Friday, November 21, 2014

All about: Opalescence Go teeth whitening

Years ago now I had my teeth professionally whitened. I already have quite pearly gnashers and it cost a bundle, but I have to say that the results were extraordinary – and I only wish I could do it more!
I have discovered the next best thing however in the form of an at-home whitening system called Opalescence Go, which is also available as a stronger, dentist-only product. It is the perfect option for anyone who is looking for convenient, ready-to-go whitening, and is insanely easy to use. A professional whitening gel delivered in prefilled, disposable trays, Opalescence Go features the brand’s enhanced UltraFit tray and can deliver dramatic results in as a little as 15 minutes per day. The UltraFit tray sets Opalescence Go apart with its unique material that warms with the temperature of the body so that it comfortably molds and adapts to your smile for an even more effective whitening experience and for me, there was zero discomfort or hassle involved. Love that! Think no impressions, models, or lab time required, just an excellent introduction to whitening and a great top up if you’ve already had a whitening treatment in the past. Did it make a difference for me? Most definitely, and I’ve had the positive remarks to prove it.
I tried the six per cent hydrogen peroxide version (with wear times from 30–60 minutes) and had a great result, so I’m hoping to top that up with the 15 per cent hydrogen peroxide (with wear time from 15–20 minutes) in a few months once the silly season is past.
On an ingredient front, Opalescence tooth whitening gel contains PF (potassium nitrate and fluoride). Potassium nitrate has been shown to help reduce sensitivity, whilst fluoride has been shown to help reduce cavities and strengthen enamel. Together they help to improve the overall health of the teeth and yep, you’ll notice the difference pretty quick.
I love that it comes in prefilled, disposable trays, so it's easy to take with you anywhere you go and there is no mess and no fuss – two factors that have put me off at-home whitening treatments in the past. Opalescence Go also gives you a whiter smile in just 5-10 days when worn just 60-90 minutes per day, and the minty flavour is an added bonus. I have sensitive teeth and experienced no increased sensitivity as well – which I definitely didn’t expect.
So in my humble opinion, give this wonder a go. Ask your dentist for a consult and get in there – healthy looking teeth are seriously the best calling card!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Love it: Estée Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultra Radiance Makeup

I’ve been feeling a bit overworked and overtired of late, and it’s definitely showing on my poor old skin. It’s dehydrated up the yin yang, so I’ve been looking for a mutitude of ambulance-at-the-bottom-of-the-cliff type products to make it look and feel a little better.
The latest and greatest I have discovered is Estée Lauder’s new Re-Nutriv Ultra Radiance Makeup, which hit the counters last month and has already shot to the top of my ‘must wear’ list due to its nourishing properties. The ultra-luxe new collection of shades and formulas “sends pure light streaming through precious micro-fine gems for a beautiful, jewel-like radiance the moment it touches skin”, says the press release, but I say it’s just damn good stuff! Enriched with patented anti-aging ingredients and from around the world, it works perfectly with Re-Nutriv’s skincare line, making it a top pick for ageing or dehydrated skin.
The silky smooth new formulas in the makeup collection include Re-Nutriv Ultra Radiance Liquid Makeup and Ultra Radiance Concealer and Smoothing Base, and I’m in love with the lot. The liquid makeup formula glides on – and feels – like silk, blends really well and seriously lasts, whilst the Smoothing Base conditions and preps skin for a smooth application by smoothing and helping fill in lines and pores. The non-creasing Concealer helps erase imperfections like uneven skintone, dark spots, discolourations, redness, dark circles, blemishes and broken capillaries, and when used together they are a winning combo!
It goes without saying that the Re-Nutriv Ultra Radiance Makeup collection is non-acnegenic, dermatologist-tested, ophthalmologist-tested, and formulated for all skin types, and is at Estée Lauder counters nationwide right now.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Beauty news: Designer Brands Cosmetics earns Cruelty Free and Vegan certification

In an amazing piece of news for those that love their products, Designer Brands Cosmetics has officially been granted Choose Cruelty Free certifications as well as Vegan certification from the Vegan Society, acknowledging all ingredients and finished goods are not tested on animals, are free from animal cruelty and are vegan friendly.
Choose Cruelty Free (CCF) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation which actively campaigns for an end to animal testing of cosmetics, toiletries and other household products.
CCF conduct research and testing on every ingredient in Designer Brands products, as well as every supplier of the ingredients, to ensure the cosmetics are completely free from all forms of animal cruelty. 
As a value brand, Designer Brands say they are thrilled to provide a product free from animal testing and animal cruelty, as well as being vegan friendly. The certifications mean consumers can enjoy their faves with the added peace of mind that comes from the knowledge they are purchasing ethical products.
 Designer Brands’ Brand Manager Maz Cugliari said the cruelty free and vegan friendly certifications are both social issues important to the brand and they are pleased to be recognised as an ethically sound brand. “It’s critical for our brand to ensure we are delivering ethical products with socially acceptable practices,” said Ms. Cugliari.
 “When shopping for cosmetics, consumers are looking for a product that ticks all their boxes, and free from animal testing is among the top three considerations, so it was key for us to give consumers peace of mind when purchasing Designer Brands,” said Ms. Cugliari.
Designer Brands is at a variety of pharmacies across All Unichem, Radius, Amcal, Life and Care Chemist pharmacies.

Daily delight: Poppy Delevingne for Solid & Striped

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Beauty and fitness destination: Barrefigure

Barrefigure is a chic, boutique fitness studio located on Richmond Road that also happens to be the first independent barre studio in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Barrefigure technique taught by owner Marysa Dalton (above) is a truly dynamic fusion of ballet barre work, Pilates, yoga and strength conditioning set to music. It targets all muscle groups and  tones, strengthens and lengthens them, creating a leaner, longer looking physique. I’ve tried a few classes since the day the studio opened and can honestly say that the one-hour sessions are most definitely a relentless, full body workout, and no walk in the park! Having said that, while Barrefigure is high intensity, it is very low impact, meaning you’ll get a great workout without putting excessive stress on your joints. You focus on tiny isometric movements and using your own body weight to sculpt your physique.
Marysa was a member of the Royal New Zealand Ballet for seven years, then moved on to guest in the West Australian Ballet in Perth, and as a Principal artist in Neglia Ballet and Dance in Upstate New York.
After hanging up her pointe shoes in 2010 she became the Executive Assistant to the Ambassador at the New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, and while she “loved having an office job I really missed movement, so I decided to work towards my Pilates Mat Certification and taught at various gyms and studios around Manhattan”. It was at this point that she discovered barre classes when they started popping up around her neighbourhood, and soon got seriously addicted. She says that she immediately loved how they made her body feel, “and that they gave me a similar challenge to what my body had when I was dancing.” This answers my next question before it comes out of my mouth, which was around the subject whether ex-dancers nail barre the minute that they walk through the door. “Oh I don’t find it easy at all,” says Dalton with a smile, “I keep my poker face on the whole time but I feel the uncontrollable shaking in my muscles in some poses just as much as everyone else… if you see me smiling in a class rest assured that I am feeling it just as much as you are!”
Enamoured, she made it her mission to spread the love and become a barre instructor, and soon after moving to London was invited by Niki Rein (a former Tracey Anderson trainer) to join the team at Barrecore, the first barre studio in London. She officially obtained her barre certification in the UK and became a Master Instructor, teaching group and private classes for two years at studios located in Chelsea and Mayfair. 
But after six amazing years away from New Zealand the pull of home was strong, and clearly also the time to launch Barrefigure classes in Auckland. “It was always my goal to open a barre studio in Auckland,” she explains, adding “I’m from Christchurch so it’s all so new to me. I was a little worried that after living in New York and London that I would miss the pace of a really big city but I absolutely love it here.”
She has launched with a signature barre class and a beginner’s option, both of which are a fusion of her first two loves - ballet and pilates - and inspired by both. “If you don’t have a background in either it makes no difference though,” she says, “as I keep classes small so I can demonstrate each and every move and check in if people are doing them correctly.” She caps classes at 17 participants and is the only teacher on board at present, and says that - depending on what type of other movement you include in your life - you can see real results attending around three classes a week. As well as teaching classes she takes private lessons and also welcomes private groups for a super motivating experience, and there are plans for a Barrefigure boot camp and a more dance-focused class too.
I love the classes and highly recommend them for a fun as well as challenging 60 minutes. And as Marysa’s website says: “as long as you can hold on to the ballet barre, you can do Barrefigure! No dancing experience required.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Beauty destination: the new Spring Spa, Wellington

I am unashamed to admit that I have never met a Spring Spa location that I haven’t fallen in love with at first sight, and the new Spring Wellington is no different. A totally serene and caring environment a little off the beaten track on the corner of Tory and Jessie Streets in Te Aro, it is based on the concept of a social spa like its sisters and a move away from traditional spa formalities. It is especially designed to combine relaxation, pampering and your weekly manicure appointment in one fun, social environment, but even popping in alone like I did it is an absolute treat.
Every time I am lucky enough to find myself in stunning Queenstown – I swear it’s like looking at a chocolate box photo every corner you turn – I make sure I take some time to visit the always-wonderful Spring Spa there, which conveniently opened in Auckland in the last twelve months as well. Both destinations are most definitely of the “happy place” variety, and I recommend them to everyone I meet who is looking for some dedicated “me” time.
Spring is the stroke of genius of the always-charming and ridiculously clever Ina Bajaj, the creator of the world-renowned East Day Spa. So despite the fact that they are quite a different beauty destination to East, they provide the same high standards of treatment and superior levels of service East is famous for, but with what they call “a Spring spin”.
Anyway, when I travelled to Bali a couple of months ago for ten days of island bliss, at the top of my to-do list was a trip to the incredible new Spring location recently opened there. The same was on my mind when I hit Wellington for a whirlwind work trip last week, and when I sat back for the Spring signature Reflexology treatment for an hour I was transported straight back to Seminyak, seriously! Designed to restore balance to the body with perfect pressure point foot massage, reflexology works its magic to improve circulation, reduce stress and rebalance your body from nose to toes. Heven? You bet. If you’re in the ‘hood then I recommend a trip to Spring Spa ASAP.
To book check out their details here.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Love it: Kevin Murphy ANGEL and HYDRATE.ME masques

I am all about using hair masques, especially in the lead up to and during summer when hair gets a right hammering while you’re off having fun. All of those things that you love - dips in the pool and the sea, the beachy wave, days in the sun - are the enemy of your locks, and if they are long like mine they need double the TLC once the sun goes down.
Two of my favourite hair masques right now are the work of the inimitable Kevin Murphy, and join the ANGEL and HYDRATE.ME lines in the brand’s impressive stable. HYDRATE-ME.MASQUE is the perfect choice if you have dry hair, and is a repairing and smoothing masque infused with Rosehip and Evening Primrose oils. It smells absolutely incredible, and is enriched with the likes of Kakadu Plum, Seaweed and vitamin charged treatment capsules that explode on contact to deliver hydration and moisture. Once (or twice if you’re in trouble) massage a squirt or two into your hair and scalp for 5-10 minutes then rinse. The end result? Smoother, more hydrated locks that will be more than ready for whatever you’d like to throw at them.
Next up is ANGEL.MASQUE, a repairing and thickening conditioning treatment that has been kindly designed for fine, dry or coloured hair. It contains Quinoa proteins, Tripeptides, Lotus Flower and Bamboo extracts, and helps restore your hair’s elasticity and keep your moisture balance at optimum levels. Once again, apply a couple of squirts to freshly washed hair, massage into hair and scalp for 5-10 minutes then rinse. Magic!
Although these are at the pricier end of the haircare market at $70.00, they last for ages and the squeezable tube means that every little bit comes out - a factor that many brands struggle with, especially when it comes to masques.
Anyway… these are in salon now, so what are you waiting for?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Beauty news: Trilogy Everything Balm gets an update

One of my favourite beauty products of all time is Trilogy’s Everything Balm – the ultimate multitasker and proudly nasty-free to boot. An all-round, sure-fire, totally natural fixer upper, it throws together the world’s best pure plant ingredients to soothe, soften and condition all skin types, everywhere. It nourishes hands and nails, conditions lips and softens and smoothes elbows, knees and dry, cracked heels. It works as a super smooth massage oil, an intensive moisturiser for harsh environments, looks after baby, and will even tame the tips of flyaway hair. I never leave home with a pot in my handbag or suitcase, and quite possibly never will!
So why pull out a rave about this beauty yet again? Well one of the best just got better after a reformulation with additional high-performance botanicals renowned for their antiseptic and healing qualities.
As well as doing all of the above, Trilogy Everything Balm can now be used a soothing salve to aid healing of chapped, grazed skin, itchy bites and minor hurts of all sorts.
Pawpaw (papaya) fruit extract is new to the formulation - rich in phytochemicals, that provide antibacterial and skin healing benefits. It’s also a rich source of antioxidant vitamins and helps to reduce inflammation. Echinacea has also been popped in to promote skin healing, and this little wonder also improves skin texture and provides a nutritive defense against environmental stresses. A new base of coconut oil (one of my beauty faves from nature) adds further natural antibacterial properties to help heal and repair and makes the balm more solid to the touch. Rich in nourishing essential fatty acids, it also creates a natural barrier against moisture loss.
These natural actives supplement the balm’s already nourishing and hydrating properties thanks to pure plant oils from marula, jojoba, olive, avocado and certified organic rosehip.  Combine these with New Zealand manuka honey and yep, it’s a surefire winner and must have. Now, if it could only do the dishes…

Daily delight: Shiloh Malka for Elle Spain

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Love it: Savar’s Ltd Edition Advanced Hand Repair

One of my all-time favourite hand care products, Savar’s nourishing and beautiful to use natural hand repair has just been released in a generous 250ml Limited Edition bottle, making it even more of a must have.
Made in New Zealand and boosted with natural, powerful anti-ageing ingredients, it is now sitting on my dresser and working major wonders on my poor old mitts. A brilliant multi-tasker, it not only quenches dry skin and is perfect for lathering on all day, but also helps guard against ageing, makes a fabulous cuticle cream and works wonders on dry and cracked heels to boot.
Enriched with New Zealand avocado oil and organic violet, it thoughtfully absorbs super fast and is gentle enough to use on dry and sensitive skin as it helps soothe conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. I love to use it after spending time in the garden, in the sun and straight after a bath, and it smells almost good enough to eat.
If you haven’t heard of it before (shame on you!), Savar is a premium natural skincare range created in New Zealand with an ingredient list that encompasses an entire plant catalogue. Think the likes of New Zealand blackcurrant oil, organic bilberry, marshmallow extract, organic fig, lime flower, lemon balm and organic goji berries… just some of the skin benefiting goodies included in Savar’s high performance products that look as good in your bathroom as they feel on your skin.
The new Savar Limited Edition Advanced Hand Repair, NZ$39, is available at, selected leading retailers and beauty therapists and comes in a beautiful recyclable bottle.