Top Gay Bloggers & Influencers

Top Gay Bloggers & Influencers

June is pride month and although the dreaded Rona (Covid-19) came along and rained on this year’s parade, it certainly has not and will not dull the colour and spirit of the LGBTQ+ community. For me, pride is about the immense gratitude towards all the people who have fought for our  rights to love and express who we are and also it’s a celebration of those who continue to make an impact. In the world of social media, there are lots of LGBTQ+ bloggers and influencers who have made an impact on me. I thought I would list my favourites gay influencers  who continue to inspire me with their dedication to their craft and the positive impact they have.

1. @thetravellinggays

This handsome pair are an inspiration with their constant travelling around the world  and showcasing the best gay destinations on offer. With their incredible wedding photos (you have to take a look) and their romantically gushing  posts ( No, you’re jealous! Lol), Doug and Sanjay provide such a positive Insta-space full of happiness, acceptance and love.

Photo from @thetravellinggays

 

2. @omgbartomgbart.com

Based between NYC and Connecticut, this male beauty blogger has previously worked in PR and social media for beauty and fashion companies. With a cosmetic cabinet the size of a luxury boutique, there is nothing he hasn’t tried and tested. His blog covers a multitude of beauty brands spanning all budgets for all sexes and his expert reviews are honest, informative and witty.

Photo from @omgbart

 

3. @darrenkennedyofficialdarrenkennedy.co.uk

Darren Kennedy is a TV Presenter, Fashion Columnist and one of the UK and Ireland’s top lifestyle influencers. I recently featured an interview with him on my Blu Blazer Guy Chats section and it was fantastic to find out about him and his career. I am a huge fan of his social media which is a concoction of positivity, style and charm and there are lots of good fashion tips thrown in there for good measure.

From @darrenkennedyofficial

 

4. @mistercarringtonmrcarrington.co.uk

Mr Carrington is a London based blogger covering lifestyle, Travel and Fashion. Separately on @mrcarringtonhome he blogs about home interiors which defiantly kept me going through lockdown, its amazing what you can do with old peanut butter pots! He is prolific on YouTube and his videos are always fun, informative and down to earth. I love his Instagram page as it has a very laid back, honest and  with lots of great quality shots, he oozes that relaxed vibe.

Photo from @mistercarrington

 

5. @manforhimselfmanforhimself.com

Robert James is a Scottish digital creator based in London and is the king of all things grooming and lifestyle. His social media and website are sleek, well presented and cover a multitude of brands and subjects. As a fragrance fanatic, I find his fragrance videos highly addictive and you can always count on him to know what current the in-vogue scent is. His witty nature brings a humour in his accompanying stories, which give a great personal insight into his daily life.

Photo from @manforhimself

 

6. @james_s_welsh

James is a popular beauty blogger with a YouTube Channel of over 800k followers and he definitely knows his stuff. With an array of videos covering reviews, product hauls and skincare routines, his videos are fun and full of useful information. There isn’t a product that he hasn’t covered and I can’t help by binge watch his videos, especially when there are some very interesting collaborations on there as well.

Photo from @james_s_welsh

 

7. @nomadicboysNomadicboys.com

I have been following Stefan and Sebastien for years now. This sweet gay couple specialise in gay travel and through their blog and social media, you truly feel like you get to know them on a more personal level. Their blog covers the best travel destinations for the gay community, gay travel resources and lots of hints and tips of where they have visited around the world. They are huge advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and it’s not difficult to fall in love with them as their relationship is so cute. I often tell my fiancé that I wish he’d look at me the way Sebi looks at Stefan.  

Photo from @nomadicboys

 

8. @brightbazaarbrightbazaarblog.com

Will Taylor is a British born NYC based blogger and Interior design author. I have been following his blog since way back in 2011. His blog covers an array of subjects including design, style and travel. What I like the most is his hashtag MakeYouSmileStyle and that’s certainly what happens when you open up his colourful social media, blog or books. His photos are full of my favourite colour (blue) but also pops of colour from every hue of the rainbow. Will’s uplifting and friendly nature has ensured that bright bazaar is a positive and inspiring space full of interesting topics.

Photo from @brightbazaar

 

9. @ahouselikethisahouselikethis.com

A House Like This is an interior design  inspired page by couple Ky and James, not forgetting their cute little dog called Ezra. They take us through each room of their home whilst they redecorate and renovate. Being a huge interior design fan, their grid is one of my favourite Instagram pages to follow. Not only that, they now have their very own home fragrance brand  AHLT,  where they sell a range of 100% natural soy wax candles with the most amazing scents and have even expanded to include hand wash and lotion for hard-working hands. These guys are doing so well and I wish them so much success.

From @ahouselikethis

 

10. @m.rbeautymarkrogersbeauty.com

If you are looking for a great selection of beauty tips then look no further than expert Mark Rogers aka m.rbeauty. After working in the beauty industry for over 11 years, he has the best tips for applying makeup, tan and anything else that enhances your natural beauty. His reviews on different products are informative with a huge slice of fun.

From @m.rbeauty

There are so many successful LGBTQ+ bloggers and influencer out there, this selection is just a tip of the iceberg and I haven’t been able to include all my favourites. What are your favourite LGBTQ+ influencers and why?

Elemis Superfood Home Facial

Elemis Superfood Home Facial

I don’t know about you but I have been looking for an array of things to help me take my mind of everything that is going on at the moment and self-care has been one thing that I has kept me going. There is nothing I miss more than a relaxing facial treatment and I am missing my visits to Soprano Ice’s Facial Spa located in the south of Edinburgh. They recently came to the rescue and very kindly supplied me with a range of vegan and plant-based products from the Elemis superfood range.

The first thing you obviously need in order to carry out the facial is the products. Luckily Elemis Superfood products are an affordable range and are available on many online stores. They are vegan and plant-based and full of prebiotics that helps calm, hydrate and smoothes the skin. What’s even better is that it’s suitable for all ages so if you wish you can get the whole household to join in.

I thought I would use the range to do a nurturing facial at home that you guys could incorporate into your routine to help boost your skin’s health whilst helping you relax and unwind. So find a quiet place in the house, light up your favourite candle, put on some relaxing music and let me show you how to carry out your very own facial at home.

Step One – Double cleanse 

Double cleansing the skin helps remove makeup, SPF and any impurities that may have built upon the skin throughout the day. It also prepares the skin in order for it to fully absorb all the products that will be used in the facial.

First Cleanse

The first cleanser is the Superfood Facial Wash, this gel has a really thick and hydrating texture. It is filled with prebiotics to help balance the skin and includes an array of nutritious super greens such as kale, wheatgrass and broccoli.

Superfood Facial Wash

Directions – Apply the cleanser to dry skin, massage and take a moment to absorb the lovely fresh and uplifting scent (which reminds me of a really nutritious green smoothie). Using a warm damp face cloth, gently remove the cleanser from the face.

Breath in those lovely aromas

Second Cleanse 

Cleanse your face again but this time uses the Superfood Cica Calm Foam Cleanser. This cleanser provides antioxidant protection from fermented green tea seed oil. It also includes olive, mango and rice water which keeps the skin hydrated and provides the skin with nutrients.

Superfood Cica Calm Cleansing Foam

Directions – Apply a few pumps into the hand and massage onto a wet face and then with a dampened cloth, delicately remove the product from the skin.

Step Two – Tone

After cleansing its time to tone the skin with the Superfood Keri Tea Mist Spray. It includes rooibos tea which is a rich antioxidant and also has aloe Vera and coconut water which again provides extra nourishment. This can be used at the toning stage but it also throughout the day to give an added boost to the skin.

Superfood Kefir-Tea Mist

Directions – Close your eyes, spray over the skin and allow to absorb.

Step Three – Exfoliate

The next step of the facial is exfoliation and this is done using the fantastic Superfood Blackcurrant Jelly Exfoliator. Not only does this product smell amazing it also contains small blackcurrant particles to exfoliate and remove any build-up of dead skin cells. The addition of glycerin leaves the skin feeling smooth and soft.

Superfood Blackcurrant Jelly Exfoliator

Directions – Apply a thin layer to the skin and leave on like a mask and whilst those nutritional ingredients absorb fully it’s time to do a facial steam. You can purchase facial steamers online but this can easily be done by using simple items in the home. Fill a large bowl with hot water and place a your head above the steam. In order to capture the steam further place a towel overhead. For an added spa-like experience, add some essential oils to the water and breath in those lovely aromas. Do this for around ten minutes.

Before removing you can really take the opportunity to sculpt the face and use massage techniques in order to encourage lymphatic drainage. This helps depuff the face and release toxins. Ria from Soprano Ice has some tips below:

Afterwards, massage the skin fully so that the blackcurrant particles exfoliate further and then remove with a damp cloth.

Step Four – Face Mask 

It is time to treat the skin using the Superfood Vital Veggie Mask. This particularly helps with dull skin as its full of brightening and nourishing ingredients. As well as being packed full of super greens it also has passion fruit acid in there which hydrates the skin. The mask doesn’t use clay which can often dry out the skin.

Superfood Vital Veggie Mask

Directions – Apply a thin layer to the skin and allow those nourishing ingredients to get to work. Now is a great time to sip on a lovely green tea, listen to some tranquil music, lay back and relax. After 10-15 minutes, rinse the mask off using a warm dampened cloth.

Step Five – Calm, Hydrate and Moisturise

The last step really depends on the condition of your skin. Lately, mines has been very dehydrated, so I am going to use a combination of products to help with this condition.

The Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice is a really light gel moisturiser designed to help cool and calm the skin. It includes aloe Vera and cucumber, so really good if you have any sensitivity issues. It has a light uplifting scent and leaves the skin refreshed.

Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice

Directions – Apply a small amount to the fingers and massage into the skin and allow the product to fully absorb.

Using an oil not only helps seal in those previous products but also adds a further boost of hydration to the skin. Superfood Facial Oil is filled with rich omegas from broccoli, flaxseed and rosehip oil and has a really fresh and uplifting fragrance.

Superfood Facial Oil

Directions – Apply a few drops to the hand, warm into the palms and press into the skin on the face. Although the oil has a thick consistency it is easily absorbed and leaves your skin looking dewy and refreshed.

To final step of the facial is to apply the Superfood Moisturiser which comes in both a day and night format. Although they are both filled with vitamin-enriched super greens the night cream has a richer consistency and has the inclusion of lavender and ylang-ylang oil.

Superfood Cream

Directions – Apply a few pumps of the product in the hand, warm it between the fingers and massage into the skin.

Glowing skin

I was very impressed with this range of products and even though I don’t normally gravitate towards vegan skincare, using this range really surprised me. My skin was left glowing, supple and healthy-looking which is what everyone wants from a facial right? I know its not the same as going out for a treatment but trust me, after using these products it will not only give a boost to the complexion it will give you a moment to help you escape the anxieties and stresses of what’s going on around us. I can’t wait to get out again and visit The Facial Spa, but until then this easy to follow facial will help rescue me from my lockdown skin issues.

Head to my IGTV video to see the facial in action.

Scrivner for Men by Jane Scrivner Skincare

Scrivner for Men by Jane Scrivner Skincare

I’ve always been a fan of Jane Scrivner skincare products due to their pure and natural ingredients. When I used them previously, they always left my skin looking healthy and glowing. So when they recently released there the Scrivner for Men complete #5STEPSKINSTRATEGY Kit I immediately gravitated towards it. I am partial to a skincare kit as it makes the whole process of deciding what products to buy more convenient. Also you can  trust the products will work perfectly together in order to give your skin the best results.

The kit comes in a handy canvas bag which makes it easy to store and transport if travelling. In each bag there are five products with easy to follow instructions, so no man has the excuse of not having an effective skincare routine. The products included in the kit are:

Step #1 Skin Clean – Nourish Enrich Cleansing Balm

I love a good cleansing balm and I have previously written a few posts regarding them, however for many cleansing balms are a relatively new concept.  Cleansing balms add a more mindful ritual to your skincare routine, allowing you to take the time to massage the product into the skin. Cleansing balms are a really nourishing way to remove the dirt and grime from the skin whilst maintaining the skins natural integrity.

This balm, like many others has a thick consistency which immediately melts into the skin when applied. After massaging it into the face you simply remove it with a warm soaked mitt (which is also included in the kit) and your face feels cleansed and nurtured. The great thing about this product is that it can be used as a shaving balm either on its own or under your normal shaving foam, hence providing you with an extra layer of protection.

Ingredient Highlights: Organic Jojoba Oil, Rice bran wax, Tocopherol (vitamin E) and nine essential oils including sandalwood, star anise and carrot.

Step #2 Skin Resurface – Daily Resurfacing AHA/BHA Acid Exfoliator

Gone are the days of harsh face scrubs that can lead to irritation and skin-barrier damage. Acid exfoliators are a great way to gently resurface the skin to reveal smoother and clearer skin. I have been using acid exfoliators for a while so it’s fantastic to see one included in this kit and one that is geared towards men.

I found this exfoliator to be gentle with a subtle fragrance and as per instructions, only used it a few times a week before building up to daily use. All that’s required is a drizzle of the product onto a cotton pad, gently wipe it over the face and you’re done, such a simple yet effective step. What makes it more appealing is that it’s 100% natural and organic.

Ingredient highlights: English raw organic apple cider vinegar and numerous acids taken from pineapple, burdock, bilberry, orange, lemon, sugar maple, witch-hazel and white willow.

Step #3 Skin Hydrate – Smoothing Hyaluronic Gel

I don’t know about you but since working indoors my skin has been so dry. I often use hyaluronic serums as an extra step in my skincare routine, so I was very happy to see this gel which includes Hyaluronic acid as one of its main ingredients. Hyaluronic acid holds a thousand times its weight in water and acts like a sponge by attracting moisture to boost hydration on the surface of the skin.

Upon application, this clear gel gave my skin an immediate refreshing sensation and sunk immediately into the skin without that tacky or sticky feeling that most gels can leave. After using this product my skin felt plump and dewy.

Ingredient highlights: Plant extracted bio-fermented Hyaluronic Acid, Spilanthes Acmella (a natural muscle relaxant), organic aloe vera, white willow and frankincense oil.

Step #4 Skin Defence – Calm Nourish Enrich Face Oil

Jane Scrivner is known for sourcing the best raw and natural oils from around the globe, so I am very happy to see a face oil in this collection. Only a single application onto the fingers is needed. As you massage it into the face you can smell all the wonderful natural ingredients, star anise and sandalwood being the most prominent for me.

The oil sinks into the skin and you are left with this healthy and nourished glow almost as if you have had a restful nights sleep. What is great about this product is that you can use it as a beard or moustache oil too, so you are getting two products in one.

Ingredient Highlights: Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Oat Oil, Tigernut Oil and a blend of nine essential oils.

Step #5 Skin Protect – Oat Argan Moisturising Cream

For the last step of the skincare routine, there is this beautiful moisturising cream that seals in all of your previous steps whilst providing a protective barrier to environmental irritants. This cream includes Argan Kernel and Oat Kernel oils along with an array of other protective and nourishing ingredients.

What I love about the product is that natural uplifting fragrance but also the fact that even though there is an abundance of oily ingredients,  it doesn’t leave your skin shiny or greasy looking.

Ingredient highlights: Organic Oat Kernel Oil, Organic Argan Kernel Oil, Colloidal Oatmeal, Betulenic Acid, Aloe Vera and nine essential oils.

I have really enjoyed using these products and wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them. Although you can buy the products individually, I feel the kit provides everything you need for a perfect and easy to use skincare routine. At a time when we all need that extra dose of self-care these products and the good quality ingredients really do feel like having your very own nurturing facial every day.

Head to my IGTV where I show you how I use the products.

Head to Janescrivner.com for up to date prices and more information.

Rook Perfumes

Rook Perfumes

It comes as no surprise that fragrance plays a huge part in my life. I discovered Rook Perfumes in 2018 and I immediately gravitated towards their fragrances due to their unusual scents and intriguing notes. For me, fragrances mark moments in life thus with only one spray, they have the power to transport you back to that very moment. When Perfumer for Rook Perfumes Nadeem Crowe (pictured below) said “People go on holiday and fall in love with a place, they buy a fridge magnet to remember the trip, I buy a fragrance” I immediately resonated with him. On each vacation I drive my partner crazy, perusing the perfumeries and trying to find the exact scent that will remind me of our time in that destination.

Image by Rankin Photography Ltd

Nadeem Crowe, the man behind these impressive and unique scents also has a career in emergency medicine and acting. These two careers have contributed to the production of these fragrances due to their scientific and theatrical backgrounds. After a complete re-brand and re-launch of Rook Perfumes in February 2020, I was once again captivated by the new contemporary look and range of luxury fragrances. At the core of the brand is the simple yet impactful triangle not only representing the top, middle and base notes of a fragrance but also the balance of Nadeem’s career in performing, perfumery and medicine.

 

Forest

The first of the fragrances I am going to talk about is my absolute favourite called Forest. I am a nature guy at heart so this is what initially attracted me to this scent. However as soon as I spritzed it upon my skin, it immediately transported me to a moment in my childhood. Each year I would visit the Scottish highlands with my family, going for long walks and playing in the forests. With just one spray it felt as if I was standing there looking up at the towering trees and inhaling the fresh pine-scented air. It’s a beautiful green, woody notes are both uplifting and comforting, transporting me directly into nature. This is much needed due to our current situation.

 

Forest – Image by Rankin Photography Ltd.

Notes:

Top – Cypress & Pine,

Middle – Black Pepper, incense and green notes

Base – Patchouli, Cedar and white musk

Blu Blazer Guy Rating: 4.5/5

 

Undergrowth

Undergrowth again exudes a stunning range of natural and uplifting notes that at first glance I didn’t think I would like, but it completely took me by surprise. On the initial spray, you get a hit of refreshing garden mint and grass. It somehow reminds me of a lush green garden after the rain, where the sun slowly warming the soil and the aroma scents the air.  As the mint dies down the rich woodiness of the vetiver and earthiness of orris really comes through, which settles beautifully on the skin. Again, if you need a hit of nature, I would definitely recommend this as I can imagine it being a refreshing scent in the summer months.

 

Undergrowth – Image by Rankin Photography Ltd.

Notes:

Top – Soil, Garden Mint, Grass

Middle – Green notes, mandarin, orris

Base – Vetiver, patchouli and white musk

Blu Blazer Guy Rating: 4/5

 

Rook

This scent wasn’t my favourite fragrance in the group, however I understand completely why others would like it. For me, It’s quite a daring combination and I am usually quite safe with my fragrance choices so it’s all down to personal choice. Rook is impactful from the first spray and is described as “strong and phenolic with a big puff of smokey firewood and birch tar”. Even though these notes are not my personal choice, this fragrance makes a good evening scent with great longevity due to its unique ingredients. I find it too overwhelming for my liking and prefer a fresher scent but if you’re an adventurous individual who’s looking to turn heads then this is definitely for you.

 

Rook – Image by Rankin Photography Ltd.

Notes:

Top – Birch tar, tobacco

Middle – Castoreum, cardamom, ginger, civet, agarwood

Base– Incense, ambrette, ambergris, guaiac wood and musk

Blu Blazer Guy Rating: 3/5

What I truly love about this fragrance house is all the scents are unique and interesting. I am so thankful that due to the power of social media I was able to connect with this forward thinking brand. Like all small businesses and perfume houses it is a very difficult time at the moment, therefore it is very important to support them in any way we can. So why not play your part and treat yourself to a luxury fragrance from Rook Perfumes. In addition, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr Nadeem Crowe and all his NHS colleagues for everything that they are doing at this time.

 

Blu Blazer Guy Chats With James Read

Blu Blazer Guy Chats With James Read

After 18 years in the beauty business, tanning expert James Read has become a worldwide name in the tanning industry. Working with an abundance of celebrities, photographers and designers, his underlying dream was always to create his very own brand. Utilising all the knowledge he had gained over the years,  not only did he create his own brand, but he also managed to infuse his tanning products with the benefits of luxury skincare. With a copiousness amount of prestigious awards and a following from all around the world (me being one of them) it is no wonder this brand keeps going from strength to strength. I caught up with James to find out more about him and his successful company.

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and what lead you to become one of the world’s leading tanning experts?

I have worked in the industry for 18 Years and was the first self-tan expect to start the trend for layering your tan and making self-tan not just a spray tan but an experience. I previously worked with eight self-tan brands before starting mine, which helped me gain the experience and knowledge to launch my own brand.

What inspired you to create your very own self-tanning range?

Ever Since I was at school I wanted to be known for something. I remember watching The September Issue back in 2009 while working for St Tropez and there was a part where Anna Wintour’s dad asked her at 15 years old what she wanted to do when she was older, she said she wanted to be editor of American Vogue and now look at where she is. This inspired me to start my own brand, to create a brand that was both skincare and self-tan and to make a difference in the self-tan world. Years later I was at a launch for Net a porter and told by the beauty director of American Vogue that I had a whole page in the April issue for my sleep mask tan, I cried after she left as it was a dream come true.

Your Sleep Tan Mask (which is one of my favourite products) became world-renowned due to its combination of self-tanning and luxury skincare ingredients, what inspired you to combine the two? 

I used to use overnight hydrating masks and one day it clicked that no one has ever created a self-tan that combines both self-tan and skincare but also one that is an overnight self-tan, this is when the sleep mask tan was born. Eight years on and it won over 35 beauty awards.

James Read products are formulated with tantone technology, which promises its users the perfect golden glow, how does this technology work?

To me, Tantone creates a tan that looks natural and glowing but also takes the worry out of self-tanning. I wanted to create a perfect range of products where the tan works as a background colour and compliments your whole look but never overpowers it, which I believe I have successfully done.

What are your top tips for a flawless self-tan application?

Never over-apply your self-tan and always apply your self-tan in stages leaving your hands and feet till last. With the hands and feet always work the leftover self-tan over these areas so it looks more natural. In order to prolong your tan moisturise daily and exfoliate three days after to help your tan fade more evenly.

You have a few products geared towards men, is there a difference between the self-tan products for men and women?

The men’s self-tan for the face is more about calming the skin after shaving. The great thing about my brand is there is a product for everyone as the products are so natural.

Have you noticed an increase in men using self-tanning products?

Yes for sure, men are using more skincare as well as self-tan, they are also more conscious of what they put on their skin.  The fake orange look is so far away, today it’s about looking healthy but also golden.

One of your missions was to change the world’s perception of tanning, which I believe you have done, do you have any new product innovations or ideas coming to fruition in the near future? 

I have some amazing new stuff launching this year that will again change how people see self-tan, my lips are sealed but trust me you will be one of the first to know. To me it’s about being a leader, not a follower, never look to the left or right but look straight ahead, that way you never lose your direction.

This is completely off the subject of tanning, but as a fragrance lover, I ask this question to everyone, what is your favourite fragrance?

Byredo Bal d’Afrique, I love it so much!

Thank you James for taking the time out to answer these questions. Keep your eyes on James Reid Tan social for all up to date information.

Head to my blog post here to find out what my top favourite James Read products are.

James Read Tan – Self Tanning

James Read Tan – Self Tanning

Let’s face it we all love a good tan, it makes us feel and look healthy. After years of burning my skin in the name of vanity and with all the recent evidence of how bad sunbeds and sunbathing is, I decided enough is enough. I am now an avid user of self-tanning products and after trailing through different brands that never really provided the results I wanted, I finally came across James Read Tan who combines self-tanning with luxury skincare. Here are my top favourite products;

Sleep Mask Face Retinol

The first product I fell in love with and one that has taken the world by storm is the gradual tanner sleep mask. When using tanning products on my face I always thought I was missing out on my normal skincare and other self-tanners left my face dry and tight. James Read has cleverly included key skincare ingredients in this product including encapsulated Retinol, hyaluronic acid. Along with other skin-loving ingredients, this combination helps with the reduction in the signs of fatigue, dark circles and a dull complexion, so your skin isn’t missing out on anything at all.

The texture of this product is more serum-like and it absorbs easily into my skin. As with all tanning products, I exfoliate my face prior to applying this face mask so that it goes on evenly. As it is a gradual tanner, I can control the amount I use throughout the week to get the desired level of colour I want.

H20 Tan Drops

If you are not a fan of using retinol products and again you don’t want to skip your usual skincare routine then this product is fantastic. I apply this in the evenings when I don’t use the sleep mask and it is so convenient to use. All I do is add a few drops (this varies depending on the level of colour I want) into my normal moisturiser and it’s as simple as that.

The ingredients do not interact with your moisturiser in any way, so you can relax in the knowledge that you will be getting a great tan while still benefiting from your usual skincare.

The Glow 1 hour Face & Body

When I am in a hurry or life has been so busy that I have forgotten to tan throughout the week, this is the perfect last-minute product. Formulated with aloe vera, hyaluronic acid and jojoba seed oil, you are yet again getting the benefits of luxury ingredients whilst obtaining a tan. All you do is apply using a mitt and within 30 minutes you can start to see the glow appearing.

As I have pale skin I only need to keep this product on for around 45 minutes before washing it off and afterwards, I am left with a healthy golden glow. This is convenient to use before a night out or an event and doesn’t give off that undesirable fake tan aroma.

Hydra Tan Mist – for Men

Even though James Read products are unisex this Hydra Tan Mist with its chic black packaging and fresh fig and ginger fragrance has been tailored towards men. This mist is perfect for the man who is on the go as it is quick to use and very fast-drying. As it is colourless it also takes out the worry of any colour appearing on your fresh new shirt. It also calms and hydrates after shaving which is an added bonus. As with all the other products it features Tantone Technology which ensures the most natural result for your skin tone.

I sometimes spray this over my normal moisturiser throughout the day for an extra boost of hydration, knowing that I will also get a hint of colour at the same time. This is a multi-tasking and convenient product and one that should be in every guy’s toiletry case.

If you want to know more about the man behind the tan, head to my ‘chats with’ section where I chat to James Read about his life, career and his renowned self-tanning brand.

Aesthetica Edinburgh – Black Tie Facial

Aesthetica Edinburgh – Black Tie Facial

Men, let’s admit it, previously we have often overlooked the importance of good skincare. Thankfully nowadays we are beginning to see an increase in men who genuinely take an interest in this area and more and more clinics around the country are creating treatments geared towards the male client. I recently visited Aesthetica in Edinburgh to see what treatments they have to offer for men’s skincare.

Aesthetica, is an aesthetic medicine, cosmetic surgery and beauty therapy clinic lead by founders Dr Liliana Laird and Jacque Fenner. It is located in the west end of Edinburgh and situated in a quant basement setting underneath the streets of New Town. On entering, the clinic opens up into numerous different rooms and provides a relaxed and tranquil space.

The clinic has recently launched their new Man Plan, a dedicated webpage detailing information and the treatments to suit all men’s aesthetic needs. From skin peels, anti-wrinkle injections and mole removals, there are lots of treatments available which you can view here. If you are a tad dubious about what treatment to choose from or you require further information, the clinic offers complimentary consultations for all procedures.

My skin at this time of the year, always feels a little lack-lustre, so I opted for their Black Tie Facial. This 60 minute bespoke facial uses a combination of Medik8 and ZO Skin Health products and aims to nourish, hydrate and invigorate the skin. This is perfect for an instant skin pick me up, especially during these cold winter months.

I was treated by the lovely Emma Smillie who is one of the Clinic’s Aesthetic Practitioner. Emma who has worked within the industry since 2005 has travelled the world working in various areas gathering knowledge along the way.  You could tell how passionate she was the minute I walked through the door. She described the Black Tie Facial as “suitable for all skin types and excellent for a range of concerns as it can be completely tailored to suit each individual”.

After a quick questionnaire and consultation with my therapist I was ready to experience the Black Tie Facial.

The procedure:

Cleanse – My face was cleansed using Medik8’s Surface Radiance Cleanser. I use this product at home and absolutely love it. Not only does it contain numerous acids to help with tone and textural issues, it also contains Mangosteen and Raspberry which are renowned for their anti-oxidant protection properties.

Exfoliate – I love a good exfoliation and this part of the process provided exactly that. ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Polish was gently massaged into my face, stimulating the skin and removing dead skin cells. The texture was quite granular and left my face feeling invigorated and cleansed.

PeelZO Skin Health Peel Prep was applied to my skin to remove excess surface oil so that the subsequent peel could be applied evenly. ZO Skin Health Stimulator was then applied to my face for a few minutes. This peel contains a trio of AHA: Citric, Lactic and Glycolic to aid cell turn over and reveal a radiant complexion. On application, there was a slight tingle but this soon subsided and the whole process was comfortable and relaxing.

Neutralise – In order for the deactivate the peel, ZO Skin Health Neutraliser was applied to my face.

Mask & Massage – A cooling ZO Skin Health Brightening Sheet Masque was then laid on my face. Its ingredients of Aloe Vera and Green Tea help to soothe and hydrate the skin and brighten up the complexion.

While the masque got to work, I was also treated to a fantastic shoulder massage.

LED Light Therapy – I have had this a few times and absolutely love it and it is said to have many benefits! The Red Light is said to stimulate collagen and elastin, DNA Synthesis, boost fibroblasts growth and strengthen the skin.

The Blue light has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits, helping reduce any redness after the treatment. I was given 10 minutes of the red light and 5 minutes of the blue along with a relaxing head massage.

Hydrate – As the last step, Medik8’s Post Treatment Moisturiser and a broad spectrum SPF was applied to my face.

I found my visit to Aesthetica both relaxing and informative. Emma was able to guide me through each of the steps and explain the different ingredients and how they worked to benefit the skin. The inclusion of the shoulder and scalp massages were an added bonus and truly made the whole process relaxing. Not only was my skin left glowing and supple but I also felt extremely de-stressed and invigorated. What surprised me was that there was no redness or skin irritation after the peel, so with no downtime, this is a perfect treatment before an important event or occasion.

Black tie facial – £80

Aesthetica Edinburgh

3A-4B Randolph Place

Edinburgh

EH3 7TQ

0131 281 1251

Enquiries@aestheticaedinburgh.com

 

The Balmoral hotel – Spa Facilities

The Balmoral hotel – Spa Facilities

The Balmoral is one of my favourite hotels in Scotland and I have previously spoken about it in my article for Guild Magazine. It may be known for its elegant rooms, commanding architecture and its prominent mark on the Edinburgh skyline. However what people may not know is that beneath its floors lies a treasure trove of wellness and recuperation. Descend the hotel’s golden elevator and the doors open to reveal a tranquil retreat that both residents and non-residents can enjoy. The small reception opens up into a spacious spa with a swimming pool, gym, treatment rooms, steam room and sauna.

Swimming pool, Steam room and Sauna.

The recently revamped state of the art steam room and sauna located at the far end of the swimming pool is the perfect place to unwind. Situated adjacent to each other and separated by a shower area, the steam room and sauna have been an utter godsend for yours truly. Not only do they help ease my muscles, but they are great for circulation which is fantastic at this time of the year.

Relaxing in the sauna

The new décor of navy blue and gold accessories have added a more contemporary flair to the area.

The new look sauna and steam room area

The 15-metre swimming pool is perfect for relaxing in or swimming laps. What I love about this swimming pool is that it is always at the perfect temperature.

The surrounding lounge beds provide such  comfort, enabling you can lay back and relax or read your favourite book or magazine.

I especially enjoy the tranquil seating area where you can enjoy numerous complimentary hot drinks, Scottish mineral water infused with seasonal fruit and an array of smoothies, drinks and food that can be purchased via the reception. 

Treatment Rooms

Within the wellness area are numerous treatment rooms offering an array of treatments catered to your every need. Even though these rooms seem to be in close proximity of the central area, each room is a tucked away so that you can enjoy your treatment without hearing the outside world.

With soft music in the background, glimmering candles and an array of scents that linger in the air, these rooms provide a tranquil safe haven that are the perfect place to de-stress and unwind. There are two main skincare brands used within the spa. Firstly, Irene Forte skincare which is a range of luxury natural products handmade in Italy and created by Wellness Director at Rocco Forte Hotels, Irene Forte. As well as renowned brand Ishga who use seaweed sourced from the Hebridean Islands of Scotland.

Treatment room

I chose a a bespoke facial using the Irene Forte range. The Irene Forte Facial is a personalised facial tailored to suit your skin’s needs. There are three to choose from: Forte Purifier, Forte Brightener and Forte Hydrator. If your skin requires a combination then these treatments can be adapted. 

After completing a consultation and discussing it with my therapist we decided to go for the Forte Hydrator, because my skin felt a tad lack-lustre and a little dry. My therapist gave me chose of two oils to smell. I had to choose which I preferred to be used in my treatment, I of course chose orange blossom.   With the candles lit and my body settled into the comfortable bed I already felt my tensions ease away. Due to the fact that the Irene Forte skincare is inspired by Sicily a small Sicilian bell is rung before the facial, which is said to calm and relax the mind, it certainly made me feel extremely relaxed. 

Cleanse: Firstly my face was cleansed with Irene Forte Almond Cleansing Milk. This hydrating cleanser contains Almond, Olive, Rose and Jojoba Oil along with soothing Aloe Vera juice. It was great to take in the beautiful aroma as this was massaged onto my face and the nourishing texture really sunk into the skin.

Tone:  The Irene Forte Helichrysum Hyaluronic Toner was then used. This toner prepares the skin for the remaining products and includes Hyaluronic Acid which is an ingredient known for its hydrating skincare properties

Exfoliate: Irene Forte Almond Face Scrub was gently massaged onto my skin. Unlike some other exfoliators that can feel too harsh on the skin, this felt nourishing and very moisturising. The Almond Face Scrub is filled with Almond and Hazelnut granules, Aloe leaf juice, Hyaluronic acid as well as Olive, Avocado and Shea oil. This was then followed by my previously chosen Orange Blossom Face oil which is used to brighten and tone the skin. 

Mask and Massage: The Irene Forte Pistachio Face Mask was layered on the skin and felt immediately comforting. This age-defying mask is full of Antioxidant-rich ingredients and replenishing oils and again has a fragrance to die for. This was accompanied by a relaxing shoulder massage using the Orange Blossom Body Oil.

Moisturise: A trio of different product was used as the final part of the treatment. The Hibiscus Serum was applied first which lifts, hydrated and minimises fine lines and wrinkles. This was followed by the Prickly Pear Face Cream full of rich nutrients and anti-oxidants and finishing with Almond eye & lip cream.

I found this facial extremely relaxing and it was a great introduction to the Irene Forte skincare brand. I especially loved choosing my desired oil at the start, which added a sensory interactive experience to the treatment. The additional shoulder massage was a great way to include a relaxing aspect to the facial and left me feeling very de-stressed. My skin felt extremely supple and glowing afterwards and it’s definitely one I would do again, especially in the winter months when my skin suffers the most. 

After a long period of not visiting the gym, I thought I would also sign up to there in house personal training, Will Power Personal Training. Keep your eye on my next blog post to find out how I have been getting on. 

Blu Blazer Guy chats with Frances Prescott

Blu Blazer Guy chats with Frances Prescott

Frances Prescott is a facialist and makeup artist within the film and fashion industry.  After many years in this illustrious career,  Frances wanted to create a product that would simplify everyones skin care routine. Joining forces with international business woman and sister Pauline Prescott, they sought out to create a luxurious yet affordable multi-functional and natural products. Tri-Balm and Tri-Spritz were born! I chat to Frances Prescott about her journey, the brand and the products that she has created.

Firstly I would like to congratulate you on formulating these two fantastic products. Can I ask what inspired their creation?

Thank you! The inspiration really came initially from reducing my professional kit down and from clients coming to me for facial treatments and their confusion or lack of willingness to layer to many products. I didn’t want to skimp on quality skincare, but I wonder if I could create the solution.

One of the key selling points of Tri-Balm and Tri-Spritz is their multi-functionality, something which is not easy to achieve in a product without compromising on quality. Was it a difficult process finding the perfect amalgamation of ingredients that carried out all the multi-purpose skincare steps you envisaged?

I have a background as a nurse early on in my journey, so I am quite knowledgeable on skin structure and what skin can do itself. After studying as a facialist and working with heaps of products, I teamed up with a fantastic cosmetic scientist. We worked on ingredients and rations to achieve a balanced multi-functional product where one function was as potent and affective as the other functions. It took a lot of tweaking, but I was thrilled with what we developed.

My favourite (if I had to choose one) is the Tri-Balm, which cleanses, exfoliates and moisturises. Most people think that in order to exfoliate the skin you have to use granular substances, which of course Tri-Balm doesn’t contain. What is the key ingredient in Tri-Balm that helps with exfoliation and how does it work?

I am a big fan of gentle exfoliation and although I think physical exfoliants are effective, I found clients ‘scrubbing’ with them and sensitising their skin, something which they didn’t need to do but I think the mind set was telling them to ‘scrub’!

The key exfoliant in Tri-Balm is a pumpkin enzyme which is an AHA (chemical) natural exfoliant. The enzyme ‘digests’ dead skin cells and it’s a very gentle and fantastic ingredient.

Both Tri-Balm and Tri-spritz are made with high-quality natural ingredients that are contained in minimalist contemporary packaging. Are the products aimed at a specific markets or are they suitable for everyone?

Yes, the products are gender neutral and great for all skin types.

Tri-Spritz is your most recent release, are there any plans to expand the range any further?

I have a fantastic body balm coming soon but this will be a capsule collection of multifunction products, I want to use less to do more!

After years of working in the fashion and film industry, have you come across any skincare tips for men and women that you can share with us? 

The best tip I can share for all skins and genders is keep it as simple as possible. Skin on the whole is pretty good at taking care of itself, if you can find a realistic skincare routine that you can stick to then you are winning.

 

For more information on the products see my previous blog post and IGTV videos.

Check out my guest blog over at francesprescott.com where I talk about my favourite winter skincare products.