Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nars’ Makeup Your Mind: Express Yourself

Right now the book I’m seriously wanting to get my mitts on is the 273-page beauty bible from Nars, Makeup Your Mind: Express Yourself. In 2001, the makeup maestro published Makeup Your Mind, the globally celebrated, best-selling beauty manual featuring glossy photographs uniquely – and helpfully - overlaid with clear acetate instructional guides. The first in a series of three books, it featured professional models photographed by François “before” (without makeup) and “after” (with makeup), demonstrating both the transformative power of makeup and how to apply it.
Fast forward to 2011 and we have Makeup Your Mind: Express Yourself, the second book in the series, which brings together Nars’ two passions—makeup and photography— to spectacular effect. Taking the before–and-after concept to the next level, he turns the lens on real women and men, revealing the powerful role of beauty in personal transformation. The new book offers more advanced makeup techniques, making it a must-have for all beauty freaks like myself.
What I really adore about these tomes is that the Makeup Your Mind trilogy doesn’t just write about how to apply colour, it shows the reader how it’s actually done by including identical “before” and “after” images overlaid with an acetate diagram. The difference is—literally—clear. So cool! The acetate overlays on the “after” images provide specific products and techniques. To lend a more personal touch, the overlays include hand-written notes from François. The goal is for the reader to study the “before” and “after” looks, then place the transparent page on the
“after” image to see exactly how the transformation was created, what makeup was applied and which techniques were used.
François photographed each subject over a four-week period in January 2010. To design the book, he turned to art director and long time collaborator Fabien Baron, the founder of the creative agency Baron & Baron, who also oversees the artistic vision of the visually arresting NARS advertising campaigns. Baron & Baron enlisted the help of a veteran casting agent to street-scout and select the 60 subjects.
The weighty book is divided into three sections: Play, Perfect and Polish. While the sections are loosely organized by age — taking care to address the teens and twenties, thirties and forties, and fifty+ — the creator is quick to point out that readers shouldn’t be limited by their age.
“Play” centres on experimentation: with colour, texture and technique. “Perfect” demonstrates how layers of colour and texture can be used to best complement the reader and shows how mastering a few simple methods can result in a beautiful, finished face. “Polish” describes how to adapt one’s makeup so it remains timeless as trends change and one’s complexion and features mature. Each chapter opens with face charts, quotes from the subjects and behind-the-scenes images, adding to the personal format. Chapters conclude with step-by-step instructions for re-creating each look, including shade names and specific tools.
So damn, this is one hell of a book – want NOW!

Daily delight: Chanel Iman for DKNY

Monday, May 30, 2011

New Ecoya: a true cause for celebration!

Last week I went to the official launch of the new Ecoya Bath and Bodycare collection, a beautiful range of products that I’ve been trialling for some time now. I’m a huge fan of this eco luxe home - and now beauty - brand’s candles, and this collection is a way for me to wear my favourite scents all day long!
The launch was held at the company’s to-die-for Auckland head office, where beauty editors and some Ecoya-loving celebs celebrated - and slathered themselves – in the beautiful, paraben and other nasty-free formulas. My favourites thus far are the Vanilla Bean Body Nourisher and Wild Frangipani Body Exfoliator - affordable, luxurious goodness at its best!
Pictured from Top:
Candy Lane Dancer Narelle Swenson
Shortland Street actors Sally Martin and Amelia Reid
Me and Melissa Gardi, editor of New Zealand Weddings magazine
Ecoya’s Geoff Ross with Shortland Street’s Beth Allen

New season? Try an Osmosis Medi Facial

New season often means new skincare for me, even if it’s just a few products added or changed out here and there – it needn’t be a big expensive overhaul, just a careful re-think or a series of regular, active facials. I recently had one of the latter using products from the Osmosis line, tucked up under a duvet in the careful hands of Maryse at Lucy & The Powder Room at The Department Store.
Osmosis has a different focus than most skincare lines, and creator Dr. Johnson (of Cosmedix fame) believes in building a “partnership with the skin”. This partnership includes utilizing ingredients that the skin recognizes, maintaining the epidermal barrier while focusing most of the attention on the dermis, virtually eliminating inflammation during repair and feeding the skin through increasing blood flow. The combination of these strategies and the ability of the products to penetrate the skin without harming it make this line one of the best in the world at restoring skin health and restoring its youthful verve.
Most skin care goes only about 5 per cent into the deeper layers of the skin, where signs of aging originate. Osmosis' liposomes are proven to increase penetration by 1000 per cent (yep, that’s one THOUSAND times more) as well as protect against sun damage and environmental toxins. Rather than the traumatic exfoliation common to many high performance skincare ranges, Osmosis stimulates and feeds the skin from the bottom up to “restore a more youthful appearance” by naturally nourishing and stimulating the skin. And like everything else you’ll find at Lucy & The Powder Room and The Marr Lab downstairs, Osmosis products are all natural with no artificial colours, preservatives, fragrances or other artificial irritants, no sodium lauryl sulfate or propylene glycol. They are simply plant-based and are not tested on animals.
My hour-long Osmosis Medi facial was customized according to my skin’s own particular needs, working to replenish the nutrients that repair and protect the skin by increasing delivery of antioxidants, lipids, proteins, enzymes, growth factors and more. Essentially, it was designed to help to restore an ample supply of potent antioxidants and immune boosters by delivering them to the deep layers where they are needed. It also repairs the epidermal barrier, which increases hydration as well as reducing aging and skin cancer risk.
The goal of the treatment was four-fold: to restore antioxidant levels, remove toxins and superficial dead skin cells, restore capillary flow and increase elasticity, using a combination of homecare and in-salon products. These included the beautiful Gentle Cleanser, Polish (a great exfoliant), Immerse (a lipid-rich anti inflammatory moisturiser used for massage), an organic mixed berry mask to infuse active powders and Mend, a dose of Vitamin A.
For a corrective-type facial it was all too relaxing as well, so I left with a boost to both the skin and the mind and cannot recommend it enough.

Daily delight: bikini beauty Jane Fonda

Friday, May 27, 2011

Love: Leighton Denny's super Supermodel

Now one of the most popular shades in the Leighton Denny range - with extremely good reason! - Supermodel is my pick for this weekend's nails. This fabulous shade is like creamy milk chocolate and looks absolutely stunning on all skin types and elegant in all contexts – what more could you ask for! The perfect neutral, it's subtle without being too much of a wallflower and is as warm as it's cool. And as it's by UK buff daddy Leighton Denny, you know it will last all weekend and beyond - his polishes are always high performance and high pigment plus. Add a few of his incredible Miracle Drops over a fresh manicure for even greater longevity and extra shine, and make sure you keep oiling for great cuticles too. For New Zealand stockists head here.

Daily delight: Abbey Lee in black & white

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Want: Perricone MD’s new No Sun Tanner

It hasn’t hit our shores as yet, but I’ve been reading about Perricone MD’s brand spanking new No Sun Self Tanner and really hope it does by spring! If you’ve never heard of Perricone MD before, here’s a little introduction: founded by dermatologist to the stars Dr Nicholas Perricone, the high-performance skincare range encourages a three-tiered approach to beauty, incorporating diet and lifestyle too. Perricone is regarded as the Father of the Inflammation Theory of Ageing, as in inflammation is the greatest precipitator of ageing wrinkled, sagging skin, and his skincare has been developed to minimise the effect of this inflammation on skin. His inside out/outside in approach has revolutionised the way millions approach skincare by connecting the dots between health wellness and beauty. “Inflammation is the reason you get wrinkles and why you lose the healthy bloom of youth,” is his mantra, and at the top of the list of elements that create inflammation are sugar and high GI carbohydrates which rapidly convert to sugar.”
His skincare range is vast and pricey, but multi-awarded winning and as high performance as they get. I haven’t tried it myself but have friends who swear by it, and I’m always interested to read about the good doctor’s newest innovations. The latest to reach my ears is his new No Sun Tanner, which gives you a gradual tan with no streaks, no orange, and best of all—no lingering self-tanner aroma. It reportedly smooths on exactly like a body lotion (and moisturizes just the same), has a yummy cocoa butter scent, and is infused with Vitamin D. Plus, it's a multi-tasker: No Sun contains ingredients to help your tan stay even and lasting, and uses Dr. Perricone's patented DMAE to firm, tighten, and tone skin. Like any gradual tanner it takes a few days to kick in, but from what I’ve read it’s more than worth the wait.
Crossing fingers right now that Mecca Cosmetica will stock this prior to the bod-baring months, i.e. ASAP!

Find the light: Clarins Vital Light Skincare

Clarins was the first skincare brand I ever used – at seventeen no less! –and I’ve always had a soft spot for the yummy smelling, high performance beauty house. And hey, it's the top-selling skin-care brand in Europe -- which is, perhaps, why European women age so well!
Last week I was lucky enough to attend a High Tea (I love a teeny tiny cake!) at The Langham hotel’s Barolo restaurant in honour of the New Zealand release of Clarins Vital Light Day and Night Anti-Aging Comfort Creams. The venue was selected for its incredibly flattering light – it’s the best spot ever for a date – as that is the main point of difference between Vital Light and many of Clarins other offerings. After discovering that one of the major reasons skin looks more drab as it ages is its loss of ability to reflect light, the Clarins team went to work on a new method to help increase luminosity.
It's common for anti-aging products to contain ingredients that speed cell renewal and therefore promote collagen production, but these creams also address the fact that skin cells' own capability to metabolise waste such as oxidized proteins and dead collagen slows considerably with age and is another key to your skin's radiance factor. The brand's researchers discovered three "pioneer" plants (which grow around the world even in the most extreme conditions of dryness, salt and wind) to aid in cellular waste elimination and ultimately help to revive luminosity, diminish brown spots and wrinkles and boost microcirculation. These plants – cochlearia officinalis, waltheria and spergularia – help to replenish life on Earth, and help to replenish luminosity in skin. There are some quick fixes that can give skin an instant glow, but for more a deeply effecting action, you have to go a little deeper. The Vital Light range is the answer to this age-old problem, reinvigorating the skin and reviving a dull complexion with its innovative formulation.
Vital Light Day is a velvety soft and luxurious cream containing a potent combination of all three pioneer plants to revive luminosity. It diminishes the appearance of hyperpigmentation and fine lines, whilst helping to firm, smoothen, and illuminate mature skin with its added anti-aging Vitamin E and pollutant protection. The rich texture is easily absorbed too, making it the perfect base for makeup.
Vital Light Night is a rich, comforting night cream containing luminosity-restoring pioneer plans Cochlearia and Watheria, a combination of anti-oxidant and anti-stress Rhodiole Rose, Venuceane and Vitamin E, and nourishing mango butter. A true microcirculation booster, it works at a time when the body regenerates and recharges itself.
But enough facts and figures, if luminous skin is top of your wish list then I recommend you give this luxurious new range a try.

Daily delight: Fei Fei Sun for DKNY

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What a steal: Sukin Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil

Rose Hip oil has gone from being a skincare discovery to a skincare essential over the past few years, with numerous brands releasing their own versions of this super multitasker that is ending up in everyone’s bathroom cabinet.
The latest to cross my desk is by Australia's Sukin, and like the rest of their product offering, it’s amazingly well priced at NZD $22.50. 100 per cent organic, it’s packed with vital skin-rewarding nutrients, extracted from the seeds of the red berry-like hips found on wild rose bushes in Chile. When regularly applied to the skin it naturally promotes regeneration and helps to rehydrate skin, nails and hair, while also assisting to heal scars, stretch marks and wrinkles. If you’re Down Under like me, you’ll know that winter brings a combination of cool air and ramped up artificial heating, which tends to dry out our skin, hair and nails, so this is the ideal little bottle to keep close at hand. Add a few drops to your night cream to further boost your hydration in one easy step, or apply a few drops to your nail beds and massage into nails and cuticles to protect against the effects of biting winter winds.
And if you’re keen on staying Green like I am, you’ll be glad to know that Sukin Certified Organic Rose Hip Oil is non-deodorised and uses seeds of the rose hip which are cold pressed via a solvent-free extraction process, to harness and retain the precious natural actives rich in earthy goodness for optimal performance.
To locate you nearest stockist visit www.sukinorganics.com.au/.

Want: Burberry’s new Lip Mist collection

At a certain age women who constantly slick on layer after layer of gooey gloss start to look like a little “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” in my humble opinion, clinging onto a look that worked for them when they were younger or that they see teens rocking with ease. And although I’m obsessed by it myself, I can also understand them not wanting to commit to a highly pigmented lip for fear of the level of maintenance involved. There is a compromise however, and that lies with a semi sheer hybrid of the two, many of which are popping up on counters of late. My favourite new discovery – and one that has me moved to buy the whole collection – is Burberry's Lip Mists. These pretty babies may look like some seriously pigmented lipstick, but a sweep of one the nine shades actually serves up sheer color and a major dose of ultralight shine. As well as loving No. 02 Copper's super-wearable, every day nude and No. 5 Rosy Red's sassy stain, I’m amazed at how the lightweight formula still manages to saturate and soothe with long-lasting moisture. And even though the tiny tubes of goodness might not take the place of a classic Burberry trench in your “must own” list, the luxe Burberry check-etched case makes them pretty damn desirable in their own right.

Daily delight: Adele for Q, by Rankin

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What a steal: Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Serum

A product so popular in New Zealand that consumers demanded that it be reintroduced to the range (a humidity-soaked summer will do that to a girl), Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Serum is a great frizz fighter as well as an absolute steal at just over NZD$10.00. External aggressors such as humidity and heated styling tools can wreak havoc on your hair, and it seems like almost everyone I know wants the perfect product to seal their hair after a blow dry. This may be it. It was specially created to smooth dry, unmanageable hair and contains Nutritive Fruit Micro-Oils - an innovative combination of apricot and avocado oils, and vitamins B3 and B6. A silicone-based formula, it works hard to fight frizz, guard against humidity and add intense shine to almost any crowning glory. Just dispense one pump of serum - or as much as needed for your hair type - into your hands. Apply uniformly to damp or dry hair. Do not rinse. For the sleekest look, style using brush and blow dryer. Love it.

Meet: CADDY, by Tender Love + Carry

I keep getting major hints thrown my way that I should be booking a plane ticket to the nearest tropical destination, stat! The latest is the arrival of the truly gorgeous CADDY range of cosmetic and bath bags, which are as cute as they are clever. From the same clever clogs that bought us the Tender Love + Carry line, Caddy is their latest and greatest collection of cosmetic and bath bags, cleverly designed to make for well organised traveling, in style.
Available in three practical shapes - the cosmetic pouch, the hanging traveler and the hanging bath bag - each features organizer pockets, separate compartments and sturdy zips, all wrapped up in easy to clean and super durable fabric that is a riot of bright colours, spots, stripes and subtle florals. Carry your make up in the ‘little beauty’ cosmetic pouch and all of your bath-time goodies in the travelers, both with handy hooks to hang on your hotel door. Get yours now!

Daily delight: Daria, Arlenis & Elettra

Monday, May 23, 2011

Falling in love: The Lip Scrub by Sara Happ

Winter’s colder temperatures biting winds take a major toll on my lips every year, leaving them dry and flaky if I don’t keep on top of the balm and stay inside as much as possible. Besides a seriously great lip conditioner I find that I need to use a lip scrub to get my lips lipstick ready – mainly beacuse I’m a huge fan of high pigment, matte lipsticks - and some are definitely much kinder and more effective than others. I’ve dabbled in many lip scrubs in the past - including one by The Body Shop that left my lips feeling sandpapered raw – but recently discovered Sara Happ’s The Lip Scrub after an introduction via the walking beauty bible that is Petrina at Magic Tan & Beauty, their New Zealand stockist.
The Sara Happ name is one that’s getting some serious mag-time internationally, but is largely unknown is New Zealand and Australia thus far. A card-carrying beauty junkie and magazine addict, Sara has loved all things beauty, bath and body for as long as she can remember, freely admitting, "I even brought my curling iron and blowdryer with me to Girl Scout camp. We slept in tents!” A woman after my own heart! In 2005, she realized that there was a hole in the market. "I kept reading: exfoliate lips with a wet washcloth or baby toothbrush. I thought there had to be a better way. So I went to my kitchen and made it myself." And voila - The Lip Scrub was born! The variant I got my hands on was Crème Brulee, which is as good as it sounds and kind on the hips and the lips! A super gentle yet really effective formula, you can use this several times a week or even daily if that’s your bag, it’s that easy on your lips. Just massage a generous amount onto your lips using a firm, circular motion, then wipe away with a tissue and wonder how you ever lived without it.
And if Crème Brulee isn’t your favourite dessert, this beauty comes in seven other flavours: Red Velvet, Almond, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon Sugar, Cocoa, Peppermint and Vanilla Bean.
Comfort food has never looked this elegant or worked this hard for you!

Daily delight: Constance J, Vogue Germany

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

What a steal: Innoxa’s Pure Silk Skin Primer

Primers used to be thought of as an annoying – and time consuming – added step to most women’s daily make up routine, and one usually just reserved for the high maintenance and beauty professionals. My how things have changed! We know now that they are pretty much an essential and a must have tool, making a polished makeup application faster and extending a product’s life my hours more than it would have hung around otherwise. Unfortunately, price-wise a lot of primers are still on the expensive side, but all that’s set to change with the release of a great collection from the likes of Natio and one of the latest releases from Innoxa, Pure Silk Skin Primer.
Providing a silky base for even coverage, Innoxa’s all new Pure Silk Skin Primer is silicon-based with a smooth finish that allows foundation to glide over the skin covering imperfections. Like any primer worth its salt, it creates a barrier between the skin and foundation preventing make-up melting or sliding, and making sure pigments stay true and fresh all day long. Fragrance-free and dermatologically approved, this inexpensive little number is also not tested on animals and is a steal at under NZD $30.00. Love it! Apply it to your skin using your fingers of a cosmetic sponge, concentrating on areas where your makeup doesn’t last as long such as your chin, lips and eyelids. Leave it for a few minutes to sink in and then go forth and do your stuff!

Daily delight: Gaga for V, The Asian Issue

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Falling in love with: NARS Illuminators

I’ve never met a Nars product that I didn’t love, going on to conduct illicit affairs with several of them for many years now that I’m quite proud of. I always greet news of a new release by the iconic makeup brand with a great deal of excitement, and news of the new Illuminators line was no different. These little tubes of fabulousness really do light the skin from within. A collection of light-reflecting liquids that glide on to refresh and enhance the complexion, they started with just one shade - last year’s shimmery, multi-purpose Orgasm Illuminator – and have now expanded to a fantastic foursome. Truly multipurpose, they’re designed to work as blushes, bronzers and/or highlighters depending on your needs and your skill set.
In terms of shade you can go gorgeously nude with peachy pink Orgasm or up the ante with the all-new Super Orgasm’s extra golden glow that is perfect when mixed in with your regular foundation. Pearlescent Copacabana is great for highlighting and using on the décolleté, whilst sun-kissed Laguna adds a little South Beach no matter where you are. You can wear them alone or pair them with makeup, and the shades are universally flattering for pretty much any skin.
Ingredient-wise they are also super yummy, with Polar Berries adding some antioxidant goodness whilst Indian Frankincense soothes and comforts the skin. Add to that Vitamin B5 for conditioning and Sodium Hyaluronate for a boost of hydration.
Deceptively sheer, they do have a lot of shimmer in there, so start with just a few dabs and build up to the desired effect over time. My favourite way to use them is as a blush, especially Orgasm and Super Orgasm for my currently wintery climes.With your fingertips, pat a small amount of Super Orgasm or Orgasm onto the cheek bones, and bring it downward for a radiant, healthy glow.

Nars is available in New Zealand and Australia exclusively at the truly wonderful Mecca Cosmetica.

Daily delight: chic Alexandra Maria Lara

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Love: M.A.C’s super hot Surf Baby collection

Designed with the Northern Hemisphere summer in mind, M.A.C’s Surf Baby collection makes me want to jump in my car, run through the doors of the nearest travel agent and book a flight to Waikiki ASAP! Once I hit the beach with my pal LA-based buddy Heather we’ll crack into some super fruity cocktails whilst rocking several of the gorgeous goodies from this collection, which is limited edition and as wearable as they get.
The lure of the endless summer most definitely starts here with the likes of My Paradise Cheek Powder (a super flattering peach shade with a gold hibiscus overspray), some beautiful stacks of Crushed Metallic Pigments, pretty coral Hibiscus Lipstick and Splashproof Lash Mascara that just won’t smudge. The Solar Riche Bronzing Powder and new Gold-go-Lightly Studio Careblend/Pressed Powder will be the perfect tools for optimizing our chosen tan in a can, along with the latest Skinsheen Bronzer Stick. Oh and last but not least, we’ll counteract sun-and-sea blasted lips with the very user friendly Suntints SPF 20 Liquid Lip Balms (my pick is Full of Grace, a sheer rose).
This collection is definitely one that will work for everyone, as well as one of the most unabashedly pretty that M.A.C has released in a while. Oh and did I mention the retro California beach packaging? Super cute! Now… Off to book that flight!

Daily delight: a casually cool Rosie H-W

Monday, May 16, 2011

Beauty discovery: Sodashi’s Concentrates

If you read my blog on a regular basis you’ll know that I’m not a great fan of scrubs and the like, believing like internationally-renowned facialist Margaret Hema that skin should really be treated like a beautiful piece of fabric. You won’t see me rubbing one of my much-loved Miss Crabb silk dresses against a concrete wall on a weekly basis, and you won’t see me doing the same to my skin.
A short while back I wrote a piece here on Sodashi skincare, which I’ve been trialling since then and hopelessly falling in love with. All natural, super luxurious and pretty looking to boot, it ticks all of my boxes when it comes to a great collection of skincare goodies. One of their products that particularly fascinated me upon first popping the lid with the Rejuvenate Concentrate that I was prescribed as an exfoliant, one of four plant essence-based formulas designed to gently exfoliate, regenerate and soften the skin by stimulating the skin’s own natural exfoliation process. The method of use seemed just too easy – add ten drops of the concentrate to a basin of very warm water and use a soft cloth to compress the face and neck three or four times. And that was it! My particular formula included lemon oil as a natural exfoliant to remove dead skin cells, while a blend of pure lavender, rosewood and geranium oils stimulate the growth of new cells. Too easy, and it smells incredible to boot. I had to know more, and hit up their rather wonderful Sales and Marketing Coordinator, Ali Sims to know more.
“After working with essential oils for many years, Megan (Larsen, the creator of Sodashi, pictured) knew how incredibly strong their rejuvenating properties were,” she told me. “When Megan was asked by her clients about a what they should use to exfoliate their faces, it was only natural that she wanted to provide something that would work effectively in two ways. The essential oils work to both soften the skin and remove dead skin cells, restoring the skin’s vitality.”
She admits “it does take our clients a bit of time to get used to our exfoliating process - as it is quite unique - but once they do they are addicted for life!” Ali says that when she first started at Sodashi, “I had no idea how compressing your face with a liquid solution - what no granules? - could exfoliate dead skin cells. I had always been taught to exfoliate with a granular solution. After two weeks I noticed a huge difference and I now use my concentrate every day.” Like me Ali has quite sensitive skin, and after using the Calming Concentrate her redness disappeared and she was able to start using the same Rejuvenating Concentrate as I am. They are both extremely gentle - all Sodashi products are - but so effective!

Love it: The Jojoba Company’s In Flight Hydration Therapy

Getting off a plane looking as seriously fierce as Victoria Beckham does here takes some work. I’m sure that a first class ticket, a glass of Dom on arrival and fabulous sunglasses do help, but doing a little maintenance on your skin mid-flight can do wonders for us mere mortals and needed cost the earth. A very clever new product that promises to lend a helping hand when you’re above the clouds is The Jojoba Company’s In Flight Hydration Therapy, a 95per cent naturally derived little bottle of goodness that comes in a handy carry on 100ml size. An uplifting hydration mist, just a light spray on the face, arms and legs will give you the lift you need to look and feel your beautiful best on arrival and smells delicious. Key ingredients include green tea, spearmint, aloe vera and chamomile extracts, all of which go to work on rapidly dehydrating skin to plump and soothe. A bottle of the same company’s Pure Golden Jojoba is also a great addition to your carry on if you’re going long haul, working as a mask on cleansed skin that will keep it looking its best. Even better? Once you’ve landed it will come in handy for tending insect bites, rashes and the like, as well as doubling as the perfect product for taking care of flyaway hair and soothing sunburn. In addition, I discovered from the fabulous Petrina at Magic Tan & Beauty yesterday - mid-manicure - that it makes the best choice for cuticle care, being one of only two oils (olive is the other) that can actually penetrate the nail bed. Now to get online and book that holiday ASAP…

Daily delight: the ever-iconic Talitha Getty

Thursday, May 12, 2011

What a steal: CoverGirl’s Outlast Lipstain

I’m a huge fan of lipstains, but unfortunately many otherwise-awesome makeup brands seem to make a hatchet job of creating them. Not so CoverGirl, whose Outlast Lipstain collection is one of the best and biggest on the beauty landscape, with a barely-there feel that I love. Virtually weightless and almost sheer as opposed to cakey like many others, Outlast Lipstains (as seen on Drew Barrymore here) come in an innovative felt-tip pen form for precision application and have a staying power that is second to none. They are water-based colourants that infuse into the top layer of lips rather than coating the outside, so there is no waxy, sticky residue to gradually chew off. The rather clever formula contains conditioners to soften and smooth lips, and they are one of the few lipstains out there that don’t contain alcohol, which can dry out lips like you wouldn’t believe. They are soon to be available in two new shades too - Everbloom Kiss (my pick)& Sassy Mauve – and are ridiculously good value at $19.50. Buy in bulk!

Daily delight: Rose Cordero as Josephine B.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Love: a Pure Fiji-style milky soak in the tub

Call it low-tech therapy at its best, but relaxing in a warm, sensuous bath can be an amazing at-home winter treatment to encourage aches, strains and daily stresses to relax, rejuvenate and replenish. I’m a huge fan of baths, and my goal of late is to recreate something akin to the picture above – how delicious does that look? I mean… really delicious!
One goodie I’ve discovered of late that definitely has me pointing in the right direction is Pure Fiji’s Coconut Milk Bath Soak with Island Bliss Infusion, which is as therapeutic as it is sensuous. Included in this decadent bathing solution is a blend of mandarin, lavender, patchouli, geranium, chamomile and marjoram essential oils. These key ingredients assist to smooth away stress and restore balance and serenity to overactive minds like mine, and as a combination smell absolutely divine. For your skin’s benefit this luxurious bath milk harnesses the rewarding properties of Pure Fiji’s hero ingredients - organic cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, exotic nut extracts and fresh coconut milk, which leave skin feeling refreshed and renewed.
Pure Fiji Coconut Milk Bath Soak with Island Bliss Infusion is perfect to use as part of your nightly routine to melt away stress, just add a 1/3 of a cup to running water and drift away to that perfect island in the sun. Winter? Meh.
Pure Fiji is available in treatment and retail at fine spas and resorts around the world. To locate your nearest stockist visit Pure Fiji’s website for more information.

Daily delight: nude Crystal Renn for TUSH

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Get to it: start boosting your immunity now

As the months get cooler – and the weather in general more unpredictable – our immunity takes a real battering. Add to that poor nutrition choices, a little more mulled wine than we need and the stresses of everyday life and you have a pretty powerful cocktail for getting sick. We can do a lot to boost our immune systems in the lead up to winter though, and the time to start is NOW.
I spoke to Rippan Sandhu, the owner and director of Ponsonby Road oasis Spa Ayurda, about how Ayurvedic medicine can help keep us away from the doctor’s waiting room. She explained that Ayurveda says our body in winter is “a land ripe for virus attack. When your immunity is strong, the ‘beej bhoomi’or ‘body soil’ is infertile - it does not let viruses grow. But when manured with "ama", the body soil becomes fertile and it’s the ideal time for viruses and bacteria to start taking root.” Diet-wise, she advises to “stay away from cold foods like ice-cream and yogurt and eat warm cooked food and drink warm water to keep you hydrated”. Keep your insides warm with warm spices like cumin, which is considered the ace "ama" burner, and stack up your spice rack with "thermogenic" or heat-generating spices like black pepper, ginger, and garlic. And “trust in turmeric, the yellow spice that kills ‘ama’ and builds immunity. All it takes is a quarter teaspoon of turmeric in your lentils and veggies for a real boost.” For a great immunity strengthener for the whole family mix one teaspoon of honey with ¼ teaspoon of black pepper and add 10 drops of fresh ginger juice and pinch of turmeric, then mix well. “Eat this three times a day followed by drink of warm water. It is very good for congestion, sinus, and bronchitis.”
Vincent Bolletta is the Director of Westend Road, Westmere yoga studio Yogashala, where he helps numerous people like me lead happier, less stressful lives through a regular yoga practice.
I asked him how yoga can help fight off the nasties and he said that the key is breathing well, as in “your ability to regulate both the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems of the body”. These autonomic systems dictate the general function of our body. Both are just as important as each other but when we operate only on one level, then imbalances occur. “Due to greater environmental and technological stresses we tend to function at much higher states of stress,” he explains, “it's the equivalent to a car constantly having its choke on. The long term effect of operating at this highly charged rate is a much more compromised immune system.” A conscious approach to controlling the breath can reduce both your heart and respiratory rate to a much lower level, and calm the nervous system reducing physical or mental stress. Vincent adds that this new physical state will assist the the circulatory system to redirect the blood to the internal organs away from the external musculature, improving the likes of digestion, elimination, assimilation of nutrients and greater overall endocrine and hormonal function. “The effect of Yoga and Yogic breathing on a regular basis can restore balance, and practicing 30 - 40 minutes, 3 - 5 times a week can greatly enhance health and vitality,” he says. “It’s important that everything is taken in moderation so that it can easily fit into our already busy lifestyle.”
My acupuncturist Dawn Lucia is a wealth of information when it comes to getting on top of your health and staying there, and stresses the need to keep working at it rather than just using your chosen health professional as the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. “The main thing is prevention,” she urges, “like making sure you have plenty of sleep and wash your hands well, always eat well and reduce your stress.” This kind of thing is good to keep up all year round but is especially important around seasonal changes, “because from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) point of view stress weakens the immune system, and when the weather is changing your body needs all of the help it can get.” She says that the minute you start to get that telltale tickle signalling a bout of sickness, get stuck into some serious herbs. “There are some amazing Chinese herbs that even without acupuncture will get rid of that before it starts to manifest,” she explains, “but if you can get in for a treatment we can knock that out with just a few sessions. Leave it any longer and it goes to the next level, making it harder to get rid of.” Having said this, she adds that she can’t emphasise the need for prevention enough, “and regular acupuncture can really help with that. Even if you just have a treatment when the seasons change you will get a huge boost to your ‘wei ch’i’, which is your body’s defensive ch’i. If you can strengthen that you will never get sick.”

How to: Stolen Girlfriends Club at RAFW 11

Just a few days ago the Stolen Girlfriends Club label presented their SS 11/12 ‘The Big Comedown’ Collection in conjunction with KMS California on the runway at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week 2011.
The creative hair director for the show was the always-affable Greg Murrell, owner of Ryder salon and the New Zealand ambassador for KMS California. The Stolen Girlfriends Club designers described the inspiration behind the collection “as all about falling in and out of love. The lightness and dreamy state when you’re in that ‘bubble’, contrasting with the pain, angst and bitterness of being dumped. We’re always searching for two opposing themes for each collection. We love contrasts and juxtapositions.” Greg fell in with this brief by producing hair designs with two contrasting looks for the show. The models were divided into two contrasting groups, each with different hair and makeup to reflect the show’s contrasting concepts of love and angst.
My favourite look was Look 1 – The Light Side (pictured above), which is pretty easy to achieve when you know how. Greg gave a rundown on ‘how to’ thus:
1. Prep hair with KMS hairstay Style Boost RRP 32.00, working from roots through to the mid-lengths.
2. Blowdry for volume and smoothness with a metal barrelled round brush and a hot heat setting on the dryer.
3. Once complete, distribute hair according to the natural parting at the front of the head and pull hair back into a low ponytail at the nape using hair elastic.
4. Pull on the hair above the elastic band so that it sits in a voluminous way and is clearly visible from the front of the head.
5. Loop a small portion of hair from the ponytail around the elastic and affix this hair so that the elastic is not visible.
6. To finish, spray a light mist of KMS silksheen Gloss Spray RRP $32.00 over the whole hairstyle for a shiny natural finish.

Daily delight: Alexa Chung for UK Vogue

Monday, May 9, 2011

Meet: ghd’s new professional brush range

Already totally owning it in the styling tools arena and true leaders in the field of all things hair, ghd have just announced the release of their very own brush range. An extensive range of salon professional brushes, it features fourteen beautiful synthetic and natural bristle brushes and styling combs that will take your hair to whole new heights of fabulous. Developed in conjunction with professional stylists and specialist brush makers, the new range has been designed and hand finished exclusively for ghd and each piece features a signature platinum toned end cap with a soft touch, non-slip finish for better control.
The range features the following individual brushes:
• Ceramic Vented Radial Brush
This is the tool to choose if you want to create perfect volume and movement. Available in four sizes to suit any hair length or type, it has a hollow, vented barrel and heat resistant synthetic bristles make for the ultimate blow dry finish.
• Natural Bristle Radial Brush
Natural Boar bristles combat static and grip the hair for better control, while smoothing out any frizziness.
• Paddle Brush
A must-have in any beauty bag. Synthetic round tipped bristles make it perfect for detangling and taming those troublesome tresses. Great for long hair and straight types.
• Oval Dressing Brush
This creates the perfect finishing touch to any hair look.
• Detangling Comb
This baby tackles all hair types and lengths to smooth out knots and static.
• Tail Comb
The perfect tool for sectioning hair when blow drying.
The new ghd Brushes Range is available from approved ghd salons from late May 2011. For stockist information go here.

EVE LOM: more than just a – fabulous – cleanser

News of the availability of Eve Lom’s range of killer, high performance skincare products Down Under last year was definitely a cause for celebration. One of the newest brands to land at Mecca Cosmetica of late, the collection is the creation of one of the most respected and sought-after beauty professionals alive today, Eve Lom. Born in Czechoslovakia, Eve met the renowned skin specialist Georgette Klinger in Hollywood in the early 1980s and began her career as a facialist. She subsequently relocated to London where she studied anatomy, nutrition and massage techniques, expanding her repertoire to also include acupuncture after time training with the masters in China. In 1984, the first Eve Lom salon opened in London, and not longer after her range began to evolve following the media frenzy that surrounded the release of her cult Cleanser, which Vogue called "probably the best cleanser in the world". Fast-forward to 2011 and the products that make up the pared-down regime Eve recommends are now available here, which is dreadfully exciting news for beauty fans the length and breadth of New Zealand.
My first foray into the world of Eve Lom was via a pot of her Kiss Mix, a richly moisturising pot of goodness that tends to chapped and dry lips, and also includes the natural sunscreen Zinc Oxide to protect lips from UV rays, and tingling menthol for an added pick-me-up. With its moisturising and healing ingredients it is a year-round product as it keeps lips moisturised and protected from UV rays in summer and biting winds in winter. It’s is great to use with lipstick to add shine to your lips or on its own as a moisturising base, and is a certified handbag essential in my universe.
I was lucky enough recently to meet New York-based Eve Lom educator Melissa Ouellette, who was in town to talk about the brand’s newest release, Eye Lift (pictured). A hydrating cream infused with the proven wrinkle-reducer retinol, it is the first dedicated anti-ageing product in the Eve Lom collection. The cream also boasts in its formula Vitamin C (radiance boosting), Oat Kernel Extract (helps reduce the depth of wrinkles) and Sodium Hyaluronate (increases moisture retention for lasting hydration) making for one powerful punch. Melissa points out to me the extremely clever – and hygienic – applicator attached to the top of the tube, which dispenses exactly the right amount of product required for both eyes and helps apply it with minimal drag to the super delicate skin around that area.
Melissa explains to me that the philosophy behind the Eve Lom brand is a “a simple regime that you can base around your needs with minimal fuss. The cleanser itself is so rich and transformative that often you don’t even need a moisturiser at night, but if you do we have the perfect no-fuss formula to suit your skin”. She shows me exactly how to use the miraculous Cleanser, the ritual beginning with a macadamia nut-sized dollop of the rich creamy goodness applied all over a dry face. Massage well so that the oils penetrate the skin and then take the accompanying muslin cloth and rinse it under hot water, laying it loosely across the face to help the oils melt and work in that little more. Repeat this cloth application three times. Next rinse the cloth under cooler water and gently exfoliate the face by rubbing it over the skin until all of the product is removed. Rinse once more in super cool water and place it over your super clean face to soothe. Voila! Truly radiant, gorgeously clean skin that is softer than an infant’s proverbial. “The best cleanser in the world” it just may be.

Daily delight: Angela & Karlie at the Met Ball

Friday, May 6, 2011

Are you ready for a little Eau de Alexander?

I’m a huge fan of US design wunderkind and generally super cool guy Alexander Wang (pictured above), and have to confess that I’ve probably spent the GDP of a small nation on his bags. He’s never made a secret of the fact that he wants to preside over his own lifestyle empire, and word has it that his latest creative foray is into the world of fragrance. Market - and beauty blogger - speculation is swirling that the young designer has tapped Barcelona-based fragrance and fashion firm Puig to launch his debut fragrance, which is pretty exciting stuff. Puig executives have declined to comment thus far, but if the rumours are true then it’s a huge coup for the Spanish brand. They currently help create and produce fragrances under license for heavy hitting players like Prada, Valentino, Comme des Garçons and Payot, and I for one would love to smell like A. Wang. Freshly washed cotton anyone?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Daily delight: Yen's pastel beauty storm

The Jojoba Company Botanical Hydrating Face Mask

One of the things I love most about Winter is how much less complicated it is to use the “but I just felt like having a night in” excuse, mainly due to the dearth of interesting things out there to get up to coupled with the rotten weather. It’s the ideal time to snuggle down on the couch, glass of Pinot in hand, and the perfect time to get up to some heavy duty pampering.
The Jojoba Company’s Botanical Hydrating Face Mask is my new Winter’s night in favourite, and kind of feels like the face mask equivalent of particularly healthy comfort food. It’s soothing, relaxing and it cures what ails you. The company describes this goodie as “deeply hydrating to rebalance dryness and re-energise”, and it’s exactly what your skin needs when it’s exposed to the likes of cold, air conditioning and whipping winds. 97 per cent naturally derived and not tested on animals, the super hydrating clay-based mask feels super silky on your skin but packs a powerful punch. It’s made up of a powerful combination of botanical anti-ageing extracts including antioxidant rich gingko biloba, plumping marine collagen, vitamin B5 and organic honey to boost the natural hydrating qualities of golden jojoba, and is particularly good if your skin is sensitized or inflamed. Left on a cleansed face for around 20 minutes, the results are plumped, super soft and hydrated skin that feels like heaven itself. For a luxurious spa treatment you can leave it on overnight, but I advise you to use an old pillow case if this is your chosen option – things can get sticky!
Love this stuff.

Daily delight: supers Yasmin & Gail for Little Joe at RAFW

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Meet: NUDE’s incredible Advanced Cellular Renewal Serum

When supermodel Helena Christensen says of a beauty product, “After just 3 days I have the dewiest, most beautiful skin. It feels incredible and looks so much younger. I'm obsessed!’ you know you’re dealing with something seriously fabulous. Her obsession in question is the work of those clever clogs at NUDE, and it’s the brand’s hero product, the Advanced Cellular Renewal Serum. A clinically advanced serum to correct the signs of ageing, it’s the answer to the prayers of anyone concerned with ageing and repairing skin damage, the loss of definition in facial contours
or suffering from a dull, lifeless complexion.
With the highest concentration of Probiotic Technology – beauty’s biggest buzz right now by far - in the NUDE range, the breakthrough serum uses three bio-available technologies proven to help the skin repair itself. NUDE’s Advanced Probiotic Technology repairs cellular damage and corrects ageing for starters, and has been clinically proven to deliver an amazing 70 per cent increase in cellular renewal, 50 per cent reduction in cellular damage
and 35 per cent decrease in irritation. Bioactive Peptides then help stimulate Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid and Fibronectin production, restructuring the cellular matrix to firm the skin and reduce the depth of wrinkles.
Last up, a three-way Hyaluronic Acid System restores and protects levels of Hyaluronic Acid, making for one powerful little number. You just need one drop every evening alone or under a moisturiser if you think you really need it, and the serum was designed as an overnight treatment to work in synergy with the skin’s night time cycles of repair and renewal. Having said that you can use it during the day if you like, and it can even be blended with your favourite foundation for seriously luminous skin.
And for those of you unfamiliar with NUDE, let's just say that the brand is beautiful without the ingredients you'd rather your body didn't absorb. The range is free from Parabens, Sulphates, PEGs, TEAs, DEAs, Propylene Glycol, Phthalates, GMOs, Mineral Oils and Silicones, and they have sourced high performance natural alternatives to the synthetic ingredients so frequently used by ordinary skincare companies. Because these natural alternatives are bio-available they work intelligently with the skin to correct ageing, with zero harm inflicted on yourself or the planet.
Convinced yet? All I can say is: if it’s good enough for the likes of a certain Danish-Peruvian supermodel then it’s definitely good enough for me!