Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Daily delight: Karen Elson for Jason Wu

Monday, December 23, 2013

Love it: the Jo Malone Just Like Sunday collection

Here’s something to look forward to once the Christmas come down has set in - the release of one of the most beautiful home fragrance options that I’ve encountered in a while… and it hits Jo Malone stores January, 2014!
Christmas may most definitely be the focus this week, but I always enjoy a little preview of what's coming in the New Year. Jo Malone is taking January as the opportunity to launch the first collection by its style editor Charlotte Stockdale - a luxuriously beautiful four-piece candle collection called Just Like Sunday.
As the name suggests, the new collection is based upon the perfect Sunday, and inspired by the ways that Stockdale herself spends her own Sundays. The first candle, Lavender and Lovage, pays homage to crisp, clean sheets. The second, Green Tomato Leaf, transports you to a warm greenhouse, with the distinctive fragrance of freshly picked vine-ripened tomatoes making it the perfect scent for a kitchen or conservatory. Next, Sweet Almond and Macaroon is inspired by afternoon tea with Stockdale's grandmother, whilst the heady Incense and Embers gives any room the ambience of a roaring log fire and comfy couch covered in velvet and cashmere. The latter is my absolute favourite to burn right now despite the Southern Hemisphere’s rising temperatures (and by god I would love it as a cologne!), with Lavender and Lovage next on my shopping list.
At least one of these babies is sure to conjure up elements of your own ideal Sunday so there you go - already something good to look forward to in 2014!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Love it: ModelCo GRADUAL TAN Everyday Body Mousse

I am a MAJOR fan of the ModelCo tanning and beauty brand, seeking it out and buying it on trips to Australia before it - finally! - hit New Zealand. I love a faux glow (as pretty much everyone that meets me knows) and their GRADUAL TAN Body Moisturiser has long been one of my repeat buys - it’s simply the best on the market.
So, I was a little more than slightly intrigued when the Aussie Tanning Experts added a gradual tanning mousse to their iconic range - would it be better? The same? To be honest, I just can’t choose!
Designed for daily application, the beautifully textured GRADUAL TAN Mousse is super lightweight and non-sticky mousse, and it glides onto skin evenly and easily with a touch of self-tan so you know where you’re going. It has ingredients like Aloe Vera and Papaya Fruit to keep skin hydrated while it does its work, and it develops over about 6-8 hours into a really nice deep, natural golden brown. It's very easy to apply - I just used my hands at first and it was fine, but you do get a slightly better result using the recommended ModelCo BLEND BUFFING MITT for a totally flawless finish.
It is perfect for first time tanners or those looking for a more controlled result. Gradual tanners are fabulous for maintaining a pre-existing tan or for those who are not ready to go all the way when it comes to colour, and this is an absolute winner. Mousse or moisturiser? The choice is all yours!
I get mine online here.

Daily delight: Du Juan for Prestige Hong Kong

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Love it: label.m Brunette Resurrection Style Dust

I’m a big fan of dry shampoos and powder-style volumisers, but as a  - for now - committed brunette it can all go horribly wrong when the product isn’t quite right. I know that talc-y, powder-y and just plain ‘flat’ look well, so when I was given the chance to try label.m Brunette Resurrection Style Dust all pointed to only good things… and I wasn’t disappointed.
It’s a super lightweight, volumising dust has been developed especially for darker tones to eliminate the white chalky residue factor - and it works. The slightly iridescent powder is easily absorbed into your hair and actually restores shine rather than taking it away - amazing! It’s made up of  ultra fine particles that expand when worked into dry hair, so you get more than a few days extra from your blow wave without that gritty, dirty feeling.
I’ve used it for back combing and ponytails as well as for volumising days old blow waves and have to say it ticked all of the boxes. The packaging also comes with a handy filter that allows you to dispense just the right amount of product every time - meaning zero waste and no chance of ‘overdoing’ your ‘do. If you’re a brunette then I highly recommend that you pick this up - and it’s the perfect buddy for summer road trips too!
Label.m products are available instore at TONI&GUY Salons.

Daily delight: Rihanna for Balmain

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas countdown: Sileni Estate's The Lodge Chardonnay

Recommended to me by a rather fabulous woman as the perfect “Chardonnay Christmas Comeback”, Sileni Estate The Lodge Chardonnay just may be the perfect tipple to accompany your seasonal feast this year.
It’s always a challenge tucking into traditional Christmas fare Down Under when the temperature is soaring, but we do - and we do it well. A rich red to wash it all down is taking things a little too far however, and I think that is exactly the spot that this chardonnay would occupy perfectly.
Grant Edmonds, Sileni Estate Chief Winemaker calls it “the perfectly-mannered wine to respect and not overwhelm the richest Christmas dinner”, and it is most definitely an elegant and well-formed drop. Bright, light and straw yellow with some “lemoniness” in the colour, The Lodge is hand picked, barrel-fermented and aged in oak for 9-10 months, and it shows.  
Definitely a drop to try whether your Christmas fare involves pork, turkey or something vegetarian, it is definitely not an over-achiever in the best possible way - this is one guest that will complement the table perfectly and will remain a firm favourite for a long time to come!

Daily delight: Kate Moss for ElevenParis

Monday, December 16, 2013

Love it: Chanel’s Métiers d’Art Show 2013-14 Paris-Dallas

For more than a decade, Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld has picked a city linked to the house for the theme of the show staged each December to highlight the work of its artisans - the Métiers d’Art Show.
The inspiration for Chanel's Metiers d'Art travelling fashion show this year came from Dallas, the Texan city where Coco Chanel was once given a warm welcome that included being picked up at the airport in a white Rolls-Royce and feted at a Western-themed party complete with a catwalk featuring cows (love the attention to detail !). Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel visited at the invitation of Stanley Marcus, who led Neiman Marcus, the Dallas-based luxury retailer founded by his family.

This year’s show, held at Dallas' Art Deco exhibition venue Fair Park, began with the premiere of a film written and directed by Lagerfeld titled, 'The Return,' retracing the steps of Coco Chanel as she reopened her Paris couture house in 1954 after shuttering it as Europe entered World War II. Her return wasn't that well received by the French press, but was embraced by the Americans. Neiman Marcus was among those that lauded her return, with a special appreciation for the suits that her name is now synonymous with.
For the show, the legendary Peter Philips created a beauty look that was destined to stun, and featured a few new product lines that we’re all about to get seriously obsessed with. Skin was prepped with Hydra Beauty before Perfection Lumiere Velvet - a new foundation launching in April 2014 - was applied along with touches of Eclat Lumiere, Correcteur Perfection and a dusting of Poudre Universelle Libre.
Les 4 Ombres in "Tissé Gabrielle" (N°208) – a new eyeshadow creation launching in June 2014 - was then used to highlight the peepers, along with Stylo Yeux Waterproof in
"Noir Intense" (N°88) and Le Crayon Khol in "Clair" (N°69). Add to that the likes of Mascara Le Volume de Chanel in "Black" (N°10) and brows groomed to perfection with Le Sourcil de Chanel, and cheeks left beautifully nude and fresh.
Lips featured Rouge Coco Baume, whilst nails were adorned with a shade specially and exclusively created for the show… that will be undoubtedly be WANTED from here on in!

* all photos Vincent Lappartient *

Daily delight: Bianca Balti for Esquire Mexico

Love it: Osmosis's truly magical Melt Away Gelee

When I go out at night I love a super bold, eye - perhaps a little too much at times! - and if I wear makeup by day often opt for long wearing formulas that will give me the least amount of grief and are about as low maintenance as it gets. The downside to both practises is the removal at the end of the day, which if done incorrectly, can stress the delicate skin around the eyes and undo all of the good work that you’re eye cream/gel is trying to get done.
A top-notch eye makeup is what’s required, but often those designed for industrial strength removal can be irritating on sensitive types like me. In the past I’ve experience eczema around my eyes too, so I have to be super careful what I use.
Thankfully, just in time for the party season I’ve discovered Osmosis Melt Away Gelee, a clever little pot of amazingness that does the job as painlessly as possible and in an insanely quick amount of time. Released as part of the Osmosis Colour makeup range, Melt Away Gelee glides on incredibly easily (just use a cotton ball or Q-tip) and you can pretty much sit back and watch the makeup slide right off - amazing! Finish the job with your favourite Osmosis cleanser (I love Purify after a day/night full of makeup) and watch your peepers glow… magic it just may be!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas countdown: East Imperial’s luxurious Superior Tonic Water

A few weeks’ ago now I friend of mine lamented the use of cheap as chips tonic water when you’ve laid down $100 or more for an absolutely stellar bottle of gin, citing the inferior tonic’s sweetness dulling down the beauty of a superior drop of Mother’s Ruin and much more. Consequently, I was pretty excited to hear about the New Zealand launch of Singapore-based East Imperial, all-natural super premium tonic water that tastes an absolute treat.
Inspired by the founder’s 1903 family recipe, the delicious formula reflects the rich history and craftsmanship of traditional tonic water that once romanced and enhanced the beauty of exotic botanical gin flavours. In collaboration with the best bartenders from across Asia and the most skilled distillers from all over the world, the company set out to create the highest quality range of mixers - yes, there are more on the way - on the market to perfectly complement premium spirits.
As well as tasting damn fine, East Imperial is crafted using all natural and sustainable ingredients that are sourced from as far and wide as Java, Africa and New Zealand, which gets a major tick from me.  The company has spent years building relationships with its growers and their communities, and the company is also a member of global cause, 1% For The Planet - giving back a percentage of its profit to the communities who support them. East Imperial supports Wine to Water, who do work across Asia and East Africa, and who have recently delivered 2,000 water filters to the Philippines post the Hiayan typhoon.
This week I spent an informative and fun evening at 1885 Basement Bar in  Britomart, where East Imperial partnered with Hayman’s, Botanist, West Winds, Waiwera, Gabriel Boudier Saffron and Martin Miller’s to create the ultimate gin and tonic masterclass, resulting in a brand new appreciation for this most summery of drinks! The sun is shining and I will most definitely be polishing up my skills again soon.
East Imperial is available at Nosh Food Markets, select liquor outlets and top cocktail bars around the country. To learn more visit www.eastimperial.net.

Daily delight: Natasha Poly for Vogue China

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hair how to: The Marvelous Max Mara Tokyo Runway show

The legendary Max Mara recently held a beyond grand runway show, staged at the famed Ryōgoku Kokugikan arena in Tokyo and featuring over 50 models. It attracted over 1000 celebrities, VIPS, and press from all around the world, who saw looks from the Max Mara Resort 2014 and Spring/Summer 2014 collections - previewed in Milan - and concluded with a series of cocktail and party dresses from the Max Mara Elegante collection.
Runway stylist Peter Gray for Moroccanoil was called upon to create hair looks that would work effortlessly with the beautiful show pieces, and the end result was elegantly beautiful, simple, sleek, and luxurious, with subtle, refined waved movement flowing down the back and accenting the ends.
Here’s a run down on how the look was created:
1. “I first started by prepping damp hair with a cocktail of Moroccanoil Hydrating Styling Cream and Moroccanoil Volumizing Mousse throughout the full length of hair.”
2. “Next, I created a diagonal side part above the left eye and loosely blow-dried the hair using my fingers and a Moroccanoil XLPRO Paddle Brush.”
3. “I then took a horizontal section through the nape area and sprayed each section with Moroccanoil Luminous Hairspray Strong, and curled vertically using a 1 and 1/4 inch curling iron. Each curl was pinned and set in the same direction.”
4. “To ensure that hair on the top and front stayed flat, I pulled the curls slightly downwards. Then I placed a card held with an aluminum clip on the front hairline will ensure that this area sets as flat and smooth as possible. “
5. “After the set cooled, I brushed out the hair using a cutting comb and directed behind the ear and downward. This ensured a narrow silhouette on the front and sides, with an elegant, waved movement below the shoulders and into the ends of the hair.”
6. “For a final touch, I misted a small amount of Moroccanoil Glimmer Shine Spray on my palms and then lightly smoothed them on the surface of the hair for a luminous look and maximum shine.”
* photos by Takashi Murata for Moroccanoil *

Daily delight: Miranda Kerr for Harper’s Bazaar Australia

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Countdown: Te Awanga Estate wines

From the Rod McDonald stable of wines comes Te Awanga Estate, who have released some absolutely beautiful new vintages that are perfect for summer.
The vineyard itself was planted 25 years ago by a group of friends in one of Hawke's Bay's oldest winegrowing areas, where they make a range of single estate wines that are “rich, mouth filling and long-lived” i.e. absolutely a treat on the tastebuds and most definitely made to be shared.
I was lucky enough to try a glass of the stunningly simple Te Awanga Estate Rosé at designer Ingrid Starnes’ perfume launch at The Department Store in Takapuna on Saturday, and then on Sunday popped the top on the Gewurztraminer, which winemaker McDonald says “might be my favourite”, as well as fantastic with summer salads, coriander, ginger, chilli and Asian spices. The perfect summer food wine for darn near-perfect summer food choices? I love that.

Daily delight: Meghan Collison for Harpers Bazaar Spain

Monday, December 9, 2013

Love it: Kate Moss - in St. Tropez - for Playboy

At almost 40, Kate Moss is currently gracing the cover of the 60th anniversary issue of Playboy, surely one of the most talked-about moves in the fashion and beauty industries this year. She looks absolutely incredible going bare for the iconic magazine, and the shoot has been expertly lensed by her good friends - and legends in their own right - Mert & Marcus.
Another professional bought it to make sure that Ms. Moss looked her absolute killer best was St.Tropez Tanning & Skin Finishing Expert Nichola Joss, who gave the St. Tropez ambassador and supermodel's skin a camera-ready glow at all times - including in the shots where St. Tropez was just about all she was wearing!
To create Kate Moss’ luminous Playboy look, Nichola started moisturising and exfoliating treatments with Kate a week before the shoot to make sure that her skin was hydrated and radiant. She used the St. Tropez Tan Enhancing Body Polish and Body Moisturiser, both of which are favourites of mine and definitely help even the dullest post-winter skin take on a whole new glow.
Five days prior to the shoot Nichola used the classic St.Tropez Spray Tan formula to give Kate a head-to-toe skin finishing treatment, creating an even, bronzed base for further application.
Two days before the shoot Nichola applied the St.Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse with their Applicator Mitt to keep the skin looking fresh and perfectly finished, then to add dimension and accentuate Kate’s best features she applied an extra layer of the St.Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse around the inner thighs, waist, cleavage and then down her back and arms.
As a final touch, Nichola used the St.Tropez Gold Illuminator on the lengths of the limbs to make them appear longer and leaner, plus on the décolletage to accentuate her bone structure. The illumination and contouring made sure the light hit the right curves and now I am desperate to get my hands on some of my own! Surely the perfect tan-friendly product in the lead up to Christmas and summer party season and hey - if it’s good enough for Kate then it is most definitely good enough for me!
Now to work out how to get Nichola to do the same routine for me every time I hit the beach this summer... hmmmm.

Daily delight: Miranda Kerr for Elle Korea

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas countdown and giveaway: Q Wine 2012 Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir

One of my favourite discoveries of the wine variety over the past year has been Q Wine, which is definitely the tipple of choice for those that go for the artisan and boutique.
Grown and crafted in the Waitaki Valley in North Otago, they are been garnering rave reviews both locally and internationally for their quality and individuality, part of this being due to this particular - and particularly beautiful - region. Still quite remote, the Waitaki Valley has been described as having one of the most viticulturally significant soils in New Zealand, as well as one of the most extreme climates. The home of many artisanal growers, the location produces wines that elegantly express its terroir, and Q Wines continues this boutique, individual approach by hand harvesting all of its grapes and crafting each vintage with the utmost attention to detail.
The vineyard’s first grapes were planted in 2005 with a first vintage released in 2010. The vines are densely planted with low yields to produce exceptional wines with a truly distinct flavour profile, and the 2010 Pinot Gris was immediately hailed by those within the industry for its dryness, texture and body. The 2011 Pinot Noir went out and did the same - already gaining recognition beyond the band of the deep blue Waitaki River – and a small release of the 2012 Rose was equally praised.
Every drop of Q that I have been lucky enough to taste - at everywhere from SPQR and Andiamo to the comfort of my own couch - has been a total pleasure, so in a particularly festive mood I’ve decided to give a twin pack containing Q Wine 2012 Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir away! Email me at helene@mshelene.com with your name and courier address, as well as your date of birth. You must be over eighteen to enter so if you, get to it! Entries close Thursday, December 12 at 5pm.

For more about Q head to their website, here

Daily delight: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for Vogue Korea

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas countdown: The Collective Xmas Edition Vanilla Bean Custard

My vow to take it easy on the treat front in the lead up to Christmas went totally out of the window yesterday with the arrival of a pot of The Collective’s Xmas Edition Vanilla Bean Custard premium yoghurt - thoughtfully accompanied by the most delicious of mince tarts. I was powerless in their grasp!
Thankfully, it is far lighter than your traditional custard and contains all of the goodies that come with their wonderful yoghurt such as probiotics like acidophilus, bifidus and casei cultures, and it’s also gluten free, gelatine free and preservative free. Hurrah for that! I can see pots of this getting a serious workout around our house as long as it’s in stock as it can be used on just about anything, and the fact that it tastes like pure heaven just makes things that much sweeter. Oh and it’s available now, RRP $5.99.

Love it: Smashbox Cosmetics Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liners

Although it’s a product that today would be more suited to a run in the rain than a dip in the sea, the new Always Sharp Waterproof Kohl Liners from Smashbox Cosmetics are an absolute godsend for the summer months as well as touch ups on the go and on overseas jaunts.
They have a handy sharpener built right into the lid so will stay sharp anywhere and everywhere, as the new patented technology from Smashbox works to tidy the tip every time you screw it shut - magical!
The formula is also creamy and glides on easily for minimal drag on the delicate skin of the eyelids, and is long lasting so a great choose for all day wear (or all night). The liners are available in eight shades: Raven – a signature black, Sumatra – a cool shade of dark brown, Storm – a soft smoky grey, Penny Lane –light brown with a subtle shimmer, Cabana – aqua green, French Navy – the perfect go-to navy blue, Violetta – a warm prune hue, and Bare – an eye-brightening nude that is great for using on your waterline when you need to look bright eyed and bushy tailed but really don’t feel it. In can honestly say that these last and last, and the waterproof factor is a real bonus for when it’s time to hit the pool… and the weather starts behaving!

Daily delight: Scarlett Johansson for Vogue Mexico

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

All about: Thalgo Bronzing Activator Lotion

Despite today’s dismal weather, my mind is still on the upcoming summer months and I really am a lady that likes to tan. Mostly faux but a little of the other too - with a super strength sunblock, naturally - and love any product that makes quick work of any of the above.
The latest new whizz bang number that I’ve laid my hands on is Thalgo’s Bronzing Activator Lotion, which “treats and prepares the skin and makes your tan last longer”. The clever clogs formula contains a melanin booster Insitol Derivative, a natural plant substance derived from the carob tree that activates, intensifies and prolongs a tan. It can be used pre-sun to minimise the time in the sun you need to achieve your perfect colour and can be used after sun to intensify and prolong a natural tan. I have been popping it on over the last week or so and spent some time in the sun this past weekend and was seriously impressed - the beginnings of a golden glow achieved relatively safely through my SPF45!
It is designed to be used once or twice a day two weeks before sun exposure to accelerate your tan, as well as during and after sun exposure to intensify and prolong your natural glow. For a tanned complexion all year round, this super light cream-gel can be used on the face and body as a form of gradual tanner too, and the addition of some subtle iridescent pearls lends a rather sassy sheen after a day on the beach or by the pool.
I’m totally in love with this little number, and given the seriousness with which the French approach tanning it’s no surprise that this cult beauty brand from France does it very, very well.

Daily delight: Kate Moss for Playboy

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Love it: Benefit High Brow & High Brow Glow

I was lucky enough to be invited to an event last week celebrating the opening of Benefit’s new counter at Smith & Caughey in Newmarket, where I had my brows done - naturally! - and had a play with a host of their products.
I love a great brow - Benefit are famous for creating them - and discovering all sorts of brow-friendly products that can bring true arch perfection that much closer. After just one short play I fell head over heels for Benefit’s High Brow, which I a soft brow highlighting pencil that they like to call “your instant brow lift!” Perfect for all skintones, it comes in a linen-pink highlight hue that adds a lifted look to the entire eye area. And it’s incredibly easy to use - just apply pencil under your brow following the arch and lightly blend. Ta-dah!
Last year Benefit added another brow-transforming tool to their already comprehensive lineup in the form of High Brow Glow, a shimmery counterpart to their original matte High Brow formula. Instead of the brightening matte pink shade of the original, the new High Brow Glow is a soft, slightly metallic champagne shade for people who prefer a little shimmer or have slightly more olive tone to their skin like me. A single stroke under your arches instantly lifts and illuminates, and you can adjust the amount of shimmer by blending more for a smooth glow or less for a slightly more sparkly metallic sheen. For even more arch appeal, put two dots above the arch and blend. Amazing.
I’ve been wearing High Brow Glow daily since the event and don’t know how I ever lived without it. Magic, get yours now!

Christmas countdown: Rekorderlig Premium Passionfruit cider

Each year my Christmas countdown highlights gorgeous gifting options as well as top tipples, and one that is just perfect picking for a summer’s day is Rekorderlig’s Premium Passionfruit cider.
It has the familiar Rekorderlig pear as a base but brings it together with passionfruit - surely one of the most loved Kiwi summer flavours. I’ve been seeing this popping up as a killer cocktail combination here and there, and am keen to trying throwing the fruit at it and getting in on the fun myself!
The leading Swedish cider brand has also teamed up with New Zealand fashion favourites, RUBY, to develop a bespoke nail polish to celebrate the launch of the new flavour. Unlike its inspiration, however, the purple lacquer IS limited edition and only available in RUBY outlets and via www.rubynz.com while stocks last.

Daily delight: Carolyn Murphy for David Webb

Monday, December 2, 2013

Beauty news: The M.A.C AIDS Fund donates $93,000 to local HIV organization

In time for World AIDS Day yesterday, the M.A.C AIDS Fund – M.A.C Cosmetics’ philanthropic foundation – presented Positive Women Inc. with a $93,000NZD grant on Friday to support their efforts in working with women and families living with HIV and AIDS in New Zealand. The majority of the grant will be specifically used to enable the community house, Rose House, to remain operational. Rose House offers services to women and families affected by HIV and AIDS in New Zealand and is essential for the organization - and for all who pass through its doors.
This is the ninth year that Positive Women have received funding from the M.A.C AIDS Fund, with
100 per cent of the selling price of M.A.C’s Viva Glam line of lip products going directly to the fund to benefit grantees. To date, the company has raised more than $235 million (USD) to fight HIV and AIDS internationally. Locally, M.A.C has raised over $1.6 million (NZD) for the MAF and has donated the majority of those funds locally to New Zealand non-profit organizations fighting the epidemic here in New Zealand.
“The M.A.C AIDS Fund is the heart and soul of the M.A.C Brand and our Artists continue to sell the Viva Glam lipsticks and lip glasses passionately. We take enormous pride in being able to sell our Viva Glam products, where every cent of the selling price is donated to the M.A.C AIDS Fund, knowing that the sales we make in our market go straight back to the local efforts in HIV education and prevention,” said the lovely Tanya Jackson, Brand General Manager, M.A.C New Zealand.
In addition to the grant, makeup artists from M.A.C Cosmetics in New Zealand put away their makeup brushes in place of gardening tools and cleaning products to participate in a company-wide volunteer effort to honour World AIDS Day. M.A.C artists from New Zealand pitched in to help Positive Women with a Spring Cleaning Day at Rose House earlier this week. This initiative, part of a worldwide effort involving more than 1,400 M.A.C employees, demonstrates the company’s longstanding commitment to the global fight against HIV and AIDS and strengthens the artists’ relationship with the M.A.C AIDS Fund and its many grantees.
Other M.A.C volunteer initiatives in New Zealand surrounding World AIDS Day this year will involve raising funds through red ribbon bucket collections, and makeovers for women affected by HIV and AIDS in Auckland. If you see them, please give generously x

Daily delight: Robyn Lawley for Chantelle

Friday, November 29, 2013

All about: the magical BECCA The One Perfecting Brush

I’ve gone officially bonkers for BECCA’s The One Perfecting Brush, which is going to change lives for beauty lovers everywhere if an initial play is anything to go by! A true beauty multitasker, it cuts makeup application time in half by replacing 10 other brushes and tools, and can easily be used with liquids, creams, powders and anything in between. It’s made of non-porous, high-quality goat hair that allows product to sit on top of bristles rather than absorbing, ensuring a seamless application with no wasted product whether you’re using it as a foundation brush, powder brush, contour brush, bronzer brush, stipple brush, blush brush, fan brush, concealer brush, kabuki, or sponge (I think that’s the lot?).
The bristles are tightly packed in a 3.5 inch horizontal design so you can evenly cover larger or smaller surface areas, and the density of the brush creates a smooth, even, and almost ‘airbrushed’ looking application - love that. Flat edges fit the linear contours of your face, while curved corners allow for targeted, more precise application, and it is seriously the only brush I’m going to be taking on holiday in the near future - hello, tiny makeup bag!
To use it with foundation choose the broad side of the brush, sweeping foundation horizontally across the forehead and then moving on to cheeks and chin. 
Finish by sweeping vertically down the nose using the narrow surface of the brush. 

With highlighter, use the narrow surface of the brush to sweep your chosen illuminator down the tops of cheekbones and down the bridge of nose. 
With mineral bronzing powder or contour enhancer use the narrow surface of the brush and sweep under cheekbones, down the sides of the nose, and around the temples. 

With blush or BECCA beach tint, use the corner of the brush to buff product into the apples of cheeks using a circular motion and blend out. 

Perfect for travel and a great stocking filler for the beauty freak in your life, The One Perfecting Brush is available right now in New Zealand from Apotheka

Daily delight: Cara Delevingne for La Perla

Thursday, November 28, 2013

All about: Kismet Opulent one-night Body Bronzer

Called “liquid gold” by some fans, Kismet Opulent Body Bronzer is the first in the Kismet line to appear and is already gaining cult status everywhere it’s sold.
The creation of New Orleans-based Caitlin Picou, it is the perfect partner for the party season as it’s a seriously great “one-night highlight” that gives your skin a natural-looking, bronze glow without rubbing off on clothes or streaking - and having used it more than a few times now I can vouch for both!
Opulent is also incredibly quick-drying (five minutes in my experience), which is a major bonus when you’re in a rush and just need to get dressed and out now. It is also infused with aloe vera, chamomile and green tea to help moisturise and provide a luminous finish, and is non-greasy and pretty much absorbs before your eyes. It is great for topping up a spray tan for an extended faux glow, and also for filling in any tan lines that just aren’t working with your current sartorial choice. To remove, simply rinse it off in the shower - I use a sponge for any stubborn areas - and you’re all done. Too easy!  Oh, and it smells in-credible…
Kismet Opulent has an RRP of $39.00 and is available in New Zealand from Glamour Boutique.

Daily delight: Isabeli Fontana for Vogue Thailand

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Beauty news: the Facial Radiance glow hits the road

At this time of the year it’s almost too hard to get yourself organised for any kind of pamper time, and the chance of a reaction to products is not ideal when the party invite list starts ramping up and every minute counts.
One way to avoid all of the above is by having a facial of sorts executed without the use of any products at all, which you can do with Lynda Davenport. She and her magic hands go under the name Facial Radiance, and can be found in several inner city locations and also - as of this week - on the road as a service that comes to your home. Genius!
Lynda has been immersed in the field of Natural Beauty and Energy Healing for over 15 years. With an intense belief in the balance and flow of energy and how it contributes to our overall wellbeing, she has combined these principals into Facial Radiance for one very different beauty treatment.
The technique was first introduced many years ago by Stanley Rosenburg, who called it “Face-lifting Massage”. He was a firm believer that “your face is the mirror of your soul”, and that through the process of releasing our old facial tensions, we free up new reserves of physical, mental and emotional energy. Lynda has added some of her own flourishes to create Facial Radiance, which is essentially a treatment for your face, head and neck that reduces and prevents the ageing process, releasing stress dramatically and bringing your whole self “back into radiance”. She has told me that the main reason that your face will be really rather transformed after a few sessions is that “around 80 per cent of stress is held in the face and neck, which adds to the ageing process and interrupts the other processes in your body”. In other words, the likes of lines, furrows and sagging are the consequence of muscles that retain accumulated stress from a lifetime of events and emotions. When this stress is worked on and somewhat released, the blood flow to your face, circulation and lymphatic flow are increased, making for increased collagen production (the thing all of those wonder creams promise to do but don’t often deliver) and super clear skin.
The delicious treatment lasts an hour, and it will complement any skincare range and facial treatments, including the healing process post cosmetic surgery. It also helps Botox and fillers like Juvaderm go that much farther, and I for one can vouch that it’s just heaven to experience.
So what will you see after a Facial Radiance Treatment? After just one you’ll notice immediately how plump and toned your skin looks, which is amazing considering not a single cream or serum is applied. After a course you’ll start to see some long-term results, and with a head and foot massage to end each session it’s also as relaxing as it gets.
Head to Lynda’s website if you’d like to book in for a session at home, and vouchers also make for stellar Christmas gifts.

Daily delight: Georgia May Jagger for Marie Claire

Christmas countdown: Ecoya… gifting done beautifully

New Zealand-based fragrance specialists Ecoya are our very own masters of gifting in my humble opinion, creating beautiful seasonal scents and lust-worthy gifting options of their own each year. This Christmas Ecoya’s Limited Edition Christmas Collection combines festive fragranced candles and iconic Ecoya scented gift boxes – both artfully crafted to create a luxurious blend of natural products that promise to “unleash sensual journeys to past memories and festive dreams”. If that doesn’t sound like a right treat then I don’t know what does!
First up I’d love to talk about the two luxurious Limited Edition Madison Jar Christmas Candles that are available, which come housed in a silver-dipped glass jar with a mirrored lid. One is the truly traditional-with-a-twist Fresh Pine Needles, which is designed to evoke the aroma of freshly cut pine trees rounded by hints of citrus and rosewood. The other is the warm, luscious Caramelised Plum Pudding, a decadent riot of scent reminiscent of sweet, dried fruit, pudding and creamy caramel sauce - the perfect way to recreate the feel of a Northern Hemisphere Christmas and all of the cosiness that comes with it.
They have also created a large and small sized floral accented gift boxes that combine home fragrance and body care products with the iconic Ecoya scents of Lotus Flower and French Pear, wrapped in a snakeskin-inspired design that features the work of Philippines-based mixed media illustrator Daryl Feril. Very covetable, very easy gifting done beautifully…