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      Vanity Affairs: Stella Simona On How Motherhood Has Changed Her Beauty Routine

      Yes, hello, we’ll take one of everything.

      Welcome to Vanity Affairs – an editorial series where we document the early morning beauty routines of notable men and women.

      There are some people who have an I-can’t-put-my-finger-on-it kind of glow – a certain je ne sais quoi, if you will. You know the ones – their hair falls just right, their skin is dewy but never shiny, and they exude confidence without being arrogant.

      In the interest of public service, we’ve set about tracking these aforementioned unicorns down to find out their secrets. So far, GP has spoken to personal shopper Gabriel Waller, fashion designer Lillian Khallouf, Queer Eye’s resident grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness and supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (among others).

      Today’s guest? None other than influencer and co-founder of Amarilo Jewellery and Haati Chai Jewellery, Stella Simona.

      If you’re not familiar with the Bengali beauty, allow us to introduce you now. A mother of two, Stella is known for her unbelievable photography, inspiring content and realness on a platform that is known for being a highlight reel. Since giving birth to her second son, Liam, in March this year, the designer has opened up about everything from pumping breast milk to her changing body and everything in between – a refreshing perspective on social media.

      With two little ones, Simona has streamlined her beauty routine. “Motherhood certainly makes you think more efficiently,” she says. “I love simple products that are multi-purpose because they save me time.”

      Being a mother means she is more conscious of the products she uses and the ingredients that comprise them. She is a passionate advocate for clean beauty products, minus the nasties. But what does she use, specifically? We thought you’d never ask. Here, every single product you’ll find in her morning beauty routine. 

      stella simona beauty routine

      stella simona beauty routine

      “I am definitely a bit of a beauty junkie, so I am always trying new products. But, to keep my skin from freaking out, I always keep my favourite three on rotation and add in anything new I want to try. To cleanse I love the Ravanat Luminous Cream Cleanser because it is dual purpose. Aside from cleansing my face, I’ve also been known to leave it on for about five minutes as a bit of a moisture mask. I then use the Futurna Eye & Skin Serum which works wonders brightening my complexion and making my skin feel extra supple. I then top it all off with the Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm. My lips are always chapped so this helps to keep them hydrated throughout the day. Oh, and I can’t forget the Kosas Tinted Face Oil. This is great for lighter days when I don’t want to wear makeup.”

      stella simona beauty routine

      stella simona beauty routine

      “I love wearing makeup, even though it seems like a foreign thing to do these days. I always start with the Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation in shade 430w as it matches my skin perfectly. I will then conceal with the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Liquid Concealer in Topaz which is perfect for under the eyes and for covering dark spots.”

      “I am a sucker for brushed up brows so I will then go in with the Suratt Expressioniste Brow Pomade. This helps me style my brows really easily which, as a mother of two, is essential. Then I add the Manasi 7 All Over Colour in Kobicha to my lids, lips and cheeks. This is a clean beauty product and I love it so much. It’s a great shade for all skin tones.”

      “To finish I will use the Saie Beauty Mascara. This mascara really helps to enhance my lashes without making them clumpy. I also just love the wand as it’s designed perfectly for all over application on both the top and bottom lashes.”

      stella simona beauty routine

      stella simona beauty routine

      “When it comes to fragrance I don’t like anything too heavy, so I have a few that I rotate between. For day-time I love either the Sigil Anima Mundi scent or the Maison Louis Marie No. 4 Bois De Balincourt. For night-time or going out, I like to go a little fancier so will opt for either the Tom Ford Soleil Blanc or the Chloé Eau De Parfum.”

      Who would you like Gritty Pretty to interview next? Tell us in the comments section below!

      Body Fragrance Hair Skin

      The Perfect Gift For Dad Can Be Found Here

      The best beauty buys for the guys.

      Dad not a fan of the drills, hammers and lawn mowers? We don’t blame him. If the men in your life aren’t keen on the typical Father’s Day gifts – or, worse still, claim they don’t need anythingit can be hard to find an appropriate replacement. 

      Never fear, team GP are here.

      With a roundup of the best beauty buys for dad. (You’re welcome!) Whether he spends three hours doing his hair every morning, has recently discovered (and stolen) your favourite serum or loves a luxurious fragrance, we have the best men’s grooming gifts, covered.

      Dad, if you’re reading this: stop here.

      [responsive imageid=’37726′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]father's day gift guide[/responsive]

      John Varvatos Heritage

      If the words modern, bold and sophisticated describe your padre to a tee, John Varvatos Heritage EDP is the gift you’ve been looking for. Opening with notes of West Indian tamarind tree leaf, medjool date fruit and Mediterranean herbs and rounding out with woody notes of leather, malt and balsamic, this fragrance is a showstopper. Plus, the ultra-chic leather packaging makes it a great addition to the bathroom vanity.

      Buy now: $115 at David Jones.

      Tom Ford Beau De Jour Cologne

      Nothing says Father’s Day luxury like a bit of Tom Ford. The brand’s Beau De Jour cologne is the perfect gift for the fella who enjoys the finer things in life. This scent is as classic as they come, combining accords of lavender, oak moss and mint with base notes of amber and patchouli. Hailing from the Private Blend line, this scent was designed with well-groomed gentlemen in mind.

      Buy now: $190 at Myer.

      [responsive imageid=’37730′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]father's day gift guide[/responsive]

      Bondi Skin Co Mens Essential Anti-Aging Serum Kit

      Having only launched in June, Bondi Skin Co is a new kid on the skincare block. Designed specifically for men, the serum kit contains a vitamin C serum to reduce redness and dark spots, a hyaluronic acid serum to nourish dry skin and vitamin A serum to boost collagen production. What’s more? One dollar from every sale goes towards the Black Dog Institute and Drought Angels. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

      Buy now: $119.95 at Bondi Skin Co.

      Hunter Lab Daily Face Fuel

      Need to find dad a moisturiser so he stops stealing yours? We’ve got you, boo. Hunter Lab Daily Facial Fuel is a must-have for moisture and rejuvenation. The formula contains avocado, macadamia and passionfruit seed oils to ensure his skin stays smooth and hydrated. We know dads like to slather product on (bye bye $50 worth of moisturiser), so please let him know that a pea sized amount will do.

      Buy now: $54 at Hunter Lab.

      Sisleÿum For Men Anti-Age Revitaliser Serum

      For the father who has been extra good this year, Sisleÿum For Men Anti-Age Revitaliser Serum is a very bougie Father’s Day treat. This anti-ageing formula has been designed to protect against harmful daily realities (think: shaving, stress and pollution) and help to firm skin, fight wrinkles, hydrate and soothe. With two different formulations on offer (one for normal skin and one for dry skin) there’s one to suit him perfectly.

      Buy now: $345 at Sisley.

      [responsive imageid=’37725′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]father's day gift guide[/responsive]

      Swisse For Men Body Wash 

      Perfect for the dad who already has everything; this Swisse Body Wash For Men is a real winner. Formulated with a blend of cedarwood oil, rosemary oil and lemon peel oil, this wash works to wake up both the skin and the senses. This body wash was made for male skin and helps to counteract oil production that leads to B.O. You’re welcome.

      Buy now: $14.99 at Swisse.

      [responsive imageid=’37729′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]father's day gift guide[/responsive]

      Santa Maria Novella Melograno After Shave Lotion

      If you know a dad who is so cool he could David Beckham a run for his money, this after shave lotion could be The One. Formulated to refresh and tone the skin after shaving, it looks beautiful and also works. With over seven scents to choose from, there’s one for him in the mix.

      Buy now: $99 at Santa Maria Novella.

      Grown Alchemist Shaving Gel

      Dad’s quarantine beard getting out of hand? Drop a hint with the Grown Alchemist Shaving Gel. Formulated to soften and lift the hair follicle, this gel provides maximum glide with minimal irritation. Read: a close, comfortable and smooth shave. The inclusion of sandalwood and coriander seed oil also helps to calm and soothe the skin, reducing inflammation. 

      Buy now: $38 at Grown Alchemist

      [responsive imageid=’37728′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]father's day gift guide[/responsive]

      Davines Strong Hold Gel Cream

      For the man who loves his hair almost as much as he loves his kids, the Davines Strong Hold Gel Cream is a winner. The quick-drying, residue-free formula leaves hair with the perfect wet effect whilst alleviating frizz. Perfect for creating firm, polished styles with a lightweight, strong hold, the cream is also vegan and paraben-free.

      Buy now: $38.95 at Salon Style.

      Which product do you want to gift dad this Father’s Day? Leave it in the comments section below!

      Body Hair Makeup Nails Skin

      What’s New Now: August 2020

      The latest and greatest beauty products to hit the shelves – and why they warrant an ‘add to cart’.

      The beauty of, well, beauty products is that they only demand a short-term commitment. No matter the product – be it a shampoo, serum, eye cream or foundation – eventually, it will run out. The plus side? It’s the perfect opportunity to try something new.

      And there’s no time like the present. We can’t be the only ones who feel like a brand new person after spritzing on a new scent or applying a swipe of lipstick.

      On that note, welcome back to What’s New Now. A monthly round-up of the latest and greatest products to hit the shelves. Whether you’re searching for a few hints to drop, a gift for your best girlfriend or just want to try something that you haven’t before – you will find everything you need, right here.

      [responsive imageid=’37689′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]new beauty products to try now[/responsive]

      Sand & Sky Tasmanian Spring Water Splash Serum

      If hydrated, plump skin is what you’re after, look no further. Formulated with Tasmanian spring water, Tasmanian sea kelp and two hyaluronic acid molecules, the new Sand & Sky Tasmanian Spring Water Splash Serum is as hydrating as they come. The non-greasy formula also works to reduce the appearance of fine lines, leaving skin healthier and fresher than ever.

      Available August 25th: $89.90 at Sand & Sky.

      Alpha-H Clear Skin Tonic With 2% Salicylic Acid

      The perfect solution to congested or problematic skin, the new Alpha H Clear Skin Tonic is a must-have in your transitional beauty wardrobe. Working to improve skin by gently exfoliating with 2 perc ent BHA, the formula also comes enriched with natural anti-inflammatory ingredients like chamomile, arnica and thyme to diffuse the redness, irritation and puffiness.

      Buy now: $57.95 at Alpha-H.

      [responsive imageid=’37690′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]new beauty products to try now[/responsive]

      Victoria Beckham Beauty Smoky Eye Brick Signature

      Want to spice up your life? The debut eye palette from famed designer (and former Spice Girl), Victoria Beckham does not disappoint. With four neutral, satin-matte shades to help you re-create Beckham’s iconic smoky eye, this compact is a new must-have. Bonus? The shades are blended with a hyaluronic acid powder complex to smooth and nourish while you wear. 

      Buy now: $110 at Net-A-Porter.

      Lilah B Aglow Priming Oil

      Don’t be alarmed by the close proximity of the words ‘priming’ and ‘oil’ this hydrating base product is a serious winner. The vegan, three-in-one serum, moisturiser and primer is fast-absorbing and works to even and plump the skin for a seamless makeup application. Enriched with tamanu oil for it’s anti-inflammatory properties, jojoba oil to protect the skin and sweet almond oil for softness, it’s a new non-negotiable.

      Buy now: $109 at Mecca.

      [responsive imageid=’37691′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]new beauty products to try now[/responsive]

      Kosas Chemistry AHA Serum Deodorant

      It’s no secret that natural deodorants are hard to nail and that’s why we were thrilled to see the Kosas Chemistry Deodorant (finally) land on our shores. Not only does the deodorant stop odour and brighten the skin but the formula’s AHAs help to create an unliveable pH environment for odour causing bacteria. The exfoliating properties from shikmic, mandelic and lactic acids also work to fade discolouration. Need we say more?

      Buy now: $24 at Mecca.

      Tom Ford Skin Illuminator Face And Body

      PSA: summer is right around the corner. And much to our delight, that means we can bring out the big guns, like the Tom Ford Skin Illuminator Face And Body. This light-diffusing highlighting product uses micronised pearls to give off the ultimate translucent glow. Inspired by skin bathed in summer evening light, this product will give you all the glow with none of the stickiness. Gisele, eat your heart out.

      Buy now: $98 at Myer.

      [responsive imageid=’37693′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]new beauty products to try now[/responsive]

      Gucci Vernis à Ongles Nail Polish

      Gucci flip flops? No, Gucci nail polish. Inspired by the vintage glamour of iconic Hollywood movies and characters, the new Gucci Vernis à Ongles Nail Polishes are a little slice of luxury. Coming in five shades and a quick-drying, ultra-shiny formula, these will be a firm favourite in no time. Oh, and we love the custom-designed brush for ease of application. 

      Buy now: $41 at Gucci.

      [responsive imageid=’37694′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]new beauty products to try now[/responsive]

      KYN Hyaluronic Acid

      So, you use hyaluronic acid on your skin, but what about your hair? Great for adding volume and bringing lacklustre hair back from the brink, this Kyn Hyaluronic Acid serum is a shower must-have. Not only does it strengthen the hair and protect it from breakage but the serum also draws in moisture to increase hair growth and thickness. Say no more.

      Buy now: $19.29 at KYN.

      Have you got a favourite product that has just hit the shelves? Leave it in the comments below!


      How To Get Your Hair In Tip Top Shape For Summer

      If our hair isn’t moisturised, hydrated and silky all summer long, we don’t want it.

      Let us introduce you to Becky. Becky with the good hair. Unfortunately, like many of us, Becky’s hair takes a hit during the warmer months. What is usually a head of hydrated and silky hair during winter, quickly turns brittle, dry and unmanageable once the sand, salt and sun set in.

      But don’t worry – we’ve got Becky (and perhaps some of you) covered. Here, we enlist the help of Aveda Educator, Mathew Wickham to guide us through the small tweaks that will ensure our hair is worthy of a Beyoncé album all year round. 

      [responsive imageid=’37632′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]summer haircare[/responsive]

      [responsive imageid=’37627′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]summer haircare[/responsive]


      A hair treatment is the secret to maintaining healthy, hydrated hair, especially during summer. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a mask, leave-in conditioner or an oil,” says Wickham. “Just adding in that little something extra will ensure your hair is protected and soft.”

      Gritty Pretty Loves: Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturising Mask ($58), Sukin Hydrating Replenishing Hair Masque ($19.99)

      [responsive imageid=’37628′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]summer haircare[/responsive]

      Just like slathering on some 50+ when the rays start to peak through the clouds, protecting your hair from UVA and UVB rays is extremely important. Not only does sun exposure age our skin, it can also damage our hair, leading to dryness and breakage. “Protection is key,” says Wickham. “It is a beach bag must have and something I never leave the house without.”

      Gritty Pretty Loves: Aveda Sun Care Protective Hair Veil ($50), Bumble And Bumble Hairdresser’s UV Protective Dry Oil Finishing Spray ($54)

      [responsive imageid=’37629′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]summer haircare[/responsive]

      “A fresh cut and style is so important for a healthy look that is summer ready,” advises Wickham. But don’t panic, you don’t have to go full Kaia Gerber (although if you do want to, we have a few tips on how, here); even a trim will give your hair the refresh it deserves. Wickham’s biggest tip on making it look lived in? Dry shampoo. “This product is a winner as it will clean your hair but also gives you that textured, beach look.”

      Gritty Pretty Loves: Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk ($10.99), Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Biotin Dry Shampoo ($39)

      [responsive imageid=’37630′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]summer haircare[/responsive]

      Colour looking a bit… flat? (Same.) Rather than opting for a dramatic or extreme colour refresh, Wickham suggests a gloss treatment to enhance your look. “These will get your hair shiny and glossy and are super low maintenance,” he says. What’s more? The treatment also works to bring out your natural highlights for a sun kissed look sans the bleach.

      [responsive imageid=’37631′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]summer haircare[/responsive]

      You know those showers at the beach that are usually reserved for surfers? News flash: they’re not. And you need to get involved. “When swimming in the sea, it’s vital that you tie your hair up and rinse as soon as you get out of the salt water,” says Wickham. “Letting the salt sit in your hair for long periods can be damaging and drying.” You heard it here first, ladies.

      Do you have a favourite way to keep your hair in check during the warmer months? Leave it in the comments below!


      Skincare Face Off: Physical Vs Chemical Exfoliation

      Consider us your beauty myth busters.

      Like many beauty battles, the physical vs chemical exfoliation debate is divisive, to say the least. Some people swear by a luxurious scrub during ‘The Shower’ (you know the one) while others prefer a chemical-based formula to deliver consistent smoothing. But regardless of where you sit on the exfoliation scale, it’s important to know what your options are.

      Here, we speak to Joanna Newham, founder of her eponymous skin salon in Newport, to explain the actual difference between chemical and physical exfoliation and debunk a few myths in the process. Get your pen and paper out!

      [responsive imageid=’37607′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]physical vs chemical exfoliation[/responsive]

      [responsive imageid=’37603′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]physical vs chemical exfoliation[/responsive]

      If, like us, you were introduced to exfoliation as a 14-year-old you will be very familiar with the once popular (read: rudimentary and ultra-abrasive) scrubs of years gone by. The skincare game has come a long way since then and you can now find both chemical and physical exfoliators that do the job without the damage.

      Physical exfoliation is when you use either a product that is gritty with delicate granules or an exfoliating brush to remove the surface layer of dead skin,” says Newham. Note: surface layer

      Chemical exfoliation, on the other hand, dissolves dead skin cells. During this process, these ingredients delve a little deeper to promote new cell turnover and smooth your skin.

      Neither physical or chemical exfoliation is superior. Used correctly, both have their place – you just need to know when and how to use them. Which brings us to our next point…

      [responsive imageid=’37608′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]physical vs chemical exfoliation[/responsive]

      [responsive imageid=’37605′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]physical vs chemical exfoliation[/responsive]

      Before you pick your poison exfoliator, take a close look at your skin to discover what it needs.

      The criteria for physical exfoliation

      “Physical exfoliation is really good if a skin is quite a thick skin or if it has a build up of dead skin sitting on the surface,” she says. This could be due to a lack of exfoliation all together (we don’t judge) or the result of flakiness due to a microdermabrasion treatment. A physical scrub can be done up to twice per week.

      The criteria for chemical exfoliation

      “Chemical exfoliation will dive deeper into the skin and promote that continual cell turnover,” says Newham.”[It’s] more beneficial for skin in the long run.” Depending on the strength of the product, some chemical-based formulas can be used once or twice weekly, while others are gentle enough for everyday use. Always read the label and start on the conservative side; using too much, too soon can irritate skin. 

      [responsive imageid=’37604′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]physical vs chemical exfoliation[/responsive]

      [responsive imageid=’37601′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]physical vs chemical exfoliation[/responsive]

      We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again: it’s important to understand your skin before jumping on the latest Instagram bandwagon.

      If you fancy a scrub

      “Be mindful of how abrasive your scrubs are,” says Newham, “as you can cause micro tears on the surface layer of the skin or run the risk of capillary damage. I would definitely recommend asking a skin specialist or someone you trust about which product is right for you.”

      If your skin is sensitive

      “What to use is definitely dependent on your skin type and the formulation,” Newham continues. “If you have more sensitised skin, you run the risk of over-exfoliating so I would look to fruit enzymes like your papayas, your pumpkins or your pineapples. They’re a lot more gentle and will help to break down the bonds that keep those dead skin cells together.”

      If you want to go the whole hog

      If your skin can handle a little more, though, a chemical exfoliant comprised of AHAs (hello, glycolic, lactic or mandelic acids) or BHAs (think: salicylic acid) would be a good option. 


      [responsive imageid=’37606′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]physical vs chemical exfoliation[/responsive]

      [responsive imageid=’37609′ size1=’0′ size2=’641′ size3=’1024′]physical vs chemical exfoliation[/responsive]

      It would be remiss of us to interview skin extraordinaire Joanna Newham without asking for a product recommendation or two. “In terms of physical I love the Priori LCA fx160 2xFoliant Peel + Scrub ($79) as it combines the exfoliation of the surface skin with a little chemical smoothing,” says Newham. “My holy grail, though, is the Sodashi Enzyme Face Polish ($110).”

      When it comes to chemical exfoliation, Newham loves the Murad Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel ($95) as well as the famed (for a very good reason) Biologique Recherche p50 Lotion ($96). Do what you will with this information, but we seriously suggest you take her word for it (she’s kind of incredible).

      Do you have an exfoliator, be it chemical or physical, that you swear by? Leave it in the comments below!