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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.

Spoolies – Hair Curlers and Beach Waves & Curls Leave-In Curl Enhancer

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When you think of hair curling, three options usually come to mind: an expensive appointment at the hair salon, a hot and hard-to-use curling iron, or ugly round hair rollers our grandmothers once used. These options have many disadvantages, but most of us settled for at least one! Many of us at The Amazing Blog use a curling iron and usually need a friend’s help to curl the back of our hair. We’re happy to say that these problems are long in the past with Spoolies, which offers a fun, no heat, and inexpensive solution.

Most of us have seen hair rollers before, whether in real life or in movies from the 50s and 60s, where women wearing nightgowns spend hours carefully putting up their hair before bed. Spoolies founder Jeanne C. James decided to ‘create classic curls with a modern twist’ for women of today with Spoolies Hair Curlers. The curlers are easy to use and effective for even the finest or straightest hair. Instead of plastic, they’re made with durable and high-quality hypoallergenic silicon, but still light and portable for easy travelling. They are also heat proof to hair dryers if you want to speed up the curling process.

For enhanced waves, Spoolies offers the Beach Waves & Curls Leave-In Curl Enhancer, which you should spray into hair before using the curlers. It is infused with Crambe abyssinica seed oil to nourish, hydrate, and volumise hair while improving the look of curls and not weighing your hair down. It can be used on wet or dry hair and is sulfate, paraben, and phthalate free. The hair curlers work very well with the spray for tighter curls, but we found we got more natural-looking waves without water.

The hair curlers come in two sizes (medium and jumbo) to create a variety of hairstyles from loose waves to ringlets. Spoolies also has a variety of colours including blue, pink, black, and silver. The price of the hair curlers varies depending on how many you want, but we found the best deal was the ‘15 pc – Jumbo Spoolies in Mesh Bag, Beachy Blue’ kit. The kit gives you more than enough hair curlers to share with friends and a quality bag to store them in. You can purchase the kit here on Amazon for £35.95 and the Leave-In Curl Enhancer on the Spoolies US website here for $17.99.

Les Parfums de Rosine - Bois Fuchsia

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We have to admit that at The Amazing Blog, due to the inclement weather, we’ve not been tending to our gardens as regularly as we’d like. We love the fragrance that an English summer garden gives, with the freshness from budding flowers and fruits. So when we received Les Parfums de Rosine with their latest floral and fruit creation, we couldn’t wait to spritz and try.

This French perfume brand was founded by Marie-Hélène Rogeon, whose heritage comes from a long line of perfumers in the family. She is also truly passionate about growing and nurturing special breeds of roses. She has merged these two passions by creating her own brand Les Parfums de Rosine, which specialises in making and designing luxurious and beautiful perfumes all with natural essences. Mme Rogeon wanted her fragrances to be ‘immediately understandable and readable’, something unmistakable in the perfume we tried, Bois Fuchsia.

Created in 2019 by iconic French perfumer Michel Almairac, Bois Fuchsia (translated to ‘fuchsia wood’) immediately gives an uplifting fragrance with top notes of black currant and iris. Heart notes of rose, raspberry, and lychee pack a sweet smell that immediately follows. The colourful fruity scent takes inspiration from Rosa gallica (one of Mme Rogeon’s favourite roses), which is famous for its use in French preserves and jams. Although it is the patchouli, musk, and sandalwood base notes that add a classic and timeless feeling to this perfume. The woody masculine base notes add depth and complement the fruity and feminine notes to make you feel as sophisticated and fashionable.

The special Rosa gallica also inspired the packaging of Bois Fuchsia, which is in an elegant fuschia pink bottle. It is simple with no extraneous writing except a cursive ‘R’ and fits comfortably in the palm of your hand. This scent is truly evocative of a summer garden and allows you to close your eyes and reminisce, bring a ray of sunshine even on a damp and grey English day! You can purchase Bois Fuchsia (100ml) here for £142.

Friday Favourites- Lip Products

While skin care is very important, a lot of people forget to give their lips the TLC that they deserve. Although a good lip balm is a must, sometimes we need a little extra help to keep them moisturised, protected and plumped. For this week’s Friday Favourites at The Amazing Blog, we rounded up four NEW lip must-haves to use in your weekly lip care routine.

 

MYJ  - Knightsbridge Lip Mask

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The first step to any successful lip care routine is to make sure you have even foundation before applying your favourite gloss or lipstick. MYJ’s Knightsbridge lip mask does just this! It rejuvenates and moisturises lips for a plump and naturally-pink pout. Infused with hibiscus extract and other natural minerals, the Knightsbridge Lip Mask created to help improve the natural lip colour by regenerating skin cells. 

For this exfoliation, apply a layer of the lip mask to clean lips. Wait 5-10 minutes before wiping away and you will see a difference in your lips’ texture. After a few weeks of using the mask for MYJ’s recommended twice-a-week usage, we found lips were suitably moisturised and more kissable than ever before! For only £10, you can purchase a 15ml container of the lip mask here. We think that this is a must-have for having smoother and hydrated lips.

 

Jane Apothecary -  Restoring  Eye and Lip Serum

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We all know how important it is to incorporate a serum to your skincare routine but have you ever tried a serum that targets your lips?  This was a new on for us too!  Jane Apothecary’s Restoring Eye and Lip Serum provide that extra step to aid your lip care routine. Made in Spain, the serum is infused with only natural oils and extracts such as raspberry seed, sesame, grape seed, rose hip, chamomile and calendula that work beautifully together to tighten and minimise damage to your lip contour especially from the dreaded free radicals. The added infusion of the calming lavender, bergamot and geranium oils also adds a hint of aromatherapy healing  when you apply this serum to your lips.

For optimal results, we suggest applying a small amount of the Jane Apothecary’s Restoring Eye and Lip Serum to the lips after the removal of the lip mask (above). After patting the excess, continue the next steps in your routine. Even though the serum bottle is 10m, a little goes a long way with this deliciously rich serum. To purchase the Restoring Eye and Lip Serum for £32.67 click here.

 

Lavera -  SOS HELP Lip Balm

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Lavera’s SOS HELP Lip Balm is the perfect lip balm to protect and moisturise chapped lips for all year round. Since 1987, Lavera has developed and produced all its products in Germany using only  100 % natural formulas. With over 300 natural ingredients and actives, each product is made to the highest specification ensuring the quality of their products. The SOS HELP Lip Balm itself is made with their production of ground liquorice root to provide a calming and anti-inflammatory relief to even the most irritated lips.

In addition to being vegan and gluten-free, the lip balm contains no mineral oils or silicone to keep the skin’s natural skin barrier intact and nourished. Other extracts infused into the balm made from plants like the Echinacea strengthen and protect lips from getting dry and chapped. After applying the Jane Apothecary Restoring Eye and Lip Serum, we recommend applying a small amount of SOS HELP Lip Balm to help retain the moisturising effects. Purchase a 100 mL tube of the balm on here for £5.36

A.T Antao  -The Luna Trio

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Finally, while we’re all for a natural pout, sometimes we want a little pop of colour to enhance an outfit. The latest Chinese brand to hit the UK is AT Antao with one of their hero set of products which are their The Luna Trio. This pack of three mini lipsticks that come in three different highly-pigmented shades of red, all presented in a rather glamorous gold box. When A.T. founder Teniya Tao launched the brand in 2014, she aimed to market the brand on a global level by developing products that were highly effective yet non-toxic. The Luna Trio, like other A.T. products, are strategically developed with partnership with European laboratories to ensure these standards. Although the lipsticks when applied are matte on lips, the Vitamin E and jojoba and avocado oils which are infused into the formula, gives the lipsticks a creamy, effortless application.

A.T. also claims that their lipsticks contain lower levels of lead compared to other lipsticks in the market. So you can still have a bold lip without it having to be toxic to your body. These nourishing ingredients hydrate lips while still giving you a bold, matte look. The first lipstick in the trio, 519 Chili, is a coppery red that is great for a more subtle pop of colour. The next lipstick in the trio in the shade 520 Corail leaves lips covered with a gorgeous coral sheen. If you want a ‘true red’ colour, 521 Antao Red is a dialed-down version of the tone to great for putting together a more casual look.  After completing our suggested lip care routine, apply your favourite shade on moisturised lips for a finished lip routine. The Luna Trio is available for purchase for £33.90 on the AT Antao website here

Follow our suggested lipcare routine here with our #amazingfinds and it’s sure to leave your lip truly kissable!

Skin Academy - Pure Range

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While there are many paraben, sulphate and cruelty beauty products out in the market, there aren’t many skincare brands that are both colour and fragrance free. For The Amazing Blog readers that have a sensitive skin, we have found an entire skincare range that is free from any irritating chemicals and scents. Manchester-based beauty brand Skin Academy has developed the six-product Pure range that leaves your skin feeling replenished and nourished - all at an affordable price.

Skin Academy’s Pure range contains products for every step in your skincare routine and that are great for all-skin types. The range contains a Cleansing Facial Scrub, Cleansing Facial Wash, Moisturising Eye Cream, Daily Moisturiser, Cleansing Micellar Water and two Soothing Sheet Masks. All six products contain two key non-irritants: Aloe vera and green tea extract, that soothe, cool and protect the skin. Skin Academy prides itself on offering ‘incredibly high quality skincare at extremely affordable prices’ and after trying the Pure range first hand, we can completely recommend their products for anyone who is looking for a brand that is gentle to your skin and kind to your wallet.

The first product of the line, the Cleansing Facial Wash is gentle cleanse for everyday use that provides great results.  In addition to cleansing the skin, this gel-based facial wash can remove all make up as well.  If you want something more exfoliating, the Pure Cleansing Facial Scrub removes any dead skin or impurities to reveal smoother skin. Since the facial scrub is a little harsher, Skin Academy recommends only using this scrub for a maximum of twice a week.  After cleansing the skin with the wash or the scrub, apply a thin layer of the Daily Moisturiser to your face and neck. In addition to the aloe vera and green tea extract, the moisturiser contains Glycerin, Shea Butter, Pro-Vitamin B5 and even SPF 15 and UVA-UVB filters that work together to moisturise and protect skin from any sun damage.  Next, the application of their Moisturising Eye Cream which soothes any puffiness while hydrating the skin around the eyes. After those long days that leave you too exhausted to do your full skin care routine, the Pure Cleansing Micellar Water is the perfect solution to do a ‘one swipe’ to remove the day’s makeup and grime, while softening the skin in the process.   The last product of the range doesn’t need to be used daily, the set of two Pure Soothing Sheet Masks are a great pick-me-up to lock-in moisture and leave you feeling pampered.  After removal of the mask after 20 to 30 minutes, the Soothing Sheet Mask leaves your skin feeling glowing and fresh without the added redness.

If you’re wanting to pamper your skin but not wanting to break the bank in the process, Skin Academy’s Pure Range is available to purchase here products price range is from £4 - £14 each.