Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Daily delight: essie's magical Ridge Filler

When it comes to those in the know on the East Coast of the USA, essie is the only nail brand to be sporting, and for a plethora of good reasons. As well as being free of nasties and available in around 250 colours, it is also a company dedicated to correcting rather than masking problems from the wrist down, and has a team dedicated to creating a raft of products to help fix whatever ails you. One of those products is their much-applauded Ridge Filler, which is the East Coast woman’s base coat of choice for acrylics, gels and wraps.
Now available worldwide, it’s what you reach for when you need a solution to ridge-ridden nails, which can be caused by everything from radiation therapy to pregnancy. Many women suffering from ridged nails put off having a manicure as they don’t see the point, but one coat of this and you’re ready to face even the richest of shades.
So what does it do? Fills in all imperfections, leaving the nail surface smooth and ready for polish. This unique formula is great for artificial nails as well, and leaves the nail bed super smooth.

 Apply as a base coat, then apply two coats of essie nail polish. Finish by applying an essie top coat and some of their quick drying drops and you’re ready for anything. Thanks essie!

Dsquared² – you know you really wood!

Today I was lucky enough to be given samples of Dsquared’s very own fragrances for him and her, She Wood and He Wood, by the glorious Benny from WORLD. The two unique scents are available in New Zealand and Australia at the six WORLDbeauty stores, and are set to fly off the shelves if a first sniff is anything to go by. Dsquared²’s Dan and Dean Caten have become fashion darlings of late with their sassy collections and “whatevah” approach to fashion, and the fact that the identical twins have a tendency to dress the same doesn’t hurt them in the likability stakes, either. Now they’ve entered the fragrance realm too, with a vetiver-woodsy scented duo that go by the names He Wood and She Wood. Both fragrances take their name and inspiration from the great Canadian outdoors of the twins’ youth, and the same provocative approach that they take with their clothing line. They were very hands on in the creation of He Wood and She Wood too, starting with a plan to use vetiver and woody notes as the basis of both. They have said of their creations, “He Wood us meant to smell like a romp in the woods by the river. That’s the men’s fragrance: air, water, and woods. The women’s is a bit sweeter, and made of light, sap, and woods. She Wood also has that touch of the edible from the vanilla that’s in it.” The bottle was also inspired by their home country, “where they have these bottles of maple syrup at the duty-free shop that come in a wooden box to protect it like it’s really precious”. And for the greenies amongst us, the duo say that for every tree they cut down to make one bottle, they plant three more. Going forward, they are also planning to have a refillable bottle available, too.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Daily delight: Lancome's Teint Idole Silky Mat

I’ve always been a fan of matte-look foundation, but as I’ve got older have found it harder and harder to wear as so many formulations out there are just that little bit too “mask like” on older skin. However… it sounds like my prayers have been answered in the form of Lancome’s new Teint Idole Silky Mat Mineral Foundation with SPF16, which is what is termed a “new-gen” treatment foundation that stays matte but with a satin-soft, fresh feel. And it stays that way for an incredible 18 hours, apparently, which is no mean feat! Lancome claim that it is suitable for all skin types too, even those with sensitivities. So how do they do it? By using a mix made of a high percentage of water and a mineral complex, the foundation is designed to be weightless, pore-reducing and line-smoothing, whilst keeping the skin hydrated and – most obviously - matte. As well as keeping skin matte, fresh and natural, test results say that with use, skin’s appearance will improve over time, too. Women in clinical trials used the product for a month and said that after four weeks skin was 12 per cent visibly smoother, and that imperfections were 10 per cent less visible and their complexions were radiant and “as flawless as silk”. Where do I sign up? I can’t wait to crack into my sample, and four shades are now on counter.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Trilogy's natural new solution for sensitivity

One of the loveliest women I’ve met in my beauty travels is the co-founder of eco-conscious beauty brand Trilogy, Catherine de Groot. She and her sister Sarah discovered the near-magical powers of Rosehip Oil many moons ago, then used it as the basis of their now internationally renowned skincare brand. Now many women wouldn’t be without essentials such as their skin rejuvenating Certified Organic Rosehip Oil (right) and truly incredible Everything Balm, and they have just launched their newest plant-powered line, Trilogy Sensitive Skin, which provides soothing relief for sensitive skin. Catherine recently explained to Vogue that the Sensitive Skin line came out of a realization that sensitivity is a concern affecting thousands of people, including herself. The team at Trilogy realised that while there was a multitude of mineral oil based options to treat the condition, there were no obvious natural skincare solutions for sensitive skin.
Trilogy Sensitive Skin (available from April) is a range of three high performance daily essentials [Very Gentle Cleansing Cream, Very Gentle Moisturising Cream, and the Very Gentle Calming Fluid] designed for extra sensitive complexions, including skin which reacts to other skincare or is intolerant due to environmental or hormonal changes. She explained that
when caring for sensitive skin, the fundamental requirement is to avoid contact irritants and to use gentle emollients to protect the fragile natural barrier provided by the skin’s own lipid production. The Trilogy Sensitive Skin range is fragrance and alcohol free, and has been dermatologically tested on sensitive skin. Each product is formulated with pure spring water and plant ingredients chosen for their purity as well as their non-sensitising properties. These ingredients include Chamomile flower, Calendula flower, Marshmallow root and Evening Primrose Oil to soothe, calm and comfort your complexion and pure plant oils of Almond, Avocado and Olive which she says are great for protecting the weakened skin barrier of sensitive skin. As an fabulous extra, they have also included antioxidant Green Tea to help reduce the visible appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as flight free radical damage. Feeling sensitive? Give this range a bash for sure, it sounds like one of the most promising – and ethical – solutions to have landed on the beauty landscape in a while.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Daily delight: Christina Aguilera's red lip

This is a shot of the cover of Christina Aguilera's forthcoming album, Bionic, and I bloody love it. The judicious use of individual false lashes is beyond amazing, and as for the clear red lip? It is killing me! It looks to me like M.A.C's Russian Red or maybe Lipstick Queen's Red Sinner, topped with lashing of M.A.C's Clear Lipglass, or similar. The bleached brows and peach-toned blush keep the look contemporary rather than retro, too. Love it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Daily delight: Buff Daddy Denny does it again...

I’ve been a huge fan of UK celebrity manicurist – and ex-truck driver! - Leighton Denny’s range of products since interviewing him a few years back, and after finding out that they actually do what they claim to, and more. His Miracle Drops are added to every pedicure I have, and his polishes come in colours to die for as well as lasting what feels like an eternity. He’s a man that is testing his new creations almost daily before they hit the shelves, so you know that they have been applied every which way, and often on some rather well known hands. His latest release is the really rather clever Double Up Duo, featuring two high performance topcoat products - Make It Matter and Crystal Finish – so you can add a glamorous glossy finish or a smooth matte effect to any manicure. Using the latest innovation in matte technology, Make It Matter instantly transforms nail colour from high gloss to matte in seconds, meaning you can create limitless matte colour options. Make It Matter is also the ideal product for creating on-trend nails, without investing in multiple products. It is also perfect for changing the tones of bright block colours and neon shades, and making your manicure or pedicure that much more on-trend. Crystal Finish is an incredible high-shine top coat that gives a super glossy finish to any manicure. The long-lasting formula seals in nail colour, helping to maintain that newly painted look for longer and give added protection against chips and breaks. Easy to apply and quick to dry, this is the ideal day-to-day coat for colour. One of his experts tips for using the two at once is coating the nail colour with Make it Matter, then when dry, applying a coat of Crystal Finish just to the tip. It gives a kind of French effect that looks particularly fabulous on darker shades.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My new Cire Trudon... a scent to die for!

Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I have a veritable fetish for scented candles, and my absolute favourites of late have all been of the Cire Trudon variety. France’s oldest manufacturer of candles – they were burned by the likes of Napoleon and Marie Antoinette – Cire Trudon candles are all crafted using the highest quality vegetable wax poured into beautiful handmade glass, making them biodegradable, allergen free and free of pesticides as far back as 1643! They also have an incredible 80 hour burn time, and come in a variety of delicious and alluring scents. I’ve been a raving fan of their gorgeously masculine “Ernesto” candle for a long while now, but for my birthday was gifted the truly addictive “Manon”. Crafted to smell like fresh laundry – and who doesn’t love that! – Manon is described by her creators as like peeking “between stacks of embroidered linen sheets on a lady's festooned bed… where lavender and orange spread a smell of lightness and neatness”. Saucy but sweet, I love it!

Daily delight: Kate Moss' glamourous exit

I must confess that I've never been a huge Kate Moss fan, but understand why so many people are. She very rarely gets it wrong, and when she does it's often so wrong that it's unabashedly right! I do love this pap shot of her exiting a car taken yesterday though, not just for her covetable outfit - love those pants - but also for her artfully smudged red lip, defined eyes and bloody gorgeous, on-trend hair. It's got a distinct Veronica Lake-style wave going on, but has been delicately messed up to remain 100 per cent Ms. Moss. This is taking what's so hot right now and owning it rather than imitating it, which in my opinion is what loving clothes and following beauty trends is all about.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ease Thai Foot Massage: a positive addiction

Today is my birthday, and I was lucky enough to get an appointment for a foot massage at a beautiful oasis of calm on nearby Ponsonby Road known as Ease. German-born Beate is the owner of Ease, which is devoted exclusively to pure relaxation via your tootsies. It's the place to go to when you’re in the market for Traditional Thai foot massage, and was voted Best Massage by its loyal clientele in the Metro magazine Best Of Awards last year. From the moment that you walk in the door, you’ll see that Ease is set up like an authentic Thai foot massage salon, complete with friendly Thai staff and understated yet exotic d├ęcor, but with a relaxed Ponsonby atmosphere. Though Thai massage can cover the entire body, Thai foot massage is an art in itself, and at Ease that take that to a whole other level. Focusing on the lower legs and feet, their foot massage involves strong, slow movements and acupressure with gentle stretches. The foot is probably the most abused part of the body, but has a direct connection to every other part of it. Nerve endings in the soles of the feet correspond to all of the organs of the body such as the liver, kidney or spleen, and the gentle and repeated massage of these pressure points stimulates and detoxifies the internal organs and improves circulation to the problem area. As a holistic treatment, those in the ancient Orient realized that foot massage could relieve stress, help promote restful sleep, and even improve the immune system. In the mental sense, it could also increase alertness and enhance creativity, which in my opinion is more than enough reason to indulge! “You don't need an appointment at Ease either,”explains Beate, “so we get a lot of people like shoppers dropping in when they feel they need a treat”. They welcome groups making a trip to Ease a social event and the place can be a hive of high energy chatter, although private sessions are also available if its solitude you're after. My appointment was a blissful 45 minutes long, and ended with a beyond amazing neck and shoulder massage which has made me feel like a million bucks and like planning my next visit. Happy Birthday to me!

Monday, March 22, 2010

The good Doctor (Murad) does it again

Another stellar product from the lab of the respected Dr. Howard Murad, Day Reform Treatment is a treatment and repair cream that keeps skin youthful using a Tannic Acid barrier. This helps age-proof the skin by protecting it from environmental assaults, while smoothing its texture and minimising the appearance of pores. Another unique ingredient in this pot of goodness is Tahitian Noni Extract, which improves elasticity and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reversing damage and restoring resilience, whilst Red Tea provides top notch antioxidant protection. The good doctor says that including a treatment product in your arsenal is surest and fastest way to see a noticeable improvement in your skin, and this baby is the first step and incredibly simple to use.

Daily delight: M.A.C Lightful Foundation

I've just started using the super soft powder foundation from M.A.C's Lightful range, and am already a raving fan. It has a decent SPF of 25, as well as being one of the quickest to apply bases I have ever used. It comes in a silver compact with a sponge, but I've been using a big, fat brush to apply it which is perfect for building up coverage. The range was originally designed solely for the Asian market, but this formulation is ideal for women living anywhere that the humidity levels rise. It controls shine without being cakey and adds a luminosity to the skin that most powder-style foundations just can't achieve. Love it!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

So... how green really is green? Stay vigilant.

There are more and more great organic beauty products appearing on counters every day, but the labels can be confusing. Some claim to be green, others totally organic, and then there are those that are just labeled "all natural”. It’s a situation that really annoys me, as so many consumers are sucked in by the term “natural”, and in New Zealand at least, beauty products need only contain a single organic ingredient to be able to make the claim. In the United States however, the Consumers Union, the influential watchdog group that publishes Consumer Reports, has petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to do away with the widespread use of misleading labels. Unlike organic food - which is usually very closely regulated in many countries - there are few guidelines for how shampoo or moisturiser labels can make use of terms like "organic." In the case of some of the world’s biggest brands, just a small fraction of their ingredients are actually organic. Fingers crossed that the initiative takes flight, but until then I recommend being super vigilant and research before you buy if you’re wanting to green. Believe me, your body will thank you for it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Daily delight: my favourite Paris hair look

The Paris shows meant that a plethora of new looks for hair were unveiled to compliment the gorgeousness on the catwalk, some more wearable than others. A sixties vibe crept into a lot of them, sometimes in a very literal way such as at Rochas, and some with a modern kick, like this mid-length, super easy flip at Chloe. The shape is basically quite retro, but the artfully messed up part and and structure only along the bottom section makes for one very modern 'do. It's also extremely easy to achieve at home, you just need a decent volumising product to apply on the roots, slightly dirty hair and a half decent pair of curling tongs. If it's not totally perfect then all the better, just add a little smudged inky black eyeliner and a neutral lip and you're good to go. Magnifique!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

One of the best just got better: Prevage

After wowing the beauty world several years ago with the release of Prevage, Elizabeth Arden have upped the ante yet again with the release of Prevage Face Advanced Anti-aging Serum. Elizabeth Arden’s bestselling anti-ageing formula now does even more to prevent visible ageing signs with a new, improved delivery of Idebenone, the most powerful antioxidant available today. This new formula delivers a blend of environmental defenders along with Idebenone, a potent antioxidant that effectively protects skin from all three types of free radical reactions. And the only antioxidant to receive the highest EPF® rating of 95 out of 100. Fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and discolorations appear reduced, redness, minor scars and existing sun damage look minimised. Skin looks firmer and more radiant. “Scientists have long known that certain ingredients attached to a fatty acid absorb into skin and create a reserve to be used as needed,” explained Tony Vargas, Vice President of Research and Development at Elizabeth Arden. “Based on this finding, Prevage researchers developed our new Idebenone delivery technology that fused Idebenone with a skin compatible ester to provide a time release reservoir of Idebenone within the skin. Resulting in a new, more gentle level of performance”. To support the action of Idebenone, the new formula offers a blend of potent specialist antioxidants that help to neutralise free radical reactions, boosting protective benefits: Thiotaine, Bamboo Isoflavones, Liprochoman 6 and a Green Tea blend. In addition Lys Lastine V, an extract of the dill plant, supports the skin’s natural protein synthesis for firmer, more toned, younger looking skin. A little blinded by science? Don't be, just try it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Daily delight: Smashbox’s highly covetable Heartbreaker Collection

Just landed in New Zealand is the newest collection for LA make up giants Smashbox, called Heartbreaker. It launched in the US rather appropraitely on Valentine’s Day, and has a super cute, ultra pretty retro-tastic feel about it that I think will be a huge hit with followers of the brand. My favourites are the Roller Gloss in Pink Sugar which is straight out of a John Hughes’ movie, and the brand’s first ever fragrance (pictured above), simply called Heartbreaker. It’s heady with just the right amount of sweet, with Top Notes that include fragrant cloud rose and blue violet balanced out with hints of nutmeg, mace and clove.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Daily delight: introducing Zoya nail polish

In the weekend I was lucky enough to make the acquaintance of Zoya Nail Polish, whilst having a truly wonderful luxury pedicure at Jasmine Spa near my home. Zoya is the creation of a company known as Art of Beauty, which was founded in 1986 by Zoya and Michael Reyzis. They had a shared vision, which evolved from a small nail salon into a spa focusing on natural nails, skin care and alternative European herbal treatments. Today, the company has grown to become a manufacturer of innovative professional beauty products and their name has gone worldwide. Zoya, originally a classical pianist in Russia, earned her Cosmetology license in 1979 when she and her husband Michael immigrated to the United States. While pianist jobs were limited, the world of cosmetology offered a new career, and she threw herself in feet first. Through Zoya’s hard work, and a demand for quality and healthy, natural ingredients for her clients, it became evident to her that there was a need for the perfect products. Responding to his wife’s requests, Michael, an advanced chemist, developed and patented unique products for the salon and spa, including the first working fast drying topcoat and the longest wearing, formaldehyde free natural nail polish, which formed the basis of the range we now know as Zoya. As the first to remove toxic ingredients such as toluene, formaldehyde and DBP (dibutyl phthalate) from its formulations, Zoya has a strong focus on the health and well being of salons, spas and consumers, as well as being available in 300 gorgeous colours. It also claims to deliver the longest wear possible on natural nails, which I am pretty confident it will. Zoya, I'm glad I met you!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beautiful hair that slays me right now!

I am loving the hair vibe in this folky, Joni Mitchell-type shot from a recent collection by L'Oreal Professionel, which is exactly what I'm trying to achieve right now with my hair. The cut is long and loose and low maintenance, whilst the colour has just the right amount of caramel to make it flattering to the skin and warm enough to carry into Winter. It is also both long and in simply gorgeous condition, which I'm hoping to achieve with my lashings of nourishing Moroccanoil and protein packed Redken Anti-Snap, with a few Flaxseed oil tablets thrown down with my breakfast for good measure... Now if it would just hurry up and grow already! Love it.

Daily delight: Fudge Dry Shampoo

I've got seriously combination hair, a condition which has only been exacerbated by my return to a fairer hue. I try and wash my hair a lot less these days to counteract dry ends, and I've become a fan of dry shampoos. Not only do they suck up dirt, grease and oil from hair in a matter of minutes, but they can also be great for boosting/faking volume if your hair sadly lacking. Combine all of this with the fact that it sorts out hair that gets stuck to your forehead every two seconds in humid weather and clearly you're onto a winner, especially if you have a fringe like me. Not all dry shampoos are created equal, however, with many leaving a nasty residue on your hair that you feel the need to wash out anyway, whilst others can't be used on dark hair as they have a "talcy" effect when they are sprayed on. One that does tick all the right boxes is Fudge Dry Shampoo, which features a unique spray on powder technology that is perfect for a quick fix in between washes. Spray it on and massage in, wait two minutes and then brush any residue out. Magic! It's the best I've tried so far - and believe me, I've tried a few!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Daily delight: M.A.C meets Liberty of London

Perhaps the most hotly anticipated collection from M.A.C this year is “Liberty of London” - a collaboration with floral-tastic historic British department store, clothing, and home-decor brand, Liberty of London. I love a M.A.C collaboration, and this one looks like an absolute winner, with Liberty of London bringing their rainbow colors and floral prints to MAC, making for one of the prettiest collections I have ever seen. The collection will include several colors of eye shadow, lipstick, lip gloss, blush, beauty powder and nail polish. There are also two limited-edition items being made: a makeup bag and a scarf, both of which are to kill for. The M.A.C/Liberty Of London collection will launch in the US on March 11. For the rest of the world, the collection will launch in April. If you love a hippie-luxe vibe as much as I do, you’ll be queuing up at the door of your nearest store on April 1, come hell or high water!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Spa Ayurda - the pathway to wellness

If you're a frequent visitor to healthy and beauty spas around the globe, you will know very well that not all are created equal. Some are awash with the sound of whale music and patchouli scented candles, whilst others are akin to a doctor's surgery, with a focus on getting you in the treatment room with minimal fuss, and getting the job done. The newly opened Spa Ayurda on my local Ponsonby Road (based in a large, airy villa opposite Rocket Kitchen) is quite a different beast indeed, seeking to “redefine the concept of spa for those of us who just see them as a place for getting pampered with relaxing facials and other beauty treatments”. In the words of its director Rippan Sandhu, Spa Ayurda is based on “5000 year old traditions of wellness and the principle that what we see happening on the outside - as in our skin and body - is a direct reflection of our inner self”. This basic principle is based on the ancient Indian science known as Ayurvedic medicine, which is known for its holistic approach to wellness and the simple desire to correct the cause of an illness or imbalance, rather than merely masking symptoms.
The spa director is proud to say that Spa Ayurda is the first spa in New Zealand to be based around the true traditions of Ayurveda, under the guidance of Australasia's most experienced Ayurvedic doctor, Dr. Ajit. Dr. Ajit has been running a very successful Ayurvedic wellness centre in the Central Auckland suburb of Mount Eden for over fifteen 15 years, and has seen the medical aspects of Ayurvedic medicine help thousands of New Zealanders who have been battling various physical, mental and emotional problems. Planet Ayurveda has become a popular destination for those who have exhausted many other avenues in the path to complete wellness, and for those seeking to try something different from traditional Western medicine. Also Dr. Ajit's wife, the lovely Rippan Sandhu is driving force behind Spa Ayurda and is passionate about the differences an Ayurvedic approach can make to your skin. She and her husband developed their (now well known and very popular) Ayurda skin care range over seven years ago, and then went on to create accompanying signature spa treatments based on Ayurvedic principles and using products from their own range. These will all be offered at Ponsonby's Spa Ayurda by a team of well trained Ayurvedic beauty therapists who will be carrying out their roles under the rigourous eyes of Dr Ajit. The spacious, relaxing spa will offer unique, customised Ayurvedic facials, body rituals, highly effective body wraps and hand and feet rituals, as well as a plethora of other treatments which will leave its clients not just feeling pampered, but also relaxed and rejuvenated. Spa Ayurda will also offer wellness packages especially tailored to each client's needs, in the true nurturing spirit of Ayurveda.
Rippan adds that “you are also most welcome to bring your children to Spa Ayurda for treatments and wellness packages, thus giving them the feel of natural well being from very early in their lives. Our aim is to provide the foundation of a better future for your whole family - and for you.”

Monday, March 8, 2010

A great hair day every day? Yes you can!

Depending on your hair type, a well executed, professional blow wave will probably last you between two and three days, then after a wash your locks will return to their former frazzled glory. Some women who really battle with their hair will book in two a week just to keep their spirits up, whilst a lot of us just wish the end result of a blow out will last just that little bit longer.
It seems that as of this month, our prayers have been answered! It's called a Keratin Complex Smoothing Treatment, and it is being offered exclusively at Stephen Marr salons. Brand new to Stephen Marr and to New Zealand, Senior Stylist Simone Lawry at the Ponsonby salon is the professional leading the charge, and she's the woman to talk to if you think silky smooth, shiny, manageable hair that lasts three to four months long is what you've always dreamed of. In addition, the real beauty of it is that - unlike chemical straightening procedures - the more you have the treatment done, the better it is for your hair.
So what exactly is this Keratin Complex Smoothing Treatment, and how does it work? Designed by US hair stylist Peter Coppola, it is essentially an all natural, Keratin- based treatment that penetrates the outer cuticle layer of your hair. It is not permanent like chemical straightening, which grows out to reveal once-more frizzy roots. Instead, it slowly wears out, so your hair will slowly get more movement and curl over time. As an added bonus, it also reduces drying time and makes it easier for you to style your hair. The treatment is applied to dry, freshly shampooed hair and left to process for thirty minutes. Next, it is blow dried and carefully flat ironed, which takes the majority of the time that you're in the salon. You will leave looking damn near impeccable (like Miss Poly, above), and amazingly, will continue to do so for quite some time. All clients are given an After Care Program card to take home and follow, and it would be in your best interest to pick up some bottles of Lucy Marr's Sans range shampoo and conditioner, which are sulfate-free and therefore will prolong the life of the treatment yet again.
And then? Your time in the salon is only half the treatment's processing time. You cannot get your hair wet or let any moisture into it for 72 hours as it can effect the ongoing process of the keratin “attaching itself” to your hair. This means no getting caught in the rain, washing your hair or gym workouts. Once the 72 hours are up you are free to wash and style your now spectacular hair however you desire.
The cost? You'll have to go in for a consultation to find out, and it is determined by things like thickness, texture and length of the hair. But come on - perfect hair every day? Priceless!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Daily delight: when old Hollywood glamour reigns at Galliano...

This is my favourite look so far from the Paris shows: an extreme bronze smoky eye with a wing, a smudged almost-matching deep ruby lip and a Jean Harlow halo of ultra platinum, styled locks. God I love Galliano!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Daily delight: much anticipated Moroccanoil

I’ve been hearing a buzz happening amongst hair stylists around the traps about a new hair product on the market that they believe will change the way we care for our hair, and the experts have said that it’s “the most important revolution in hair care since the ghd Iron”, which is a pretty amazing call. It’s called Moroccanoil, and is an ultra light treatment oil that restores shine to the hair, strengthens and conditions, and even reduces its drying time. It can be used on any hair type – from ultra fine to relentlessly curly - to totally change the way it feels, looks and styles. It can be taken home in a very attractive 100ml bottle or the salons who stock it can include an application with your colour or blow wave on request. It is the ideal answer to frazzled summer locks, and will see many a client going into winter with truly amazing hair. I’ve just cracked into a bottle myself and am interested to see the results – this could obliterate the majority of treatment products in my arsenal if the hype is to be believed!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Massage: the benefits of, and how I love!

I’m a huge fan of massage, and try and indulge in one whenever I can. Swedish, Thai, Ayurvedic or Balinese, you name it and I’ve had a bash at it at least once. In an age of technical and, at times, impersonal medicine, massage offers a drug-free, non-invasive and humanistic approach based on the body's natural ability to heal itself, and that’s what makes it one of my first ports of call when I’m feeling run down. The benefits to receiving regular massage and/or bodywork treatments are numerous, and include:
- Increased circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.
- The it stimulates the flow of lymph, the body's natural defense system, against toxic invaders. For example, in breast cancer patients, massage has been shown to increase the cells that fight cancer.
- Increased circulation of blood and lymph systems ie. it improves the condition of the body's largest organ - the skin.
- It relaxes and softens injured and overused muscles
- It reduces spasms and cramping
- It increases joint flexibility, which is essential as we age
- It reduces recovery time, helps prepare for strenuous workouts and eliminates subsequent pains of the athlete at any level. Massge means a more comfortable workout, so you’re going to do it more.
- It releases endorphins - the body's natural painkiller - and is being used in chronic illness, injury and recovery from surgery to control and relieve pain.
- It reduces post-surgery adhesions and edema and can be used to reduce and realign scar tissue after healing has occurred.
- Provides exercise and stretching for atrophied muscles and reduces shortening of the muscles for those with restricted range of motion.

And I could go on! My latest foray into new and wonderful massage options involved a trip to Bliss Reflexology, who offer Traditional Chinese Body Massage. A spectacular 60 minutes of intense massage under the very strong yet caring hands of my therapist, the technique seems to be a fantastic mix of the Chinese culture’s two styles of massage - Tui na, which focuses on pushing, stretching and kneading the muscle, and Zhi Ya, which focuses on pinching and pressing at acupressure points. Both are based on principles from Traditional Chinese Medicine and have a positive effect all over your body, inside and out. I left feeling a million dollars and more than a day – and a run and Pilates class - later, my muscles are still singing. Highly recommended, so get thee to a massage table near you!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Daily delight: Nimue Stemplex Serum

It never ceases to amze me how many innovations in skincare owe their efficacy to the humble green apple, and now another product has arrived on the market that harnesses the power of nature’s most self-deprecating fruit. South African beauty brand Nimue Skin Technology has discovered how a rare Swiss apple can help us look years younger by renewing our skin’s own cells. Known as Stemplex Serum, it uses plant stem cells extracted from “spatlauber” (yep, that’s a word) apples to strengthen the stem cells found in our skin. The skin’s stem cells are responsible for tissue renewal but age, stress, and environmental damage mean they loose their capacity to divide. The result? Skin renewal becomes slower and wrinkles appear and deepen, which is not ideal. Clinical trials of Stemplex Serum show that this process can be reversed, with a significant and visible decrease in wrinkle depth for every single one of the subjects. Those trialling the product saw a 15 per cent reduction in the depth of crow’s feet wrinkles after just one month of using the product, which also contains a number of other active ingredients which together have a unique and powerful anti-ageing effect. In addition to preventing and decreasing wrinkles, the new serum has an immediate tightening effect on the skin, enhances skin tone, preserves a youthful appearance, and protects the longevity of your own skin’s stem cells. Over a breakfast at boutique hotel Mollie’s I got to lather the serum on the back of my hand, and noticed straight away that its lightweight texture absorbs incredibly easily, which is rare for a serum of this one’s strength. It is also suitable for use from early twenties and for most skin types, including those that suffer from conditions like ultra sensitivity, eczema and psoriasis. Last but not least, Stemplex Serum has never been tested on animals and is also paraben free. The 30ml airless pump dispenser is available from Nimue Skin Technology stockists worldwide.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A look into the future for hair: 10 minutes with Redken's Louise Pilkington

A highly respected hair stylist and all round great lady, Louise Pilkington is the owner of Servilles salon on Ponsonby Road near my home. She has also been named as the Redken Creative Director at the upcoming iD Dunedin fashion event in the city of the same name, and recently returned from New York Fashion Week, where she worked on the Marc Jacobs show (pictured) as part of the Redken team. All of this makes her a great person to quiz about the upcoming hair trends going into the Southern Hemisphere Winter, as well as how the bejesus to fix that all-too-familiar post-Summer frazzle.

First up, going into winter the average person is going to have damaged hair. What is the quickest way to repair that damage? It is definitely too late for prevention!
An effective way to repair damaged hair is definitely with in-salon conditioning treatments as this process keeps hair healthy. A new, fresh style from your stylist is also a great idea going into Winter as this will get rid of unhealthy ends, give you a new look and will help to keep with the formal style of Winter fashion.

Summer was all about long, beachy, wavy, "mermaid" hair. Is long still a great option for winter?
It completely depends on the person. If you are a person who likes to change your style a lot and likes to evolve with fashion, I would suggest going back to or sticking with short hair as you can team shorter hair with the latest styles easier. However, if you do wear your hair long, long is always going to be in fashion – it will never go out! The look for long hair in Winter is more polished and groomed with tongs and hot rollers whereas long hair in summer was more casual. Therefore long hair is still hot for winter however the look is more groomed.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Celebrating a legend: Dr. Hauschka

A skincare brand that has no exfoliants or night creams in its stable, but still gets incredible results? That'll be Dr. Hauschka, one of the world's most famous organic brands that has loyal followers all over the world despite its refusal to follow trends. It's fans talk about it with an almost cult-like reverence, and after over ten years in the business of writing about beauty it's a brand that I never stop hearing about as one of the best in its field.
For more than 40 years the company has grown and harvested over 150 biodynamic plants in their gardens, which can be found in a fairytale-like setting in Southern Germany. Complex rhythmical processing and attention to the biorhythms of nature result in potent plants that yield incredible essences, which are then formulated into the products that end up on our shelves. It's a range that has been designed to activate the skin's natural healing process and address the underlying cause of problems rather than simply masking the symptoms, and its loyal celebrity fans include Elle Macpherson, Julia Roberts, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts -women who know their skin and are celebrated for it.
Janet Southern is the New Zealand face of the brand, and has been with the company for over ten years. She is as passionate as it gets about the great work that their products do, not to mention a wealth of information about how to achieve - and hold on to - a skincare regime that actually works for your skin. The first thing I ask her is about this “no night cream” business - what is the thinking behind that? The manufacture of expensive night creams and serums is how many a brand makes its bread and butter! “While you sleep your skin is actually hard at work regenerating itself, balancing oil production and expelling impurities,” she explains, “but the constant application of night creams interferes with these important tasks, and over time skin becomes less able to care for itself.” She adds that layering on moisturiser 24 hours a day sends a signal to sebaceous glands to cut down on moisture production, resulting in even drier skin that becomes dependent on moisturising products just to appear “normal.” Hardly the ideal situation, but one that keeps many women out of pocket as they burn through one pot of gold after another.
“It is best to be taught properly how to use the range as a lot of its efficacy is down to the rituals involved with applying the product,” says Janet, who recommends a trip to a registered Hauschka spa for a thorough consultation before you buy. “So much of what makes it work is about technique,” she adds, “and getting your head around a different way of thinking about your skin.” Another example of the brand's unique approach is the presence of no harsh exfoliants in the range “that will disrupt the skin's protective outer layer or the pH of the skin. Our products leave the skin feeling comfortable after cleansing, and don't give you that tight feeling that so many people immediately assume is a good thing.” It's all about removing excess dirt, oil and makeup without disturbing the skin's natural line of defence. Soaps, scrubs and exfoliants can strip your face of this natural protection, resulting in dry, irritated skin and premature signs of ageing.
”Our rituals are really healthy for your soul too,” she says, “it's like a little bit of 'me' time that can only do you good.”