Monday, November 30, 2009

First hit: my encounter with Restylane Vital

A few weeks ago I had my first encounter with Restylane Vital, a variant of Restylane, the global number one dermal filler that has been manufactured in Sweden for the past 12 years. I’ve been a fan of Botox for the past two years but hadn’t dabbled in the world of fillers as yet, and I was understandably a little on the nervous side. The venue was the Ponsonby branch of New Zealand industry leaders The Skin Institute, and I was in the more than capable hands of my regular nurse, Sally.
The reasoning behind the use of the original Restylane is thus: while youthful skin is rich in Hyaluronic acid (a naturally occurring sugar), over time the distribution and function of the sugar in the body gradually diminishes, causing skin to age. Restylane works by replenishing the skins own stores of Hyaluronic acid, adding volume, softening the signs of ageing and enhancing your features. It treats wrinkles around the eyes, between the brows, forehead and from the nose to the mouth, and is also used to shape the cheeks and chin, restoring volume lost during the aging process. Done badly, fillers like Restylane can make you look like an absolute fright – Lisa Rinna, anyone? – but done well it can make you look like a pleasantly relaxed version of yourself, maybe not a lot younger but definitely a little flasher. I also did my reading and liked the fact that Restylane is natural, containing no toxins, animal proteins, allergens or chemicals.
The area I wanted treated was my lower neck and décolletage, and the Restylane variant known as Restylane Vital seemed to be what the doctor ordered. While creams pamper your skin on the surface, Restylane Vital will take care of your skin from within, improving its elasticity and tone and hopefully creating what all of those in the know call “a naturally fresh and youthful appearance”. It is a pure, crystal-clear gel, and when introduced into the skin -in tiny amounts with an extra-fine needle - it lightly plumps it out, and also stimulates collagen over time. It can be used in all skin areas that 'give away' your age, including your face, as well as your neck, décolletage and the backs of your hands. It’s also suitable for all skin types - whether your skin is dry or oily, it will visibly respond to the natural benefits of improved hydration. It releases hyaluronic acid gradually over a period of time too, so the benefits generally last for several months.
My first treatment was more painful than I at first imagined and I did have a fair bit of bruising – hello scarves and mineral make up! – so for my touch up treatment in two weeks’ time I’ll be popping the arnica tablets and turning down the Christmas party invites for a few days’ at least… interesting stuff!

Daily delight: you can forget all about Jade... Chanel’s all gone grey

Despite the fact that your average manicure junkie hasn’t even got her hands on a bottle yet, I’m sad to say that Chanel’s Jade nail polish is already so over when it comes to fashion forward nails. It seems like nails are only just now getting their first taste of the perfect green hue, but after the legendary brand’s Spring 2010 show, grey is the new jade. On the runway, Kaiser Karl not only brought the barn indoors and made a day down on the farm look chic, but Chanel Beauty Creative Director Peter Philips cheekily unveiled the new hue, and I immediately fell in love with it. Want now!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Daily delight: it’s a cracker!

Forget plastic jewellery, paper crowns and desperately unfunny jokes in your Christmas cracker this year, and request a This Works Bon-Bon from your loved ones instead! Containing two of the must-have products from Kathy Phillips’ cult aromatherapy brand This Works, the cute as a button Bon-Bons come themed for “Lips” or “Eyes”. The former contains This Works’ bestselling Turbo Balm, a cocoa butter and rose oil-enriched multipurpose balm that brings a burst of moisture to lips, and is ideal for other dry areas (cuticles, heels and elbows). The second features their Stay Cool Eye Serum, a soothing, cooling eye cream which helps to banish dark circles and tired eyes- perfect for the morning after the Christmas party. These are also available in silver or gold for those fussy pups amongst us, and are available in New Zealand and Australia at Mecca Cosmetica.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Living Nature’s Radiance Night Oil – going beyond your standard rosehip oil

For years now we’ve heard about the benefits of Rosehip Oil for the skin, but lately it’s emerging that the famous beauty add-on may need a little help. Living Nature seem to have hit on that winning formula with Radiance Night Oil, the product that the company calls its “jewel in the crown”. The key is its unique combination of oils: Certified Organic Rosehip Oil to stimulate cell renewal, repair fine lines and reduce the appearance of scars; Calendula to soothe, calm and heal the skin; Jojoba which closely matches the skin’s natural sebum and creates an excellent affinity to nourish and feed and Frankincense Oil, to prevent wrinkles and improve scars and wounds (also helping to restore dry and mature complexions). In addition, Carrot Extract revitalises and tones the complexion and is a healing skin aid for irritant skin conditions; Vitamin E fights environmental damage and the free radicals that cause ageing and lastly, Rose Flower Oil, which is high in Vitamin C and assists the quality production of collagen produced by the skin. Rosehip combined with these creates an exceptional beauty product that really does stand apart from generic Rosehip Oils. It has also been tested and proven by internationally recognized ABICH Laboratories in Italy to repair, restore, and rejuvenate - boosting the skin’s natural regeneration through naturally increasing the hyaluronic acid synthesis to improve firmness and protection against moisture loss by 43% within 72 hours, naturally.
I suggest you add this to your bathroom cabinet ASAP, you won’t regret it!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Daily delight: Comme des Garçons’ Glitter

If you want a bit of sparkle this Christmas and tinsel just won’t cut it, then I’d like to introduce you to this limited edition stunner, Comme des Garçons Glitter. A holiday season-only release, it sees the iconic fragrance Comme des Garçons 2 - an eau de parfum - housed in a Limited Edition sparkling purple glitter bottle. The scent itself is a gorgeous powerhouse of a fragrance, an exotic and unusual blend of incense, ink, amber, patchouli, Chinese cedarwood, cumin, vertiver and fresh magnolia. If you fancy a bottle yourself or think it would fit perfectly beneath a loved one’s tree, it’s available now from Mecca Cosmetica.

Bumble and bumble – doing big the best?

As many designers trended toward the traditional this year when it came to what they put on the catwalks, Bumble and bumble’s team of stylists took a few risks; taking some all-too-familiar looks and give them that extra push. From ponies to pompadours, braids to buns – no hairstyle was spared an overhaul for the Fall collections. Remember the New Pony, Modern Big Hair, The Updated Updo, and the Power Pompadour as trends that are not only worth noting, but also worth wearing. I’m a big fan of big hair, and Bumble and bumble do it best in my opinion. Their Modern Big Hair look stole the show at Erin Fetherston, Ohne Titel, Lacoste, VPL and Vivienne Westwood (see Pam Anderson strutting her stuff for the punk doyenne, right), with some interpretations textured and teased, others soft and flowing. Some even had the dual-effect that is emerging as a trend that is super hot right now, slicked in front and mane-inspired in the back. The products used by the team of course included their Thickening Hairspray (by the case), as well as Bb.Gel, Thickening Serum, Bb.Shine and Surf Spray.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In praise of: My Smashbox Master Class

I thought I knew a whole lot about make up prior to my visit to my local Smashbox store in Ponsonby, but after a 90 minute long Master Class with the devastatingly handsome Grayson, it was clear that I had plenty to learn! One of the best beauty-related experiences I have had in a long time, the lesson covered the “six steps to a perfect canvas” as well as my perfect day look, and how that can translate in to night. Grayson would work on one side of my face with each step, and then I’d copy on the other – with varying degrees of success. I found out I was doing pretty good when it came to priming, foundation and concealer, but was akin to the village idiot when it came to appplying more than a very basic eye. I also learnt a plethora of tips to try and remember next time I’m hard at work on my face, many of which I’d never tried before but that made a world of difference to looking polished, enhanced and just that little bit better than my usual efforts.
The main ones I’m going to try and make a regular part of my routine are:
1. When applying primer, concentrate most on lines, large pores and creases, to prevent the foundation applied on top sinking in and making a hatchet job of the rest of your efforts.
2. When applying the aformentioned foundation, dab it on using a brush in short, stippled strokes, before buffing in. This way you can control where it goes, adding more or less depending on your flaws.
3. Remember to take your under eye concealer to the inner and the outer corner of the eye, and blend upward so that the delicate skin in that area isn’t dragged and/or damaged.
4. Powder should always be buffed down, not up. This stops any fine hairs sticking out and looking waaaaaaaay more obvious than you’d like them.
5. If you press eye shadow in before blending you will minimise fall out, and the risk of smooshing the foundation under the eye and on top of the cheeks.
6. The best way to see what you’re doing when smudging your lower lashline is to tilt your head down, and look up into the mirror. You’ll look ridiculous, but it really works.
There was plenty more I learnt in my short time with Grayson, and I highly recommend a Master Class if you’re looking for a new make up for Summer, or just want a reminder about what you should have been doing all along. I also was amazed at the difference a good brush makes, so invest if you can. A Master Class at Smashbox in Ponsonby Road is a steal at $70.00, and definitely dosh well spent!

Daily delight: Eva Green’s nude lip – and body – in Tatler, December 2009

Actress Eva Green is a habitual wearer of the reddest of red lips, which lend her a vaguely gothic air when paired with her chocolate brown, flowing tresses and often dark attire. For a cover shot and photo series in the December issue of style bible Tatler however, the Bond girl and generally kooky chick is sporting a fresh nude lip, and looks all the more sassy for it. The photos – shot by Ricardo Tinelli – are a homage to Helmut Newton, with one recreating a classic Seventies portrait of British actress Charlotte Rampling. Sitting on a polished antique table in front of an ornately gilded mirror, the Casino Royale star has only a glass of wine for company as she mimics photographer Newton’s memorable image from 1973. I’m a passionate fan of red lipstick but have to say that this shoot is pushing me towards a near nude for Summer, and is a great look for Green. My picks for how to recreate this lip are a thorough going over of the lip with Smashbox’s super neutral lipliner Light, and Velvet Teddy, my favourite M.A.C matte skin tone shade. Delish.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Daily delight: the new Stephen Marr salon at The Department Store

I will be there this Friday for a colour with the gorgeous Donielle and can't wait! The "living wall" separating the room seems to have grown exponentially since I was there, so am expecting lushness of both surroundings and follicles to close my week... Love it.

Get the Look : Dolce & Gabbana Trunk Show

When I saw the backstage shots from the recent Dolce & Gabbana Trunk Show in London, I seriously fell in love with the ladylike hair and make up. Like an elegantly put together prom queen, it was immaculate and flawless in execution, but with that famous D&G hint of sexy thrown in for good measure. Plus, it can be as youthful or grown up as you please.
Make up and hair stylist Michael Ashton was responsible for the magic happening from the neck up, so I asked him for a run down on how to get the look…
1. As always, I start by preparing the skin using Bio Derma cleansing water, and then moisturize with a mix of Weleda Skin Food and Prescriptives Vibrant-C. Lastly, I slick the lips with Lucas Paw Paw ointment.
2. The secret to creating picture perfect skin is massaging Chanel Pro Lumiere foundation into the skin and buffing Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage where needed for extra coverage. Add a sheer veil of Bobbi Brown Under Eye Brightener near the inner tear ducts.
3. Roll and press the t-zone with Chanel loose powder using a large powder buff, and then dust the under eye area with Laura Mercier brightening powder.
4. Using an angled blusher brush, sculpt and shape the cheek bones/jawline using a combination of M.A.C sculpting powders Lightsweep and Bone Beige, and then with a foundation brush apply MAC crème colour base in Hush to the top of the cheekbone.
5. Brows are a major part of this look, so brush them into place with clear brow gel before sweeping through a coloured brow wax, lifting the arch and extending with an angle brush/shadow combo.
6. Eyes are subtle yet striking. To start, apply M.A.C Painterly to the brow bone and all over the eye lid, extending into the inner corner. Buff Dior Nude Pink on top, following with M.A.C Eye Paint in Bamboo through the crease and under the eye (just near the lower lashline) as a base for a Chanel bronze from their Sequoia eye shadow palette.
7. This backstage secret gives eyes the finishing touch – apply Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Black with an angle brush underneath and into the upper lashline, for an invisible yet dramatic way of doubling lash density before lacquering lashes with Dior Show Off mascara.
8. The lip is reminiscent of a Royal Russian Goddess, a rich ruby red that looks most expensive and sophisticated. Erase the lip colour using concealer before lining the entire lip with MAC lipliner in Redd, and then apply a mixture of Chanel Passion and Estee Lauder Blackberry to finish.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Daily delight: Living Nature Rescue Gel AKA Mother Nature’s First Aid Kit!

Seasons they are a-changin’, and whether you’re going from cold to hot or vice versa, your skin is not going to love you for it. In fact it’s probably freaking out just a little right about now, which can lead to break outs a plenty, whatever your age. Add a few pre-Christmas parties and a New Year’s Eve showdown and it’ll seem like there is no end in sight. A product that’s long been hailed as a solution to a bad case of Random Silly Season Spots is New Zealand skincare legend Living Nature’s Rescue Gel, which does some pretty amazing stuff. Formerly known as Manuka Oil and Honey Antiseptic Gel, is known amongst its devotee’s as natures First Aid for the skin. Manuka Oil is distilled from Manuka tree leaves and flowers, and in its concentrated form is known for strong anti-microbial properties, stronger than the more commonly use Tea Tree oil. Add to this strong antispeptic the Manuka Honey derived from sustainable New Zealand honey producers to maintain moisture levels in the skin, and you have a little wonder on your hands. A natural humectant, Manuka Honey is scientifically recognized internationally for its UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) levels, and is used in hospital wound dressings around the world. Living Nature Rescue Gel is recommended for application to blemishes for a fast repairing antimicrobial antiseptic healing aid, and can also be applied to skin conditions such as Eczema and Psoriasis without fear of aggravation. The 30ml bottle is perfect in the First Aid cupboard, whilst the handy 10ml tube is perfect for the handbag… you never know when those uninvited guests are going to appear!

M•A•C giving back for World AIDS Day

Long before it was de rigeur to do so, make up giant M•A•C were heavily involved in the fight against AIDS, through the sale of their Viva Glam lipsticks and other less high profile support. Each year their global team also give time to the cause, starting this year on Friday, November 27. Here in New Zealand, a local volunteer team of 45 is part of the worldwide global initiative of nearly 1,000 M•A•C employees in 23 countries who will be rolling up their sleeves and taking off their brush belts to participate in volunteer efforts in a company-wide effort to commemorate World AIDS Day. The volunteer initiative—part of a worldwide effort including nearly 1000 M•A•C employees in 56 North American cities and 23 countries—is being organized to complement the artists’ commitment to the global fight against HIV and AIDS and to strengthen their connection to the company’s philanthropic arm the M•A•C AIDS Fund and its grantees. M•A•C artists here in New Zealand will donate their time by partnering with the New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) and hitting the streets of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch collecting donations by selling the iconic Red Ribbon. All donations will go to the Wellness Fund, which can be accessed by several HIV support groups in New Zealand to support men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS. The Wellness Fund Red Ribbon collection buckets will remain on all New Zealand M•A•C counters from Friday 27th November until Wednesday 2nd December 2009, so get in there and give PLENTY!
In addition to the volunteer initiative, M•A•C will mark World AIDS Day on December 1st by presenting a cheque at their flagship Chancery store for $21,000NZD to Body Positive to support their free rapid HIV testing campaign ‘Take Control. Take the Test’ to encourage those who are sexually active to get tested. Well known New Zealand personalities will also be volunteering their time on December 1st World AIDS Day by working in M•A•C’s Chancery store to help raise funds for the Red Ribbon collection buckets as well as selling M•A•C’s Viva Glam lipsticks and lip glasses.

Friday, November 20, 2009

In praise of OFF Wax/Brow Bar

You know how sometimes a place becomes so familiar to you that you forget how great it is? That is how I got with the stupendoulsy good OFF Wax/Brow Bar, where I head every six weeks for a wax and a brow shape, so I’ve decided to stop and celebrate exactly how damn good Nicky Shore and her team really are. They are a specialist waxing destination as opposed to a beauty therapy business – think no white coats, no whale music, no serenity water fountains – and women all over Auckland love them all the more for their dedication to the task at hand. They 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. In a way they make the relatively painful as painless as possible, and even have the latest hag mags in stock so you can indulge in your guilty pleasure away from the intrusive gaze of your partner! They also now have two waxing destinations - Newmarket and Takapuna - so as long as you're quick, you can get a spot before Summer hits. Love you OFF Wax/Brow Bar xxox

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Beauty tips from the neighbourhood lovelies

A while back I talked to some of the local lovelies – AKA the fashion designers working in my neighbourhood - about what makes them feel beautiful, and I thought I’d give you some of their hot hints here. Fashion and beauty have always been inextricably linked, and just as a designer has an aesthetic that defines them, so too do they know what to slap on their faces to match their signature style.
A recent inhabitant of the area after finally moving up the country from her home town of Dunedin last year, the gorgeous Tanya Carlson has her flagship store at 122 Ponsonby Road. The die hard surfer is a devoted fan of M.A.C's array of soft peach and nude toned glosses, and if banished to a desert island would leave the life boat clutching a tube of Light Expert Foundation No. 5 By Terry, which she grabs regularly from nearby temple to all things beauty, Mecca Cosmetica. The best beauty secret she's heard of late can be found in the same spot - time spent in the presence of Mecca's charming manager, Chris - whilst the one thing that makes her feel truly gorgeous is the dusky oriental scent of Arabie, by Serge Lutens Fragrances.
Walking past Juliette Hogan's flagship store at 170 Ponsonby Road is almost like being hit by a breath of crisp Spring air on a Winter's day, and her beauty style is equally fresh, light and girlish. She never leaves the house without lip gloss, her pick being the most fruity variant of Lancome's Juicy Tubes, Melon. The one beauty product the pale-skinned blonde can't function without is Chanel mascara, “as my eyelashes are pretty much non existent without a really good coating!” And what makes her feel beautiful? “Getting my make up done by the girls at M.A.C Chancery - they are so great there and they know exactly how I like it done. Not to mention how amazing it is when they put false eyelashes on me - I feel so beautiful when they are on and get so much attention, I love it”.
Jaimie Boutique at 270 Ponsonby Road is where you'll find the latest collections from the lovely Jaimie Webster (pictured above), who also stocks some of the most covetable international brands on the strip like Vivienne Westwood, Pour la Victoire and Petit Bateau. By day you'll find the fresh faced beauty wearing just a slick of gloss or balm, but she does love “a classic read if I do wear lippy… and this Winter I have been eyeing up a rather beautiful deep plum shade too.” She's also a long time fan of the legendary YSL Touche Éclat (“my wonder stick”), pure almond oil and Dr Le Winns Instant Beauty Cream, whilst the one thing she can't do without is “a lot of sleep, it is the only thing that really works for me out of all the beauty secrets I have been told!” Finally, what makes her feel truly beautiful? “Firstly sleep, then a good foundation and equally good blush… and of course, a fabulous outfit!”

Daily delight: Natalie Portman on the cover of V Magazine

The quiff, the winged, heavy eye, the strong brow and the soft pink lip... never has one magazine cover sported so many HOT current beauty trends in one superfantastic package. Love it. Want more.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Craving right now: Nasomatto's China White

One of my favourite things to do when visiting the WORLD Beauty Store – dangerously situated just a few minutes’ walk from my house – is try a new scent, which inevitably becomes a new craving. I had that experience last week when I took a whiff of Nasomatto’s China White, from the range designed by Alessandro Gualtieri. The result of a “quest to reveal the strength of fragility, ” and following the concept of “overdosing” on the power of a scent, the deadly China White is unlike any other. Controversially named after the strain of heroin popular in the 1980s and with an opaque white ceramic top, this heady concoction stands out even amongst the other scents in the kooky and beautiful Nasomatto collection. Powdery and slightly floral, China White breathes with a strong and indefinable element that will leave you unsure exactly what you’re sensing. If you haven’t tried it yet, Nasomatto is a very Italian brand, creative and very unique – a range of strong perfumes with crazy ideas and a lot of references to forbidden "pleasures". There is also no olfactory description of any of the perfumes, which are usually very strong, opulent and almost brutal in their beauty. Go on and take a sniff – I dare you!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Give me more at More Than Skin!

More Than Skin Spa and Beauty, Ponsonby has been in my neighbourhood for three years, but it was only last month that I finally made my way through its doors. Boy, was I missing out! Originally opened on Queen Street 16 years ago, the day spa and salon moved to its present location at the top of College Hill in September 2006, offering a great range of treatments from the gorgeous Decléor of Paris and legendary Joyce Blok. They specialise in facial treatments and I was fortunate enough to be left in the very capable hands of therapist Claire to trial the Decléor Aroma-Expert, which was customised to match my skin's needs. The “Hydra Force” version of the facial - which I was in dire need of - targets dehydration, intensely replenishing the skin's natural moisture levels using fruit and floral extracts and active essential oils. The treatment began with a delicious 15 minute long back massage to really get me in the mood to relax and let Claire work her magic, which included a cleanse, thorough exfoliation, draining facial massage and lastly, a thick hydrating mask. It smelled as great as it felt and the 90 minutes that it took to complete flew by way to fast for my liking! I left feeling utterly blissed out beyond belief, and with skin that looked akin to my nine month old son's bottom. The Parisian Decléor brand was started an amazing 34 years ago by a team that consisted of a beautician, a doctor, a shiatsu teacher and a fantastic aromatherapist and physiotherapist, and all of the company's treatments for face and body utilise their combined knowledge base. This means that Decléor take a totally holistic approach to the business of beauty, and it showed in the overall feeling of wellbeing that I carried with me out the door. Sensational - quite literally! They are now the largest cosmetic aromatherapy brand in the world, and More Than Skin certainly are experts in administering their plethora of treatments, and then some.
The Ponsonby branch of More Than Skin - there are four around Auckland - has a talented team that includes three full time beauty therapists. There is also a professional make up artist, Megan, on site who is an expert in the application and background behind the make up line they stock exclusively, SLA Creations. I'd never heard of SLA Creations prior to popping in to More Than Skin, but am sure glad I have now. It is the signature cosmetic line from internationally recognised French make up artist Serge Louis Alvarez, and is reportedly amazing. Their treatment list is long and offers pretty much something for everyone, including a great range of options for men. They also take care of all of the essentials like waxing, pedicures and manicures, as well as electrolysis and treatment programmes such as a Non Surgical Face Lift and Lymphatic Drainage. They also regularly have promotions running that give you lots more bang for your buck, and often work with the seasons and what your skin and body might be needing heading into Summer, say. Check out their website for what's on offer at
The salon boasts five treatment rooms - including a spacious 'couples' room so that you can enjoy your treatment in tandem with a friend or partner - but in the lead up to Christmas their appointment book is filling up quick so I recommend that you get on the blower now!
*This article was first published in my column in the wonderful Ponsonby News.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Daily delight: Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer

The recent winner of Allure Magazine's Best of Beauty Award for Best Primer, Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primer really is the best in the business and has taken home this accolade several years in a row. The highly regarded beauty mag said of the winning product something to the effect of “primers often promise a lot, but only this one delivers it all”, and they were right. The 
oil-free, 60 per cent water based primer is ideal for oily, acne-prone or sensitive skin, and several variations on the original are available depending on your concerns (i.e. with a stronger “line filler”, colour correctors etc). The silky blend of vitamins and antioxidants helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores for visibly softer skin and can be worn alone or under foundation to increase its longevity. The revolutionary formula has oil absorbers for a smooth matte finish all day, light diffusers to minimize the appearance of imperfections, and vitamin C and peptides to help even skin tone and promote collagen production for a flawless future. A must have that you really must have.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Victoria B – the barometer of hair to come?

Love her or hate her, you can’t deny that Victoria Beckham is also a style barometer when it comes to future hair trends. From the WAG-esque extensions to the “pob” to her elfin crop, she always seems one step ahead of the rest and is copied all over the world. But what’s this - courtside at a Lakers game she had a wavy new do, that almost looked like the classic “in between style” you get when you decide to grow the whole thing out. Elle spoke to her hairstylist, Jessica Galvan of Neil George Salon, who said “she came into the salon earlier that day and told me she wanted to try something different. That’s all she said. She’s very easygoing and always lets me play around a bit.” They went for some loose, sexy waves “because her hair is always straight”, opting for a flat iron over a curling iron for a more relaxed, romantic style. For bounce and lift, she misted Beckham’s roots with Neil George Volumizing Spray, then placed pieces of hair inside a flat iron and started an inch away from the base. “I ran the flat iron down the length of the hair and twisted as I went,” she said, and it’s a technique that once mastered, is hugely useful whatever your hair length. Lastly, Galvan took a couple of face-framing pieces and straightened them, and after using Neil George Indian Gooseberry Oil on the ends for shine, she sprayed Davines Defining System Glam Power Spray all over to finish. Easy - and most definitely coming to a salon near you.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hot summer nights: Soleil Noir by D&M hair design

In the third of three exciting creative collaborations, Danny Pato and Michael Sisaengrath of D&M hair design in Auckland and photographer Craig Owen have created Soleil Noir, an ode to long summer nights and sexy, dressed down hair. A collection featuring model Grace Owen in three very different looks, it was shot on a balcony one balmy night overlooking Auckland Harbour as it reflected the city lights. My favourite look from the collection - seen here - is a direct nod to old school Hollywood style, but with a thoroughly modern re-interpretation. The middle parted hair falls in Rita Hayworth-style waves which have been crimped and loosened to create a wearable, easy style, with Schwarzkopf’s Elastic Flexible Hold Hairspray used to keep the look in place. The hair was protected from the heat of styling tools using Schwarzkopf Osis Flatliner, a serum which also reduces frizz and counteracts humidity. Incredibly wearable and just way too sexy for its own good, this look is the answer to the whole "I have long hair but don't feel like it's a style" conundrum.
Owen is extremely proud of the collection, after wanting to do a night time hair shoot for some time, with the model shot in a highly filmic style. “I used just the one model and the night light’s ambience to create a number of caught moments,” he told me, adding that he treats a hair shoot in a similar fashion to the way he does fashion, “drawing on the mood and emotion of the location and light, as well as the model’s own personal style”. This is the third collaboration for the trio – the first two being 2008’s Lightness of Being and 2009’s Noughts and Crosses – and Soleil Noir for Summer 2010 is my favourite yet.

Daily delight: GROWN Bio Active Skincare

A few weeks ago I was given an introduction to GROWN Bio Active Skincare, a new Australian skincare collection that sounds promising from the get go. Inspired by nature’s complex power and delicate structure, GROWN is an organic range with an emphasis on luxury, and comes in some rather gorgeous Art Nouveau-inspired packaging that just demands space in your bathroom cabinet.
Founded by two New Zealand brothers, Keston and Jeremy Muijs, GROWN was born out of a deeply personal experience. As acclaimed international product and brand developers, the duo was awakened to the harm of traditional skincare formulations when a close friend developed adverse reactions to almost every cosmetic during her battle with cancer. Almost a decade later, GROWN has arrived. Extending their research and development across the globe, the brothers consulted botanical experts, cosmetic chemists and skin specialists from UK, USA and Australia, essentially injecting a lifetime of expertise into a range of biocompatible skincare.
The brand’s natural antioxidant rich products are formulated to optimise the skins anti-aging and regenerative profile. Infused with a synergistic balance of premium 100 per cent certified organic essential oils and plant based ingredients, GROWN products hydrate, nourish, tone, and protect. They also smell absolutely divine, which is always a big plus in my book. Created from 100 per cent certified organic ingredients free from Lauryl Sulphate, Glycols, Petrochemicals, artificial fragrance, animal derivatives, T.E.A., D.E.A, synthetic colours, silicones and parabens, they are also housed in 100% recyclable packaging designed to minimise the company’s carbon footprint. Non-leeching plastic bottles and aluminium tubes ensure product integrity and longevity, and look bloody gorgeous too. This is definitely a brand to watch.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Daily delight: Kevin Murphy’s BORN.AGAIN.MASQUE

One of the funniest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting is Australian hair stylist and product creator Kevin Murphy, who worked wonders on my hair whilst cracking me up like you wouldn’t believe – always a good combination. His range of products are both well crafted and beautiful to use, and the latest offering is apparently all of that and more. Called the Born.Again.Masque, it is the new mother ship in the Kevin Murphy line, and a perfect blend of pure botanicals and the latest scientific research. It features a combination of some of the highest quality ingredients that are designed to deeply penetrate into the depth of the hair shaft, providing it with nutrition, nourishment and fortifying molecules. It is well documented that hair is made up of approximately 93 per cent protein, 5 per cent moisture and 2 per cent Essential Fatty Acids (EFA), and this baby is carefully designed to contain this sensitive balance of ingredients to deliver the optimum condition to the hair. With a high concentration of detangling ingredients, it will remove the snarls from even the most porous and tangled hair, making it easy to comb through, and eliminating further stress onto the hair’s surface.
Apply to freshly washed hair and massage through the hair and scalp, leave for 2-20 minutes then rinse. The longer the product stays on your hair the deeper the penetration.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Daily delight: side pinned, super soft curls

A beautiful, easy style that I’m loving at the moment is side pinned, super soft and feminine curls. The perfect answer to the upcoming part season that suits most hair types that are shoulder length or longer, they were created perfectly for designer James Coviello’s recent Fall 2009 show. “James Coviello was inspired by exuberant graphic patterns and the eclectic style of the early-twentieth-century arts and crafts movement,” said superstar hairstylist Rodney Cutler, who crafted the look for Coviello’s show. “To complement the clothing, we created soft, beautiful waves with a strong side part to give that classic vibe.” First, Cutler misted his own Volumizing Spray onto damp hair. Next, he used a large round brush and dried it in to add volume. After creating spirals throughout the hair with a one-inch curling iron, he then smoothed strands across the front and pinned at the temple for a sweetly retro spin. For a soft hold he finished with Redken Workforce 09 Flexible Volumizing Spray to leave a sense of movement in the hair. Gorgeous!

Happy Monday: an interview with the glorious Margaret Hema

More often than not, the average facial is administered by an overworked beauty therapist with her mind on the next waxing, and finding a true facialist with a passion for their work is a rare and marvellous thing. They are out there, but they often take some tracking down, and once you’ve found your bellwether amongst beauticians you never look back.
Wellington, New Zealand based Margaret Hema is a specialist firmly in the latter camp, with a history of almost forty years in the business of beauty and a reputation that spans around the globe. For those that can't visit her ethereal salon in the heart of Wellington city, she thankfully sells a range of hand blended, organic oils that she creates herself with the mantra that “all skin should be treated like beautiful fabric” firmly in mind.
Margaret Hema originally created her range of only seven skin care products - including a recently added day crème - purely for her facial clientele, her compelling concept being the non-use of exfoliants and skin tightening clay masks in both studio facials and home skincare regimes. In those formative years, clients, after they had their facials with Margaret, would take home hand-blended oils in a plain brown bottle with a handmade sticker describing what was in the oil. The product had no name. The Hema branding came three years later due to demand - word of mouth had spread the message and people wanted to stock her hand-blended products.
The world renowned facialist's objective from the outset was to give her clients “a minimal method to obtain maximum results”, with each product representing excellence and skincare integrity. Good skin depends on a compact pore structure, so the Hema range is fortified with moisturising ingredients that both nourish and condition the skin. In line with her skin as a “beautiful fabric” philosophy, she still has no exfoliants, toners or clay-based masques in the range or in her salon, as well as no water (or “aqua”) - the liquid components in both her day cream and facial spray is organic hydrosol of Pacific lavender.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A rainy afternoon must have: Pene Cruz's hair, and Joico Body Luxe...

I've often coveted Penelope Cruz's hair, but this picture from a Vanity fair shoot absolutely slays me... So thick! So shiny! So lustrous! So... like I want my hair to look. I had a hunt around for some great thickening ranges that were also moisturising, and hit on Joico's Body Luxe range, which does all that and more. Luxuriously rich, it thickens each hair fibre individually whilst also detangling, which is a must if you have fine hair - and lots of it - like mine. There's a thickening shampoo and conditioner in the collection, as well as a Design Foam or Thickening Elixir, depending on what hair type you most identify with. It says that it "maximises the density" of fine or normal hair, and I say hallelujah to that!

Daily delight: Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Total Eye Lift

I love me a new Chanel product, and when the all new Ultra Correction Lift: Total Eye Lift made its way across my desk in the prettiest of packaging I got very excited. It certainly gave a boost to my rather wet, very grey, chilly day. On counter locally at the beginning of next year and retailing for a very reasonable $151.00, it claims to restore density, tone and suppleness to the eye area, as well as redicing puffiness and dark circles. Could be my secret weapon come the Christmas madness, or worst case scenario, I could casually throw on a pair of shades as per the image to the left... Magic!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

NARS 15x15, the complete line up

A week or so ago I blogged an image of Amber Valletta from François Nars’ new book, 15X15, and now I have the low down of the who, what and which product was used to create each stunning portrait. The book celebrates the NARS brand’s15th anniversary and examines the use of makeup and icons in a way that is provocative, extending further than cosmetics, and using portraiture and photography to convey emotion. Each portrait is inspired by a NARS product shade and based on an iconic reference chosen by the man himself, who personally did the makeup and took care of the photography. Each participating celebrity subsequently took on the role of guest editor and creator, basing their shot on their own interpretation of the NARS product that inspired it, whilst lending their own insight into the age old question of what, indeed, is in a name.
The 15X15 book, along with individual portraits and the series of photographic interpretations taken by each celebrity, will appear in the 15X15 Online Gallery (, to be launched in the next few weeks. Profits from the project will be distributed among the 15 charities chosen by the participating celebrities. The line up is:

No surprise here: M.A.C goes GaGa!

Well I could have seen this one coming! The one and only Lady GaGa has been named alongside the iconic Cyndi Lauper as the two newest faces for the M.A.C AIDS Fund. The new campaign will reportedly be called "From Our Lips", and will launch in February of next year. The two new products include Viva Glam GaGa Lipstick and Viva Glam Cyndi Lipstick, which will hit shelves on March 18th in the States, with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to the M.A.C AIDS Fund.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Daily Delight: Kate Hudson for UK Elle

I'm not normally a fan of old K-Hud, but this cover of the December issue of UK Elle just blows me away! The shoot inside is pretty fabulous too, and the winged eye that she's sporting here is a continuing motif. It effortlessly transforms the girl next door into one hell of a vamp, and a rather on-trend one at that. Definitely a look you'd save for night, it is definitely statement making and sexy in an ever so slightly futuristic way. The product I'd pick to give this a whirl is definitely M.A.C Fluidline in the blackest black you can find, paired with a nearly nude lip and a perfectly prepared brow. Oh, and bucketloads of confidence!

A look into the world of Gregory Arlt, globe trotting makeup artist extraordinaire

How excited was I to get an interview with makeup artist Gregory Arlt! Los Angeles native Gregory has been a Senior Makeup Artist for M.A.C for over 15 glamour-filled years, helping make the world a more beautiful place and creating some of the most stellar looks coming off the international runways. He also clocks up frequent flyer miles working regularly around the globe with the likes of the fabulous Dita von Teese, and is a red carpet regular in his own right. Here’s what he had to say, in answer to my rather adoringly delivered questions…

What is your first make up memory i.e. your mom's lashes, a teacher's rock solid hair?
I have quite a few, actually! When I was 8 my mother went to the local department store to have a 'makeover'. She left the house my ‘mom’; very little makeup, a clean eye, a hint of mascara and her signature red lip. She came home a GLAMAZON with shadows in blues, purples, and navys... tons of mascara, blush, and capped off with a coral lip. I thought if makeup could do that to my mother, think of what it could do for others! I was hooked.

Did you always know that it was an area that you wanted to move into?
I knew I had to do something in the arts and I'd always been obsessed with makeup and art. Besides, anything with that much glam, glitz, creativity, and travel had my name written all over it! When I was 11, my graphic designer father brought home Francesco Scavullo's booked entitled Women. There were before and after shots that my dad was showing me in a "this is amazing!" sort of way. There was a before shot of Patty Hansen with no makeup on. Her freckled face and blonde eyebrows and lashes made her look erased. The after shot was full glamour! I could really see the power of makeup and thought of my mother's makeover. I knew at 11 that I was definitely going to be a part of that world! Life goes full circle - I've recently acquired the book on eBay and have found that I've worked with several people in there, including Janice Dickinson and Zandra Rhodes!

How did you move into creating make up looks for celebrities?
It was sort of an organic process. It's LA, and there's really no fashion/editorial scene, so it's unavoidable. I worked with many celebrities when I worked at the boutique Fred Segal where I started out, and it kind of became a word of mouth thing until I got an agent who began pitching me regularly. I am grateful to work with the people that I get to work with!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Daily delight: M.A.C’s Love’s Divine Lash Kit

The weather has given me a bit of a dull start to the week, but the spirits can’t help but soar at the sight of a great pair of lashes! M.A.C have come to my rescue with news of the holidaytime release of the Love’s Divine Lash Kit, which will keep the lash lovers amongst us more than smiling this Christmas. It includes the stellar RapidBlack Penultimate Liner, and to raise the glamour factor tenfold add Reflect in Transparent Teal for a hint of sparkle. There’s also a pair of 7 lashes and a tube of the magical Zoomlash in Zoomblack to amp up the sexy when needed. It all comes in a small, stylish rectangular makeup bag of polished silvery-pewter vinyl, the zip adorned with a round bead and grosgrain ribbon detail. Essential gifting.