Aloe Vera

Friday Favourites – Cleansers

As we all know the key essential to any good skin care routine is to use a gentle and effective cleanser, not only to remove the daily grime but the residue of our makeup. However, during our research for this feature, we at The Amazing Blog found that there were quite a few readily available high street brands, but they were mainly water-based with chemicals. This combination strips your skin of its natural oils, leaving your face feeling tight and dry rather than supple and refreshed. That is why we wanted to share some of our Friday Favourites which are the latest #amazingfinds for oil-based cleansers and cleansing balms. We know what you’re probably thinking: ‘Oil? Won’t that clog up my skin?’ Rest assured we’ve tried and tested our choices. We all have very different skin types here at The Amazing Blog ranging from very dry to extremely oily and none of these cleansers clogged our pores.

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The first #amazingfind, we found was the Jane Apothecary Soothing Cleansing Balm. This Spanish-based company was founded by Elena Padilla, a biologist and cosmetics expert, after she began breaking out when she turned 30 years old. Jane Apothecary is an award winning brand (see 2019 Beauty Shortlist here) that we have fallen in love with, and recently wrote about their Restoring Eye &  Lip Serum . Elena soon discovered the benefits of vegetable oils and plants to soothe skin as well as other women who were in a similar situation as herself. This led her to create all-natural products that ‘care for and calm the skin of women over 30 years’ while providing hydration and preventing ageing.

The Cleansing Balm’s oil and vegetable wax base gives the product a thick texture and melts in your hands to create a cleansing oil. It has marigold extract, chamomile, and aloe vera to soothe and soften your skin along with bio shea butter to help protect your skin’s natural oils. After using this product, your skin won’t feel greasy, but perfectly moisturised and clean. What made this cleansing balm worthy of a lot of love at the Beauty Shortlist Awards is that it has been specially formulated for sensitive skin as well as redness- and rosacea-prone skin while smelling fresh. Many products that treat skin conditions often smell like a hospital or have no scent. Jane Apothecary uses a mix of lemongrass, orange, and lavender essential oils to give the balm a signature strong lemongrass scent that has aromatherapeutic properties to help you relax while cleansing your face.

If you want extra soft skin, you can leave a small layer of the cleansing balm on for 20 minutes before removing it with warm water and the organic cotton wipe provided. Only a small dollop of this product is needed each time you cleanse your face, so we can safely say the price is worth what you get. You can purchase the Soothing Cleansing Balm (60ml) here for 35.54€


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The next cleansing balm we have for you is the Nourish Cleanse Melt: Rose & Camellia. This product may look or sound familiar because we reviewed the Botanicals Nourishing Face Balm in the same beautiful scent. We’ve found and fallen in love with many products from Botanicals (check out our brand directory here) and the Nourishing Face Balm falls into the same pattern.

The company is rooted in the ‘fundamental belief that nature knows best’ and this cleansing balm has 100 per cent natural ingredients. It is also cruelty-free, vegan, and certified organic. The cleanser contains absolutely no water and is oil-based, which helps retain and maintain your skin’s natural oils rather than dry out your face. It can be used on all skin types, but the natural oils are especially useful for hydrating and healing normal-to-dry mature skin. The formula combines the oils with shea butter and green tea extract to dissolve even stubborn waterproof mascara after a long day and leave your skin feeling soft like a baby’s the next morning. What makes this balm different is that Botanicals’ cleansing balms work deep into your pores to remove any impurities, which balance and brighten your skin. While many oil-based products scare people away, this cleansing balm leaves you feeling moisturised but not greasy.

See for yourself why this cleansing balm won for Best Organic Facial Skincare at the Natural and Organic Awards. You can purchase it here (60g) for £26.  

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The final product we have for you this Friday is the Joji Natural Frankincense and Sandalwood Oil Cleanser. We discovered this indie beauty brands earlier this year at a trade beauty show. The motto of Joji Natural is ‘Natural without compromise’. The company was founded in 2010 and is dedicated to creating handmade organic products that are effective, sustainable, cruelty-free, and fair trade.

 The oil cleanser is made of 100 per cent plant-based materials and is marketed as ‘a meditation in a bottle’. After using it, we can see why. As the name says, the product has frankincense and sandalwood. These are both natural oils that have immense therapeutic effects, leaving you less stressed and creating positive well-being. The formula also has a unique mix of jojoba, sweet almond, and apricot kernel oils, which soothe and moisturise skin without clogging your pores. This oil cleanser is essential in scrubbing away makeup and pollutants from the day, unlike regular cleansers. Many of the ingredients also have natural properties to fight bacteria, leaving your skin extra clean.

You can remove all of the cleanser with a warm cloth or leave some excess for your skin to soak up the all-natural oils, as recommended by Joji Natural. You can purchase the Frankincense and Sandalwood Oil Cleanser (50ml) here for £16.

Whether or not you have already made the switch to oil cleansers, please keep these products in mind not just for the summer but all year round. As mentioned earlier, they will not clog your pores or leave your skin feeling dry. However, what we like is that they all leave a nice layer of moisture giving you a glowy and goddess-like skin. Go try!

Flower and Spice - Rose & Coriander Travel/Discovery Set

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 At The Amazing Blog, we all can relate to the need to pamper ourselves after a hectic week at the office. Therefore, we like to treat ourselves with natural skincare products that are both soothing and calming. So when someone suggested we try the newly launched skincare brand Flower and Spice with their range of natural and organic products, we did just that!

After deciding to stop working in the marketing industry, Flower and Spice founder Karmen Novak  went on to studying organic skincare science at UK-based Formula Botanica before launching the brand last year. Her mission is to ‘...bring nature back to your daily life.’ After experiencing great results on her own skin from the selection of natural oils she chose, Karmen decided to share her propriety blend of essential oils with the world, all in the form of her first launched product the much haled Midnight Beauty Rich Revitalising Serum. Since then, she has gone on to release two other equally successful products. While we only got to try two out of their three products, in the Rose & Coriander Travel/Discovery Set we were extremely pleased with the results. The set is comprises of two of Flower and Spice’s, products the Soothe and Repair Daily Moisturiser and the Midnight Beauty Rich Revitalising Serum. Both of these contain rose absolute and coriander seed oil and other botanical ingredients ensuring the efficacy while also exuding a gentle and relaxing aroma during use

The first product in the set is the Midnight Beauty Rich Revitalising Serum. This contains ten essential oils and is void of any parabens and fillers. In addition to the rose and coriander oils, the serums are antioxidant rich with other oils like prickly pear, plum seed, jojoba, apricot seed, argan, evening primrose and macadamia. Together these work to regulate your skin’s oil production and the texture of your skin by hydrating and preventing signs of ageing.  Flower & Spice recommend using this alone at night-time by simply gently press about three pumps of the serum onto cleansed skin. However, If like one of our team, you have particularly dry skin we suggest using this Serum in tandem with the Soothe and Repair Daily moisturiser during the day.  Let the Serum sink into your skin before applying the moisturiser to lock-in the effects.  

Next we tried was the Soothe and Repair Daily Moisturiser. While the rose absolute in the moisturiser provides an aromatherapy feel, other plant-based ingredients such as the anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory coriander seed oil, grape seed oil, the rare prickly pear seed oil, aloe vera, rosewater and arctic oat extract all soothe, smooth and moisturise giving the skin a dewy, supple complexion. After cleansing skin, apply a generous amount of the moisturiser for day or night. This Rose & Coriander Travel/Discovery Set is perfect to use either individually or together with a layer effect depending on your skin type. Start your journey towards giving your skin a special relaxing treat by purchasing the duo set which contains a 30ml bottle of the Moisturiser and an 10ml bottle of the Serum here for £61.43 and if you purchase now you get 2 gifts offered!

Pretty Athletic – Cool Down: Purifying Gel Cleanser

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Daily workouts are a must for all of us at The Amazing Blog. Whether it be a quick jog in the morning or a Pilates session, we’re all for the energy and health-boosting effects exercising give us. However, we’re less of a fan of the red, sweaty look and breakouts that come with it. In this day and age do we really have to choose between having amazing skin or an amazing bod? We want work out friendly skincare to target our exercise-related skincare needs. That’s where Pretty Athletic’s Cool Down: Purifying Gel Cleanser completely changed our skincare game.

While there are many sunscreens and moisturisers that market themselves as a ‘sport’ product, U.K. based skincare brand Pretty Athletic has been one of the first beauty companies to formulate specific products for the modern, active woman. Besides targeting exercise-specific skincare needs, all Pretty Athletic products are almost 100 % natural and vegan. After trying their Cool Down: Purifying Gel Cleanser, we can honestly say that we have seen a difference in our skin after a workout.

Unlike many other facial cleansers, Pretty Athletic’s Cool Down: Purifying Gel Cleanser doesn’t leave skin feeling dry and stripped. The gel cleanser was not only formulated to target ‘exercise-related breakouts’ but also to nourish your skin in the process. Infused natural ingredients like aloe vera, cucumber and chamomile, ensure red, sweaty skin is soothed and void of any oil and dirt that can clog pores during a heavy workout session. Added hyaluronic acid also helps decrease oiliness while hydrating skin. After a workout, directly apply a penny-sized amount of the cleanser to dry skin. Then after thirty seconds of massaging, rinse off for a clean, hydrated complexion. For £18 you can purchase a bottle of the 100 ml bottle on the Pretty Athletic website here.

Etch Taper - Shave Gel

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Increasingly for us boys at The Amazing Blog the once daily chore of keeping our beard in check, has transformed into an art form of near perfectly precise sculpting of the hair, both on our head and our face. Inevitably around this new phenomenon, a thriving commercial model has emerged not only of barber shops opening at an impressive rate on our high streets, but also now an extensive range of grooming products, designed specifically  for the professionals which are offered also to each of us.

Etch Taper - Shave Gel is one such glorious find, and is the brain child of an entrepreneurial biomedical engineer with a fascinating interest in the revered world surrounding the barber’s shop chair, which went a bit further than simply having the ultimate buzzcut. Dr Salman Malik’s story is an inspiration to those who identify with the entrepreneurial hold that takes place when the potential of a solid idea germinates into the foundation stone for the construction of a brand. As if Dr Malik didn’t have enough to concentrate on with securing two Masters Degrees and a PhD, he also found time to study the art of cutting hair, all gleaned from the wonders of the internet - YouTube and Instagram, take a bow - and from this point, gained a loyal client base of eager heads needing to be kept in tiptop shape at the weekends.

Clearly a chap who is driven in an inexhaustible pursuit of knowledge, the nexhet challenge came in trying to source the perfect gel - if we remember his background, the fact his focus was on the perfect formulation of the ingredients with a very clear goal in mind, can come as no surprise at all. In this he was fastidious in producing ‘a shave gel that worked’, and thus we have at our fingertips the glorious golden elixir  he has produced is a slick, clear golden gel which allows us to see what we are doing, whilst lubricating the skin and follicles which are destined for a trim. The fragrance is peppermint based and key ingredients include witch hazel and aloe vera to soothe. It’s so cools as it glides on, and because of its transparent consistency, we can actually be far more precise in the shave job at hand.

Salman hasn’t stopped there, with a marketing campaign as slick as his product - the visual pull from the pharmacy shelf is given high prominence, understanding his target market, and keeping the message clear and succinct. Something tells us his attention to detail will continue to come through as he works towards the dream of opening his own barbershop, and then taking his brand global. When you see how far he has come in a comparatively short time, it would be a short-sighted person who doubted such an outcome; increasing your Instagram following fivefold in just a few months, and securing three distributors is testament to that.

On the subject of distribution, and where we can all get some of this magic formulation to enjoy, check out  where the golden gel (250ml) is available to buy here for £13.00 .

 

Friday Favourites - Manicure and Pedicure Products

While Film and TV shows often depict women having a standing nail appointment at a downtown salon, we are sad to say that is not the reality at The Amazing Blog. While we love pampering ourselves at the spa every once and a while, we often don’t have the time or money to spend on full manicures and pedicures each week. Thankfully for us, there is a vast market for at-home nail treatments, and you can enjoy some of the luxuries from your flat. We have four #amazingfinds for you this week that will leave your hands and nails looking gorgeous while still feeling like you’ve had a day at the salon.

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The first product we have will leave your hands looking brighter and more youthful before you put on your nail polish. We had the chance to try another product from one of our tried-and-trusted brands, Beauty Kitchen. Since we tested their Seahorse Plankton 5 Minute Miracle Mask and The Beauty Boosting BB Cream, the company revamped the collection into Seahorse Plankton+, which includes the 60 Second Manicure.

The 60 Second Manicure is a quick and easy scrub that uses Himalayan sea salt to exfoliate dead skin cells from your hands and nail beds. The fine texture of the sea salt works quickly and effectively, revealing smoother and healthier-looking skin, and is especially useful for dry patches of skin. What makes this scrub standout from others is that all of the products in the Seahorse Plankton+ collection contain microalgae and blue chamomile. Microalgae is a unique skin care ingredient that can survive in the cold and harsh environment of the North Sea and increases collagen production, which brightens skin. It also contains proteins and antioxidants that nourish skin and reduce redness as well as fine lines. Blue chamomile gives the scrub the relaxing aroma of a spa and renews skin.

Sustainability is a crucial pillar of the brand, so Seahorse Plankton+ products are made with recyclable materials (glass and aluminium) and sustainably grown microalgae. Despite the name, seahorses are not used to make the scrub, and it is vegan certified. You can purchase the scrub (80g) here for £19.50.



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This next product from BalbCare -  Luxury Waterless Manicure/Pedicure Starter Kit provides the perfect layer of moisture once you’ve smoothed your hands with the 60 Second Manicure. BalBCare is a Brazilian-based company that wanted to create a ‘manicure and pedicure service that doesn’t require water: saving both time and resources’. By using their Manicure / Pedicure Starter Kit containing a pack of 20 together with free plier toe nail cutters. Did you know that you can save two to four litres of water with each use and have beautiful-looking hands and feet this summer.

The Manicure and Pedicure Kits come with gloves and socks, plus emollient cream, a nail file and a wooden cuticle pusher. The packets are for single-use only, making them very sanitary – something that is vital when removing your cuticles. They are also flat and portable. The emollient cream in each kit moisturises hands and feet using natural ingredients like witch-hazel extract and allantoin (reduces skin inflammation), tea tree oil (sanitises hands naturally), and calcium pantothenate (nourishes nails). After putting the gloves or socks on, you must break the ends of the glove or sock to push back and remove your cuticles. Like a sheet mask, remember to rub in the excess emollient cream once you’ve removed the gloves and socks. To purchase this Starter kit it will be approximate £40 from here.

For extra soft feet, because we usually don’t put cream on our feet every day like our hands, we suggest using Foot File. We recommend finding a file that is made with 100 per cent surgical quality stainless steel, making it longer-lasting and more effective than a typical sandpaper file that runs down after a few uses. The material also makes the foot file extremely lightweight and has a coarse side and fine side. You can use it with or without water and creams, but we prefer to remain water-less and use the emollient cream

We must quickly add that this is in fact a popular salon-based ‘express service’ treatment that is offered in select nail bars and beauty salons UK wide. To have the full experience of mani pedi performed by trained individuals, this treatment will be around £20 (depending on each salons menus).

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The next product we have is another alternative to going to the nail salon or even having to use nail polish, and it will have even your closest friends fooled. Bows & Toes offers a unique solution for people who struggle at painting their nails – especially their non-dominant hands, makeup artists who quickly need to paint nails left and right backstage, or someone who doesn’t want to leave home. It also offers a luxurious twist to stick-on nails, which many people still believe are only age-appropriate for children to use.  

The UK-based online boutique was founded by two sisters who have backgrounds in the nail business, art, and design. They combined their experiences to create high-quality and detailed designs for the hand-painted nails. Bows & Toes allows you to express yourself and style through your nails whichever way you like with a wide variety of styles. The nails come in classic round and square shapes, but also trendy stiletto shapes that are difficult to create without going to the nail salon. Patterns vary from glitter and jewels to marble and solid colours, which come in both shiny and matte finishes. The 20-piece nail sets are not all uniform and have different hues as well as patterns that coordinate with another.

Each nail set includes the stick-on nails, gel tabs to keep the nails on, alcohol wipes, and a cuticle stick. All nails can be removed with just warm water and are reusable if taken care of properly. You can purchase the Bow Ladies nail sets here for prices of £14.99-£18.99, depending on the design.

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Finally, we have two products for you from HandMade Beauty to complete your nails. The Moisturising Base Coat with Aloe Vera and Top Coat Sun Dry both got a lot of love at this year’s Beauty Shortlist Awards, and we can see why. Diana Burillo’s brand provides organic, handmade, and cruelty-free alternatives to traditional nail polishes that often have harsh chemicals and damage nails. The products are also fair trade and produced with as few ingredients as possible to uphold the company’s mission of ‘creating 100% organic spaces for body and mind care’.

The first item we tried was the Moisturising Base Coat. Our nails truly felt the difference with this base coat due to the formula’s mixture of aloe vera, bamboo extract, and vitamin E. These ingredients add moisture, but also repair existing nail damage and prevent future damage. It’s perfect if your nails are feeling drier with the rising temperatures. On top of feeling more moisturised nails, the base coat left a nice natural shine that could be worn on its own. After the base coat and nail polish of your choice, HandMade Beauty’s Top Coat Sun Dry will give you shiny and glossy nails that look like you got a gel manicure. The catch is that you don’t have to put your hands under a UV lamp or UV light. The top coat creates a hard shell in just three minutes under natural sunlight and protects your nails from getting chipped, resulting in a longer-lasting manicure. The product additionally has a rounded application brush that makes it easier to distribute the top coat onto your nails.

Both products come in simple glass bottles (a clear one for the base coat and a matte black one for the top coat) with wooden caps that would look nice on any counter. You can purchase the Top Coat Sun Dry (11ml) here for €18 and the Moisturising Base Coat (10ml) here for €14. If you buy both together, online orders over €30 qualify for free shipping.

With these four unique at-home nail treatments in mind, we hope you find some time to treat yourself during the weekend. Put on a soft robe, rest your feet, and relax in front of the telly while doing one or all of these treatments because you and your nails deserve to feel like you’ve had a weekend spa holiday.