In her new column, GTG Beauty Director SJ reveals her beauty tips and tricks that will fit into any busy lifestyle, the tweakments to revive tired skin (and humans) and the products that work as hard as you do

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Oh hi there. If we haven’t met before let me introduce myself. I’m SJ and I am Beauty Director of Get The Gloss. I’m also mum to two gorgeous girls (currently aged 9 and 5) and spend most of my time spinning (and dropping) many plates. Which is why I’m always on the hunt for products that are quick and effective, give results as quickly as possible and can slot into a busy timetable effortlessly.

A few other things to know about me; I love lip balms and always have at least three on me (this comes from having suffered with coldsores very badly from a young age) and I am never far away from a facial mist, which I see as a moment of self care to make me stop for a few seconds, spritz, take a deep breathe all while giving my skin a dose of hydration, which it always needs. I really believe great beauty products can act as a conduit between boosting how you look on the outside and change how you feel on the inside.

I am on an eternal hunt for glow (it’s one of the reasons I love It Cosmetics CC Nude Glow and Jones Road What The Foundation so much) and there isn’t a tinted moisturiser or skin tint I haven’t tried. And when a treatment comes along promising glow - much like the JLo Hydrafacial - I’m the first one in line. In the last few years I’ve started to dabble in more tweakments to help my skin look more revived - Botox and mesotherapy being the main ones so far but I've recently tried a new speedy non-invasive wrinkle smoothing treatment - more to come on that below.

This column landed slap bang in the middle of the school summer holidays so for this one it’s a combination of products I rely on to keep my family happy in the sun and during the long school holidays as well as what I need to help me cope with the aforementioned. Plus a few other bits that anyone with a hectic schedule needs to know about. Enjoy!

You can find me on Instagram @beautyjournoSJ, where you will get a honest (not Insta perfect) insight into my life and beauty recommendations

SPFs for the whole family

This is just a snapshot of some of the suncreams I took on our week long family holiday. They are all brilliant but a particular shout-out has to go to La Roche-Posay Anthelios Kids Body Milk SPF50+, £25 which doesn't flare up my eldest daughter’s eczema and rubs in really quickly on squirmy kids who just want to be in the pool, and new Ultra Violette Preen Screen SPF50 Reapplication Mist, £32 which is a really light mist that feels refreshing to keep layering on your skin, over makeup and on partner's hairlines that may not be as full as they once were and need some extra SPF TLC.


On the school run makeup

What with dropping kids off in the morning and getting to work, I have a very short window to do my makeup and it's often done in the car so I need products that are quick and easy to use. It's unlike me to use one brand entirely but Merit is my go-to for this scenario. It's a cool US makeup brand built around the ethos of creating an easy-breezy, not overly done, look - which is my daily desire. Everything can be applied straight onto the skin, and while I do use brushes, you can easily blend with fingers. My hero product? The Flush Balm, £32 which I use on cheeks and my lips. 


Top tier hotel room toiletries

I did an out loud ‘yay’ when I found our Spanish hotel room toiletries were from Rituals. And not piddly sized bottles (that are not environmentally friendly) but full-size shampoo, conditioner and body wash that were continually refilled. They are from the Ritual of Karma range that contains a hydra boost complex to keep skin feeling soft, just what you need after a day in the sun. What I love about Rituals is the products are really decent, all smell amazing and they make you feel like you're using something luxurious but they are affordable - the Rituals Rituals of Karma Body Lotion is £16.90.


Nail painting play dates 

Like most parents trying to fill the endless weeks of summer holiday with fun things to do is tricky. Painting nails is one of my go-to’s because I genuinely enjoy it and it’s amazing how long you can stretch out ‘don’t move because your polish might smudge’. Nails Inc. are always on point with collabs that appeal to grown ups and small people alike and their most recent is a Fruit Loop collection that contains four brightly coloured polishes and one duo. My 9 year old’s favourite is green Ce-Real Talk the 5 year old went with coral shade, Toucan Play At That Game and I now have Toucan Sam Approved - a sky blue shade - on my toes.


The 20 minute facelift

In the last year I’ve really started to notice my face ageing, but I don't have time to do anything. However, when I read Rachel Johnson’s Emface review - a needle free facial treatment that reduces wrinkles and lifts the skin and takes just 20 minutes a go - I booked myself in with Professor Ali Ghanem at The Ghanem Clinic immediately. A longer review from me is coming, but I'm already impressed with the results. I have had four 20 minute sessions spaced a week apart (which even I could manage to fit in) and each session is around £600. Pads are placed on your forehead and cheeks and a combination of HIFES (high intensity facial electromagnetic stimulation) and radio frequency contract your muscles to give them an intense workout to lift and tighten. It’s a strange sensation. If you have ever given birth it feels like having contractions on your face (but without the pain!). You can find an Emface clinic near you here.


Breathing Balm Bliss

If you feel overwhelmed and exhausted (me most days) then while I am not saying that this Bertioli Water Meadow Breathing Balm, £45 is going to solve any of your problems, my goodness is it a great weapon to have in your arsenal to offer a moment of relief. Unlike the best pillow sprays, this rich cream is designed to be used whenever things feels a bit much. Rub it onto your hands, chest, neck under your nose, I even put a bit on the shoulder of my jumper to have a quick sniff sat at my desk. It has the most unbelievable earthy green scent of mint, eucalyptus and thyme, but it’s the action of stopping and breathing it in properly, allowing your shoulders to drop and your chest to open that really helps. I’ve rubbed it on my girls pulse points at night when they’ve had bad dreams and all over my husband when he has had a stressful day at work.


Caring for blonde (not green) hair on holiday

For any blonde readers (natural or dyed) who are looking for a way of preventing hair from turning green on holiday (the mix of sun and chlorine can turn blonde hair a delightful toxic green hue) then here’s what I use on my own and my 5 year olds white blonde hair. This Kérastase CC Cream, £25.99 contains UV filters and I slather it on our hair throughout the day and our colour stays looking exactly as it should. The Act + Acre Detangling Brush, £28 next to it is one of the best brushes I have ever used. It makes light work of getting the CC cream through knotty children’s hair, with zero tears from them or me, like nothing I’ve experienced before.


Instant skin transformer

We all need a product that makes an instant difference to how we look and feel. Cream blushers are a great option from a makeup POV and every makeup artist I’ve ever interviewed credit them for instantly adding life to a tired complexion, but if it’s all enveloping moment of joy you’re looking for then this new Beauty Pie Le Smash Santal Shimmering Body Moisturise Crème, £19.50 or members, £50 for non-members, is it. Not only is it super hydrating and has a lovely gel like consistency making it ideal for hot summer days, but it contains flecks of gold shimmer to make even pasty arms and legs more golden in seconds. And the scent. oh, the scent. There’s a bit of vanilla, lots of sandalwood and masses of tropical tiara flower extract so while you may be slathering it on in your bathroom, just for a moment you’ll feel like you’re in Bali.


Lip balms galore

This photo is a daily insight into the stash of lip balms you will find in my handbag at any given time. Lip balm is an essential for me as I suffer with really dry lips and coldsores. However, applying it acts as a micro moment of self care. That may sound ridiculous to some, but taking a few seconds to put some on makes me take a step away from the hustle and bustle of life and focus on myself. In the mix you’ll see Emma Hardie Amazing Lip Balm, £14.90 which has a handy mirror in the lid , Laneige Lip Glowy Balm in Grapefruit, £16 which smells lovely and leaves the faintest pink tint and Dr Sam’s Flawless Lip, £13 which is unscented and I use when my lips are very dry. My newest find is Ipsum Lip Oil Balm, £26 the most balmy of them all and a slightly more matte finish which I love.The Little Mermaid one doesn't belong to me!


Is it ok to use the C word?

I’m talking about Christmas of course. This week I went to a fragrance Christmas showcase (yep, us journalists start thinking about Christmas in the height of summer) for one of the UKs biggest perfume PR companies, and this is the fragrance that’s proving to be one of their biggest hits. And I can see why. Akro Bake EDP, £80 for 30ml, is created by master perfumer Olivier Cresp (the man behind perfumes such as D&G’s Light Blue and Mugler Angel) it is inspired by his love of lemon cupcakes from London Bakery, Crumbs & Dollies and it smells exactly like them. I’m not entirely sure how he has done it (magic maybe?) but with just one sniff you can smell the lemony sponge and the velvety buttercream icing. It’s available now but keeps selling out so if you want it before Christmas now is the time to get it.