Tuesday, February 21, 2017
With all of the craziness and stress in my world of late I’ve come to appreciate the ‘art of taking time out’ so much more. Even if I can’t get to (or I’ll admit, afford) a spa or the like most of the time, I’m all about regular self care and the added beauty benefits that it can sometimes bring.
Taking care of my feet is a big one for me, and up there with regular facials when it comes to spa-at-home type treats. I love a good foot-centric product that feels amazing and actually works, with genuine transformative properties as well as a great smell. I frequently file my heels, oil my cuticles and lather on foot cream all year round, but it’s during summer when you get to actually reap the benefits! With that in mind may I present my latest foot loving favourite: Manuka Doctor ApiNourish Foot & Heel Cream.
Pretty much like a super nourishing anti-ageing treat for the feet, Manuka Doctor ApiNourish Foot & Heel Cream is an advanced formulation specifically designed to deliver feet and heels with deep, intense hydration. Packed full of powerful natural ingredients including UMF 18+ Manuka Honey (an ingredient for which the company is rather obviously known), hydrating Avocado Oil, super nourishing Shea Butter and Beeswax, the indulgent, rich but easily absorbed cream works with the skin to instantly boost moisture levels and re-energise dry and tired skin, as well as improve cracked heels. In addition to these key active ingredients, skin-soothing peppermint is in there to add a cooling element that makes it a great idea during the summer months.
All Manuka Doctor products are dermatologically tested but never on animals, and contain no parabens or SLS, and no harsh preservatives, just the good stuff! Oh and it goes without saying that Manuka Doctor products should not be used by people allergic to bee stings… for the obvious reasons!
It’s a little hot for these kind of shenanigans at the moment, but for intense hydration and a real feet treat, apply before sleep and pop a pair of socks on top, leaving the formula to soak in overnight for a true spa-like treatment.
Manuka Doctor ApiNourish Foot & Heel Cream clocks in at a very reasonable $19.75 for a 75ml tube, and is available online or at The Manuka Doctor concept store, 1 Quay Street, Auckland City, selected Farmers department stores, selected pharmacies and department stores nationwide. For more information or to locate your nearest stockist visit www.manukadr.co.nz or phone 09 300-3025.Tweet
It’s interesting to note that two of the most beautiful stores in my neighbourhood come without any screaming street frontage: Curio Noir and Lonely. What lies behind the doors of both is something very special however, and their elegant, understated and unique approach is what makes them stand out from the crowd.
With an offering that encompasses lingerie, swimwear and womenswear, the impeccably crafted Lonely label was founded by Helene Morris (below) and partner Steve Ferguson around fourteen years ago. Their aforementioned Ponsonby flagship store on Mackelvie Street arrived in 2014, with its window-sized piece of marble a discreet-yet-statement making frontage hinting at the beauty within.
The fit out was the work of multi-disciplinary designer Rufus Knight in collaboration with Lonely CEO Steve, and has been called the physical embodiment of the brand’s thought-provoking aesthetic. It comes complete with sparkling water on tap and refreshingly spacious fitting rooms, which are such an essential for me when lingerie and swimwear are in the mix. Its design saw Knight awarded the top award in his field at The Designers Institute of New Zealand, Best Design Awards (the annual showcase of excellence in graphic, spatial, product and interactive design) 2015, picking up a Purple Pin in Spatial Discipline, the supreme award for that area. He also won two Gold Pins – for retail design and stand out emerging designer. The judging panel said the Lonely Ponsonby store has a "superb, international quality fit out that would hold its own in any fashion district".
When I speak to Lonely designer and co-founder Helene, she tells me opening the store was a natural progression “to be able to give our customers a complete experience. The online experience can only deliver so much, and to be able to feel garments, try them on in an environment that reflects our values and aesthetic was something that we felt strongly that we wanted to do”. I ask her if there were ever moments of hesitation before putting the store’s bold design into motion, and get the perfect answer. “I think we have always loved challenging people, stereotypes and been confident in doing so,” says the designer. “I think rather than being hesitant we were really excited to show people that there is another way to create and enjoy the instore ‘physical’ retail experience.”
They have also maintained a very clear vision about what they wanted their globally successful, much loved Lonely lingerie brand to be all about, as in: "no padding, no push-ups, no G-strings". The photographic phenomenon known as the Lonely Girls Project was launched not long after the lingerie label, and has become one of the key identifiers of the brand. It shows real customers and lovers of the brand wearing the lingerie, and was a direct reaction to traditional lingerie imagery. Helene has said in the past the goal was to "empower women, make them realise that they don't have to be a certain way to feel beautiful”, and it has been a consistently glorious, runaway success. More women are being discovered and photographed all the time, and Helene tells me “it’s incredible how it has connected the brand with women from all over the world. We are really proud of what we have achieved with it so far.”
The Lonely Girls are body confident and amazingly diverse, but often still quite young. I ask if there are plans to feature older Lonely fans too, to which I get a definite “yes”. “We tend not to define age as a boundary for our customers,” says the designer, “but often we do find younger women more eager to come forward. Continuing to define our version of diversity is something we are passionate about.”
Next, talk turns to their newest collection for winter, which starts to drop into store in February! Helene says the ready-to-wear line features earthy coffee and tan tones alongside soft pastels, with splashes of bold marigold and ketchup colours that pop and dance. “We have worked with local artist Sarah Larnach and developed embroideries for our knitwear,” she continues, “and have repeated our popular wrap cardis in soft pastel coloured mohair.” Their super popular, amazingly wearable swimwear collection has grown steadily over the past 18 months, and the new range has more new styles including soft rib wrapped pieces and a fresh take on their incredibly popular ‘Dita’ story which every woman I know seems to own several pieces from. The lingerie range seasonal update features beautiful chartreuse European lace, new spider web halter styles, “and we also have grown our collection of more simple shaped styles, my favourite being the Lena,” says Helene. This style was named after ‘Girls’ writer and star, Lena Dunham “who has been incredibly supportive of Lonely in the past year. We have also increased our size range to include 16 bands, which is a really exciting development”. Dunham is also now a Lonely Girl in the official sense, appearing in imagery for the brand's LGP alongside fellow 'Girls' star, Jemima Kirke (above, in photos by Zara Mirkin).
Last up I ask: what is the next immediate plan for Lonely, are any more stores being planned?
“We have such an amazing team and really hope that together we can expand our experience and product further both in New Zealand and beyond,” says Helene, and with their track record thus far, you just know that’s a given.
(this story first appeared in the wonderful Ponsonby News)Tweet
Friday, February 17, 2017
Thursday, February 16, 2017
“Cleanser shouldn’t strip skin, it should add something back and make skin feel even better than before.”
Call me crazy (many have), but one of my favourite parts of any facial is the cleansing process, which I could happily lie and have done to me all day! I’m incredibly fussy when it comes to cleansers for home use as well, and really like to take my time giving my skin a good massage and then compressing and wiping with a fresh muslin cloth.
With all of the above in mind, it takes a lot for a cleanser to really impress me, but one I’ve just started using really has – and then some. It’s the newest skincare release from the always-amazing Bobbi Brown, and goes by the name of Soothing Cleansing Milk. A cleanser-oil-lotion hybrid, it was reportedly inspired by the brand’s founder’s belief that beauty starts with healthy, glowing skin – and who can argue with that? She is a woman that knows what she’s talking about, and who was applauding natural, you-but-better beauty looks long before it became de rigueur.
Infused with Chia Seed Oil - a major superfood that also works wonders as a skincare ingredient - and a unique blend of Narcissus and Lavender Flower Complex, Soothing Cleansing Milk gently cleanses and conditions skin without stripping away the good stuff, and feels so light that at first you think it will barely make a dent in the likes of makeup and dirt. It is deceptively grunty however, refreshing and rehydrating skin in the morning, and effectively dissolving makeup and grime at night.
Its unique blend of Sweet Almond, Jojoba and Avocado Oils (emollient ingredients that won’t clog pores) means that the super light formula works to gently breakdown makeup and remove impurities, rather than just stripping everything off. I use just a little massaged well into wet skin morning and night, and even after an evening double cleanse it still leaves my skin feeling comfortable, never tight, dry or irritated. My skin is quite reactive at the best of times, so I love that it has ingredients in there like Jasmine Flower to help reduce the appearance of redness, and the aforementioned Chia Seed Oil, which acts as a potent anti inflammatory. So great for all skin types, including sensitive.
Sound like a bit of you? This beauty has an RRP of $85 and is available right now at all Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Counters and online from www.smithandcaugheys.co.nz/BobbiBrown and www.farmers.co.nz/BobbiBrown.Tweet
Businesswoman, creative and passionate mama, petite blonde powerhouse Lucy Vincent is one hell of a woman. A well-known face in the New Zealand fashion and hair industries for over 20 years, she is a long-time advocate for all-natural beauty and the planet, and is a source of endless, valuable information about both.
When I found out I was pregnant with my son Wolf she was one of the first to know, and soon presented me with a range of options for my haircare that would have zero effect on my system, and my growing baby's. These included organic, chemical free colour, new techniques with my old colour to minimise its effects on my system, an organic take home hair care range and general, all round great advice. This was clearly a woman who knew her stuff.
Originally from the Lakes District in the UK, she moved to Australia when she was nine and then to New Zealand when she was eleven. Leaving school at 15 to work as a hairdresser in Nelson, she moved to Auckland at age 23 and became the co-founder of the Ponsonby salon we now all know and love, Stephen Marr. Further Stephen Marr salons were to follow, along with beauty haven Lucy & The Powder Room, and Lucy was also a co-founder of the pioneering North Shore retail concept, The Department Store.
Amazingly, while all of this growth was happening on a commercial level she also found the time to create Sans [ceuticals], a specialist collection of hair and body products that has slowly but surely been going on to conquer the world. Their formulations are pure and clean, with each ingredient highly considered. This means that as well as being simply gorgeous to use, they are as high performance as they get. The active ingredients in each offering are dialled up to really high levels to work on cellular health as well as skin and hair structure, and I for one can’t get enough.
“It used to be that everything that was natural was believed to be better for you,” she told me at the time of the product collection’s first release, “but now we're realising that some ingredients from nature can be just as irritating and toxic as those that are synthetic. My range is as pure as it can be as well as non-irritating or comedogenic, and all the ingredients I've used are sustainably harvested from communities that are fully supported.”
Pure, chemical-free and highly active, Sans [ceuticals] really is new generation beauty: a collection of products designed to renew the texture and appearance of your skin and hair that doesn’t harm the user or the environment. The collection contains no artificial chemicals – only sustainably harvested, natural ingredients and organic wherever possible - and in line with the name (Sans is French for ‘without’), is pure, clean and without any unnecessary or harmful ingredients.
The range began with a single product: the now cult favourite known as Activator 7 Body Oil, a reparative oil that uses active vitamin A to stimulate cell repair, increase collagen production and boost skin thickness and elasticity. After two years of rigorous research and development, the end result really was something special. The effects of regular use of Activator 7 on some eczema sufferers has been better than that of the use of steroid-based creams. Further body and haircare formulations were to follow, each more amazing than the next.
Fast-forward to 2017 and talking to Lucy in the Grey Lynn space where she now works exclusively on Sans [ceuticals], it is clear she is still obsessed by her creation, which is about to enter a new space globally. The brand has been in the US at a very low-key level for several years now, but that is all set to change with a new direct-to-consumer business approach and very clever digital strategy. There has also been a reformulation process rolling out across many of the products in the range to make them even more multifunctional (I love that, our bathroom cabinets are too cluttered as it is!), including the aforementioned Activator 7, which can now be used as everything from a face and hair oil to an eye makeup remover. A new styling line for the hair will also be unveiled later in the year.
Key to the digital strategy is a fresh new website that is interactive and ready to deliver Sans lovers from all over the world a quick, effective e-commerce experience, as well as how-to videos to educate and beautiful recipes, inspiration and the like. It is capable of giving consumers a highly detailed Sans [ceuticals] prescriptions for their skin, and the opportunity to experience luxury samples via the ‘Sans Dispensary’.
The brand is also collaborating with 30 key, high profile and like-minded women on the global stage under the name the Coven Women, an initiative made possible by Lucy’s good friend Natalie Shukur, a freelance writer, editor, content strategist and creative consultant based in New York. The possibilities really are endless in the digital space, and these women will help take the Sans [ceuticals] message to the world.
“I am just so excited about this year,” Lucy tells me with the biggest smile on her face, “and having a platform to really tell the Sans [ceuticals] story from our own point of view to consumers is key. I’m happy!”
(This story was first published in the always-awesome Ponsonby News)Tweet
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Over the last couple of years it seems every brand wants to be attached to the term ‘conscious’ in some way, often exploiting the term for their own gain in the same way that many beauty companies employ the ‘greenwashing’ and ‘pinkwashing’ techniques. It fools waaay to many people for my liking, so when I talk to or hear about a brand that is really putting their money where their mouth is (like Tiffany and Girlfriend Collective, both of whom do an amazing job), it makes their actions that much more authentic.
Which brings me to H&M, and their new Conscious Exclusive collection dropping into around 160 stores worldwide, April 20. The collection pushes forward in both sustainability in style too: for 2017 the collection includes the pioneering sustainable material BIONIC®, a recycled polyester made from plastic shorelijne waste.
Supermodel, supermum and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova is starring in the Conscious Exclusive campaign – see the amazingness, above - in her first ever outing for H&M. “I am proud to appear in the H&M Conscious Exclusive campaign,” says Vodianova. “It’s amazing to see the advances in sustainable fabrics that are used in the collection, pointing towards a more sustainable future for all fashion.”
Conscious Exclusive is a collection of exquisite pieces that is bound to be a hit worldwide, with the ethereal plissé pleat gown in powder pink worn by the supermodel made using the aforementioned BIONIC® fabric. It’s a collection of individual pieces with a sense of occasion, each one showing the many different ways that sustainable materials can create the best style.
“For the design team at H&M, this year’s Conscious Exclusive is a chance to dream and create pieces that are both quirky and beautiful. It’s great to be able to show just what is possible with sustainable materials like we have done with the delicate plissé dress made of BIONIC®,” says Pernilla Wohlfahrt, H&M’s Head of Design and Creative Director.
Conscious Exclusive is a driver in H&M’s move towards a more sustainable fashion future, which I for one am wholly backing. Did you know that across all of H&M’s product ranges, 20 per cent are now made from more sustainable materials (2015), with the aim each year to increase the share? H&M is also one of the world’s biggest users of recycled polyester and one of the biggest buyers of organic cotton. The goal for cotton is that it is to be 100 per cent sustainably sourced by 2020. It is part of H&M’s ambition to make sustainable, good-quality fashion accessible to as many people as possible – as in fast fashion, done well!
For more information, visit about.hm.com/sustainability and start saving your pennies for this important drop on April 20.Tweet
Friday, February 10, 2017
Victoria Beckham has been in the spotlight for an amazing 20 years or more, so it would be safe to say that she knows a thing or two about beauty, and about what works and what doesn’t. Along the way, she's also learned the tricks of the trade from some of the industry's best makeup artists like Pat McGrath, Val Garland, and Charlotte Tilbury, and I for one think her pared back glamour is a breath of fresh air in the Age of the Kardashian and its associated Sharpie-drawn brow.
A long-time makeup devotee and apparently a collector herself, it was no surprise when the designer and mother of four took what she had learned and created a limited-edition makeup collection with Estée Lauder last year. The collection featured all the pieces a woman really needs in her makeup bag - as handpicked by Beckham – and I have to say it is still one of the most perfectly curated releases I have seen in a long time. As in, WANTED IT ALL.
The 15-piece make-up range was one of the biggest beauty launches of the season globally when it dropped, and an instant sell-out. Unsurprisingly, beauty giant Lauder has just announced it is bringing back the original collection on February 17, and as the sponsor for Beckham’s fashion show during New York Fashion Week, will tease an upcoming, second Victoria Beckham X Lauder collaboration on the runway on February 12. Amazing.
During an interview earlier this week, Beckham was reportedly vague about what her second makeup range will look like but made sure to emphasize the tie-in between her fashion and beauty lines. “It’s important that this is about fashion as well. Every collection we do I want it to have an element of fashion. Yes it’s all very wearable, but I also have fashion in there,” Beckham told WWD at Lauder’s headquarters in Midtown Manhattan.
Jane Hertzmark Hudis, group president at Estée Lauder Cos. Inc., was able to confirm that the second capsule will contain 30 units, double the original 15 skus that hit counters five months ago. Beckham’s personally curated, city makeup “looks” for L.A. and London will return, and just a few months later the line will have new products and looks for London, New York, L.A. and Paris, as well as the addition of Miami.
Hudis credits much of this success to Beckham’s incredible social media presence (She has 13.6 million followers on Instagram), and the re-launch comes as no surprise to me given the glamorous ‘how to’ videos VB has been dropping on the regular since the initial release.
I, for one, cannot wait!Tweet
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
The release that accompanied my press sample of Oribe’s Gold Lust dry shampoo described it as being ideal for the person “who dry cleans their underwear”. I can’t say that I go that far but I have been known to carefully fold it, and admit that I love a little everyday luxe in my life where I can get it.
It wasn’t always so easy to access Oribe products Down Under, so just being able to pop into a salon and pick babies like this up still astounds me. One of the things that makes living in New Zealand such a fantastic proposition is its remoteness, but this can also be a huge bummer when it comes to grabbing the latest and greatest, the newest and the best.
Oribe, the eponymous product line from one of the most influential hairdressers of all time, Oribe Canales, defines luxury in hair care. The man has been one of the most sought after hairstylists for fashion, editorial and advertising work for the last 30 years and his product range reflects just how in love with what he does he really is. His collaborators include countless photographers, like Bill King, who introduced him to the fashion editor Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, a co-conspirator during his Steven Meisel years. Then there was the meticulous Irving Penn, who Oribe still refers to as Mr. Penn; and Helmut Newton, who shot Cindy Crawford for American Vogue with hair that Oribe teased to infinity; and others like Richard Avedon, Patrick Demarchelier, Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, Francesco Scavullo and Horst. He’s a man that loves making women look gorgeous, and his signature is super luxurious locks jam packed full of volume.
With all that in mind, can his dry shampoo cut it? I have to admit that when I swapped to Gold Lust I had been using a brutal formula that felt and smelled quite frankly a little toxic, but it certainly did the job when it came to mopping up oil at the gym and on some of our more humid days. Would Oribe’s super sexy, kinda pricey (RRP $72.00) do the same? In a word: YES. And it came with all sorts of other lovely elements that made it one hell of a player.
Packed with translucent powders that absorb oil at the roots, it works to restore strength and shine to each strand, leaving your locks touchably soft with zero telltale white residue. It is Keratin treatment and colour-safe, and comes with the Oribe Signature Complex of Watermelon, Lychee and Edelweiss Flower Extracts to combat the effects of environmental stressors. Celery Seed extract is also in there to help extend the time between styling by reducing oil on the scalp, as well as Myrrh extract to fortify dry, damaged locks. It is also blissfully free from parabens and sodium chloride, which we love.
Lastly, it comes with the signature Oribe musky and citrusy Cote d’Azur scent that seriously sticks around for hours on end. InStyle awarded Gold Lust the title of Best Smelling Dry Shampoo, even going as far as adding “you'll probably want to wear it as perfume”, which I think is a bit much but hey? What do I know! It’s a winner. And yep, would definitely buy again.Tweet