Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas countdown: go forth and tan!

No I’m not talking a weeklong fry in the sun, but rather a fake bake at the hands of a trained professional. This makes even the greyest of days – I’m talking to you, Auckland city – feel festive and summery, and does wonders when it’s time to peel the layers off. Not only do you look like you’ve just had a week in Fiji, you also have a beautiful even skintone and don’t even need a smidgen of make up – although a matte coral lip looks pretty damn perfect if you’re like me and just can’t leave the house with a slash of lippy (I love Shiseido’s Perfect Rouge in OR418). In my opinion, Auckland’s best place for a tan is Beauty Within, where the spray gun is wielded with great dexterity by the lovely Wai. The product used is St. Tropez, which always guarantees a beautiful natural shade with zero hint of the Oompa Loompa about it. Beauty Within recently moved to a stylish new home at 88 Franklin Road and Wai is in the process of rebranding and unveiling some beautiful new treatments and product ranges - watch this space!
For at home bronzing, I’m currently trialling St. Tropez Everyday Perfect Legs (pictured) for a summer of bare legs that won’t blind the family picnicking near me on the beach. The packaging of this ultra-rich, innovative tanning duo is quite unique, and combines a nourishing gradual self-tan and a flawless finish of instant bronze especially for the legs in one sleek tube. Formulated with soothing Aloe Vera and Aromaguard fragrance technology, Perfect Legs will leave your legs with a gorgeous, sun-kissed tan that lasts. With two separate pumps in one bottle, you can achieve the tan you desire – whether it be a soft, gradual tan that builds up each day, or an instant, immediate colour that provides a flawless finish for that special night out. I’m talking to you, New Year’s Eve! To use, apply the smoothing gradual tan lotion (white pump), sweeping it from toes to upper thighs in light, even strokes. For immediate colour, follow with the instant tan (black pump), sweeping again from toes to upper thighs. And as with any instant tanner, wash hands after use. Get out there and get glowing – and Merry Christmas xxox

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas countdown: Argania hair oil

Okay, so this is in fact a Christmas gift for your hair… but what’s wrong with that? I can guarantee that your crowning glory will love you for it, and will be a very good girl all of next year! Made in New Zealand, newly released Argania hair oil is created using the now familiar – thanks to the worldwide popularity of Moroccanoil - fruit of the Moroccan Argan tree. This antioxidant rich oil is harvested using traditional methods and formulated in New Zealand to create a beautiful hair treatment that creates brilliant shine whilst smoothing and nourishing even the most tortured of hair. Argania hair oil can be used either as a leave in treatment or as a styler. To use as a treatment, simply massage a small amount into your palms and work through damp hair, starting at the tips and working towards the roots. For best results do this before blow-drying. Alternatively, applying Argania to dry hair will instantly create smoother, shinier hair. But beware: because of the concentration a small amount will go a long way, so start light and build up the product if need be. I have oily roots – especially when the humidity is peaking as per today – so only use this baby on my mid-lengths and ends, who happily drink it up. Argania hair oil is available now from selected pharmacies and Farmers stores nationwide.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas countdown: BECCA’s Fallen Angel collection

So reads the press release I just received about cult make up brand BECCA’s newest make up collection, Fallen Angel, and the image (above) that accompanied it truly is heaven sent. How beautiful is it? Definitely the best make up campaign image I’ve seen this year, and the range is definitely a stunner too.
An exclusive to Glamorpuss’ Cosmetics’ Nuffield St store in New Zealand, Fallen Angel is in stock just in time for the holiday season and would make a fabulous Christmas pressie or New Year’s Eve look. “The people at BECCA call the collection ‘unmistakably wicked, indisputably beautiful’,” says Glamorpuss co-owner Rachel McNaughton. “These colours are heavenly, romantic and seductive at the same time. They’re ideal for holiday festivities.” She adds that the secret is the combination of romantic tawny peach and honeyed pink for the cheeks with dark, brooding, smokey eyes. “The look combines two BECCA palettes: the Enigma palette for eyes, featuring powerful pewter, mushroom and fawn colours, and the Fallen Angel palette for soft lips and lightly sculpted cheeks. It’s the contrast between innocent and wicked, light and dark, which makes this combination work so well.”
How to get the look:
Eyes – Swirl Eye Tint in Pewter onto the lids as a base then from the Enigma Palette apply eye colour powder demi matt in Armure all over the eye, extending colour to just below the brow bone. Swipe eye colour powder in Surah from the same palette over the eyelids beginning at the lash line and stopping at the crease. Dust eye colour powder in Silesia into the crease, blending so the colour transcends from dark to light. Rim the top and bottom lash-line with the dark side of Line & Illuminate Pencil in Santorini or Belize then smudge some Eye Colour Powder in Surah along the bottom lash line for additional smoulder factor. Highlight the inner corners of the eyes with the opposite side of the pencil.
Cheeks – Contour the cheeks with Lip & Cheek Cream in Nectar by swirling colour in a circular motion into the hollows of the cheeks.
Add a slick of your favourite sheer tint or gloss to your lips and you have one seriously heavenly look!
And if that isn’t enough to get you running screaming into the store before the collection sells out, as a special offer spend $120 or more on BECCA at Glamorpuss and receive an exclusive dual-ended retractable eye shadow brush valued at $65 as your special free gift.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Spending time with: Blaze's Mana Dave

Last month, 81 finalists from 53 countries came together in Paris and competed for this year’s Young Talent and Colour Awards in Wella Professionals´ renowned International Trend Vision Award (ITVA). For this 8th Annual ITVA, La Halle Freyssinet was transformed into a Wella wonderland and finalists showcased their Trend Vision looks to a 2000-strong, global industry crowd with our neighbours across the ditch taking home the Gold award.
Seen representing New Zealand at ITVA above were Kylie Hayes from Moha Morrison Hayes Hairdressing in Dunedin (Young Talent) and Mana Dave from Blaze Hair Salon in Auckland (Colour), both of whom had super strong entries and were seriously fabulous ambassadors for the local industry.
As well as being a bloody nice bloke, Mana is an award-winning hair stylist, the Creative Director at Auckland hair salon, Blaze, and an international platform artist for Redken. I always love catching up with him – especially when his stellar blow-drying skills are involved! – and didn’t hesitate to take him up on the offer of a chat and a ‘do a not long ago. He was still buzzing after his trip to Paris, talking about the easy chic of the average Parisienne and how many examples of global style he saw during his time at La Halle. He said that once again he was struck by how strong the Kiwi aesthetic is in comparison to many other countries, and how influenced our beauty style is by the “darkness of New Zealand fashion in general, which creates some interesting undertones and some exciting shapes”. His own entry in the ITVA was light in shade but still super sculptural, and he says that it’s interesting tone exemplified the trend “colour for a good time, not a long time”. He says that this is a pivotal trend for summer “as it allows you to have a blonde story, but also to have a bit more fun with it that will eventually fade with time”.
He says that no matter if you’re a natural-looking caramel blonde like me or “a power blonde like Marilyn Monroe”, you have to be careful with your colour and your hair in general to keep it looking hot. “Going blonde removes all of the goodness in your hair so it’s your job to put it back in” he explains, “and the main thing you need to do that is protein – and lots of it. It’ll take care of the structural integrity of your hair and keep it from breaking and getting fluffy on the ends.” He loves Redken’s Anti-Snap to keep your locks looking lush, “and invest in a home care system especially for blondes that will help neutralise any unwanted gold tones that’ll leave it looking brassy”. He recommends Redken’s Blonde Glam range, which activates brilliance, clarifies colour and reinforces strength on all types of blonde hair. When it comes to brunettes this summer he says that the Balayage trend is still huge, as it allows for a little interest added judiciously to your natural colour and doesn’t requite too much commitment.
We all trash our hair over summer and Mana can’t recommend having in-salon treatments as often as you can enough to keep things in tip top shape. At very least, invest in a great at home treatment and actually USE it! Mana’s Blaze salon also operates the fabulous Pony Xpress blow dry bar in the Newmarket Glassons superstore, and they offer in salon treatments in combination with some seriously cool ‘do’s, “so why not just pop in and get both at the same time – you definitely won’t regret it!” And I can totally vouch for that - they do a wickedly good job, and it lasts!

Daily delight: Erin Wasson for Low Luv

Christmas countdown: from TK Store

One of the best ways to protect your skin over summer is by having a wardrobe of beautiful throws on hand to wear during the hottest hours and as day sinks into night. Some like the look of a caftan or oversized tee, but in my opinion a beautiful throw is the ideal piece, and they don’t come much better than the sexy pieces found at TK Store. My absolute favourite is the Sunrise Catpower throw, which is one of TK Store owner Turet Kneufermann’s own designs and one of THE most flattering pieces I’ve seen this summer. It is the perfect choice when teamed with a bikini during the day or with a singlet dress and heels at night, or even as I dream of wearing it – with Turet’s expertly cut neo-leather pants dy or night! This throw is a serious beauty item without question, and makes a fabulous gift due to its one-size-fits-all nature. Check it out in store or head here for a list of Turet’s New Zealand and international stockists and a peek at her entire range.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas countdown: a treat from Verdo Nails

The small-but-perfectly-formed nail salon known as Verdo Nails on Auckland’s Parnell Road is one of the best in the business, sending out some of the smartest manicures and pedicures I’ve ever seen. Owner and director Amber McIver is an absolute charm to spend an hour with, and proud of the super consistent service that she gives each of her clients. She calls herself a “true believer in creating experiences”, and with the latest down turn in the standard of nail salons, she says that she saw an opportunity to provide women with an experience that “makes you feel welcome, where you do not have to question the quality of our staff or products and you know that you will get the same standard every time you visit”. I can definitely vouch for all of the above, so if you’re thinking of treating one of your loved ones to a mani or pedi this Christmas then I totally recommend a trip to Verdo. You can also buy beautifully presented vouchers online, which is a godsend for time-poor last minute shoppers - and there seem to be a hell of a lot of you out there! Verdo also do private functions out of hours, so if you’re looking at a season packed with weddings next year then think about Verdo as a great venue for a pre-party place to get together or hen party.
Verdo Nails is located at 211A Parnell Road, Parnell, call 09 303 3732 or email You won’t be disappointed!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas countdown: Kevin Murphy’s ‘The Showgirl Must Go On’

I adore Kevin Murphy products, and the man himself is pretty fabulous, too. I interviewed him when his haircare range was just released, and found him to be super passionate about hair, the planet and making women beautiful. He isn’t called one of Australasia’s best session stylists for nothing, and his products are all carefully honed on the job and are just as effective at home or on set. One of his cutest packs on offer right now is the fabulously named “The Showgirl Must Go On” gift set, which is made up of three of his much loved products:
Kevin Murphy Hydrate Me Wash
Kevin Murphy Hydrate Me Rinse
Kevin Murphy Fresh Hair
… all in one sexy package. The shampoo and conditioner are ideal for normal to dry hair - or hair that lives in a very dry climate - and are super rich and luxurious in texture. Lastly, Fresh Hair is Murphy’s answer to a dry shampoo, and feels and smells so much less toxic than the majority on the market. All of Murphy's products are sulfate and paraben free, and are made up of super lush, natural or organic ingredients - but never compromise on performance. This is the perfect purchase for the showgirl in your life – or at very least the woman whose life is a non-stop party!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas countdown: Shiseido goes bronze

This is another gift idea for yourself, but dammit, you deserve it! It's two products that will help give you the perfect summer face, which can also be easily added to for night if you're heading from the beach to the bar. Both are by make up experts Shiseido, and created by their ridiculously clever artistic director, Dick Page (pictured). The first is Shiseido's oil-free bronzing powder, which creates a beautifully sunkissed look without feeling at all heavy on the skin. The perfect answer for the high humidity summer predicted for Down Under this summer, it is also super translucent in nature so can be layered until you reach the perfect match for your skin tone (and it comes in three shades) without looking cakey. Oh and the pigment is longwearing, so it stays looking fresh all day long - and possibly even into the evening! The ideal accompaniment for this wonderful little number is a slick or two of Shiseido's new lip formulation, Shimmering Rouge. Sheer and flattering but with enough pigment not to look like you're trying to emulate a teenager, it's longwearing once again as well as ultra moisturising, and gives the kind of "plumped" effect that we all love. My picks for summer are the shades "Ingenue" - a delicate golden beige - and "Grace", a deep golden brown that takes things just that little bit further into the realm of drama. Beautiful stuff!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas countdown: Kérastase’s Nutri-Thermique

Okay so this is more of a pressy for yourself than a loved one, but it is the season for giving so why the hell not! Nutri-Thermique is Kérastase’s first nourishing collection with heat-reactive ingredients for intense, long-lasting effects and is the perfect answer to hair destroyed by sun, salt and chlorine this summer. Dry hair is sensitized hair and like senstive skin, it needs a little extra love on a regular basis to keep it in tip top condition. Previously, even after intense nourishment, very dry and sensitised hair returned to a dehydrated state after not too long and displayed the visible signs of dry hair. Until now, that is. The clever clogs at L’Oreal have developed a new technology that, thanks to heat, selectively and lastingly nourishes very dry hair while providing high-level protection against dryness - Nutri-Thermique. The collection is small but perfeclty formed, and includes Bain Nutri-Thermique shampoo (pictured), Fondant Nutri-Thermique intensive conditioner and Masque Nutri-Thermique, a treatment for super dry hair or when you need an extra boost.

Daily delight: January Jones for Versace

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas countdown: The Perfect Eight

“Make up made easy” is the tagline that accompanies The Perfect 8, a set of high quality make up brushes that are the perfect gift for the aspiring make up professional in your life – or pretty much any woman that wants an at home make up application that looks seriously good and lasts. The brainchild of Wendy Nowell-Usticke – the make up artist behind the Thin Lizzy mineral make up phenomenon and general all-round beauty expert - the set contains eight carefully selected brushes that let anyone apply their makeup like a professional. They come cleverly stored in a make up proof carry bag (how much do we love a wipe clean surface?) that means you can take The Perfect Eight with you everywhere, and the all black, zip up baby also has a detachable, handbag-sized pouch that is perfect for storing travel sizes of your favourite skincare for weekends away. 
Step by step instructions are also included to ensure that you use the right brush for the job every time, such as a synthetic one for the likes of primer and foundation (natural bristles will soak up pricey product) and the softest goat hair for blending that old favourite, the smoky eye. At $139.99 this is seriously good value for a kit of its calibre so if you’re in the market for a great set of brushes then get in there now!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas countdown: words of wisdom from Lorraine Downes

Ex-Miss Universe and generally wonderful presence around town Lorraine Downes was announced as the official ambassador for all-good New Zealand brand Living Nature some months back, and is the epitome of a beautiful woman who has lived life well. She’s passionate about keeping beauty as pure as possible, and was a fantastic fit for the brand’s recent Authentic Beauty tour of New Zealand that saw women all over the country come to hear her and other Living Nature representatives speak. I went to the Auckland event and found the most inspirational aspect to be how knowledgeable the audience were about the hows and whys of caring for your skin naturally – there’s some smart women out there spreading the word!
But back to Lorraine, who recently travelled to the exquisitely gorgeous Hokianga to shoot some new images for Living Nature’s lipstick line – exclusive behind-the-scenes shot above – and took the time to answer some questions for me about how she’s keeping cool over this silliest of seasons. She’s also debuting her natural curl in this shot – coiffed with nothing but Sea Water as applied by Aimee Fiebig with a little help from Living Nature Hydrating Mist to keep those tendrils hydrated. And her lipstick shade? Summer Rain.

How are you surviving the lead up to Christmas, are there any products giving your skin - and mind - a helping hand?
Yes it is such a hectic time work wise, both socially and being a mother! The most important thing for me is to start the day with a drink consisting of a squeezed lemon in warm water, which is the kindest thing you can do to your liver. Something I do to not get too stressed is to make myself stay present in each day and concentrate on just what needs to be done that day, rather than jumping ahead worrying about what I need to do in the coming days! Otherwise I find myself getting anxious and suddenly stressed.

What is a tip for staying looking and feeling good when the bubbles are flowing and the canapes are simply too delicious to turn down?
Okay so drinking the lemon in warm water each morning for starters! Also drinking lots of water during the day, and making sure I still get to my spin class twice a week.

What is the one Living Nature product that you simply cannot live without?
Vitalising Cleanser.

And what's your pick from the range for a beautiful Christmas gift?
Radiance Night Oil.

At the end of your Authentic Beauty Tour what was the one thing that stuck in your mind about the Living Nature fans that you met?
I met a lot of women who had a beautiful inner spirit and that beauty shone out. I also loved the way they were concerned about only using safe products on their skin and how much they cared about our environment and their desire to look after that, too.

And lastly, how will you be spending the holidays?
Resting, relaxing, beaching, reading, taking long walks, eating delicious food, drinking, laughing, taking afternoon naps (yes please!) and just spending lazy days with my loved ones and not being governed by the clock! Yay!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas countdown: M.A.C & Marcel Wanders

Hitting stores in New Zealand on Monday is the latest M.A.C collaboration, which in my humble opinion is their most stylish and covetable yet. This time around the make up masters have collaborated with renowned architecture and interior designer, Marcel Wanders to create some incredible collectibles as part of their luxe line. This line usually consists of higher-priced, more luxury themed designs and products with too die for packaging, and this line up is no exception.
Marcel Wanders is a native of the Netherlands and as a designer has become quite legendary because of his keen sense of detail and luxury. A right clever clogs (pardon the Dutch pun) he has been the architect behind some very important government embassies globally but is mainly an interior designer who has partnered with the likes of Target, Puma and Swarovski, to name but a few. These partnerships allowed for easy access to more affordable versions of Wanders' renowned work. Wanders was also one of the first designers to design for the Dutch 'conceptual design' company called Droog. This brand has stores in some of the high-end, metropolitan cities you can think of around the world, but still, it remains very selective and incredibly high-end. The pieces Wanders and Droog create are considered art, so it goes without saying that some of these pieces have been featured in world famous museums and galleries and have really taken his name to the world.
But on to the range, his first foray into the world of cosmetics. Both beauty and design sophisticates will be bonkers for these limited-edition lipsticks, glosses, Sheer Mystery Powder, Air of Style Scent Concentrate and his signature brush and clutch creations, not least of all for their arresting packaging – fine collectors’ items all! The rich palette is inspired by 17th Century Flemish painting, and particularly Vermeer’s – a la “Girl With a Pearl Earring” – and the idea of an artist painting a portrait, and falling in love. “ My picks of the bunch are the Gesina lippy (a creamy red with slight pinkish undertones), the False Lashes mascara in False Black and the incredible brush – a rather fabulous, tarted up version of the popular M.A.C 187 brush. Any of these would make brilliant presents for those that love beautiful makeup and great design, and are almost too gorgeous to use! Love that.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New to re:ab: beauty spot House of Angel

I’m passionate about the time I spend at re:ab in Grey Lynn’s Selbourne Street, a one stop shop for fitness and wellbeing that is the best I’ve found in Auckland and the one place that has truly got me hooked on exercise. Since I’ve joined it’s unveiled several new additions to its stable of physios, Pilates instructors, breathing specialists, massage therapists and the like, and now they’ve added beauty to the mix.
Known as the House of Angel, it’s owned by internationally qualified cosmetologist Dora, who combines the European traditions of her homeland with advanced, high-grade treatments. Dora offers traditional beauty treatments like waxing, tinting, facials, pedicures, manicures, body treatments and make-up, and fits with re:ab's philosophy very well by using the highly respected all-organic skincare range Ilcsi from Hungary (pictured), natural Environ products and Jane Iredale mineral make-up. Reportedly the best waxer in the business according to several of my fellow Pilates devotees, she also offers student, prepay and gift packages, male treatments, vouchers and specials. My pick from her list of summer specials is the Angel of Summer Bliss - a full body exfoliation and hydrating organic facial from head to toe. Starting with a pampering footbath, exfoliation and massage, and finishing with an Indian scalp massage. And the best value must be the Angel Toes special – book in for a basic pedicure (a steal at $50.00) and get a mini manicure for free!
To contact Dora call re:ab on 09-360-2929.

Christmas countdown: The Cloud Nine Gift of Christmas Volume

The name Cloud Nine was relatively unheard of this time last year, but fast forward twelve months and it’s synonymous with seriously amazing styling tools giving ridiculously great hair. Every salon worth its salt is now armed with Cloud Nine irons, and their all new TheO brings old school rollers flying into the future with some incredible technology coming into play. For those that haven’t heard of it, TheO from Cloud Nine is a four-second heated soft grip roller system that's taking the styling world by storm. It uses unique heat induction technology that heats each roller to 130 degrees in less than four seconds, providing head-turning volume in record time. The ideal gift for those that love big hair, Cloud Nine’s ‘Gift of Volume’ bag is available across New Zealand in leading hair salons and includes:
1 x TheO Pod
4 x 30mm rollers
4 x 40mm rollers
4 x 50mm rollers
1 x Sectioning comb
1 x Limited edition, really rather gorgeous case
It retails for NZD $489.00 (NZD $590 value), which is great value for a BIG result. Definitely the perfect choice for the diva in your life!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas countdown: BECCA Anti-Bacterial Sharpener

This one is perfect buying either for yourself or the beauty junkie in your life – an Anti-Bacterial Sharpener from cult beauty name BECCA. These anti-bacterial sharpeners come in two sizes for slim or jumbo lip and eye pencils; effortlessly keeping them clean while simultaneously sharpening them to your desired point. They use a very clever double- blade system to professionally sharpen dual-ended pencils to a rounded or pointed tip, so can choose between a razor sharp point for precision application or a rounded point for softer edges. They keep things clean thanks to the fact that the metal blade hardware has been treated with a silver and zinc based anti-bacterial additive, which sanitises as you sharpen. This is effective for two years after first use and is a bonus for contact lens wearers like me who need to keep their eye pencils fastidiously clean or risk some nasty infections. This new professional tool is exclusive in New Zealand to Newmarket beauty mecca Glamourpuss – one of my most-loved stores, naturally! - and a key addition to any makeup bag this Christmas. The recommended retail price for the BECCA Slim Sharpener is $14 and BECCA Jumbo Sharpener is $28 and both are in stock now.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas countdown: SANS Luxury Skin Kit

It’s day two of my Christmas countdown and today I bring you a wee giftie that’s already on my wishlist for Santa: a SANS Luxury Skin Kit. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a passionate supporter of this brand and adore everything that they do, and this is a gorgeous introduction to it for someone who hasn’t tried it and a bound-to-be-loved present idea for someone who has. It comprises a full size pH Perfect Body Wash (brand new to SANS and one I’m gagging to try), full size Baobab Regenerative Body Cream and a Lemon Verbena Candle, all sitting pretty in a Deadly Ponies for SANS Sponge Bag. This fabulous kit will set you back just $119.00, and is available from The Marr Lab and Lucy & the Powder Room at The Department Store. My only wish is that it be accompanied by a large bottle of their Activator 7 Body Oil – my favourite body treatment product EVER! Get in and grab one now x

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas countdown: A Servilles makeover

It’s impossible to avoid – Christmas is on its way! Joining in on the spirit of things I’ve decided to do a bit of a Christmas countdown detailing some seriously fabulous, beauty-related gift ideas. And I’m kicking off with a bang by presenting the all new ‘I Love Summer at Servilles’ special makeover offer – the perfect gift for someone in need of a boost or stuck in a bit of a beauty rut.
For a value-packed $350, the ‘I Love Summer at Servilles’ makeover package includes a full range of products and services: a brand new summer cut and style; stunning new-season hair colour; replenishing Kérastase in-salon hair treatment; prescribed Kérastase home haircare shampoo and conditioner (full size); and an essential Kérastase Soleil Sun Protection Spray (full size). Total value? Up to $560.00, so an absolute steal at this price.
A luxury treat for yourself after a long year, or the perfect gift for a stylish loved one, it’s only available for a limited time, until the “official” end of summer, 28 February 2011. It has a few other T&C’s to take into account as well, which are:
Offer only redeemable Monday to Friday.
Not available 13–26 December 2010 inclusive and must be redeemed by 28 February 2011.
Offer not available at Servilles Ponsonby or Servilles Academy Salon.
Selected stylists only.
Colours must be the selected ‘new season’ colours.
Package not valid for clients with extremely damaged hair (to be advised on consultation) and only one package per client.

When purchased as a gift, the offer is detailed on a voucher in a chic, Servilles voucher holder (pictured above) and envelope – perfect for the stocking or under the Christmas tree. Go to for more info, this is definitely a gift that will NOT disappoint!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Daily delight: let's get partying with matte

Christmas is a-comin’ – as if you didn’t know – and for most of us, the invites to celebrate the glitziest of seasons are rolling in. Party season means longwearing lippy in my opinion – leave the gloss to the under-20’s and bring a clean, strong lip out to the fiesta nearest you. I’ve been playing around with some beautiful colours and formulas lately that both stay the distance and keep your lips feeling fresh. Many women I know baulk at the concept of longwear and/or matte finish lippys because of the drying out factor, but my favourites of late have been carefully developed to keep lips moisturized and looking lush.
NARS Pure Matte Lip shades are absolutely beautiful, which comes as no surprise. All of this brand’s lip formulas come highly recommended by me, and there’s a colour and a texture to suit pretty much everyone. I’m a huge fan of NARS’ Velvet Matte Lip Pencils – a chubby stick of sheer pigment – for a more casual look, but the Pure Matte offerings absolutely slay me for longevity and feelgood factor. Terre de Feu is a great rich, berry red that would make an awesome choice for New Year’s Eve, whilst the likes of Tashkent and Bangkok are brilliant neutrals. The perfectly blended formula of this lippy strikes a perfect harmony between optimal colour, an ultra-matte finish and hydration. It glides on effortlessly, without drag or resistance, and Wild Mango Butter’s moisturizing properties work to repair lips from dryness and scaling, leaving lips supple and soft. Stila’s Long Wear Liquid Lip Colour is another long-lasting lip color formula that glides on lips and stays put, delivering hours of intense moisture and rich, bold colour with an on-trend matte, creamy finish. Vitamin E and avocado oil work together to keep your lips soft, and the colour range is just gorgeous. Both NARS and Stila are available from your nearest Mecca Cosmetica store in New Zealand, including the newly opened Newmarket branch which I’m yet to check out.
And last but not least, for a an absolute steal of an option check out UK make up giant Rimmel’s Colour Show Off Lasting Finish Lipstick, which retails at just $17.99. Think high-definition colour fix pigments with a Satin Matte Finish for saturated full-bodied colour that lasts and lasts. Get yours now.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Love: a tub of Coconut Citrus Body Souffle

I love a beautiful body oil at any time of year, but on some of New Zealand’s high humidity days they do feel just that little bit too rich even for me. I just discovered a very attractive alternative however, an oil-filled crème by The Jojoba Company that goes by the good-enough-to-eat name of Coconut Citrus Body Souffle. A heavenly crème rich in organic coconut oil, jojoba, shea, mango and cocoa butters, it deeply nourishes and hydrates your skin as well as firms it thanks to a nutritious blend of gotukola, green tea extract and Vitamin E. Add to that pure organic lemon myrtle and grapefruit oil and you have one rather decadent mix that would be perfect after a day at the beach this summer. It also has a super subtle fragrance that won’t interfere with your chosen summer scent, which is a bonus during the party-slash-silly season. Very pressie-friendly box too, which is handy if you want to share the love!

Daily delight: Reese W. for Glamour mag

Monday, November 29, 2010

Why you need: an Osmosis Medi facial

New season often means new skincare for me, even if it’s just a few products added or changed out here and there – it needn’t be a big expensive overhaul, just a careful re-think. I’ve recently started using a serum called Mend from the Osmosis line, which I picked up last week on the recommendation of Nora at Lucy & The Powder Room at The Department Store.
Osmosis has a different focus than most skincare lines, and creator Dr. Johnson (of Cosmedix fame) believes in building a “partnership with the skin”. This partnership includes utilizing ingredients that the skin recognizes, maintaining the epidermal barrier while focusing most of the attention on the dermis, virtually eliminating inflammation during repair and feeding the skin through increasing blood flow. The combination of these strategies and the ability of the products to penetrate the skin without harming it make this line one of the best in the world at restoring skin health and restoring its youthful verve.
Most skin care goes only about 5 per cent into the deeper layers of the skin, where signs of aging originate. Osmosis' liposomes are proven to increase penetration by 1000 per cent (yep, that’s one THOUSAND times more) as well as protect against sun damage and environmental toxins. Rather than the traumatic exfoliation common to many high performance skincare ranges, Osmosis stimulates and feeds the skin from the bottom up to “restore a more youthful appearance” by naturally nourishing and stimulating the skin. And like everything else you’ll find at Lucy & The Powder Room and The Marr Lab downstairs, Osmosis products are all natural with no artificial colours, preservatives, fragrances or other artificial irritants, no sodium lauryl sulfate or propylene glycol. They are simply plant-based and are not tested on animals.
To kick off my new Osmosis regime I had an hour long Osmosis Medi facial, once again at the truly wonderful hands of Nora. Customized according to your skin’s own particular needs, it works to replenish the nutrients that repair and protect the skin by increasing delivery of antioxidants, lipids, proteins, enzymes, growth factors and more. Essentially, it helps to restore an ample supply of potent antioxidants and immune boosters by delivering them to the deep layers where they are needed. It also repairs the epidermal barrier, which increases hydration as well as reducing aging and skin cancer risk.
My own particular Medi facial included elements like whey and hylauronic acid, but my favourite part was the antioxidant rich berry mask, which was made up of the likes of strawberries, blueberries and blackberries in one delicious formula. Osmosis treatments are all super natural so smell very “real”, and this summery hit of berry was to die for. For a corrective-type facial it was all too relaxing as well, so I left with a boost to both the skin and the mind. Nora also spotted some dehydration happening in my skin (possibly post-travel) so I took home some Osmosis Immerse – a yummy lipid-y addition to any skincare regime – which I’ll be adding to my morning and evening application of Mend. Next on my shopping list is Catalyst – one of the pricier numbers in the range, so sending my request to Santa right now! – a super serum that is supposed to be the Osmosis star product according to Dr. Johnson.
If you’re looking to invest in seriously great skin I recommend a trip to meet the Osmosis range now – I am seriously impressed.

Daily delight: Vanessa Paradis for L'Oreal

Friday, November 26, 2010

Daily delight: Natio's Mineral Lip Butter

Super cute and super affordable, Australian natural brand Natio’s new Mineral Lip Butter Pots are my pick for a conscious beauty stocking filler this year. They come in six very wearable colours that span the pink-to-neutral spectrum, and have a delicious fresh minty scent that wafts up at you when you pop open their cute little pot. Infused with pure mineral pigments, they give a sheer natural colour to your lips and are very moisturizing due to the all-good formula containing sweet almond, jojoba and Vitamin E for an antioxidant boost. And even better, some of the options give a matte finish that is perfectly on trend for this summer. My pick is Tender – a deep pinky mauve that makes my lips look my lips, only better! You can apply these babies with your fingertips or use a lip brush for a more even application, and they come with a New Zealand RRP of just $12.00. Try them all!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I try: FaceWorks Green Tea Eye Serum

I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I’ve been getting regular Botox shots over the past few years, but recently shifted my focus to my crow’s feet after a realisation that I was wasting both time and energy treating my brows – I have a heavy fringe, duh! Anyway, I went to see Dr. Teresa Cattin at FaceWorks for a top up, and she recommended that I also treat the area with her Green Tea Eye Serum for an added boost and to repair as much as possible any damage already done. FaceWorks’ Green Tea Eye Serum is essentially an intense, rehydrating and anti-ageing treatment for the delicate skin around the eyes. It contains pure squalane (derived from Spanish olives) for deep tissue rehydration and green tea extract, the popular potent antioxidant, to reduce the appearance of dark circles and fine lines. The formula is both fragrance and preservative-free, and is super light to apply when the time comes every night. Teresa has said that “there is no doubt that the results of any treatment that you chose to have, be it Botox or a Juvéderm will be greatly improved if the skin is healthy and well cared for”, and 12 years ago she developed the FaceWorks range of skin care products with that in mind. Made in New Zealand and designed specifically for our harsh climate, FaceWorks is a firm favourite with beauty editors and has a loyal following amongst women and men wanting an effective and affordable cosmeceutical skin care range purchase. This is my first foray into the range and so far so good – if crow’s feet are your main concern then I definitely say to give this a bash.

Daily delight: Rihanna for Interview mag

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Daily delight: Karl Lagerfeld for Pirelli 11

10 minutes with: Inika creator Miranda Bond

Most of you would have heard me rave about all organic, mineral make up range Inika in the past, both for its high performance colour (rare in the field) and its kindness to your skin and the planet. A favourite with the likes of Stella McCartney and her fellow advocates of eco luxe, it’s one of the best on offer in the natural market today. I spent ten minutes talking to its co-creator, Miranda Bond, about where Inika grew from, her continuing passion for the planet and her natural beauty faves.

Have you always had a passion for beauty with a conscience?
I have always had a passion for green living and looking after the planet, however this was elevated by my personal experience with endometriosis and a move to toxic free living. My interest in this area then expanded to pure, organic and natural products. I used to give free community workshops spreading the news about toxic free living, good nutrition and care of the environment. One of my main goals in life is to change the world – I know it sounds huge but I really am passionate about educating people and inspiring people to choose a natural and organic lifestyle – and that can be eating organic foods, using natural hair care, using natural and organic cosmetics, reducing their carbon footprint – really any small step that helps people to lead a healthier life, environmentally aware life.

When did you first think about the possibility of releasing a make up range?
Myself and co-founder Jenni Williams were looking for a more natural alternative to traditional makeup, and natural and mineral makeup was the most compatible makeup that met our strict criteria. It was pure coincidence that mineral makeup was beginning to boom in Australia at the time Inika launched (2006). It worked very much in our favour! Our main motivation for starting our own line of natural makeup was because of both mine and Jenni’s history of battling with health issues. We established Thriving Healthy Women to educate, inspire and empower women to deal with their own health issues and with those of their families. Thriving Healthy Women became a one-stop resource for women around the world not just in terms of information, but also in terms of products where every woman could be confident they were buying safe and completely natural goods. We also wanted to use resources in Australia, hence our tagline – ‘Made of Australia’. We went searching and could not find an all-natural Australian make-up company that met our strict ingredients criteria so we decided to create our own. That’s how Inika was born.

How did you start on your journey - by working with a chemist, a make up artist?
What Jenni and I know more than any other female on this planet is what NOT to put in make up. There has been a huge amount of R & D invested in the Inika products and we’ve worked with top formulators and chemists to achieve what we believe is the best natural make up on the planet.

How did you ensure that the pigment in the colours etc were so strong? A lot of organic and mineral make up brands often struggle with performance.
Performance is something Inika prides itself on – we are absolutely up there in terms of performance when comparing ourselves to mainstream brands. Inika are very strict in terms of ingredients and will not add cheap fillers to bulk out products because we want to show the world that natural cosmetics can be as good as if not better than, mainstream cosmetics. Inika has a Product Development department that scrutinises all products as well as testing them and we also have professional makeup artists use the products to see how well they perform. Plus, Inika also have a whole company of women who are more than happy to ‘product trial’ and give honest feedback!

What is behind the name, Inika?
Inika in Hindi means ‘small earth’, which has two meanings for us. We are an environmentally conscious company and the ‘small earth’ to us means we only have limited resources on this planet, so we have to think carefully about how we use them. The second meaning for us is that Inika was born out of a network of women sharing information with other women and when women reach out and support each other in that way, it really isn’t such a big world after all.

You have some big name fans like Stella McCartney, how did they come in contact with your brand?
We have great PR companies who represent the brand around the world and we are always sending our products out to celebrities, models and make up artists. We are very fortunate that they end up falling in love with the brand!

What is your must have, "desert island" product from the range?
My favourite product is the certified organic Liquid Mineral Foundation, which has won a number of accolades such as the ACP magazine award for Best Foundation and was also nominated as the Marie Claire Best Product for 21010. It is full of sumptuous organic ingredients like tamunu oil, shea butter and rosehip oil, basically it is food for your skin and provides all day coverage! My skin has a tendency to be a bit dry so it would be a must for me on the desert island.

Who are some other brands you respect, perhaps a skincare name that you love?
One of my favourite skincare brands is actually a New Zealand brand – The Herb Farm. I’m so strict when it comes to ingredients and The Herb Farm formulations are so clean, no hidden nasties and really powerful formulations. LOVE THEM.

Finally, is it easier these days than when you started for women to find great beauty brands with a moral compass that are also great for the skin?
In some ways it is easier, but there are now lots of brands jumping on the ‘green wagon’. It sometimes creates more confusion because some brands say they are ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ but may only contain a very small percentage of these ingredients. When in doubt, I always recommend that people read the ingredients list and look out for the obvious nasties like parabens, talc, bismuth oxychloride, mineral oil or artificial fragrances and dyes. Inika is one of the few brands in the world to be certified vegan or certified organic or both and in addition we are certified Halal and Cruelty free.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Daily delight: finally meeting Thin Lizzy

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that I’ve seen the infomercial-style ads for Thin Lizzy mineral make up on the telly and just dismissed as another “gift with purchase” type brand that would never stack up against the make up gods I regularly worship at the altar of. However, when I received an invitation to try the product for myself and have a makeover at the hands of the Thin Lizzy make up artists I didn’t hesitate to RSVP “yes”, and was really rather intrigued.
And that intrigue soon turned to surprise, and then delight, as I discovered a beauty secret that I may never have known about, had I not gone to the Lily & Louis showroom that evening. To put it mildly, Thin Lizzy is a wonder, and I am seriously hooked!
What reeled me in was not their famous 6-in-1 Professional Powder – the top selling cosmetic item in New Zealand for some time now – but their absolutely amazing SPF 15 mineral foundation. On sale for around NZD$40.00 for the compact and brush and instructional disc, it is free of chemical preservatives, perfumes and fillers, and comes in a handy pressed compact that you brush on. I’ve tried and then passed on a lot of mineral foundations in the past as their loose packaging is too messy to be used on the go, but this little baby is tiny and can fit in even the smallest clutch. It has natural anti-inflammatory properties so is perfect for those with sensitive skin like me, and also contains Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide for a natural broad-spectrum sun protection. Consisting solely of micronised minerals, what makes this such a revolutionary foundation is what’s NOT in it.
Another brand new favourite of mine discovered on the night is the ultra light, ultra blendable Thin Lizzy Concealer Crème (pictured), which has a consistency to die for. The beeswax formulation makes it water resistant, smudge resistant and long
lasting, and the ginger extract will help calm and soothe irritated skin. You can use it under a foundation, as your foundation or as a spot fix, with a perfect and natural finish every time. And you can layer it up depending on what you want to hide – including birthmarks, scarring, under eye darkness, vitiligo, acne and acne scarring, age spots, rosacea, redness, bruising, tattoos, varicose and spider veins. In a nutshell, this is serious concealer in very user-friendly packaging that I just can’t get enough of.
Lastly, unlike many of the aforementioned make up gods that I regularly bow down to, Thin Lizzy doesn’t come in sexy packaging or with supermodels singing its praises – because it doesn’t need it. This is just seriously great stuff.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

London beauty must do: BLOWW salon

One of the most outstanding beauty stop offs I made when I was in London a couple of weeks ago was at a salon called BLOWW, which is tucked away in a serene little lane just off insanely bustling Regents Street called Regents Place.
Featured in the likes of ELLE and Tatler – both of whom sing their praises – the outrageously talented team at BLOWW believe that working with hair goes “ hand-in-hand with style, glamour, fashion, innovation and skill”, and they’ve pooled their resources to create an exquisite salon experience in the heart of London’s West End.
BLOWW was launched in December 2005 and was received with a great deal of excitement from the industry, winning the British Hairdressing Business Award for Salon Design in 2006 and Hair Magazine’s London Salon of the Year in 2007 and Destination Salon of the Year in 2008. The beautifully spacious spot – a rarity in a city as densely packed as London – features the likes of a lengthy granite catwalk, bespoke soundtrack, super flattering lighting, art and a shampoo massage area which is tucked away for ultimate relaxation, making for one fabulously relaxing experience. Their signature is what they like to call “couture hairdressing”, which is all about finding a superlative style for each individual using a distinct combination of skills, knowledge and intuition. Their stylists regularly work on photo-shoots for magazines, TV, fashion shows and major fashion campaigns, and with clients that include Nick Knight and Givenchy are one decidedly hip bunch.
My stylist for the day was the extremely charming and dapper Charley McEwen, who an industry insider told me gives “THE best blow dry in London”, which is no small call. He certainly has the client list to back it up though, regularly taking care of the tresses of Cate Blanchett, Heidi Klum, Sienna Miller and Lily Allen when the red carpet calls. When he gets to work on my hair it is totally transformed – from fairly thick, slightly distressed locks (thanks a month in France with no salon treatments) to seriously big, bouncing natural waves that are everything I wish my hair would be on a daily basis. And the best thing? They still looked bloody amazing four days later, when I was sadly forced to wash them and return to my former less-than-glory. The whole experience was a super luxurious one too, from the Redken treatment and serious head massage to the sparkling water and time taken over the blow dry, I was in heaven. If you are ever in London then I suggest the first thing you do is give Charley a call – it will set you up well for a seriously great trip.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Daphne Groeneveld & Tom Ford, Paris Vogue

I try: an Ergoline Collagen Beauty Bed

Over the years I’ve tried light therapy on several occasions as an add-on to my usual skincare regime, and found it to be a great way to make my favourite products work harder and a nice boost to my skin’s health in general. The treatments have been solely restricted to my face and decolletage, but now Collagen Beauty Beds have arrived in New Zealand I’m more than ready to for all over great skin this summer.
Loved by beauty editors worldwide and extensively used by medical professionals for some time now, they are a ridiculously easy way to address the likes of fine lines and wrinkles, sun spots and pigmentation, as well as aid wound healing. This clever tool for full body skin rejuvenation is now available here in New Zealand at Solaris Tanning on Ponsonby Road and Botany, and is definitely worth a bash if you’re in the market for seriously good skin.
The beds work by emitting visible light between 600 and 700 nm, which contain no UVA or UVB rays and is highly beneficial to the skin. Studies have proven that light within this part of the spectrum penetrates to the bottom of the dermis, stimulating fibroblasts that produce collagen and repair elastin fibres to help keep the skin firm and plump, which is what gives young skin its glow. While you’re lying down having 20 minutes of “me” time, the lamps shining all around you are working hard to improve tone and texture, control and diminish pigmentation and age spots and reduce pore size, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. As if that’s not enough, the light also stimulates blood circulation aiding in detoxification, while increasing oxygen and nutrients to the skin. This reduces inflammation and enhances the wound repair process as skin cells renew from 150 -200 per cent faster when exposed to this light wavelength. Used by doctors to reduce healing time, these benefits can be utilised to speed up the natural healing process in which your skin regenerates, aiding in a quick recovery if you’ve had more invasive treatments such as IPL. If you’ve just had Botox or fillers however, it’s recommended that you wait at least 24 hours before hitting a Collagen Bed.
When I spoke to Alicia Berridge, the Director of Solaris, she recommended a course of Collagen Bed sessions to really address any issues you have with your skin. “Skin rejuvenation is a dynamic process. Commitment to light therapy is key, and a course of 20 light treatments is what is recommended for really great results.” She added that your skin will continue to improve for up to six weeks after your course has ended, and said that popping in once or twice a month for maintenance after that is the perfect way to keep your skin looking its best. She said results can be seen after just two treatments, and then great skin really kicks in at around ten. The beds have no down time or side effects and a treatment last just twenty minutes, so you can pop down to Solaris in your lunch break for a top up whenever you need one.
This type of light therapy is suitable for all skin types and is only contra-indicated for those with a photosensitivity disorder, and not recommended if you’re pregnant (or claustrophobic!). Also, certain medications can cause photosensitivity, so check in with your beauty therapist or doctor if you think this might apply to you. If you decide to pop along and try this future beauty tool for yourself, exfoliate the night before and be sure to wear no make up or lotions containing sunscreens. However, Alicia tells me that if you have a favourite serum then slap it on as the light will help it penetrate deeper.
Oh, and before I forget - Solaris have a special on right now whereby you can buy a 20 session course for just $199, which is less than half the price of a luxury skin cream! I must admit it took me some time to get used to walking into a tanning salon after years of banging on about how bad they are, but don’t let that put you off a collagen bed – they can only be good for you!

Daily delight: Olivia Wilde for Vanity Fair

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In praise of: Dermalogica's UltraCalming relief masque

I just came home from a holiday that involved eight flights – and three climates – in just over six weeks. I have very reactive skin and normally this would have caused a serious beauty meltdown to happen right there on my face, but I cleverly avoided this with the use of several rather amazing Dermalogica UltraCalming range. The one that I really couldn’t have lived without was the relief masque, which was created for sensitized, reactive and recently resurfaced skin. A powerful, ultra-calming treatment masque enriched with Colloidal Oatmeal to soothe enraged skin and provide lasting relief from sensitized skin flare-ups, redness and rosacea, it was the ideal thing to apply post-flight, and keep my skin looking seriously great despite the chaos around me. It was also super easy to use, I just applied a layer generously to a cleansed face and throat as well as key areas with or prone to sensitivity (e.g.; cheeks or eye area). I left it on to process for at least ten minutes to fully activate, then gently rinsed with warm water to remove all traces. I followed it up with UltraCalming Mist and UltraCalming Serum Concentrate, and was definitely in beauty heaven. You can use it 2-3 times per week or whenever skin requires a soothing remedy, and it has definitely become a new staple in my bathroom cabinet. If you’re the sensitive type then I highly recommend this, and ASAP.

Daily delight: classic Vintage Cher

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Daily delight: oils by Alexander Sprekenhus

One of the many beauty discoveries I made whilst tripping around London was Alexander Sprekenhus’ Argan Oil Styling Elixir, which is composed of the same oil as the famous Moroccanoil, but with a few added extras. Also available in a Light formula, this beautiful product softens thick unmanageable hair and restores shine and softness to dull lifeless hair. It also strengthens and conditions, eliminates frizz, speeds up styling time by 40 per cent, and provides long-term conditioning to all hair types. The much respected company has become one of the pre-eminent manufacturers of argan-based natural body and skin care products, which also have super unique scents which make them that much more luxurious again. Each Alexander Sprekenhus fragrance is chosen carefully - a unique blend customized with a variety of earthy, spicy, floral, sweet perfume, and/or citrus essential oil notes. All of their fragrances are also phatalate-free, and their formulas use all natural ingredients - no mineral oil, dyes, sulfates, propylene glycol, phthalates or parabens. They are also 100 per cent Vegan, drug-free and cruelty-free, even making PETA’s coveted and highly regarded “No Test List.” Now if only this beautiful elixir was available in New Zealand! If you’re out there Alexander, please send some our way fast!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why you need: Sebastian Hydre Deep Moisturizing Treatment

If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere right now like I am, then you’ll be well aware that summer is – almost! – officially here. It’s my favourite season by far, but one that can prove to be a shocker on your hair, especially if it’s colour treated like mine. The best way to be prepared is by finding some great products to introduce into your regular routine as the weather heats up, and one I’ve just started using on my hair is Sebastian’s Hydre Deep Moisturizing Treatment. It’s an added extra for your usual hair regime but one that’s super easy to incorporate, as you just slip it in instead of your usual conditioner a couple of times a week. Leave it on for 3-5 minutes after a good old shampoo, and your hair will get a big fat hit of intensive, long lasting moisture. Normal or damaged hair will feel conditioned, silky, moisturised and healthy. And most importantly, it’s colour safe, meaning your blondes will stay blonde and your brunettes dusky and glossy. Get this baby on your radar ASAP and you’ll feel the impact of salt water, sea air and chlorine that much less this summer.

Love: Spa Ayurda’s Vishuddi body treatment

When I rolled up to Ponsonby Road’s peaceful beauty oasis known as Spa Ayurda, I was desperately in need of a bit of a “tune up”, as my mother would say. I’d been working insane hours on top of being a mum, and I’d just done time in the trenches at New Zealand Fashion Week, which is not as glamorous as it looks when you’ve got your working hat on!
What I needed most was to commit to a good old-fashioned detox programme, but I just hadn’t had the time to prepare fully, or to withdraw from society in order to do one well. I’d been told that Spa Ayurda’s Vishuddi body treatment would definitely be a step in the right direction though, so one sunny Wednesday afternoon I dropped in to make it happen.
Spa Ayurda co-owner and director Rippan Sandhu told me that the treatment was “a wonderfully detoxifying and rejuvenating experience”, which sounded like exactly what my poor old body and mind needed. Named after the throat chakra, it’s also especially good for runners and gym goers as well as it really lubricates the joints and makes the body feel ready for anything. And - like all of the treatments at Spa Ayurda - it has a strong emphasis on wellness, but luckily when the body and mind are soothed, looking great is a wonderful by-product.
To begin with, selected powdered Ayurvedic herbs and fresh ingredients like coconut and lemon are cooked together and tied to form a bolus – or poultice –which is prepared earlier by your therapist (in my case the gorgeous Jane). These are then dipped in warm medicated herbal oil and applied to the body with rhythmic strokes that run up and down the legs, arms, back, chest and stomach. Packed with the goodness of the aforementioned herbs, this warm poultice massage has the ability to penetrate to the nerves and bone tissues, helping to release toxins from deep within the body. As a by product, it also leaves you feeling blissfully relaxed as well as slightly invigorated, and ready to once again face the world. This wonderful treatment is then followed by a seven minute long herbal steam session that happens while you are enclosed from the neck down in a purpose built wooden box, and is designed to help open the channels and flush the toxins that have been dredged up from the body. Every little detail is attended to in true Spa Ayurda fashion, including a cool towel placed on my head during the steaming process to stop headaches or my body overheating. Sandalwood paste is also applied to my head and body at key spots to aid the detoxification process and ensure that a pleasant equilibrium is maintained all round.
The Vishuddi treatment leaves your body absolutely slick with oil, so you are given the choice of either going straight home (bring a pair of old clothes to wear if you take this option) or having a shower in the bathroom next to your treatment room if you have somewhere to be. I recommend scheduling a session late in the day and heading home to dinner and bed – you will sleep like a baby. Last up you are given a cup of herbal tea whilst you contemplate leaving the spa, and I spent a full five minutes or so trying to get the motivation to actually go. Given half the chance I would have jumped onto the nearest treatment bed and settled in for the night!
* This article appears in the latest issue of Ponsonby News. Check it out here!*

Friday, November 12, 2010

Facial Radiance: the no-product facial

As a beauty writer I’m always keen to give a new treatment a bash, but a lot of women I know are scared of facials due to the likes of allergic reactions to the products used, resulting in a week hiding indoors with a scarf over your face! Some will also only stick with one particular type of facial as they like the products used and would rather not try another brand – and I’m sure that I’ve personally missed spending some quality time enjoying the skills of some very talented facialists, purely because I don’t fancy the snake oil that they’re pedalling.
One way to avoid all of the above is by having a facial of sorts executed without the use of any products at all, which you can do with Lynda Davenport. She and her magic hands go under the name Facial Radiance, and can be found one day a week inside the fitness and wellness centre known as re:ab on Selbourne Street. Lynda has been immersed in the field of Natural Beauty and Energy Healing for over 14 years. With an intense belief in the balance and flow of energy and how it contributes to our overall wellbeing, she has combined these principals into Facial Radiance for one very different beauty treatment.
The technique was first introduced many years ago by Stanley Rosenburg, who called it “Face-lifting Massage”. He was a firm believer that “your face is the mirror of your soul”, and that through the process of releasing our old facial tensions, we free up new reserves of physical, mental and emotional energy. Lynda has added some of her own flourishes to create Facial Radiance, which is essentially a treatment for your face, head and neck that reduces and prevents the ageing process, releasing stress dramatically and bringing your whole self “back into radiance”. She says that the main reason that your face will be really rather transformed after a few sessions is that “around 80 per cent of stress is held in the face and neck, which adds to the ageing process and interrupts the other processes in your body”. In other words, the likes of lines, furrows and sagging are the consequence of muscles that retain accumulated stress from a lifetime of events and emotions. When this stress is worked on and somewhat released, the blood flow to your face, circulation and lymphatic flow are increased, making for increased collagen production (the thing all of those wonder creams promise to do but don’t often deliver) and super clear skin.
The delicious treatment lasts an hour, and Lynda explained to me that it will complement any skincare range and facial treatments, including the healing process post cosmetic surgery. It also helps Botox and fillers like Juvaderm go that much farther, with clients reporting that they can often give them up once they start of a regular Facial Radiance programme.
So what will you see after a Facial Radiance Treatment? I only had one, but I did notice immediately how plump and toned my skin looked, which is amazing considering not a single cream or serum was applied. After a series of treatments – Lynda recommends five over a five-week period – she says that the area around the eyes will look more toned, fine lines will be minimised, lips will appear fuller, cheekbones more accentuated, your jaw line sculptured, neck muscles tightened and skin rejuvenated. Definitely no small call! “My clients always leave feeling so relaxed and that feeling comes out through the skin,” she adds, “it’s almost like looking great is just a very nice added bonus!”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I seriously need: Lash Stiletto Voluptuous!

I’m en route to my hometown of Auckland in the next hour or so, typing this blog entry from the airline lounge at London’s Heathrow airport. I’m looking at a seriously long flight – try 26 hours on for size! – and already have a glass of pinot noir in my hand just to cope with the journey. I’m going to leave this flight in a serious state of beauty emergency, but have a few products on hand to ease my return to everyday life and hopefully detract from the sorry state of my skin! One of these is a great new mascara that comes courtesy of beauty giant Maybelline New York. They are the brand that brought you the first ever mascara and iconic classics such as Great Lash, and revolutionised the market with the breakthrough Lash Stiletto mascara just a year ago. After taking the world by storm with its revolutionising length and becoming the #1 lengthening mascara worldwide, Lash Stiletto now has a glamorous, curvier new ‘sister known as Lash Stiletto Voluptuous (pictured), and it’s destined to work wonders once I land. It promises to provide the skyscraper length of the best pair of stilettos along with amazing curvaceous eye-catching volume, meaning you don’t have to choose between ‘long and skinny’ or ‘plump and voluminous’ lashes. The innovative “Plump & Stretch Brush” simultaneously lengthens and volumises as its unique S-shape provides two reservoirs: the first to lift and lengthen and the second to add fullness. Thanks to the criss-crossed bristles each lash is grasped and extended, creating 70% more length and 80% more volume. I suggest you upsize your measurements now – I know I’m going to!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ready for Escentric Molecules: The Third?

I know I’ve been banging on an awful lot about fragrance recently, but there are just so many damn good ones out there making appearances of late that it would be rude not to. The newest on the block – and available exclusively in New Zealand via Karen Walker stores – are the third pair of scents from Escentric Molecules, which take the runaway success story of the niche fragrance world back to its roots – literally. The “pyramid” on which celebrated nose Geza Schoen has based Escentric 03 has ginger root at its top, orrisroot at its heart and vetiver root at its base. As with the first two pairs, launched in 2006 and 2008, Schoen has designed two scents as homage to a single scent ingredient, or aroma-chemical. The aromachemical this time is vetiveryle acetate, a refined vetiver note that is gleefully celebrated at its purest in Molecule 03. Escentric 03, on the other hand, is a tribute to the more familiar side of vetiver: its dark, slightly exotic woodiness. MeCompany’s packaging of the Escentric scents has always been a huge part of their charm and desirability, and this time round the story is no different. To reinforce the “rootsiness” of the latest additions to the range, the packaging for 03 has a mood that keeps things organic but also delightfully mysterious. As the press release says, the design suggests “something dark moving just below the surface of things, something you can’t quite put your finger on”. And once again, both are built to look absolutely brilliant on your dressing table or spilling out of your tote. Christmas gift? Yes please!

Daily delight: Comme des Garçons Incense Avignon

I was back in London for a whirlwind 24 hours again a few days ago, and this time remembered to pop into the Liberty fragrance hall and grab me a bottle of my favourite scent by Comme des Garçons, Incense Avignon (a very favourable exchange rate helped, too!). A fragrance that definitely pulls no punches, Incense Avignon is powerful and intense, to say the least. The recognizable smells of frankincense and myrrh open the high mass of Avignon, giving way to the almost eye-smarting, gloriously smoky and resinous heart. Other notes include Roman Camomile, Citsus Oil, Elemi, Incense, Vanilla, Patchouli and Palisander, making for one heady, sexy beast. Now god help me when it runs out!