Vegan

Friday Favourites: Hand Creams

Hand cream is an absolute must for us at The Amazing Blog and as we’re still in the throes of winter, we can’t help noticing our chapped hands and split nails. Today we’re going to introduce you to some TLC for your hard-working digits. Whether you’re looking for a quick light fix or a protective barrier cream, we have a selection of our #amazingfinds for you to try.

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As regular readers will know we are fans of Rosenserien products and you’ll find our most recent post on their Shampoo & Body Scrub here. Now we are testing out their rather rich and delicious smelling Hand Cream this has 100% naturally sourced ingredients with more than 75% being organic, it is also vegan friendly and not tested on animals. Key ingredients are Aloe vera, coconut wax, jojoba oil, shea butter, calendula, vitamin E, soybean and rose oil.

What we particularly like about this hand cream is that it feels thick, nourishing and it lasts. It also smells deliciously of roses; this comes in 100ml tube for £17 here and a little goes a long way.

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Yes, it’s yet another natural skincare brand that we have a bit of a crush for. We recently wrote about their Firming Body Milk here . This SOS Help Hand Balm they say is for ‘demanding hands that require special intensive care,’ and we couldn’t agree more. Perhaps not as thick as Rosenserien, but equally as effective. This is much lighter in texture and the cream absorbs quickly. Their organic actives include cacao butter, almond and macadamia nut oil (to relieve tautness) shea butter (for increased elasticity).

SOS Hand Balm certainly comes to the rescue leaving soft hand and hydrated; this is perfect in this current chilly weather. SOS Help Hand Balm is 50ml at a reasonable price of £6.95 available here.


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This is a very different kind of hand cream from the others that we’ve mentioned. Cuderm Hand is more science-based and offers an intense hydration that forms a protective barrier. It has been created specifically for dry and sensitive hands and is fragrance free, SLS freehypoallergenicparaben free and alcohol-free. What makes this particularly unique is the key ingredient of their clinically proven colloidal oatmeal, which is obtained as a natural extract from oats. This helps to support, protect and promote healthy skin.

We think this cream is ideal for anyone with itchy or sensitive skin or who is exposed on a daily basis to environmental irritants. To purchase the 75ml tube for £5.49 see here.

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When you talk about a Potato Hand Balm its doesn’t sound very sexy or enticing. However, I’m assured that potato juice is the thing and extremely rich in vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and potassium minerals. These all offer protection against dry and cracked skin and various skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Potato juice is also deemed safe for any sensitive skins.

Styx Naturacosmetic is one of our #amazingfinds; and with over 50 year standing, this family run Austrian skincare brand has a strong belief in sustainability. So much so, that they’ve scooped up many environmental awards along the way. They believe in using organically grown and locally sourced wild plant-based raw materials for their ingredients, and when we met with them, they were insistent that we had to try this Balm! In Austria potatoes have been used for centuries to help heal the skin. This Potato Balm is based on a traditional Austrian peasant farmers’ recipe used as a remedy for treating all skin blemishes, sunburn, rough and chapped skin. In the balm there are also cold pressed vegetable oils (jojoba and macadamia) with the addition of shea butter and of course the potatoes. We like the slight sweet nutty fragrance, and that there was no greasy residue and it absorbed quickly. Potato Balm is available in a 70ml tube at £14.26 from Amazon here.

Whether your hand cream is made from roses, nut oils, colloidal oatmeal or potatoes; we hope that we’ve given you a ‘helping hand’ to try something just a little bit different.

Khadi's Face Masks

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The best way to start a relaxing self-care routine is with the perfect face mask. We at The Amazing Blog are always on the quest to find top quality products that work with the skin’s natural balance, so we were excited to discover Khadi, an skincare company with 100% organic and natural products.

Khadi combines Ayurvedic formulations (developed with Ayurvedic doctors), to create a strong unity of body and mind. The concept of the company was formed after one of the co-founders took a trip to India. H had always suffered with a dry and itchy scalp, a problem that was solved by using a Ayurvedic shampoo. So effective at ridding him of dandruff, he brought his findings back from India. He subsequently helped to set up the brand Khadi developing handmade herbal products like Ayurvedic shampoo, handmade soaps and skincare. Although these products are from India they are also German organically certified. All their ingredients are 100% natural made with herbal ingredients which are vegan, free of parabens and artificial ingredients. These products work with the power of India’s nature, using exotic ingredients and age old wisdom.

We tried three of their herbal face masks and were very happy with the results. Starting with our favourite one the Sandalwood, which is suitable for all skin types. We found that when using this, that our pores significantly reduced. Those of us with sensitive skin were also pleased to discover that it was particularly effective at cooling and calming the skin, even protecting against sunburn. It provides a fresh and healthy complexion, moisturising the skin and subsequently smoothing any small imperfections and wrinkles. The Orange mask is slightly sweet-scented - it immediately brightened our mood when applied. Perfect for combination skin, this mask works as a natural cleanser, helping to create a smoother complexion. It can also be used on the body, by stimulating blood circulation, helping to prevent both cellulite and bloating. Finally, the Neem mask is primarily suitable for normal to greasy skin, as it works as a natural antiseptic, preventing infections, removing toxins and restoring a natural and healthy glow. It really detoxifies your skin, freeing it from impurities, as well as refining pores. It also works to fight bacteria, leaving your skin feeling fresh, without a tight sensation.

All three herbal masks use clay as a base, which clarifies and prevents inflammation. No matter which skin-type, you will find the perfect mask to leave you feeling relaxed and fresh. By cleansing, hydrating and supporting regeneration, all three masks promote more harmonious complexion. To use, mix one teaspoon of the powdery mask with water (you can add milk for dry skin, or yoghurt for greasy skin), and apply a thin layer on face and neck (or even the body if you wish). Rinse after 15 to 20 minutes, and you’ll be greeted with a hydrated and fresher skin.

To purchase one (or all) of these face masks for yourself, click here, where you will find each Khadi Herbal Face Mask for £12.90.

Friday Favourites: Body Care Products

When The Amazing Blog did a quick beauty poll amongst some friends, it seems that body care products are something frequently overlooked. We all take great care to moisturise our faces, but what about our poor hard-working bodies? Today we have reviewed some of our #amazingfinds for the body, which we hope will tempt even the most sceptical or lackadaisical among you.

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Let’s begin with Lavera, a brand that we know and love (see here for more). Lavera never fails to live up to our expectations with their 100% certified organic ingredients, all of which are dermatologically proven, vegan and with all the free-froms. We like a good multi-tasker and with their Firming Body Milk we have found just that. Not only does it help to moisturise, but it also works to firm up the skin too. Lavera claims that when used every day, there will be a noticeable difference in your skin texture within two weeks – quite a claim, but one we can justify! Gently fragranced, the use of key ingredients, organic green coffee bean and green tea, help to stimulate the skin, for a soft and smooth finish. On the other hand, the use of rosemary and grape help to leave skin feeling silky-soft. It is lightweight to use and absorbs quickly, thankfully leaving no sticky residue. They suggest exfoliating first (Lavera has a rather lovely Smoothing Body Scrub) and applying daily. Whether you’re looking for body firming or not, we really liked the fragrance, feel and texture. Sensibly priced at £10.95 for a 200ml tube , it is available here.

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Next, we have CeraVe’s Moisturising Cream, an impressive hyaluronic acid and ceramide based barrier cream, suitable for use on both the body and face, and gentle enough for eczema-prone skin. What are ceramides, I hear you ask; they are lipids that not only help to form the skin’s barrier and retain moisture but also protect against environmental pollution. This body moisturiser is particularly suitable for anyone with dry or very dry sensitive skin. CeraVe is a US brand developed in tandem with dermatologists, they have over 70 products to offer and what makes their product unique is their revolutionary delivery system: MultiVesicular Emulsion Technology (MVE). This technology releases moisturising ingredients over a 24 hour period, layer by layer, to help keep skin soft all day long. Ingredients are not natural, but they are fragrance free, non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic. CeraVe are also quick to point out that they have received more Seal of Acceptance awards from the National Eczema Association than any other brand, which makes them a very tried and tested brand. Available from Boots or Superdrug, this is an economical product, £8.50 for 177ml.

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Our third body moisturiser is from the award-winning British brand PHB (Pure Handmade British) Ethical Beauty which is stuffed to the gunnels with delicious superfoods. This 2-in-1 Hand & Body Moisturiser has had us all cooing and oohing. We’ve been long-standing fans of PHB Ethical Beauty and have reviewed several of their products (and we hope many more) - see here. So when given the opportunity to try their new Hand & Body Moisturiser – we leapt at the chance! This brand is very special with 20% of their profits going to The OneLove Foundation (founded by PHB Ethical Beauty in 2015). All their products are made with ethically harvested and responsibly sourced ingredients that are 100% natural, vegan, cruelty-free and alcohol-free (Halal certified). They call this a “no-nonsense moisturiser” and we couldn’t agree more. It absorbs quickly and comes with a list of simple, natural and certified organic ingredients that perform; it feeds the skin with a pure and powerful blend of mango, shea butter, apricot and pumpkin seeds – we love both the fragrance and simplicity. It is available on the PHB website here for £16.60, in a 150ml recyclable tube.


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Our final discovery are Liquid Body Washes from Fil Blanc (meaning “white thread” in French), perhaps best known for their high-quality Hammam Turkish cotton towelling (we have our eye on their multi-coloured hand woven bath robe). The brand’s inspiration is taken from Mediterranean luxury living, with a touch of bohemia thrown in. Fil Blanc is based in historical St. Nicholas Market at the Exchange Hall, Bristol where they started three years ago. All products are sourced or designed by the founder Gulsum Gok. She very kindly sent us two of their body washes Relaxing and Orange & Jasmine. All body washes are 99% natural with a 81.98 % organic base, also vegan, cruelty and paraben free. Again they come with a very simple list of ingredients: Relaxing is made with essential oils of geranium, lavender, orange and ylang-ylang; whereas Orange & Jasmine has only these. Both contain honey and aloe vera with an Argan oil base. At a reasonably priced £12 for 259ml you can purchase both here, or alternatively make a visit to their Bristol HQ.

Now there is no excuse not to implement a little body pampering!

Veil Cosmetics AutoMatte Makeup

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Imagine you’re having an after work drink, enjoying yourself at your local pub, with a glass of something nice. You go to the bathroom with a spring in your step, only to discover that your forehead could compete with the shining radiance of the sun. And no, we’re not talking about that “healthy glow”, but the present layer of sweat and city dirt that accumulates on your skin. Sound familiar? Luckily, for these unfortunate emergencies, we’ve discovered the company Veil Cosmetics, our newfound saviour at The Amazing Blog. Founded by internationally acclaimed makeup artist Sebastien Tardif, the brand offers illuminating, brightening and (most importantly) mattifying products that are multi-tasking and modern.

To lessen the glow (and by this we mean the daily London grime) from our cheeks, chin and forehead, we were thrilled to discover Veil CosmeticsAutoMatte Mattifying Base & Touch-Up Makeup. It is powerful at creating a matte finish to the skin, combatting excess oils, while brightening and clarifying at the same time. Coupled with the ultra-fine, and non-drying texture, it works wonders without the need for any other powders.  

The best thing about it: it’s suitable for all skin types and tones, making it a versatile and powerful product that we think everyone should keep in their bags. Powerful ingredients like vitamins C and E promote collagen regeneration, while brightening and clarifying at the same time. This multi-purpose mattifier is not only suitable to prevent oily skin, but it also creates an ultimate matte lipstick look, when applied on top of lip balm. Furthermore, it can also be used as a primer before applying your eyeshadow, helping it last longer and to intensify the pigments. Another bonus, it’s imperceptible on your skin, making it invisible for both humans and the camera. 

If you wish for a product that leaves a fine, oil-free finish that mattifies and flatters universally, then you can purchase this 100% vegan and paraben-free product here for $39.00. They offer free worldwide shipping, so no need to worry if you’re purchasing from outside of the US.

Christmas Gift Guide for Men

With just eight days to go until Father Christmas arrives, we can’t quite believe how quickly the season of giving has come around. We’re not yet at the stage of panic buying; however, it has to be said that most of us at The Amazing Blog, are beginning to cut it fine with our present ideas. If you too are struggling, then this week we will be providing some last minute gift guides, helping you to spend less time worrying about the tricky receivers to buy for (we all know someone), and more time enjoying the festivities. Today we start with ‘Gifts for Men’, ranging from grooming products to technology and accessories. Grab a mince pie (and a glass of something nice), and let us do the research for you.

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Firstly, we introduce The Bluebeards Revenge - a shaving and grooming company who provide products that promote a sustainable grooming routine, as opposed to the quick rush (and inevitable cuts) from using mass-market products. We previously reviewed their Ultimate Sea Salt Spray (see here), and so we were thrilled to try their Soap Stack Kit. True to their promise of creating products that are neither cheap cans of mass-produced products nor designer creams that are more akin to moisturisers, this set consists of three expertly produced soaps.

Ideal for any wash or gym bag, these soaps are unique in many ways. Primarily, the three scents are the perfect balance between providing a less feminine smell, while also promoting hydration and comfort. The first, ‘Classic Ice Soap’ is a modern twist on the British barbershop fragrance, a welcome scent that provides manliness and moisturisation simultaneously. Secondly, ‘Big Blue Bar of Soap for Blokes’ has a simple and fresh scent, and thanks to the bright blue colour, stands out amongst the sea of other generic products. Equally, ‘Cuban Gold Soap’ is ideal for days when an exotic aroma is needed (calling all Monday mornings!) With inspiration from the Caribbean, this soap packs a punch, and as a result of the unique shape, it is easy to handle, and unique to the eye. To make life even easier, these soaps come packaged in an aesthetically pleasing box, which coupled with the attractive colours, makes for a ready-made present. These soaps lather well and help to invigorate the body. To gain optimum benefits - use from head to toe, either in the bath or shower. The Bluebeards Revenge are also strictly against animal testing, and these soaps are both vegetarian and vegan-friendly - the perfect grooming gift that doesn’t involve a generic body spray or cheap aftershave. The best part? The Soap Stack Kit is affordable, at £13.99. Click here to see for yourself.

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For a man with a newfound grooming routine, a durable wash bag is undoubtedly next on the list. We turned to a brand that we know and love and discovered Morris & Co.’s ‘Refined Gentleman Washbag’, which we think fits the bill perfectly. Part of the brand Heathcote & Ivory, Morris and Co. similarly specialise in creating unique and detailed lifestyle products. We have previously featured both Heathcote and Ivory’s Inflight Essentials and Christmas Gifts Set, so were excited to try a lifestyle product aimed at the male market. Thankfully we were not disappointed!

The Refined Gentleman Wash Bag is the ideal gift for a man that is looking for some luxury. The wash bag itself is generous in size, fitting full sized products in, with ease. Thanks to the use of a zip, it also opens and closes easily, and uses vegan leather, which ensures it is wipeable, and therefore easy to keep clean. The real standout of this product is the Acanthus print, inspired by Morris & Co.’s first wallpaper design. As the primary showcase of the brand’s plan to create large-scale wallpaper designs, we like this historical link, as well as the elegant and unique finish. The inner fabric is also wipeable, made from 100% polyester, meaning any spillages can be quickly rectified. To purchase a wash bag for the gentleman in your life, then click here, where you will find The Refined Gentleman Wash Bag available for £24.

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For a gentleman that enjoys a tipple, we also came across Morris and Co.’sThe Refined Gentleman Hip Flask’. Designed with the same embossed pattern as the above wash bag, this hip flask is a classy addition to any inner pocket. Although it is slim enough to fit most pockets, it contains enough room to hold approximately 200ml of liquid. Once again, the fabric is vegan and wipeable, meaning any sticky alcohol spillages can be removed with ease. It comes packaged in a simple, and elegant box (yes - we look for presents that are easy to wrap too), and we think it would make a great present alongside the Wash Bag or would be equally welcomed with a small bottle of your receivers favourite spirit. Either way (or neither way, as it is equally lovely on its own), you will find it on the Heathcote and Ivory website for £22 - a reasonable price for a present that is durable, and sure to be well loved.

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For something a little more outlandishly festive, we came across Lime Lace. Stockists of stylish home accessories, gifts and furniture, their website offers an abundance of gifting options, from artwork to lighting and cushions. It was, however, the candles that caught our eye, in particular, The Christmas Jumper Candle the perfect balance between Christmas kitsch, and clever design.

This candle adds a little festive spirit to any room and will be sure to make your receiver smile. We must confess that we were concerned by the prospect of this candle looking too novelty, however, we were pleasantly surprised by the enormous amount of detail. The wax has been carved to look like intricate wool, and the addition of the glitter is an excellent way to jazz up any table or mantlepiece. The detail even goes as far as to emulate red stitching around the cuffs and hem, and we were pleased to discover that the glitter is non-transferable. Gone is the worry of packaging a present, only to find a product that has become distinctively less glittery in the process. Additionally, you’ll find the outer box easy to wrap, although we think it would look lovely when wrapped in cellophane, with a red ribbon bow. The size of this candle also surprised us, at 11x12cm, a decent dimension to create an optimum festive atmosphere, without being overbearing. To send a little Christmas cheer of your own, purchase a Christmas Jumper Candle here for £16.95.

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Finally, for the gadget lover in your life, we discovered Orbitkey. Founders, Rex and Charles, started the company after they decided enough was enough when it came to key organisation. Initially, it took just 30 days to gain 5,000 supporters, and with bases in Melbourne and New York, the success is now notable. Based on the concept of making key storage less bulky, we were keen to try the brand for ourselves.

Although Orbitkey have a plethora of different options, we particularly like the Orbitkey 2.0 Leather. This design comes in a vast array of colours, from simple black and stone to more eye-catching sage and tan. In a nutshell, this product provides a way to hold up to 7 keys, organising them, preventing them from scratching and providing a durable and lightweight finish. Now, of course, this product is not merely limited to men, but we particularly think the concept is perfect for men who often carry keys in their pockets. We were astounded by how convenient this product is, not just for protecting the keys, but also other ensuring other items in pockets and bags are equally protected. Orbitkey have also considered the inevitability of needing to add car keys separately, which can be done utilising the slim D-ring at the top of the leather strap. We tried the Orbitkey in Charcoal with Grey Stitching, which has proven to be popular in the office - especially among the male members of our cohort. There is also the option to monogram the genuine cowhide leather, which screams present giving to us (although you may be pushing it this week). We get the impression that design and ergonomics are paramount to this brand, which only extends further into the stylish and sleek box that the product arrived in. To encourage organisation for a man in your life, see the Orbitkey website here, where you will find this design for £35.59 or £46.23 with monogramming.

So there we go, five products that have hopefully given you a little inspiration for any gift giving nightmares. Perhaps you’ve even found a little something that you’d quite like yourself (when is it too late to add to your Christmas list exactly?) Be sure to check out the rest of our guides this week for even more inspiration, or for those of you who are indefinitely organised, perhaps these could be potential gifts for the New Year. Happy shopping!