Antioxidants

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.

Pevonia - Radiance Mask Gift Set

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As regular reader of The Amazing Blog, will know we prefer brands that can offer us natural ingredients and yet can deliver spa-quality results. That’s why we’ve been long standing fans of UK-based beauty brand Pevonia. Having reviewed a few of their products the past few years (check out our review about their EyeRenew Conceal & De-Age Treatment here). Pevonia’s newest release of their collection of Ravishing Radiance Masks did not disappoint, and left us feeling pampered with their three ultra-smooth masks.

Since its founding 1991, Pevonia has used completely natural and organic ingredients made from the ‘purest holistic botanical and marine elements’ in its products. All Pevonia products are free from any mineral oils, lanolin, PABA, animal testing and fragrances and alcohols that won’t dry out your skin. The range of three skincare masks each target different target problems and skin types but leaves your skin feeling just as radiant and glow-y. With the added bonus is that all three masks have aromatherapy benefits .

There was something for everyone in the office – One of us has combination, oily skin so the Bright Skin Green Apple Mask worked best with her skin. In addition to the polysaccharides, sodium lactate and sodium PCA found in green apple, the mask’s brightening and hydrating efforts are heightened with the addition of Red Clover extract which balances and evens-out the skin. For people with more acne-prone skin, Pevonia’s Pure Skin Charcoal mask, made with ‘the finest micronized Charcoal,’ clarifies and detoxifies skin to improve the complexion. The added Shea Butter and Grapefruit extract also gives an added brightening and moisturising boost to oily, clogged skin. The last mask of the range, the Ageless Skin Collagen Mask, contains collagen polypeptides, Orange peel extract and green tea antioxidants that help plump and reduce lines and wrinkles.

For best results, apply a small amount of your mask of choice to cleansed and moisturised skin. After 15 minutes, remove with water and continue with the rest of your skincare routine. If you’re ready to start seeing visible results, purchase one of Pevonia’s 1.7 oz. radiance masks here for the Bright Skin Green Apple Mask (£40), here for the Pure Skin Charcoal Mask (£36) and here for the Ageless Skin Collagen Mask (£40). We think these trio of masks are perfect for a pampering girls night in!

Totally Derma ® by Boley Nutraceuticals

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We’ve all heard about how important is to incorporate sunscreens, serums and moisturisers to our daily routine as we get older, but Boley Nutraceuticals has totally changed the way we at The Amazing Blog are thinking about anti-ageing skincare. While a good SPF and retinol serum are great to have in your bathroom cabinet, Boley’s ground-breaking product Totally Derma® Nutraceuticals Collagen Drink Supplement focuses on working from the inside out.

Many brands today push for topical-only application of anti-ageing ingredients but Totally Derma® focuses on counteracting both the more aesthetic signs of ageing as well as the underlying physiological processes that are harder to see with the naked eye. Launched in 2017, Totally Derma® has been clinically-proven to increase Hyaluronic Acid (HA) in the body, and it contains Arthred®, a pre-digested and highly-absorbable bovine collagen, which contributes to skin firmness and elasticity. Even better is that the bovine collagen is so pure that it is hypoallergenic, therefore perfect for those who have digestive problems.

In addition, the increased levels of HA and Collagen have also shown improvements in not only skin, joints, hair, nails, bones; but also even in gut inflammation, bladder, urethra and vagina health too. Totally Derma® also contains other antioxidants like zinc, green tea extract and grape-seed extract to help collagen synthesis and ageing tissue. These health-boosting ingredients are taken once a day, from one level scoop daily into 250 ml of water or juice. After digestion, Totally Derma® is 95 % absorbed in the small intestine and then distributed to the skin to stimulate cells to produce more collagen and HA in the body. Even better about this collagen drink is easy to take and palatable, adding a little boost to your day and body. To purchase a tub of Totally Derma and start hydrating your body, see here for your 360 mg 30 day supply at £105.

Necta & Hive - Red Gum Unpasteurised Honey

How about a bit of Latin to kickstart the brain cells today? Eucalyptus Camaldulensis to be exact, for that is the Red River Gum Tree which gives us - with the help of an amazing colony of hard-working busy bees, the truly delicious Red Gum Unpasteurised Honey from Necta & Hive. In a world where some of our favourite things are being added to, or having bits taken away, it is so refreshing to open a pot of this wonderfully lusciously thick liquid that is unadulteratedly pure. The temptation for us at The Amazing Blog is to simply stick a finger in and devour the whole pot! This is a danger that has to be resisted as this is a honey from the serious shelf in the larder, primarily because it is considered quite rare owing to the unpredictable nature of it’s production. The flowering intensity of the Red River Gum Tree varies, and therefore the amount of pollen the bees can collect from the delicate creamy leaves is changeable from year to year.

However, the resulting nectar is well worth waiting for, as it contains naturally occurring powerful antioxidants, flavonoids, known for their anti-inflammatory health benefits. The numerical TA rating of active honey indicates the strength of the antimicrobial potency of the honey. This 10+ TA Red Gum Unpasteurised Honey has medium antimicrobial activity and healing properties to maintain good health. The fact it also tastes delicious is the molten icing on the cake.

We tried out three recipes using this jar of sweet wonder from the suggestions on Necta & Hives website here - waffles doused in the golden potion with blueberries sprinkled on top clinging to the viscous liquid; and a pear mocktail which of course proved a very popular choice here. Clearly this honey is a versatile addition to any well-stocked cupboard.

Necta & Hive pride themselves, quite rightly on sourcing the very best honeys to bring to the market place, it isn’t simply a matter of tickling the taste buds favourably, but also ensuring the provenance of each product. The purity of their honeys is paramount, with attention paid to the exact location of the apiaries, often in remote and protected places, making sure that they are located away from pests, chemicals and other contaminants. Each batch is regularly tested by an accredited laboratory to measure Total Activity levels (this one has a TA of +10), ensuring the integrity of the honey. For further details of the whole Necta & Hive range, visit here, where there are countless more recipe ideas too. To purchase you own pot of yummy Australian Red Gum Unpasteurised Honey see here it is £30 for a 250g pot, and a little really does goes a long way.

Almond Massage Oil and Bust Gel - GMT Beauty

When we at The Amazing Blog find an effective and inspired product, we look for any excuse to feature them again, so when the opportunity arose to sample GMT Beauty’s Body Concept range we leapt at the chance! Having tried GMT's Natura Concept range previously and having loved it, we decided to try the Almond Massage Oil and the Bust Gel.

The Almond Massage Oil is a high-quality, natural organic oil full of Vitamin E to help nourish skin. Almond oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids as well as Omega 9 and 6, which are instrumental to the body’s metabolic processes. The added vitamin E in this product acts as a powerful antioxidant which helps to preserve skin’s youthfulness and vitality. You can use this oil to combat cellulite through massage or to simply relax after a stressful day. Due to the neutral aroma and pure ingredients this oil is ideal for any skin type, including sensitive skin. What's more, the product is completely free from parabens, perfume, mineral oil and silicones - all of which are ingredients that could irritate delicate and sensitive skin. 

An important step, but one that seems to be most forgotten, is to incorporate your neck, décolletage and bust into your daily skincare regime, especially if you want to maintain youthful skin. Why keep your face looking youthful and firm but neglect a tell tale area just a little further south? The Bust Gel improves the structure and tone while also helping to tighten and firm the skin. The ingredients consist of a high-quality mixture of natural and organic oils. It contains rutin and escin which helps strengthen capillary walls while nourishing and moisturising skin, contributing to the development of a youthful radiance. The gel is rich in antioxidants, which are 100 times more effective than vitamin C in fighting free radicals. The gel accelerates collagen synthesis, rejuvenating and firming the skin and slowing down the ageing process. The Bust Gel is limited edition so you might want to purchase it before sells out!

Although the company is based in Latvia and prices are given in Euros, you can purchase GMT products in Pounds through PayPal from their website.  The Almond Massage Oil costs roughly £11.00; however it is currently sold out on the website, but it is available from GMT's UK Stockist Vian for £3.95, click here for more informtion. The Bust Gel costs roughly £30.00 from the GMT website, and is once again £3.95 from Vian