Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Daily delight: Bianca Balti for Dolce & Gabbana



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Beauty destination: a list of Ponsonby's beauty best



Mecca Cosmetica - one of the first stores to truly put Ponsonby on the map as a bonafide beauty destination, the incredible Mecca Cosmetica is the perfect place to get lost for an afternoon sniffing and testing brands like NARS, Stila, Byredo and Serge Lutens. The in house makeup artists are both knowledgeable and damn charming, and a regular makeover there is more than worth it.
M.A.C’s first Ponsonby location boasts the latest New York designed M.A.C fit-out and is home to well-trained M.A.C Artists and M.A.C’s lineup of trendsetting colour collections, tools, brushes and skincare.
Stephen Marr - one of the first truly innovative hair salons to hit the Ponsonby strip, Stephen Marr - headed by the inimitable Stephen and Lucy - is still one of the busiest, most loved and creative spaces around. Loved by loyal clients, the media and the New Zealand fashion cognoscenti, and their ‘healthy’ approach to the business of hair has never wavered.
D&M hair design - a huge success from the minute it opened its doors, the always fun and always most definitely fabulous D&M on Redmond Street is like a glimpse into another world: one where everyone has way too much fun and the best hair on the block.
WORLD Beauty - a veritable treasure trove of unique perfumes and beauty finds - as well as Australian cult skincare brand, Aesop - WORLD’s beauty store is always a great place to while away the time with the wonderful Mary Castles, discovering a new scent that you never knew you needed but now absolutely must have.
Bianka at Mollie’s Spa - Since therapist Bianka Seputich took the helm this beautiful destination has become a force to be reckoned with. She does the best St. Tropez tans in town and a fine line in dreamy massage.
Smashbox - the local home of the iconic LA-based beauty brand and manned by clever makeup artists seven days a week.
Aroha Healing - whether you book in for reiki, an organic Phyt’s facial or a Kahuna massage, time spent with Rosanna and Benton at Aroha Healing is always time spent well cared for.
Loxy’s - the only place in New Zealand (in my humble opinion) offering truly beautiful and wearable hair extensions, Loxy’s also do a brilliant blow wave that I can personally vouch for being one of the best around.
Room Nine - although technically in “Outer Ponsonby” (AKA the Surrey Crescent end of Grey Lynn), Amelia Story at Room Nine beauty therapy is who I visit for regular Osmosis Vitamin A Infusions beyond compare.
Harvest Wholefoods - for their extensive range of high performance, organic and/or 100 per cent natural skincare, including brands like the iconic Dr. Hauschka.
Little Bird Unbakery - for creating food that is the perfect choice for nourishing skin from within and tastes pretty damn fine too!
Kirsty Gregg Studio - situated within re:ab on Selbourne Street, the charmingly tough Kirsty is my personal trainer of choice, and will have you whipped into summer  - or year round - shape in no time.
Olivia at Enrich Massage Therapy - for massages that will leave you feeling - and looking - like you can take on the world.
The Urban Ashram - the Brown Street yoga studio headed up by wellness powerhouse Nikki Ralston is a beauty destination due to leaving with the best post-workout glow.
SPQR - because their carefully considered lighting makes everyone look their best!

Daily delight: Eva Herzigova for Elle Czech



Monday, December 22, 2014

Marvellous multi-tasker: Smashbox’s new Telephoto Brush


It’s holiday time, so I’m more passionate than ever about making beauty options faster, easier and more-on-the-go. The latest tool that I have been lucky enough to have a good old play with – and fall in love with – is from the Smashbox stable, and comes in the form of their brand spanking new Telephoto Brush.
Whether it’s full coverage, medium coverage or a sheer swipe of colour that you’re after, this multi-tasking brush will help you apply your powder and liquid foundation like a pro. With one swift twist, you have a full-coverage tool for sweeping on an almost airbrushed-looking layer of foundation for evening. Click it a second time if you prefer to let your natural complexion shine through. Give the tool a third and final twist for the full Kabuki brush, which is perfect for applying loose powder. Magic!
The first setting stops the brush at a pretty dense setting, which allows you to use the brush like a kabuki. Whether it be for powder or liquid foundation, this setting will buff the product into the skin, giving you the most flawless coverage possible. I’ve been using this a lot for Christmas parties and the like, but come days off in the sun and I’ll be dialling this baby all the way out I reckon for Sheer Coverage. This setting is great for finishing powders, or powder foundations. I don’t recommend using this setting with liquid however, because it really just moves the foundation around, and ends up eating most of the product into the bristles.
The middle setting is for Medium Coverage. This one is great for again liquid and powder foundations, and also works for blush application, if you are travelling and need to do double duty.
This brush is super soft, and I love that it comes with a cap. Super travel friendly, and it can stand in for your Foundation, Powder, Blush and Bronzer.
This will be an awesome brush for the Summer time, when everything always just gets thrown into a massive tote bag, and brought all over the place. The beach, the bach, the city… everywhere!
The people at Smashbox recommend that to keep your brush clean, rinse every two weeks if using to apply powder, or every week if using to apply liquid foundation. I always carry a bottle of on-the-spot brush cleaner when I travel either way, so I can swap in between formulations no problem.
Smashbox Cosmetics are available from selected Life Pharmacies, beauty spas, the Smashbox Concept Store in Ponsonby and www.smashboxcosmetics.co.nz and this awesome little baby has an RRP of $89.00.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Countdown: the M.A.C Keepsakes collection




For the M.A.C fan in your life (and we all have at least one, most likely more) my pick for a Christmas gift that will be loved and much cherished is absolutely anything from the makeup mega brand’s Keepsakes collection. A little bit posh and a lot wearable, the collection is made up of a number of beautiful gifting options whether your M.A.C is all about eyes or lips, or just needs a new set of brushes.
The M.A.C Keepsakes Face Palettes have everything you need to create the perfect party face and are available in two colour palettes, Natural and Smoky. Each features three Eye Shadows, one Iridescent Pressed Powder, a Cream Colour Base, and two Lipsticks housed in glittering cameo medallion-accented compacts.
The M.A.C Keepsakes Eye Kits are three limited-edition compacts that each contains an amazing eight coordinated shades in palettes of Plum, Smoky and Beige. The sleek, mirrored compacts sparkle in glittery grey, black and white, each accented with a chic cameo, and are perfect for travellers as they really do cover it all.
For something smaller but still perfectly formed, M.A.C Keepsakes Lip Bags feature posh shades of Lipstick, Lipglass, and Lip Pencil in two colour palettes: red and nude. As an alternative, M.A.C Keepsakes Eye Bags are made up of Eye Shadow, In Extreme Dimension Lash and Eye Pencil in three majestic palettes: smoky, plum and brown.
For a little extra sparkle, the Keepsakes Gold Lip + Eye Bag and Keepsakes Silver Lip + Eye Bag feature quads of four Mineralize Eye Shadows accented with Mineralize Rich Lipstick and frosted Mineralize Glass, packaged in a sleek glittery grey clutch with a cameo-embossed zipper pull. There are also three M.A.C Keepsakes Brush Kits in Mineralize, Studio and In Extra Dimension for the most practical but still fabulous gift of the bunch.

Daily delight: Naomi Campbell for Agent Provocateur



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Love it: Ashley & Co’s beautiful Soothe Tubes



Both the perfect stocking stuffers and a product I know that I will seriously go through multiple tubes of, Ashley & Co’s Soothe Tubes are beautifully crafted, luxe feeling, intensive hydrating creams from the stellar New Zealand brand.
A rich, yet non-greasy aromatic natural blend designed for giving some love to parched hands and cuticles, Soothe Tubes come in a convenient 75ml size, making them perfect to take anywhere and highly qualified handbag essentials. The formula is packed with pampering natural ingredients like chamomile, shea butter, borage oil and Vitamin E, and the tubes are available in Ashley & Co’s own captivating signature scents: Tui & Kahili (Wild Ginger, Lily), Blossom & Gilt (Costa Rican Tuberose, Wild Jasmine), Mortar & Pestle (Exotic Elemi, Cedar, Black Tea) and the newest kid on the block, Once Upon & Time (Fig & Black Gardenia).
With an RRP of $22.00 and available right now these make the perfect stocking stuffers and cheeky gifts to self, and smell and look amazing. Love it!

Daily delight: Jennifer Aniston for Allure magazine



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hair how To: Sara Donaldson of Harper and Harley’s signature wave



One of the most impeccably groomed Southern Hemisphere blogstars must be brunette beauty Sara Donaldson from Harper and Harley, whose take on monochromatics has many a reader enthralled on a daily basis.
As well as a sweet take on the perfectly put together outfit for pretty much every occasion, she has fabulous hair – which for once took centre stage on Fashion Bloggers TV, a new reality TV show now showing on E!. Sara recently demonstrated how she creates this go-to style on the show, and I bet the demo was just as eagerly lapped up as her regular flatlays.
The show’s official hair sponsor is ghd, and the always-awesome team there sent me some instructions on how to create the look at home using their stellar tools and products: 
1. Prep hair with ghd total volume foam and dry in with ghd aura professional hairdryer
2.  Section hair in half with clips and spritz with ghd curl hold spray
3. Using the ghd curve classic wave wand take small sections of hair and gently wrap the hair around the barrel, starting from the base towards the cool tip
4. Hold for 5-8 seconds then gently release the hair and leave to cool
5. Once the entire head is complete loosen curls by brushing hair with the ghd detangling comb for a shiny softer look
6. To finish, spray hair with ghd final shine spray 
And if you still haven’t got it nailed go a step further and check out Sara’s how-to video here or steps on her blog.

Christmas Countdown: the Jo Malone Frosted Fantasy collection




No one does Christmas like Jo Malone London, and this year’s seasonal offering is, as expected, absolutely stunning! Want it all, must have it all, they can do no wrong, etc etc… A stellar line up as per has been released for this year, and I’ve named my picks from what is a very lengthy and gorgeous bunch of gifting options.
The hero of Jo Malone Christmas 2014 is Frosted Cherry and Clove, which comes as a beautiful deluxe candle – gorgeous in both appearance and fragrance. The new Christmas scent, which Jo Malone describe as 'rich with winter spices' is guaranteed to please, and also available is the Pine & Eucalyptus home fragrance , which includes the candle option so popular in my house for the past couple of years.
Another fave of mine is the Cologne Collection, which is perfect for those that travel due to the diminutive size of the beauties that make it up. This little set is such a perfect gift and absolutely amazing for Jo Malone pros and newbies alike, and includes 9ml bottles of Lime Basil & Mandarin Cologne, Blackberry & Bay Cologne, Peony & Blush Suede Cologne, Amber & Lavender Cologne and the heavenly Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne. I was so happy to see Wood Sage & Sea Salt in there as it’s my favourite of the new launches from the past few years and an absolute winner as a unisex scent too. There is also a Cologne Intense collection That is absolutely to die for if you’re a fan of heavier, muskier scents like me.
Last up, the Incense and Embers Home Candle is on the top of my personal wish list, and is one of my all time favourite scents. I have heard whispers that Jo Malone will be bringing out a Cologne version of this in time and I for one can’t wait.

Daily delight: Sienna Miller for Vogue US


Monday, December 15, 2014

Love it: Elizabeth Arden’s Ltd Edition UNTOLD Colour Collection


One of the prettiest colour collections to have hit for the holiday season is Elizabeth Arden’s new Limited Edition UNTOLD Colour Collection. Inspired by the brand’s newest fragrance, UNTOLD, the collection celebrates the multi-faceted, ever-complicated beauty life of the typical modern woman with a versatile range of highly pigmented, long wearing products that can be used created a look for every occasion and an ever-changing mood  – from soft and subtle to intense and intriguing, you name it, you can do it!  The collection includes two limited edition Beautiful Color Eye Shadow Quads, two limited edition shades of Beautiful Color Luminous Lip Gloss, as well as new Beautiful Color Natural Eye Brow Pencils and Beautiful Color Precision Glide Eye Liners.
The quads are infinitely wearable and unabashedly pretty as usual, but my favourites from the collection have to be the two offerings that are almost purpose built for the holiday season. The first is the Beautiful Color Luminous Lip Gloss shade collection (RRP$49), the shades from which are both universally flattering and built for long, hot evenings outdoors. Multi-dimensional and moisture-rich, they feature a lip-plumping, long-lasting formula, with a hint of vanilla scent, for a pillow-y pout that’s drenched in high pigment colour and lasts and lasts. They are infused with the company’s “Maxi-Lip” ingredient, which has been clinically proven to increase the appearance of lip volume by 40%, reduce the appearance of furrows by 30% and increase moisture by 60%. Love that! They also contain conditioning and hydrating ingredients that soothe and comfort lips like a balm, so are great when you’re feeling a bit battered by sun and long days. The limited edition Beautiful Color Lip Gloss for the UNTOLD collection is available in two shades, Glamorous Gold and Intriguing Violet. A soft tip paddle applicator deposits the perfect amount of gloss and a built-in mirror allows for convenient on-the-go application and makes it beyond teeny tiny handbag friendly.
My other fave is the collection of Beautiful Color Precision Glide Eye Liners (RRP$46), which are long wearing (up to 14 hours), slide on like silk and come in beautiful, strong hues. Featuring an ultra-fine tip, the waterproof, smudge proof and transfer proof formula seamlessly glides along the lash line and can be easily blended  - bonus! - for a more dramatic look. Shades available are Black Velvet, Slate, Java, Sapphire, Blackberry and the absolutely bewitching Emerald.
The UNTOLD collection is available right now at Elizabeth Arden counters nationwide.

Daily delight: Georgia May Jagger for Vogue Russia



Friday, December 12, 2014

Beauty news: today is Clinique Happy Day!



From the minute it hit the counters in the late 1990’s, the fragrance Clinique Happy was a hit. Created in 1997 by Jean Claude Delville and Rodrigo Flores-Roux, it received a 1998 FiFi award and iconic images from their advertising campaigns (like the ones from 1999, above) defined a generation.
Clinique Happy is still hugely popular, and still is the epitome of “a fragrance of joy, the essence of a sunny, happy morning”. Wear Happy and be happy was the goal from the get-go, and the fresh apple, plums and bergamot mixed with the likes of freesia, lily, rose and morning orchid still make people smile every day.
Which brings me to today - Clinique Happy Day, a global initiative and an opportunity to focus on making people happy in small but meaningful ways. This year New Zealand Clinique counters have partnered with Look Good Feel Better, and will be offering women who have benefited from the Look Good Feel Better program with special skincare and makeup experiences on counter all day long. They will also be gifting a 15ml Clinique Happy Body Lotion in return for any donations made towards the organisation, which is the perfect chance to fall in love with Happy, if you haven’t already.
From Clinique employees working in store, to Clinique Happy Helpers providing Random Acts of Happiness, the aim is to bring a piece of happiness to as many people as possible. Love that – get thee to a Clinique counter ASAP!


Daily delight: Taylor Swift for Billboard Magazine



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Love it: Bobbi Brown Extra Rinse Balm cleanser



At this time of year I’m sporting more slap on my face than probably at any other, so a double cleanse at night is essential. I’m always aware of over-cleansing my face however, so always make the first step a cleansing oil or balm, for the emollient and comfort factor.
When I first declared love for cleansing oils and balms a while ago I had people telling me “Try the Bobbi Brown one! Beautiful to use! Smells amazing!” So one day, when I was given the opportunity to try the Bobbi Brown Extra Rinse Balm I couldn’t wait to break it out and see how I felt about it.
And I loved it. Immediately. A super soft, conditioning cleanser, it removes all traces of makeup and impurities quickly and completely. I leaves your skin feeling plump and amazing, and was designed to be used daily for dry skin, or as a nighttime treatment when skin needs more hydration.
The yellow balm is as the name implies, a balm texture. You will notice that the texture is slightly sticky. Warming it up in your palms makes it easier going on your face and minimizes any tugging at your facial skin, and as you massage it in, the balm will feel softer and it gets easier to handle. It stays as a balm too – unlike a few that turn into oils or milks when warmed up. Then when you’re ready, it is easily washed off without using a face cloth. You can just rinse it off after emulsifying it a little with warm water. I prefer to use a muslin face cloth but that’s just me – it is top notch either way. Oh and I love the scent, which is citrus-y and clean.
Sold usually in a jar, it now comes in the generous 50ml tube that I have - perfect for travel and especially at this time of year. If you haven’t tried this beauty then I highly recommend that you do – love it.

Daily delight: Lizzy Jagger for MCM Spring 15



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas countdown: the new Baby-G leopard print collection


I rocked a Baby-G watch when they first hit the stores over 20 years ago, and I’m proud to say that I still rock one now. When the time is right (pun intended) they are the perfect timepiece-slash-statement, and my black and gold number accompanies me on many a day and night out.
I’m also a huge fan of splashes of animal print here and there, so when I saw the new Baby-G leopard collection I was immediately hooked. If not completely obsessed… and then some. 
Available in super cute hot Pink, cool White and – my fave – a traditional Beige bold leopard print design, the CASIO BABY-G BA-110LP is definitely on my Christmas wish list. The seriously awesome leopard print design wraps around the entire watch including the band and bezel, so it’s a definite statement and perfect if you’re into tees and jeans on an all too regular basis like me. It’s also perfect for a monochrome look too, adding a pop of colour and print without being too obvious about it. What a little wonder!
As with all G-Shock and Baby-G models, the collection is Shock and Water Resistant and has an RRP of $249.00.

Daily delight: Julia Roberts for Givenchy Spring 15


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

All about: Smashbox 2014 Holiday Collection - On The Rocks



Before we get into the Smashbox Holiday 2014 On the Rocks collection of eye palettes, liners, tools and lip sets, let me say this: Smashbox eye shadow palettes are always full of enticing shades that often include bold brights, yet they’re quite non-threatening, totally wearable and unabashedly pretty. This makes them go to’s for me a hell of a lot of the time, and why the makeup mega brand is such a success.
It also makes them great gifting, so I was pretty excited to see that their lineup for the 2014 Holiday Collection – titled On The Rocks – includes a very impressive eleven different gift sets, definitely something for everyone! I’ve narrowed my picks down to a few favourites, but you can see the whole lineup (and more) on the Smashbox New Zealand website here.
First up I’d like to give some love to the Smashbox on the Rocks Always Sharp Liner Set. Never having to stop and sharpen an eye pencil is a big deal for a girl who nearly always does her makeup in a furious hot mess, and fumbling with a sharpener eats up valuable time! These pencils, nicely loaded with pigment and staying power, are perfect for lining along the lashline, and this set of five shades will definitely have multiple makeup looks covered. I particularly love the 3D Orchid shade and 3D Night Gem, both of which contain a hint of pearl for a pretty and flattering sheen.
The Smashbox on the Rocks Brush Set will definitely be a gift that will impress, and is made up of Smashbox’s signature brushes but with festive handles. Clear plastic resin embedded with magpie-pleasing silver glitter replaces the usual Smashbox red, and the set includes a powder brush, angled shadow brush, double-ended shadow brush, double-ended brow brush and a lip brush.
But my absolute fave – although it’s not quiet as glam-tastic as those above - is the Smashbox On The Rocks Photo Finish Primer Duo, which is what I definitely need at this time of year when days are long. It includes their award-winning Photo Finish Foundation Primer and Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer, a dynamic duo if ever I saw one!


Christmas countdown: the gift of a clean house for Christmas


Parties, present shopping and prep for Christmas lunch – if you’re anything like me right now then getting ready for the festive season is busy enough without worrying about cleaning the damn house as well. I’m knee deep in work stuff and cool stuff for sure, but come Christmas Eve it’s my living space that will have suffered. And then bring on the guests!
Hence, top of my Christmas countdown for today is a thorough house clean from convenient new cleaning booking service SpongeHero, which I am going to gift to all in sundry ASAP. You can have quality, professional home cleaning sorted in as little as two minutes for your mum, grandparents, or whoever is hosting the family celebrations this year – leaving them more time to make the Christmas pudding, baste the turkey, stock up the fridge, and get those pesky stocking fillers ready.
The country’s newest professional on-demand residential cleaning service, I think the clever people at SpongeHero are absolute magicians. So feel free to give the gift of a clean and tidy home this Christmas, I for one will be welcoming it with open arms!
For further information and to book your cleaning service visit www.spongehero.co.nz

Daily delight: Georgia May Jagger for Just Cavalli “Just Gold”


Monday, December 8, 2014

Top of the blocks: getting serious about sun


Finally we’re seeing a little sun of late, which for me is a reminder that summer is - maybe? - on its way and new sunscreen needs to go on the shopping list. Whenever I’ve asked beauty experts – be they dermatologists, make up artists or cosmetic surgeons – for their pick when it comes to anti ageing skincare, they all agree that the most important thing you can do to keep your skin looking good well into old age is wear a sunscreen. Daily. No arguments, no forgetting on a cloudy day, no saying, “my olive complexion is a sunblock in itself”! Most last twelve months max after being opened too, so if you’re still got some sitting around in your beach bag or glove box from this time last year then chuck it - ASAP!
The warmer days also mean I get a few new sunscreen formulas coming across my desk, but one that I go back to year on year is Osmosis Shade SPF 30 Sunscreen/Moisturiser. Designed for daily use, it is a broad-spectrum physical sunscreen that protects against the damaging effects of both UVA and UVB rays whilst providing great hydration. All natural, it works by utilizing micronized and coated zinc oxide and titanium oxide, making it a safe sunscreen option that provides transparent coverage while ensuring that your UV protection remains harmless and non-toxic. The high-performance, luxurious sunscreen-meets-moisturiser is ideal for all skin types and can be applied under makeup or after a shave, and has a vanilla, grapefruit and coconut scent that brings the tropics inside even on a cloudy day.
I couldn’t cover suncare without reiterating once again how awesome the COOLA brand is. This is the baby that I recommend to anyone who asks me advise on sun protection for their whole family, and that fact that their products are a seemingly effortless mix of high perfomance and beautiful to use formulas makes them loved by everyone who tries them. A beautifully packaged collection of organic sun essentials produced out of Southern California, the COOLA range includes a plethora of yummy products that are high performance yet delicate and kind on the environment. It is produced in limited quantity batches in California (where the company is based), meaning that the range can be reformulated often, taking advantage of new developments in sun science and labelling regulations almost as they happen.
The COOLA range has three distinct organic sunscreen collections to choose from: Plant UV, Mineral, and Classic, each based on different active ingredients. The Classic Sunscreens use organic active ingredients (commonly referred to as “chemicals”), while the Mineral Sunscreens use mineral (“physical”) active ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to scatter and reflect UVA/UVB rays. The mineral sunscreens are effective right after application, making them perfect for the whole family, whilst the Plant UV collection protects the skin with naturally protective plant cells that contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Their newest offering is the Sport SPF50 Continuous Spray Sunscreen, which is a clear, continuous spray in an all-new SPF 50 unscented formula. It offers Broad Spectrum SPF 50 protection, and will nourish, repair and hydrate skin with 70%+ certified organic ingredients like Cucumber, Algae and Strawberry extracts, and thus far I am in love with it. It has 80 minutes of water resistance too, which is amongst the highest I have seen.
French beauty brand Guinot have also launched too - naturally - beautiful sun-focused formulas for the new season, the first being the Guinot High Protection SPF30 Spray, which is a sun-protecting spray with full broad spectrum protection that also happens to smell like pure vanilla. Seriously! It is a paraben free formula and the light formulation doesn't leave white marks or a sticky residue, and an added bonus is the 360-degree spray nozzle for covering off those hard to reach places. As befitting an award-winning skincare brand, its ingredient list include the likes of Heliotropine - a molecule which helps to prevent the appearance of brown spots - and Litchi extract, which is derived from a tropical fruit found in southern China and helps to protect the skin against photo-aging. Horse Chestnut and Seaweed extract are there to soothe and combat redness, whilst Hydrocyte Complex is a blend of sugars that help to deeply moisturise the skin.
The second Guinot offering is the very French Glamour Sun Gel SPF15, which is a gel formulation with a light and silky satin oil finish that works to protect against UVA and UVB rays as well as promoting even tanning. It leaves skin smooth and nourished, while light-reflecting particles leave a gentle gleam… this baby really makes you glow!
Lastly, on the supermarket front, Garnier Ambre Solaire Sensitive Advanced is the popular European brand’s newest offering, and features Sensitive Advanced Adults SPF 50+ for those that find many suncare options too harsh for their skin. As well as absorbing more than 90 per cent of total UV rays, it is hypoallergenic, with no perfume and no colourants and dermatologically tested. It is available as a water resistant lotion or spray, and they also offer a lotion and a spray in this range for kids whose skin is too sensitive for their traditional Resisto range.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

All about: Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Illusionist Rapid Lift Mask



At this time of year it’s all about having a gay ol’ time… and then putting on a brave face the day after. Too many late nights, too much of the good stuff and waaaay too much champagne make me a dull girl, and so I reach for a number of great quick fixes to keep me looking at very least above par when the Christmas calendar is fit to burst.
One I’ve tried of late already has two awards under its belt, and comes in the form of Manuka Doctor’s new ApiRefine Illusionist Rapid Lift Mask. The company call it “an instant facelift in a jar”, which has been designed to have skin photo-ready in just minutes.
Included in the fast acting, skin-plumping mask is a unique combination of Manuka Doctor’s clinically proven Purified Bee Venom (PBVTM), Certified UMF 18+ Manuka Honey (can’t get enough of that stuff), Shea Butter, natural waxes and Vitamin E to deeply nourish the skin, stimulate collagen growth and renew damaged skin cells. Add to that Chicory Root and Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum to provide skin with instant and medium-term tightening effects while promoting collagen synthesis and you have one hell of a cocktail. A skin-loving cocktail that is!
It also works in about ten minutes’, so is the perfect pick for throwing on before yet another big night. Apply it to clean, dry skin and then wipe off excess with a clean cloth just ten minutes’ later… the end result? Tired skin that looks and feels a whole lot better, and is plump in all the right places.
If you don’t know the brand then get this: Manuka Doctor was honoured in 2012, 2013 and 2014 within the beauty industry internationally, winning ‘Best New Brand’ at the annual beauty awards hosted by Cosmetic Executive Women UK (CEW UK). They know their stuff and this little jar of magic dust is the stuff and so much more.
Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Illusionist Rapid Lift Face Mask has an RRP of $59.95 for a 40ml jar and is great for all skin types, apart from people allergic to bee stings.

Daily delight: Eva Mendes for Violet Grey



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Love it: Xen Tan Transform Luxe Daily Self-Tan



Elle UK said of Xen Tan’s Transform Luxe: “it is one of the easiest gradual tanners to apply - it won't streak and it smells remarkably good too,” which is no faint praise. We they right? You bet, and I have fallen totally head over heels for the product.
I am a huge fan of gradual tanners for ease of use and their buildable qualities, and this baby delivers the warmest, most beautiful holiday glow I have seen in a while.  The luxurious lotion goes on clear and develops into a wonderfully natural-looking tan after just a couple of applications too – and boy they last and last.
As well as a gradual tanner it’s an ideal ‘tan extender’ that can be used in between tanning with any of Xen-Tan’s other professional products, which I haven’t tried as yet but am gagging to now.
It is a great transitional product from winter to spring, and it’s packed with nourishing moisturisers for skin that's deeply hydrated after being bundled up in woollens for the last few months. It’s suitable for all skin types for those who prefer to build their tan gradually, and the fact that it’s refreshingly Paraben free means that it is ideal for face and body use. Bonus!
Last up, as with so many of their products it comes with a wonderful scent of fresh vanilla – not the ‘wet dog’ smell that so many faux glow products come part and parcel with.
To use just apply in a circular motion, blending evenly onto your skin. Wash your hands after application with soap and water and wait three hours before showering or swimming…. Et voila! Great, glowy skin.

Daily delight: Jennifer Lopez for Body Lab


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Beauty news: the M.A.C AIDS Fund donates $63,000 to local HIV organization



Working once again within their own community, the M.A.C AIDS Fund - M.A.C Cosmetics’ philanthropic foundation –has presented Positive Women Inc. with a $63,000(NZD) grant 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 this is the tenth year that Positive Women have received funding from the M.A.C AIDS Fund.
“Since the inception in 1994, M.A.C has raised more than $340 million (USD) through its VIVA GLAM initiative, which directs 100 percent of the purchase price of VIVA GLAM Lipstick to M.A.C AIDS Fund and other organizations dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS, here in Asia Pacific and across the world,” commented Raffaella Cornaggia, Vice President and General Manager, M.A.C Cosmetics, Asia Pacific. “As a brand, M.A.C is known for its constant innovation but one thing that never changes is our commitment to the M.A.C AIDS Fund –it’s the heart and soul of our brand.” Locally, M.A.C has raised over $1.7million (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.
In addition to the grant, M.A.C makeup artists like those above have been participating in local volunteer initiatives in the lead up to World AIDS Day. Last Tuesday 25th November nine of the beauty wonders put away their makeup brushes in place of cleaning tools and volunteered their time at Positive Women’s annual Spring Cleaning Day. Clean up activitie sat Rose House included water blasting, gardening, painting and window cleaning. On Friday 28thNovember over 60 M.A.C makeup artists nationwide participated in the red ribbon bucket collection in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Dunedin. These locally tailored programs help to break down barriers and build relationships within communities in our annual company-wide volunteer effort for World AIDS Day.
And as a reminder… what buying one Viva Glam can do:
•Purchase 254 condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV
•Provides client andnutrition services for 13 people living with HIV/AIDS
•Provide fresh fruit, vegetables, and grocery essentials to a mother and child affected by HIV for a full week.
•Purchase 200 new syringes, which are given to injection drug users in exchange for used needles to prevent HIV transmission
•Purchase 151 safer injection kits (cooker, cotton, tourniquet)
•Provide 32 Safer Sex Kits which include condoms, lubricant and instructions
•Provide a clean, safe place to sleep for two nights for one resident living with HIV/AIDS
•Provide 45 minutes of lifesaving HIV prevention skills to a group of 75 women and girls
•Buy 10 individually tailored, nutritious meals for a person affected by HIV/AIDS
•Purchase one rapid oral HIV test
•Provide crisis counselling to a person living with AIDS who is also struggling with drug addiction, mental illness and homelessness
•Provide a new job interview shirt and tie for one resident at an HIV/AIDS housing organization
•Provide 30 minutes of training for 20 medical providers on integrating HIV prevention and reproductive health
•Provide a move-in kit for a client moving into new housing, including cleaning materials, toilet paper, laundry soap, dishes for one person, lightbulbs, etc.
•Buy 24 female condoms to prevent HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy
•Buy a pair of school shoes for a child orphaned by AIDS
•Test 14 pregnant mothers for HIV

Sunday, November 30, 2014

All about: Plantae Vanilla Bean Day Cream



I’m a sucker for pretty much anything that includes a whiff of vanilla, which is one of the most universally loved scents and one of my faves. The minute I sniff it I feel instantly more at peace with the world, which is why I love burning vanilla candles and whatnot to keep my equilibrium intact.
So, my interest was most definitely picqued when Plantae’s new, exquisitely balancing Vanilla Bean Day Cream came across my desk. I’ve used several of the New Zealand skincare company’s products in the past and have loved them, and like the rest of their collection the entirely plant based day cream includes only the finest natural extracts packed full of phyto-nutrients, to deliver healthy, great skin.
It includes scientifically tested potent superfruit extract Vinanza® Grape Seed Extract, which ensures that it definitely means business. Used in more and more high performance skincare products of late, the super duper powerful ingredient contains exceptionally high levels of antioxidants to enrich, brighten and revive the complexion. The extract is sourced from Marlborough, New Zealand grape seeds (Vitis vinifera),  which contain twice the level of antioxidants of those grown elsewhere in the world. Extracted via a patented process using only water, grape seed extract strengthens capillaries, improves circulation, reduces redness, and lightens the skin, significantly improving its texture and appearance. Sound like a bit of you? Add to that certified organic extracts of my fave Vanilla, Jasmine, Camellia, Shea Butter, Myrrh, Safflower  and Lemon Balm to leave skin protected, rejuvenated and balanced. Just magic! And yep, smells incredible.
Last up, it’s suitable for normal to combination skin types and a little goes a long way.
For more information or to locate your nearest stockist, visit the Plantae website at www.plantae.co.nz.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Beauty destination: the new Dry & Tea Britomart



I have been known to rave about boutique grooming bar Dry & Tea both here and in my Ponsonby News column, and can honestly say that it consistently appears on my official list of “Happy Places”. That is not a title I bestow on a location lightly, but the company’s serene spots around town all quite literally blew me away from first visit.
As soon as you set foot into each Dry & Tea premises you feel welcome, as well as lulled into a sense of peace by it’s wonderful shades, smells and furnishings (a fur rug gets me EVERY time!). So, I was pretty excited when I got the invite – thanks to the wonderful K√©rastase - to try the salon’s newest location, in Auckland’s popular Britomart precinct. The salon space is located on Tyler St and includes access from Atrium on Takutai, with easy parking just over the road at the Britomart carpark or  - if you’re lucky – just outside. Designed by Cheshire Architects, the blow-dry bar is complemented by their now signature bespoke print created by New Zealand artist Paul Hartigan.
 “We are thrilled to be in the very cosmopolitan Britomart precinct and feel Dry & Tea fits perfectly here,” says Dry & Tea owner Amy Sznicer. “The Britomart salon stays true to the DNA of the already much-loved concept; however evolved aspects give our newest space its own identity.”
Naturally, they have a wide selection of Harney & Sons tea and favourites from T2 on offer, as well as top notch coffee. Clients can pick from a variety of services, including the salon’s renowned signature blow waves, dry styles and hair ups, along with cut and colour services. Amy has recruited a talented team of hair specialists who are passionate not only about blow waves and session styling, but also have exceptional experience in the latest colour and cut trends. The expanded services menu includes special event packages, hair and makeup and wedding packages. Too good!
The Britomart salon also boasts a Kerastase spa, offering clients the full Kerastase back basin experience – a definite recommendation if you have the time, your hair will love you for it.
Dry & Tea Britomart is open now, and offers extended hours an amazing seven days per week – Sundays never need be a blow wave free zone ever again! For bookings phone 09 3092128 or email: britomart@dryandtea.com