Christmas Beauty Stocking Fillers 2016 | secondblonde

Christmas is just around the corner with only 6 shopping days left to grab those last minute stocking fillers, so here’s just a few of my picks that won’t break the bank…

img_9296C.O Bigelow is always a winner – based in NY the oldest apothecary in America, this brand has a no-nonsense approach with quality ingredients who pride themselves on being honest, genuine and trustworthy since 1838. I’ve opted for some of their new skincare, perfect for the man who doesn’t have a skincare routine I have boxed together this Deluxe Facial Moisturizer $28 here and Sugar Crystal Face Polish $32 here or available in-store at Liberty London Beauty Hall.

img_9309Cowshed products are plant based luxury products, developed from the original Cowshed Spa at Babington House. The brand has a loyal following, and if you stay at any of the Soho House group’s your bathroom is filled with Cowshed bath & body products. I’ve selected the Cowshed Wreath Cracker which is excellent value and lot’s of fun containing a Cow Slip Hand Cream and a Lippy Cow Lip Balm £10 here

fullsizerender-43Maybelline – Merry Little Mani the perfect trio of seasonal colours from their Color Show collection including: Downtown Red, Watery Waste and Black Magic. Pick it up at any drugstore, I got this one from boots £7.50 here the colours are all really wearable, I’d opt to paint mine all in the dark red and do one nail in the metal or glitter colour.

img_9316Stop The water While Using Me!  An eco friendly brand which encourage people to save water, with a range of bathroom products – just remember to STOP THE WATER WHILE USING ME! Perfect gift for those who like natural luxury products and are mindful of our environment, recycling and waste. I’ve selected the fresh All Natural Cucumber Lime Soap (liquid) £20 and All Natural Cucumber Lime Hand Balm £15 here

So there you have it, my beauty stocking filler picks, hope I’ve inspired you to dd some beauty to your gift list!

Secondblonde x

 Gel Lab Pro | AW16 “Wild Thing” | Deborah Lippmann

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I fancied a change to my usual choice of colour and opted for a deep sea green/blue colour by Deborah Lippmann. It’s called Wild Thing and is from the new AW16 collection of the Gel Lab Pro range.

My first choice of winter nails will always be a berry/wine shade – much like the iconic shade of Rouge Noir by Chanel, Famously worn by Uma Thurman in the cult film Pulp fiction (which happens to be one of my all time favs) Anyway I’m rambling, back to the current…

The formula of DL Gel Lab Pro polish is perfect, the colour is very pigmented, the application brush is a flat one which I don’t love as I find it to be quite wide making it difficult to get close to the nail bed and sides. I prefer a round brush. The colour is nice and dark after two coats I really love it! It’s much darker than how it looks in the bottle and that’s a good thing.

The finish is high shine and the icing on the cake is that it’s free from 7 nasties. In fact here is a list of all the good ingredients to deliver health, wear and shine:

Health – biotin, keratin, aucoumea, rice protein, evening primrose, green tea extract

Wear – bamboo, nonychosine f

Shine – nylon, carnauba wax

My Verdict This luxury nail product lives up to it’s expectations. I used the DL Hard Rock nail strengthener base and top coat. Just one of my nails had a very slight chip after 3 days wear (which I patched up) however the rest of my nails continued to look good and chip free for 6 days. Today is day 7 and they have started wearing off on the tips and I have a nail bed regrowth as my nails grow pretty quick.

I really like this nail polish, check it out online here and use code DAZZLE and get 15% off your order.

Secondblonde x

 

Back to black – still time to save 15% on beauty products

I’m not really big into this black Friday malarky – but I am big into saving money on a purchase you already planned to buy.

Use this special Discount Code HERE for Feel Unique valid until 28th Nov 2016. Go’on treat yourself to that beauty product on your wish list that everyone’s been raving about!

Happy Cyber Weekend!

Secondblonde x

 

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm | secondblonde

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This award-winning cleansing balm is a firm favourite of mine and it’s worth all the hype! If you haven’t indulged in it yet I can assure you that you will not be disappointed.

Emma Hardie is a leading UK therapist (Emma used to attend to client’s based in MichaelJohn salon Mayfair, my husband used to work there) Her products are all made in England and she is a pioneer in natural healing and skin rejuvenation.

I use this cleansing balm for both morning and night. As you massage in the balm melts turning into a lovely oil that feels amazing on your skin, you only need a pea size as a little goes a long way. It breaks down all makeup including mascara and the smell (you know how much I like smells) well let’s just say it’s amazing! The Essential oils of Orange, Neroli and Mandarin are so beautiful and calming.

To remove I always use a clean warm damp flannel. The balm comes with a cleansing cloth which is like a microfibre texture and helps remove dirt from pores. My skin is always very clean and hydrated and very soft after using it.

  • Moringa Cleansing Balm is a balanced daily cleanser that thoroughly cleanse deep in the pores, moisturises and calms all skin types
  • Grape Seed Oil and Sweet Almond Oil rich in essential fatty acids help to plump and soften
  • Moringa seed extract, Wild Sea Fennel and Vitamin E balance, purify and help to minimise the appearance of open pores
  • Essential oils of Orange, Neroli and Mandarin rejuvenate and revitalise the skin whilst calming the senses
  • Jasmine and Rose help to recondition dull, dry, dehydrated and mature skins
  • Removes all traces of face and eye make-up 

This cleansing balm delivers on every promise, my skin is always nourished, plump and the appearance of my pores have improved and my skin is much calmer.

What I also really like about this product is that it is muli-use it is so pure it doubles as a soothing and hydrating mask if left on the skin for ten minutes, or you can apply a thin layer to clean skin before bed as an overnight treatment. It also works as a spot treatment as the moringa is a natural antibacterial.

I’m looking forward to using the Brilliance Face Oil sample and the other samples I have to try out. I’ve just discovered that she does a candle too if it’a the same signature smell then I want one!

My Favorite Night Balm – C.O Bigelow 8 hour overnight recovery lip treatment | secondblonde

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This overnight treatment by C.O Bigelow NY is my lips new best friend and my favourite lip balm. I discovered this amazing lip balm a few months ago and recommend it to anyone looking for a new lip balm or anyone that suffers from dry lips. It’s a non-sticky lip treatment that stays put on your lips for 8 hours…yes it really does!

It contains shea butter and has a very slight vanilla scent, the texture is nice and thick but never gloopy. I normally apply it to my lips before bed and wake up to nourished smooth plumped lips. What I really love about it is that even after 8 hours it is still fresh on your lips as if you’ve just applied it. I also find that my lipstick goes on better and stays put longer after using this balm.

If you are looking for a new lip balm you must try this one or any of the other C.O Bigelow balms available at Liberty Beauty Hall. I also have the Mentha Lip Shine/Breath Freshener that contains 100% natural mint and the Mentha Lip Balm Stick that’s a matte finish with an spf  all of which I use on different occasions because they do what they say they will do…honest | genuine | trustworthy Apothecaries.

C.O. Bigelow was established in New York in 1838 providing healing remedies. As the oldest surviving apothecary in America, today the brand fuses a wealth of experience with the best in modern technology to create authentic herbal skin care, lip balms, hair care, body and bath products.  

Secondblonde x

Bamford Botanic Nurture Balm | secondblonde

 

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Whenever my skin needs a little TLC I reach for my little pot of Botanic Nurture Balm. If you aren’t familiar with this brand read my review here of their body wash/cream which includes a quick background on this English heritage brand.

This beautiful pot of botanical balm is a nourishing Shea Butter containing healing arnica with omega-rich rosehip oil. It’s a nutrient – intense balm great for dry skin/patches. It’s ingredients is 100% organic and is scented with notes of chamomile, lavender (not strong) and tea tree oil.  Key Ingredients Shea butter . sunflower oil . jojoba oil . rosehip oil . olive oil . lavender oil . geranium oil . chamomile oil . tea tree oil . arnica Montana extract.

Summary I tend to use mine in the winter months when my skin plays up due to colder air outside and central heating inside. I like to apply it to spot area’s such as my heels/ankles, elbows, knees and any other small rough patches.

The texture is much what you’d expect from a solid balm, once warmed in your palms it softens and sinks into your skin quickly. It does leave a balmy residue as expected however it’s not overly greasy. The smell is wonderfully delicate as it’s all natural and organic.

I can really smell the geranium and chamomile above all the other ingredients and find it really soothing and moisturising  on my skin and also really calming and relaxing for my mind. It’s a little moment of calm while you are massaging it in. I like to massage it into my cuticles then cup my hands over my nose and breathe in for a few seconds to inhale the aromas…..ah bliss! I also use mine to heal and calm skin problems like little patches of eczema.

*Top Tip it’s also great for your hair to calm flyaway’s  – after use  on your skin smooth the remains on your palms over your hair, particularly the ends.

This is certainly a luxury product at £22  for 60ml however as a little goes a long way, mine seems to be lasting forever.

Secondblonde x

The Konjac Sponge Co-100% Vegetable Fibre Face Sponge | secondblonde

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The Konjac Sponge Co produce 100% biodegradable vegetable fibre sponge’s with a unique net-like structure. This gently massages the skin to stimulate blood flow and cell turnover and removes all traces of dirt and make-up with or without any cleanser. There are different options available depending on your skin type/needs. I’m trying out the Pink Clay enriched one which is best for dry and mature skin.

What is Konjac? Made from Konjac Potato or Konnyaku, first discovered in the Indochinese region that has been used for 1,500 years as a medicinal, food, dieting and beauty product. Naturally alkaline and pH neutral it leaves skin perfectly balanced for radiant skin. Gentle enough for sensitive skins and babies, the pure Konjac Sponges are the ultimate in natural, effective skin care. 

How To Use It Rinse your Konjac Sponge in warm water, squeeze it out and gently cleanse your skin. (when it’s dry it shrinks and feels hard with an uneven surface, when hydrated it expands to a smooth round dome shape that feels soft on your skin) I like using circular movements, the sponge fits nicely into the palm of your hand. You don’t need to use a cleanser but can add a small amount if desired.

After use rinse your sponge well, and allow to dry in an airy place between uses. It has a handy little string loop to hang it up, I hang mine in my shower. It will last for about 3 months and then you need to replace it. You can add it to your garden compost after use.

Summary I really love using this natural sponge, I tend to use it in the mornings when I don’t have any make-up to remove. I use it without cleanser to give my face a nice gentle exfoliation and massage – feels so good. Then I use a cleanser which I remove in my usual way with a warm face flannel. I’m quite sure my skin is looking brighter since using it.

I will definitely re-purchase this sponge and try out some of the other types, in fact my husband tried it and loved it so I’ve got one for him too! Check them out here

Secondblonde x

3 Favourite Hand Creams For 3 Occasions | secondblonde

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It’s approaching that time of year when the air outside is cooler and the heating is on inside and my hands start to suffer, not to mention our obsession with frequently washing our hands or using anti-bacterial gels.

Here’s 3 of my favourite hand creams which all have different qualities which I use for different reasons, some I use plentiful and some sparingly but that’s just based on cost, the more expensive hand creams I tend to use as “treatments” as they include luxury ingredients and are quite pricey.

Dr Sebagh – High Maintenance Anti-ageing care – prevents the first sign of ageing. Leaves my hands with a matte finish which look and feel soft, feels like I am wearing a glove. I keep this one on my dressing table as a “as I leave the house” and “before bed” hand cream. Read my review of High Maintenance here

Soap and Glory – Hand Dream A 5-in-1 hand cream encourages cell renewal which contains ultra nourishing oils. It’s highly fragranced with the original S&G scent, it absorbs quickly. This is my “throw in my hand bag” and apply during the day if I remember hand cream. I’m not sure how effective it is as a treatment but it certainly softens my hands after a hand wash.

Aurelia – Aromatic Repair & Brighten Perfect for pigmentation and highly moisturising. does not contain any synthetic ingredients with key ingredients such as Sea Daffodile, Baobab and Red Algae. This is my “hand treatment” treat kind of cream when I have time for an experience – the essential oils are very calming. Read my review of Aromatic Repair & Brighten here

So there you have it, my 3 rotating hand creams…what are you favourites?

Second blonde x

New Monday + New Week = New Goals | secondblonde

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I try to start each week with new goals and I don’t mean bigger picture life changing goals I just mean I try and start each week with a fresh focus no matter how big or small the goal is. Although working in retail your days/weeks can get a bit jumbled I still stick to Monday as the best day to set myself a personal or professional target.

The target could be a mundane one such as a household task like clearing out/tidying up an area of the house you’ve been putting off, which when it’s done is satisfyingly rewarding. It may be a personal  goal like setting more time aside for yourself or to start a new hobby or catch up with family or a friend you’ve been meaning to make time for. Or it could be dealing with your finances and searching for better deals saving you money annually that can go towards another goal! You get the picture. Whatever you decide to do set yourself a realistic goal. Plan it, write it down and stick to it! It doesn’t have to be complicated just a simple list will do and tick it off as you achieve it…seeing the results can be quite rewarding and give a sense if achievement with a positive impact to do more.

This week my focus is my beauty blog and social media platforms I manage- I’ve been so busy with “life” I’ve somehow neglected my passion but now I’ve set myself some goals my blogging mojo is back!

What are your personal goals this week?

Secondblonde x

I’m Cheating on MAC Ruby Woo with NARS Mysterious Red | secondblonde

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If you know me or read my posts you know I wear a matte red lip on a daily basis and have been wearing Ruby Woo by Mac for at least 5 years, it’s kinda become my signature colour. The beauty hall I work in is full of fabulous brands so recently I decided it was time to explore new alternatives to my beloved Ruby Woo. With my loyalty voucher to redeem my first stop is the NARS counter…I decided to go for one of their new (well new to me) Velvet Matte Lip Pencil’s.

The Promise The idea of this product is that you still get the application of a lipstick but with the convenience of a pencil in a jumbo crayon design. The colour is very pigmented, the texture is a  velvety matte finish. It’s formula promises a creamy texture as it has unique silicones which ensure long lasting colour and it’s enriched with vitamin E.

Results I’ve been wearing this lip colour for about four weeks, I love the colour it’s a retro kind of red just how I like it. The fact it’s a jumbo pencil is really easy to use, I do still use a lip liner otherwise I find it bleeds a little (but hey that may just be my age) The colour is really intense and stays put all day with a top after eating. The creamy texture feels great on my lips and they certainly look more hydrated while being matte. The only downside in my opinion is that I think this will not last as long as a traditional lipstick as I need to sharpen it quite often.

Summary I’m definitely a convert…sorry Ruby Woo! I will be re-purchasing. Check out NARS here £20

What NARS lip products have you tried? would love to hear your experiences.

Secondblonde x