Friday, May 26, 2017

Daily delight: Gisele Bundchen for Vogue Paris

Foundation Friday: Lancôme’s Absolue Cushion

Foundation is like the white shirt of your beauty bag - an everyday essential that always works when and where you need it. But we all have a few white shirts depending on the hour and the season, and this also applies to your base. Consider the idea of building a closet full of foundation choices, as there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to makeup.
Every foundation wardrobe needs a cushion, and there are plenty to choose from out there. Like many great things beauty, the basic idea for the unique cushion delivery system for foundation comes from Korea. Back when I was a wee one and they didn’t have self-adhesive stamps, post offices kept a little round sponge sitting in water in a little round dish so you could moisten your stamp without having to lick it. Sometime back in 2007, Korean beauty brand AmorePacific was reportedly inspired by the idea of putting a "stamp of approval" on a new must-have concept, and developed the first cushion compact. They released the IOPE Air Cushion in 2008 and since then, the use of cushion compacts has become so popular that apparently 75 per cent of Korean women have used/are using a cushion compact. Pretty amazing, huh? 
Lancôme was the first Western beauty brand to create its own version of the cushion back in 2015, when it launched the Teint Miracle-inspired Miracle Cushion. With a waiting list a mile long, it instantly sold out in many markets, verifying its status as a modern beauty legend.  A year later they released Teint Idole Ultra Cushion, another huge hit that was once again inspired by one of their legendary foundations.
Two years after the international launch of its first cushion, Lancôme, driven by its pioneering spirit, took things a step further with the release of the Absolue Cushion, which is on counter now. A true “luxury cushion”, its secret resides in the interwoven fibres of the sponge cushion that allow it to encapsulate richer, creamier formulas for an extra luxe feel. This makes the Absolue Cushion perfect for women seeking high coverage and a soft, lightweight texture. The mesh covering the cushion allows only the right quantity to be distributed while helping keep the product fresh for a natural, uniform make-up result. 
Super luxurious to have and to hold, the Absolue Cushion comes nestled in an elegant case trimmed with black and sheathed in a suedette pouch. Inside the case are two sophisticated tools in the form of a rose petal applicator perfectly adapted to the curves of the face and the Absolue Cushion kabuki, an indulgently soft make-up tool the makes it possible to perfectly smooth make-up over the flat zones of the face. Its fibres capture the formula for a natural result and offer the soft sensation of a gentle massage at each application. Amazing.
Lancôme’s Absolue Cushion is available right now, and with an RRP of $150.00 certainly doesn’t come cheap. If you have the spare beauty dollars though, I say take the plunge – you won’t be disappointed.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Daily delight Bella Hadid for Nike's Cortez campaign

Love it: Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm

I am a huge fan of Bobbi Brown, both the woman and the brand. Both are beautiful yet practical, with the end goal being making every woman look the best she can be. The celebrity MUA is also famous for her belief that foundation should look like skin – and that’s why she has created various formulas that achieve a natural finish no matter what your skin type or skin tone.
She has also created a marvellous little wonder designed to sit somewhere in between the foundation and skincare category, in the form of Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm. A creamy moisturising formula that is perfect for dry or older skins, it has a very fine, pearlised pale gold shimmer to give skin an illuminated, radiant, healthy effect.
Its rich, creamy texture has an obvious iridescence and shimmer to it, and it can be used as a highlighter or in any number of other ways depending on your skin type and desired end result.
The shade is a very pale gold, which adds warmth and delicate shine, and the texture gives skin a bit of a hydration boost, and made my feel soft and supple too. The subtle sheen almost tricks the eye into seeing healthy, radiant skin without seeing “shimmer” as such, so don’t be afraid to play with this if you’re usually averse to a little shine.
There are a few ways you can use the Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm, some of the ones I have had the most success with being:
1. Wearing the creamy formula on its own for beautifully healthy looking, luminous skin. This is perfect for days when your skin might feel a little on the dull side but you don’t feel like wearing a full face, and with a little concealer is just as effective as a BB cream IMHO.
2. Under your chosen foundation to add a subtle glow. If you have dry skin you can apply a full face under a thin layer of foundation for a your-skin-but-better look, or to perk up a more mattifying base. Don’t forget your usual moisturiser though as this isn’t a substitute, just a little something extra!
3. Blended with your foundation to add luminosity. The super fine shimmer effect gives added luminosity to most liquid foundations for that all-elusive “glow” factor.
4. Over foundation or BB Cream for a little highlight and shine exactly where you want it. Pat it on top of your foundation with your fingers or a flat foundation brush to control where you want it to sit, and the light hit.
Last up, I really like the packaging – and not just for its sleek, minimalist style. The pump twists up and is easy to control, so you can dispense just the right amount. Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm is in store now with an RRP of $120, but a little definitely goes a long way!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Daily delight: Lana Del Rey for Elle UK

Love it: Kiehl’s new Butterstick Lip Treatment

Since the opening of its original apothecary in New York City in 1851, Kiehl’s has become a globally renowned name in the skincare industry for serving its customers the finest formulations made with the most advanced skincare science and uniquely efficacious, natural ingredients. The customer has always been central to Kiehl’s, inspiring each and every company decision from development to sampling to service philosophy, and the brand has an uncanny knack for creating must-have products that yes, you need RIGHT now.
The latest release that arrived across my desk just as the temperature was dropping is the brand’s beautiful new Butterstick Lip Treatment, which is the latest formula to be added to the impressive Kiehl’s lineup of lip care. Already famous for celebrated hydrating lip formulas like Lip Balm #1, Eucalyptus Lip Relief and Facial Fuel No-Shine Moisturising Lip Balm (for the blokes), the newbie to the Kiehl’s lip category is something entirely different again.
Butterstick Lip Treatment is a multi-benefit lip treatment collection, available in both clear and sheer hues, to hydrate and protect lips with SPF 25 protection. A super duper hydrating and smoothing balm, it uses a nourishing blend of oils and butters to get the job done that includes Coconut Oil, which instantly melts onto lips for a boost of soothing moisture. With antioxidants like Lemon Butter also in the mix, the yummy lip treatment provides year-round protection for lips, helping them stay hydrated for up to 12 hours after application. 
The skin on our lips is 75 per cent thinner than regular skin and has fewer sebaceous glands, making them drier with a weaker skin barrier. Furthermore, due to accelerated skin cell turnover on lips, the skin on lips loses water an insane three times faster than regular skin and experiences only a third of the hydration. Lip skin also contains three times less melanin than regular skin, making lips more sensitive to sun damage and in dire need of a quality SPF during daylight hours.
Formulated with 100 per cent natural ingredients, this is where Butterstick Lip Treatment steps in for all your lip loving needs. The sunscreen will keep lips protected in the summer sun and the nourishing ingredients will keep lips hydrated throughout the brutal winter months, and Kiehl’s Butterstick Lip Treatment also has a light hint of colour that can be layered on for more intensity, which I love.
These sweet looking tubes are on counter now from the Kiehl’s flagship boutique in Britomart, Smith and Caughey’s, Sylvia Park, Westfield Riccarton and Ballantynes, with an RRP of $38.00.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Daily delight: Paris Jackson for Teen Vogue

Fragrance news: Curio Noir unveils Pūrotu Rose

Midway through last year, luxurious home and beauty brand Curio Noir unveiled a range of exquisite handmade perfumes, while simultaneously celebrating the opening of their flagship store on Ponsonby Road. For those unfamiliar with the brand, Curio Noir was founded in 2011 by Jeans and has grown into one of Australasia’s most luxurious perfumery and candle ranges. Tiffany crafted a series of hand-cast skull candles individually wrapped in tulle for each guest at her wedding, and it was from this labour of love that the idea for Curio Noir grew.
Darkly alluring and reminiscent of a Parisian atelier, Curio Noir's flagship store is in the space formerly occupied by Wunderkammer at 76a Ponsonby Road, and is a veritable feast for the senses. Within its walls you’ll find the sought after line of Curio Noir glass candles, CN Absolute Parfum, Curio Noir hard soaps and leather coasters, exclusive Zora Bell Boyd jewellery and a range of Comme Des Garcons fragrance.
The Absolute Parfum perfumery line has to be played with to be believed, and is currently made up of several unisex fragrances crafted by Curio Noir creator Tiffany Jeans and mixed by perfumers in Grasse, France. Called Opia, Diaphanous, Tobacco Night and Dark Bouquet, they are now joined by the dirty, sensual and heady Pūrotu Rose, which I for one, have not been able to put down.
Pūrotu Rose means “Handsome Rose” in Māori, and was inspired by the scents that swirled around Jeans at a tangi (or funeral), where soil, smoke and rose filled the air. With notes of Rose Otto Absolute, Rose de Mai, Bitter Orange, Cumin, Pink Pepper, Haiti Vetyver and Cistus, balanced out with Teak Wood and Javanese Vetyver, it is not a scent for the faint of heart and proudly unisex in appeal.
Tiffany says of the new release, “Pūrotu Rose is a spicy, woody, dirty rose fragrance and a meaningful fragrance for me. It was inspired by a childhood memory I have of my Great Grandfather’s tangi. The day was incredibly hot, and three very distinct scents filled the air – a  rich, earthy scent from the soil; smoke from the hangi cooking for lunch and the sweet scent of roses that adorned the tables”. The resulting Parfum is somewhat of a paradox – it is a rosy scent that is deeply spicy with wooden undertones, and is an extract de parfum for men and women.
Pūrotu Rose is available in either a 5ml petite French perfume bottle (RRP $40), or 50ml bottle (RRP $240.00). From the flagship store only, customers can select their own hand-blown, bespoke glass bottle made in collaboration with Monmouth Glass Studio and have it filled with up to 100mls of fragrance, from RRP$380.  
Pūrotu Rose and other Curionoir objects of desire are available now from exclusive boutiques in New Zealand, London, Prague, New York, the Curionoir flagship store and

Friday, May 19, 2017

Daily delight: Gal Gadot for Marie Claire magazine

Fragrance Friday: Jo Malone London Star Magnolia

Jo Malone London is one of the few fragrance brands who create florals even a musky-spicy-woodsy lover like me can get their head around – and fall in love with – and when they do it, they always do it well.
The latest flowery masterpiece from the iconic brand is Star Magnolia, a limited edition cologne that also comes (rather gloriously) in the form of a hair mist. Magnolia is a floral note not that commonly used in perfumery these days, although it does makes the rounds every so often. It is definitely true there are magnolia scents out there, but for every one magnolia there is a thousand tuberoses and even more jasmines, and I for one, prefer the cool white beauty over both of those.
Jo Malone London describes the new fragrance as “delicate white blossoms bursting with Spring’s sparkling charm”, and the key elements are star magnolia at the heart, along with magnolia leaf and orange blossom, lemon, ginger and shiso. Magnolia leaf Oil brings a fresh, green facet to the fragrance, whilst a base of Sandalwood keeps things grounded and always interesting.
Star Magnolia was created by Master Perfumer, Anne Flipo, who has been responsible for some of Jo Malone London’s most unique scents like Basil & Neroli and Lavender & Coriander. The latter was one of my absolute favourites from the limited edition Herb Garden collection, to the point where I near wept when the bottle ran out! In Star Magnolia she has created another absolute stunner, a floral that is never overpowering but definitely beguiling. I for one, can’t get enough.
Oh and last but by no means least, bathed in white, the beautiful bottle comes wearing a soft collar of white floral petals and is quite simply too pretty to hide in a drawer. Yes, you NEED.

Star Magnolia is available now at Jo Malone London stockists nationwide, with an RRP of $232 for a 100ml cologne, $116 for a 50ml cologne and $90.00 for the gorgeous hair mist.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Daily delight: Kaia Gerber for Penshoppe DenimLab

All about: Bees Brilliance honey-based skincare

In my job sometimes it feels like you hear about a new honey-based skincare range launch every day, mostly from New Zealand and mostly with loads of money behind them. They don’t always have the most engaging stories or products though, and make wild claims that they can’t possible live up to. Bees Brilliance skincare stood out from the pack though, and after co-owner Julene Cropp contacted me and sent me a couple of their beautifully crafted creations I can’t wait to hear what this little company goes on to achieve.
Julene’s husband Matthew says he was “born with beekeeping in his veins”. A fourth generation honey maker, he grew up watching his father tend to the family beehives. Whilst he had a successful career in aviation, a tramping trip to the Hollyford Track in Milford Sounds changed Matthew’s path. It was here he met Julene, who shared his passion for nature. It wasn’t long before the beautiful lands of Nelson called them home.
Matthew’s father had developed the world-famous Royal Nectar Bee Venom Mask, and knowing they had something special on hand, Matthew and Julene launched themselves into learning more about honey-based skincare. The pair dedicated themselves to gaining an expert knowledge of bees and honey production, carefully researching the different compositions of honey to create a range that, when combined with the finest natural ingredients, “works as hard as the bees in their hives”.
Their attention to detail is evident in everything from the eco-luxe packaging to their website, which is super comprehensive and pretty much details each and EVERY ingredient that can be found in their skincare, and in true laywoman’s terms. Some of the ones that stood out for me were:
Manuka Honey : from the nectar of the Manuka bush flower (Leptospermum Scoparium), Manuka Honey is rich in natural sugars, amino acids and vitamins. A natural humectant that helps to draw moisture into the skin, it is revered for its scientifically-proven skin healing properties.
Bee Pollen Oil : crafted from the pollen bees collect from plants, Bee Pollen Oil is often regarded as a superfood for the skin. A golden organic oil rich in amino acids, vitamins and minerals, Bee Pollen Oil is packed with vital nutrients to feed the skin and encourage regeneration.
Beeswax : produced in the glands of young bees in the hive, Beeswax is the material bees use to build hives and seal the honeycomb cells. Beeswax is renowned for its skin moisturising and soothing properties.
Propolis : a red or brown resin-like substance, bees collect Propolis from tree bark and buds. Often referred to as ‘bee glue’, bees use Propolis to seal the hive to keep it hygienic and clean.
Rich in bio-flavonoids, Propolis is known for its anti-microbial properties and is regarded as a great skin reviver.
Royal Jelly : a white liquid substance, honey bees secrete. Often referred to as “bee milk”, worker bees feed the nutritional Royal Jelly to baby honeybee larvae in the beehive. Royal Jelly is packed with vital nutrients to feed the skin and enhance texture.
Allantoin : derived from the root of the comfrey herb, this is a natural reviving and protecting ingredient, and helps healing of the skin.
Aloe Vera Powder : obtained from the leaves of the aloe plants, aloe powder is higher concentration than the fresh plant. Refreshes and calms helping to maintain moisture balance and is beneficial for soothing, sensitivity and irritation.
Avocado Oil : rich in skin-nourishing Vitamin D and E, and Linoleic Acid, this cold pressed oil supports skin moisture balance, preventing it from drying out, while helping to strengthen the dermis.
So far from the range I’ve been playing with the Manuka Honey Foaming Cleanser, which comes in a handy pump bottle and when mixed with water, becomes a soft jelly foam of microbubbles. It cleanses skin and removes makeup without stripping the skin of its essential moisture, but as it’s suited to combination skin this baby has been a little drying on my well, dry skin! I think I’ll save this for summer though, as it’s a beautiful formula.
I’ve also been playing with the Instant Hydra Firming Shot, which is new to the range and perfect for this time of year. An intense daily hydrating and cooling gel cream that “instantly firms, lifts and plumps skin”, it is lightweight but instantly hydrating, leaving your skin feeling pretty fabulous. In the formula you’ll find Aquaxyl, a natural derivative of two plant sugars that is a powerful, long-lasting moisturiser that actually increases water retention by improving the skin’s natural ability to retain water, and “Chiwi 8 Complex”, a potent blend of the best of New Zealand’s botanicals and the world of Traditional Chinese Medicine to protect the skin from ageing. Intriguing, and amazing.
On my wish list now is the brand’s Original Manuka Honey Mask, which they describe as a “pot of pure liquid gold active Manuka Honey that instantly coats the skin for the ultimate moisture boost and intense nourishment”. It is formulated with 40 per cent active New Zealand Manuka Honey, Methylglyoxal, Bee Pollen Oil, Glycerine and Meadowfoam Oil, and sounds incredible.
To find out more about this beautiful, locally crafted skincare brand, head here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Daily delight: Gigi Hadid for Harper’s Bazaar US

Beauty news: Mana Dave named Redken artistic director

Mana Dave (above), Redken international platform artist and owner of much-loved – and hugely successful - Auckland hair salons Blaze and Pony Professional, has added yet another achievement to his ever-growing resume. As well as being a bloody nice bloke, Mana is an award-winning hair stylist, and now the talented colour specialist and three-time New Zealand hairdresser of the year has been named Redken artistic director. This prestigious title encompasses the growth and development of the Redken NZ artistic team, helps shape the Redken creative programmes for salons, gives creative direction for NZFW shows and provides input into the seasonal fashion trends for Redken.
“Within New Zealand I have the vision for our team to be seen by the industry as the lead team for high-impact education and fashion-forward hair trends,” says Dave. “Our artistic team is working with some of New Zealand’s premier fashion partners like Stolen Girlfriends Club, Zambesi, Knuefermann and Huffer on a variety of projects and ultimately I want to see more of them on the international stage showcasing their amazing work.”
Dave has recently returned from Las Vegas for the fifth time, where he presented a master class at the highly anticipated Redken International Symposium. This bi-annual hair education event attracts an insane 10,000 beauty professionals seeking to learn more about their industry through 27 different masterclasses ranging from colour, design, finishing, total look, social media and business development. Dave also facilitates classes at the renowned Redken 5th Ave, New York where stylists travel from around the globe to learn master artistry from the award-winning artist.
Dave described his experience working alongside celebrity colourist Tracy Cunningham – whose client list includes Khloe Kardashian, Jessica Biel and Jennifer Lopez – and Redken artistic education director Sam Villa as, “both nerve-wracking and humbling”. He was paired with UK stylist Lee Stafford and together they were the first international Redken facilitators to present their own showcase to the Symposium. 
On being an impactful facilitator Dave says, “A large part of it is about figuring out the way that you work and what makes you unique. Once you have figured that out, you have the ability to be authentic and ultimately connect. That's when you have the most impact.”
Congrats Mana, clear proof that good guys can finish first.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Daily delight: Monica Bellucci, Vanity Fair Italy

All about: the Kérastase Aura Botanica collection

A haircare brand that has long treated hair with the same reverence as the skin, it comes as no surprise that Kérastase Paris have developed an all-natural haircare collection that is well in line with global beauty trends. For those who yearn for natural haircare with unquestionable performance and luxury, Kérastase has created what the brand believes is the “next generation of natural haircare” – Aura Botanica. Its face is natural beauty – and respected super – Toni Garrn, whose hair is pretty much what we all want, as evidenced above!
But back to Aura Botanica. We have long been conditioned to think sulfates, parabens, silicones are essential if you desire great hair, but for Aura Botanica, Kérastase dedicated itself to responsibly sourcing sustainable, highly effective and concentrated actives free of all three. Crafted with pure hand pressed Samoan coconut and Moroccan argan oils, the Aura Botanica collection is 98 percent natural in origin – this is not by chance, it’s by choice. 
The virgin coconut oil used in the Aura Botanica collection is responsibly sourced from Samoa; it’s production help more than 200 women receive a regular income to invest in health and training programs. Kérastase’s argan oil is also responsibly sourced and organically certified. Pressed by hand to preserve maximum active nutrients, its production assists Moroccan women to harvest the oil while respecting the UNESCO forest – each woman planting 30 new trees each year. Not only does the 98 percent biodegradable formula respect the environment, the Aura Botanica packaging supports the Kérastase promise to reduce its carbon foot print. 
The ethical and luxurious collection also sees the introduction of the first L’Oréal shampoo to contain micellar, Aura Botanica Bain Micellaire. A fragrant, silky formula, it captures and detaches external impurities from the hair, lathering to gently cleanse in preparation for the Soin Fondamental conditioning formula that instantly melts into hair to facilitate detangling while leaving hair deeply nourished. 
I particularly love the Concentré Essentiel Hair Oil, a delicate formula which uses renewable avocado oil, rich in Omegas 6 and 9, and jojoba oil to add softness and shine to hair, while rosemary extract helps preserve the oils. You can use it as a pre-cleanse treatment, to boost your conditioner and even to nourish the hands, nails and cuticles – I do love a multitasker!
The collection also includes the luxurious Essence D’Éclat, a moisturising bi-phase oil mist that can be spritzed on the hair at any stage of the drying process to boost softness and glow.
The Aura Botanica collection is available right now, go here for more details and to find a salon near you.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Daily delight: Helena Christensen for Debenhams

Love it: Aesop unveils its Aromatique Room Sprays

Legendary skincare name Aesop’s first New Zealand store officially opened in September of last year in Newmarket, Auckland and good god she is beautiful. A trip there comes highly recommended - it’s a treat your senses that will render you almost unable to leave.
Aesop is not your regular high-end skincare, haircare, home fragrance and more 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.  Their 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 or what their home should smell like, 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.
Their home fragrance offerings have mostly been limited edition - albeit absolutely exquisite – but now for the first time, Aesop has introduced a trio of Aromatique Room Sprays into its permanent range. The collection is made up of three distinctive new scents for the brand: 
Istros - a refined, floral and smoky aroma that I have been lucky enough to have been filling my home with that was named for an ancient Greek port town. In terms of fragrance notes, Istros is an uplifting blend of Pink Pepper, Lavender and Mimosa, layered with warm undertones of Cedar and Sandalwood. A hint of Tobacco lingers to ground its refined character.
Olous - a vibrant blend of green and citrus botanicals that I think sounds perfect for the warmer months, Olous honours the city long lost to the Mediterranean seabed. It offers an olfactory melody of Grapefruit, Bergamot and Jasmine, matched delicately with Galbanum and Cardamom, Cedar and Incense.
Cythera - a warm, woody and spicy fragrance that falls right in line with winter cocooning and celebrates its Hellenic namesake’s herculean spirit of resilience with a robust blend of Neroli, Geranium and Patchouli. A deft marriage with Ambrette and Myrrh results in a warm, woody and stirring aroma. 
“The Room Sprays were created to revive the senses and redefine your living or working environment with uplifting, calming aromas,” said Dr Kate Forbes, Aesop’s General Manager of Products and R&D. “Each Room Spray features botanical extracts of the finest quality to provide an enduring scent to transform your space, and subtly dissipate over time.” 
Never a brand to rush things unnecessarily, Aesop reportedly developed the new Aromatique Room Sprays over two years, refining the individual aromas with care. “Aesop is synonymous with scent, so it felt like a natural evolution for us to introduce Aromatique Room Sprays as a permanent addition to our range,” Dr Forbes continued. “Our desire was to create three considered scents to offer discrete choice and stimulate the senses, so we combined unorthodox and evocative ingredients to develop the new Room Spray collection.” 
For best results, the brand recommends that you spray two to three pumps throughout the immediate space and refresh as needed; the aroma seriously will last for several hours. Oh and for a true sensorial delight, as an additional offer to clients, Aesop collaborated with American composer and musician Jesse Paris Smith to create three original tracks inspired by the aromas. Available for complimentary download at, each is designed to enhance the olfactory experience of the Room Sprays. Amazing.
The heavenly Istros, Cythera and Olous Aromatique Room Sprays come packaged in 100 ml sleek, amber glass spray bottles, with an RRP of NZD$71.00. They will be available for individual purchase at Aesop signature stores, select department store counters and stockists globally from July 3, 2017, as well as Aesop Online. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Daily delight: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley for Glamour UK

All about: Eau Thermale Avène and the Physiolift range

My obsession with French beauty may have started with a red lipstick, but it's French skincare that really turned my head and reeled me in. Packing for Paris means leaving room in your suitcase for one heck of a lot of beauty-related purchases - after all, the city’s legendary pharmacies and perfumeries are impossible to resist.
And it’s not just the products - the philosophy that goes alongside their most famous brands is equally as alluring. French women are very much concerned about looking after their skin and their body in the long term, as opposed to the mainly-US and UK-based beauty approach that looks for results, NOW. This attitude permeates into the New Zealand Australian psyche a lot these days as well – women expect products to work over night, and if they don’t get the results they desire straight away they opt for harsh chemicals and exfoliants that may provide the wow-factor in the short term, but will irreparably damage their skin over time.
Which brings me to Eau Thermale Avène, a legendary French brand that is available in New Zealand, and one of most gentle and calming skincare out there. A brand centred on the use of thermal spring water and its soothing properties, all Avène products are created to heal and soothe even the most sensitive skin types. Even children.
One of the most recommended skincare brands by French dermatologists, it works to fight against irritated skin, intolerant skin and allergic skin. Its most famous offering is its Thermal Spring Water, which has calmed my skin over the years even when it’s been at its most eczema-afflicted. A naturally soothing source for sensitive skin since 1743, Avène’s Thermal Spring Water's unique composition is clinically shown by over 150 studies to calm, soothe and soften the skin. Ideal for red, sensitive or irritated skin and perfect for post-workout, travel, outdoor activities or to freshen up makeup, it is incredibly reasonably priced and a must in every bathroom. It also comes with a Gwyneth Paltrow seal of approval, and if the GOOP stands by it then chances are you should too!
So, the brand is famous for its gentle formulations that soothe even the most sensitive of skin, but now is also has an anti-ageing line, Physiolift, that addresses the needs of mature skin without drying it out or irritating it. I have been using it for almost a month now and the compliments I have been getting on my skin have been almost over-the-top in their enthusiasm, which is especially amazing when you consider how gentle the products are and the fact that the majority hover around the $70.00 mark.
Physiolift Day Smoothing Cream is one of the products that I have loved, and is surprisingly basic but works a charm. It contains sodium hyaluronate to hydrate skin, backed with shea butter to add extra moisture and create a barrier on the skin that prevents moisture loss for at least 8 hours. It also absorbs super quickly and creates a plump, even surface for your makeup – bonus! If you have oily skin they have the option of Physiolift Day Smoothing Emulsion, which has a lighter touch.
My second fave is the Physiolift Eye Crème, which is used at night patted gently onto the eye contour area and brow bone. It’s designed to smooth wrinkles and firm the skin around the eye area whilst helping to diminish puffiness and dark circles, and although not much can be done for my dark circles, it delivered on the rest with zero irritation.
Lastly, I fell in love with the last moisturiser in the range, the Physiolift Smoothing Regenerating Night Balm, which feels amazing and takes a very French, slow but steady approach to results.  A cross between a balm and a gel, it sinks in quickly, without leaving a greasy residue on your face, or your pillow. It contains the likes of sodium hyaluronate to plump up skin and dimethicone to fill in fine lines, but also pulls out one of the bigger guns in the form of retinal. Also known as retinhaldeyde, retinal is a form of vitamin A that can be converted by the body into retinoic acid or retinol in just one simple step. Once that happens, retinal boosts the production of collagen and increases skin’s thickness and elasticity. It’s less immediately effective than retinol, but also gentler, which is why it’s a much better choice for those with sensitive skin. It’s also a great starting point for those of you who want to try retinol but are too afraid to take the plunge.
It takes weeks to see a small improvement with retinol itself and with retinal, it takes even longer. But, keep at it. Those legions of effortlessly beautiful French women can’t be wrong…

Friday, May 5, 2017

Daily delight: Jessica Chastain for Prada

Love it: M.A.C Next to Nothing Face Colour

A tube of sexy, sheer, balmy perfection, M.A.C’s newest offering goes by the name Next to Nothing, and aims to feel exactly like that. M.A.C Pro Senior Artist, Kiekie Stanners says that the new base is not so much a foundation as “Face Colour”, and the formula is packed with nourishing ingredients and opalescent microspheres that bring out skin’s luminosity whether worn under makeup or alone. “It’s essentially a skin enhancing balm that has been designed to create the effect of a filter for the skin,” says the globetrotting artist. The finish is luminescent, balmy and dewy, with sheer coverage. “Your skin looks diffused and enhanced, and you can then opt to leave it as is with just a little powder, or in conjunction with a foundation to create additional dimension.”
It has been launched alongside the finely milled Next to Nothing Pressed Powder, which is also a lightweight formula for long lasting, high comfort wear, and two brushes designed with the new product offering in mind. “Its balmy, glowing effect gives your skin the look we all want,” says Stanners, “it is enhanced and diffused without being loaded with product. It’s instant gratification, really.”
Keri Blair, Global Senior Artist, M.A.C Cosmetics is also a raving fan of the new formulation and its powdery counterpart, and emphasised the different approach it needs when it comes to application. “With most M.A.C foundations, you can build them from a sheer to a medium to a full coverage if you stipple on or keep layering. With this product, it’s really important that you’re very directional about your application,” she says. It is best applied with a sponge or with one of the specialty brushes launched alongside the new formula. The biggest difference is that Next To Nothing Face Colour is not a traditional foundation; it’s truly a product that you use to either enhance existing skin texture, or use in conjunction with a foundation to create additional dimension. The accompanying powder gives it a slightly more velvety matte look, and is best reserved for “hot spots” where you have oil you want to control.
The technology behind how Next To Nothing is manufactured allows the properties to lay differently on the skin, while preserving that ever-elusive luminosity that we all desire. It does have oil control, but it still gives skin a glowing texture, so even someone with drier skin can still wear it very comfortably. It also doesn’t have an SPF, which makes it unique and wearable for a wide array of people, especially if their skin is sensitive to sunscreen. 
Since the formula is so sheer, you can use each shade on a wide range of skin tones. To get shade matched, I would recommend consulting your friendly local M.A.C artist – definitely the industry professional I see most often! – so you can get the best shade match for you and find out a little more about best practice application and the like.
So, in conclusion… Next to Nothing is basically the closest you'll ever get to an Instagram filter IRL, and I love it
Next to Nothing Face Colour is in store now, RRP$64.00