Hand Made With Love

Alexandra Soveral - Sweet Orange & Rosemary Shampoo

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We’re always wistfully wishing for thick and more luscious looks here at The Amazing Blog but the goal of achieving this is easier said than done! While many haircare products claim to nourish and strengthen hair, the reality is that many contain harsh chemical cleansers that actually strip the hair and scalp from all its natural oils, making it brittle and dry. That’s why we were thrilled to discover Alexandra Soveral’s Sweet Orange & Rosemary Shampoo’s with its nourishing natural and organic formula, which is why it is one of this week’s #amazingfinds.

Cult facialist Alexandra Soveral’s beauty and fragrance brand launched over than 10 years ago, all with the ethos of delivering natural artisanal products produced with cutting edge science. All Soveral‘s products contain natural raw ingredients that are hand-blended in small batches here in London. They strive to ensure sustainability, and have been awarded the Positive Luxury Butterfly mark for its clean formulas.

Their balancing Sweet Orange & Rosemary Shampoo have no parabens, animal products, harmful chemicals or fragrances and most importantly no sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS). This shampoo is enriched with organic essential oils like sweet orange to vitalise the hair and rosemary to leave hair shiny and bouncy. An added bonus is that these oils give the shampoo a zesty, rosemary scent for a reviving smell every use. It doesn’t dry the scalp and is enriched with anti-inflammatory properties making it perfect for those who have an itchy or sensitive scalp. Since it doesn’t contain this drying foaming agent, the shampoo doesn’t lather as much (no SLS’s) as others might. With all these organic ingredients ensure hair is left shiny and luscious.

As the products are hand-blended and comprised of organic ingredients, the consistency and fragrance of the shampoo can vary depending on the season it’s produced. However, the ‘organic, antioxidant and multi-vitamin formula’ still remains the same.  We used the Sweet Orange & Rosemary Shampoo, as a frequent wash shampoo. We’re very happy to report that it not only helped to balance the pH of our hair and scalp, but is also suitable for coloured hair too – a big bonus in our eyes! To purchase a 250 ml bottle of the Sweet Orange & Rosemary Shampoo for £30 see here.

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.

PHB Ethical Beauty – Pressed Minerals 6 Piece Palette

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The brand that gives back is back on The Amazing Blog! Regular readers will know that we’re fans of PHB Ethical Beauty, an award-winning, family-run company that gives 20 per cent of its net profits to charity. Check out our brand directory here to see all of their products we have reviewed. The next product to add to that list is the Pressed Minerals 6 Piece Palette in Night.

Keeping with the brand’s all-natural, cruelty-free, and handmade products, this pallet’s formula is made of pressed minerals including mica, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide. Mica naturally reflects light, perfect for enhancing your eyes, while minimising the appearance of pores. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide create natural SPF30 protection, especially crucial when using the blushers during the daytime. The formula is gentle for use on all skin types (even sensitive and acne-prone skin) as it is 100 per cent natural, vegan, halal certified, gluten-free and paraben free.  

This pallet has four highly pigmented colours: Almond (a light cream), Onyx (a black with light flecks), Celestite (a periwinkle blue), and Grape (a purple with bronze undertones). Each colour offers a satin-like finish that looks gorgeous on any skin tone and will last all day or night. The pallet includes two blushers to finish your look: Camellia (a bright pink that matches the blooming flowers outside) and Peony (a subdued dark rosy colour ideal for a date-night look). Both diffuse nicely into cheeks with a makeup brush for a healthy glow. While this pallet advertises a night out look, the bright finish and versatility of the colours can create a perfect springtime look.

The four eye shadows and two blushers come in a sturdy, flat palette that includes magnetic sealing and a large mirror. You can try the Pressed Minerals 6 Piece Palette for yourself here for £49.95. While the price is quite high, we feel the organic ingredients are worth it plus the highly pigmented eye shadows have great staying power.