Beauty Christmas Gifts Ideas 2017 | secondblonde

Christmas is just weeks away so time to start thinking about gifts. Luxury beauty gifts are always a good idea. Here’s my top 4 picks for skincare, body care, hair care and perfume and candles ranging from £6 – £105 to suit every budget.

FullSizeRender (43)Sarah Chapman Skinesis Multi Award wining products. Sarah is an A list celebrity facialist with her state of art chic clinic based in Pavilion Road Chelsea. OVERNIGHT FACIAL 15ml £49.00 Transforming night-time serum/oil for lifting and firming – wake up to plumper, smoother rejuvenated skin. INTENSE HYDRATING BOOSTER 30ml £59 Lightweight silky formula comforts dehydrated, stressed, parched unbalanced skin. Say hello to dewy refreshed cushioned skin with fewer fine lines. Shop here

FullSizeRender (44)Charles Worthington EVERYDAY GENTLE MICELLAR SHAMPOO 250ml £5.99 & WEIGHTLESS CONDITIONER 250ml £5.99 Perfect for fine hair for everyday washing without stripping or causing colour fade. Contains a micellar cleansing system fragranceLock technology for long-lasting all day fragrance, not to mention silicone & sulphate free. Shop here

FullSizeRender (41)Sanctuary Spa BODY WASH 250ml £6.00 Awaken your senses with a burst of sumptuously aromatic cleansing. Infused with essential oils and jojoba beads (microbead free) Leaves your skin feeling moisturised. WET SKIN MIRACLE 200ml £8.00 A unique and time saving way to moisturise applied to wet skin to lock in hydration. Ultra light and non-greasy infused with apricot and avocado oil. Keeps you moisturised all day. Both products have long-lasting fragrance technology and are Vegan Friendly. Shop here

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Diptyque Anything form this French perfume house established in 1961 is a winner! TUBEREUSE SCENTED CANDLE 70g £24.00 Creates a sensual luscious fragrance with white flower and tubereuse. Burns evenly, you can up cycle the beautiful glass jar. DO SON EAU de PARFUM 75ml £105 It’s Divinely mysterious unveils it’s powers of seduction – Tuberose, orange leaves, pink peppercorns and musk. Shop here

So that’s it my Beauty Christmas Gift Idea’s for 2017 indulgence for your face, body, hair and seductive perfume for your senses. Happy Shopping everyone! 

*all images are my own – no affiliate links included – some products are PR samples.

Kawaii Enterprise Brush Cleansing Egg | Secondblonde

This little silicone egg shaped brush cleaning tool is the most exciting product in this month’s Glossy box subscription. It’s a first for me and yes I admit I’m terrible at remembering to wash my makeup brushes so I can’t wait to give this a go as it looks like fun! Here’s how…

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Pop the silicone egg over two fingers with the nodules facing you, it’s snug but comfortable.

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Rinse the makeup brush you wish to cleanse with warm water.

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Add a squirt of liquid soap (I use fairy liquid) you can add it directly to your brush – I find it easier to add it to the egg.

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Start swirling your makeup brush over the small nodules at the top to create a lather.

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The product build-up is removed so quick and easy – you can see it all coming out (and in your sink-yuck)

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Finally rinse the foam away, then brush your bristles down the straight deeper groves which will also reshape your brush hairs without causing an damage.

Summary – I absolutely LOVE this nifty little tool, I would never of bothered to try this out had it not been in my beauty box and am so pleased to have it in my life! Who knew brush cleaning could be so quick, easy and fun.

Check it out here £7.99

Secondblonde x

 

Eylure Dybrow Dye Kit | secondblonde

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I’ve started tinting my brows on a regular basis. Lately I’ve noticed some white hairs creeping through – seeing as my brows are already sparse instead of plucking them out I opted to start dying them and I haven’t looked back, here’s why…

It’s so quick, easy and most importantly mess free as this kit doesn’t stain your skin. The kit contains a litte plastic tray to mix up in, an applicator, mascara wand, 5ml tube of colour cream and 10ml liquid activator.

Simply add approx 2cm cream and 5 drops of activator to the plastic dish and mix together well, I use the applicator to do this. Make sure you have cleansed your brow area without any greasy residue. You can use the mascara wand to apply the cream to your brows I prefer to apply with a cotton bud. No need to be too neat as I mentioned earlier it does not stain your skin.Leave on for a min of 2 minutes – I go up to 5 minutes to cover those pesky white ones! Then clean off with a damp cot on wool pad, that’s it you are good to go!

What I love about tinting my brows is that it picks up every single little hair, even ones I didn’t know existed which makes my brows much fuller. It also shows up strays that I hadn’t noticed pre-colouring that need to be removed.

I go for the shade Dark Brown, my brows last  about 5 weeks and there’s at least 12 applications in the box, so at £7.49 (and nearly always on a deal at Superdrug or Boots) it’s cheap as chips but does the best job for DIY groomed glossy looking brows! I finish off with filling in spaces with a wax/powder kit and then brush through a clear brow gel to keep them in place. Ta dah! The result is a much better/stronger brow to frame your features and be less ageing.

FrezyDerm Moisturizing Rich Cream | secondblonde

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I've fallen in love with the FrezyDerm brand lately, after loving the velvet technology second skin sun screen I couldn't wait to try one of the face creams. This is moisturiser is age specific for over 45's (i'm not quite there yet) or for very dry or dehydrated skin.

The packaging is the same as the sun screen I reviewed read it here if you missed it. I really like it. I use the cream in the morning, you can use it morning and night however I prefer to use face oils at night. I've been applying this cream in the morning after cleansing and applying my face serum but before my tinted moisturiser.

I only need a couple of pumps, it'a a pump dispenser which is lockable by twisting the lid. The cream is white and of a medium texture. It smells really nice – like a traditional face cream (takes me back to smelling the lotions/potions my glamorous Nanny Gladys would apply) It moves around my face with ease and is very quickly absorbed. My skin is instantly hydrated without looking or feeling greasy.

It contains 2 types of hyaluronic acid | Normal moisturizing factors (NMF) | Fish collagen: Prolonged hydration Tetrapeptide – 9 | Isoflavones: Anti-ageing treatment | Improvement of post-menopausal skin Avocado oil | Crambe Abyssinica Oil |  Emollient esters: Enhancement of the hydrolipid film

It's recommended as best for dry and dehydrated skin/mature skin 45+/post-menopause skin. Although I'm 42 I think my skin needs are dry/dehydrated.

I am really happy with this moisturiser, my skin really likes it and it's great under my make up as it is non-greasy so makes for a nice base. It also keeps mys skin hydrated and plump all day long, It promises over time to increase firmness and density, skin repairing, anti-wrinkle effect and I have no doubt that it will deliver on all of these promises.

It's reasonably priced at £19.99 for 50ml for more details go here I will definitely re-purchase this face cream, it's a great edition to my skin care routine.

Secondblonde x

Ciaté London Creme Nail Polish in shade Fade to Greige | secondblonde

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Fade to Greige by Ciaté London is a colour that I wouldn’t normally go for, it arrived in my September Glossy Box. That’s one of the reasons I love a beauty box as it introduces me to new colours/ways of beauty – seeing as I’m a creature of habit it’s easy for me to stay in my comfort zone.

Ciaté London is a luxury make-up brand that’s won an impressive 24 awards, I best know them for their pretty looking polishes however this is the first time I’ve tried one.

The bottle is a flat shape which is really comfortable to hold (or if like me hold between your knees on your lap while painting your nails in from of the TV) It’s also very pretty looking with their trademark black bow. I love that it’s really instagramable and practical at the same time. The lid is nice and long providing a great tool for effortless easy strokes every time. The brush bristles are flat which I found very easy to use and hands down the quickest application ever! I’m very impressed!!

The formula is a great consistency gliding on evenly it’s so pigmented I was almost tempted to do just one coat. I ended up doing two for perfection. The colour is hard to capture in a photo as it looks so different in different lighting. The best way to describe it is a violet greyish/brown nude. It’s very flattering on my skin tone I should imagine it will suit all. It’s long wearing as it lasted for 6 full days without wearing off or chipping, only on day 7 it started to wear off the tips.

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Ok my paint job isn’t the best I know but I’m giving this polish a big thumbs up and the colour is a great addition to my nail polish collection. You can check out Ciaté London here this full size nail polish is £9 from the creme collection.

Secondblonde x

 

 

 

Common Labs vitamin B and Vitamin C Real Jel Mask | secondblonde

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I was contacted by B2link to become a creative partner. It's a young beauty start up focusing on incubating multiple Korean beauty brands with outlets and online channels such as Sephora, ULTA, Taobao and Amazon. I was delighted to receive these sheet face masks for sampling as I've never tried a sheet mask before – I always do cream based masks.

The masks are by a company called common labs. On first look I love the packaging and it has very clear instructions. It feels like there is so much gel inside the packet probably enough for more than one use.  Today I'm trying out the Vitamin B Real Jel Mask. It's a 2 step treatment.

Step 1 first you remove the finger pad which is in the top of the packet in the blue section. It's very moist and contains glycolic acid and salicylic acid this prepares your skin and does a light peel. The pad is very soft and not scratchy. Glide over your cleansed face in light stroking movements – no need to rub hard the product will do the exfoliating.

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Step 2 remove the sheet mask, just a warning that it's a bit of a surprise to how much jel is inside that it's a bit tricky at first to unfold the sheet mask but once you get going it opens up easily. The jel contains Vitamin B to calm sensitive skin and give a hydration boost. It also contains glycerin, honey extract, castor oil and various flower extracts. The smell is very fresh it reminds me of the smell of a lotus flower, I love it. My mask was at room temp however I imagine on a hot day it would be really nice if cooled in the fridge first.

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Apply the mask to your whole face I found it easier to look in the mirror and hold it in front of my face and gently pat it on starting from my forehead gently pushing into place ensuring the mask is going on correctly with the eye/nose/mouth cut-outs in the right position. Once on you can see how much of the hydrating gel is on the sheet – I moved it around the mask evenly and pulled some excess down onto my neck.

Now the best bit, lay down and relax for at least 10 – 20 mins. I closed my eyes let my body relax and concentrated on my breathing. The mask feels very soothing and relaxing and feels like I'm having a little beauty ritual rather than just a treatment.  Warning: scary sheet mask selfie alert! Ha ha…

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After 20 mins I removed the mask which left behind lot's of the glorious thick jel which I patted into my skin and used the excess on my neck/chest. The texture is a little sticky at first (guess it's the honey) however when it dries down it doesn't feel sticky a all.

The end result is fresh, clean, smooth hydrated skin – like my skin has just had a big drink of water. My skin looks plump and I feel revived. I've really enjoyed this experience thank you again to Daniella of B2link for inviting me to join her creator program.

I would definitely re-purchase this product and can't wait to try the Vitamin C one for when my skin texture needs improving and brightening – will be a good one after a night out! These common labs real jel masks are reasonably priced at $27.99 for a pack of 10 order your's online here at their Amazon store.

*Top Tip – there's an excess of jel in the packet after one use so pop the mask back in the sachet and into the fridge for a second use.

secondblonde x

 

NEW Bourjois Rouge Velvet-The Lipstick | Secondblonde

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I am so happy to have discovered these NEW Velvet matte lipsticks from Bourjois. They were sent to me complimentary via Influenster for testing.

The packaging is gorgeous and feels quite weighty, when you pull the lid off it reveals the clever shape of the lipstick bullet itself. It’s a slimline stick in the shape of a teardrop and curved to snuggly fit the shape of your lip. It’s genius! It makes for an easy and even application, I really like it. The Miraculous Contour universal lip liner + primer helps extend the wear and most importantly prevents my lipstick feathering (well I am over 40 and need all the help I can get)

For a matte finish this lipstick has a creamy formula and is pretty much the most comfortable matte lipstick I’ve ever used. It glides on even and looks smooth on my lips without drying them out. My lips feel hydrated all day without stickiness. It doesn’t have any particular smell – to me it’s like a faint crayon smell which disappears as soon as it’s on your lips.

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The colour choice is amazing with 12 shades to choose from they’ve covered everything from deep berry shades to bright corals and hot pinks to rose shades and nudes. They are insanely pigmented – literally one coat is all you need, however I build mine up for real impact. The staying power is impressive too I think their claim of lasting up to 24 hours is an accurate one – as these little gems do not budge!

From left to right here are the names of my colour swatches:

12 Brunette

11 Berry Formidable

10 Magni-fig

09 Fuchsia botte

08 Rubi’s cute

07 Joli carmin’ois

06 Abrico’dabra!

05 Brique-a-brac

04 Hip hop pink

03 Hyppink chic

02 Flaming’ rose

01 Hey nude!

These lipstick are my new favourite find, if you like a matte lip you will absolutely love these, the only downside will be choosing which colour(s) They are £8.99 each, however I noticed FeelUnique are doing a 3 for 2 right now here what are you waiting for!

Second blonde x

 

7 Overnight Luxury Mini Essentials | SECONDBLONDE

FullSizeRender (25)When it comes to packing an overnight bag size and weight are always a priority however I do always like to take a little luxury with me. That’s when I delve through my mini shopping basket (from Flying Tiger Stores) which houses all the samples I’ve collected. Sadly most are un-used due to some of the iconic products looking too damn cute to use! (well that’s just me being silly)

On a recent trip to the coast to see my parents these are what I choose to take along in addition to my usual make-up bag and face cleanser – bath & hair products all supplied by mum. In no particular order here’s an overview of what’s in my bag:

Aurelia Botanical Cream Deodorant – A natural cream to powder formula that’s fragrance is Tea Tree, Peppermint, Lavender, Eucalyptus. I’m not totally sold but like the idea of a totally natural alternative. It smells fantastic fresh and feels dry.

Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Recovery Moisturiser – A soothing and calming light cream perfect for sensitive skin and great under tinted moisturiser. It smells like you’ve just walked into a relaxing spa.

NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint – Perfect tinted moisturiser that has great coverage and keeps me shine free all day! And it has an SPF 30

Benefit High Beam – An oldie but a goldie, my go-to luminescent complex enhancer that I dot on my high check bones and blend up and outwards. Also great to blend a dot on either side of the bridge of your nose in the inner corner of your eye to brighten and look less tired.

Dr Sebagh Rose de Vie – You know how much I love Dr Sebagh serums/creams. This is perfect before bed, it’s very calming and smells devine. It’s like giving yourself a mini facial. I always wake up with replenished plumped up looking skin after using this.

Aurelia Aromatic Repair & Brighten Hand Cream – You may already know how much I love this luxury anti-ageing hand cream. If you missed it you can read my write up on it here.

Plum by Mary Greenwell – This perfume has recently been discontinued which is such a shame. Hence why I decided to purchase a couple of full size bottles which were delivered with a few samples – very handy. It’s a classic chypre with a modern twist, uncomplicated chic, sensual and warm. Perfect from day to evening.

There you go my 7 little luxuries that made it into my overnight bag.

Secondblonde x

Barry M Matte Me Up Liquid Lip Paints | secondblonde

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All the drugstore brands seem to be launching new liquid matte lipsticks theses days, being a bit of a lipstick snob (normally wear MAC, NARS, Hourglass) I’ve been very curious about these Barry M liquid lip paints.

My first purchase was the one of the three lip kits (a lip paint and lip liners that comes in a cute box) in a nude colour called “go to” I then got the bug and purchased two more of the single lip paints in shades Paparazzi (red) and Minima list (pink nude)

I have to say I am very impressed with these little gems, their performance is incredible compared to the price point. The lip liner is a dream to use it’s soft and creamy and easy to glide over your lips without feeling waxy.

The lip paint is a very thin texture that is very easy to apply, great if you want to do a bit of over-drawing to enlarge your lips. It’s highly pigmented giving a seamless opaque coverage – no streaks here! It dries in seconds which is a big thumbs up and stays put for hours and hours – all day in fact. They last through eating too – depending on what it is I am eating of course, anything oily is of course gonna shift any lipstick however this one really does stay put – with only needing to touch up in the centre of my lips.

It’s good to prep your lips before applying (to rid of any dry/flaky skin and add some balm then tissue off) as they are so matte that the formula will sink into your lips and show up any imperfections so start with a smooth base.

  • “Go To” beige nude colour doesn’t suit my skin tone, I wanted to try it as I don’t own such a colour – now I know why!
  • “Minimalist” pink nude is wearable on me, I just need to get used to wearing an understated colour.
  • “paparazzi” bright orange/red is different to my usual blue tone red but looks great on and is more of what I’d call a fun pop of colour.

I am totally in love with these lips paints, the kits come in 3 different shades, the single paints come in 5 different shades. They’ve also added 3 new metallic shades in the kits:

Matte Me Up Matte Liquid Lip Kit’s £6.99 here

Single Matte Me Up Liquid Lip Paint £4.99 here

Hope you enjoyed this review. I’m so happy with them – go try them if you are looking for a drugstore matte finish lipstick you will love them.

Secondblonde x

My Top 3 Beauty Influencers | SECONDBLONDE

Having worked in the hair industry for over two decades I've always been interested in beauty. I've been fortunate to come into contact with beauty journalists throughout my career that have been clients of salons I've worked also while I worked in Liberty. I started to become interested in serious skincare about 6 years ago when I first discovered Caroline Hirons and her extremely knowledgeable blog posts and vlogs. They are equally as entertaining as they are educational. I learn't so much about skincare (double cleansing for one) and how to use products and all from a person I could actually relate to, not a twenty something girl who has different needs to me.

This was a time when there were fewer "bloggers" on the scene than there are today. Caroline's blog inspired me to start sharing my own experiences so I created SECONDBLONDE

HERE'S MY TOP 3 BEAUTY INFLUENCERS AND WHY…     

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  1. Caroline Hirons  48 – A third generation skin care expert who's worked her way up from starting as a Saturday girl on counter for Aveda. Transforming her career from retail to the beauty industry. The list of her achievements in the industry is impressive she keeps going from strength to strength. Known for her skin care cheat sheets – check them out here and her brilliantly straight talking detailed reviews and vlogs which will also have you in fits of laughter. Followers/subscribers have even created a #carolinehironsmademedoit hashtag. She has recently launched her own products in collaboration with Pixie Beauty *fun fact – I was introduced to Caroline via a work college at Liberty Beauty Hall (Glroia Lomo) I can't really remember exactly what I said but I do remember Caroline giving me a very welcoming hug. img_0773
  2. Sali Hughes 42 A journalist/writer/broadcaster who started out as a successful makeup artist who then moved into journalism writing features for all the glossy magazines to then become The Guardian's weekend beauty columnist which propelled her following. This was around the time I discovered her vlogs and was instantly compelled to watch – relating to her dry sense of humour. She is known for her brilliant "In the bathroom with" vlogs which are filmed in two parts –  featuring fellow industry infuencers being filmed in their bathrooms while Sali rakes through their cupboards. Most of the time sitting on their toilet seat. It's genius!! a must watch here and of course known for her straight talking honest beauty advice. Then as if it couldn't get any better Sali has written two books, Pretty Honest – the straight talking beauty companion (my beauty bible) launched in 2014 and Pretty Iconic – a personal look at the beauty products that changed the world launched in 2016. I think she is writing a third… I haven't met Sali but have seen her on few occasions while I worked in Liberty Beauty Hall when she has attended events with brands like Surratt. img_0774
  3. Nadine Baggott  54 – A celebrity beauty editor, journalist, and TV presenter. Nadine's hugely successful career is far too long for me to mention everything here. A familiar face on our screens over the years on daytime TV and adverts, also a regular columnist for glossy magazines. Nadine is extremely knowledgeable in her field and has decades of experience in what works. She lights up the room and has a wicked sense of humour. She recently started her own vlogs called "The Beauty Know it All" which are informative, packed full of insider tips and fun to watch. She is brilliant at sourcing/recommending  products for all budgets and answers every single question she receives. She is a true pro – when I watch her vlogs it feels like she is only talking to me. I've met Nadine on a few occasions at the salon and she is an absolute pleasure to be around and is always up for talking beauty! Go watch her now here You will never believe she is 54!

So there you have it my top 3 Beauty Infuencers, I could ramble on forever but that would make this post far too long. (p.s they all love cats)

Secondblonde x