Friday, August 22, 2014

Daily delight: Naomi Campbell for Harper's Bazaar Latin America

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Love it: Jo Malone's new Wood Sage & Sea Salt

Sitting just last week in the British fragrance brand’s Britomart boutique, I was introduced to Jo Malone’s exquisite new limited edition release, Wood Sage & Sea Salt. Nibbling a little too enthusiastically on bespoke salted caramels created especially for the occasion, I was given a signature Jo Malone hand and arm massage (pure heaven) whilst experiencing the cologne alone and in combination with my current JM fave, Velvet Rose & Oud. The result? To die for, on both counts.
Composed of ambrette seed, sea salt and sage, along with red algae and grapefruit, Wood Sage & Sea Salt cologne arrives on the market in September, accompanied by a matching perfumed body care collection. Master perfumer Christine Nagel, who was tasked with the job of bottling the smell of the English coastline for the company (even the social media hashtag is #englishcoast), thinks it smells of "the sea air, mixed with salty spray and the mineral texture of sand and rock”, whilst I think it’s just divine.
Speaking about when she was first asked to dream up the beside-the-sea scent, Nagel said she knew "it was something unusual; another great challenge. I was given photographs of the English coast and old postcards to look at with rugged cliffs and moody skies. It was sepia photography and the colour was very emotive. When I looked at these pictures I instantly felt the sensation of sea spray, romantic but natural."
Which brings me to the moody and evocative campaign shots that accompany the release, which fit perfectly with the alluring images conjured up by the uniquely beautiful scent. Photos for the advertising campaign were taken in Northumberland by British fashion photographer Tim Walker, who has shot several fragrances for the brand over the past couple of years and nails it, every time.
The Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt collection includes flacons of 30 and 100ml Cologne, 250ml Body & Hand Wash, 175ml Body Crème and 200g Home Candle and is available from September 1 online and in store at their aforementioned Britomart, Auckland boutique. Get saving now.

Daily delight: Cara Delevingne for Tom Ford's Black Orchid

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Love it: Sodashi's Samadara Ultimate Age-Defying Elixir

A new Sodashi product always takes time to come to fruition, mainly due to the absolute quest for perfection constantly adhered to by the company’s inspirational founder, the wonderful Megan Larsen.
Considered by many to be “the purest skincare brand in the world”, Sodashi is an Australian skincare company that has successfully harnessed the benefits of natural ingredients to produce effective, chemical-free skin care products and spa therapies since 1999. As a lover of those rare moments when all natural-meets-high performance in the world of beauty, I fell in love with it pretty much on sight, and have never looked back.
Sodashi products are formulated using a unique combination of biochemistry, aromatherapy and Ayurvedic principles, and are all produced at the company’s own laboratory in Fremantle in Western Australia. A Sanskrit word, Sodashi translates to ‘wholeness, purity and radiance’ – the values on which the company and its products are based. As well as producing beautiful, desirable products, their absolute commitment to working in harmony with nature is reflected across all areas of the business, a factor you can’t help but admire. Not a single synthetic chemical, preservative or fragrance is used in the Sodashi manufacturing process. Products are never tested on animals and Sodashi packaging is recyclable and printed with natural vegetable dyes, and they must be doing something right as the range is available at many of most exclusive resorts and spas worldwide.
One of my all-time favourite beauty products is the brand’s absolutely in-cred-ible Samadara
Ultimate Age-Defying Crème, which is the ultra eco-luxe brand’s powerful anti-ageing treatment to reawaken the skin. A truly transformative number, it uses a unique alchemy of pure plant ingredients and rose quartz crystal water to promote skin’s own natural healing abilities from within. Regular use dramatically boosts skin cell renewal to tone, firm and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and the velvety-smooth crème comes even with two rose quartz crystals to massage the treatment into the skin for maximum benefit. The ingredient list is blissfully and proudly chemical free, and includes treats like organic Damask Rose, lavender and sandalwood that also give it the most beautiful-yet-delicate scent.
An accompanying Samadara eye cream joined the pack a couple of years ago, and now the heavenly pair has been joined by Samadara Ultimate Age-Defying Elixir, a wee bottle of amazingness that I have been lucky enough to be trialling for the past week or so.
An intensive overnight repair treatment to diminish lines, reduce pigmentation and refine pores, it is made up of “a unique alchemy of the purest botanical ingredients enlivened with Rose Quartz Crystals” that boosts the skin’s natural renewal cycle with some pretty serious results. 
A super fine, exquisitely scented oil that is an absolute pleasure to use each and every time you unleash a few drops into your palm, it seriously makes the night time ritual just that - a sensorial experience that also happens to result in beautiful skin. The results are immediate too - the oil is absorbed into the skin immediately and gives you a glowy, soft and velvety look and feel that is almost impossible to believe until you’ve tried it.
So try it you must! This beauty is available online at and via selected stockists of the brand, who you will also find details for at the same address. RRP $274.00 and IMHO, worth every penny.

Daily delight: Diane Kruger for H. Stern

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Beauty destination: ON Browhouse, Britomart

You know how sometimes a place becomes so familiar to you that you forget how great it is? That is how I got with OFF Wax/Brow Bar, where I have often headed over the years for a bikini wax and a brow shape. They are a specialist waxing destination as opposed to a beauty therapy business – think no white coats, no whale music, no water features – and women all over Auckland love them all the more for their dedication to the task at hand. Experts at their three Auckland destinations tailor your waxing treatment and/or brow work specifically to you, and take into account anything you may have going on in your life – say pregnancy, stress – and treat you accordingly. They also stock a huge range of aftercare products and brow and lash kits etc, and are more than happy to show you the ropes and make sure that you’re taking care of things in the best possible way.
The creator of OFF, the preternaturally fabulous Nicky Shore (above), has recently expanded her business with the ON Browhouse brand - a beautiful inner city destination in Auckland’s Britomart specialising solely in bespoke browography services. Nicky spotted a gap in the market for long-lasting brows that didn’t involve the frightening looking cosmetic tattooing many out there were offering, and catering for clients who are in need of personalised eyebrow rejuvenation. She researched the globe for the best and most innovative ideas on brows so that ON offers a collection of techniques, hand selected from the best methods out there. From colour and tone to balance, proportion and shape, to problem solving and correction work, ON Browhouse has a proven modern solution for brows that can now last the long term.
When I popped into the loft-like beauty destination last week Nicky showed me around, including a look at the tools used to etch fine, detailed, lifelike hair strokes on clients’ brows that blend in with any existing brow hair. Browography differs from traditional tattooing in that it does not penetrate as deep in to the skin’s dermal layer, and rather than a tattoo machine, a calligraphy-like pen with fine needles is used for the softest and most natural result. Everything from ethnicity to skin type is taken into account, and building great brows really does appear to be quite the science!
A one hour consultation session is complimentary, then a two hour ‘foundation’ session and two hour final session will set you back $895 and $195 for a two hour annual refresh. Results are totally individual though, so it’s best to pop in for a thorough consult if this magical offering sounds like the thing for you.
Visit for bookings, FAQs and a full before and after gallery - I guarantee that you’ll be seriously impressed!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Love it: Murad's new Essential-C Sun Balm

I’m off to Bali in a few weeks (I know, I keep harping on about it - indulge me) and I’ve been building quite the arsenal of beauty essentials to take with. As well as effectiveness size has been a factor when I’m choosing what to take, especially when it comes to bigger items like sunblock, oils and body lotion. Lucky there are some amazing compact little wonders out there, the latest of which I’ve discovered is Murad’s brand new Essential-C Sun Balm.
A lot of women I know use portability as the reason they don’t carry a sunscreen with them at all times (no excuse in my opinion, but oh well), so for them this has the added bonus of being about as leak-free and handbag-friendly as it gets. The perfect protector for burn-prone areas like the nose, ears, shoulders and décolleté - all of which often need a top up of sun protection - this baby from Murad is a compact hands-free, SPF 35 sunscreen-stick that is ideal for keeping on hand everywhere you go - whether it be touching up on the ski lift, replenishing after a quick dip or shielding shoulders when dining al fresco.
Part of the Environmental Shield range, it features MuraSol™ Antioxidant Defense, which is award-winning Murad’s own antioxidant shield that creates a protective barrier of free radical neutralisers. It contains a trio of Vitamins A, C and E that work together to renew skin health, providing antioxidant protection while smoothing the skin’s texture so your skin is protected and looks and feels great too.
It has interesting ingredients like Broccoli Extract in there to stimulate the skin’s natural defence against UV damage, while Tangerine Butter glides across the skin to deliciously deliver lasting hydration. It feels good, smells great and is a cinch to use - just apply liberally to exposed skin on your face, neck and chest before going out in the sun, repeating every two hours - so ladies, there is zero excuse for letting your delicate skin burn from here on in.
Murad Essential-C Sun Balm is available right now with an RRP of $54.00.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Love it: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Liquid Foundation

When a sample of the new L’Oréal Paris Infallible Liquid Foundation arrived across my desk I immediately gave it a second look as: a) it claimed to last 24 hours and b) it was in a shade that was an exact perfect match to my skin tone, how rarely does that happen first off?
Both conspired to encourage me to test it straight off, and pretty much immediately I was impressed. Easy application using just the smallest amount? Check. No obvious need for a concealer? Check. Good coverage but not chalky? Check. Stay-ability? Well I haven’t worn it for more than nine hours’ to be honest but damn, it really does require zero touch ups! It has the added benefit of Hyaluronic Fresh Complex in there too, so your skin is kept feeling fresh and hydrated and looking flawless but it never cakes or dries out.
Infallible really does last throughout the whole day and you don't need to add a powder, but you can use it with Infallible Compact Powder applied dry for a matte and powdery finish if that’s more what you’re after.
I haven't gone lower budget on foundations in years, but at RRP $39.99 this is definitely cheaper than many equivalent formulas in terms of performance from the so-called ‘luxury’ brands and I will totally buy it again. It’s available in seven shades too, so if you don’t find your ‘perfect match’ from the get-go like I did you can be sure that it’s never far away.

Daily delight: Missy Rayder for Agent Provocateur

Giveaway: a Bombay Sapphire VIP experience at The Marr Factory

A couple of weeks ago I announced the return of the Marr Factory shows - held at popular Ponsonby hang out spot and my local, Golden Dawn - which have been one of the highlights on the local fashion calendar for years. The venue means that things felt a little more cool and underground than your usual local fashion affair, and the amazing hair and makeup looks could be glimpsed up close and personal, which for a beauty fan like me gets two thumbs up.
It’s a good thing indeed then that The Marr Factory is back for 2014 and once more at Golden Dawn, where a series of in-season runway shows will happen curated by Stephen Marr, and partnering with some of the sharpest labels in New Zealand: Karen Walker, Zambesi, Nom*D, Helen Cherry, Workshop and Kate Sylvester.
The six nights of in-season fashion shows will be happening August 17-23, and this year a very special eve will wrap up the week in true Marr Factory style in the form of a group show providing a platform for five of the country’s most exciting new fashion labels to present their collections. Eugenie, Harman Grubisa, Penny Sage, Glen Prentice and Georgia Alice make up the ‘MF Gatecrashers’ on Saturday 23rd August at in an R18 event that will be completely open to the public.

But onto MORE good news, in the form of a giveaway involving fashion, fabulous gin and a truly VIP night out.  I have one Bombay Sapphire Experience at Marr Factory for two to giveaway, which involves quite the prize package: a double pass to the Nom*D show on Monday 18th August, an UBER private driver to and from the event, a Bombay Sapphire goodie bag, access to the Bombay Sapphire VIP lounge and complimentary Bombay Sapphire Cocktails. Hoorah! All you have to do is email with your name, address and date of birth (you have to be 18 years or older to enter) buy this Friday, August 15 at midday and you’re in the draw!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Beauty destination: Loxy’s Hair Boutique, Ponsonby

When Loxy’s Hair Boutique owner - and generally inspirational, wonderful woman - Kate Jarrett (left) opened her first ‘official’ salon premises on July 1 last year in Grey Lynn last year, little did she know that she would be doing exactly the same thing precisely one year later - albeit on a very different scale. 
Recently moved to premises that are bigger and brighter than ever before at number four Ponsonby Road, she says that if someone told her she’d be not only moving her salon but also expanding her staff, renovating her home and getting married in the space of one year she would have told them they were completely mad. 
With a background in account management and advertising agency work, up until a few years ago the successful salon owner didn’t even have any training in the area of hair, full stop - just a love of her own hair extensions and a growing desire to take the best of what was on offer and make it available to women all over Auckland. “When I was about 18 I had clip in hair extensions,” she says with a smile, “which were actually totally horrific and I could only get away with them because I was so young! My partner at the time (now her husband) pointed out to me how ridiculous they were on a regular basis, and one day surprised me with a visit from a woman who gave me a proper weave - a set of sewn in extensions that were a hundred times better!” She says that began her love affair with extensions, and six months later she started to train in how to apply them herself, whilst still working in offices and agencies. “I had some great jobs over the next couple of years but wasn’t fulfilled,” says the petite pocket rocket, “so about four years ago I put a rent-a-cabin on my front lawn and started doing extensions for a living.” Within a year she’d outgrown that space and her partner built her a purpose-built studio at the back of their home, which she also soon outgrew.
Next it was a move to her aforementioned salon on Richmond Road, where she also bought on board hair stylist Amy Phengsavath. A veteran with over eight years experience in the business, Amy worked on all three cycles of ‘New Zealand’s Next Top Model’, backstage at New Zealand Fashion Week and in one of the city’s busiest and largest salons. “She was a godsend as she meant we could offer cuts and colours as well as extensions,” says Kate, and the business soon outgrew its Grey Lynn space and a move was inevitable.
The new premises means even more staff members coming on board, including a salon manager to take the pressure off Kate. As well as an expert in extensions, Kate loves spray tanning “for the same instant gratification factor I think! Both can really transform a person and how they feel about themselves, and I love that.” Loxy’s are New Zealand's exclusive supplier of the amazing range of Vita Liberata organic spray tanning products, which Kate believes are the best in the business. For hair they also stock the fabulous range of Davines and O+M haircare, which are both pure and natural in line with the Loxy’s philosophy.
When I ask her about the reputation for error that many styles of hair extensions have acquired over the past few years she says, “they have got a really bad rap recently, and with good reason. Most applications have a gluing or braiding aspect, and if you see photos of celebrities with bald spots then it’s usually due to the former. My own hair couldn’t handle the braiding technique after a while as it’s so fine, and the method just added too much tension for it to handle.” The method that Loxy’s offers and Kate trained in (amongst others) involves no gluing and no braiding, but rather wide wefts - or rows - of hair - being attached using a silicone banded micro ring that holds it in place. “This means that the hair can be put in without gluing or braiding your hair -which can be very painful,” says Kate “and it significantly decreases the chances of damage to your own hair. We work with 100 per cent human remy hair to ensure a natural look too, and the technique is perfect for giving length or adding volume.” It’s also quicker and easier to put in “because we're not putting in 100-150 individual clusters of hair, a lot of time is saved! You shouldn't need to sit in a chair for 4-5 hours to achieve a look you can get in one.”

Kate says that she and her team are always fighting to change the “stigma of hair extensions, which when they are done well should be totally undetectable. I love it when people are shocked that I have them and saying ‘that’s the whole idea!’”
“It’s a rare kind of job where you get to make people happy every day,” she adds with a smile, and I for one think that she is perfectly suited for the position.

Daily delight: Penelope Cruz for Harper's Bazaar US