Thursday, April 29, 2010

Yep, a little inspiration does a girl good...

I'm off to Sydney for a few days of sun, great food, fabulous company and excellent wine. I'll be back early next week, but will leave you with this classic photo for a little inspiration. This is hair I'm channeling for this weekend - sexy, easy, low maintenance and effortlessly gorgeous - as worn by two of my favourite classic beauties... After a blow wave with the wonderful Trish at Stephen Marr Ponsonby and a strong coffee or two, I think I'm ready to go!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Winter essential: Tamara Spa's Jiva massage

This week I was lucky enough to spend a blissful hour on the massage table at Tamara Spa, experiencing a Jiva massage. All of the massages at Tamara follow Ayurvedic principles with a dose of 21st century pampering thrown in, and I left feeling light as a feather - as opposed to the “coiled spring” state I arrived in. A Jiva massage sees warm oil applied generously to the body, making it ideal during the cooler months. Three different oils are used (clove, almond, sesame and castor) to relax and help relieve joint pain, and you can request light pressure or strong and firm. Adding warm oil to the experience of a massage can be wonderfully comforting, and the team at Tamara Spa believe that it rejuvenates both the mind and body. Not only does it enhance the relaxing nature of the massage, but it also aids in healing processes. As well as the oil being delicious for the skin, the sweeping movements of the massage help to dissolve accumulated toxins and stress, which promotes general good health. Make massage a regular part of your life and your mind as well as your bod will thank you for it!

Daily delight: discovering The Beautiful Mind

One of my favourite scents to wear is the cult classic Escentric Molecule, which has been stocked at Karen Walker stores for a few years now. So naturally I was most excited to hear that Karen will also now be offering The Beautiful Mind, the new smarter than smart fragrance from the creators of my old fave.
This time around Berlin-based Geza Schoen and London’s MeCompany collaborated with Christiane Stenger who, at the age of 12, became a Grandmaster of Memory and the Junior World Memory Champion at the World Memory Championships. She subsequently won the competition four more times. Schoen was interested in celebrating in scent women who had a truly special skill, and came across a magazine article about Stenger, now 22 and a political science student in Munich. Several months later, she came to Berlin, and the duo spent the month of July 2007 working together on what would eventually become The Beautiful Mind.
The goal was a scent that would appeal to head and heart, by connecting the mobility of the mind with the depth of memory. “An ode to summer and its memories,” is Schoen’s description. “A refreshing sparkle followed by tropic flowers, luscious woods and musk.” Topnotes include magnolia bud, bergamot, mandarin, schinus molle and freesia. The heart is composed of osmanthus, rose oil, hedione and, most critically, notes of tiare absolute, extracted from a rare and expensive Tahitian flower. These floral absolutes give the scent a wonderful richness. The base of the fragrance is cedar, musk, sandalwood and cashmeran. Think of the way your mind edits the past into a series of vivid sense impressions.
MeCompany’s packaging is naturally fabulous, with the bottle wrapped in a lenticular foil depicting Stenger’s face morphing into abstraction. “The Beautiful Mind is meant to remind us that a smart woman is a sexy woman”, says Schoen, and there is no way I’m arguing with that.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Bettjeman's Permanent Blowave - the real deal if you want to go straight

Since I first wrote abut the process of infusing the hair with Keratin to give it a super shiny, just-out-of-the-salon look every day, it seems that literally thousands of practitioners have popped up. With seemingly every man and his colourist giving Keratin treatments a bash, some have been of dubious efficacy, effectively tarnishing the good name of the real thing. This lead to New Zealand salon owner – and highly respected stylist - Grant Bettjeman patenting the name The Permanent Blowave, so as to assure his customers that at his Orakei salon you really will get the real thing. Like much of the treatments that happen in the Bettjeman’s Hair Spa – a serene oasis separate from the main salon – the process begins with a Japanese Tea Ceremony, the donning of a fluffy robe and a thorough hair consultation. The stylist in charge of the treatment is a seemingly unflappable, tiny blonde named Valeria, who is such a sweetheart that I defy anyone not to be able to spend the four hours plus required for the treatment in her more than capable hands. They use the KeraStraight formula for the task – and you leave with the same brand’s shampoo and conditioner to keep things sleek at home – which adds 22 carat gold and white clay to keratin to give it a major boost. Gold is well known for its ability to affect negative ions, so you get extra shine and manageability, as well as long-lasting, instant repair. The usual rules apply post-treatment – no tying hair back, washing or products for 72 hours etc. – then you’re good to go. Like Stephen Marr, Bettjeman’s pride themselves on their technique and the quality of their product, so if you’re in the market for a keratin treatment then I recommend that you stick with the best. Buyer most definitely be aware!

Daily delight: Nars Pure Sheer SPF Lip Treatment

I love Nars collections for their seriously incredible makeup formulations, which are rich in pigment and long on wear. I don’t usually associate the brand with more subtle looks though, until now. They have just released Pure Sheer SPF Lip Treatment, which is a dreamy little product that nourishes and hydrates chapped lips, while giving a sheer yet noticeable tint. Infused with SPF 15, the rich and creamy texture protects lips throughout the day whilst Wild Mango Butter, with superior moisturizing benefits, leaves lips feeling soft and supple, while repairing dry or scaled skin. Add to that Vitamin E, Polar Berries and Acai Oil to provide antioxidants and long lasting hydration for the lips and you have the perfect product for right now as I head into Winter. And because it’s Nars, Pure Sheer SPF Lip Treatment is available in six deliciously sexy and subtle tints – Aurore (seashell pink), Greta (mauve), Paloma (cantaloupe), Lara (pastel pink) Angélique (strawberry) and Bianca (pearl). Wear it alone or paired with your favorite lippy. Gorgeous stuff, and available right now at Mecca Cosmetica (my home away from home).

Friday, April 23, 2010

My good friend Barbie keeps it chic, and looks all the more fabulous for it...

When I was a wee girl I was a Barbie freak, despite the fact that I could never possibly ever look like one. She was a great friend however, and we spent many a lazy afternoon just hanging in my room trying on outfits. Many, many years on I have been lucky enough to be sent one of the new collector’s edition Barbies, from the Barbie Basics collection. Barbie Basics is apparently all about “permission to play” (like I ever needed one) and each doll is stylishly togged out in the fashion staple most commonly known as the Little Black Dress. The idea is to break her out of the box and customize her style to make her your own, and the twelve gals in the collection each represent a unique hair style, facial type and skin tone, which is pretty cool. Each doll also sports some seriously gorgeous make up (permanent, of course), which easily translates into “real” life. M.A.C did a collaboration with the slender minx a few years ago in an explosion of pink and lilac that generated some simply fabulous campaign images, but the ladies in this collection are far more subtle and ever so elegant. One sports a red lip worthy of M.A.C’s Russian Red (a favourite matte of mine), whilst another could be rocking the gel eyeliner in Cobalt Clutch from Stila’s own Barbie collection. All have serious lashes going on – I’m thinking Smashbox’s DNA mascara is at work – and one has a pink lip that could be Super from Chanel’s latest Rouge Allure Le Pop-Up collection. At any rate, my good friend Barbie is still looking hot after all these years, and deserves a big round of applause for keeping things chic. Love you, Barbie!

Daily delight: Leighton Denny's super sexy Undercurrent

As Winter begins to rear its woolly head over this side of the planet I've taken my pedicure (courtesy of the fab Lissy Hunter) a little darker, but still with a hint of the hottest colour on the block right now, green. My polish of choice is UK nail legend Leighton Denny's Undercurrent, which is a deep, mossy green-black that would look equally as great on tanned or pale toes. It's green but not as we know it. Denny likes to call this luxurious shade a 'vert noir', as in a modern twist on the classic 'rouge noir.' Totally sophisticated and elegant, Undercurrent is pure style. gets darker the more you layer it up, so if you want to go black you're only one coat away. A layer of super shiny top coat softens the look if you're in a lighter mood, or paint on a mattifying one if you want to take things a little more haute. I haven't tried it o my hands just yet, but so far I love it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Daily delight: Elizabeth Arden’s INTERVENE Skin Tone Perfecting Capsules

As we get older our skin tone gets gradually more and more uneven, which can be the result of everything from accumulated sun damage to the pill and more. Topical applications of Vitamin C have been named as one of the best ways to help restore the skin to a semblance of its former glory, but I’ve found that a lot of products containing the wonder vitamin are in formulas that don’t agree with my skin. Some are oily and thick, whilst others are almost drying and a little flaky. Elizabeth Arden have come to the rescue however, with their all new, all pure INTERVENE Skin Tone Perfecting Capsules. These little beauties deliver a single dose of radiance-boosting pure Vitamin C while you catch up on your beauty sleep. Each pure Vitamin C packed preservative-free capsule works overnight, targeting signs of stress and sun damage and helping to reverse the look of their visible effects. The end result is that age spots are softened in appearance, discoloration is visually diminished, and even the dark traces left by acne scars seem less noticeable. Now THAT is what I call a nightcap!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

In love with Tatcha aburatorigami papers

One of the most unique and beautiful products to have crossed my desk in a while is a pack of gold-flecked, handmade blotting papers that goes by the name Tatcha aburatorigami. The creation of new mum Vicky Tsai and handmade in Japan, they epitomise the kind of affordable luxury that every woman I know just crushes over, and are incredibly efficient at doing their job, too. If like me you’re a fan of matte finish foundations they are a godsend, as so many powders – however light – can soon take you into cakey territory. The papers are made from the finest grade of abaca leaf - prized for strength, absorbency and softness – and each 9.5cm square paper is the ideal size to freshen your whole face, so you only need to use one to do the job. The unique plant-like texture is what gives these papers their superior strength and oil absorbency without disturbing makeup or stealing essential moisture from skin. The all-natural papers are also fragrance-free, powder and oil-free, biodegradable and use no animal testing.
And last but not least, they have an absolutely gorgeous backstory. Legend tells that the geisha -renowned throughout Japan for their exquisite complexions - discovered a special handmade paper (aburatorigami) used by gold artisans in Imperial Japan. The paper was used to protect the metal as they hammered it into decorative gold leaf, and the geisha found it was also ideal for removing excess oil from delicate skin.
Women with oily and combination skin like me can use them throughout the day to keep their skin geisha fresh, while those with dry or more mature skin use them as a powder alternative, allowing the skin’s natural glow to shine through.
And where can you buy them? Tatcha aburatorigami are available in NZ and Australia exclusively at Mecca Cosmetica, so get in there and grab a pack for your handbag ASAP.

Daily delight: Pene's Vogue Paris May 2010

The French issue of Vogue is - and always will be - one of my favourite magazines. Being able to read it is a bonus, but each month I just go crazy over the beautiful imagery inside, controversial or not. They have just released a sneak preview of the May issue's multiple covers, presided over by Guest Editor Penelope Cruz. Some are better than others, but this has to be my absolute favourite. Fierce women of all ages with incredible hair and make up, many of them looking the best they have in years. Killer.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bettjeman's takes hair diagnosis one step further, thanks to Kérastase

It took a scientifically advanced hair care giant like Kérastase to introduce the world’s most professional approach to hair diagnosis, which comes in the form of a revolutionary new camera. Known as the Mobile Diag2, it makes it easier for everyone to maintain optimum scalp and hair health by assisting salon professionals in hair diagnosis, letting them prescribe the optimum In-Salon Ritual and homecare programme. I popped into Orakei’s Bettjeman’s salon to have a look at the camera at work, wielded by their hair spa specialist, Willie Pangemanan. I’d seen Willie before for an hour-long moment of bliss a couple of years ago (complete with a Japanese Tea Ceremony), but this time we were talking business, not just how relaxed I was!
Willie starts by explaining that the camera “helps us to get it right when we’re prescribing the correct take home regime for your hair, and to choose which hair rituals you might need when you come into the spa”. He takes two pictures of my scalp – of the top and the nape – and two of the hair, including one of my many years old, rather damaged ends. The first thing that shows up is the keratin clinging to my hair following the Keratin Smoothing Treatment I’d had several weeks before at Stephen Marr, which has also contributed to my surprisingly healthy ends. He spots a little irritation on my scalp at the nape, which he says could be due to the change in season or even stress (had a bit of that lately, I must admit). Healthy scalps normally shed skin every 30 to 40 days and then renew themselves. The Mobile Diag2 camera magnifies the hair and the scalp so a detailed examination is possible to ensure the skin is as it should be. This complimentary service is a crucial aid in assisting Kérastase stylists to comprehensively diagnose exactly what clients’ hair needs are, and to avoid hit and miss solutions. Willie ends by giving me a detailed Kérastase prescription for a healthy scalp and nourished ends, which I’ll use the next time I need to purchase shampoo and conditioner, or am lucky enough to pop back into the glorious Bettjeman’s spa. I recommend it!

New season, new skincare: I try Kiehl's

Last week I was lucky enough to visit my fabulous beauty therapist, Lissy Hunter, and over a pedicure we talked about my skin, and the changes that a new season brings. I’ve noticed that my skin has been drier than usual – often the result of stress, which I’ve had a bit of lately– much like the weather. She recommended that I challenge it a little to kick things back into action, and the best way to do this is by cracking into a new beauty routine. So, I thought immediately of the jar of Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream which has been sitting pretty on my desk for a few weeks’ now. Originally product tested in Greenland (!), it has Antarcticine as its primary ingredient. Sourced from Antarctica, this is a glycoprotein that has demonstrated a multitude of unique benefits when used in skincare formulas. With superb protection against dryness, Antarcticine helps hydrate skin and provides it with a noticeably smoother appearance while shielding skin from the damaging effects of free radicals. It further helps to protect skin from extremely cold temperatures, facilitating skin’s retention of natural water reserves. The organic substance thrives in the most extreme environmental conditions as a result of the cryoprotective (protection against freezing) properties of the molecule. In layman’s terms, it’s great for protecting your skin from the harshness that could be happening when you leave the house. I’ve boosted it by applying a layer of their High-Potency Skin-Firming Concentrate underneath to combat the early signs of ageing, and so far I like what I see. My skin feels hydrated but not oily, and it’s a super simple regime to apply when you’re a busy person like me and don’t have quite as much time for pampering as you used to. Good stuff.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Daily delight: Karen Murrell's delicious Nature's Essence body scrub

I’ve been hearing about it for a long while now – usually in “raving fan” type tones – but I’ve only just got my grubby little mitts on the new range by Karen Murrell. Free from nasties, her products also tick all of the boxes when it comes to ethical, sustainable business practices too, but do they live up to the hype? Well in my humble opinion the bodycare products certainly do, and my favourite so far is Nature's Essence. KM skincare products for the body protect, nourish and hydrate all at the same time, and this exfoliating body scrub removes dry and damaged skin while providing instant hydration. Thus, it’s essentially a two-in-one product: as the salt exfoliates, the oats soften the skin and prepare it for rich tamanu oil and other powerful moisturising properties. It’s also got a rather exotic natural fragrance that is great for people with fragrance intolerances, and the packaging isn’t too shabby, either. Like it!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Crafting beauty: Greg Murrell & Zambesi

As well as being a bloody great guy, Ryder salon owner Greg Murrell is one hell of a talented hair stylist both in the salon, behind the scenes and on the runway. He has had a long-standing role as one of the key creatives in the collaborative process that goes into producing the runway shows and campaigns for my favourite local label Zambesi for many years now, so I sat him down and chatted about working with such an iconic name.

How long have you been working with Zambesi now?
The collaboration has been going for 13 years now. In that time i have been the hair director for all of their fashion week shows in Auckland, London and Sydney, their advertising campaigns and the many other events that they have been involved in.

Can you remember what the first ever hair brief you received was?
The first thing that I ever did for them was a show for their customers in their Vulcan Lane store. The look had a number of small plaits that we then wrapped around the head. I remember being very nervous but the hair ended up looking great!

Is there one aesthetic that has remained constant over that time?
Liz (Findlay, Zambesi co-founder and designer) definitely likes to have an element of long hair around the neck. That has been fairly constant. She also likes height at the crown. We have probably explored many ways of fitting both of those elements into the look. One thing I love about working with Liz is that she is not interested in hair that is "on-trend". As soon as something becomes too fashionable or obvious she will want to head in the opposite direction. Quite often we have gone for a look that is almost opposite to the aesthetic of the previous season.

Do you think of a particular muse or reference when creating hair for Zambesi?
Well I think that the Zambesi woman is adventurous, individual, free-spirited and has an intellectual approach to fashion. The hair has never been street hair. There is usually a language involved with the hair, which helps to animate the collection. There is a merging of fashion, art and rock and roll culture that seems to suggest new ways of looking at ourselves. With some of the shows there has definitely been a particular muse in mind such as RAFW Spring/Summer 07 where we were channeling Liz's Greek heritage and the model's had wet hair like they had just come out of the water in the Greek Islands. They then smashed plates at the end of the show.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Daily delight: Smashbox's new Lip Tech

I’ve never been great at wearing gloss – the stickiness factor doesn’t mesh well with my long locks – but love a lip stain. Most lip stains are a little drying however, and are best kept for night time looks when dim lighting helps cancel out any dryness and colour fade. Then across my desk comes Smashbox’s brand new Lip Tech, an ultramodern formula that delivers a gorgeous flush of weightless, creamy color that lasts all day long. With the longevity of a stain but with a nourishing, satin-matte feel, it is packed with Vitamin E and emollients to keep your pout pillowy as well as well covered, and it feels gorgeous to apply. The innovative, contoured silicone applicator is housed inside a mirrored compact to help you perfect your pout, and the whole kit and caboodle fits easily into a clutch or coat pocket. Magic! Oh, and it’s available in four scrumptious shades: Nude, Maple, Sangria and Peony.
* For even greater longevity, colour lips in first with a neutral shade

Daily delight: new cleansers from Chanel

Chanel are one of the few luxury goods brands whose skincare and make up receive as much applause as their runway collections, and they are constantly updating their ranges with new generation beauty products. The latest of these are two beautiful new cleansers, Eau Douceur and Mousse Confort. Both – naturally – come complete with absolutely gorgeous packaging, but what’s inside is really rather fabulous too. Mousse Confort transforms into a rich, luxurious foam when it come into contact with water, ridding the skin of its impurities and effortlessly removing all traces of make up. Unlike many other foaming-type cleansers, it leaves the skin in perfect balance, and ready for anything. Eau Douceur is a no-rinse cleansing water, which is super light in texture and perfect for sensitive skins. It’s also great for travel as you don’t need water. Yummy stuff.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Shear delight: d&m for Schwarzkopf 2010

For many years now, beauty giant Schwarzkopf Professional have held a biannual awards ceremony in Auckland, honouring the best in the business when it comes to fabulous hair. This year however, the awards have joined forces with Sydney's Hair Expo Awards, and New Zealand entrants were forced to compete against their Australian counterparts for places in the finals, which is no mean feat. The only New Zealand salon to be selected in the final four for the prestigious 2010 Schwarzkopf Professional Hair Expo Salon Team of the Year award was boutique Ponsonby salon d&m hair design, who have been quiet achievers in the industry since they opened just over three years ago. The salon dominated the biannual event held in Auckland in 2008, winning Salon Team of the Year, Hairdresser of the Year, Northern Hairdresser of the Year, Best Photographer, and Best Makeup. This year is the first year that New Zealanders have had to stand up not just against each other, but also the hyper-competitive Australian industry.
As part of the entry process, the d&m salon team - which consisted of Pato, co-owner Michael Sisaengrath and star colourist Shannon Lee-Johnson - produced a collection of six drop-dead-gorgeous photographs to showcase their work. These images were shot by leading international fashion photographer, Craig Owen, in his fourth creative collaboration with the salon. Barry Betham styled the super sexy shoot, with the make up look created by Amy Fiebig. Danny and his team started working on some concepts for the entry almost two months ago, choosing to look to pop culture rather than runway fashion for their inspiration. In the shots you can see the influence of global music superstars such as Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Shakira and Rihanna coming through, as well as a nod to the legendary photographer Helmut Newton, who is Pato's favourite fashion photographer by far. “The brief was to pretty much do anything you liked,” explains Pato, “but had to be fashion-forward, simple and elegant”, in keeping with the ethos of the Schwarzkopf brand. Betham paired the hair looks with super clean, slightly futuristic styling that kept things “sexy but not trashy”, and the overall effect is beautiful as well as most importantly, fun. “We hoped to make the collection stand out from the other entries by doing our own thing rather than just what was happening in hair internationally,” says Pato, and it seems that judges loved their really rather fabulous, calculated risk.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Daily delight: the REMIX beauty cover

There’s nothing I love more on a magazine cover than a rollicking good, clear red lip, so I’m loving the latest issues of NO and REMIX magazines for opting to give some seriously great face. Australian M.A.C artist Rachel Montgomery was the woman responsible for the incredible beauty look on the REMIX cover (above), which she achieved using the perennial professional’s favourite Face & Body Foundation for starters, covered with a dusting of M.A.C’s pressed powder in medium. A white eye kohl – Fascinating – was used to push the model’s peepers to pop, with Gesso used around the lashes and lid and Charcoal Brown for contouring. Several coats of M.A.C’s Pro Lash Mascara in Coal Black were added to the lashes before finally, the ever-popular red known as Lady Danger was applied to the lips. Add some Clear Lipglass for a high voltage shine and you’ve got one hell of a cover look. Hot!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Daily delight: Lucy & the Powder Room's Autumn Repair Pacakge

If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere like me, then you’ll be wallowing in Autumnal goodness. The sun is still scorching hot, but the shadows have a chill and nature is really turning it on (see, above). During the Autumn months it’s important to boost the health and immunity of the skin, before we hunker down with a glass of mulled wine and a pair of UGGs for the cold Winter months. Immediately post-Summer is the perfect time to treat UV damage and help with the management of pigmentation too, and at Lucy & the Powder Room they’ve created a special Autumn Repair Package to help you tick all of the boxes. They have combined Priori’s CoffeeBerry High Potency Antioxidant Enzyme Face Treatment with time spent under the revolutionary Omnilux™ LED light therapy for maximum anti-ageing benefit, making for one powerful yet healing package. The treatment concludes with a mineral makeup application and a customised skin prescription. using a powerful infusion of the professional-only Priori CoffeeBerry. This award-winning range contains the highest level of antioxidants, has cosmeceutical anti-ageing benefits, is extremely active and completely natural. It’s a great idea to have gentle exfoliations during Autumn to breakdown dead surface skin. This will allow for better penetration of actives in preparation for more serious Winter peels. In turn, this helps to increase cell turnover and renewal of the dermis, and come Summer you’ll be bright, shiny and ready for action. Available at Lucy & the Powder Room Newmarket and The Department Store, the Autumn Repair Package is 60 minutes and an absolute steal at $95.00, so I recommend you get in there ASAP - your skin will love you for it.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Introducing... the power of nature: Intelligent Nutrients

“Because everything we put in and on our bodies must be nutritious and safe,”
–Horst Rechelbacher, Founder of Intelligent Nutrients

I’m always popping into The Department Store, and can’t go past the ground floor beauty mecca known as The Marr Lab without having a quick whirl round the shelves and a good sniff of what’s new. One of the brands that has intrigued me of late is the US’s Intelligent Nutrients, made up of a collection of products that includes certified organic aromatics, certified organic scalp and hair care, certified organic hair styling, certified organic total body cleanser, certified organic lip delivery nutrition, and the heart of the line—IntellimuneTM—an internal/external certified organic super antioxidant seed oil blend and tablets. The man behind the brand is Horst Rechelbacher, and he has a long history of creating amazing formulas that are kind to us, and also to the planet. An Austrian by birth, and son of an herbalist, Rechelbacher is an active environmentalist, innovative business leader, author, artist, and organic farmer. At age fourteen, he began a three-year apprenticeship in the beauty and salon industry. With an award-winning career as a hairstylist, in 1965, he started his own salons and product line called Horst. In 1978, he founded Aveda Corporation, the now-global plant-based cosmetic company. Nearly two decades later, he sold Aveda to Estee Lauder but remained a consultant until March 2003. Afterwards, he focused on his new product paradigm, Intelligent Nutrients, using 100 per cent food-based and organic certified ingredients.
On top of all of this, Horst has dedicated himself for the past forty years to analyzing the chemical constitution of plants, and pioneering flower and plant-based flavor-aroma-therapy, functional foods, and nutraceuticals to enhance personal health and wellbeing. In his continuing study of plant-based medicine, he collaborates with noted physicians, chemists and pharmacologists, as well as with experts and traditional healers throughout the world.
He said at the launch of his new baby, “we’ve created something that has not been done before with Intelligent Nutrients. We’ve merged food science and cosmetic chemistry to create a new paradigm in beauty. We called it Nutritional Chemistry—it’s based on using only certified organic food-derived ingredients—substances the body recognizes and readily assimilates as nutrients in the body”. At Intelligent Nutrients, each product is formulated for both performance and safety - their belief is that what we put on our bodies should be as safe and nutritious as what goes into our bodies. Rechelbacher says that it is his “personal mission to change the outdated chemistry which is used in personal care products. And rather than just talk about what’s wrong, I decided to show the industry that beauty can be done differently—responsibly and safely—without compromising performance”.
But back to my latest trip to The Department Store, where I had a good whiff of IN’s Multi-functional Aromatics range, which are the first scents to be made with certified organic food ingredients and flavours. They don't use any petrochemically derived ingredients, only the plants themselves. And - as the name suggests - they are multi-use, and can be sprayed on skin, body and hair to “attract, purify, stimulate, soothe, deodorize and refresh”, as well as to add shine and condition to any hair type. You can also add them to unfragranced massage oil, or to counteract jet lag. My favourites were the delicously musky Seductive, a blend of nutmeg, clove, vanilla and blackberry, and Innercalm, which is designed for tranquility by employing the therapeutic oils of sweet orange, white grapefruit and mandarin. Too good

Daily delight: perfect polish removing, courtesy of super nail brand, essie

I must confess that I’ve always been a bit rubbish when it comes to giving myself a half decent manicure – I’m obsessive when it comes to applying cuticle oils and hand creams with high SPF, but the polish step is one I’ll often ignore just because it takes so damn long. So…. anything that makes a manicure that much quicker is a winner in my book, and I’ve just discovered one of the best product duos yet. Part of the naturally clean by essie range - a complete, paraben-free nail care system that gently cleanses, hydrates and provides antioxidant protection for manicures and pedicures – the essie purifying nail polish remover with nourishing botanicals is an absolute winner. A professional salon strength formula that cleanses and removes even the darkest shades without stripping the nail bed of essential hydration, it even smells yummy, which must be a first for polish removers everywhere. Infused with natural vitamins, antioxidants, glycerin and eucalyptus oil to promote beautiful, healthy natural nails, it can also be used to soak off artificial nails in the most gentle way possible. Add to this fab product the nail pads by the same brand, and you won’t know what hit you. The ultimate cotton substitute, they are highly absorbent and lint free, as well as proving to be incredibly economical with product – one pad removes polish from an astonishing ten nails! Here in New Zealand they retail at $25.00 for 150 pads, which when you do the math works out a much better deal than the cheaper supermarket versions which often require one per nail if you’re rocking a rich, dark shade.

Morning glory: Tara Lynn goes nude for Elle

It seems like everyone’s talking about the April issue of French Elle – forever to be known as its Spécial Rondes – which was always bound to draw a truckload of attention due to its inclusion of plus-size supermodels. It features absolutely delicious US model Tara Lynn on the cover, and in a roughly twenty-page spread inside the magazine. It was the sheer gorgeousness of Lynn’s skin and hair that caught my eye though, as well as her finely contoured, nude make up look and on trend, ever-so-metallic, cocoa coloured nail polish. Her face is virtually flawless, and expert foundation application and a peachy blush have been used to highlight rather than smother her natural beauty. Her hair is about as luscious as it gets too, and once again, left to do its thing with just the bare minimum or intervention. Elle may have gone the plus-size route for any number of reasons, but still stay true to being uniquely Elle and featuring just gorgeous women, fashion and beauty. Love it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Discovering the magical Pot of Gold - priceless!

For someone that is somewhat of a beauty fiend, I’m surprisingly low maintenance when it comes to my daily routine and I like it that way. I use a single oil on my face twice a day - sometimes throwing an eye cream into the mix – and usually let my hair dry naturally, sans dryer or irons. This means I love a multi use product, and the one that I’m gagging to give a try right now is locally produced “first aid kit in a jar”, Pot of Gold. For more than 100 years this wonder balm has been used to treat everything from eczema and sun burn to cracked heels and cold sores, and is pleasantly free of many of the usual “nasties” used to treat the aforementioned afflications. It is made up of a specially blended combination of 100 per cent natural ingredients, including organic beeswax and guilt-free organic Colombian palm oil, which have been shown to increases skin’s essential moisture while offering both anti-inflammatory and protective properties to help speed healing and recovery. It is a proudly New Zealand made, all natural product that is free from harmful ingredients, including synthetic preservatives, parabens, petroleum and topical steroids, so you can feel confident using Pot of Gold skin balm on every member of the family, from newborns to grown-ups and even the family pup. I'm seeing it as a handbag must have, on hand for dry hands and chapped lips this Winter, especially. There is also a Pot of Gold baby balm on offer that helps heal the likes of nappy rash, cradle cap and infant eczema, so I’ll be adding some of this to my little guy Wolf’s arsenal as well. Pot of Gold products are also cloth nappy friendly – they use only vegetable based ingredients, which won’t clog or interfere with washable nappies. Magic!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Daily delight: a lazy Sunday at Jasmine Spa

An oft neglected body part, our feet give us a lot of support without much love in return. Summer sees them treated a little more kindly as they are on display rather a lot more, but come Winter and they seem to disappear, forgotten under a thick layer of socks, stockings and the odd UGG or two. This Winter I advocate a little more attention paid to the humble tootsie, and promise you’ll feel all the better for it. When we think about treating our feet a pedicure is usually top of mind, and one of the most blissful can be found at Blake Street’s Jasmine Nail & Wax Spa. A branch of Tamara Spa, Jasmine is devoted to nails, waxing and eyelash extensions, whereas its serene sister is the place for facials and massage with an Ayurvedic bent. That isn't to say that a trip to Jasmine isn't relaxing, especially when you book in for a Luxury Pedicure, which includes a foot and massage with rose oil that gently jolts your body back to life. My therapist Arshana is an absolute magician, soaking my feet in a mix of milk, honey and rose crystals topped with rose petals, before giving them a scrub with sea salt and natural butters. Next up was the aforementioned massage, before cuticle work and polish using US brand Zoya. One of the industry's few truly non-toxic brands, Zoya polishes are free of Toluene, Formaldehyde and DBP chemicals that are known carcinogens. It's is the safe polish for pregnant mums and smart women worldwide, and the range of colours is pretty gorgeous, too. Popular Winter shades include deep reds, browns and blues, with green also entering the fray for 2010. Jasmine and Tamara Spa owner Neelu says that their pedicures are a favourite with regulars, “especially during Summer when people are spending all of their time jandals and sandals”, although in Winter people pop in to tidy their feet up before they travel, especially if they have been bundled up in socks and stockings. You can also book in purely for a foot massage – known as Pada Mardana - which they call a “royal extravagance for weary feet”. I recommend going in on a Sunday - they are one of the few spas open - as the spa is often quieter and incredibly serene.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Are you ready to age-proof your hair?

Every day, women all around the world spend the equivalent of the GDP of a small nation on skincare products designed to fight the ravages of time, but give little thought to how their hair is faring. Sure it’s one more damn thing to worry about, but if you’re spending serious time and coin on your face then why not give your locks a little love? Hair that looks brittle and lifeless can be a sign that it is starting to age, and the good people at Wella have come up with a solution that will have it back to being an actual “crowning glory” before you know it. Maybe not as glorious as this picture of an Eighties-era Cindy C., but damn near close to it. Called Biotouch Resist, it is the first professional hair care range to address the need for age-prevention for your hair, helping to resist the effects of ageing by boosting its natural resilience. The super luxurious range of shampoo, liquid foam emulsion and serum contains an active complex with Creatine and Phytoproteins to strengthen the resilience of hair from within and reinforce hair’s natural protective layer. The range also includes ingredient du jour Rooibos extract, known for its health boosting and anti-ageing properties. As a combo, Resist strengthens the hair’s protective layer, helping to resist the effects of time – leaving hair strong and youthful. Here’s a little about each of its elements:
Biotouch Resist Shampoo
The shampoo incorporates new primer technology into its luxurious formula and preps the hair’s uneven surface, mending it in preparation for the shielding and strengthening aspects of the emulsion and serum.
Biotouch Resist Liquid Foam Emulsion
A luxurious leave in conditioner which contains ingredients designed to strengthen each hair fibre and protection complexes, including Rooibos and Creatine, to reinforce the hair’s natural protective layer.
Biotouch Resist Serum
The intensive treatment helps defend ongoing stressed out hair and is fortified with a special strengthening complex. This complex includes extracts of Rooibos, which have been long associated with health boosting and anti-ageing properties. The serum also contains Phytoproteins and Creatin to help boost the hairs resilience and ability to fight time.
So there you have it, and none of them are too pricey either – unlike your average wrinkle busting skin serum. Get to it – your hair will love you for it.