. Find true happiness when you let go of the negativity and focus on what brings you joy. You can’t let your past control and dictate your present or future, so be willing to release what’s no longer serving you well. Practice mindfulness as a way to help you deal with life as it unfolds and not become too caught up in your previous experiences or situations. Remember, you can only do what’s in your power to come to a resolution with others and can’t control them.
5. Avoid Comparisons
These days it’s easy to compare your life and achievements to others because of social media. Therefore, another step to finding true happiness is to avoid comparisons to others. Focus on your goals and strengths, and do your best to be genuinely happy for other people when you see them succeed. Awareness that you’re continuously making comparisons is the first step to you being able to stop yourself from doing so. Accept that neither you nor anyone else is perfect and that what you see on social media isn’t always reality or truth.  
6. Practice Gratitude
You can also take a step in the right direction of finding true happiness by practicing gratitude. Count your blessings daily to help you get in the right mindset and focus on the positives. Keep a gratitude journal where you can record down these thoughts and review them regularly. Read inspirational quotes and stories to help keep you in a constructive and encouraging frame of mind.

// this contributed post was written for this charming life

// What Makes Something Go Viral?

What makes a post go viral on social media? We all see viral posts and most of us probably see them every day. But how does it happen? What goes into making that post get shared and liked by so many people all over the world? It’s a fascinating phenomenon and one that many people and corporate entities are desperate to replicate.

It’s interesting to take a look at social media virality, whether you’re looking to create viral posts of your own or not. There are some key features of viral success and we’re going to delve into them below, so read on if you want to find out more.

One of the things that’s most important when it comes to achieving social media virality is an element of surprise, something that’s unexpected in one way or another. We all want to be taken aback and taken by surprise by something. Sometimes, that element of surprise can make us want to show other people so they can share in that reaction, and when lots of people do that, it leads to the post going viral. It’s about subverting expectations and doing something that the viewer wasn’t able to predict.

As well as being surprising, posts are much more likely to go viral if they’re amusing in some way. In some instances, the amusement can come from the fact that the post of the video content being shared is unexpected in some way. No one’s expecting to see a labrador riding a skateboard, and for exactly that reason, it makes people laugh and smile. That’s just one weak example, but there are many reasons why posts can bring amusement to viewers and social media users. Anything that can make us laugh will get shared.

If something is cute and triggers that sentimental zone in our brains, it makes us want to like, share, repost, retweet and whatever else we can do with those posts. It’s no coincidence that so many of the posts that go viral these days include cute couples or cute pets or cute kids. We all love those kinds of things and it’s often the sole reason for a post finding viral success online. It’s something that’s part of the human condition and will always appeal to us, and social media proves that.

When something piques our interest and shows us something that we find interesting or exciting, it’ll get shared more often. Things can go viral without having a widespread universal appeal. Sometimes, posts go viral within quite niche and limited communities. As long as a particular online community really latches onto a post and finds something in it that’s interesting and relevant to them, it’ll have a chance of being shared, shared and shared again. It’s important to remember that there are different kinds and levels of social media virality.

Sometimes, a good viral post simply has to be fun. We all lead busy and quite stressful lives and being able to escape that for a while can be a real relief. Whether you like watching the top viral dance videos or seeing fun pet videos, you’re far from the only one who enjoys that kind of content. Those videos manage to go viral because they’re fun and funny, and it really is as simple as that. If something has a strong element of fun to it, it’s likely to have a better chance of reaching a lot of people online.

We like seeing other people’s happiness, and there are various different reasons for that. It could be that we enjoy seeing things that we see as aspirational for ourselves. But it’s also the case that seeing other people’s happiness can be about seeing how the other half live. Whether out of curiosity or out of wanting the same things for ourselves, seeing other people’s happiest moments online remains appealing to many people all over the world. It’s one of the nicer sides of social media content at least.

Hope and Positivity
We all need to see a little hope and positivity in life. When you switch on the news and see all the terrible things that are happening in the world, we need a little light to balance out the dark. That’s why videos that deliver a little hope and positivity tend to go viral. It could be a video of someone doing a good deed or helping someone out or a video of someone rescuing an animal from danger. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of those kinds of viral videos or stories on social media over the years.

What it really all comes down to is how many times a post gets shared; the definition of a viral post is one that gets shared around lots of times by lots of different people. The more times a post gets shared, the more people see it and it causes a chain reaction that can last for days and reach many millions of people. So, a good definition of what makes a social media post good viral content is how much it makes people want to share it because, after all, that’s what it all comes down to.

The Conversation
Another thing that’s important is being part of wider societal conversations. Sometimes, posts go viral because they’re something that’s part of the zeitgeist and is able to summarise succinctly a feeling or emotion or thought that’s shared by lots of other people. It could be be around cultural goings on and shifts or about political or social situations that are in the news at the time. Being part of the conversation remains important.

There are lots of things that can make something go viral and there’s also an element of unpredictability that can’t really be explained that has to be taken into account. There’s no silver bullet, but the things discussed above are all known to help boost the chances of creating a viral post.

// this contributed post was written for this charming life.