Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Daily delight: Elle Macpherson for LOVE mag

Embrace the Breast Cancer cause with Venus

It’s a cause that – sadly - will touch almost every one of us at some point in our lives – and with one in nine New Zealand women diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, it’s not a cause we can afford to ignore. One of the easiest ways to get closer to the cause and do your bit is by buying one of the many beauty products that have aligned themselves with the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation (NZBCF), the latest of which is Gillette Venus’ popular Embrace razor. This very effective little number will now also be available in pink to help Kiwi women support this important cause, and an on- pack donation of 50c from every razor sold will be donated to the NZBCF between October 1 and mid November. The special edition pink Venus Embrace will include a ‘breast awareness booklet’, educating Kiwi women on how to be breast aware and to help set proactive breast checking habits for life. By providing the right tools, Venus and NZBCF hope to encourage women to check their breasts for abnormalities, as regularly as they change their razor blade. Too easy, and so essential.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer’s coming, and how I love St Tropez!

I have to confess that despite being an ardent lover of a well-executed fake bake, I’m an absolute shocker when it comes to applying them myself. I stick to professional applications if I’m feeling flush, or using a good gradual tanner if I’m going to take the DIY approach. A great sprayer and blender I’m not. Lucky for me then that those clever people at St Tropez have decided to unleash a collection of Wash Off products on a very excited public, and these products I think even I can master. The offering is made up of an Instant Glow Body Lotion, Instant Glow Mousse and Instant Glow Face Lotion, all of which can be washed off when you choose. They give the same natural looking golden colour that we St Tropez users know so well, but in an awesome, short-term removable formula. My pick has to be the Mousse, which is blended with a caramel tint so you know where you’ve been, and is super easily absorbed by any skin type. Always remember to wash your palms straight after application though, to avoid that telltale ‘tanner’s palm’, and prep skin well before use for a super even colour all over. For the latter I highly recommend a couple of days spent lathering on Institut’ DERMed’s Enhancing Glycolic Body Lotion, which deeply hydrates and exfoliates your skin using a formula packed with Glycolic Acid and Apricot Kernel Oil. Prep well and in no time at all, you’ll be rocking a golden glow a la Ms. Poly here… now just to get that body, huh?

Friday, August 27, 2010

A super fresh Kate Moss for W magazine

Daily delight: Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Plump Perfect Ultra Lift and Firm Eye Cream SPF 15

Elizabeth Arden are one of the oldest and most trusted beauty names in the world, and yet also regularly pull out all of the stops to make sure that they stay one step ahead of the pack when it comes to new discoveries. Their Ceramide Plump Perfect range is one of their best sellers, and now includes a super charged little number for the eye area called Ceramide Plump Perfect Ultra Lift and Firm Eye Cream SPF 15. It’s a lightweight yet intensive eyecare formula that uses their CPT technology, Ceramide Triple Complex and EyeLiss to plump up the look of fine lines and crow’s feet as it lifts and firms the appearance of skin in the delicate eye area. It contains the likes of Hibiscus Seed Extract to help support the skin’s own natural collagen, elastin and protein network to create a firmer, more lifted look, as well ingredients to help tighten and tone the appearance of undereye skin. Add to that some pretty decent sun protection – the world’s simplest anti-ageing step - that provides full spectrum protection without irritation. Definitely one to try if you’re in the market for a serious eye cream that will get results.
Here’s what Tony Vargas, Vice President Research and Development, Elizabeth Arden, has to say about caring for the delicate eye area, and what you can do to help:
How is skin around the eye area different and why is it more prone to aging signs?
The eyes are the first place people look and the first place where aging signs start to show, so it makes sense that taking care of the skin around the eyes is a priority. Everything that challenges skin as you get older is even more true for the eye area, which is thinner, dryer and more fragile than skin elsewhere on the body. Sun and environmental exposure and a dry environment accelerate the process. You begin to see all those unwelcome aging signs: fine dryness lines, crow’s feet, sagging, puffiness, dark circles and irritation.

How does CPT technology address eye area concerns?
CPT technology is a blend of SNAP-8 and Hibiscus Seed Extract with powerful anti-aging effects. SNAP-8 is 30% more effective than argireline at plumping and relaxing the appearance of surface lines. This is especially effective on fine lines and crow’s feet around the eye area. Hibiscus Seed Extract works deep within skin’s surface layers to support the pathways leading to optimal collagen, elastin and protein levels in order to help give skin in the eye area a visibly firmer and more lifted look.

What about dark circles and puffiness?
Dark circles are caused by a leakage in the tiny capillaries within the skin, resulting in a darker look. Puffiness results from an accumulation of fluid in the fragile skin under the eyes. The CPT technology, as well as Eyeliss™ and Equistat™, all target these issues by strengthening skin’s resistance and working to promote a firmer, healthier look. Over time eyes will look brighter, as dark circles appear less noticeable, while skin under the eyes will appear smoother and younger as puffiness looks diminished and the look of firmness addressed.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Goddamn Covergirl, that’s smokin’!

The smoky eye is an old friend that shows no hint of being ditched yet, although it has changed its modus operandi of late, appearing in a multitude of hues. It always has more staying power when you add a liner to the mix, the pick being a liquid version, although many can be a little hard to master. The answer? A very clever little waterproof number I’ve just been playing with by Covergirl, called Liquiline Blast. It has all the intensity and staying power of liquid but with the ease and blendability of a pencil. It features the “Blast” smudger tip, which is specifically designed to work with the liquid pencil formula to smooth lines for absolute perfection. The Blast smudger tip has a unique, flexible, angle shape that allows you to sculpt and easily smudge the eyeliner into the lash line, which is a godsend for many. It’s also available in four shades: Black Fire, Brown Blaze, Silver Spark and Blue Boom, so you too can rock a look like Covergirl spokesmodel Drew Barrymore here. Oh and the best bit? It retails for just $17.99!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hallelujah, East Day Spa looks after the boys

The very clever East Day Spa Managing Director Ina Bajaj attended the 2010 Global Spa Summit in Istanbul this year, where a key learning was the fact that an increasing proportion of spa-goers worldwide are men, and the industry will need to adapt to meet this demand. Across East’s four spas in Auckland, Wellington, Melbourne and Bali, men account for 30 percent of the clientele, with attendance steadily growing at a rate of between 2-5 per cent each year. This rate is set to grow even faster with the news that East Day Spa is launching its East Man menu on 1 September, just in time for spring. The menu offers nine treatment options exclusively for male clients, in addition to maintenance treatments such as waxing and tinting. Featured treatments include the Apna Massage; incorporating a combination of sports style massage, Balinese massage and Thai stretches, Elemis Urban Cleanse Facial; a super-grooming facial which decongests the skin, accelerates skin repair and neutralizes impurities and the Balinese Bacial; combining a traditional Balinese boreh mask to relieve muscle tension held in the back and shoulders, followed by hand crushed rice blended with exotic spices for a deep cleanse and deep-heat experience. All sound rather nice thank you very much, and will undoubtedly see more than a few new male customer’s flocking through East’s doors. Plus, the timing of the menu’s arrival means that a voucher makes for a brilliant Father’s Day gift idea, too!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Are you Smashbox’s Next Top NZ Artist?

Last year at New Zealand Fashion Week, Smashbox Cosmetics proved to be a beauty force to be reckoned with when they took charge backstage at shows like Nom*D, Stitch Ministry (pictured*) and Federation. This year they’ll be back for more, and are holding a nationwide competition to find the next Smashbox PRO Artist – just in time for NZ Fashion Week 2010. To apply for this potentially career-defining competition, entrants are required to supply three shots of their best work and 100 words explaining why they should win. The winning artist will work backstage alongside the Smashbox Pro Team at NZ Fashion Week, working on nine shows throughout the week, including Sera Lily, GHD Contemporary and IBM Designer Selection shows. The winner will also assist on editorial and photo shoot work post-Fashion Week, and be professionally trained by a senior Smashbox PRO Artist. Last but by no meansleast, they will take home $500 worth of Smashbox goodies for their kit and receive exclusive benefits and pro membership discounts on all Smashbox products. It’s a rare chance to work with the best of the best artists, designers, stylists and models in the country, interacting directly with true industry heavyweights. Artists can email their entries to neisha@smashboxcosmetics.co.nz or in physical form to 7c Taylors Road, St Lukes, Auckland. All entrants must be at least 16 years of age and available in Auckland between the 20–26th of September to take part in NZ Fashion Week with the Smashbox team. The contest closes on September 1, and finalists will be notified the following day.
*photo by the marvelous Mr. Guy Coombes

Monday, August 23, 2010

Making life better, one re:ab class at a time

I’ve recently made a discovery that is set to change the shape of my body for the better, and for once I’m not talking about the latest tightening-smoothing-warming-overpriced body wrap to hit the market! Nestled in the heart of Grey Lynn, Auckland, it’s a boutique health and wellbeing centre called re:ab on Selbourne. The centre offers all those who enter through its doors a one-stop shop for a plethora of health and wellbeing needs, including pilates, physiotherapy, massage, yoga, podiatry, Breathing Works and training. A beautifully serene space (pictured) that was once home to an old picture theatre, it is the brainchild of re:ab owner Kirsty Wilkinson, who saw a gap in the market for a place that offered her clients not only physiotherapy and pilates but also other health and wellbeing services. To say that many people are time poor is an understatement, and when it comes to health and wellbeing they tend to run from one place to the next fulfilling appointments... not really conducive to a quiet mind! At re:ab they can see their physio, do a class, have a massage and a consultation on breathing all in the one place, which is a godsend, really. The new premises have been purpose built and there is an immediate feeling of something special and unique when walking in - bright natural sunlight fills the two storey space, with a high studded ceiling with scalloped roof a beautifully vintage touch in an otherwise super modern environment. The studio space – where I’ve been taking pilates reformer classes – is spacious and serene, whilst upstairs a number of private consultation rooms surround the studio floor. The centre has opened with re:ab (pilates and physiotherapy), Kirsty Gregg Studio, Breathing Works, and Revival Massage Therapy. Over time the space will also include a nutritionist, skin care and beauty therapy, podiatrist, yoga classes and a sports medicine doctor. As well as pilates classes I’ve been hitting a re:ab boot camp two mornings a week, which was tough to begin with (I love my sleep) but destined to become an addiction. I’m feeling stronger and possibly trimmer, and loving the fact that I’ve got my exercise fix over by 7:15 am a few mornings a week! This regime – combined with my twice weekly yoga sessions – has set me on a path to fitness that can only mean good things for the future. Love it!

Daily delight: Ella Baché and I meet again

Many years ago, whenever I did a trip over the ditch to Australia to stock up on the usual shoes, denims and generally awesome labels that weren’t at that point available in New Zealand, I also came back with a few Elle Baché suncare products. They really were the best on the market at that time, being high performance against the increasingly harsh Antipodean sun as well as yummy for your skin. Somewhere along the way though, Ella Baché and I lost contact, so it was pretty exciting when I got an invite to have lunch at the Westin and learn all about what the brand has to offer today.
For those of you that don’t know it, Baché is a skin care brand created in France by pharmacist Madame Baché in 1936, and it’s still is one of the oldest family-owned skincare companies in the world. It began with a few handmade formulations and a salon located at 8 Rue de la Paix in Paris, and now the brand has since grown to include a range of products available in over forty countries worldwide. It is the biggest spa brand in Australia, and with good reason. It’s been responsible for a number of pretty major beauty “firsts”, including the launch of the first hot wax in Europe in 1930, and the company pioneered the use of AHA's with the introduction of the Crème Tomate beauty cream in 1935. I left with a sample of the new generation Crème Tomate in my handbag, and can’t wait to give it a bash.
One product I have been using since that yummy lunch is the brand’s Radiance C Antioxidant Defence Mist, which is sitting pretty next to my computer. A refreshing, hydrating mist for all day protection against pollution, smoke and other environmental evils, just a spritz or two leaves skin feeling protected, plumped and hydrated. It’s great for using over make up as well, just make sure that you pat it in super gently. A key ingredient in the formula is Tomato Extract, which contains a mix of potent antioxidants including lycopene, beta-carotene, vitamin E and various other phytonutrients. These work together to soften, purify and clarify the complexion, restore natural pH levels and decrease redness. Add to that the likes of Hyaluronic Acid (a natural ‘moisture magnet’) and Pomegranate Extract (containing the extraordinarily powerful polyphenol ellagic acid, a highly efficient free radical scavenger) and you have a real skin pick-me-up in a bottle. Don’t leave home without it!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Daily delight: crushing on NARS' Palladium

Once shunned, blue eye shadow is making a comeback. And don’t fight it! Tom Pecheux - who can make anything sexy – has been predicting blue’s renaissance for some time. Those sapphire-smoked eyes at Derek Lam’s fall 2010 runway show were courtesy of Pecheux’s Blue Dahlia palette, part of his first colour collection for Lauder. Pulling off the look, however, isn’t that simple. Darker skin tones tend to look best with gold-flecked hues, whilst paler complexions make a perfect canvas for cooler colours and pastels. At Balenciaga’s spring 2010 show, makeup artist Pat McGrath dabbed electric blue in the inner corners of models’ eyes, whilst Kate Bosworth revisited her role in Blue Crush when she sported elongated teal streaks on her lids. Pecheux prefers to concentrate the colour in the centre of the lid for a “flash of brightness” when you blink. For a brand-new, ultra wearable blue hue, I’ve fallen in love with NARS’ Soft-Touch Shadow Pencil in Palladium. The subtly sparkling turquoise colour's perfect for updating your make up look for spring and summer, and it comes in an easy-glide formula that works as a shadow and a liner and is very long wearing. It has a deliciously creamy texture that delivers a smooth, velvety feel to the eye and make for easy blending, and it’s also and an ideal base for layering with a powder shadow for increased colour intensity. Available now from Mecca Cosmetica, this is one little number that will happily make itself at home in your make up bag, and stay there for quite some time.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Falling in love with the Remington Pearl

A few days ago I had a beyond delicious lunch at The Grove, one of my favourite Auckland restaurants by far. As well as a slap up meal however, I also got to hear – and see at work – the new Remington Pearl hair straightener. This little baby is BIG news for the popular brand, and promises great things. The centrepiece of this product is the dual coated plates in which pearl is combined with ceramic, to create a smoother glide. Add to this key features like its fast heat up time (10 seconds), 235° Celsius maximum temperature and a display in the handset to monitor the exact temperature of the plates and you have a rather clever tool that can be used even on super fine hair. It also regains the desired temperature quicker than previous models after being run through the hair and comes in the super premium packaging usually reserved for pricier brands.
Combine all of this and you have a pretty damn impressive set or irons for under NZD$200.00, which is a virtual steal given the technology that has gone into the Pearl’s production. Also launched at the lunch was a new Curler model: the intriguingly names Tribal Tong. This is a titanium-coated conical barrel that can heat up in 30 seconds to enable users to create salon-quality curls at home, and is apparently simple enough for even total fools like me to operate. I love the look of these for adding loose waves to long hair (a la Miss Rosie Huntington-Whitely, pictured), and can’t wait to get my hands on a pair. The third major release was the Remington Hot Brush styler, which can heat up to 180° Celsius in 30 seconds and is perfect for giving a “salon blow wave” look to freshly washed and dried hair. Impressive stuff! Want!

Daily delight: Gisele for LOVE magazine

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Shiseido's Luminizing Satin Eye Colour Trios & the mastery of Dick Page

“I've often said that if a woman gets up out of my makeup chair looking and feeling better than when she sat down, I have done my job," makeup artist Dick Page (above) has said. Well all I can say is, after more than two decades at the top of the pile, this charming and ridiculously talented Brit does his job every time. Page first broke into the beauty industry in London during the late '80s. Since then, the British makeup artist has risen to the upper echelons of the business as a result of his innate talent and naturally beautiful artistry. Page is often the key makeup artist for the runway shows of the likes of Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors, who rely on Page every season to customize makeup looks for their collections. In 2007, Dick Page assumed the role of Artistic Director for Shiseido Makeup, and his work for the brand to date has been consistently clever, as well as super wearable. He really is an old- school makeup artist who wants to make women look and feel better, in the most unique way possible.
But enough about the man, let’s talk about the make up! For the Fall 2010 colour story the most exciting thing for many must be the introduction of the Luminizing Satin Eye Colour Trios. To create these very special palettes, Page drew on both his photographer’s vision and his make up artist’s eye, translating moments he’s captured over the past few months into an exquisite line of eye shadow shades. His themes, referencing ideas, different palettes and images, unfold in a unique process as he works, until “the product has a life and a life-story of its own.” Each of the trios consists of three beautifully balanced hues inspired by Page’s images, which also evoke different feelings and moods. I have been having a play with the trio known as FIRE, which was the direct result of a photo shot by Page of a campfire in the wilds of Nevada. Nevada is a beautiful, rough, often mountainous part of the US, filled with giant redwoods and crystalline blue lakes. It’s one of my favourite parts of the country, and it seems that it’s one of Page’s faves too. The resulting trio is a mix of charred black, deep brilliant orange and silvery ash-gray, which can be used as subtly or as strongly as you like. “This is a strong colour statement,” says Page, “a dark dramatic eye maybe with an orange lip, or something a bit nude or rosy, if you want to be more discreet. The key here is the orange, that both “pops” from and is also offset by the black and the ash gray. The orange in the corner turns up the heat, then really blends into the black.” My verdict? Very wearable and very gorgeous.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Clarins WHITE PLUS HP gets even better

I recently dropped by Mollie’s boutique hotel for breakfast, where the team from Clarins had a very special new release to talk about. Way back in 2007 – an age in beauty terms – the French skincare giant launched WHITE PLUS HP, a new generation of whitening products based on a patented innovation that controls the excessive transfer of melanin to the epidermis. Fast forward to 2010 and they are celebrating yet another breakthrough in their research and development department, taking this already popular range to a whole new level..

For the first time, Clarins Research Laboratories are targeting another major, and until now untreated, cause of uncontrolled pigmentation: the extension of dendrites, the “melanin tunnel” which transports melanin pigments and release them in the epidermis.
 This action is provided by an exclusive active ingredient – the extract of Sea Lily, known for both its capacity to control dendricity and to slow down the excessive transport of melanosomes (that contain melanins).
This very rare and gorgeous plant is found growing on the rocks in Bretagne, and stays amazingly white despite being battered from all angles by the sun, wind and sea.
The Sea Lily extract contributes as the fourth “lock” to control the extension of “melanin tunnel” (dendricity) complementing the patented innovation already in the previous Clarins White Plus HP range. 
With the completed whitening lock-around system, the 2010 new Clarins White Plus HP range is going to provide an unprecedentedly global control of all mechanisms involved in hyper-pigmentation - melanin production control, excessive melanin transfer and transport control, and dark spot lightening - to control darkness and reveal luminously bright skin.

The new range is made up of:
A Pearl-To-Cream Brightening Cleanser for extreme comfort and highly effective cleansing and brightening result.
Whitening Pure Aqua-Lotion, a crystalline, invigorating oil-free lotion for combination skin that refreshes and relaxes skin, revives brightness and leaves it soft and velvet-smooth.
Whitening Soft Aqua-Milk, a soft, comfortable milky lotion for dry-prone skin that soothes and softens skin, revives brightness and leaves it soft and velvet-smooth.
All Spots Whitening Corrector, a roll-on applicator to help lighten existing spots.
Whitening Moisture Day Lotion SPF20, a lightweight, comfortable milky emulsion that ensures protection, wellbeing, radiance and matte skin all day long.
Intensive Whitening Smoothing Serum, an advanced serum that melts into skin and helps lock in moisture for a flawless complexion.
If pigmentation is your bugbear then this all new version of an already super effective product range may just be for you – it’s proven to work and has that extra touch of luxury that no Clarins product would ever be without.

Daily delight: Gisele for UK Harpers Bazaar

Sunday, August 15, 2010

You need: Yoga at Shakespeare Cliff Lodge

Everyone who knows me gets an earful on a more than regular basis about my newfound love of yoga and the way it makes me feel, as well as more than a few facts about the wonders it can do for your body and your mind. I attend classes and have private sessions with Vincent Bolletta at Yogashala, who also leads yoga retreats on a regular basis that are reportedly quite a treat. So it is with great fanfare that I’d like to tell everyone about his next one, which will take place at a luxury getaway is located on the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand’s North Island. The venue is Shakespeare Cliff Lodge & Retreat, which is nestled amidst the hills above Cooks Beach and surrounded by vineyards. Views overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a beautiful white sand beach just below make this spectacular boutique hotel the ideal destination for activities and relaxation, so lucky for us Vincent’s next Yoga Weekend will be taking place there on September 4 & 5. 
Vincent bases his classes on an "integrated practice" where asana (postures), pranayama (breath work), mantra (sound) and meditation can be incorporated within a single session. This exclusive weekend, designed for a small group to get the most out of the retreat, will deliver the following program:

Friday September 3 - Arrive in the late afternoon for a breathing/meditation session prior to dinner.
Saturday September 4 - there will be three sessions during the day, starting with an early morning one on the beach (weather permitting)
Sunday September 5 – two sessions (depending on the guests’ leaving schedules there may be a 3rd session time permitting) 

All attendees will get a one-on-one session included as part of the weekend’s schedule. These individual sessions allow you to focus on specific areas of your practice, or for meditation coaching. 
Other activities that are worth a bash are walks to the beautiful Cathedral Cove, bush walks, digging hot pools in the sand at Hot Water Beach, golf, surfing - or just relaxing in front of the open fire or in the Lodge hot tub! All meals, accommodation, yoga and your private coaching sessions are included in the $600.00 package,
and accommodation is on a shared basis with two guests per room. All levels of expertise are welcome, and the retreat will have a maximum of eight attendees all up. For bookings email info@shakespearecliff.com... I can't guarantee that you'll ned up looking as super glorious as Christy here but hey, you can but try!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My new crush: Trilogy's Aromatic Body Oil

I’m a freak for a great body oil, which I prefer to use over a lotion or butter any day. I just love the way they feel and most often smell, and the whole ritual of using oil on your body has such an ancient and indulgent air about it. To put it mildly: BIG fan of the good oil! I had a coffee with Sarah Gibbs a few days ago, who is co-director of New Zealand all-natural brand Trilogy along with her sister, Catherine. We were talking my must-haves from their ever-growing collection of beautiful products when the topic of body care came up and she told me I just had to try their Aromatic Body Oil, which is a personal favourite of hers. An aromatic blend of pure plant oils, the rich and gorgeous blend reportedly smoothes and softens even the driest skin. Ideal for relaxing, softening and revitalising, beware; this product is reportedly addictive! I have a bottle in my hot little hands as I type, and from first feel it’s pretty damn gorgeous. A lightweight 'dry' oil blend of seven of nature's most nutritious and nourishing pure plant oils, it is formulated to be super-fast absorbing and moisturising, which means this delicate little number conditions and protects long after application. Brimming with the good stuff, ingredients include Rice Bran, Avocado, Calendula, Evening Primrose and Rosehip oils (all organic), and smells pretty amazing too. Potentially another favourite? It’s certainly looking that way!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Daily delight: M.A.C Dares you to Wear it

I’m all over full pigment, ultra matte make up at the moment, even if I don’t have the cojones to rock it myself before 8:00 pm. M.A.C always have though, and their current Dare To Wear collection is a riot of colour in take-no-prisoners shades that I absolutely love. Inspired by the unstoppable Ms. Germanotta AKA Lady Gaga, it’s for the loud-and-proud and those “who daily dare to declare their own individuality”. The collection is abundant in high-powered pigment and holographic pearl shine-saturated gloss, combined with Pop Eye Shadow shades that give perfect one-coat colour, every time. Definitely not for the girl who likes a simple look! My pick is any one of the eye shadows, in particular Sassy Grass (a bright grass green matte), Sky Blue (a robin’s egg blue), Atlantic Blue (a bright violet blue matte, pictured) and Shock-a-holic (a deep purple matte). Love it!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Daily delight: Discovering INIKA goodness

Whilst interviewing make up artists and profiling brands for the New Zealand Fashion Week Guide magazine that I edit each year, I came across Inika. An all-natural Australian cosmetics brand, it has some pretty impressive credentials as well as being blissfully nasties-free. Created in 2006 by Miranda Bond and Jenni Williams, the power duo behind the highly successful Thriving Healthy Women Network, Inika has a celebrity fan base that includes the like of Stella McCartney, “Bones” actress Emily Deschanel and Kate Richie, amongst other names. It is the only cosmetics company in the world to be 100 per cent Certified Vegan or Certified Organic or Both, 100 per cent Certified Cruelty Free and 100 per cent Certified Halal. Inika products are also guaranteed to be completely free from harsh petrochemicals, fillers, talc, bismuth oxychloride, GM ingredients, parabens, preservatives, mineral oils, phthalates and fragrances. The company has used the best mineral ingredients and certified organic botanicals to offer great performance and ‘stay ability‘, issues that often plague natural brands. The brand’s beautifully soft Mineral Foundations are recommended by dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons as they are so pure they can be used immediately after cosmetic work or IPL, whilst their entire offering is non-comedogenic, which means their products won’t clog your pores, and are so gentle that women who have suffered allergies and sensitivities to cosmetics for years have been able to wear them without any reaction. Great news all round, really! Thus far I’ve been trialling one of their mineral eye shadows, gun metal, which has an intense pigment (as do all 24 shades on offer, apparently) and is about as longwear as they come. It hasn’t irritated my sensitive, contact lens-wearing peepers either, which is a bonus! If you haven’t tried this brand so far I suggest that you do.

Spa Ayurda and adding massage to your life

I was one of the many who couldn’t wait for Spa Ayurda to open in Ponsonby, and recently attended the truly feelgood official opening of the very special beauty and wellness spot in a large, airy villa opposite Rocket Kitchen. As a frequent visitor to healthy and beauty spas around the globe, I know all too well that not all are created equal, but had heard nothing but good things about this beautifully decorated oasis on one of Central Auckland’s busiest roads. 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. Rippan and her team’s goal in life is 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”, and one of their main strengths is the quality of their massage. The spacious spa offers unique, customised Ayurvedic facials, body rituals, highly effective body wraps and hand and feet rituals, as well as a plethora of other treatments that will leave clients not just feeling pampered, but also relaxed and rejuvenated. They also offer wellness packages especially tailored to each client's needs, in the true nurturing spirit of Ayurveda.
I visited one cold afternoon to experience a Tri Dosha massage, and due to the fact that the Winter months are my most frantic time of year when it comes to work, my goal was to emerge as blissed out as possible. The state I arrived in can best be described as “frazzled as all hell”, but after just a few minutes sipping a tea and taking in the soothing surrounds I was feeling better already. I filled out a form dealing with any health problems as well as what I hoped to achieve from my treatment that day, then it was into one of the dimly lit, fragrant treatment rooms for a slow train to heaven.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Talking to a hair expert: Luana Coscia

Talented teams from New Zealand's top hair salons start working with designers months in advance of NZFW each year, creating mood boards and finding references to help complete their vision on the runway. Australian super stylist Luana Coscia (pictured, left) will be heading over this year to lead the FUDGE team, who will be creating the hair for Jimmy D's welcome return to the runway. I had a quick chat to her about her life, her hair loves, and what we'll be seeing happening backstage this year.

How long have you been in the business of hair?
I think around 15 years now...

When did you first start working with FUDGE?
It must have been about four years ago, I think.

What drew you to the brand?
Fudge has such an outstanding reputation within the industry and their products are sensational to use, young, fun and wearable.

Are you the sole creative director for the shows you work on, or do you share it around?
I love taking on a sole Creative director role, but I also love having the opportunity to collaborate with other creative, like minded stylists on larger, more complex shows.

What shows have you worked on recently?
Romance was born, Gail Soronda, Ksubi, Fleur Wood, Camilla and Marc, Jessie Hill, Bassike, Antipodium, and Melbourne fashion Festival, to name but a few.

Did you have a favourite look?
I love hair that is sexy, hair that oozes femininity, whether subtle or bold, that’s beautiful but with a twist.

Daily delight: Daisy, Pixie & Alice for Dazed

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Daily delight: Shiseido White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum

Shiseido is one of the world’s biggest skincare names, and has always stood out from the pack not just for its longevity and innovation, but also due to the fact that it emerged as a non-French brand at a time when Gallic names ruled the industry. For those not in the know, they are actually one of the oldest cosmetic companies in the world, founded in 1872 by Yushin Fukuhara as Japan's first western-style pharmacy. Fast forward to 2010 and they are the fifth largest cosmetics company in the world, with major growth happening after Shiseido Cosmetics (America) Ltd. was founded in 1965.
But I digress. Their products are amongst the best in the business, and their R&D department is seriously prolific, adding to their extensive roll call of collections on a more than regular basis. One of their top sellers is the White Lucent skincare line, which “illuminates skin's natural beauty for a pure radiance that glows from within”. Newly re-formulate, it contains a Triple-Action Brightening System, preventing discoloration while visibly diminishing existing dark spots and uneven skin tone. The unique Shiseido approach includes innovative technology and a 24-hour brightening system. In just two weeks, skin is smoother and shows increased radiance with a more even tone and texture. A star product from the range has just crossed my desk, namely the White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum, and I’m impressed. A cutting-edge anti-spot serum, it was created with the latest advancements in Shiseido skincare technologies to deliver intensive brightening benefits. The ultimate brightening solution for seriously even-toned skin, it targets dark spots such as sun and age spots, acne marks and darkened pores to even out skin tone for perfectly radiant skin. Add to that Shiseido's advanced brightening ingredients as present in the rest of the White Lucent range and you have one clever little serum. If pigmentation is your problem I definitely recommend you give this one a whirl: with the wisdom of age and beauty on their side Shiseido don’t often get it wrong.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

OPI’s Swiss Collection: beautifully new-tral

Nail giant OPI have just released their Swiss Collection – a range of nail colours that are definitely new-tral, but also gloriously bright in hue. I spent a glorious hour at one of my favourite Auckland hotels – the delectable De Brett’s on High Street – having a manicure care off the legendary brand, and snacking on some Swiss treats. The collection is one of their strongest yet in my opinion, and includes enticing blues and greens (Ski Teal We Drop, Yodel Me on My Cell), reds that glow with intensity (Color So Hot it Berns, From A to Z-urich) and metallic neutrals in a spectacular pewter and gold. Very ladylike and very, very now, this is what your nails should be dressed in this spring!

Better skin in one tiny pill: Radiance Ageless Beauty, here I come

Beauty’s helping hand from the inside out
Many years ago – I’m talking maybe 12? – I worked at an advertising agency, and one of our clients was the then-very new and exciting beauty supplement, Imedeen. We were able to get it at cost and I became a serious fan, loving the boost it gave to my skin and overall feeling of wellbeing, as well as the fact that great skin really did become as easy as popping a pill!
After I moved on to my current career I stopped my regular Imedeen boost in favour of a cocktail that included fish and flaxseed oils, but was recently excited to discover a brand new age defying beauty supplement called Radiance Ageless Beauty. Why so excited? Well for starters, because it’s unique formulation harnesses some of New Zealand’s most powerful and unique ingredients. It provides the collagen our skin needs with all the nutrients needed for skin health, with the bonus of highly potent plant antioxidants that not only protect the skin but the whole body. One of its start ingredients is Hydrolysed NZ Marine Collagen, which enables skin to renew and regenerate by helping replace the collagen naturally lost in the ageing process. The effect of ingesting collagen is well documented, and Hydrolysed NZ Marine Collagen is highly bio available and specifically targets the collagen in the skin, rather than that of connective tissue.
Next up, around 90 per cent of skin damage is sun related. This little pill really addresses this by supplying the body with plant extracts that provide antioxidants to help the body protect itself from the sun. The formula includes Vinanza Skin Performance Plus- a unique extract of naturally occurring antioxidants from NZ kiwi fruit skins and NZ grape seeds. Vinanza has been shown to help improve skin elasticity and cell membrane integrity while helping reduce skin redness, which is often a sign of inflammation. It also includes Enzogenol - pine bark extract- another homegrown antioxidant that protects collagen and reduces skin cell damage. The addition of liver and hormone balancing schisandra, vitamins A, C and E plus the mineral selenium, silica and zinc makes this every women’s secret weapon for rather gorgeous skin, which can only be a good thing! And it’s all there in one little pill… too easy.