Hair loss shampoo – the low down


Hair loss is particularly relevant to the blog because eating disorders often cause acute hair loss, or at least result in thinner hair, and stress and anxiety are also culprits in causing women to lose an excessive amount of hair.

As I’ve said before on the blog, losing your hair is one of the most awful things a woman can experience aesthetically. It’s one of those things which you just want to stop immediately – so you’ll pay anything to get your hands on something which promises to stop your hair falling out, and improves the look of your hair, instantly. You feel anxious and upset about your hair and how you look and therefore you enter a vicious cycle because stress will do your hair absolutely no good whatsoever.

I’ve covered a few things that have worked for me, such as Castor Oil and other methods, on the blog before, but in this post I wanted to focus purely on shampoos because they really can be a bit of a minefield and there are a lot of them about. I can honestly say I’ve tried most of them! I’ve also spent hours trudging through reviews online and frankly, they always tend to be mixed and it takes a long time and a lot of review reading to get a decent picture of how and how well a product works! Here’s my genuine, balanced views on the top 5 I have used below:

  1. Alpecin/Plantur


This stuff worked wonders for me. It’s a caffeine-based shampoo – the caffeine acts as a stimulant on the scalp to encourage hair growth. Scalp Stimulation is a main discipline in the hair growth bible, that’s why head massages and cinnamon and peppermint along with caffeine are extensively used in the industry. Like cinnamon and peppermint, caffeine gives a tingly sensation when it is applied to the scalp. Alpecin instructs users to leave the shampoo on for at least 2 minutes – this is when you start to feel the tingle. The instructions say ‘leave as long as possible’ so sometimes I would sit in the bath with it on my hair for 20-30 minutes just to give it a good go.


There are 2 different brands here – Alpecin and Plantur. Plantur is basically the ladies’ version of Alpecin and from what I have heard they are very similar – I used Alpecin so I had to put up with the manly smell for a few months but in all honesty it was worth it.


After a month or so of using it every other day I noticed new hair growth and the rest of my hair began to grow very rapidly. After 2-3 months I had a thatch of baby hairs about 2-3cm long and my hair was growing very quickly, so I stopped using Alpecin and switched back to my normal shampoo. Another 3 months later and that baby hair is now 2-3 inches long – I’ve had no let up in the speed or thickness of growth and I now have a little fringe of baby hair down to my eyebrows! It really worked for me it just took persistence and regular washing, plus sticking to the instructions of keeping it on for a fair amount of time.


The only thing I will say about Alpecin in particular is that I may not recommend it for lighter hair colours or anyone who dyes their hair. I have naturally mousy brown hair which I dye a shade or two darker but the shampoo actually faded my natural hair (and the dyed hair) to a weird gingery-brown colour which I had to keep dying over. It does say in the instructions that Alpecin may cause discolouration of the hair, especially blonde hair, so it’s a risk you may want to weigh up before using. Personally, I was happy to take this in return for rapid, sustained new growth.


Pros: Fantastic, good-quality new hair growth, very good price, readily available in lots of retailers.


Cons: Manly-smell (if using Alpecin), hair can get more greasy in-between washes, hair dye and natural hair colour can be affected by product.


  1. Nioxin


The favoured premium go-to hair loss solution, this is the product you’ll likely be recommended by your hairdresser. I used this a couple of years ago when my hair started to fall out (not as much as when I was poorly, or last year) but still significantly enough for me to feel I needed to take action. I also had a Nioxin scalp treatment at a hairdresser which involved a long vigorous head massage using a grainy peppermint solution made by Nioxin which made my hair look thicker straight away!


I loved Nioxin so much that I continued to use it as my usual shampoo until last year when my hair started falling out uncontrollably and I felt I needed to try something else; I’m not sure whether Nioxin might have become ineffective because I’d been using it on a day to day basis for so long before my hair started falling out.


Simply put, Nioxin works using peppermint as one of its main active ingredients, to stimulate the scalp but also to fully cleanse the scalp of any debris which may be blocking hair follicles and therefore negatively affecting growth. This is also what gives it its strong, clinical minty scent. Nioxin is great because rather than being ‘one size fits all’, it caters to different hair types and therefore different types of hair loss. For me, I needed something for fine, visibly thinning hair, so I went for Number 2. This meant the shampoo cleansed my hair really nicely and left it bouncy and thick-looking, not at all weighed down. I’d still go back to Nioxin as a regular shampoo now as I liked it so much.


The only complaint I would have about Nioxin is that the range is huge; there are now different foams and lotions you can buy as well as the shampoo and conditioner which are all fairly pricey. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when your hair is falling out and you are desperate to combat it in any way possible but my advice here would be to buy the shampoo and conditioner first, then see how you go. I went ahead and purchased one of the ‘Diamond Boost’ products only to find it made my scalp really dry and itchy and made my hair look greasy. I couldn’t tell if it had any effect on the hair loss because I had to stop using it, and now I have a full bottle of expensive serum lying in my drawer.


Extra tip: I bought Nioxin in bulk from my local beauty wholesalers (you can buy online too) – it was a HUGE bottle but saved me a lot of money.


Pros: Fantastic range of hair loss shampoos and conditioners (and shampoos and conditioners in general), tailored to your hair type and hair loss type, recommended by stylists, works to clean hair and scalp and promote new hair growth, range of salon treatments which are reasonably priced (RRP) and really do work to improve the look and condition of hair.


Cons: A little expensive at £12 a bottle, only available in salons and online (the best price tends to be online!), a confusing extra range of add-on products which are expensive and may be purchased in desperation but may not be best for your hair.


  1. Mane n’ Tail


I heard about this years ago when I was recovering from my eating disorder but I couldn’t get my hands on any for love nor money. I even spoke to my friend who has horses and she said she couldn’t find any at the equine wholesalers!


A few years on, I noticed it advertised in the beauty section of a magazine and realised that everyone must now have cottoned on to the Mane N Tail craze, hoping this meant it was more readily available. It was! I bought mine from a local African hair retailer but you can find it on Amazon and eBay too.


I bought a bottle on eBay and started to use it straight away. What I will say about Mane N Tail is it’s a fantastic general shampoo. It doesn’t claim to contain special ingredients like others do, and it’s definitely not all-natural but it lathers up so nicely and your hair is fresh and clean and bouncy after use. It also smells gorgeous!

Originally there was just one type of Mane N Tail but there’s now a few to choose from which baffled me at first – I stuck to the original. The range also now features conditioners and a detangling spray however I haven’t tried these (yet!) so I can’t say how good these are.


All in all a good shampoo but I’m not sure it made any real difference to my hair growth. This may be a placebo opinion in that because it wasn’t tingling on my head it wasn’t ‘working’, but I would definitely use the shampoo again.


Pros: Great shampoo, smells lovely, lathers very well and cleans hair well. Good price and readily available.


Cons: Not sure it affected my hair growth (not a con for many but given the point of the article…!)


  1. Michael Van Clarke 3 More Inches


I had NEVER heard of this stuff (and shamefully the name made me giggle) when I heard about it for the first time when talking to a friend who has beautiful long thick hair, but felt it was thinning at the front due to wearing it in tight buns for work.


She told me she really rated it and that I should definitely try it, but that it was expensive. I went online and yes, it is a little pricey, however easily available from Amazon which also sold trial travel packs for the sceptical to try. I was so happy using my Alpecin that I decided to leave it and subsequently went back to my old shampoo; so on Christmas day when one of the said travel packs landed in my stocking I was over the moon and excited to try it!


The pack contains a tube of leave-in treatment, a tube of conditioner and a tube of shampoo. The treatment is for weekly or fortnightly use whereas the shampoo and conditioner are for regular use. I decided to go for the leave-in treatment straight away and slathered it all over my hair then went off to bake Christmas cookies for a few hours.


When I washed it off, my hair was incredibly silky and soft. It was plump and not at all weighed down by the product, which surprised me as it contains keratin protein and in my experience keratin products can be heavy.


Keratin is the main component in the 3 More Inches range; if you take a look at the ingredients you’ll see there’s no chemical nasties and a hell of a lot of keratin, which is basically protein-rich hair-food (like a smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and avocado steak salad, topically applied!) Keratin is actually a protein itself, naturally found in hair fibres. A lack of Keratin can result in dry brittle hair which breaks off easily – so you can see why sufficient Keratin is important to stop hair loss from breakage and also from brushing out huge knots as it also makes hair much smoother and easier to comb through.


I haven’t used this range enough to be able to categorically say whether it has made a difference or not but it was certainly visibly nourishing for my hair and my friend tells me it has made a massive difference to hers in just a matter of weeks.


Pros: Luxurious shampoo, smells lovely, easy to use and lathers well considering it doesn’t contain any of the worst chemical nasties. Packed full of hair-loving Keratin which can certainly be no bad thing.


Cons: Expensive, only available online.


  1. Naked Shampoo 2 in 1


When I started reading up on hair loss I read a lot of articles which encouraged me to ditch chemicals completely in order to repair my scalp and restore my lost hair. Some even urged me to stop washing my hair entirely (never going to happen – I have a job!!). Whilst I could see the science behind this I struggled with the practicality. When I started looking at the ingredients lists of shampoos in the shops and the ones I used currently, I noticed they were full of the said ‘nasty chemicals’ that according to those articles under no circumstance should I be applying to my scalp. I panicked, then I Googled natural shampoos.


It took me ages going through online shops and forums to find that one of the Naked range of shampoos did not contain the dreaded Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is what makes shampoos and soaps lather. I wasn’t particularly happy about going lather-less because that’s part of the shampooing process that I love, but with bald patches rapidly emerging I was willing to try anything and going all natural made complete sense. Some of the reviews cited rapid hair growth using the shampoo so I was very excited to give it a go.


I used the Purifying 2 in 1 Shampoo from Naked. It smelt heavenly in the bottle but that smell unfortunately didn’t really linger on my hair. I was pleasantly surprised that it lathered up nicely when I washed my hair and my hair felt really clean after using it – plus it was nice and soft.


I used the shampoo for around 2 months but unfortunately in all honestly I don’t feel it made any difference to the growth of my hair. That’s when I switched to Alpecin.


Pros: Cheaply priced, smells nice, easy to use and still lathers a little bit. 100% natural no nasties.


Cons: You can only buy it from Boots and Sainsburys, and bigger stores at that. Online you can only buy it from these retailers or direct (it’s on eBay but is much higher than retail price, weirdly). Personally saw no difference to my hair growth and wasn’t the best shampoo I have ever had cleansing-wise.


Having read this article back, it’s funny that the two products that worked best for me are the ones with the most cons. Don’t let this put you off – as the saying goes, no pain, no gain. Some of the most potent medical treatments have the worst side effects. The point is, they work. Have you guys used anything you feel is share-worthy here for hair loss? I’d love to share them with everyone else!


Rose xx

Uplifting scents – tried and tested

It’s no secret that aromatherapy, whilst not necessarily being a ‘cure’ for low mood or mental health issues, can really help to boost mood and trigger ‘happy hormones’ in our bodies. I absolutely LOVE perfume, something I think I inherited from my Mum who is a perfume fiend. I’m very particular about how things smell and I have a fair amount of scented candles and room sprays in my arson for when I need a little lift. Here’s my pick of favourite scents for body, pillow and home for when you need a boost!


Body Shop Vanilla Body Spray – £7.00, The Body Shop

Not everyone is into vanilla scents, but this spray is so sweet and warming it’s difficult not to fall in love with its heady scent. I like to spritz this over my bedlinen and on my clothes for a little comforting boost. It’s so reasonably priced you really can go wild with it and just buy another when it runs out, plus it does have decent staying power especially in hair and on clothes.


Laura Mercier Eau Gourmande – from £32, John Lewis, Harvey Nichols

These perfumes are good enough to EAT! Very much like The Body Shop spray, these are very earthy, sweet patisserie scents.

I used to love Pistachio but now my favourite is Almond Coconut, although it took my ages to decide between this and Ambre Vanille.

They’re a little pricey at around £32 for 50ml, however they are really very strong and a little goes a long way.

Like my next choice Rituals, a full range of products is available for each scent, and if you use the shower gel, whipped body butter and perfume together you really are cocooned in the most amazing cloud of fragrance!


Rituals, from around £20, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, House of Fraser

I don’t think there’s a single one of these scents I dislike. The Rituals ethos is all about calming, zen spa scents which are deliciously uplifting, fresh and sumptuous. Can’t argue with that!

If I absolutely had to choose one (or let’s say two!) I love Happy Mist and Chakra Water. And Hammam Secret. Okay I love all of them!

What’s nice about this range is that it is extended to body products too. Energy Bubbles are fantastic for a long, hot calming bath and is complimented perfectly by Yogi Flow shower foam. The body butters are gorgeous too.

All in all you can use this spray to give you a wonderful little life throughout the day, then go home and indulge yourself in the most luxurious shower or bath experience ever! They even do candles and reed diffusers, if you fancy going all out.


Espa – from £28,

Famed spa brand Espa have always been a favourite of mine. Although they don’t yet do fragrance of any kind (sadface), they do the most sumptuous oils each with a different aim suited to certain ailments of the body and mind. The restorative bath oil and soothing bath oil are really good for relaxing and lifting your mood; I would recommend smothering it all over your body and hair then having a good soak in the bath – the scent will stay with you and the oils are nourishing for your skin and hair.


Diptique Solid Perfume – £28, John Lewis

Famed for their candles, Diptyque also do solid perfumes which are handy for popping in your bag and using as and when needed. Because it’s solid perfume, it lasts that bit longer than a spray which you can always be a bit trigger happy with. Diptyque fragrances have a musky decadence so they’re not as light and floral-y as say the Rituals scents, and they’re certainly not sickly sweet like Eau Gourmande.


Voluspa – from £30, Anthropologie or

Voluspa don’t do body products, but their sprays, candles and reed diffusers really are heavenly. The luxurious scents and packaging really do make you feel special and the sprays linger in the air and on fabrics for a long while.

There are so many scents to choose from here but that’s good – it all depends on your preference. Each one really is headily strong and uplifting and although they’re a little pricey they do last forever, especially the room sprays.


Tisserand Roll-On Survival Scents – £5.49, Holland and Barrett

Whilst the above are perfumes, these are very much a return to traditional aromatherapy and are made from pure essential oils, really giving that ‘spa’ calm on inhaling the scent. Available in Energise, Head-Clear, Inner Peace and De-Stress to name a few, each product is tailored using aromatherapy principles to different needs. Like the solid perfume, these handy little rollerball decanters are easy to use and pop in your hand bag for emergencies. They last for ages and are really so reasonably priced at just over a fiver a piece. Why not get several for different occasions!?

Tisserand also do some beautiful non-targeted scents in the rollerball format which look and smell amazing! The image above is from this range; which features floral scents such as Garden Rose and Lavender.

Do you have any of your own to add? Share them below!

Rose xx

Small Steps – retailers begin to ban Photoshop


This year has seen significant steps in reducing the false expectations of beauty we see in the media and marketing, something which I am very passionate about.

In August this year, Modcloth became the first retailer to sign a pledge which promises not to use Photoshop. And when it does, it will add a label to the image making consumers aware that airbrushing has been at play. The bill is part of the Truth in Advertising Act, which aims to present a more realistic view of beauty and body image to women young and old in an increasingly critical and aesthetic society.

Debenhams also made progress this year by vowing not to airbrush their lingerie and swimwear models, as it emerged that girls as young as 11 and 12 were unhappy with their bodies and taking action to lose weight. Now campaigners (including myself) are hoping that other retailers will realise that each and every one of them has a moral obligation to ban airbrushing.

Founder of the bill, ex-advertising exec Seth Matlins  (who features in my last post about Dove Beauty), hopes the bill will be adopted by more and more brands once they see that consumers embrace it wholeheartedly, instead of peddling harmful false representations of ‘beautiful’ women.

‘Please be a part of the solution and a hero. Please consider that you are responsible for the side-effects of how you sell as surely as you are for what you sell,’ he says in a message to advertisers.

It’s heart-breaking for me that the rate of eating disorders, body dysmorphia, depression and self-harm cases are increasing year on year, and at younger and younger ages. The future for our children looks bleak if we don’t take action and change society’s view of beauty and the perception of ‘beautiful’. We also need to lessen the emphasis on appearance and encourage our younger people to focus on the things that really matter in life.

I can’t wait to see what progress next year holds for this bill, and look forward to seeing change soon.

Read Seth Matlin’s blog, Feel More Better, here.

Rose xx

Dove Beauty – one man takes on the beauty giant – amongst others


This man is both brave and inspirational, and leads the pack when it comes to getting big brands to sit up and listen about the real effects of their marketing campaigns. They have a huge responsibility, and this man has turned his back on the industry and made it his mission to change the landscape radically, ensuring brighter futures, better mental health and healthier body image for girls like his two young daughters, who were the inspiration behind this life-changing U-turn.

But why did this successful marketer shun the industry that he had once been so successful within, in favour of criticising it and looking to radically alter the fundamentals of fashion and beauty marketing?

One night, one daughter asked him if he thought she was ugly. This changed his world forever.

Now, Seth Matlin aims to obtain as many signatures as possible on his Truth in Advertising Bill, which offers new hope for the self-esteem and body image of generations to come.

After Dove’s high profile campaign using ‘real women’ in adverts, and shunning airbrushing (remember that viral Youtube video in which the model started barefaced and finished up looking like a different person?), Seth wants them to join his campaign and sign the petition.

Whilst he isn’t outright accusing Dove of doing anything wrong or breaching their own principles , he wants to ensure that their message is as wholesome as they imply; and that none of their models have been airbrushed in any way.

Dove have yet to comment; hopefully this will be their next step in championing real women and combatting unrealistic ideas of beauty.

Rose xx

Victoria’s Secret under fire for ‘Perfect Body’ advertisement


Recently, Victoria’s Secret has been under fire for a controversial new advert featuring a string of its slim, leggy models emblazoned with the slogan ‘The Perfect Body’. The tagline, they maintained, referred to the product itself and not the figures of the models featured, yet many have taken offence to the implication that anything other than a Victoria’s Secret body is somehow ‘imperfect’. After a successful campaign and petition, the advertisement was changed.

Victoria’s Secret is a double-edged sword for me. On one hand, along with 99.9% of the female population, I find it hard not to be in love with every single one of their products and of course aspire to look like a Victoria’s Secret Angel.

On the other hand, however, I find the latter abhorrent.

From a marketing perspective, the whole brand is built around this aspirational ideal, as are many others (the likes of the ‘exclusively for thin and pretty people’ Abercrombie and Fitch, for example), which society generally accepts and in fact favours over seeing ‘ugly’ or ‘overweight’ models at the forefront of brands.

But what exactly constitutes ‘normal’? Or ‘beautiful’? Or ‘thin’ or ‘fat’? As I touch on many a time in this blog, there are many different ideas of beauty. No two people will have the same perspective on exactly how beautiful a person is, or what makes them beautiful. The general consensus of what beauty is can often be shunned by a wide majority of people in favour of something different, something quirky, unique.

Aside from this point, is it really responsible to market this sort of message to a mostly impressionable, younger age group? Women of all sizes, ages and nationalities shop at Victoria’s Secret. But it is especially those vulnerable younger girls who already wish to emulate celebrities and those polished and preened for their time in the public eye that should be considered here, along with the wider message it sends to society as a whole. The brightly coloured, sparkly looking Victoria’s Secret models are very much like Barbie dolls – temptingly perfect yet all very uniform and similar in shape, height and beauty. They don’t offer a reasonable, measured view of how women should (and do) naturally look. Instead they peddle the super skinny yet intrinsically feminine, high-cheek-boned long, thick-haired ideal which many strive to in vain to emulate, yet of course most of us unsurprisingly fail.

Why is this the ‘perfect’ figure? What makes this the ‘perfect’ form of beauty? And why should we all try to look this way? The truth is, we are simply being told this information and believing it wholeheartedly, which in turn affects our behaviour and what we see as ‘beautiful’.

It’s like this: if I told you there were aliens living on the moon, the chances are you would question it. You would ask me what evidence I had for this, had I seen them? Has anyone else seen them? Who else believes it? Of course in reality it’s bullshit. I made it up. This is different because it’s not personal. It’s tangible. It doesn’t involve self-scrutiny or criticism.

However imagine you were told that a woman was beautiful. The evidence for this is that men and women alike lust after her. She has everything that women of all ages and nationalities find attractive – perfect hair, large sparkling eyes, plump lips, supple smooth skin, a body that is not too thin but not overweight, just the right amount of curve. She is featured on the front of every magazine. Other people agree that this person is perfect. Articles upon articles are written on how you too can emulate this individual, and the reasons why you should are clear: she is loved all over the world by seemingly every single person. This other form of bullshit is very clever, because it taps into our internal insecurities and psychology and makes us believe that we are missing something. Who doesn’t want to be liked? Who doesn’t want to be told they are pretty? It’s not aesthetic – it’s merely the way that being praised for our appearance makes us feel, and the personal , financial and life gains we see associated with that.

Unfortunately, we often think this way without even noticing it. It is subliminally drummed into us, from an early age. We are exposed to it every single day over an increasing number of media. But don’t forget that everybody is different and beautiful in their own way. We are built the way we are for a reason. And just because somebody in an agency somewhere decides that one person should indicate how each of us looks and feels, doesn’t mean we should take any notice!

What do you think about the recent VS advert? Is the uproar justified? Or is it simply a continuation of an industry-wide practice of unattainable perfection?

Rose xx

Castor Oil – Hair Loss Saviour

castor oil

You may have read my post last year about hair loss – something which affects many women for a number of reasons additional to anxiety and eating disorders. Whatever the case, hair loss can result in a severe lack of confidence and cripplingly low self-esteem.

Recently I started losing my hair for the third time. Obviously I was devastated, and became more and more panicky the longer it continued. Patches started to show and my long hair began to hang thinly in limp strings. I cut about 4 inches off it to create the illusion of thickness and improve the sad-looking appearance of it.

About a month ago I also started using Alpecin caffeine shampoo and a Wella SP serum I first used when I was 14 which has always been really effective. There’s been a small improvement with these, but nothing remarkable, nothing which stopped me scraping it into a tiny ponytail with despair each day.

I love Pinterest, and I was searching it for hair loss solutions. I came across a myriad of posts about Castor Oil and its hair thickening properties, and decided to try it. Amla had also been cited as a hair-loving ingredient so I opted for the pure Jamaican Mango and Lime Black Castor Oil with Amla.

Castor Oil promotes hair health and prevents breakage by swelling the hair root to make it look thicker. It also has antibacterial properties which help to heal and cleanse the scalp. The oil is really thick and I was a little nervous about slathering it all over my head – my hair is very straight and fine anyway so getting oil out of it has always been a bit of a challenge. Desperate, however, I did so with gusto and left it on for a few hours while I went to the gym.

When I washed the oil out, my hair didn’t feel weighed down or greasy. I hoped it was all out and blow dried it upside down as normal.

I have never seen volume like that with any expensive hair product I have ever used before! My hair just looked like it used to, thick and swishy yet not at all weighed down by the oil. I felt so happy and confident; my comfort blanket was back. Of course, by the next day it was looking flat and dreary again. However after using the Alpecin every wash and doing a Castor Oil treatment once every week I have seen a huge amount of growth at the base of my scalp. So many little baby hairs growing in thick clumps around my hairline, and a lot less falling around the house.

I’d definitely recommend trying Castor Oil if you’re struggling with hair loss. I’ve used it in conjunction with Alpecin; so this may also be an option for double-growth. Coupled with my tips in my previous post, hopefully you should see some progress!

Rose xx

Disney Princesses bad role models? They’re just scapegoats



I’ve seen a lot in the press recently about Disney Princesses and how they misrepresent women for the younger generation. They do this, according to these articles, in a number of ways. Firstly by being ‘skinny’ in size (yet we let children play with Barbies and expose them to overly thin celebrities), secondly for being ‘too beautiful’ (irrelevant; naturally most people in the public eye are ‘good looking’) and thirdly for their over-dependence and emphasis on relationships with men (these films are often based on fairy-tales set in older times when this was the norm).

What these people disregard is all the good messages that come from Disney productions, the morals and ethics that run throughout the storylines of these classic films. I grew up on Disney films, and I absolutely loved the Princess ones (as did most of my friends) such as Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. I can certainly say with absolute conviction that it was not these movies that warped my idea of beauty and gave me a complex about my body image. That came later and was instigated by human beings, not cartoons. From these films, I gained imagination, a reinforced measure of what is right and wrong and above all, enjoyment.

I’d encourage those who feel the Princesses are bad role models to look at themselves, along with other factors in today’s society such as celebrity culture, a loss of respect for individuals in an overly critical society and social media for the real cause of body image issues in young girls.

Rose xx

Is Barbie really to blame for poor body image in young girls?


When I was little, like most girls, I absolutely loved Barbie (and secretly, a small part of me still does). I distinctly remember each one I had – including Gymnast Barbie, Ballerina Barbie and Malibu Barbie My friends had different ones and they’d all get together to swap clothes and have their hair done – of course brothers and cousins had Action Man figures which filled the sexy, muscular void in our Barbie’s lives. I knew Barbie was pretty, but I never felt inadequate because of it. I wasn’t aware that she looked ‘different’ to real women, or that she was unrealistic in the way that she looked. Yes, she was slim and beautiful with long, thick hair. But I wasn’t self-aware enough (luckily) to understand that this wasn’t how I (or any of my friends) looked, and to feel bad about myself as a consequence.

This was only 15 years ago, but nowadays children are much more self-aware in a number of different ways. They are often exposed to things which were often only reserved for older children and adults, and society appears to have shaken off what some called a ‘prudish’ sense of protection we had over vulnerable children. This, coupled with the advances of technology meaning children are spending a lot of time on smartphones, tablets and in front of televisions, means they see, hear and ultimately take in more.  The way I looked (and the ‘fact’ that it was wrong) was brought to my attention when I was 11, after which I began to feel bad about myself and ugly. But now that appears to be happening much earlier, with or without the influence of bullies.

Some are now citing Barbie as a number one cause of distorted body image in young girls. A recent experiment demonstrated her impossible proportions next to a ‘normal woman’.

Whilst Barbie may present an ‘ideal’ appearance, I really don’t think they can be named as a main perpetrator in the rise of low self-esteem and self-consciousness in younger girls. They may add to a problem which is in fact already there, which is instigated by the unrealistic message peddled by intensive marketing of beauty and fashion along. That coupled with increased exposure to overly sexualised, false celebrities and there you have a possible root of the problem. Too much, too soon.

Yet the problem I feel probably doesn’t lie with dolls and toys which generations of women have played with since the 1960’s.

I think rather than making scapegoats of the likes of Barbie, we should be looking to ourselves and to the media for answers as to why girls feel so bad about the way they look. It’s not difficult to see the reasons – a society in which your value and worth is unquestionably measured by how you look, exposure to a false, unattainable ‘perfection’ and incessant/relentless encouragement to achieve it.

On a lighter note, someone went to all the trouble of creating a Barbie with normal proportions, to show the difference between the two. I love both!! ‘Normal Barbie’ looks gorgeous, and far from looking dumpy and insignificant next to the Barbie we are all so familiar with, she looks beautiful and realistic in the most positive way.

What do you think? Do you like ‘Normal Barbie’? Would you buy her for you children? Photos below!


Rose xx

Isn’t this just so inspirational?

So today I was reading the news and once I got past the pages of superficial articles filled with plastic vacuous celebrities talking about their latest boob job, I came across this article. It really filled me with so much joy because it is just so positive and such a departure from what we’re all normally used to reading in the papers.

In India, acid attacks are sadly becoming an increasingly popular method employed by some to suppress women and serve as retribution for ‘bad behaviour’ which encompasses anything from wearing the ‘wrong’ clothes and hairstyle to the desire to be educated, or falling in love with someone ‘unsuitable’. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that nothing on earth these women could have done or said warrants this horrific penalty.

Rupa, Laximi and Rita have participated in a photoshoot by photographer Rahul Saharan, instigated by Rupa herself, who was attacked in her sleep by her stepmother. She has founded a fashion range, which she and the girls model in this very special photoshoot.

Not only are these beautiful women brave and inspirational, they have also set up a charity, Stop Acid Attacks, and Chhaon, a clean, safe centre for those who are undergoing treatment.

The women had previously been forced to hide their horrific scars with scarves to avoid probing stares and the frightened reactions of strangers, ashamed of their appearance and living with fear and little self-esteem. Yet now they ooze confidence and happiness, modelling beautiful clothing which promises a new horizon for them, doing what they love and are passionate about. I can only wish them the very best and I’m sure everybody reading this will agree!

If you’d like to support the girls and others like them, please visit

Rose xx

Hair Loss – What To Do

Many people do not realise that sometimes severe hair loss can actually be a result of stress, anxiety and also Eating Disorders. Losing your hair is scary, especially for women. In addition to this if you’re not entirely sure why, and therefore are unable to prevent it, it can be extremely distressing.

If you google ‘hair loss’ or ‘help with hair loss’, you’ll find an inordinate amount of bulloney, adverts for miracle hair-growth products promising several inches in a matter of days, thicker ,fuller, stronger hair almost instantly.

I’ll be brutally honest here – as this honesty helped me immensely when I was going through losing my hair. There is no quick fix. At least, not for the root of the problem, if you excuse the pun. Of course, some products will make your hair feel a little thicker, perhaps make it shinier, give it a bit of volume. But the real solution for hair loss starts with the scalp.

There are a few general tips below which I have used over the years to prevent and alleviate hair loss, as well as strengthen it after a significant loss after Anorexia.

1. Massage your scalp every day. Yes, it’s time consuming – but this will increase blood flow to the hair follicles which stimulates new hair growth.

2. Use a special shampoo. Don’t get taken in by the expensive brands – not all of them work. Anything with caffeine or peppermint in is great for scalp stimulation – avoid anything heavy or containing lots of chemicals. Organic and natural shampoos are great – and an old favourite, baby shampoo, is perfect. Ultra-gentle, try to find organic, natural baby shampoo. It will cleanse without harming your hair, and nurture any new hair growth coming through.

3. Supplements. Do be careful with these, especially if you are on any other medication. Please consult your doctor before starting anything new, and make sure you source them from somewhere reputable. I have found Biotin to be incredibly effective in boosting the strength and health of my hair, skin and nails, as well as 100% B Vitamins. Sea Kelp is very good at preventing hair loss also.

4. A good serum or ointment to compliment your hair regime

5. All the favourite health advice applies. Get Plenty of Sleep, don’t smoke or drink.

6. Finally, and possibly most importantly of all, eat well. I realise this is really difficult when you are overcoming an Eating Disorder. Foods rich in protein and B-Vitamins are perfect – nuts and seeds, dark green leafy vegetables, steaks and oily fish, eggs. Whilst calcium is key to the recovery of your body in general, also drink milk and eat cheese to boost calcium and Vitamin D levels.

7. Sun. Sunshine and heat is amazing for your hair. Yes, it’s not always the easiest thing to simply jet off on holiday, but if the weather is nice make sure you make the most of it and let a little get to your head. Again, the heat stimulates the scalp for new growth.

8. Invest in a good conditioner. Argan Oil, pure and organic, is really very good for the ends of your hair or as a hair mask. I also like coconut oil as a natural conditioner for hair.

9. Relax. This is ironic I know, as it’s probably likely that your hairloss has been caused by trauma in the first place! Although it’s hard, try to remember that if you fret over your hair you will onlybecome embroiled in a vicious circle in which the hair loss is perpetuated by your anxiety about it. My only tip for this is distraction – try to focus on something else and rest easy in the knowledge that you are doing everything you can to help your hair.

10. Check your water. Sounds crazy – yet in some places hair water can make your hair dry and unmanageable. Cheap stores sell mineral water for around 20p for 1.5 litres – if you are feeling that your water is to blame, perhaps try washing your hair with mineral water and see if it makes a difference. I notice that when I am abroad, a higher mineral content of the tap water (usually diverted from a spring) makes my hair thick, soft and shiny.

Finally – don’t take all the advice you hear. Using millions of products on your hair will kill it. Keep it simple – choose a regime and stick to it; you will see results in time.


Rose xx