'I got 1.2m followers in two years and now I'm dating a well known actor'

'I got 1.2m followers in two years and now I'm dating a well known actor'


Natasha Grano on how she became an Instagram sensation… Words by Natasha Grano

January 9th 2017

Boom! Today I turned 25 Dearest Diary and my Instagram went live! I posted my first pic! It’s my first time writing to you as a single mummy since baby Rio arrived in my life. A lot has happened! I bought an active Instagram page from a blogger and merged it into the ‘Natasha Grano’ page * Cheesy grin*. I made a huge decision today to try and push myself in a positive direction. I want to become an internationally acclaimed influencer who will one day have my own brand and will help others find their life purpose too.

For the last two years I have been extensively studying Instagram. I’ve learnt what I like and how I will find a niche. I’ve watched hundreds of YouTube tutorials on how to grow organically and have Skyped my mentor in LA about becoming ‘Insta-famous’ and running a successful blog.

#Notetoself- transform my shopping addiction into an inspiring fashion & beauty Instagram page to inspire women from the inside out. Turning bad habits into good habits. Yes honey!

I will use the high quality photos I shot last week with my boyfriend’s camera while wearing the latest pieces from a variety of high street and designer brands. So from now on I’m going to be posting once or twice a day. I’ve prepared all the captions to show my authentic self in my best light. As I have a passion for female empowerment I am using motivational quotes to inspire my viewers to feel empowered. So then I hit the floor running with all my knowledge, perspectives and pictures and I took on the world of Instagram! And that’s how it began 😉

May 10th 2018

Dear diary, I’m finally doing what I love and feeling so alive in the process! I came across some challenges, naturally, such as dips in my engagement for short periods of time and so I changed the whole layout aesthetically of my page. The more popular my page becomes the more brands contact me for collaborations.

Now that I’m over 1 million followers my rates are in the four figures! I get to spend a lot of time travelling to my favourite spots all around Europe to luxury hotels who invite me to stay. I get to eat for free in all the top restaurants in London too, honestly this has got to be any girl’s dream!

I realised quite quickly that my followers absolutely love seeing my luxury lifestyle and they adore the locations in my photos. I shoot regularly at my home in Mayfair with photographers who I find on Instagram. I have been able to start a luxury villa company called @mmmvillas and rent them out in Marrakech all year round- simply from my following on Instagram! I’ve realised that Insta Stories are the key place to grow your following rapidly.

Playing games with my followers, interacting with them using polls and documenting my lavish daily activities have meant I really know what my followers like!

#NoteToSelf – Always tag a location of a well known city (even if it wasn’t taken there) in my stories and hide it behind the photo as this means my story will be viewed by anyone searching that location! Oh and also add lots of hashtags on the story as the same principle applies.

September 12th 2019

1,200,000 followers, interviews in all the top glossy magazines, red carpets every week… Dear Diary I have so much to tell you! And I’ve actually fallen in love with a wonderful man, he’s a well known actor 😉 We spent our whole summer on beaches and yachts.

I no longer need to shop at all. I am endorsed by so many luxury and high street brands and I even have fans who ask for pictures in the street *blushing*. I mean I still love to shop but only for handbags and shoes really, so around £7,000 per month which is half of my old shopping addiction.

I get invited to the coolest events such as the Dior and Vogue Parties with the rich and famous! Guess what else?! I even shoot with my baby Rio all the time, he just turned three, can yuh believe it?! I photoshoot for the fashion and beauty brands I promote on my Instagram about once a week and guess what?!

I am officially the co-founder of the brand UMAY which is set to be the next House of CB/PrettyLittleThing! I have two sponsored children in Uganda whom I am very much in touch with as well as supporting them financially (all through the charity Compassion). and i will be visiting them later this year. The opportunities Instagram has given me are mind blowing. It’s fashion week right now and I’m front row at all the major shows, and when I’m not there I’m doing TV presenting backstage and interviewing the designers and A-listers. Sooo fun!

#NoteToSelf – I’ve realised anyone can become a super influencer Dear Diary. Self belief is a huge part of it and then having clear direction on who you are and what you are trying to achieve is the rest. Good glossy clean photos and consistency in posting is key!

My biggest secret is to remember as soon as a post goes live, the first hour after that is the most crucial. Interaction is critical at this point and that means interacting with other like minded influencers or even one stage above me, in hope they’ll come back and like and comment on my post too! Can’t wait to tell you my news next time as I am working on something so exciting that even you can’t know yet Dearest Diary.

Ciao for now xoxo

The post ‘I got 1.2m followers in two years and now I’m dating a well known actor’ appeared first on Marie Claire.



Molly-Mae Hague: ‘I would like women to stop tearing each other down’

Molly-Mae Hague: ‘I would like women to stop tearing each other down’


Digital Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot spent a day with Molly-Mae in Manchester to talk about her new Pretty Little Thing collaboration and why women should support and praise each other more…

Pretty Little Thing

Molly-Mae Hague is one of the most talked-about women in the UK this year, with the Love Island runner up proving to be a particularly divisive contestant, subjected to a wave of online hate since leaving the show.

This however proves strange seeing as the 20-year-old social media influencer has not put a foot wrong.

So why has Molly-Mae – the girl’s girl of the 2019 Love Island villa – been victim to such an unprovoked stream of online abuse? I travelled up to Manchester to find out.

With the launch of Molly-Mae’s new Pretty Little Thing collaboration, it’s the perfect time for a heart to heart, and greeting me in her pink silk dressing gown and curlers, Molly seemed happy and relaxed as she talked through the collection and gave me a topknot tutorial.

‘It’s just about having a good hair band,’ she reassured me as she taught me the technique. ‘I’d just say having that good strong hair band that’s not going to snap when you get it up. That’s the worst thing when you get it up to the perfect bun and you get the hairband around it twice and then “ping” it snaps off to the other side of the room.

‘You’ve got to flip your hair upside down, so you get it all right to the top, then bunch it into a pony, then lift your head up,’ she instructed me. ‘Then twist it around, wrap the hair around itself and keep going around. And then once you’ve got it into the position, then you wrap the scrunchie.’

‘That’s it!,’ Molly praised me later that evening when she greeted me at her Pretty Little Thing launch party, over a bubblegum pink frozé and surrounded by fellow islanders, Tommy, Maura, Amber, Anna and Amy.

Watching Molly interact sweetly and respectfully with everyone at the Manchester party, I was painfully aware that hateful comments and articles were soon to come, ripping every move the 20-year-old took to shreds.

I sat down with Molly-Mae to get a sneak peek at her Pretty Little Thing collection, not to mention talk overcoming online hate and analyse the negative connotations attached to the term ‘influencer’.

Pretty Little Thing

Talk me through the Pretty Little Thing collection…

I wanted to create a collection that was very wearable and I wanted to show that it’s not hard to make a cool outfit from a few simple components. You don’t need designer labels, you just need a few basic items and you can look stylish and cool. I have always been into tailoring and suits – I prefer that smarter, older and more mature style. So I wanted to create a line in a collection that really represented that, and it really does reflect me and my style. I’ve shown it to a few of my friends and they have all said ‘this is you to a T’. That’s what I’m really happy about – that people can already see that this is my style. I studied fashion for two years and it really is my passion, but dressing isn’t hard – and that’s what this collection is about. It’s about showing that you don’t have to study fashion or be a fashionista to be stylish – you can just chuck on a piece from this collection and look cool and effortless.

I’ve loved Pretty Little Thing for so long and I worked with them before I went into the villa which was amazing so to come out and continue with that relationship and to grow with a brand that I have adored for so long just felt right.

Do you have any favourite pieces in the Pretty Little Thing collection?

There is a leather long-sleeved dress. I wear it with a roll-neck underneath and little black boots which is just me to an absolutely T – I’m obsessed with it. I think it’s perfect for transitioning into the Autumn/ Winter season. A lot of my collection are more transitional pieces. I’m much more of a winter fashion girl than a summer fashion girl so I’m really happy with that in my collection.

Pretty Little Thing

What is your fashion staple?

I live in leather trousers – I really do love them. I think a good pair of leather trousers is my staple. I don’t know why but I can chuck a pair of leather trousers on and they just work – they’re always flattering, they go with anything, they’re figure hugging, they’re slimming. I think leather trousers are just the way forward. I’m all for them.

Do you feel that people attach negative connotations to the term ‘influencer’?

One hundred percent. I think that being an influencer, it’s really hard to prove that you are working a professional and real job. People need to get used to the fact that influencing is a real thing, it is a real job. It’s hard to put into words – it’s frustrating because I work so hard and there are no days off.

I moved out at the age of 18, I’m earning really good money from this job and it has enabled me to travel the world. I’ve done things that a lot of people my age could never even dream of doing and it’s because of my job, and people still turn around and say ‘It’s not a real job.’ In the villa, I tried to steer away from that stereotypical influencer outlook, but even still there are always going to be people who say it’s not a real job. I think a lot of people would love to be an influencer – it is an incredible job. And that is where I think it stems from – a lot of people would love to do it so when they see people doing it it’s easier to tear them down.

Pretty Little Thing

How have you overcome the online hate?

I think I’ve kind of proved to everyone just from my actions and the way that I’ve been out of the villa that there was just no need for it – I think it was unprovoked and unnecessary. There wasn’t any real reason behind the hate and it didn’t phase me – and I think that’s why it didn’t phase me – because I knew that they were hating for no reason. I did nothing wrong in there, I went into Love Island and I did what the show asked me – I fell in love – and I’ve got an incredible boyfriend. I think people don’t like to see other people too happy and sometimes it does provoke them to bring others down, so I knew that it was more of a reflection on that person than it is on me. And it doesn’t phase me. I think I didn’t need to ‘overcome’ it because I never went under from it anyway.

Have you undergone therapy since leaving the villa?

There was a lot of rumours going around about me having therapy because of the online criticism but that’s just not true. I had one mandatory session which everyone had. I was having my makeup done and eating pizza and everyone was like ‘Molly-Mae’s in therapy’ and it’s just not the case. I haven’t even felt the need to even speak about the taunting – even to my family and friends – because it hasn’t phased me. I just was never touched by the hate.

I watched a couple of episodes back and I couldn’t work out what people were trying to criticise. You can’t be bothered by it when people are just making it up. I think you know going into Love Island that there’s going to be mixed opinions and not everyone’s going to like you, and I knew that so it was absolutely fine.

Do you have any advice for others experiencing online bullying?

I would sit here and say don’t even read it, but I read it. I read pretty much every comment that was about me. I’m lucky that I have thick skin and that it would take a lot to upset me because people literally commented on everything – there were even death threats. But it just didn’t get to me because I’m really confident in myself and I have people around me that are so incredible and believe in me. The comments of someone that I’ve never even met behind a computer just cant get to me. So, other people experiencing online bullying should understand that it’s really more of a reflection on that person than it is on you, and you’ve done nothing wrong. You just need to rise above it.

Pretty Little Thing

What does sisterhood mean to you?

I think sisterhood is everything. It’s so important to surround yourself with people that support you and have your back and that you do the same for them. Even when you experience things like trolling or fallouts, nothing will get to you as long as you’ve got a good group of people around you.

Having a good strong group of girls around you is so important. My parents got divorced and it has always been a very girly household so I think going into the villa that really showed for me and I did try to have everyone’s back and bring all the girls together. I’m always there for my friends and hope that they would do the same in return. I think in the villa we all had such great relationships and I made some really, really incredible friends in there.

What is one change you’d like to see for women?

I would like women to stop tearing each other down and to support one another. It’s so sad that there is so much negativity in this world that we live in and when jealousy comes in, it just causes people to speak negatively about others who they don’t even know. I think from my experience of being trolled, I definitely want to speak more about it and how it affected me to help others who are dealing with it, because I know if I didn’t have thick skin it could have really affected me. Some of the things people said about me could really have torn down a more shy or timid person. I’d just love to see us all supporting each other and having each other’s backs and praising each other. It’s important.

The post Molly-Mae Hague: ‘I would like women to stop tearing each other down’ appeared first on Marie Claire.



How to shop every single piece from Meghan Markle's clothing collection

How to shop every single piece from Meghan Markle's clothing collection


meghan markle

Today Meghan Markle officially ended her maternity leave by presenting the clothing collection that she created in partnership with SmartWorks, M&S, John Lewis, Misha Nonoo and Jigsasw.

The Duchess wore a shirt and trousers from the Smart Set Capsule, and told us how important this project was for her.

‘When I first moved to the UK, it was incredibly important to me personally to be able to connect with people on the ground in really important work and one of the places that I went to very early on was Smart Works,’ she said.

After several hands on visit, she realised there weren’t enough donate clothes for women who wanted to feel confident.

She said, ‘I thought okay let’s just try to work with what we have and make the best of it. And then the next time I went, there was a rack of about 40 or 50 lilac-coloured blazers. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a great blazer, and I’m sure for someone it’s exactly what she wants to be wearing.’

So she set upon designing a wardrobe who would make women feel empowered, teaming up with quintessentially British brands to do so. The result is a timeless capsule of shirts, dresses and trousers, as well as a tote which has sold out already (more coming though).

And for each piece bought, one will be donated to a woman in need. Meghan added, ‘I think it’s really key in this day and age that we remember; it’s not just about the people that you know that you’re supporting. It’s about the people that you don’t know, that you may never know, that you may never meet, as women it is 100% our responsibility I think to support and uplift each other, to champion each other as we aim to succeed, to not set each other up for failure but instead to really be there rallying around each other and saying ‘I want to help you’.

I couldn’t have put it better myself. So without further ado, these are the pieces from the collection, which you can buy now for a limited amount of time only.

Shop now: JIGSAW PARIS SEAM DETAIL JACKET for £199 from JIGSAW

Shop now: The Smart Set Shirt for £125 from Misha Nonoo

Shop now: Tote bag for £109 from John Lewis

Shop now: M&S Collection dress for £19.50 from M&S

The post How to shop every single piece from Meghan Markle’s clothing collection appeared first on Marie Claire.

Molly-Mae Hague: ‘I would like women to stop tearing each other down’

Molly-Mae Hague: ‘I would like women to stop tearing each other down’


Digital Features Editor Jenny Proudfoot spent a day with Molly-Mae in Manchester to talk about her new Pretty Little Thing collaboration and why women should support and praise each other more…

Pretty Little Thing

Molly-Mae Hague is one of the most talked-about women in the UK this year, with the Love Island runner up proving to be a particularly divisive contestant, subjected to a wave of online hate since leaving the show.

This however proves strange seeing as the 20-year-old social media influencer has not put a foot wrong.

So why has Molly-Mae – the girl’s girl of the 2019 Love Island villa – been victim to such an unprovoked stream of online abuse? I travelled up to Manchester to find out.

With the launch of Molly-Mae’s new Pretty Little Thing collaboration, it’s the perfect time for a heart to heart, and greeting me in her pink silk dressing gown and curlers, Molly seemed happy and relaxed as she talked through the collection and gave me a topknot tutorial.

‘It’s just about having a good hair band,’ she reassured me as she taught me the technique. ‘I’d just say having that good strong hair band that’s not going to snap when you get it up. That’s the worst thing when you get it up to the perfect bun and you get the hairband around it twice and then “ping” it snaps off to the other side of the room.

‘You’ve got to flip your hair upside down, so you get it all right to the top, then bunch it into a pony, then lift your head up,’ she instructed me. ‘Then twist it around, wrap the hair around itself and keep going around. And then once you’ve got it into the position, then you wrap the scrunchie.’

‘That’s it!,’ Molly praised me later that evening when she greeted me at her Pretty Little Thing launch party, over a bubblegum pink frozé and surrounded by fellow islanders, Tommy, Maura, Amber, Anna and Amy.

Watching Molly interact sweetly and respectfully with everyone at the Manchester party, I was painfully aware that hateful comments and articles were soon to come, ripping every move the 20-year-old took to shreds.

I sat down with Molly-Mae to get a sneak peek at her Pretty Little Thing collection, not to mention talk overcoming online hate and analyse the negative connotations attached to the term ‘influencer’.

Pretty Little Thing

Talk me through the Pretty Little Thing collection…

I wanted to create a collection that was very wearable and I wanted to show that it’s not hard to make a cool outfit from a few simple components. You don’t need designer labels, you just need a few basic items and you can look stylish and cool. I have always been into tailoring and suits – I prefer that smarter, older and more mature style. So I wanted to create a line in a collection that really represented that, and it really does reflect me and my style. I’ve shown it to a few of my friends and they have all said ‘this is you to a T’. That’s what I’m really happy about – that people can already see that this is my style. I studied fashion for two years and it really is my passion, but dressing isn’t hard – and that’s what this collection is about. It’s about showing that you don’t have to study fashion or be a fashionista to be stylish – you can just chuck on a piece from this collection and look cool and effortless.

I’ve loved Pretty Little Thing for so long and I worked with them before I went into the villa which was amazing so to come out and continue with that relationship and to grow with a brand that I have adored for so long just felt right.

Do you have any favourite pieces in the Pretty Little Thing collection?

There is a leather long-sleeved dress. I wear it with a roll-neck underneath and little black boots which is just me to an absolutely T – I’m obsessed with it. I think it’s perfect for transitioning into the Autumn/ Winter season. A lot of my collection are more transitional pieces. I’m much more of a winter fashion girl than a summer fashion girl so I’m really happy with that in my collection.

Pretty Little Thing

What is your fashion staple?

I live in leather trousers – I really do love them. I think a good pair of leather trousers is my staple. I don’t know why but I can chuck a pair of leather trousers on and they just work – they’re always flattering, they go with anything, they’re figure hugging, they’re slimming. I think leather trousers are just the way forward. I’m all for them.

Do you feel that people attach negative connotations to the term ‘influencer’?

One hundred percent. I think that being an influencer, it’s really hard to prove that you are working a professional and real job. People need to get used to the fact that influencing is a real thing, it is a real job. It’s hard to put into words – it’s frustrating because I work so hard and there are no days off.

I moved out at the age of 18, I’m earning really good money from this job and it has enabled me to travel the world. I’ve done things that a lot of people my age could never even dream of doing and it’s because of my job, and people still turn around and say ‘It’s not a real job.’ In the villa, I tried to steer away from that stereotypical influencer outlook, but even still there are always going to be people who say it’s not a real job. I think a lot of people would love to be an influencer – it is an incredible job. And that is where I think it stems from – a lot of people would love to do it so when they see people doing it it’s easier to tear them down.

Pretty Little Thing

How have you overcome the online hate?

I think I’ve kind of proved to everyone just from my actions and the way that I’ve been out of the villa that there was just no need for it – I think it was unprovoked and unnecessary. There wasn’t any real reason behind the hate and it didn’t phase me – and I think that’s why it didn’t phase me – because I knew that they were hating for no reason. I did nothing wrong in there, I went into Love Island and I did what the show asked me – I fell in love – and I’ve got an incredible boyfriend. I think people don’t like to see other people too happy and sometimes it does provoke them to bring others down, so I knew that it was more of a reflection on that person than it is on me. And it doesn’t phase me. I think I didn’t need to ‘overcome’ it because I never went under from it anyway.

Have you undergone therapy since leaving the villa?

There was a lot of rumours going around about me having therapy because of the online criticism but that’s just not true. I had one mandatory session which everyone had. I was having my makeup done and eating pizza and everyone was like ‘Molly-Mae’s in therapy’ and it’s just not the case. I haven’t even felt the need to even speak about the taunting – even to my family and friends – because it hasn’t phased me. I just was never touched by the hate.

I watched a couple of episodes back and I couldn’t work out what people were trying to criticise. You can’t be bothered by it when people are just making it up. I think you know going into Love Island that there’s going to be mixed opinions and not everyone’s going to like you, and I knew that so it was absolutely fine.

Do you have any advice for others experiencing online bullying?

I would sit here and say don’t even read it, but I read it. I read pretty much every comment that was about me. I’m lucky that I have thick skin and that it would take a lot to upset me because people literally commented on everything – there were even death threats. But it just didn’t get to me because I’m really confident in myself and I have people around me that are so incredible and believe in me. The comments of someone that I’ve never even met behind a computer just cant get to me. So, other people experiencing online bullying should understand that it’s really more of a reflection on that person than it is on you, and you’ve done nothing wrong. You just need to rise above it.

Pretty Little Thing

What does sisterhood mean to you?

I think sisterhood is everything. It’s so important to surround yourself with people that support you and have your back and that you do the same for them. Even when you experience things like trolling or fallouts, nothing will get to you as long as you’ve got a good group of people around you.

Having a good strong group of girls around you is so important. My parents got divorced and it has always been a very girly household so I think going into the villa that really showed for me and I did try to have everyone’s back and bring all the girls together. I’m always there for my friends and hope that they would do the same in return. I think in the villa we all had such great relationships and I made some really, really incredible friends in there.

What is one change you’d like to see for women?

I would like women to stop tearing each other down and to support one another. It’s so sad that there is so much negativity in this world that we live in and when jealousy comes in, it just causes people to speak negatively about others who they don’t even know. I think from my experience of being trolled, I definitely want to speak more about it and how it affected me to help others who are dealing with it, because I know if I didn’t have thick skin it could have really affected me. Some of the things people said about me could really have torn down a more shy or timid person. I’d just love to see us all supporting each other and having each other’s backs and praising each other. It’s important.

The post Molly-Mae Hague: ‘I would like women to stop tearing each other down’ appeared first on Marie Claire.



Set your alarms: Charlotte Tilbury's newest eyeshadow palette will only be available for 24 hours

Set your alarms: Charlotte Tilbury's newest eyeshadow palette will only be available for 24 hours


*Adds to the iCal*

Charlotte tilbury palette

Charlotte Tilbury’s eyeshadow palettes are infamous.

There are her insane quads that make applying eye makeup a dream thanks to the handy instructions on the back and then there are her limited edition jumbo Instant Eye Palettes that are so popular her 2018 Stars In Your Eyes Palette saw a whopping 40,000 people sign up to the waiting list.

Well guess what?! There’s a new palette dropping tomorrow at 9am and you will have a mere 24 hours to buy it.

The Starry Eyes To Hypnotise palette has four different glowy eye looks that range from rich nudes and husky pinks to subtle khakis and sparkling blues.

Charlotte Tilbury Starry Eyes To Hypnotise Palette, £60

charlotte tilbury palette

Tilbury will be there once again holding your hand throughout, as each look has a shade for priming, enhancing and smoking.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up to the waiting list now or set your alarm for tomorrow morning, 9am and head straight to charlottetilbury.com to get your hands on a palette.

We promise you won’t regret it.

It’ll serve you well in Autumn and all the way through to Christmas.

The post Set your alarms: Charlotte Tilbury’s newest eyeshadow palette will only be available for 24 hours appeared first on Marie Claire.

Every question you've ever wanted to ask a gynaecologist answered

Every question you've ever wanted to ask a gynaecologist answered


Fanny FAQs

gynaecologist questions

Here at Marie Claire, we are all on board for talking about our vaginas more. This year has seen a step in the right direction – Bodyform launched a campaign to encourage more vajayjay chat, and beauty destination Cult Beauty created a section on their website dedicated to vaginal health.

But there is still much mileage to take on this path. Not everyone is game for fanny chat and would rather keep schtum. Which is why put some frequently asked questions to a gynaecologist. Because if you can’t ask your friends, at least you can find out more from us.

We chatted to consultant gynaecologist Sara Mathews, about everything from how to look after you vagina, to the smell and taste.

The first thing she wanted to get across was getting our anatomy right: ‘The vagina only refers to the inside bit that is covered with a special and very soft type of skin. However, when girls talk about their vaginas, they usually don’t mean the anatomical inside vagina thing-a-me-bob, they are usually referring to the outside bits – the labial folds and the skin around the clitoris and anus. This is called the vulva.’

Is your vagina self cleaning? Or should you wash it with something specific?

SM: ‘So to be clear the vagina is the inside part and the vulva is the outer. The vagina cleans itself. It’s all about keeping the pH in balance. The pH of the vaginal fluid is around 4.5, which makes it acidic. It is maintained that way by the vaginal microbiome. The good bacteria in the microbiome (officially called lactobacillus) produces lactic acid that reduces the pH and prevents infections. Infections are caused when these good bacteria are killed and other ‘bad’ bacteria take over. This can happen if someone is on antibiotics, which can cause thrush, or after sex, because sperm is alkaline. If a fishy odour occurs, it can indicate an overgrowth of the bad bacteria called bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial vaginosis is an imbalance of those good and bad bacteria. It is usually treated using vaginal antibiotic cream or gel, or a short course of oral antibiotics. A pH balancing vaginal gel once or twice a week and an oral probiotic can help prevent recurrence.

In the 60s there was a trend for something called vaginal douches, which involved squirting water, often mixed with vinegar, into your vagina. This removed all of the good lactobacilli, leaving everything too clean, and a prime environment for bad bacteria to invade.

However, you should wash your vulva on a daily basis. As you know the vulva is naturally covered in hair, which serves to cushion the labia and trap particles, sweat and dead skin cells. Secretions collect in the folds of the labia, so if it isn’t washed on a regular basis, then you will start to smell and could develop all sorts of infections.

I actually don’t have a problem with people using the same soap/shower gel in the shower that you use for everywhere else, as long as you rinse it all off. You can just use water if you like, but I do think soap/gel does a better job. Intimate washes such as Femfresh, and various organic paraben-free are good because they’re pH balanced, free of irritants and contain soothing ingredients. They can be particularly beneficial after the menopause when the pH of the vagina rises and skin can get a bit sensitive.’

What are the signs of an unhealthy vagina?

SM: ‘Signs of an unhealthy vagina/vulva include itching, burning, unusual odour and a coloured discharge (green or yellow), which is wetter than normal on your pants.’

Is there a difference between pain that needs investigating vs period pain?

SM: ‘Most ladies get period pains of some sort, but if your period pains are getting worse each month to the extent that they mean time off work or cancelling your social life, then you should see your doctor. Pain in the week before your period starts can be a sign of endometriosis, which is a progressive disease that causes internal scarring and infertility. It can also cause deep internal pain during sex, so if you are have any of these symptoms you should seek help.

Pain around the vulval skin associated with blisters can mean genital herpes, which can be treated with antiviral drugs. Don’t be worried or embarrassed if you think you might have herpes. Go and have a test and ask for advice. I see many women who think they have herpes when it isn’t that at all. However, if it is then your doctor or STI clinic will be able to provide sensible advice, medicine and will check you for other possible infections.’

Does what you eat affect the health of your vagina?

SM: ‘Your body has an internal regulating system that should keep the vagina and vulval skin healthy, but that can be upset if you are very underweight or very overweight, because of the resulting hormone imbalance. A sugary diet makes thrush more likely, and persistent thrush can actually be an early sign of diabetes.

If you have nut allergies then your boyfriend needs to watch what he eats, as vaginal discomfort and swelling can happen after sex if he has eaten nuts beforehand. Traces of the allergens can find their way into seminal fluid. Wearing a condom should prevent the issue completely.

I am a huge fan of probiotics. These can help to keep the good and bad bacteria balanced in the vagina to prevent infections (a healthy happy harmonious microbiome!). Plus they’re good for your gut.’

gynaecologist questions

Can eating different foods change the way you taste?

SM: ‘I am assuming you mean during oral sex?! The taste and smell of the vaginal fluids and their pheromones are affected by your hormones, not your diet.

However, this is different for boys though. A Friday night chicken tikka masala will result in slightly curry flavoured sperm, so take note.’

What should your vagina smell like? Why is there a common comparison to fish?

SM: ‘A clean healthy vulva and vagina should have very little smell. In fact, fresh raw potatoes come to mind.

A fishy smell can occur after sex, or at the start and end of a period. This is usually a sign of infection due to bacterial vaginosis or trichomonas. Trichomonas is a sexually transmitted infection that also results in a lot of yellow, green discharge and will only clear up with the right antibiotic.’

What do different discharges mean?

SM: ‘It is normal to have some discharge throughout the month. A healthy discharge should be colourless at ovulation and be thicker and whiter just before a period. After sex, it is completely normal to have more discharge the next day. It’s also fine to have more clear discharge midcycle if you aren’t taking the pill. One of the signs of ovulation is having more clear sticky discharge around that time. It is a bit like uncooked egg white, but it doesn’t smell or irritate.

Green or yellow discharge on the other hand, as I said above, is a sign of infection, as well as an indicator of irregular bleeding, especially after sex.

A copious amount of thick white discharge, often paired with an itchiness is usually a sign of thrush.

Pre-adolescent girls usually have some white odourless discharge, which increases with hormone surges around eight years of age and the start of their periods. Ladies who are post-menopausal have no vaginal discharge unless they take HRT.’

Is it best to remove your hair down there?

SM: ‘No. It is normal in some hot countries and cultures for women to keep the vulva completely hair free, and it does make cleaning the area easier. But the hair is there for a reason. It traps pheromones (which some partners prefer) and cushions the labial skin. Of course, the hair is also a cunning way to disguise protruding inner labia, which becomes an issue for the majority of women as they get older, when the fat in the outer labia reduces making them less plump.’

What should you do if you get an ingrown hair on your vagina?

SM: ‘Well the vagina is hairless, but ingrown hairs on the vulval skin can occur after waxing or shaving the area. An exfoliant can be used over the ingrown hair, but if there is pus in the follicle, squeeze it out and try to grasp the hair with tweezers to remove it. Apply a little tea tree oil or tea tree oil moisturiser to the area and keep clean. The ingrown hair will eventually resolve.’

Is Gwyneth Paltrow damaging our vaginas by telling us to steam it?

SM: ‘V or yoni steaming is of no use whatsoever. Sorry Gwynnie!’

We hope this has inspired you to think more about your vaginal health.

And we hope this encourages more discussion about our wonderful foofs.

The post Every question you’ve ever wanted to ask a gynaecologist answered appeared first on Marie Claire.

Brock Turner’s anonymous sexual assault victim has identified herself

Brock Turner’s anonymous sexual assault victim has identified herself


‘You don’t know me, but you’ve been inside me’

Getty Images

The Brock Turner sexual assault case is one of the most publicised, with the then ‘star swimmer’ found guilty of assaulting an intoxicated victim at Stanford University in January 2015.

Despite Brock Turner being found guilty of three charges in 2016, he was sentenced to just six months in jail and three years’ probation, prompting conversations about whether the US justice system favours wealthy white men.

Getty Images

The victim on the other hand was bombarded with intrusive questions, seemingly in an effort to discredit her.

‘Why were you going to this party?’ ‘Are you serious with your boyfriend?’ ‘What were you wearing?’

The victim’s identity was kept a secret, going by the pseudonym ‘Emily Doe’ when her victim impact statement, read out at Turner’s trial, went viral.

This week, the Stanford sexual assault victim has identified herself as 27-year-old Chanel Miller, revealing her identity as she releases her memoir, Know My Name.

The memoir, according to the publisher, will ‘change the way we think about sexual assault forever’.

Michele Dauber, a Stanford law professor added: ‘When people read her book, they will be impressed with her. They will be convinced that Judge Persky and Stanford University behaved very badly.’

Know My Name will be released on 24 September.

The post Brock Turner’s anonymous sexual assault victim has identified herself appeared first on Marie Claire.

How to wash your hair (because you've probably been getting it wrong this whole time)

How to wash your hair (because you've probably been getting it wrong this whole time)


Lather, rinse, repeat. Right?????

how to wash your hair

Washing our hair is something that we all do, all the time. It’s something that we’ve been doing regularly since we were showed how at an early age. So the idea of being told how to wash your hair seems silly right?

Well perhaps not. For example, surely someone with drier curly hair should wash their hair completely differently to someone with poker straight hair that errs on the side of greasy? Or what about what you use to to wash your hair? The one that you consider the best shampoo for you might not work for the next person.

So really there must be more to it. The Hair Bros – two of London’s most promising hair stylists Nick Latham and Sean Nother, who can be found at the Knightsbridge outpost of Hershesons in Harvey Nichols (arguably one of the best hair salons in London) – say there’s much more to washing your hair than you originally thought: ‘In terms of washing hair, one thing we have learnt over time is that there is no “right” way to wash your hair. That’s not to say there are not some simple guidelines and principles to follow, but just because your blonde soft straight hair tends to prefer a wash every day, doesn’t mean your curly haired friend should do the same.’

how to wash your hair

How to wash your hair properly

‘In essence, hair type, lifestyle (and a smidge of vanity) all play a part in influencing your hair wash routine,’ say The Hair Bros.

However, there is always one thing to remember: always shampoo twice and condition only the ends.

Shampooing twice is similar to double cleansing your skin, ‘Double cleansing has been happening at every salon backwash for years and years. It’s the only way to effectively remove dirt, sweat, dead skin cells and so on. The first shampoo never lathers as well, and usually takes the dirt out. The second shampoo will really foam up and clean the scalp. Your hair begins at the scalp, so be gentle when washing at the root. Avoid using your nails or being too aggressive, and apply minimum pressure. Two rounds of gentle massaging of the scalp – the first to remove build up and the second to ensure your scalp is throughly clean. Rinse until the hair squeaks when your fingers rub it. A cold water rinse does help seal the cuticle and deep clean the follicles. It’s also good for blood flow and waking you up.’

The hair at your root is new, virgin hair so doesn’t need conditioner like your ends do. These are bits that are damaged, dry and need that extra bit of TLC.

Is it bad to wash your hair every day?

No, if you have particularly greasy hair that needs to be cleaned every day, then crack on. But if you do wash your hair everyday, then you don’t need to “double cleanse” say The Hair Bros. ‘You will just end up stripping the scalp of all moisture and in return your natural oils will double in order to compensate this.’

However, most people don’t need to wash their hair that regularly. ‘Not washing your hair nearly as often as you’d think is the best way to go. We find that people are wash their hair way too much – three times a week is more than enough.’

Does your hair type determine how to wash your hair?

Yes certain hair types should wash their hair in a certain way…

Curly hair:

‘Avoid scrubbing excessively,’ say The Hair Bros. ‘If you wash your hair on Monday, use conditioner or a co-wash only on Wednesday. A small amount of sulphates in the conditioner will remove any dirt. Try and comb the conditioner through in the shower. Go back to shampoo on Friday.’

Thin hair:

‘Avoid heavily scented, paraben-rich shampoos and conditioners. All of this stuff builds up in the hair and makes it look lank. Try not to use too much conditioner either – natural oils will do the job of the conditioner. Too many heavy things build up in the hair and make thin hair look worse.’

The post How to wash your hair (because you’ve probably been getting it wrong this whole time) appeared first on Marie Claire.



Can we talk about the gender pay gap in Boris Johnson's cabinet?

Can we talk about the gender pay gap in Boris Johnson's cabinet?


It’s 2019

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Boris Johnson became Prime Minister in July, assuming the role after winning a divisive conservative leadership race, following Theresa May’s resignation.

His appointment is a controversial one, with numerous ministers stepping down from their positions in protest, from Sir Alan Duncan to Philip Hammond. And following Johnson’s recent decision to suspend parliament, people have been taking to the streets in protest.

But it’s not just the effects he’s having outside of No.10 that is making news this week, it’s also how he’s running his own cabinet, with it emerging that Boris Johnson’s cabinet has a worrying gender pay gap.

Yes, Boris Johnson’s government needs a serious looking at, with it revealed recently by Buzzfeed News that less than one third of its advisors are women. And not only this, the majority of female advisors who have made it in are reportedly in the lowest pay band.

This is reportedly leading some of his female aides to appeal, with BuzzFeed News revealing that one is even threatening to take the government to an employment tribunal.

According to the report, only 30 of the near 100 appointed special advisors are women, with less than eight of those being in the top two pay bands. One advisor is even reported to have claimed that some of the new female special advisors are being paid less than the male senior advisors before them in Theresa May’s government.

It has been reported by Buzzfeed that despite acknowledging staff’s concerns over the gender pay gap, Number 10 Downing Street’s head of staff, Dominic Cummings, has denied that there is an issue.

How is this not being talked about more?

The post Can we talk about the gender pay gap in Boris Johnson’s cabinet? appeared first on Marie Claire.

These travel beauty tips will revolutionise your next long-haul flight

These travel beauty tips will revolutionise your next long-haul flight


Ace that arrival

travel beauty tips

Long-haul flights are horrific for skin. You could be the most seasoned traveller, but neglecting your complexion when you’re up in the air could affect how your skin looks and feels at your destination. Which, if you’re off on a dream holiday is a bloody disaster. Thankfully, we have come up with a super handy guide with the best travel beauty tips so that you can avoid any nightmares upon arrival.

Travel beauty tips

 1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

It’s no secret that H20 is the key to a hydrated, clear complexion. But if you take it for granted when you’re on land, you certainly don’t want to make that mistake up in the air. Every passenger on the plane takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide, so in order to give everyone the oxygen they need, fresh air is pumped into the cabin. This, mixed with the high altitude, makes the perfect recipe for dry air. Try to consume a litre of water for every 4 hours you’re in the sky. Fill your water bottle up before you get on the flight and don’t be afraid to get up and ask the flight attendants for regular top ups. Don’t press the call button, walking around the cabin will also help with your circulation whilst on board.

2. Watch what you drink

Don’t overdo it on the free drinks. We know how tempting free booze is – why do you think all good weddings end in memory loss?! – but trust us, dehydration will be at an all time high up there (no pun intended), don’t up the ante by drinking your way through the bar. Not only will it disrupt your sleep, but it’ll play havoc with your skin. Same goes for coffee. If you want a little caffeine boost, ask for green tea instead.

3. Get your zzzs in

The first thing you should do when you get onto the flight, is change your watch to your destination’s current time. This will help get your head around your new timezone. This is especially useful if it’s an overnight flight. Lack of sleep shows straight away on the face – skin can end up looking dull and the bags under your eyes will be out in full force. Try to avoid binge watching films and invest in a silk eyemask and noise cancelling headphones. Another handy tip is to bring your own pillowcase to cover the awful scratchy pillow you’re given by the airline.

4. Rock a red lip

Just before you land, apply a slick of your best red lipstick. Not only does it make your teeth look whiter and draw attention away from dark circles, the right shade will complement your skin tone to enhance the warmth in your face and give you a healthy glow. So no matter how much sleep you managed to get onboard, you’ll walk through arrivals looking chic and put together.

5. Invest in travel minis

Ever since airports introduced that darned 100ml rule, we are now limited with what we can take on to the plane with us. There’s no way our whole skincare routine is going to fit into that tiny plastic bag so we have to be clever about things.
Our online editor, Holly, recently flew to Aspen and followed all of these travel beauty tips and here’s what she packed in her cabin bag…

Clinique Moisture Surge Lip Hydro-Plump Treatment, £16 Look Fantastic

travel beauty tips travel minis

During my 10-hour flight, I applied this treatment twice and that was only because I looked in the mirror mid-flight and looked so disgusting only a shiny lip boost would do. Its glossy, super-hydrating staying power will last HOURS, and isn’t hugely sticky so you can eat your incredible in-flight tray food to your hearts content knowing your lips are going to be juicy juicy for the duration.

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Susanne Kaufmann Leg and Vein Spray Cooling, £27 Cult Beauty

travel minis susanne kaufmann

This may seem like a massive space waste in your bag of plane liquids, but no. It is essential. This wonder spray refreshed and cooled all limbs (and olfactory receptors) during my flight thanks to a potent mix of yarrow, marigold and dandelion, and I’m certain also delighted my fellow Row F passengers as a result of my over enthusiastic spritzing. When it comes to Susanne Kaufmann, it’s nice to share.

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Kalmar Peace Balm of Serenity Solid Perfume, £40

travel minis kalmar

As this balm doesn’t count as liquid, it’s the perfect swap if you are short of space when it comes to carry-on liquids. It’s got Frankincense and moss (not to be confused with myrrh) in it, which basically means it smells nice and calming and slightly woody once smudged onto your pulse points.

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Murad Nutrient Charged Water Gel, £50 Look Fantastic

travel minis murad

I trust Murad with my life (and my skin) – every Murad product I’ve tried has been best in class and this Water Gel is no exception. I used this before I flew, as we took off and as soon I got into the hotel directly after my flight. The jelly-gel like consistency added a much needed moisture hit to my skin and sunk straight in without any faff, yet left my skin bouncy and soft all day. This Water Gel has now been added to my normal morning beauty regime.

Buy Now

travel essentials patchology
Sheet masks are the MVP of your in-flight carry on bag and most importantly, they don’t count as liquids. This kit contains x1 hydrating sheet mask, x1 illuminating sheet mask, x1 hydrating lip mask and a pair of rejuvenating eye patches that in 5 minutes, will have your skin looking perky even if you feel drowsy AF. Until someone upgrades me to fancy class, I can’t bring myself to go full sheet mode in economy, but I can tell you the discreet eye patches did wonders for depuffing mid-flight and the hydrating sheet mask pumped my skin back to life (once I was in the privacy of my hotel room).

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This Works In Transit No Traces, £18 Look Fantastic

travel essentials this works

Being the picnic packer I am, I decanted a few of these pads into an old sandwich bag (it’s former life was also a travel makeup bag, so no crumbs to worry about) as the big ‘ol tub isn’t really carry-on friendly. I used a couple of these delightfully soggy pads on my face to get rid of any makeup and general plane grease and the combination of rosewater and water mint left my skin clean and most importantly hydrated in seconds. Again, these have since been upgraded to Daily Routine status.

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Glossier Bubblewrap Eye + Lip Plumping Cream, £23

travel minis glossier

I always feel like a COOL MUM when I have Glossier products on rotation, especially when they’re in a translucent bag passing through security so everyone can see how cool I am. Personally, I think the Bubblewrap eye and lip cream is the best skincare product they’ve come out with – it cooled, softened and visibly de-puffed my eyes during the flight and worked wonders on my dark circles as the jet lag began to creep in. I’m not sure about its lip plumping properties, but I put it on my cupids bow anyway. And I felt cool doing so.

Buy Now

So there you have it.

The ultimate beauty travel tips.

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