Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Daily delight: Kate Upton for Harper’s Bazaar Singapore



Top of the blocks: getting serious about sun


Finally we’re seeing a LOT sun of late, which for me is a reminder that summer is here and new sunscreen needs to go on the shopping list on the regular. 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 performance 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.
French beauty brand Guinot also offer beautiful, sun-focused formulas for the new season, one of my favourites 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 I love 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 most effective 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 24, 2015

Daily delight: Adele for Time magazine


Love it: my best of beauty, 2015 - the short list






I love the chance to look back over my favourite products and discoveries of the past twelve months, as well as give them a little love whenever I can! So here they are - a list of veritable ‘must haves’ if ever there was one, in no particular order…

1. “Beautifuly crafted, locally produced face oils that actually do what they say” is how I describe my favourite products by Tribeca Skin Tonics. The small collection is the creation of holistic facialist Ashleigh Scott, and hand-blended in small batches in New Zealand. This artisanal skincare approach means quality ingredients with a hint of luxury, and feeding the skin with the best plant botanicals to promote healthy, balanced skin. They are created with 100 per cent natural ingredients (certified organic where possible), and without nasties.

2. Micellar Water
Models swear by them, every make-up artist I know has one in his or her kit and with their no-rinse, three-in-one formulas they're perfect for travelling and late nights. What are they? Micellar waters, and I for one have been a long time fan. Designed to be swept away with a cotton pad rather than rinsed off, micellar waters use tiny micelle particles to draw make-up (including waterproof mascara), sebum and impurities from the skin. Depending upon how much make-up you wear you may prefer to remove eye make-up separately, but since micellar waters are free of soap and alcohol they are a way more gentle alternative to harsh face wipes, making them perfect for when you're in a rush or on the go.

3. Pureology Cleansing Conditioners
Co-washing and cleansing conditioners - chances are you've probably never heard of them but soon will. What started as a process mainly embraced by those with curly or textured hair is expanding to a wider range of strand types, and the first that I know of has just hit New Zealand and is from Pureology. But what is a cleansing conditioner, exactly? It's made for cleansing (obviously), just like shampoo, but without the harsh sulfates, detergents, or chemicals typically found in one. It's formulated in a way that leaves the hair and scalp feeling clean, but not stripped, and with an added moisturising element.

4. White Spa flotation tanks
When someone told me that floating in a tank could possibly be the ultimate in relaxation and healing, I admit I was sceptical. Hopeful yes, but still suspicious! That was until I tried it, and discovered the wonders that a good float in a great pod can do. Floatation Therapy is based on a scientific approach to deep relaxation called Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique or REST. Floatation REST restricts or eliminates all of the external stress-factors or stimuli that normally affects us every day. Floating in complete darkness and silence liberates large areas of the brain devoted to processing sensory information, further increasing the depth of mental relaxation. While floating the brain slows down into theta waves, the brain wave state of tranquillity, creativity and very deep relaxation. Check out the float tanks at White Spa – put aside the scepticism and I reckon you’ll love it.

5. Martina Organics
Hand blended in small batches; local skincare company Martina Organics describes itself as “an artisanal skincare range” using certified organic ingredients. Selected from both New Zealand and more exotic locales like Morocco, Japan, Africa and Israel, their botanical oils harness the power of plants that have been used for hundreds of years and they feel like heaven on the skin. The range is unisex and comes packaged in unassuming glass bottles with minimal labelling, which is then easily peeled off so the bottle can be re-used for whatever you fancy.

6. M.A.C Studio Waterweight Foundation SPF 30
When it comes to foundations, it's fair to say that M.A.C is all about that base, and its latest launch raises the bar that much higher. M.A.C Studio Waterweight Foundation was the cover up of choice in the kit bags of many a makeup artist during the past season's Fashion Weeks, and with good reason. As legendary makeup artist Terry Barber so wonderfully puts it, “the product is especially perfect for those who want perfect skin but don’t feel comfortable wearing a lot of foundation”. It’s now my little airbrush in a bottle for days when my skin needs a bit of a pep talk, offering natural looking, lightweight coverage that makes it look even, radiant and well-rested.

7. The Beauty Elixir
The Beauty Elixir range has been created by Holistic Facialist Romy Grbic, who works in Jervois Road under the name redox beauty. She has chosen to use only pure, organic and cold-pressed oils in her boutique range of skincare products, giving you a powerful dose of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other vitality-boosting ingredients for your skin in every drop. No fillers, no preservatives and no added chemicals. Simply pure, luxurious, botanical ingredients that love your skin. How great is that?

8. Jo Malone London Incense & Cedrat
Jo Malone London’s Incense & Cedrat Cologne Intense line, which tend to take more masculine notes as their base and are gloriously unisex as a result. Incense & Cedrat was inspired by Omani incense, which is harvested from the Boswellia sacra tree. Marie Salamagne, the perfumer who created Incense & Cedrat, said that Omani incense has never been captured before. She used the NaturePrint™ technique to help it make its way into the perfume, and it comes surrounded by lemon, pepper, elemi, labdanum and benzoin.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Love it: Lancôme Hypnôse Volume-à-porter mascara


I’ve always loved Lancôme’s original Hypnôse mascara, pretty much from the day it launched. And while there have been several follow-up versions – as in Doll Lashes, Drama and Star to name but a few - I always considered the first to be the best for my needs and went through tubes and tubes of it as a result!
Then along came a sample of Lancôme Hypnôse Volume-à-porter (launching in New Zealand in February) and WOW. They call it a “cashmere sensation volume mascara” and as a fan of a) cashmere and b) great mascara, I have to say I was intrigued.
Its main features are:
* First ever Hypnose elastomere brush, for super soft, gentle application
* Flexible head for precise application
* Soft brush with 306 bristles to comb through lashes
* Shorter bristles coat lashes from root
* Longer bristles stretch out the formula to the tips
* Even and generous application
* Melt in cream texture
* Smudge-proof formula
* Latex adheres to the lashes in a smooth film
* Light supple finish on the lashes
* Enriched with exclusive Lancome Native Rose Cells extract softens and densifies the lash fringe
* Subtle rose fragrance
Impressive! So far I have found the brush really easy to use and it helps to curl up my lashes really nicely - no curlers required even with very straight lashes like mine. It is also easily buildable, and the formula is a true jet black and super dries fast. If you get any on the skin above or below the lashes you can just shift it with a cotton bud once it’s dried, but so far I have had zero fallout – claps to that!
I love that it feels super light and comfortable on the lashes and that they stay flexible without a hint of crispiness, despite having a significantly dramatic look about them with just two coats or more. It has been called “feather-weight yet maxi-effective”  - think about va-va-voom lashes that don’t feel like you have a lot of makeup on them.
I love the look of a faux lash even when a set hasn’t been applied, but also hate the feel of too much product on my eyes – as do my contact lenses! This therefore is the ideal solution and I can’t recommend it more. Thanks Lancôme!
Lancôme Hypnôse Volume-à-porter mascara lands February 22, 2016 and has an RRP of $59.00

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Daily delight: Bella Thorne for Glamour Mexico



Summer essential: Oasis Beauty The Hydrator

Having dry, eczema prone skin on and off all of my life, I am always up for a super hydrating body cream or oil to use all year round. I have some faves that are on high rotation, the criteria being: super nourishing, quickly absorbed and fragrance free. I love a beautifully scented product as much as the next person, but when I’ve selected a scent to wear for the day or night I don’t want a moisturiser that will compete with or overpower it.
So with all that in mind, I have just added a new face to the mix in the form of Oasis Beauty The Hydrator. Designed to “quench your skin’s thirst with deep long-lasting hydration and nourishment”, is an everyday unisex moisturising superhero packed with all the good stuff and none of the bad. In its heady mix is avocado oil to nourish, shea butter to hydrate, Manuka and Honeydew honey to soothe and vitamin E to helpfully assist with premature ageing. It has a lighter than air texture that absorbs quickly to lock in vital moisture, and it is suitable all skin types, including those with sensitive skin. Brilliant! I think it will make for a brilliant after-sun soother when the mercury really starts to rise, as well.
It is also very fragrance neutral, which is a bonus if you have super sensitive skin or have a little Jo Malone or Giorgio Armani number lined up to spritz on after application.
“Summer beauty is all about keeping it simple and hydration is the key – eight glasses of water a day and lashings of moisturiser!” says Stephanie Evans, Creator and Director of Oasis Beauty, and I second that for sure. Welcome, new summer skin essential!
Oasis Beauty The Hydrator has an RRP of $29.90 (250ml) and is available now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Daily delight: Serena Williams for Sports Illustrated


Love it: La Mer's truly luxurious The Renewal Oil


Crème de la Mer is one of the most well-regarded - and luxurious - skin creams in the world, thanks to its unique use of sea kelp, eco-friendly processing and above all, the astonishing results the cream yields. It’s also one of the world’s most luxe beauty brands, with an avid following of women who collect its iconic creations by the boxful.
Celebrity lovers of the brand include ‘it’ girl Cara Delevingne and her model sister Poppy, famous faces Blake Lively and Jessica Alba and the multitalented powerhouse Jennifer Lopez, who seems to look younger by the year and confesses to covering her body in Crème de la Mer on a nightly basis. But beyond celebrity endorsement, La Mer also has a remarkable back story, which blends ingenuity and perseverance into a miraculous tale about the creation of a brand that thrives today by helping women look younger.
The story began 40 years ago with a NASA scientist named Dr. Max Huber who was badly burned in an explosion at his laboratory. An aerospace physicist, Huber was injured when a routine experiment to develop rocket fuel went wrong, leaving him with severe burns on his hands and face. Dr. Huber went on to survive the accident and set out over the course of the next 12 years to create a product that would help smooth his badly disfigured skin. What began as one man’s journey to repair his own physical imperfections resulted in the creation of a product that would become a modern beauty icon and loved by women all over the world for its ability to halt the ageing process at every turn.
Dr. Huber experimented with an amazing 6,000 combinations before he hit on a concoction that would help to smooth his damaged skin and become the cornerstone in the La Mer line. The beauty of his formula was that the ingredients were quite basic; the success depended on the quantities of sea kelp, lecithin and vitamins he used, and the months that it took to complete the bio-fermentation of the product. The outcome to these trials was a product he named Miracle Broth. From there he went on to create Crème de la Mer, the flagship product in what is now a much expanded – and beautiful - line.
Which brings me to their newest release, the revolutionary golden drop known as The Renewal Oil. I love a truly luxe beauty item – it stirs the senses and the emotions like you wouldn’t believe, and at every turn you feel like you are allowing yourself that little bit of time for extra pampering i.e. true ‘me’ time in every sense of the word. I also love the feel of using oils on my skin – face and body – and news that a brand as luxurious as La Mer were introducing an oil to their carefully curated collection was always going to get me very excited.
I must admit I was a little surprised that it took them this long to get an oil on the market, given the enormous rise in popularity that they have seen in the past few years, but judging by my initial use of the multitasking new formula, I think it just may have been well worth the wait.
The new silky, multi-faceted elixir infuses skin with what the company calls “the look of youth” and inspires endless possibilities due its status as a true beauty multitasker. Miracle Broth – the aforementioned legendary sea-blend at the heart of Crème de la Mer – and sea-sourced actives are bought together in the formula, working in tandem to help to renew and energise the look of skin.
The truly dual-phase elixir unleashes what can only be called a “wave of activity” (seafaring pun intended) in the skin, with collagen production improving dramatically to help soften the look of emerging lines and wrinkles while visibly firming skin. It also smells like pure heaven, so just the ritual of its application is a real selfcare moment in itself.
To use, start by gently shaking the bottle to activate the Miracle Broth. Sweep 3-5 drops over the face and neck morning and evening, or if you’re feeling particularly indulgent massage the nourishing formula into hair, cuticles and dry areas of the body as needed for equally stellar results. You can even add a drop or two to your favourite face cream for a boost of hydration, as the special formula is not your usual heavy-duty oil but rather a versatile and lightweight take on a major beauty trend. Impressed? I was, and I don’t think I’m alone in falling head over heels for the stuff. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Love it: faves from the Ecoya Christmas 2015 collection


There is nothing like the scent of a freshly chopped Christmas tree to get you in the mood for a carol or two, but along with that comes dropped needles, hay fever and the inevitable question of where to dump the damn thing once it is past its prime.
The solution – and an incredibly delicious solution at that – is picking up one (or two, or three) of Ecoya’s Fresh Pine Needles candles, one of two options from the locally-based home fragrance specialists loved by people all over the world. Released each year, Fresh Pine Needles takes me back to every Christmas I've ever been a part of, seriously. Notes of fresh pine needles enhanced with the richness of newly sawn forest woods are perfectly rounded with citrus and rosewood, making for a fresh and beautiful scent that will linger long after Christmas has passed. It is one of the most evocative scented candles I have every burned, and one I invest in every year.
Ecoya has also released a Christmas limited edition candle for those that love things a little fruitier, in the form of Sweet Fruits & Pink Champagne – an absolute stunner. The sparkling, passionfruit perfume blends perfectly with fruity sweet notes of pink grapefruit and guava, and is reminiscent of all of those perfectly blended summer cocktails that make the season merry. An absolute winner in my humble opinion, I recommend one for you and one for a friend!
The packaging for these special Christmas candles is also absolutely stunning as per, with a white lace overlay on the gold metallic box for Fresh Pine Needles and Sweet Fruits & Pink Champagne housed in a beautiful rose gold metallic box with the same white lace overlay. They are available in full and mini size Madison Jars as well, the latter making for brilliant stocking stuffers at just NZD $24.95.
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. 2015 is definitely no exception, so get out there and grab them while you can!


Friday, December 11, 2015

Daily delight: Poppy Delevingne for Poppy Delevingne X Aquazzura


10 minutes with: Wellness Retreats NZ founder Melissa Carroll



Wellness Retreats NZ founder Melissa Carroll is a happy woman. On the cusp of her final retreat for the year when we spoke, she has spent eighteen months gathering inspirational and talented wellbeing professionals, like-minded brands and fabulous venues to create balanced days of wellness. Set in luxurious surroundings, these retreats comprise practical workshops, educational seminars, yoga, meditation and optional one on one consultations to help nourish body, mind and soul, and are the perfect regular “check in” if you’re on the path to wellness.
I experienced one a couple months back at Ponsonby’s Sapphire Room, and came away inspired, informed and reminded why my own self-care needs to be shifted to the top of my list if I’m going to benefit those around me. Each retreat has a different theme and a different mix of speakers, and are held in beautiful locations like Matakana, Waiheke and Ponsonby.
A delicious nutritious lunch and refreshments are served during the day, using a culinary philosophy that draws together the fundamental elements of good eating incorporating fresh ingredients, wholefoods and gluten, sugar, wheat free cuisine. Guests leave with a goodie bag filled with lush products from retreat sponsors and a toolbox full of inspiration and motivation to make healthy changes in life. How great is that?
Mel’s own personal journey to overcome chronic/adrenal fatigue led her to create the Wellness Retreats NZ brand, and she says her aim was always to “inspire, motivate, nurture and educate guests to boost their wellbeing and lead happier, healthier lives”. As a living, breathing example of a truly glowing human, it is obvious that she practices what she preaches.
She drew together her main speakers from a group of people who have personally helped her on her own journey to health – yoga teacher Nikki Ralston from Urban Ashram, integrative medicine doctor Dr. Kathleen Wills, life coach and author Louise Thompson and medical herbalist from Golden Yogi, Erin O’Hara. “I totally believe in what they say and what they do,” says Mel, “and they also happen to be some of New Zealand’s leading wellness practitioners. To get them all together in one space is pretty special.”
Mel’s own journey began after hitting rock bottom several years ago when she was bed bound due to chronic fatigue. She made the decision to put her health and wellbeing first, turning to natural health and self-healing to get her back on the path to wellness. When she was finally back on track her experiences lead her to a role in health and wellness managing a surf and yoga retreat – Escape Haven (then called Surf Haven) in Bali. She says the chance to focus on her own health whilst managing the retreat really opened her eyes and confirmed that it’s this industry that I had finally found my passion for. It inspired her to embark on yoga teacher training, and at the beginning of 2014 the idea for Wellness Retreats NZ was a very real dream.
“I had a real desire to give others the tools I had been given to make change,” she explains, “and really open their eyes to the fact that even if they too have hit rock bottom, they can come out the other side.” She cites her inclusion of yoga in many of the day-long retreat programs as a great taster for those who have never tried the practice before. The retreats also give attendees the chance to hear a variety of wellness practitioners and determine which kind of professional they might like to see one-on-one for nutritional, naturopathic or general wellness advice, where they might be feeling a bit lost.
Her latest retreat theme is the Motivate & Move Urban Retreat at the stunning Biba Boutique, which she describes as a “fun and playful way to end the year”. Others address things like Spring Detoxing and anxiety, adrenal fatigue and corporate burnout, which was the focus of the Vitality retreat that I attended. “The changing themes allow people to become regulars,” says Mel, ‘and the Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter formats appeal to both men and women, and to both new and returning guests.”
In addition to the daylong retreats, she is also developing corporate retreat programmes, taking the retreats to the boardroom or offsite. “We provide a service that aims to help people unwind, de-stress, re-energise and obtain skills to help balance stress and a busy life with overall wellness capabilities,” says Mel, which is exactly what every corporate-dweller I know needs. Wellness Retreats NZ’s corporate programmes are tailor-made to ensure they meet each companies' own needs, and thus far they have delivered some amazing results. They offer daylong or weeklong programmes, and also half days for those wanting an intensive wellness session to kick off a busy time. A great focus for these programmes is redefining your body’s response to stress, “and giving the people who take part the tools to implement change in their work and personal lives”.
One thing that Mel is keen to get across is that time spent at a Wellness Retreats NZ day is time that is completely about YOU. “It’s a day to slow down, relax and recalibrate… and to be inspired by some of New Zealand’s leading health and wellness practitioners. It’s time to check in with your own journey and reconnect with your best self.”
And who doesn’t need that now and then? I heartily recommend. 
Wellness Retreats NZ is holding their first 2016 retreat - a Motivate & Move Women’s Retreat – on February 21st  at The Sapphire Room, Ponsonby Central. For more info head to http://wellnessretreatsnz.co.nz/

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Daily delight: Miranda Kerr for Harper's Bazaar Australia


Q&A: Christmas with Estée Lauder modern muse, Kendall Jenner


When Kendall Jenner was unveiled earlier this year in her first fragrance campaign as the face of Estée Lauder Modern Muse Le Rouge it was instantly a match made in heaven. “It was not just about capturing the scent of red, it was about capturing a state of mind, a vibrant, dramatic attitude,” said Karyn Khoury, Senior Vice President, Corporate Fragrance Development Worldwide, The Estée Lauder Companies at the time. “This woman inspires others through her unwavering confidence, glamour and sophistication. She lives her life to be noticed – and every ingredient in this scent was carefully selected to reflect that.” That is Jenner to a T, and she has gone on to be one of the iconic brand’s most successful ambassadors to date.
So, when asked to name her holiday season must do’s and must wears her answers were perfectly on point, as well as a revealing look into what the brunette beauty will be up to over the merriest of seasons…

What is your signature holiday beauty look? 
A good red lip.
 ​
Your five holiday beauty must-haves? 
• Pure Color Envy Liquid Lip Potion in ‘Lethal Red’
• Little Black Primer 
• Modern Muse Le Rouge
• Pure Color Intense Kajal EyeLiner
• Double Wear Makeup To Go Liquid Compact

Favourite holiday scent?
Modern Muse Le Rouge

Why do you think fragrance is the perfect gift for the holiday?
It’s cold and you need to cuddle with someone, so you better smell good!

What is your favourite thing about the holidays and why?
I love the love that's in the air and the magic that you can feel! 

Where are you spending the holidays? Are you traveling anywhere? 
I haven't planned anything yet, but I love being home with my family.

Do you have an annual holiday tradition?
We have an annual Christmas Eve party at my mom’s house every year.

How do you stay fit with all the holiday parties? Any secrets you can share?
I try to stay fit by just going to the gym when I have the time and not eating ALL the cookies I see.

What are your favourite places to shop for gifts and why?
I love going to Barney's to buy gifts because they have everything! Plus it’s always christmas-y!

What is your favourite type of gift to give?
I love giving sentimental gifts.

What is the perfect housewarming gift for the host of the party? 
Great bottle of wine or a nice decorative blanket.

What is your favourite holiday song?
Anything Babyface— it’s so good! 

What is the number one gift on your wish list this year? 
Hmmm, I haven’t thought that far yet. Let me keep you posted.

What is your attire for holiday cocktail parties?
Something sparkly! 

What is your favourite holiday film?
My favourite holiday film is The Grinch… When his little heart grows! 

What is your favourite holiday food?
My favourite holiday food is a sweet potato soufflé  

Monday, December 7, 2015

Love it: KEVIN.MURPHY’s new DOO.OVER


I happily admit to the fact that I hate washing and blowdrying my own hair. Loathe it. Will do anything to avoid it in fact, which is why I have an extensive collection of dry shampoos.
When Dry Shampoo first hit the beauty industry with a bang a few years ago (after years of trucking along quite nicely thank you as an underground product), I swear I tried every one under the sun. Some were incredibly pricey and others not, whilst some were highly effective whilst others were little better than a sprinkle of talc – and just as obvious.
One of the first I tried – and an instant favourite – is KEVIN.MURPHY FRESH.HAIR. A dry cleaner for the hair that gives body and texture, removes odours, excess oil and the like, it has been a go-to of mine ever since. I fear however, that it may have been superseded… by a fresh new product from the company of the same name!
The amazing KEVIN.MURPHY  - still heavily involved with the superstar hair stylist and founder of the brand, Kevin Murphy – has launched DOO.OVER, a styling product that utilises the attributes of a styling powder and a flash drying hair spray. Providing volume, texture and a lasting hold,DOO.OVER is designed to revive a blow dry or extend the life of second-day hair, offering an instant “hair doo” in a can. How great is that?
DOO.OVER uses a powder technology that joyfully won’t create a web of resin in the hair – allowing you to recreate and re-form new looks and shapes. It’s also built for all hair types and lengths, and can be used by both men and women.
The key ingredient is Tapioca Starch, which gives hair a soft, velvety feel while simultaneously helping to remove excess moisture and oil. Virginian Cedar Wood is in there working hard as a gentle astringent and antiseptic, similar to a skincare toner but designed for hair. Patchouli adds a light, fresh scent while Silica increases body and sheen.
“One of my favourite current hair trends is the return to some of the shapes and textures of the late 1960s and early 1970s – softer-looking styles with volume and movement. I’ve always been fascinated by the volume that powder can achieve, but wanted a spray-version that could be used anywhere, anytime. From this concept, DOO.OVER was born,” KEVIN.MURPHY stylist and founder Kevin Murphy, says. “DOO.OVER gives hair lots of volume and hold but with a softer look and flexible form. For a completely refreshed style, simply spray product onto hair roots for an instant ‘doo’ over!”
DOO.OVER can be used on dry hair at any time or as a finishing spray immediately after styling. Spray lightly directly on roots for an instantaneous “doo” over, too easy.
On and also, for every can of DOO.OVER sold, a financial contribution will be made to help reduce global carbon emissions. Love that.

DOO.OVER is available now – and perfect for summer party and getaway season – and has an RRP of $49.00

Daily delight: Alicia Vikander for Harper’s Bazaar UK



Friday, December 4, 2015

Beauty news: James Read Tan arrives in New Zealand


A few years ago when I was visiting London, a very respected makeup artist friend gave me some sample bottles of his favourite self-tanning products – James Read Tan. He's an incredibly fussy sort so I knew they would be good, just how good pretty much blew my mind.
James Read himself is a self made "tantrepreneur" whose products now regularly sell out on Net-a-Porter and whose skill at creating honey hued limbs is legendary. The go-to guy whenever a celebrity or model needs to take the pallor out of her skin, Read’s client list reads like a Who’s Who of the red carpet, from Mariah Carey to Lady Gaga and Lara Stone. It was inevitable that he would go on to create his own self tanning range, and in 2012 it launched in the UK and is finally available down under at Mecca Cosmetica. Hurrah! 
"I have dreamed of having my own product range from the very first day I started working in the self-tanning industry 11 years ago," he told UK Vogue back at the time of the James Read Tan collection’s release. "I wanted to create a range of luxury products that give the skin a natural, healthy-looking colour, but also protect the wellbeing of the skin by using anti-ageing ingredients in the formulations."
Read worked on the range - which includes fragrance-free liquid, gradual and wash-off tans, as well as an innovative gradual tanning pen - for two years, with the help of former Vogue beauty director Anna-Marie Solowij and her business partner Simon Turnbull. The end result is a carefully curated collection of essentials that are beautifully formulated, highly effective and – most importantly – super easy to use. Read has formulated his products with conditioning ingredients to suit every skin tone in one universal shade, and the possibilities really are endless.
The product from the collection that I have on high rotate at the moment is the Instant Bronzing Mist  - an instant tanning mist that imparts a smooth golden glow. The technically advanced 360-degree nozzle means application is a cinch with a decent glove, too. Whisper light and in the aforementioned universal shade to suit all skin colours, the mist continues to develop over 3-5 hours on the skin, lasting up to 5 days. It has been formulated with Aloe Vera to hydrate, Vitamin E to help protect against UV damage and Co Enzyme Q10 to help to reduce the signs of wrinkles, and is pretty much magic in a bottle.
Next on my wish list is the Tan Extending Sleep Serum, a regenerating and repairing serum that delivers complexion-beautifying results whilst extending the life of both a fake and natural tan.  Formulated with Aloe Vera to hydrate, Melano Bronze to prolong a tan, Monk's Pepper to boost skin regeneration and Milesis to target the look of ageing, it is a colourless formula that helps to soften skin and even out skin tone. Genius.
Check out the range online at Mecca Cosmetica here

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Love it: the STOLEN GIRLFRIENDS CLUB X SAMSUNG Gear S2 Watch


I have long wanted a FitBit or similar for tracking my exercise freak tendencies, but for some reason have never got around to actually buying one. I’ve also been casually hunting for a timepiece that’s a little sleeker than my go-to black Baby G watch but again, have never found the right match. Luckily for me then that those wonderful types at Stolen Girlfriends Club have collaborated with the techie people at Samsung to create the collaboration that really is an answer to my prayers: the STOLEN GIRLFRIENDS CLUB X SAMSUNG Gear S2 Watch.
Samsung partnered with New Zealand fashion label Stolen Girlfriends Club to release an exclusive capsule collection of four customised leather watchstraps, which definitely look better than your average smart watch. The straps, designed to be fitted to the Gear S2 classic, are available to consumers as an exclusive gift with purchase for a limited number of Samsung customers.
Marc Moore, Creative Director of Stolen Girlfriends and generally pretty damn affable guy has lead the strap design for this state of the art specialist smart watch, adding a layer of edge to the watch’s already sleek design. Inspired by vintage timepieces, the bespoke collection is handmade in New Zealand and crafted by Stolen’s team of artisans. Four colours are in the collection - black and brown croc, green and blue snake - each epitomising the designer’s signature handprint. Elegant and cutting edge, the Gear S2 Smart
 “I was really inspired by vintage watch straps for this collaboration with Samsung on the new Gear S2 Classic,” said Marc. “I’ll be honest, I haven’t been a huge fan of some of the smart watches being launched by brands lately – just because they look so ‘techy’, it doesn’t leave much option for people that are into fashion. So I was pretty excited when I first saw the Gear S2 Classic, I knew instantly that a vintage styled strap would work great. We had a bit of fun with the colours and textures of the leather we sourced whilst keeping it really wearable and quite classic.”
The evolution of Samsung’s wearable technology is marked by the simplicity and practical functionality of the turning watch face bezel – a first for all smart watches and innovation led by Samsung. A huge bonus for a relative luddite like me, the Gear S2 rotating bezel allows you to move between screens and applications and navigate content super easily. The Gear S2 allows you to reply quickly to notifications like txts and Facebook messages pushed through from your mobile phone, so you can stay in touch with the quick turn of the bezel. The ability to preset frequently used replies makes it easy and practical to communicate too.It also allows you to skip to your favourite track or zoom in on a map, meaning greatly increased functionality all round.
But back to my desire for a FitBit, which is now satiated. The Gear S2 packs in an awesome array of health and fitness tracking features, with more coming all the time. Samsung’s S Health app logs your daily steps, monitors your heart rate, and helps you track both water and caffeine (yikes!) intake. Other fitness apps include Nike+, Running, letting you map runs and track your progress without having to drag your Smartphone along. I have been using these features religiously at the gym and when out walking, and have to say I have been pretty impressed at my progress!
On a purely aesthetic level, not only does the Gear S2 feature interchangeable straps, you can customise your watch face to suit your mood or outfit. You can Choose from designs on the Samsung Gear App, or create your own using your favourite images.
Lastly, the (very small and travel friendly) wireless charging dock ensures that recharging your battery is simple and easy. The Samsung Gear S2 already has 2-3 days’ battery life, making the little devil truly a smart  - and good looking - piece of wearable technology.
The special edition Samsung x Stolen Girlfriends Club watch straps for the Gear S2 Classic are available as a gift with purchase for Gear S2 Classic customers for a limited time only. For more information visit Samsung.com/nz. Gear S2 Classic and Gear S2 are available for purchase now from Samsung.com/nz or from selected national retailers.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Daily delight: Jennifer Lopez for J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez



Love it: Trilogy Age-Proof Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream

Call me crazy (many have), but one of my favourite parts of any facial is the cleansing process, which I could happily lie and have done to me all day! I’m incredibly fussy when it comes to cleansers for home use as well, and really like to take my time giving my skin a good massage and then compressing and wiping with a fresh muslin cloth.
With all of the above in mind, it takes a lot for a cleanser to really impress me, but one I’ve just started using really has!
It’s the a newly repackaged release from all natural New Zealand skincare stars Trilogy, and is called Age-Proof Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream. It is a unique blend of active fruit enzymes and pure plant oils that gives you a nice mix of luxury and efficacy. “Cleansing your skin is one of the most important parts of a beauty routine. It preps your skin for all other treatments,” Trilogy in-house beauty expert Corinne Morley advises, and I couldn’t agree more.
Repackaged in a larger, 200ml frosted grey pump bottle for ease of use, the silky, mousse-like formulation gently re-texturises and renews the complexion, polishing away the build-up of skin-dulling impurities to reveal smooth, refined skin with a youthful radiant glow.  It’s the perfect cleanser choice for me at the end of the day, when I want to remove everything from my skin that the previous twelve or so hours has thrown at it.
Active fruit enzymes in the form of papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapple are in there to help to regenerate the skin without exfoliating viable cells. Papain and bromelain break down and loosen dry, damaged or older cells from the skin’s surface, revealing brighter skin whilst going easy on what lies beneath. Bromelain also helps promote elasticity and reduces inflammation for a smoother, more even skin tone.
Licorice and mulberry help with brightening, while jojoba esters smooth and reinforce the epidermis.  Vitamin E, a vital component for healthy skin, is also included to nourish  and help fight free radical damage. This cleanser is basically a nice balance between thorough cleansing and gentle daily exfoliating action, and leaves the skin perfectly prepared for maximum absorption of serums and creams.
Certified natural under the internationally recognised NATRUE standard, Trilogy Age-Proof Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream is listed in Fauna & Flora International’s Good Scrub Guide.  The guide was launched to help skincare buyers identify products that use safe, natural alternatives to plastic microbeads, which are a significant contributor to microplastic pollution in our oceans.
Trilogy Age-Proof Active Enzyme Cleansing Cream (200ml) is available right now, RRP $47.90 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Daily delight: Romee Strijd for Mario Testino’s ‘Towel Series'


Beauty news: Oribe arrives in New Zealand at last!



One of the things that makes living in New Zealand such a fantastic proposition is its remoteness, but this can also be a huge bummer when it comes to grabbing the latest and greatest, the newest and the best. One thing I have really missed isbeing able to buy some of my favourite beauty products, including more than a few by the legendary Oribe Canales, hair stylist to the stars.
Oribe, the eponymous product line from one of the most influential hairdressers of all time, defines luxury in hair care. The man has been one of the most sought after hairstylists for fashion, editorial and advertising work for the last 30 years and his product range reflects just how in love with what he does he really is. His collaborators include countless photographers, like Bill King, who introduced him to the fashion editor Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, a co-conspirator during his Steven Meisel years. Then there was the meticulous Irving Penn, who Oribe still refers to as Mr. Penn; and Helmut Newton, who shot Cindy Crawford for American Vogue with hair that Oribe teased to infinity; and others like Richard Avedon, Patrick Demarchelier, Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, Francesco Scavullo and Horst. He’s a man that loves making women look gorgeous, and his signature is super luxurious locks.
Anyway, I was overjoyed when a couple of weeks ago I was invited to Mollie’s boutique hotel to see (almost) the entire Oribe line, which is now available in New Zealand at D&M hair design, Stephen Marr and Ryder, with more salons to be rolled out next year. D&M co-owner Danny Pato was out in chanrge of using Oribe styling products to give a little life back to my shockingly sad looking locks, and in 15 minutes (or less) the transformation was extraordinary. I also had a consultation to determine which Oribe shampoo and conditioner would suit my needs best (check out the packaging, above!) and sent home with a duo as well as one product that I have been dying to get my hands on for perhaps, forever.
Oribe a rather prolific creator of new must-haves, and the one I’d been obsessing about is Oribe Hair Care Dry Texturizing Spray. An invisible dry spray that builds incredible volume and adds super texture to any hair style, it is a brilliant alternative to dry shampoo, using patented polymers to absorb oil at the roots, leaving you with just‐styled hair for days (and nights). This versatile styling spray can also be used on clean hair to add lift at the roots, texture and volume for bigger, better, full‐on glamorous hair without any powdery white residue. The paraben‐free formula also refreshes any style, protects colour with a multi‐layered UV protection system and leaves hair looking, feeling and smelling beautiful with Oribe’s yummy signature scent. This sounds like THE perfect product for creating the fuller styles dominating the runways right now, as well as being a welcome addition to your daily arsenal of beauty weaponry.
Right now getting to finally have a play, I am one very happy woman! Welcome Oribe... at last.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Love it: Kiehl’s X Peter Max holiday collection


Each year US skincare brand and modern beauty icon Kiehl’s unveil limited edition versions of some of their best sellers as reinterpreted by some of the world’s most unique and innovative artists. Over the years they have become collectables, and are always far too awesome looking to hide away in the bathroom cabinet!
This year is no different with the release of the super colourful, whimsical and fun Kiehl’s X Peter Max collection. Peter Max is a German-born, world-raised, and New York-based artist who rose to fame and prominence in American pop culture when his art captured the imagination of the ’60s generation.  His designs have adorned everything from a US postage stamp to a Continental 777 super jet and more, and his work fits the Kiehl’s aesthetic like a glove.
Inspired by the art legend’s acclaimed work “The Cosmic Runner,” this season’s limited-edition Kiehl’s packaging will impart smiles and a spirit of celebration amongst Kiehl’s customers all over the world. From a wide range of subjects, Max captures the beauty of nature with sunsets over mountains, rolling landscapes, and puffy clouds, accented by his iconic “Holiday Flyers” that dance across the sky through his signature vibrant colour palette. The bright, imaginative design - which perfectly embodies Kiehl’s energetic spirit - is sure to burst through traditional holiday landscape, making for exceptionally unique and joyful holiday gifts that I for one would be more than happy to receive!
The whimsical design will adorn a selection of Kiehl’s most beloved formulas, including Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream and Calendula Toner, as well as a new collection of scented Richly Hydrating Hand Creams (below) in Lavender, Coriander and Grapefruit. Inspired by the cult classic Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, the new Ultimate Nourishing Hand Creams are formulated with Shea Butter, which protects skin from dehydration and restores skin’s suppleness, and Vitamin E, which is known as a strong anti-oxidant and helps to protect the skin. Want them all!
The Kiehl’s X Peter Max holiday collection is on counter now.




Monday, November 23, 2015

Daily delight: Julianne Moore for Modern Luxury's Angeleno magazine




Beauty news: Maybelline New York signs Cris Urena


Maybelline New York has announced that Cris Urena, the stunning Dominican-American model has become the brand’s newest spokesperson.
She joins Maybelline New York’s prestigious roster of multi-racial, inspiring women including Christy Turlington, Adriana Lima, Jourdan Dunn, Emily DiDonato, Gigi Hadid and a host of others.
“Cris was an obvious choice for us, not only because of her striking natural beauty but also because she is much more than just a beautiful woman,” says Leonardo Chavez, Maybelline New York Global Brand President. “Cris embodies Maybelline New York’s brand values. She has New York’s energy, edge, and style and has the ability to inspire all women to define their personal beauty. We are excited to have her as part of the Maybelline family,”
Cris is thrilled to be joining Maybelline New York because of her early memories of the brand, which was one of the first cosmetic products she had ever used. “The first time I used Maybelline was in high school to get ready for my prom. It was my first time wearing foundation! I wore Dream Matte Mousse which was a favorite of all of my friends at the time and is still a favorite of mine today."
Cris has recently appeared in campaigns for Uniqlo, Topshop, Gap and many others as well as being one of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2014 Rookies. She has also collaborated with the world’s most renowned fashion photographers including Mario Sorrenti, Bruce Weber, Alasdair McLellan, Sebastian Faena, and Santiago & Mauricio.
You can follow Cris on Instagram @crisurena

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Love it: the Jo Malone London Christmas collection


A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be briefed in all that is new at Jo Malone London for the upcoming festive season and let me tell you - you are all in for a treat or two! It’s a brand that never, ever disappoints, and with new, exiting products and the return of a beloved favourite you might like to get hint dropping early to avoid disappointment.
Most exciting is the news that the exquisite Jo Malone London advent calendar (see below) will be back, and available only from their Britomart, Auckland boutique. It is definitely the prettiest and most luxurious of its ilk that I have ever seen, and filled to the brim with all manner of Jo Malone London gorgeousness.
Another comeback is the divine Roasted Chestnut candle. The beautiful, robust and aromatic scent will be back not only within a candle gift set with two other candles: Blackberry & Bay and Pine & Eucalyptus but also as a stand alone deluxe candle that will fill your home with the scent of Christmas from first light. I have never owned a Jo Malone London deluxe candle but it is on my list for when I am a ‘woman of means’ – they are the ultimate in luxe home fragrancing, seriously.
Next up, if like myself you love Jo Malone London colognes (and who doesn't), then you have two cologne collections to choose from - the Intense Cologne Collection containing petite 9ml bottles of : Tuberose Angelica, Velvet Rose & Oud, Amber & Patchouli, Dark Amber & Ginger Lily and Oud & Bergamot Cologne. The second option is the slightly more affordable Cologne collection which again includes 9ml bottles of: Pomegranate Noir, English Pear & Freesia, Peony & Blush and breakaway hit, Wood Sage & Sea Salt.
A super luxe gifting option is the Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia Bath Salts, which are $65.00 for three sachets. Not only do they smell incredible, but they come nestled in the most divine packaging, a house-shaped box that is a nod to the iconic Jo Malone London Town House.
There is also the return of the Jo Malone Christmas Ornament and Jo Malone Christmas Cracker, as well as plenty of their famous Pine & Eucalyptus products too.
Oh, and all are in store now so get in there and get festive!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Daily delight: Cate Blanchett for W magazine




Fragrance love: Lancôme La Vie Est Belle and Alaïa Paris

I personally don’t need any excuse to indulge in the purchase of my favourite fragrances, and have quite the “wardrobe” to prove it! I love updating it each season, and there are a handful of absolute beauties floating around at the moment that I wholeheartedly recommend for yourself – or for (god forbid) Christmas gifting.
First up on my new favourites list is the latest from international beauty house Lancôme, and takes the form of the beautiful La Vie Est Belle Eau de Parfum Intense. The new fragrance for women is a deeper, more gourmand variation on 2012's original La Vie Est Belle Eau de Parfum, as was last year's La Vie Est Belle L'Absolu. Like the others it was developed by perfumers Dominique Ropion and Anne Flipo though, and notes include bergamot, orange, pear, blackcurrant bud, pink pepper, iris pallida, tuberose, ylang ylang, jasmine, orange blossom, and a nut accord. The bottle is also an absolute delight, and a hand-finished couture bow around the neck makes every one a little bit unique.




Another fragrance I’m loving at the moment is the heady, sexy Alaïa Paris, the first release ever from the legendary, diminutive designer Azzedine Alaïa. As you’d expect from ‘The King of Cling’, the scent has been created to go on like a sexy, second skin - just like his designs. It has animalistic tones of musk, blended with notes freesia and pink pepper, and is as provocative as any of the Tunisian-born, Paris-based designer bust-hugging, waist-cinching dresses. "Above all, Mr Alaïa did not want to be able to recognise a single ingredient individually," explained perfumer Marie Salamagne (she’s popular!) of the enigmatic scent. "Every time we were able to isolate an ingredient, we had to change something. In particular he didn't want to be able to recognise any flowers, and definitely not white flowers. The idea was not to be able to tell a "story" through fragrance, just to capture something of Alaia's vision." Misty, and mysterious, are definitely apt descriptions.