Thursday, September 29, 2016
Legendary skincare name Aesop’s first New Zealand store officially opened on Tuesday night in Newmarket, Auckland and good god she is beautiful. I was unable to attend official proceedings due to being fresh out of hospital, but a sneaky reccy I did prior to my surgery filled me with awe and delight.
Aesop is not your regular high-end skincare company. There are no big promises, no celebrity endorsements, no glossy packaging and no advertising. As a brand, they are committed to celebrating science by integrating both plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients, and the efficacy of their product formulations is world renowned. An interview with Aesop General Manager of Retail and Customer Relations Suzanne Santos told us “you need a blend of well-chosen man-made ingredients with exceptional botanical ingredients to make remarkable products”, and I personally have never met an Aesop product I didn’t like. I first encountered the brand many years ago on a trip to Sydney and after washing my hands with their premier luxury soap, I was irrevocably hooked.
Aesop’s blend of science and nature slaps aside the ridiculous hyperbole that defines much of the beauty industry. All of its products are paraben-free and largely ‘botanical’, drawing heavily on antioxidant-rich parsley-seed extract. Its trademark, apothecary-style brown-glass bottles keep ingredients fresh for longer, and just feel so right in my bathroom cabinet in the most understated way. The less-is-more approach appeals to the type of consumer who doesn’t need fruity surroundings and overbearing retail staff to tell them what is wrong with their skin, but those who are happy to pay slightly higher prices for authentic top-quality products that just make you feel good – and work.
Aesop’s founder Dennis Paphitis has famously been quoted as saying: “Luxury is an attitude, a spirit, a celebration of the everyday; it is certainly not an overpriced, monogrammed handbag that’s distributed as widely as fast food,” and their stores around the world reflect this value.
Created in collaboration with Patterson Associates, the new Newmarket retail space was inspired by the region’s architectural heritage and is a haven in the madness that is the popular shopping precinct.
The interior echoes the raw simplicity of a traditional New Zealand washroom or old school bach or holiday home. Recycled Rimu timber folds up the walls, creating a refined version of the horizontal boards found in early colonial washrooms. Similarly, large windows prompt an immediate relationship with the exterior, allowing an abundance of natural light and fresh air to filter through the space.
As an ode to the domestic ritual of washing that is integral to Aesop’s philosophy, a large concrete tub sits as the centrepiece of the interior. The shelving surfaces are reminiscent of oven trays, subtly paying homage to the site’s original use as a commercial bakery.
Clients can explore and select from a complete range of skin, hair and body care products, distinguished by botanical and laboratory-generated ingredients of the highest quality. The store’s trained consultants are able to offer advice about products best suited to individual needs and like the brand, are intelligent, informed and delightfully understated in their approach. In other words: the new Aesop space is a winner, and I look forward to becoming a regular.
Shop 2, 2-8 Osborne Street
+64 9 522 2774Tweet
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
I don’t need any excuse to give props to New Zealand natural skincare company Trilogy, who were one of the first off the block and are still creating beautiful new products today. They are also consistently affordable too, giving those with smaller budgets the chance to get super charged formulas as easily as the next woman.
Their latest releases are some of my favourites yet, and are set to be on high rotate over the coming months due to the layers being shed as the temperature rises. They come as part of the recently re-launched Trilogy Body range, which has meant a sleek new look for their existing body prods along with the introduction of a couple of killer newbies.
NATRUE certified natural products, Trilogy Pure Plant Body Oil and Trilogy Exfoliating Body Balm are an absolute joy to use, and by god I have given them a thrashing since they first came across my desk a few weeks’ ago.
At just $29.99 for an 110ml bottle of goodness, the new Pure Plant Body Oil is one of the most luxurious body oils I have ever used – and I am a BIG user of body oils. Designed for every day, all-over use, it is an unscented, silky as oil that glides on to hydrate, nourish and improve skin health. With Trilogy’s signature rosehip oil to repair and hydrate, sweet almond oil to stabilise the natural pH of the skin and apricot oil to soothe inflammation, it is a simple formula but one that works. A great natural alternative to the more common petrochemical-based body oils, Trilogy Pure Plant Body Oil is ideal for use throughout pregnancy and on scars, and the fact that it is fragrance-free makes it both perfect for those with sensitive skin and a great option for regular perfume wearers as won’t mess with any fragrance you apply before leaving home on top. I have found that it absorbs super quickly on my post-surgery, super dry skin, and I think it will be brilliant for using after days at the beach over the summer months too.
The second new release is Trilogy Exfoliating Body Balm, which is a NATRUE certified natural body polisher that leaves skin silky- smooth, hydrated and glowing. Buttery-textured and perfect for use in the bath or shower (although be careful as it can make the surface of a bath a little slippery), it uses finely ground rosehip seed powder as a natural exfoliant. A rich blend of rosehip oil, sweet almond oil and beeswax are also in there to nourish, soften and protect skin, while the seed powder gently buffs and refines skin texture without compromising the skin’s natural barrier function.
Another brilliant example of an innovative, biodegradable, ocean-safe alternative to plastic microbeads, the powder is ground from the solids which remain after the seed oil extraction process, making good use of a by-product and thereby reducing waste. Perfect! It is also delightfully un-messy to use, unlike some body scrubs etc which go everywhere no matter how carefully you use them.
I’ve been using this combo twice a week and have to say that my skin is really starting to turn up the glow – bring on bare leg season I say!
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Last week at London Fashion Week Erdem took to the runway, and the exquisitely whimsical label did not disappoint. Vogue’s Suzy Menkes said the show “seemed to capture elements from the past that are relevant to today. The clothes did not look antique or vintage; rather, they were saucy and seductive. While using accoutrements from the past - no shorts or stretch trousers here - the collection was modern.”
Designer Erdem Moralioglu trained at the prestigious Royal College of Art in London and is known for his use of experimental textiles, vibrant prints, and detailed craftsmanship. He has created a beautiful world of the delicate mixed with the bold, and his latest collection – reportedly inspired by a 17th-century dress found in a shipwreck and the free-spirited 1920s – was absolutely alluring, the stuff that dreams are made of.
Iconic hair styling brand ghd partnered with designer Erdem and session stylist Anthony Turner to create a hair look to complement the S/S 2017 collection, and it was as beautiful as the clothes themselves. “The Erdem girl is always on a journey and this season she’s from the 16th century and has been at sea,” said Anthony Turner, “so she’s sporting wispy, shipwrecked braids”.
Anthony first applied a salt spray to the hair to create a matte texture before blow-drying hair using the ghd air hairdryer and fingers.
A beachy wave was then created by wrapping sections of hair around the ghd curve classic curl tong, before pulling hair into two pigtails at the base of the neck. Both pigtails were braided and loosely deconstructed before being crossed over and secured flat around the nape of the neck.
A simple piece of matte black ribbon was tied around the hair to form a bow at the side to finish the look.
“The hair has a soft, romantic feel; it is not too considered or elaborate,” said Turner of the finished look, which he added would “translate well into wedding hair”.
To get the look yourself, try these few simple steps:
1. Prep with a salt spray before blow-drying hair downwards using a ghd air hairdyer and fingers.
2. Loosely curl hair in different directions with the ghd curve™ classic curl tong.
3. Use the ghd tail comb to create a middle parting, then secure hair into two separate ponytails at the nape of the neck. Tie with elastic.
4. Braid each ponytail and then loosely dishevel with hands to give the braids a deconstructed texture.
5. Cross the braids over and pin flat against the nape of the neck. They must stay flat to the head and not create a bulky silhouette.
6. Gently pull out sections around the hairline before wrapping a matte black ribbon around the hair and underneath the braids, securing in a bow at the side of the head.
Just beautiful, yeah?
Sunday, September 18, 2016
A haircare brand that has long treated hair with the same reverance as the skin, it comes as no surprise that Kérastase Paris has long created specific solutions to all manner hair issues. I recently updated my own hair “prescription” to an all- Kérastase Paris that consists of products cherry-picked from across their collections and by golly, it has transformed my locks with its high performance exactitude!
The latest Kérastase Paris to hit New Zealand salons is Nutritive Magistral, specifically created for hair that is brittle, lacklustre, a downright hot mess. These are just some of the words that come to mind when we think about severely damaged hair, which over the summer months could be yours.
Since 1979, the iconic, dry hair expert Kérastase Nutritive has stood the test of time, pioneering excellence to keep hair nourished and radiant. It was one of the first salon-only products I used after I began stripping the hell out of my hair during my “blonde years”, and was an absolute lifesaver at the time. Fast forward to 2016 and to meet the haircare needs of those who seek something a little extra, Kérastase has revealed the most durable nourishment yet. Combining the power of Kérastase advanced research and the science of dry hair, the Nutritive collection expands to introduce Nutritive Magistral for severely dry hair.
Hair dryness results from alterations to the surface of the hair. Due to natural reasons or exposure to external aggressors, the hair cuticle scales become raised, producing the rough feel and a dull, lifeless look. The driest of hair requires extra-special care, and the Nutritive Magistral at-home ritual has been created to really give your hairback its long lost bounce, making it more manageable along the way.
The collection comprises Bain, Fondant, Masque and Crème variants, each offering restoring shine and suppleness from within defpending on your needs. An offspring of the original Nutritive Irisome formula, Magistral is at the highest Nutritive concentration yet (4600 ppm), also enriched with gluco active, ceramic and xylose resin from the benzoin tree to replenish the nutrients in the hair.
The Nutritive Magistral collection also sees the introduction of a complete package redesign. To support L’Oréal’s goal of Sustainability by 2020 the renovated packaging is lighter, with a new cap designed to save an estimated 45 tons of plastic per year – which gets the big tick from me. The new packaging is to be mirrored throughout all other Kérastase collections too – exciting stuff.
If the Kérastase Paris Nutritive Magistral collection sounds like a bit of you over the coming months – and beyond – then pop into a Kérastase salon near you to update your own prescription.Tweet
Friday, September 16, 2016
New York Fashion Week 2016 was a different beast to years past, with fewer celeb sightings but more quality superstars in attendance, and some more established brands like Ralph Lauren and Tom Ford really taking their turn to once again shine.
It was a whirlwind of colour, next level street style and heart-stopping design, and international nail brand essie took centre stage at the event making lust-worthy appearances on the rag & bone, Oscar de la Renta and Monique Lhuillier runways.
Each nail look perfectly complemented the collections; whether tough and academic, modern and cool or edgy and elegant.
Rag & bone’s Spring 2017 collection was all about a girl with just a bit of an attitude. While the collection had a fresh and ‘real’ feel to it, it also had a heavy academia influence and a slight toughness – leading Julie Kandalac for essie to create a custom red manicure (above top) using a-list and really red to perfectly match the pops of red in the collection. She also interspersed a neutral nail (above below) and a black nail, opting for sand tropez and licorice, on eight of the girls.
The Oscar de la Renta Spring 2017 collection was all about a modern mix of cool and elegance – a wealthy girl who is high quality but not uptight. Michelle Saunders for essie took that inspiration and wanted to keep the nails very short, minimal and rounded – a departure from the typical Oscar de la Renta show. She chose the classic mademoiselle with a high shine top coat for a fresh and young take (above). For a unique twist on the pedicure, Michelle layered spin the bottle and mademoiselle to create a neutral, pinky nude – the perfect spring shade.
And last but not least Monique Lhuillier’s spring/summer 2017 collection was full of edgy elegance. To complement this, Julie Kandalac for essie paired wicked on the fingernails with classic sheer on the toes (think good to go top coat): “They’re feminine, fluid and timeless shades, and not too sugary sweet – just like the collection,” she says.
Shades retail for $22.99 in select Farmers and pharmacy stores throughout New Zealand. Care range from $24.99.
For more information on essie visit http://www.essie.com/Tweet
Thursday, September 15, 2016
I’ve always been cursed with dark under eye circles, which I think are at least 80 per cent genetic. I had them even as a toddler - which is well before I started burning the candle at both ends – and as a teenager suffered the fools gladly who asked if someone had bopped me one carefully in each eye. Add genuine tiredness to the mix and I’m reaching for quite literally anything to help cancel them out. They can be covered up with the right concealer, but I’m always on the hunt for a great eye cream that will treat my dark circles as well as the early signs of ageing such as fine lines, crêpiness and the like.
This has always been quite elusive, perhaps until now. The product that has been winning me over of late and just may be the answer to my prayers is Lancôme’s Visionnaire Yeux - Eye On Correction Advanced Multi-Correcting Eye Balm (a bit of a mouthful I know, but bear with me).
Given that Lancôme's original Visionnaire facial product was such a hit, I knew it wouldn't be long before they launched a serious new eye-area counterpart, and here it is.
The first 3-in-1 eye cream with the power of Jasmonates (a small group of related molecules derived from linolenic acid), it targets all manner of eye contour-related issue like wrinkles, dark circles and bags with aplomb. In less than a minute, the area around your eyes are actually optically whitened and given a delicately “rested” appearance no matter how many hours you’ve had your head on the pillow. And, over time it has truly amazing corrective properties to boot. The product contains key technologies like Lancôme’s legendary hydra blur technology (think silky powders and soft focus agents), the aforementioned Jasmonate and caffeine, which work together as quite the clever cocktail. This means it works by diminishing the appearance of dark circles, smoothing out eye wrinkles and refining the look and texture of the eye contour over time – magic!
Also a super cooling eye balm that feels amazing when you smooth it on in the morning, its lightweight texture blends seamlessly into the skin, targeting fine lines, evening skin tone and reducing the appearance of bags and dark circles. Makeup application over the top is a breeze, especially given that hardly any is needed after this little magic balm smoothes everything out.
So, there you have it. Amazing. And don’t just take my word for it – this baby lands on counter on Monday (RRP $118.00) so get there to a Lancôme expert and try it out for yourself.Tweet
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
I just got back from a far-too-short holiday in the beautiful Cook Islands, where Rarotonga most definitely turned on the sun. It was exactly what I needed in the lead up to some pretty major surgery that I am having on Monday, and I felt super thankful to have some time in the sea and the sun with my family. Truly amazing!
It goes without saying that I came prepared by packing some the COOLA brand’s consistently kick arse products, including a couple of new releases that I can now confidently vouch for in the form of COOLA Guava Mango Sunscreen Spray SPF50 and COOLA Rōsilliance SPF 30 BB+ Cream.
COOLA is the name that I recommend to anyone who asks me advice 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 two distinct organic sunscreen collections to choose from: 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.
But back to my holiday. First up, I cannot rave enough about the brand’s beautifully scented, high performance Guava Mango Sunscreen Spray SPF50. It doesn’t get much easier than spritzing your sunscreen on the go, and this clear, continuous spray in an all natural Guava Mango scent is one of the most effective products I have ever used. Offering broad spectrum SPF 50 protection, the deluxe, eco-sized “Farm to Face” sourced spray nourishes and hydrates the skin with more than 70 per cent certified organic ingredients like Cucumber, Algae and Strawberry Extracts. I was mainly testing it whilst lying prone in a lounger, cocktail in hand, but it’s actually formulated for the rigorous demands of sport and is water resistant for 80 minutes. This means you really can have your fun in the sun and then some! I love that it contains no nano-sized particles and comes in a deluxe size, which for $59.00 will definitely go a long way. This product lands in store on November 1 in New Zealand and I can’t recommend it enough.
It’s also important to note while I’m at it that COOLA doesn’t just do straight suncare – and one of their newest releases was also packed in my bag after I first reviewed it a couple weeks' ago. It’s the really rather amazing COOLA Rōsilliance SPF 30 BB+ Cream, which is best described by the brand as a “skin perfecting tinted moisturizer to help boost your naturally luminescent glow and support fresh, healthy-looking skin”.
A mineral-centric, broad spectrum SPF 30 formula that applies like a dream, it offers a barely-there feel but does a lot. The sheer, tinted coverage blends and perfects your skin tone, whilst a proprietary bouquet of Rose Stem Cells offers an advanced bio-complex to smooth, moisturise and replenish your skin's natural resilience. Amazing, huh? It lasted in the humid, Rarotonga heat with aplomb, and I can report not even the slightest hint of sunburn crossed my face. Yep, you need.
For COOLA stockist enquiries head to www.beautycare.co.nz, there will definitely be one near you.Tweet
Monday, September 12, 2016
His original collection of high-pigment lipsticks proved a huge commercial success when they were launched many years ago, and despite their higher-than-average price tag sold out all over the world.
Then in 2011 Mr. Tom Ford announced that he was expanding his beauty offering to include a full range of cosmetics and skincare, and naturally it was flawless – and an instant hit.
At the time of its release he told the press, “my intention was to do colour cosmetics out of the gate, but not everyone else was convinced that I had a voice in colour until the lipsticks started selling out again and again…” How wrong they were! He added that a practical approach, leaning on his years as an architecture student, formed the basis of the original collection. “I don’t like B.S. and a lot of promises, and there are a lot of products out there you don’t even need,” he told the lucky few at the big reveal. “You need to understand the face and compensate for the architecture of the face. A nice thick brow is the key to a youthful look.”
The perfect mix of this back-to-basics approach to bold colour and some seriously luxe packaging, it has been making its way to New Zealand via overseas trips for years now and finally, FINALLY it’s available here. After a much-anticipated opening over the weekend at Smith & Caughey’s Queen Street store the flagship counter has finally been revealed, carrying the complete and highly coveted TOM FORD BEAUTY collection. Comprising Private Blend and Signature Fragrances and the stunning Cosmetics Collection, Smith & Caughey’s Queen Street will also be your destination for the highly sought after foundation wardrobe and Mr Ford’s seasonal runway colour collections.
The Auckland counter opened just days after TOM FORD’s AW16 showing at New York Fashion Week. The makeup featured at the show forms the latest TOM FORD BEAUTY collection (see an example, above) and will be available to purchase at Smith & Caughey’s later this month. This runway collection debuts a permanent lineup of eight Lip Contour Duos (below) and two limited edition shades of Cream Color for Eyes. “The AW16 beauty collection features luxurious and elevated neutrals that complement the vision for the season,” said Ford, to which I say: “bring it”.
Both Auckland and Wellington TOM FORD BEAUTY counters will also stock Ombre Leather, a Private Blend Eau de Parfum directly inspired by the runway. Ombre Leather invites you into Tom Ford’s complete vision of the AW16 season with a definitive olfactive statement. “Ombre Leather is an extremely textural scent that imprints you with a tactile sensuality,” says the style maestro, “it makes one feel different, beautiful and desired.” And who am I to argue with that?
Friday, September 2, 2016
Victoria Beckham has been in the spotlight for an amazing 20 years or more, so it would be safe to say that she knows a thing or two about beauty, and about what works and what doesn’t. Along the way, she's also learned the tricks of the trade from some of the industry's best makeup artists like Pat McGrath, Val Garland, and Charlotte Tilbury, and I for one think her pared back glamour is a breath of fresh air in the Age of the Kardashian and its associated Sharpie-drawn brow.
A long-time makeup devotee and apparently a collector herself, the designer and mother of four has taken what's she's learned into her latest project, a limited-edition makeup collection with Estée Lauder. The collection features all the pieces a woman really needs in her makeup bag - as handpicked by Beckham – and I have to say it is one of the most perfectly curated releases I have seen in a long time. As in, WANT IT ALL.
The 14-piece make-up range is tipped to be the biggest beauty launch of the season globally, and an instant sell-out. The creative process for the collection reportedly focused on Beckham’s own lifestyle, which is most definitely jet setting but also jammed pack with everyday stuff like work and kids. The range is divided into four looks based around the key cities in her life, Paris, London, LA and New York, and in my opinion each look is both practical and wearable. There are no crazy shades or tricky products in there – it’s elegant, sexy and also guaranteed to work for all ages and skintones. The collection apparently took over 18 months to create and it wasn’t without its difficulties – you get the feeling that Queen V personally wear tested every single piece again and again, and the unabashed perfectionist goddamn nailed it.
“I am thrilled to be launching this limited-edition makeup collection with Estée Lauder,” said Beckham in a statement. “The whole process has been both inspiring and eye opening. From going back and revisiting the Estée Lauder archives through to working on the product with the Estée team, this feels like the perfect makeup partnership for me and my brand. I had long admired Estée Lauder the woman, and the powerful brand that she created, so I am excited to offer both of our customers this makeup range and play a small part in her vision for women.”
I have had a few products to play with and have become totally obsessed. The range isn’t vast but it does include a few surprises, such as the Morning Aura cream. Beckham refers to the latter as a hero, a glow potion for skin that can be used over or under makeup and that helps with long haul-induced dullness and dehydration. “I will get on a plane from London and travel to either New York or L.A. or Asia, and when I get off at the other end, I’m paparazzi-ed,” said Beckham to the press matter-of-factly. “So I want something that moisturizes, tightens, lifts, acts as a primer, and gives me that really great glow. And it can be used on its own.
“Wherever I am, if I’m just running around and want a more natural look, I’ll put on my moisturizer and then I’ll put Morning Aura all over my face. If I’m going out, and know I’m going to be photographed, then I will put it on top of my makeup, on my eyes, down the centre of my nose, on the bow of my lip and also on the top of my cheeks, and I’ve also used it on my collar bones.”
She’s has said she even mixes Morning Aura with moisturizer and rubs it on her arms and legs. “It’s so versatile but very, very luxurious, and the kind of thing I’ve searched for and never been able to find.” I haven’t got my hands on this beauty yet but totally will once the collection lands proper in a couple of weeks, it sounds THAT good.
Another winning product is the matte bronzer, Java Sun - which Beckham also uses to contour her cheeks, on her eyes and under her chin – and the Eye Ink, a newly engineered pressed gel-cream formula that can be used dry or wet. There are also metal-finish eye shadows and liquid eye “foils,” that deliver a vinyl-like shine with pearl pigments and metallic flecks — as well as light-reflecting shadows that come in a palette.
Lip products include a modern red called Chilean Sunset, but the shade I can’t take off is the proudly neutral Brazilian Nude (below). Apparently Beckham spent a long time trying to formulate the “perfect” nude, because the shade is famously tricky to get right. There is also a flawless nude pencil, which Lauder say is the one item that Victoria wears every single day and does not leave home without. They called it simply Victoria, because it is her must-have product.
While Estee Lauder has labelled the Victoria Beckham range as ‘limited edition’ thus far, the last two people that teamed up with the global beauty giant were a certain Mr. Tom Ford and Ms. Aerin Lauder. Both of whom now have their own ranges under the Estée Lauder Companies umbrella. Fingers are most definitely crossed!
This collection lands in store on October 1.