Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The skinny on big hair with Stephen Marr's Lauren Gunn, Wella and Sebastian

I just spent a lunch hour or two at a presentation by hair giants Sebastian and Wella to unleash upon the waiting public their latest take on hair trends – in cut and colour – for 2010 and beyond. My favourite part was a segment with statuesque beauty Lauren Gunn (pictured), who leads the creative teams at well-known and much loved Auckland salon Stephen Marr. The salon is known for its close, long term relationships with some of New Zealand’s brightest design names, and they are a firm favourite with the media darlings as well. Lauren’s “modern nomad” look was a winner on the day with all who were present (as was Dan Ahwa's styling), and she was full of unique insights into what is happening with hair NOW.
When I stopped her and asked her a while later if there are any hair looks filtering down from the international catwalks that she thinks will be popping up on the streets and in fashion editorial she told me “silhouettes are bigger, full stop”. There will be a lot of texture – some a little sleepy and lo-fi – but there will be a proliferation of “sophisticated shapes as opposed to the looser shapes we’ve seen in the past few years”. She says that she loves the juxtaposition of “luxury and simplicity” that is appearing in hair trends, which can still work in well with the more natural, lived in feel that New Zealanders want with their hair.
She says that last year saw many stylists turning back to gel as a product option, as well as mousse to help volume come through. “Previously we’d been using a lot of beachy type sprays for a look that naturally fell to the head,” she explains, “whereas now we’re going a little bigger and more defined”. She loves the idea of working with contradictory elements like volume and sleekness and hard and soft textures, “but always keeping things really feminine”. This can take the form of beehives, bouffants and chignons, as well as braids but not as a key element of the look as per the done-to-death side sweeps that we’ve seen everywhere over the past few months. The top knot that has been seen everywhere for the last few months is also thankfully being shown the door, it’s a look that favours few but is just too easy to use as a default do when time is tight.
Lauren says that she loves the fact that consumers nowadays have such great access to previously salon-only tools now to recreate the looks they see in magazines at home, “and access to the products that previously only we could get our hands on, which they love. More people are spending a decent amount of time styling their hair than ever before, and I love the effort that they’re putting in to look great”. She says that on a professional level, she thinks that New Zealand has some of the best salon stylists in the world, and we’re really good at passing on our skills to our clients”. In terms of colour, the hottest trends right now are “de-saturated blondes that I call ‘Kool Aid blondes’, as well as watercolours like lilac and violet washed over brunettes. At the opposite end of the spectrum, really block whites, fiery reds and blacks are huge, no compromise.”
Some of the products in her kit that have been doing serious overtime lately are pomades “for that sticky, wet look”, mousses for a volume-packed yet still pliable blow dry and dry shampoos like the legendary one by Batiste that has seen a resurgence in popularity over the past few months. And the one product she’ll have permanently stuck in her back pocket this year? “It would be a tie between Wella Super Mousse and Sebastian Gel Forte,” she says, “and I’ve moved away from serums and towards shine sprays which don’t weigh the volume down.”

Monday, June 28, 2010

Daily delight: Shellac goodness by Mardi Smith at The Nail Studio

I’ve never been one for manicures, being too damn fussy (one chip and it all has to go) and generally low maintenance (my nails are as short as they come) to be bothered with the fuss, and the expense.
Anyone who has read my blog will know that I absolutely fell in love with CND’s Shellac manicures however, the visionary new gel-polish-hybrid product that was created to be easy on and easy off, with zero mucking about in between. Shellac applies like polish, and removal is just 10-15 minutes with no filing and no drills. It is also UV cured, so there’s zero dry time and no chance of that hand going into your wallet and little too quickly and ruining the whole thing. It’s thin and flexible like polish, so it not only looks natural but provides strong natural protection and lasts a full 14 days of high shine gorgeousness. Since I starting rocking a full set of Fedora, super noir nails on a full time basis I’ve had no end of compliments about them, and part of that is due to the application skills of The Nail Studio’s Mardi Smith, who is a veritable artist when it comes to nails and damn good company, to boot. A Shellac removal with her also includes a quick mini mani too, so you know that whether you leave with polish or not, your nails are going to look great. I have been asked for this woman’s details too many times to remember, so it is with some fanfare that I’d like to let everyone know that her website has finally gone live! I recommend that you race over and check out her credentials online ASAP, oh… and get booking!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jo Malone Lotus Blossom & Water Lily, did I tell you lately thatI love you?

One of my favourite fragrances by Jo Malone is Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, which is one half of their Kohdo Wood collection. Heady, warm and reminiscent of the best incense one can imagine, it’s a great fragrance option when the weather is at its coolest, deliciously smoky and a bit sexy, really. Recently however, I’ve been filling my nostrils with the lighter half of the Kohdo collection as a candle, the vibrant and fresh Lotus Blossom & Water Lily. Apparently designed to “awaken the senses and energise the soul”, it’s a yummy blend of mandarin, sacred lotus blossom, bamboo and aloeswood, which in the East is thought to balance the mind and body. It also has Temple incense as a base note, meaning that headiness that I love is still there under the lighter, citrusy top notes. Apparently the cologne in this half of the collection works brilliantly when combined with Dark Amber & Ginger Lily in true Jo Malone fashion, so that could be my next stop on the journey to finding my favourite fragrance this Winter. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Smashbox helps you take the good times on the road!

The trend for a defined, well shaped brow waxes and wanes, but in my opinion, it’s one of the strongest assets a woman can have in her beauty bag of tricks. It’s there for your when you really can’t be arsed with a full face of slap but still want to look polished, and it has helped me look relatively fresh - when I’d rather be back under the duvet – more times than I can remember. It’s a task that requires tools however, which makes it easy to neglect when you’re on the run or en vacances. Now, thanks to those kind make up fairies at Smashbox Studios, the LA-based brand has revealed the key to perfectly polished brows on the go. It’s their iconic Brow Tech, but now in a portable, travel-friendly version. Called Brow Tech to Go, the double-ended component includes an angled long wearing waterproof pencil for precise filling and defining and a soft hold gel with a brow brush applicator to groom brows perfectly into place. Add to that vitamin C & E and jojoba for extra healthy-skin benefits and you’ve got one hell of a great little product, and one that will hardly make a dent in your handbag. 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Daily delight: meet Dermalogica’s Precleanse

Today I experienced one hell of a great facial, courtesy of the really rather brilliant Jessica at Dermalogica in Albany. I’ve used selected products by the highly respected brand over the years, but never had a full Dermalogica experience, nor a detailed prescription written for my skin. I got both and then some, leaving with the best skin I’ve had in years – and that’s from someone who usually leaves even the most gentle of facials with a complexion akin to a fire engine. I parted ways with the more than capable hands of Jessica with clear, plump, baby soft skin, and long may it last! The product she used on me that I really fell in love with (there’s always one, oh dear credit card) was the first one she cracked open – the very user friendly Precleanse. A plant based cleansing oil that gently liquefies sebum (oil) and other oil-based debris from the skin’s surface, it is designed to give you a professional clean each night before your usual regime, and a very gentle one at that. I’m a huge fan of cleansing oils to keep skin’s natural ph in balance, and have used a fair few in my time. This one goes a step further than most though, as by adding water, the product and any other oil-based debris is readily rinsed away without leaving behind any greasy residue. First up, dispense into dry hands. Massage over dry face and eyes to dissolve surface oil and dirt, concentrating on areas of congestion or stubborn debris. Wet hands and continue massaging to create a light, milky emulsion. Rinse with lukewarm water. Next use your usual favourite cleanser for its own unique properties, without having to worry about any grubby old make up or sunscreen hanging around and interfering while it does its stuff. Magic! If you wear make up then this is a must for you, for a proper, gentle but deep down clean.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Daily delight: Megan Fox for Interview mag

Too gorgeous... the shiny geometric black bob, the perfect red lip, the porcelain skin. Who would have guessed that Megan Fox could work it both sexy and classic? Bye bye bombshell... hello a whole different kind of fox.
Hair: Eugene Souleiman for Wella Professionals/Streeters
Make up: Mark Carasquillo/Art + Commerce

Introducing: Redken's new Fantastic Four

Taking inspiration from the runway and transforming it to the ‘real way’ is the pretext behind Redken’s latest hair styling foursome, all of which give you a hand at home to create one hell of a do’ when you’re in the mood. A texturising Matte Sponge and curl-defining Vinyl Twist have been added to Velvet Gelatine cushioning gel and Woolshake gel-shake texturiser to complete the styling arsenal, each with a very different job to do. My favourite is Velvet Gelatine, which has been lauded as a “must have” by those in the know. A cushioning blow dry gel that is applied to damp hair, it gives extra body and bounce as well as a salon-style high shine finish. Love that! Smells delicious too, with a citrus scent that will certainly help you face the day with a smile on your face.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Daily delight: Sanctuary Day Spa at Mollie's

Many were disappointed when East Day Spa moved out of its small-but-perfectly-formed space at Mollie’s Boutique Hotel last year, myself included. It was the perfect venue for a spa – serene, inviting and blissfully surrounded by ample free parking! Thankfully, Mollie’s have come to the rescue with their own Sanctuary Day Spa now open in the same beautiful space, offering an impressive range of treatments with that little bit extra that makes a spa one you want to return to again and again. The menu includes the likes of Dermalogica facials, several types of massage, spray tanning and manicures and pedicures, with each treatment followed by some quiet time indulging in homemade treats, fresh fruit and a glass of champagne. They also offer spa packages that include dinner and a night in one of their exquisite rooms, for those who are so blessed out that they really can’t bear to leave. And for an indulgent afternoon with a friend it doesn’t get much better than the two-hour Spa Lunch package, which begins with a 30-minute massage, mini facial, mini manicure and pedicure, followed by a two course lunch and a glass of wine in their restaurant. Looking out on to their perfectly manicured gardens you can’t help but feel that this spot really is an ideal urban escape, so don’t delay… get booking!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Daily delight: Elixxir’s Resurface mask to the rescue

It’s that time of the year when most people’s skins are freaking out a little due to seasonal changes, with congestion often rearing its ugly head. I’m not a fan of the likes of scrubs on my skin, but a regular gentle exfoliation is often just what the doctor ordered. In my case, the doctor I’ve been listening to lately is Michael Miroshnik, the Sydney-based plastic and cosmetic surgeon who is also the brains behind Elixxir. I’ve just begun a twice-weekly application of the brand’s Resurface mask, which lightly exfoliates while smoothing and firming tired skin. It has in its ingredient list the likes of L-Lactic acid, Niacinamide, Silk Protein and Cranberry extract, which work together to give your skin a gentle wake up call. It’s incredibly easy to use too, just a couple of pumps applied to the skin once or twice a week seems to work for me, for around 5-10 minutes. You can gradually build up the wear time to overnight as well, depending on your skin’s ability to tolerate some of its more active ingredients. Rinse it off with warm water and then add your favourite vitamin formula or hydrator and voila! Super duper gorgeous skin. Love it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Daily delight: Sebastian's Volupt collection

Coming down the catwalks on a more than regular basis for the last few months now, it looks like seriously big hair is back - and here to stay. But this isn’t the big hair we’ve known before, but rather a softer, sexier version that feels as good as it looks. Think voluminous hair that is sumptuous and soft, rather than the usual sticky, crunchy, weighed-down locks of the not-too-distant past. A range that’s been created with this in mind is the clever new collection from Sebastian Professional, called Volupt. Traditionally, volume is achieved by causing friction on the surface of the hair, or by coating it with a hard, inflexible layer of sticky product. Both methods give hair volume but leave it lacking in that essential touchability. The Volupt Collection is all about keeping the softness, as well as amping up the volume like you wouldn’t believe. Volupt Shampoo and Volupt Conditioner form the foundation for what the hair giant calls “voluminous softness”, whilst Volupt Spray lifts the hair at the roots to give it even more volume without any of the stiffness usually associated with volumisers. Containing natural bamboo extract, Volupt Spray also has the added benefit of heat protection, which is a godsend if you’re one of those people who just can’t bear to be separated from their blow dryer, irons and tongs. Sebastian Design Team Director, Joey Scandizzo tells us: “For the perfect Volupt look, simply apply Volupt Shampoo to wet hair. Massage to activate its rich lather and then rinse thoroughly. Next, remove any excess water and distribute Volupt Conditioner through the hair, concentrating on the ends, then rinse again. On towel-dried hair, shake Volupt Spray to activate its two-phase formula and spray directly onto your hair. Leave to air-dry to enhance waves and curls or blow dry for extra body.” So whatever you do, think BIG this season, and keep it soft.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chuan Spa... once again, you complete me!

I just spent an afternoon indulging in what I think is the ideal way to ease yourself into these colder months with a smile on your face. Called Winter Spice, it is a one-hour treatment currently on offer (until August 31) at the Langham hotel’s Chuan Spa. One of the best places to be when it’s hosing down outside, I arrived early to indulge in the spa’s truly gorgeous Tri-bathing facilities, which are made up of a herbal steam room, snail shower and exhilarating ice experience to really get your blood flowing. I love doing this sort of thing prior to a massage as it helps the stress and tensions of the outside world just melt away (or perhaps, evaporate) and helps you get more than ready for your treatment when the time comes. After completing a form which Chuan use to ascertain your “element” for the day (following the protocol of Traditional Chinese Medicine), I’m told that I’m “fire”, and the essential oil blend and post-massage juice and tea are customised according to my needs. Then, let the pampering begin! First step in my Winter Spice was a warm towel foot rub followed by the application of a heated stamp of clove and mulberry leaf which is placed on specific tension areas of the back. A veritable feast for the senses, it was followed by a sublime hot stone back massage and then the aforementioned stones are placed on meridian lines (energy lines) on the front of body to realign and re-energise the body while a foot and scalp massage is performed. I left feeling slightly delirious with gratitude, and enveloped in a warm cocoon of bliss. 10 minutes in the Contemplation Room later, I was definitely not wanting to leave and return to fighting my way through a blustery Auckland day. I’ll be back… there’s still a lot of Winter left!
*All those enjoying Chuan Spa treatments will receive complimentary valet parking (subject to availability).
*The one hour Winter Spice treatment is available Monday – Friday until 31 August 2010.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Daily delight: Kevin Murphy's PROTECTION.LINE

If you’re living Down Under right now like me, you’ll be well aware of the dropping temperatures and generally crappy weather. For me this means no more letting my rather long locks dry naturally for the next few months, and my hair dryer and irons working some serious overtime. Unless you don’t mind the damage that heat does to your hair, you’ll be searching for a great protection product around about now, and for me, Kevin Murphy has come to the rescue! Using a newfound technology from an ingredient found in lanolin and then blended with no less than nine essential oils and extracts from the Australian rainforest, the super stylist has created an entire range of shampoos, leave-ins and styling aids dedicated to protecting the hair from heat. It’s simply called the Protection Line, and like all of Murphy’s products, is free of the likes of sulphates and parabens. So far I’ve been using just one product from the range, HEATED.DEFENCE Heat Protecting Volumising Spray, with some impressive results. As well as helping keep you hair super healthy when you’re frying it on an almost daily basis, it also creates sleek, gorgeous volume in line with the “bigger” hair appearing on the catwalks right now. It has in its ingredient list the likes of Hydrolyzed Silk – a high molecular weight protein that adds shine and hair surface protection – as well as a truckload of antioxidants and wheat amino acids to keep your locks looking lush. It’s the perfect choice for those that love a soft, bouncy roll brush dry, and is also great for using with heated rollers as it protects up to an incredible 428F. Next up I’m going to give STRAIGHT.DEFENCE a go – which prevents the likes of static and flyaways and keeps hair straighter for longer – and I’m expecting the same stellar results.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nu Skin and the science behind ageLOC

This week I was introduced to a high performance anti-ageing skincare range from Nu Skin, a brand that has been around for 26 years but I’d embarrassingly never heard of! Local Nu Skin expert Donna Webb was my guide, and the product range in question was ageLOC, and its rather clever Galvanic Spa partner. Working in collaboration with leading international genetic anti-ageing experts, the Nu Skin scientists identified key groups of genes in our skin that control how our skin ages. As our skin ages, the youthful activity in these genes becomes imbalanced – resulting in an aged, tired appearance. ageLOC has been created to target and rebalance these genes’ activity to behave in a more youthful way, whilst oodles of powerful anti-ageing ingredients correct and reverse the signs of ageing. Essentially, it doesn’t just fix and mask ageing, it also helps prevent it… smart stuff.
After a thorough examination of my skin with the help of a Visia machine (not for the fainthearted, let me tell you), Donna gives me the lowdown on the ageLOC Transformation Skin Care System, which is a very simple four-step daily skin care routine which delivers both corrective and preventative anti-ageing benefits to your skin. The Gentle Cleanse and Tone is a self-foaming mousse combined cleanser and toner that works to 
minimise pore size and combat the signs of ageing (as well as being a godsend for busy people), to be used morning and night. The Radiant Day Cream is a daily anti-ageing moisturiser with sunscreen that has been clinically proven to decrease pore size, diminish discolouration and pigmentation and decrease lines and wrinkles by 45 per cent over 12 weeks, whilst its evening counterpart, Transforming Night Cream, is a rich, hydrating night cream that delivers ageLOC ingredients as well as increasing cell renewal by over 85 per cent within the same time period. For an added boost add Future Serum, which contains the highest dose of the potent ageLOC ingredients and really does its stuff. The super lightweight, luxurious serum is clinically proven to increase cell renewal by 85 per cent within 5 days, and 150 per cent within 12 weeks, increase collagen production by 150 per cent over 12 weeks, reduce pigmentation and reverse the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
And if that ain’t enough for you, you can add the use of a Galvanic Spa machine (pictured above), a powerful, handheld spa system that utilises the galvanic current technology you may have experienced in your favourite spa. In just five minutes - and with a steady hand - it hydrates the skin with nourishing vitamins and antioxidants, lifts, firms and tightens the skin, micro-cleanses the skin and promotes cellular energy… amongst other incredible tasks. It retails for a cool NZD$699.00, but can also be used on the body with some amazing results if the “before and after” pics I saw are to be believed.
But I’ve probably blinded you with science a little now, so I’ll stop. If this sounds like you give your nearest Nu Skin distributor a bell – your skin will love you for it!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Get the look: Louise Roe’s understated glam

With her fair share of brains as well as beauty, TV presenter and fashion journalist Louise Roe is a woman who knows what she wants when it comes to giving good face. Currently fronting the CW’s brand new makeover show, Plain Jane, she is a new cast member of MTV’s The City as well as a regular on E! Entertainment’s red carpet. Born in the UK but based in LA, she is the face of Adidas sportswear and has featured as a guest host or judge on Britain’s Next Top Model, Project Catwalk, Style Network’s How Do I Look, 10 Things I Hate About Me, and Make Me a Supermodel.
Louise also pens a bi-monthly column for MSN News, called Front Roe, and has written for Elle, Vogue.com, In Style, Glamour and Cosmopolitan magazine, to name a few.
And if that ain’t enough for ya, she is also an honorary fellow at Southampton’s Solent University, and lectures fashion students twice a year.
Pictured here in a very recent shoot, she is sporting some seriously sexy, wearable make up courtesy of UK-based make up artist Michael Ashton, no stranger to the red carpet himself. I asked him for the low down on how to work this look at your next event of note…
* First, prep and prime skin to perfection using Armani Light Master primer through the t-zone and high planes of the face.
* Louise has a flawless complexion, so I used a minimal amount of Chanel Pro Lumiere foundation to contour and give skin the effect of cashmere perfection. Instead of powder I used a mattifying silicon gel to reduce shine where needed.
* Next highlight the under eye area using YSL touche éclat before setting with Laura Mercier brightening powder to help reflect light and give a brightness to the eye area.
* Brows are always so important to complete any make up look, so I used MAC brow set to groom the shape and then filled and extended with Givenchy brow pencil #3.
* Eye shadow is kept to a minimum for this look, with just a subtle highlight on the brow bone using MAC shadow in Shroom, followed by gentle contouring through the socket with Bobbi Brown eye paint in Ballet Pink.
* The real hero of this look is the liner and lashes! Using Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in black, start on the inner corner of the eye and increase the width of liner as you extend towards the outer corner… finishing with a flirty flick.
* To give the eyes a polished yet understated feel, place Eyelure individual lashes along the entire upper lashline before building up lash density with Dior Show-Off mascara in black top and bottom.
* To finish this look, a Haute Hollywood pout is a must! Start by filling in the lip with Chanel Passion, working from the middle of the mouth and creating the desired shaped using a lip brush. Blot off ethe xcess before tidying edges using MAC lipliner in Redd before reapplying another slick of lipstick.
And that’s it! Go to it, people…

Clever stuff: The latest from Kiehl’s Ultimate White

Much is made of cult beauty brand Kiehl’s long history in the beauty business, but they certainly haven’t been sitting on their laurels when it comes to developing some seriously innovative new product offerings, too. The latest targets those pesky under eye circles that so many of us suffer from, and goes by the rather long-winded name of Dermatologist Solutions Ultimate White Darkness Diminishing Activated Eye Treatment. Phew! Essentially, it whitens and evens skin in the delicate eye area, and when used in tandem with their Ultimate White Collection gives users a fabulously porcelain-like complexion. It has been clinically demonstrated to noticeably decrease the appearance of pigmentation clusters and sun spots for brighter, more translucent under-eye skin. The chemists at Kiehl’s developed a unique whitening treatment that contains a high concentration of Pure Vitamin C and Plum Fruit Extracts to significantly reduce the overproduction of melanin and the appearance of sun spots, then light reflecting minerals such as Mica and Titanium were added to visibly and immediately brighten. Clever stuff! It’s all super safe for the eyes as well, and is non-migrating, which is a bonus for a product of this strength. If you suffer from pigmentation and haven’t yet investigated the Ultimate White Collection, then I highly recommend that you do. All of the products in the line contain a unique blend of naturally effective, yet safe formulas that target the three key factors of hyperpigmentation, and utilize a special blend of mineral radiance builders, which deliver instant luminosity to the skin. The line is able to slow down the rate of melanin production, too, which is a godsend for sufferers.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Daily delight: experiencing the BLISS Traditional Chinese Pedicure

Those who love reflexology in Auckland will be fans of BLISS, who were the first on the block and have branches all over town. I love a trip to their beautifully decorated premises to indulge in a regular session of Chinese Traditional Reflexology
or Traditional Body Massage,
and lately I’ve also become a big fan of their rather clever Japanese Stone Spa, which is one of the best ways to keep your circulation in motion this winter. This week however, I was given the chance to try their Chinese Traditional Pedicure, which was really quite impressive. Unlike the usual sweet smelling scrub and polish that most of us are used to, it’s really rather clinical, and all the better for it. From the time the gentleman entered the room I was ensconced in and began work on my feet with a scalpel, I knew that he meant business. My tootsies were softened up with a five-minute foot spa beforehand, but he still managed to remove a hell of a lot more dead skin that a cursory once over with an exfoliant ever would. My toenails were then trimmed and I was out the door in under half an hour. Called the “Paradise” version at this length, the pedicure is also offered under the moniker of “Nirvana” for a 50 minute long session. Sure I didn’t leave with a coat of polish and there was none of the frippery involved with the usual visit to a spa, but my feet really did look and feel amazing. Somewhere between a spa pedicure and a trip to a podiatrist, I totally recommend the BLISS pedicure for achieving what few spa pedicures ever could: brand spanking new, ultra smooth feet. I think a regular visit may be in order.

Friday, June 4, 2010

You need this: Karen Murrell's moisture.stick

You’ll all heard me rave about local girl-done-good Karen Murrell’s new range of certified organic skincare and natural lipsticks, which those in the know are going really quite bonkers over. I’ve been hard at work finding my own personal favourites in the truly delicious range, and my latest comes in the form of a seemingly rather humble lip balm. Called simply moisture.stick, it is a natural lip balm treatment conditioner that is pure hydration in a stick. This is the goodie we all need in our pockets or handbags as the temperatures drop, as it’s an absolute essential for keeping your lips looking great throughout the Winter.
Great to use overnight as an intense lip treatment, you can also apply it over lipstick as a lip-gloss and lip plumper. It also works a treat on unruly eyebrows, and I’ve been known to slick it onto my cuticles at times, too. It works by creating a protection barrier against harsh weather -hot or cold – by drawing on the properties of a unique set of ingredients. Candelilla, carnauba and beeswax combine to provide structure and adhesion, whilst jojoba gives a moisture hit and an emollient feel. The gloss comes from castor oil and avocado, evening primrose and calendula oil blend to deeply moisturise and condition. I love this little stick of goodness and can’t recommend it enough. Oh, and it looks cute, too!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Daily delight: my very first INOA experience

A while ago I wrote a piece after attending the launch of INOA, the biggest and brightest buzz in the hair industry right now. In case you didn’t read it, INOA - which stands for innovation, no ammonia – is L’Oréal Professionnel’s new generation hair colour that ushers in a new era for professional stylists and their clients, superseding major formulation principles. Calling itself the iPhone to many other formulations’ clunky old Motorola, INOA gives both clients and hair stylists an odour-free colour experience with what they call “optimal respect” for the hair, while delivering an amazing 100 per cent coverage on white hair. And because of its optimal scalp comfort, INOA is suitable for even the most sensitive scalps.
Yesterday it was my turn to experience INOA first hand, and in the care of Hayley Pullyn, Creative Director of Servilles in Mission Bay. All Servilles salons are now INOA only, such is their faith in the product. Hayley tells me that an INOA colour is slightly pricier than the norm, but the teams at Servilles - a much-loved New Zealand hair legend - believe people will pay extra as the results really are incredible. So far this is definitely proving true, with some great feedback from their clients coming through already.
She sits me down and explains the science behind INOA, and why it’s a godsend for both colourists and clients alike. In a nutshell, INOA hair colour is the first permanent hair colour with three distinct parts: The Oleo Gel, formulated on the basis of oil, contains a dermo-protective active; the Colourant Gel contains the alkaline agent that replaces ammonia and the Rich Cream Developer which acts at the heart of the hair fibre to protect it as well as erasing surface irregularities giving the hair an exceptional feel. The formulation has the appearance of a velvety face cream in a dense, rich and odourless colour mixture that is whipped up before your eyes. For professionals, INOA provides incredible comfort and ease of use together with an infinite number of true-to-tone, predictable shades. It is faster to apply from roots to ends and provides deep, radiant and shiny colour for smooth hair with bounce and texture. INOA’s ammonia-free, odour-less formula allows you to lighten hair up to three levels, darken hair and perfectly cover white hair with exceptionally even coverage from root to tip. Fifty true-to-reflect shades are available in pre-dosed mini-tubes, and Hayley used several to achieve the rather clever look I leave with. In her words she “got creative” on my colour, using a variety of techniques to showcase what could be done with INOA. I saw balayage happening, a base colour applied throughout and highlights added to bring a little interest to the mix. I must say I still had a little tingling on my scalp, but it wasn't a problem and went immediately after the colour was washed off.
And the end result? A very natural dark blonde with a sparkle of colour happening here and there that feels absolutely amazing. Keep this up INOA, you are most definitely living up to the hype!