Recently I’ve been trying to stick with a ‘theme’ on my Instagram account (follow me here) and I much prefer how it looks since ensuring all of my images are light, bright and consistent. I’ve done this by trying to stick with White backgrounds on every image and also using certain techniques to make my images as bright and light as they can be. With Instagram it all comes down to personal preference and some people may not like this style of feed but for me personally, I prefer my feed to look quite simple and not have too much going on in every picture as this can end up looking quite busy and cluttered. I’ve decided to do a post sharing some tips for how I achieve bright white Instagram images as it’s one question I’m always getting DM’s about. I hope you can take something away from this post to maybe apply to your own feed!

Take photos in natural light; This is a pretty obvious one but taking your Instagram photos in natural light whenever possible will give you bright images that don’t need a great deal of editing. Editing photos with various filters and effects can diminish the quality so taking them in natural daylight is always a good option. I must admit the weather has been so dull lately that it’s really affected my blog photography and Instagram images. Roll on Summer – brighter days & light nights. The bloggers dream.
Use a white base; If you want to create a white, light and bright Instagram feed, you’ll need to take your images on a light base. This doesn’t mean you need a house that’s all white (although that would be ideal) as there’s so many things you can buy to take your pictures on. For example, I recently bought some white floorboards and laid them over my carpet to create a nice bright look on my Instagram feed. It may seem a bit extreme but for £50, it’s made the biggest difference. I also use a white rug, my white dressing table or even white bed sheets to get that nice bright theme. I picked most of my ‘props’ up on Amazon for really cheap so it doesn’t need to cost a lot of money but can make a big difference to the overall look of your account.
Add a filter; Adding a filter and sticking with the same or a similar one throughout your whole feed can really help create that consistent theme that so many blogger have these days. Long gone are the days of sharing your dinner on Instagram (unless it looks pretty and is on a white table – obvs!) but now people are all about the matching images and this can be achieved with a filter. I used VSCO cam mainly and love the filters A5 and HB1 as these really brighten my images and get rid of yellow tones which I personally don’t like. I don’t use the filters at full strength (which is 12 on VSCO) as I feel this looks a little harsh so I usually take it down to around 7 which creates a nice subtle effect. I then use VSCO to up the brightness too! I sometimes use Afterlight for brightening too which is also a great app with some lovely filters.
Brighten and whiten; If you really want to brighten your images or in some cases, change the colour of a background completely, you can use Facetune or Snapseed to change colours and brightness on certain parts or all of your photo. FaceTune is supposed to be for editing faces but I don’t use it for that – I like to use the whiten tool (which is supposed to be for teeth whitening) to brighten up my images and remove any yellow tones. This is honestly so good as it means if you take an image in artificial light which gives that horrible yellow tone, it can be whitened to make the image appear brighter and also make the image your photographing stand out more. As for Snapseed, this is something I like to use if I only want to brighten certain areas on a picture. For example, sometimes I’ll want the background to be nice and bright but don’t want the item I’m photographing to look too over-exposed. You can use the brush tool on this app to literally paint where you want to add brighteness. Genius!
Remove the warmth; One thing I always do before uploading a photo to my Instagram is remove the warmth from the image. I’m really not keen on yellow tones so I always drop the warmth slightly to make it really white and cool toned. Sometimes this adds a slight blue tone to my images too but I don’t mind that too much and feel it adds to the overall look I’m going for.
So there’s my top five tips to create a white and bright Instagram feed! I apologise if you already knew all of this but if not, I hope you picked up a couple of tips! I’d love to know what little tricks you use on your own Instagram feeds too so let me know in the comments below. 
You can also follow me here if you want to keep up with my posts!

ITG’s Best Water Tips

Even if you’re not a betting man, it’s hard not to gamble on the fact that everyone’s “beauty secret” is that they drink loads of water—or maybe lemon water. To prove the point, we gathered every water-related tip from every Top Shelf, After Dark, and The Face. By the end of the exercise, there were 14 pages of quotes. Here we’ve shared the more intriguing of the bunch—and categorized them, too. Enjoy and stay hydrated, kids.

Drink More Than You Think You Should
Michelle Monaghan: “In terms of what I eat, everything’s pretty healthy. I drink so much water—at least 3 liters a day.”

Domino Kirke: “I have chronic dry skin. I went to a dermatologist and found out it was more about hydration, like drinking water. I was putting on the most expensive, thick, goopy stuff, but it just wasn’t sticking. I feel best when my skin is soft.”

Rose Bertram: “I used to have a problem with getting bags under my eyes, but I drink a lot of water now, which really helps.”

Cindy Crawford: “I mostly drink water because there are a lot of hidden calories in drinks.”

Wash Your Face A Little More
Charline De Luca: “One thing I do every night that might sound a little weird, but I can’t get over, is that I wash my face with chilled water seven times—just out of the tap. The shock of the cold water on skin tones it. I do this after I cleanse. I don’t know why seven, but I heard it should be seven, and I’ve been doing it day and night ever since.”

Occasionally Be Wary Of Tap Water
Claudia Kim: “I also try not to use tap water on my face—especially when I’m traveling. I’ll use bottled water to rinse instead. It just seems safer to me.”

Katie Nehra: “Not to keep ragging on LA, but the water here is tough for your hair. I did one of those water test with the drops, and LA water is five percent acid. I’m not crazy—LA water will turn your hair green, so I have a special filter on my shower.”

But Not Too Wary
Isamaya Ffrench: “Honestly though, for removing body paint, your best bet is just soap and water.”

Charlotte Tilbury: “I always wet the cotton pads with water, squeeze them, and hold them on my skin to let it soak, melting the makeup off. This way, I’m not just dragging my eyes around my face, and I won’t end up looking like a bag.”

You Can Be Clean And Also Environmentally Friendly About It
Athena Curry: “I usually take a shower because I don’t like going to bed with makeup on my face. Because we’re in LA and going through a drought, I have a little red bucket that I throw in the shower before I get in, so that it captures all my water as it’s heating up. Then I use that water on my flowers out in the yard. I fill up a bucket every time.”

Consider Steam
Hannah Sider: “I like to use really hot water to steam my face and then splash some cold water on afterward.”

Sheila Marquez: “So first, I wash my face. Then I bring a pot of water to boil and sprinkle in a handful of the loose leaf tea. Then I take the water off the heat, drape a towel over my head, and stick my face over the steam for about five minutes. It makes your pores feel open and detoxed.”

Mix It With Things
Andrea Mary Marshall: “If you put it in a spray bottle, with equal parts vinegar and filtered water, and spray it on your head every day after you shower, your scalp will have a perfect pH balance. I massage it in and just dry my hair normally.”

Camilla Blackett: “[My hairstylist] taught me how to make my own tea tree oil spray with pure tea tree oil and water—20 percent oil, 80 percent water. If I work out first thing in the morning and have to go straight to the office, I’ll just spray the mixture into my roots, and I’m good to go.”

Sidney Williams: “Yeah—me and my friend India would put hydrogen peroxide and a little water in a bottle and spray it on our hair right before we went surfing.”

And Keep In Mind…
Diane von Furstenberg, Book of Beauty: “You cannot have a healthy body without drinking a great deal of water. But remember, you can’t just drink a glass of water and tell a glass of water to please go straight to your skin and moisturize your complexion. Water has to be there all the time, doing what it does naturally in a healthy body.”

Leela G. (NEXT) photographed by Tom Newton.

Cindy Crawford shares some of her favorite beauty and health tips learned over the years as a supermodel. Read more from Water Week here.

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What Should You Do With Unwanted Makeup?

We received an email from a reader a few weeks ago asking what we imagine is now an age-old question: What should you do with makeup that’s just not working for you? Maybe it’s just not what you were expecting (is it even possible to pick the right shade when shopping at the drugstore?), or better yet, an impulse purchase that doesn’t look so hot post-impulse. Either way, we applaud the reader (hey, Vanessa!) for seeking help—because just throwing it out isn’t really satisfying for anyone. So we polled a few people around the office to crowdsource a feasible solution:

Emily Weiss: “I keep a bag in my closet with things that I don’t like for some reason but are by no means ‘bad.’ For example, I recently went all Marie Kondo on my whole apartment and wound up realizing I had, like, 10 different body lotions—Santa Maria Novella, Byredo, weird awesome Korean finds—and I don’t use body lotion. I realized that I wish I was the type of person who uses body lotion, but I’m just not, so those went in the giveaway bag for my friends who take better care of themselves than I do.”

Jen Steele: “Somehow, I’ve obtained a nice collection of YSL and Chanel lipsticks…some of the colors I’d never wear but also could never toss. The packaging is much too beautiful. So instead, I’ll make great use of the colors but signing my name with the the lipsticks in letters and cards or  even getting weird and creating small textured art projects with them.”

Claudia Marina: “I actually have a lot of unwanted makeup at home that I keep around to remind me not to buy anymore makeup. It’s like the neglected succulent you don’t have the heart to throw out, but there it is in the corner of the room reminding you of something you’re just not cut out for. Bronzer? Won’t try that again (or at least not for a couple of months). I like the idea of donating product to women who need it—Dress For Success accepts products to help women prepare for job interviews. If I’m feeling crafty, I’ll repurpose old makeup. Lipsticks can be used as blushes, eyeshadow as cosmetic pigment, and eyeliner can be used as lip liner if you’re going for non-traditional color. Don’t use lip products on the eyes though—infections, people.”

Claire Knebl: “I send my unwanted makeup to my mom and sister back in Michigan! Because I acquire a lot of color makeup and don’t wear much color, this ends up happening pretty often. The easiest way to handle it is to send everything via Shyp. Someone comes to your door to collect all your products, and it’s not much pricier than going to the post office yourself….but it’s worlds more convenient.”

So there you have it: a little experimentation and a whole lot of feigned generosity! It’s never a bad time to fool your friends and family into thinking you want to shower them in gifts. We kid—sort of.

And while we’re crowdsourcing, please drop your tips below. We’re sure Vanessa and readers everywhere will appreciate it.

Photo by ITG. The perfect time to get rid of unwanted makeup is when you’re organizing your stash. What better way to do it than with tips straight from ITG’s beauty closet? And while you’re at it, read all of ITG’s best beauty tips here.

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Hot Weather PSA: Products To Keep In The Fridge

Your refrigerator has a Top Shelf of its own, and some of your beauty products deserve to live up there in cooler climes rather than in the depths of your dopp kit. For your reading and organizing pleasure, we’ve assembled some quick tips to determine which of your staples should occupy prime real estate in your fridge.

A note before we begin: Keep in mind that while refrigerating fragrances, lipstick, nail polishes, and skincare may eke out what little time is left in a product’s lifespan, it’s by no means a foolproof, museum-caliber preservation method. With that in mind, here’s what you can cool and why:

Applying chilled eye creams and face masks will constrict blood vessels and help decrease redness and swelling (something your eye cream may already be doing but could be doing better). The same rule of thumb applies to anti-itch creams and aloe: Your skin can’t process itching, burning, and cold sensations simultaneously, so pick cold and be done with it. Also, anything organic, natural, or otherwise formulated without preservatives should go in the fridge, too. The lower temperature will help to prevent rapid expiration while slowing bacteria growth.

Be careful with serums, though. While commonly considered fair game for the fridge, some specialists insist that the cold temperatures won’t have an impact on dominant, active ingredients in serums, like retinol.

To achieve a more precise line with an eyeliner tip, some makeup artists recommend putting the liner in your fridge 10 minutes before sharpening. You can even pop it in the freezer if you’re in a rush.

Refrigerating your fragrance can make it last beyond its expiration date, but the colder temperature may impact your scent. Be aware that it might not smell as strongly after being chilled for a long period of time.

While keeping nail polishes in the fridge can also make them last longer, the cold temperatures cause the polish to “phase-separate.” Phase-separation occurs when the water in nail polish separates from the other chemicals, resulting in clumpy polish. In order to return your polish to its original consistency, take it out of the fridge, shake the bottle, and wait for the polish to acclimate to room temperature. It should then spread evenly and smoothly on your nail (but it’s up to you to decide if preserving your polish for a few extra weeks is worth the hassle).

Some specialists insist that cosmetics were made for room temperature, so we can’t know for sure how they will react to the cold in all cases. The most useful trick to know here is for when your lipstick melts. Stick it in the fridge door for an hour to return to its original state. Just make sure all top is on tight. Sometimes makeup smells like food, and it’s fine—but when food smells like makeup, there’s a problem.

Photographed by Edith Young. Who says the food in your fridge isn’t also considered a face mask?

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How To Rid Yourself Of Unwanted Perfume, Fast

Top notes exist for a reason—but those reasons aren’t always pure. Hopefully it’s not often, but there are times one will find oneself in the throes of a department store scent counter marathon and one spritz won’t smell as sweet as the rest. It’s an understandable mistake—some bottles are too pretty not to spray, caution thrown to the wind and whatnot. Hey, if it looks pretty, it’s gotta smell pretty too, right? Not always the case. For those caught in their own cloud of aldehydic torture—or, more broadly, have ever been faced with wanting to remove the scent of a tested perfume—a quick tip: Coffee grounds.

Rub some un-brewed coffee grounds on the spot—most likely the wrist—which works double-time as an exfoliating hand treatment. Then wash it off with soap and water and, presto, you have scent-free hands. Live to spray another day.

Photo by ITG. Read a full compilation of ITG’s best beauty tips right here.

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