Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday essential 1: Borne Naked Liners

The website for Borne Naked Handbag Liners claims that it clearly organises and de-clutters your handbag, "making it quicker and easier than ever to transfer your essentials from your Gucci tote to your Chloe clutch... not to mention keeping your handbag clean and neat". I say take that one step further and use them all Summer long, especially considering the multitude of bags one carts about at this time of year ie. beach bag, handbag, weekender, suitcase etc etc.... the list is endless. It stops the all-too-familiar disasters that occur when sunblock tubes leak or lipsticks melt and essentially fester up your bag, whichever little favourite it may be. These are a definite "no regret" buy that you really just can't live without. Rave over.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Daily delight: Beyonce turns up the Heat

The diva certainly turns it up in this advertisement for her new fragrance, Heat, but what I love most is her easy, undone hair and killer nude make up look... the woman should go for this look more often - god knows what Heat smells like, but Ms. Knowles is absolutely gorgeous!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Too pretty! M.A.C Crush Metal Pigment - stacked gorgeousness!

I just received a look into M.A.C's newest colour forecasts for the Northern Hemisphere Spring, and have fallen in love with yet another limited edition cutie - Crushed Metal Pigment in the Set known as "Stacked 1". A set of four gorgeous shades that stack together and help create the look seen above, it includes Pale Pink Frost, Light Lilac Frost, Mid-Tone Rose Frost and Dark Purple Frost, which can be worn alone or layered as much as you can handle. Definitely a pretty party look if ever I saw one, it just begs you get creative. Love it.

Daily delight: in praise of Hissyfit...

I had my first proper weekend away in the sun this past few days – sad, I know – and grabbed the sunblock nearest to me when I left the house. This happened to be Hissyfit’s Body Double, and it’s wonderful smell reminded me immediately why I spent all of last Summer lathered head to toe in the stuff. A luxurious body lotion that pampers, protects and hydrates the skin, it is about as effective as it gets as well as doubling as one hell of a gorgeous body lotion. With pure botanical extracts of aloe vera and Australian daisy cehami, the silky smooth formulation provides long lasting hydration, while the high protection sunscreen guards against environmental damage and the effects on UVA/UVB rays.
That super duper fragrance is a subtle cocktail of vanilla, almond, orange and grapefruit, and makes you want to use it, as opposed to just knowing you have to. I’m also a fan of Hissyfit’s Handy Work, which is a luxe hand cream and SPF 30+ broad spectrum sun protection in one with soothing aloe and vitamin E. The fragrance this time around is orange & mint. Both products are proudly Australian made using the finest ingredients, including powerful botanical extracts such as the Australian indigenous daisy 'cehami' (centipedia cunninghamii). If you haven’t tried this range then I suggest you do with some haste – it looks like Summer is finally here to stay!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Daily delight: Aaron De Mey's Ô My Rose!

When I first heard that New Zealand-born make up artist Aaron De Mey had been named as the Artistic Director for Make Up of French mega brand Lancôme, I was beyond delighted. I’ve always loved his punky, sometimes DIY aesthetic as an artist, and knew he would bring a whole new set of tricks and definition of beauty to the much loved brand. His first collection was all strong lips, black nails and a fresh look at 80’s sensuality, but his latest – titled Ô My Rose! – is at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to its key look, and demonstrates a softer side to the make up maestro himself. An ode to the grace of the Sixties Nouvelle Vague woman and fresh French beauty, the collection is full of pop shades, coral tones and a brand new joie de vivre. My personal faves include the gorgeous Pop’ n’ Cheeks - a fresh, glowing blush that works on any skin tone - and Le Khol Gloss in Pop Petrol, a high shine eye pencil in a beautiful aqua green. The image of Elettra Wiedemann above, surrounded by roses like a flower in bloom, reveals the spirit behind Ô My Rose! and is the epitome of pop sensuality and just plain loveliness. The original visual was photographed in Paris by Ruven Afanador, who is famous for his ultra feminine portraits of beautiful women. The collection is on counter on March 23 (my birthday!) and is all set to breathe a touch of sexy Spring attitude into the Southern Hemisphere Fall.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Delight delight: an ode to my Maia - don't leave home without it!

A few posts back I mentioned the new Dr LeWinns Medic range, which is designed to help eczema sufferers everywhere – and there are a lot of them. Between 10-25 per cent of New Zealander’s have eczema (Atopic Dermatitis), and the number has risen dramatically over the past 50 years. Eczema has a tendency to run in families. If both parents have eczema, there is an 80 per cent chance that their children will too with 90 per cent of eczema sufferers are diagnosed before the age of 5 years.
A recent study undertaken in New Zealand on the benefits of reducing the effects of chlorine on the skin of Eczema patients has been published in the NZ Medical Journal. The findings of the research showed that the respondents - whilst maintaining their regime of topically applied prescriptions - who used a Maia shower attachment on their usual showerhead containing the Vitamin C filter noticed a reduction in exacerbations or flares in their Eczema for the eight week duration of the research program. Historically, Dermatologists have also recommended that Eczema sufferers shower rather than bathe simply to reduce the amount of time bathing in chlorinated bath water. While chlorine is an important part of the water purifying process to eliminate bacteria, the chlorine, chloramines and the gases generated from chlorine in the shower have some detrimental effects on our body. Anyone who has ever swum in a chlorinated pool knows how harsh chlorine is on the skin and hair. Chlorine is known to strip the skin of its natural protective barrier and is thus drying to both the skin and the hair; not to mention altering hair colour too – think the green tinged blonde who is all too familiar come Summer!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Daily delight: Lady GaGa and Cyndi Lauper for M.A.C... a first glimpse

The first image released of the blonde-tastic, super glam duo...

More than welcome: Dr. LeWinn’s Medic

I was an eczema baby and my son Wolf is heading down the same path – albeit a milder one, fingers crossed – so I was immediately interested when I was given a sample pack of products from the new Dr. LeWinn’s Medic range. Primarily a range of skincare products suitable for very dry/sensitive and acne-prone skin, it is dermatologist and allergy tested and developed with the support of the Eczema Association of Australasia and can be used to help treat a raft of skin conditions including chronic dryness, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and acne. It sources high quality, scientifically tested active botanicals that are used at optimum concentration to allow the products to work faster and with higher efficacy, and importantly, the products are free from soap, SLS, SLES, steroids, parabens, paraffin oil, lanolin, artificial colours and fragrances. Two that caught my eye in particular were the Protective Bath Oil and Relief Cream, both of which can be used on bubs. The Protective Bath Oil is a water-dispersible emollient bath oil to soothe, moisturise and protect dry, irritated skin. It is free from paraffin oil (hallelujah) and features a blend that includes St. John’s Wort oil, olive oil and tea oil. It is suitable for sensitive skin including those prone to eczema, psoriasis and chronic dryness. You can add it to a warm bath or massage gently into wet skin after showering and pat dry. The Relief Cream is a nourishing cream that soothes irritated skin and helps provide immediate relief by rehydrating the skin and forming a protective barrier against dryness. It contains no steroids and features a blend that includes Canadian willowherb extract and modukine (milk protein, a traditional skin soother), known for their skin-calming properties. Lather it on as liberally as you like and you’re good to go. Thanks Dr LeWinn’s for creating skincare with a purpose other than keeping us looking young, namely treating an all-too familiar condition!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Daily delight: BIO ACTIVES, a different view on skincare

It takes a lot to get me excited about a new “natural” skincare range, mainly due to the fact that there are so many pretenders to the label, with many of them being about as natural as a latex mini skirt. When someone with a huge knowledge of the industry pints a new one in my direction however, I do sit up and take notice.
Lucy Vincent-Marr was impressed by the BIO ACTIVES range so much that she decided to stock it in her brand new Marr Lab venture at The Department Store in Takapuna, and is also offering a range of facial treatments using the products in her beauty spot, Lucy & The Powder Room. Not just puffery and fancy packaging, the BIO ACTIVES range of cosmeceuticals has been expertly engineered with the latest cutting edge optically pure actives from medical science and nature to protect, nurture, revitalise, and cosmetically restructure your most precious asset. Whether it’s the look of imperfections that’s marring your appearance or the lines of time that announce your age, BIO ACTIVES promise to deliver the youthful glowing skin and complexion that we all so desire in no time at all. A perfect mix of nature and science this just may be, and they have the scientific data to back it up. They claim that their Extreme C 20 can give you firmer less wrinkled, brighter looking skin and wipe up to 4.58 years off your skin’s appearance in just 84 days, which is no small call! Working with mother nature and never against her, the range is always free of parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate, propylene glycol, petrochemicals, artificial colours and synthetic fragrances, because they believe - and quite rightly so – that skin in need should be nurtured and never tortured. And naturally BIO ACTIVES is never tested on animals. I’m off to have a look at the products myself later this week, including the charmingly named Jungle Brew Problem Skin Serum and Retinol Brulee Retinol Serum (for skin resurfacing without the trauma!), whilst the EXFO L L 15 Exfoliating Serum sounds right up my alley as I usually shun the use of scrubs whenever I can. All verrrry interesting stuff, and I haven’t even looked into their in-salon treatments yet!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Daily delight: SANS Activator 7 Body Oil

Back when I first looked into Lucy Vincent-Marr's brand new hair and body care range SANS, I mentioned that I was dying to try the Activator 7 Body Oil (I'm a freak for a great body oil, and they are surprisingly hard to find). Well I've been washing and conditioning my hair of late with the new to-kill-for brand's shampoo and conditioner with great results and - finally! - I got my hands on the body oil mid-way through last week. So what's the verdict? BEYOND worth the wait... This beautiful formulation hydrates and feels gently healing, as well as leaving not a trace of grease or residue on my skin post-shower. Ingredients include Vitamin A, Omega 3, 6, 9 and Vitamin E, which means that as well as being a welcome addition to your daily routine it also addresses sun damage, scars and stretch marks. Oh, and did I mention it smells good enough to eat, in a very unobtrusive way? Killer product, new must have. Bang!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Fabulous Friday: 10 minutes with Lipstick Queen creator, Poppy King

After I tried Lipstick Queen’s Invisible Liner a few days ago – a magical discovery if ever there was one – I remembered how much I loved Poppy King’s lipsticks back in the 1990’s, and how much I am loving what she is doing now. She is truly devoted to the task of creating the perfect lippy, and executing that task with sass, smarts and style.
Feeling inspired, I decided to try and track her down via the big dirty beast known as Facebook, and what do you know? Within 24 hours we were having a quick chat about her reincarnation of sorts as Lipstick Queen, and delving a little into her life-long obsession with lipstick.

What is your very first lipstick memory, Poppy - a teacher's devotion to a cherry red, your own early efforts?
Playing dress ups with my mum’s Biba lipsticks and feeling like I was a superhero female as soon I put it on.

Did you ever envisage that you would make your love of lipstick your career, your life even?
Only in my wildest dreams did I think I could make my living from the exploration of what defines female glamour, and my devotion to the icon of that, which I think is lipstick... So in other words no, I never envisaged it - I just hoped for it, and somehow that hope came true and has been coming true ever since.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Daily delight: Joico's Colour Endure Restorative Styling Oil

This may well be the answer to repairing damaged hair this Summer (or post-Summer if you're a Northern Hemisphere dweller) - a featherweight combination of three oils designed to nourish and repair. Called the "elixir of life for dull, lifeless colour-treated hair", Joico's K-PAK Colour Endure Restorative Styling Oil uses African Manketti, Argan and Evening Primrose oils to seal the hair's cuticle, locking in both colour and shine. As a more than welcome by-product, it also makes hair super soft and reducing drying and styling time. And don't be put off by the word "oil" if your hair is fine - this works on all hair types with equally great results. For fine hair, evenly distribute a small amount into the lengths and ends and then blow dry and style. For thicker hair, distribute evenly in dry hair and style.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Daily delight: M.A.C Mineralize Foundation... in a compact!

I'm a huge fan of M.A.C's Mineralize range of foundations with SPF, but have always found the packaging a little hard to use and not as portable as I'd like. I prayed, and the good lord of beauty must have heard me - they are available from 2010 in a handbag friendly, easily dispensable compact! A rich, luxurious solid cream compact at that, with a liquid mineral infusion and essential SFPF. Hooray! Thank you M.A.C, my day has officially been made...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Daily delight: the truly amazing Lipstick Queen’s Invisible Lip Liner

I had to try it to believe it – finally, a lip liner that matches every lipstick and every lip tone! And endures! Surely one for every woman’s make up bag – and another in the bathroom at home, the car glove box etc – is Lipstick Queen’s Invisible Lip Liner. A silicone based mechanical liner, it invisibly creates a defining lip edge to prevent dark colours (in my case, Lipstick Queen’s Red Sinner) from bleeding. It’s even self sharpening! The creation of Australian beauty star Poppy King (pictured left), I secretly knew it would be a winner. I started wearing Poppy’s lipsticks and glosses back in the early 1990’s, when the then-teenager launched her fledgling brand under her own name, Poppy. She has said, “I did this because I couldn’t find any lipsticks I liked. They were all thin, slimy and too greasy feeling. Plus there were no deep colors or browns and most reds went pink. I wanted lipsticks that gave me the look of the 1940’s. Rich, opaque and filled with pigment...”, and clearly a lot of other women wanted that too. A runaway success internationally, the brand was around for twelve years

before she was approached in 2002 to move to New York and join a large cosmetic company. Fast forward a few years and the entrepreneurial spirit was still as strong as ever, leading to King launching the wonderfully named Lipstick Queen collection. If you haven’t checked out this brand then I urge you to do so, ASAP.

Heidi Klum: ridiculously good looking hair

Not many celebrities can be papped looking like an ad for a hair care range, but Heidi can! Now if only they could bottle it...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Servilles Summer lovin'

Summer is always my favourite season for hair, a time when you can get away with beachy waves and can lock your straighteners away in the cupboard for at least a few months. Unfortunately, it's also the season when hair can sustain the most damage, leading to faded out colour and split ends that all too often get left to your hair stylist to sort out come the cooler months.
I spoke to Louise Pilkington, owner of Servilles Ponsonby, about how to deal with the fallout that comes with post-Summer hair and she said that first and foremost, prevention is key. “The main trend for this Summer is having your hair in top condition,” she explains, “and that means using great product that is tailored to your hair type. We don't want our clients to destroy their hair over the Summer months and there are so many great products to care for colour and general condition.” She says that the sun is always going to do its bit, but using luxurious products with a UV filter will minimise the damage it causes, and cost you less in the long run. Her picks for some great brands that will do the trick are Pureology (which has zero sulphates, protecting the colour from fading) and the Kerastase Soleil range, which has a UV filter in every product in the range.
She says that in terms of hair style, the look for Summer is “bouncy, sexy, wavy, beachy hair” and what she calls “Mermaid Waves”, which are waves that extend back from the face and are flattering on just about anyone. Think the signature Victoria's Secret long and lustrous look, which Louise says can be quite simple to achieve if you know how. “You can pretty much come out of the sea and shake dry your hair, letting the salt bring in your natural curl,” she says, “then using tongs curl the pieces of hair around your face back a little, to add some polish if you're off out at night. Leave the rest as natural as possible, Summer hair should be easy hair.” If you're hair is of the shorter variety, the key trends are equally as low maintenance, with lots of “cute and structured shapes that you can play with”. She says that a messed up version of the classic Vidal Sassoon bob is a popular, “which you can also slick back off your face for a more androgynous look”. She says that in terms of colour it's popular to go with what is happening to your hair naturally, meaning “enhancing your hair using blondes, but with a smudged in effect that is really natural”, and it's also the one time of the year you can go crazy with accessories like clips and flowers.
Her final tip? A weekly blow wave at your favourite salon, which will keep your hair looking great that night and for a few after. “We have the Hotness Ticket at Servilles,” she explains, “which is a card that costs $100.00 and gives you five trips to the salon for a finishing touch. Show up with clean, dry hair and we'll do the rest!”

Daily delight: wake up to Rootalicious!

Original & Mineral are an Australian hair care brand that are true pioneers when it comes to creating hair products that care for your body and the planet, as well as actually bloody working – a surprisingly rare combination! I was introduced to the brand by Lucy Marr when I was pregnant and looking to truly steer clear of anything with an ingredient list that read like a science project, and O&M was the brand she held up as being the best in the business. The O&M product range is available at selected O&M salons across Australia and New Zealand, and is proudly free of sulphates, parabens, MIT, phthlates, Triclosan and Proplene Gycol. The range also contains a UVA protectant, helping to keep hair healthy and happy. Even their award winning packaging is both recyclable and ridiculously good looking, and their product list is growing by the day. The latest new addition is the fabulously named Rootalicious, which is a must have mousse designed to bring body and texture to even the finest hair. The lightweight formula creates fullness and allows natural movement whilst leaving hair soft and shiny, and definitely not weighed down with sticky build up. Rootalicious adds volume by forming an invisible barrier around the roots giving them both support and lift while an Australian trifecta of natural actives Kakadu Plum, Lilly Pilly and Quandong combine to protect and add condition. If you’re in the market for bouncy, Summer hair then this is the product for you – I can’t wait to rip it mine!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Friday, December 4, 2009

Daily delight: some fabulous news from Snowberry

In some very exciting news for the company, New Zealand premium anti-ageing skin care brand Snowberry opens this week in the prestige UK department store Harvey Nichols. Snowberry will be in Beyond Beauty in stores in Knightsbridge in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Dublin. This follows Snowberry’s entry to the Hong Kong market, also in partnership with Harvey Nichols. Congratulations to Soraya, Greg and her team - and to UK lovers of beautiful skincare, you lucky ducks!

Proof that you CAN do a strong lip and eye... well if you're Penelope Cruz in Interview mag, that is

Celebrating a legend: Orly

I was going to call this post “The Return of Orly”, but the internationally-acclaimed nail care brand has never really been away. It has been below my radar though, until I saw the latest colours and was reminded just what a great, category-leading name it is. When Jeff Pink founded Orly in 1975, he was motivated by what seems a very simple idea: to innovate natural nail care. So, he set about creating leading-edge products and tools designed not only to make nails look incredible, but to respond to the needs of the professionals i.e. those thousands of manicurists around the globe who have our hands quite literally, in their’s. What I didn’t know however, was that clever Jeff was also the creator of the now-legendary French manicure, a look that has endured for over 30 years and is still in vogue with everyone from brides to the hip and the haute. “The idea of the French manicure look came to me while I was starting Orly back in 1975,” he has said, “movie and television directors wanted a versatile nail style to compliment a Hollywood star’s entire onset wardrobe. They were looking for a singular look that would coordinate with the numerous wardrobe changes actresses had to make in one day. Once I started having the movie star stylists paint the nails with a white tip and a sheer, the celebrities loved it! I realised the most elegant, universal nail look is a natural nail look”. Jeff took his look, at the time dubbed the “The Natural Nail Look”, to the runways of Paris where the models and designers also lapped it up. On the plane ride home to the US, Jeff decided to rename his creation The French Manicure, in honor of his new friends in Paris. And the rest, as you say, is history.
Fast forward to the now however, and Orly is still here and still creating some of the hottest colours each season that are free of DBP, toluene, formaldehyde and formaldehyde resin. My pick for Summer is Green Apple – a little brighter than Chanel’s Jade, it’s guaranteed to add a little sunshine to any old pedicure.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

And for a slightly more user-friendly version of the GaGa 4 Elle cover...

Daily delight: WORLD Beauty's cachet of classics for Christmas...

If you live in Auckland City and have got more of a leaning towards the classics when it comes to fragrance, the WORLD Beauty store is one of the best stockists I've found of the tried and true legends of the perfume world. On the shelves of its two branches – Ponsonby and Vulcan Lane - you'll find YSL's Paris, Joy by Jean Patou, First by Van Cleef & Arpels, Cartier Must, 4711 and even the first Boucheron fragrance - the first ever fragrance created by a couture house. They also have an exclusive on three Robert Piguet fragrances - Cravache, Fracas and Bandit. The most famous of the three, Fracas was launched in Paris in 1948 and has been a cult smash among the hoi polloi for decades. Dubbed "one of the five fragrances that changed the world", Fracas is a necessity, to say the very least. This Christmas might be the time to go classic, or to gift the unforgettable.

Haute haute haute: Lady GaGa does Elle

The January issue of US Elle has just slammed the internets, and features a beautiful shoot (including a cover) of Lady GaGa looking her most glamourous best. The make up and hair in this shot is my absolute favourite though, and is a fantastic interpretation of the modern bombshell - the perfect arched brow, statement lip, winged eye and porcelain skin... coupled with a super sexy Studio 54-style wave. The perfect New Years' Eve look, for those that are game enough to rock it. Maybe with pants though.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

One of my favourite beauty people: Soraya Hendesi, creator of Snowberry

The creation of Soraya Hendesi, Snowberry is New Zealand's first all natural, premium skincare brand. For those of you unfamiliar with the brand, it's a carefully crafted mix of the two pillars of “natural beauty” and “authenticity” by which the Persian-born New Zealander lives her life, a collection of beauty products that is “as gentle but enduring in its effect as possible, seeking to enhance rather than intervene”. Passionate about her creation, trained cosmetician Soraya explained to me when we first met that the delicately scented range supports rather than attempts to replace wellness and good health as the source of naturally beautiful skin, and uses only pure resources to create its specialised formulas.
Her quest for “authentic” skincare began many years ago, but Snowberry first became a reality when she recruited the expertise of New Zealand-based Bio Chemist Dr. Andy Lavrent in 2003. With an illustrious track record working in product development for companies like La Prairie, Dr. Lavrent is also a highly skilled chef and likens the creation of beautiful skincare to “the creation of an excellent dish - it requires real passion and flair. It is a fusion process, where we take the most interesting active ingredients from around the world to create something very special”. Soraya knew straight away that she had found a kindred spirit on a similar wavelength to her own, whilst Dr. Lavrent was excited that for the first time in his career he would be free to formulate skincare without regard to the cost and quantity of ingredients. The man she calls her “Alchemist” had only two important limitations on the ingredients that could be used - that they must be sustainably derived, and with the exception of such ingredients as honey, silk and cultured marine extracts, were not to be derived from animals. Come 2007, and the exquisite and natural creature we now know as Snowberry is born.

Hair to kill for: supermodel Helena C returns for UK Elle, January 2010

Daily delight: Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream – the perfect choice for your skin right now?

If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere right now like me, chances are you’re drowning in a heavy bucket of sticky humidity. Yuck. As well as giving you hair that can only be termed as er, mildly interesting in texture, the humidity is playing havoc with skin everywhere I look too, and it’s hard to know just how to adjust your skincare choices to fit. I recently came across Dermalogica’s Skin Smoothing Cream, which just may be the answer for some of us. Designed to smooth your fine dehydration lines as well as relieve tightness, it helps maintain your skin's moisture and improve its texture whilst toning and restoring suppleness. It is also super light, meaning that it does all of the above without leaving you with a face that looks like it’s collided with the wreck of the Exxon Valdez. Lecithin and Aloe Gel will maintain your skin's moisture, whilst Cucumber and Arnica soothe and hydrate your skin and help to restore its tone and suppleness. Antioxidant Grape Seed Extract and Vitamins A,C and E reduce free radical activity, whilst the light, emulsive protection helps shield your skin from pollution and dehydration. Like all of Dermalogica’s no-nonsense products it is fragrance free, whilst this cream is most suitable for normal to dry skin conditions. And luckily for the low maintenance amongst us, it can be used morning or night. Perfect for packing on Summer hols, therefore.
No frills, no fanfare, just a bloody good moisturiser.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's time for a new Viva Glam, people!

It's World AIDS Day, so get in the spirit and buy a new M.A.C Viva Glam lippy or lip gloss... all finds got directly to the M.A.C AIDS Fund and there is a shade for everyone... no excuse!