Monday, January 16, 2017

Daily delight: Dakota Johnson for Vogue US

Love it: Jo Malone London Myrrh & Tonka Cologne Intense

“Namibia, with its sand dunes and warm desert colours, conjured up the romance of faraway lands…”
Céline Roux, Fragrance Director, Jo Malone London
Noble and intoxicating – as well as in store right now – Jo Malone London’s latest Cologne Intense release, Myrrh & Tonka, is one of my favourite fragrances of the past twelve months. Just a few days into 2017 it can safely be called the Fragrance of the Year, and may hold the title for some time yet.
I am a huge fan of the Cologne Intense range at any time of year - the slightly warmer and often spicy notes sit well on my skin and in my fragrance wardrobe, and they wear well too. In the summer months I often save them for long, hot evenings, which is when they really come into their own. Compliments? You bet, and often.
Unisex and appealing from the get go, the aforementioned new fragrance, Myrrh & Tonka Cologne Intense has been described as “oriental and exquisitely simple in its composition”, both of which get thumbs up from me. Its unusual fragrance pyramid (lavender, myrrh and Tonka bean with vanilla and almond at the base) makes it stand out from the crowd in an unabashedly sensuous way, and it really does perform exceptionally in the Wear Factor test.
The fragrance was created by perfumer Mathilde Bijaoul, who says of the new release: “There is an atmosphere of addiction and carnal richness to this fragrance which appeals to both men and women. At the top there is a hint of lavender and a oral note, creating a comforting and voluptuous opening. The big, rich heart and base note of myrrh is sensual. And the tonka brings generosity. It’s captivating and mesmerising.” Saucy! And I wholeheartedly agree, whilst Céline Roux, Jo Malone London’s Fragrance Director adds: “Both the myrrh and the tonka have a decadent and addictive quality that chimes with the concept or rarity and opulence. I felt that the collection was missing a fully warm, sensual and rounded Oriental feel,” and that is what this new beauty delivers.

Jo Malone London Myrrh & Tonka Cologne Intense is in store now, RRP NZD$280 for 100ml of sheer gorgeousness.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Daily delight: Salma Hayek for GQ Mexico

There’s never a better time… for a makeup makeover

Hand’s up if you’ve been using the same eye shadow, mascara and lipstick selection for over five years’ now, with no intention of giving any of them up? Well you’re not alone, but the powers of a makeup makeover can be truly transformational.
A makeover of any sort can be scary, but if you go to the right professional with the right intentions, you can leave with a freshened up look that is still all your own, and maybe an arsenal of new makeup revelations that will make life easier.
For free, or a fee of around $30-$80 redeemable on purchase, you can get a skin analysis or makeover session at counters all over the country to make sure you're spending your money on the right products or to give you an insight into what else is available.
It's best to book a time in advance at department stores or larger pharmacies, but often, if the counter isn't busy they will be able to fit you in on the spot. It helps to say what you want to achieve from your session so the consultants know where to concentrate their efforts. If you want a better blusher, a decent foundation for your skin type or age, or to learn how to put on eye makeup, don't just book in for a general makeover, be specific.
It's also a good idea to note down any product recommendations: some great counters will send you home with all of the details of what will work for you now, and what you can pick up later when you’re in the mood for a splurge. Most consultants will happily complete a makeup colour/face chart (see a M.A.C one, below) for you and you can refer back to it, including checking if you have something similar at home. If you love a product, it makes sense to buy it. But don’t feel pressured to spend more than you can afford. 
Clarins is a great brand for both skincare and makeup, and its counters usually have a designated beauty room and a counter manager who’s trained in giving facials and makeovers. They’ll show you how to make your skin glow, how to make the most of your eye shape and more. There’s no charge for these regular services, but there’s a booking fee that varies depending on the time of year that is redeemable on purchases.
M.A.C has highly trained artists on hand at their counters and stores to show you the best way to use their products. If you want anything from an express makeup to an hour-and-a-half-long makeup lesson showing you how to achieve different looks you will have to pay, but this is redeemable on product purchase. M.A.C stores are also happy to arrange group lessons after hours as well, which can make for a great start to a night out.
Bobbi Brown has always been a makeup brand associated with real life, unabashedly pretty looks, so it’s no surprise that one of their most popular services is the very handy Makeup Bag Makeover. An audit of what you’re wearing right now (and possibly shouldn’t be), the 45-minute session is the perfect way to kick off the new season and begins with a thorough examination of what’s in your bag and the order in which you apply each and every product. Well worth the time - and complimentary if you book in earlier in the week or during off-peak times - the Makeup Bag Makeover definitely comes highly recommended, and is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to some new essentials.
Lastly,  getting stuck in a rut is also bad for your health. Hanging on to old water-based products - such as mascara- in particular risks bacterial contamination, which can lead to infection. How you handle your makeup in general can affect its shelf life too. Keep your cosmetics germ-free by washing your hands before applying, not sharing makeup, not adding water or saliva to dilute makeup and keeping cosmetics in a dry area, away from direct heat or sunlight.
When to toss it out:
Mascara - three months 
Liquid foundation and concealer - six to 12 months
Cream blush and eye shadow - six to 12 months
Powder blush and eye shadow - one year
Eyeliner and lipliner pencils - up to two years
Liquid eyeliner - six months or less
Lipstick - one year

Daily delight: Gigi Hadid for Max Mara Spring 17

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Love it: Clinique Sun-Kissed Face Gelée Complexion Multitasker

Spending major cash constantly buying new foundation/BB Cream/tinted moisturiser to match your rapidly tanning bod now the sun is here? Or love a faux glow but not tanning your face? Well you needn’t: meet Clinique's Sun-Kissed Face Gelée Complexion Multitasker, one of my absolute standout beauty picks of the last few months.
One of Clinique’s most exciting launches of the past year IMHO, Sun-Kissed Face Gelée Complexion Multitasker is essentially a tube of tinted gel that can be added to your foundation/BB cream et al to give it a sun-kissed bronze effect. It takes a little (but not too much) experimentation to master the application, but once you do, it offers a great, cost-saving way to give your complexion a splash of bronze-y colour without the powdery look so common to many traditional bronzers.
Housed in a no-mess tube, the formula itself is a deep brown colour that's not orange or shimmery in the slightest, which gets a big tick from me. For first time users it's so dark that it looks a bit scary at first glance (especially for those with lighter skin tones), but once you’ve warmed it up in your palms you'll find the translucent colour sheers out as you blend it into your foundation or whatever. Play with how much you need to get your desired level of bronze, and definitely go easy at first if you’re on the lighter side.
It is a multitasker though, so can also use it alone in the areas where you would normally apply bronzer. Success came after a little trial and error for me when I used the Gelée this way, and it’s important to remember that a little definitely goes a long way. The matte finish dries quickly too, so make sure you get your blend on sooner rather than later. And as per Clinique's instructions, wash your hands immediately after you use this puppy to avoid staining. 
In conclusion, I love so much about this product, and not just because it saves you splurging on multiple foundation shades. It is fragrance free so workable for all skin types as claimed, even those sensitive types often deterred by added fragrance that can compromise their skin. It’s a great way to give your complexion a bronzed goddess boost, and with practice I found it as effortless to use as a traditional powder bronzer. 

Clinique Sun-Kissed Face Gelée Complexion Multitasker is in store now for - a very reasonable given its powers – NZD$49.00.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Daily delight: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for InStyle magazine

All about: Drunk Elephant... and their Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil

When a natural skincare brand gets major props on the notoriously thorough – and tough! - Paula’s Choice Beautypedia website, you know it’s gotta be good. Welcome to the world of Drunk Elephant, a brand recently arrived in New Zealand at Mecca Cosmetica and Mecca Maxima that I am totally in love with.
Based out of Los Angeles, California, Drunk Elephant was founded back in 2012 by former skincare executive Tiffany Masterson. As their website describes, Masterson developed the brand out of a desire to create “natural-themed formulas” that were truly effective and high performance. From the get-go Masterson was emphatic that they leave out that which wasn’t effective – primarily added fragrance. The inclusion of a plethora of exotic fragrances is where many natural-themed brands seem to go wrong, leaving many potential customers with major irritation to their already-sensitive skin. Fragrance, be it from essential oils or synthetics, has even been found to cause damage in some skin types. Happily, Drunk Elephant are one step ahead with their innovative, fragrance-free products.
As for the brand’s super cute name, it actually makes reference to anecdotes about African elephants, beautiful, big beasts who love to snack on the fermented fruit of the marula tree. It’s an indulgence that leads to well, a little tipsiness, as once eaten, fermentation occurs inside their very large tummies and the elephants become drunk. One only hopes the hangover isn’t as great as their size!
The Drunk Elephant line is a small but beautifully curated one, and it makes each product count. All of the clever packaging keeps the ingredients inside protected, and many of the formulas include the aforementioned ingredient Marula oil, which contains an array of beneficial fatty acids, anti-inflammatory agents, and antioxidants. Drunk Elephant's Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil has been on high rotate in my house of late, due its abilities as a marvellous multitasker and its general awesomeness. It’s actually a very straightforward beauty product, in that it contains just a single ingredient: Marula oil. Marula oil is an excellent ingredient for skin, and thanks to the aforementioned great packaging that keeps it stable, this product is a winner. High in critical antioxidants like tocopherol (vitamin E), tochotrienol, phenolic compounds and Omegas 6 and 9, it hydrates, preserves and nourishes your skin, while restoring that elusive, youthful plumpness. Straight from the “pip” of the marula fruit, the Virgin Marula Oil in the bottle is virtually untouched by any chemical or fragrance, natural or synthetic and remains in its purest form.
When it comes to the feel of this product, the oil itself is lightweight enough that it can be applied directly to skin, absorbing within a couple of minutes. It is amazing for those with dry to very dry skin like mine, but if you have oily or combination skin with patches of dryness, this can be applied to those areas too. With regular use you will get a major glow, and in combination with Drunk Elephant cleansers, serums and sun protection, the brand says your skin will be “balanced and optimised to look and feel it's healthiest”. Amazing! I’ve been using my oil mostly in combination with Drunk Elephant’s Lala Retro Whipped Crème moisturiser (review to come) and thus far, most amazing. I can’t wait to try more of this range!

Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial Oil retails for NZD $115 at Mecca, so I suggest you head in store or here to get a bottle ASAP.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Daily delight: Felicity Jones for The Hollywood Reporter

Love it: Mint Skin’s new mineral masks, MUD

Fresh, new Australian natural skincare brand Mint Skin launched at the end of last year with a bang. After 12 months in development and product testing with over 200 Instagram users, they finally unveiled their first two creations after much conversation, and they are absolute winners. It was a unique and fresh approach for a beauty start up, and it paid off with major buzz around the clever skin fixes known as MUD.
Mint Skin was developed to fulfil a need for simple, natural, skin products without the excessive price tag, and the company aims to deliver products that are “safe, non-toxic, highly effective and fun”. They believe every user is entitled to receive real results from their skincare products, and their ever-growing lineup of creations is cruelty free and locally made, tested on people, never animals.
Commenting on the new brand, Mint's co-founder Carla McGraw said: “I’ve always been a fan of natural beauty products. There are some wonderful products around but they are often prohibitively expensive for younger customers. To add to that, the packaging usually lacks appeal – the products either don’t look cute in your bathroom, or haven’t been packaged in a way that’s convenient to use. These are the main reasons behind the developing the brand.”
The packaging and imagery that accompanied the launch of Mint Skin were crucial to the brand’s ever-growing popularity on social media, which Carla says was always part of the plan. “Beauty and health routines are now something that women want to share on social media,” she said at the brand’s launch, “and with Mint we’re hoping to create a community for exchanging ideas and encouraging discussions about natural skincare. Social media is an integral part of our business. Being able to speak directly to our customers is an amazing benefit – it means that we can continually refine our products to suit our target market.”
But let’s get back to Mint's aforementioned first product releases, the two varieties of mineral masks known as MUD. One can be used on the face and body for a powerful detox, treating blemishes, congestion and - yep, you heard that right - cellulite. The other can be used to hydrate and brighten the face and décolletage, and is the perfect pick me up after a few weeks’ of late nights and sometimes-poor choices! Both masks are formulated with natural, non-toxic ingredients, and come neatly packaged in single-use, no-mess sachets that keep things fresh and bacteria-free. Yay for that!
The two options available thus far take the form of Rosa Hydration MUD and Detox MUD. If I had to pick one of the two masks I would have to err on the side of Rosa Hydration, which is what my skin has been crying out for. Basically a 15 minute facial in the privacy of your own home, it is perfect if your skin is feeling dull, dry and in need of some instant hydration and glow. Its all-Australian hero ingredients include kakadu plum, organic honey, macadamia oil and rose absolute to brighten and illuminate, and the super creamy, non-drying formula leaves you skin feeling clean, velvety, and rebalanced. Heavenly.
The second MUD, Detox is the best choice if you have congested, oily and acne-prone facial skin, or if you suffer from rashes and cellulite on the body. It uses a unique and powerful detoxifying mixture of organic Australian clay to refine blemish-prone skin and bring back that beautiful glow. It cleanses pores to leave them visibly smaller and your skin baby soft, and weekly use on oily skin will see a reduction in blackheads, acne and breakouts. Regular use on cellulite prone areas will see a reduction in bumpy skin and improved circulation, which gets two thumbs up from me. It’s a little more interactive than Rosa as it involves mixing with a liquid medium that’s in line with what your skin needs at the time. For a normal detox add just water, whilst for a stronger detox, add apple cider vinegar. For an extra gentle cleanse, mix with an all-natural liquid moisturiser or Jojoba oil. Amazing!
Mint's eBoutique offers free shipping within Australia, and with new products in the pipeline is well worth bookmarking now. To find out more go here

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Daily delight: Laetitia Casta for Grazia France

Beauty essentials: Top of the (sun) blocks

Finally we’re seeing a little sun of late, which for me is a reminder that summer is - maybe? I hope? - on its way and new sunscreen needs to go on the shopping list. Whenever I’ve asked beauty experts – be they dermatologists, make up artists or cosmetic surgeons – for their pick when it comes to anti ageing skincare, they all agree that the most important thing you can do to keep your skin looking good well into old age is wear a sunscreen. Daily. No arguments, no forgetting on a cloudy day, no saying, “my olive complexion is a sunblock in itself”! Most last twelve months max after being opened too, so if you’re still got some sitting around in your beach bag or glove box from this time last year then chuck it - ASAP!

One formula I have fallen for lately is Cosmedix Reflect, which combines a high performance sunblock with skin-loving ingredients. A physical, oil-free, spray-dispensed sunscreen that won’t clog pores and is gentle enough for even the most sensitive and oil-prone skin types, it provides broad-spectrum UV protection that absorbs quickly leaving a matte finish. Whilst it’s protecting your skin a combination of science and botanical ingredients help firm things and smooth lines, whilst free radical-fighting antioxidants defend skin from environmental stress that can cause inflammation and damage to collagen and elastin. Pretty impressive stuff! It is also formulated free of petroleum-based oils so it nourishes without clogging pores, and for those with severe gluten sensitivities or Dermatitis Herpetiformis, rest assured Reflect is gluten free. Oh and one thing – don’t spray this directly onto your face but rather into your hands first  - and keep well away from eyes. For stockists phone 0800 238 754.

Next up is my regular COOLA rave, one of the suncare brands that I definitely recommend for the whole family. A beautifully packaged collection of organic sun essentials produced out of Southern California, the COOLA range includes a plethora of yummy products that are high performance yet delicate and kind on the environment. It is produced in limited quantity batches, meaning that the range can be reformulated often, taking advantage of new developments in sun science and labelling regulations almost as they happen.
The COOLA range has two distinct organic sunscreen collections to choose from: Mineral, and Classic, each based on different active ingredients. The Classic Sunscreens use organic active ingredients (commonly referred to as “chemicals”), while the Mineral Sunscreens use mineral (“physical”) active ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to scatter and reflect UVA/UVB rays. The mineral sunscreens are effective right after application, making them perfect for the whole family. I cannot rave enough about the brand’s beautifully scented, high performance Guava Mango Sunscreen Spray SPF50. It doesn’t get much easier than spritzing your sunscreen on the go, and this clear, continuous spray in an all natural Guava Mango scent is one of the most effective products I have ever used. Offering broad spectrum SPF 50 protection, the deluxe, eco-sized “Farm to Face” sourced spray nourishes and hydrates the skin with more than 70 per cent certified organic ingredients like Cucumber, Algae and Strawberry Extracts. I was mainly testing it whilst lying prone in a lounger, cocktail in hand, but it’s actually formulated for the rigorous demands of sport and is water resistant for 80 minutes. This means you really can have your fun in the sun and then some! I love that it contains no nano-sized particles and comes in a deluxe size, which for $59.00 will definitely go a long way. For stockists go to
Next up, we all love easy – and when it comes to remembering to put on sunblock, the easier the better. Sunscreen as we know it can be a hassle to incorporate into your everyday routine, especially if you are only spending short periods of time in the sun. This is where BRUSH ON BLOCK comes in, a rather conveniently packaged and compact on-the-go mineral SPF30 sunscreen. It is basically a translucent powder that can be worn under or on top of makeup (that won’t leave skin greasy or with a white residue) that comes in an easy to use, all-in-one dispensing brush. While it is suitable for areas that are exposed to the sun such as the face, neck and hands, it is also perfect for application to the hairline, part lines and for those with thinning hair to provide protection from the sun without the greasiness of a traditional sunscreen. It is great for days at the beach as it is sweat and water resistant for up to 80 minutes and perfect for teenagers who play outdoor sports, so quick and easy to apply. When you are running out the door in a hurry this is a lifesaver, and it is paraben, phthalate and PABA-free, vegan and gentle enough for children and those with sensitive skin. For stockist details phone 0800 204 526.

Last up, one for parents who know the sandy kids scenario well - Garnier Ambre Solaire Easy Peasy Kids Anti-Sand Spray. It is the first advanced SPF 50+ kids sun protection from the European suncare brand with a sand repelling action, absolute magic! Waiting for little bodies to dry is also now a thing of the past thanks to their Easy Peasy Kids Wet Skin Lotion, which provides direct application to wet skin without sacrificing sun protection. Both hypoallergenic and water resistant formulas have been tested under paediatric control and contain no perfume and no colourants, so these are a great choice for sensitive types at any age too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Beauty news: Kiehl’s opens in Westfield Riccarton, Christchurch

Since the opening of its original apothecary in New York City in 1851, Kiehl’s has become a globally renowned name in the skincare industry for serving its customers the finest formulations made with the most advanced skincare science and uniquely efficacious, natural ingredients. The customer has always been central to Kiehl’s, inspiring each and every company decision from development to sampling to service philosophy - and even the design of Kiehl’s store. 
Today, Kiehl’s opened the doors to its newest New Zealand location - a Westfield Riccarton boutique. The store is located on Level 1 next to Cotton On Kids, and a shot of the fit out can be seen above. 
Kiehl’s retail stores are inspired by the company’s 165 year heritage and a desire to offer an experiential customer journey. Each store around the world transports the customer to the original pharmacy while simultaneously offering the opportunity for customer discovery and learning. Their flagship Auckland store in the Britomart Precinct is one of my favourite local beauty destinations, and it is super busy with good reason. Kiehl’s is all about its loyal customer base, and I swear in just one visit you’ll be hooked too.
“Quality is a defining characteristic of our company, but so is discovery,” says Cheryl Vitali, Kiehl’s General Manager, Worldwide. “It is our goal to put Kiehl’s New York apothecary heritage, history of innovation, highly personalized customer service and generosity in the hands of our customers across the globe. The Kiehl’s retail store brings these company values to our customers in an immersive, inviting environment.”  
To translate the original Kiehl’s apothecary into new markets around the world, each material, design element and artefact has been meticulously chosen for a total immersion in the beautiful heritage brand. Traditional textures like warm wood, marble accents and vintage brass meet modern lab elements including glass and stainless steel. Beakers, test tubes and mortar & pestles celebrate Kiehl’s pharmacy traditions and original hand-made formulations. And true to its East Village roots, a New York attitude permeates every store, through eclectic design elements like neon lighting, wall murals, graffiti, and exposed brick walls. 
“From the minute a customer enters the store we want them to feel welcomed, in an unexpected way. It’s common to see new customers exploring the store, opening our books, inspecting Mr. Bones, perusing our vintage photographs, all before ever looking for a skincare product,” shares Maria Gustafson, Kiehl’s Senior Vice President of Global Creative and Retail Store Design. “Our stores tell a story about our history and our formulas all while creating an environment for customers to comfortably focus on their own distinct skincare needs. This is very unique to Kiehl’s.” 
Personalised skincare consultations, delivered by highly trained Kiehl’s Customer Service Representatives (KCRs) are a hallmark of the company’s commitment to service, and the new store will be no different. As they have since the 1970s, KCRs wear a white lab coat – a continued celebration of the Kiehl’s authentic pharmacy heritage and their skincare expertise. 
So what are you waiting for? If you’re in the ‘hood make haste to Kiehl’s new Westfield Riccarton boutique - you won't be disappointed!

Daily delight: Gigi Hadid for Stuart Weitzman