Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Daily delight: Gwyneth Paltrow for WSJ magazine

Christmas countdown: Votary's miraculous Super Seed Facial Oil

Anyone that checks in here regularly will know that I’m a huge fan of oils - body oils, hair oils and facials oils - and love the fact that nine times out of ten, they are brilliant multi-taskers and are great travel companions too.
Cleansing your face with one is a given with me, but for many, using oils on the face in particular may seem counterintuitive, especially those who associate it with breakouts and the like. Well it just ain’t true, and there are more and more great facial oils arriving on the market all the time that are making their way into bathroom cabinets across the globe.
The latest I’ve fallen in love with harnesses the power of Super Seeds, which aren’t just for healthy eating. They’re for healthy skin, too. It’s Votary’s Super Seed Facial Oil, which I discovered after the most heavenly Signature Yoga Facial a while back at East Day Spa.
Celebrity makeup artist Arabella Preston launched the Votary line of skin are in 2015, consisting of a cleansing oil and three types of moisturising oil. The line grew from Preston’s interest in organic facial oils, which she had been using on her clients as a base for their makeup and on herself as a way to soothe her skin. She formulated the products and started Votary at the urging of her business partner, Charlotte Semler, and it wasn’t long before the fragrance-free collection called Super Seed joined the pack.
The Super Seed Facial Oil nourishes dry, sensitive skin with a fragrance-free blend of 21 different oils, each with their own important properties. As you age, you might experience a whole host of new skin issues such as dryness, redness, loss of elasticity and plumpness, or just feeling like your skin has lost its glow (not ideal). Super Seed addresses all of these issues as naturally and gently as possible while packing a powerful punch that enhances your skin’s nourishment and long-term recovery. I also love that it’s fragrance free – the cause of sensitivity in even the ‘cleanest’ of beauty products – and that it really does nourish and protect.
Anti-irritation, anti-inflammation, deeply nourishing and anti-ageing, Super Seed Facial Oil has been the perfect choice for my sensitive, rosacea-prone skin, which over the past twelve months has been insanely unpredictable. It us created using primarily organic ingredients too, which gets another big tick from me.
Preston, who reportedly gave Kate Middleton makeup lessons before her wedding to Prince William (although she is not allowed to talk about it), says she loves using natural plant oils to prep clients’ skin because it gives the best base for makeup. People think the opposite - that oil is going to make your makeup slide off – but natural plant oils absorb directly into the skin, and with a little massage make for an absolutely flawless base. 
To use it, place 4 to 5 drops of Facial Oil onto your palms. Now massage the oil into your face and neckline using gentle upwards motions. Use your fingertips to gently pat the oil into the area around your eyes. You can spend a few seconds or several minutes on your facial massage – depending on how much time you have. Like all Votary’s natural facial oils, Super Seed absorbs into your skin as you massage leaving it deeply hydrated but never oily. It’s the perfect way to prep skin for makeup or sunscreen, and gets my vote for one heck of a great last minute Christmas gift that will NOT disappoint.
Next on my wish list is the matching Super Seed Cleansing Oil, which has all of the same properties and sounds incredible! The Votary range is in now at East Day Spa and Spring Spa locations.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Daily delight: Jennifer Aniston for Elle US

Love it: YSL Beauty’s Rouge Pur Couture The Slim

If you stop by here regularly you’ll know I often sing the praises of a matte lip, but what about ‘leather-matte’? Yes it’s a thing, and such a rock n’ roll beauty hybrid could only come from the incredible YSL Beauty.
A super-slim, square couture lipstick that provides Yves Saint Laurent's most luxurious, ultra-full and longwear matte yet, as a formula it’s a marvel - and oh so sexy to hold in the hand. Delivering the aforementioned leather-matte finish via a square tapered bullet, it is a seriously comfortable wear, and the high pigment means that just one swipe goes a verrrry long way.
The tapered bullet also means that one swipe is super precise - the unique shape means that you can really push the colour right into the curves of the lips and angle the cupid’s bow perfectly. Created by YSL Beauty Global Beauty Director, Tom Pecheux, The Slim is a matte lovers dream, and also wearable enough (and comfortable enough) to appeal to those that go for a more satin-y finish too. The dense yet powdery, super light texture literally glides across the lips, and the high pigment and longwear aspect means that re-application is a rarity – it really does last. And last.
Available in 18 new shades - including a limited edition, Black Opium collector edition that I am dying to try – these beauties are on counter now and come highly recommended. RRP $69.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Daily delight: Gisele Bundchen for Vivara's Christmas campaign

Christmas countdown: the Signature Yoga Facial at East Day Spa

One of my all time ‘happy places’ is East Day Spa in Auckland - along with its sister spa, Spring Spa in Ponsonby - where I’ve had the pleasure of whiling away an afternoon several times and actually didn’t want to leave!
Both East and Spring do a fine line in treatments and promotions, and are most definitely the places to look come Christmas preparations and celebrations. I’m always dropping heavy hints to my nearest and dearest when it comes to gifting vouchers and treats, and one of the latest treatments I’ve experienced at their inner city location comes highly recommended.
Called the Signature Yoga Facial and available at both East Day Spa and Spring, it is an exotic facial with an emphasis on anti ageing, but comes with a fantastic mind, body and spirit element too.   
One of the first points to win me over when it came to this facial was the fact that it utilises the incredible Votary range.  The luxurious line was created in the UK by Arabella Preston, a celebrated makeup artist and former beauty editor who believes pure, natural plant oils are the best way to achieve healthy and luminous skin. “They have an affinity with your skin; it keeps you looking young,” says the beauty guru, who only uses oils to cleanse and moisturise. As an oil obsessive I can fully get behind this philosophy, and its oil focus was one of the things that drew me to the Signature Yoga Facial from the start. I'd also never previously tried Votary, and couldn't wait to get stuck in.
East Day Spa and Spring’s Master Trainer has blended traditional facial yoga techniques with deep lymphatic massage to detoxify the skin and muscles during the experience, which begins with a cleanse using Votary’s antioxidant rich oils to nourish and improve circulation to the face. An enzyme gel exfoliant is then used to gently remove dead skin to reveal dewy skin, before the skin is quite literally bathed in Votary’s Superseed Facial Oil and the unique yoga facial massage technique applied. I love a good facial massage, which when done correctly, can give you amazing results in terms of lift and plumpness. The one I experienced at East Day Spa definitely did that, and so much more.
An anti-ageing avocado mask is the gently brushed on to boost hydration and replenish the skin, and while it does its work, assisted yoga movements are applied to the legs to help with lymphatic drainage, stretching the muscles of the legs, ankle and feet. Cranial stretching, deep-assisted shoulder stretches and pressure point therapy are also added to the mix, for a firm yet relaxing “work out” for the facial muscles and the limbs. To finish, the skin is cleansed with a luxurious warm compress towel and then hydrating facial oils are applied once again. 
The end result? A calm mind and happy skin, with both continuing long after I’ve left East’s central Auckland location.
At $150 for an hour long session of pure bliss, the Signature Yoga Facial is available at both East Day Spa and Spring Spa locations, and comes highly recommended. Book in for one yourself and buy a voucher for a friend – in the lead up to the silly season we can all do with a little extra Zen.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Daily delight: Gigi Hadid for W magazine

All about: the Corbin Rd. Cleansing + Exfoliating System

Anyone that checks in here regularly will know that I’m a huge fan of oils and balms – for the body, hair and face - and love the fact that nine times out of ten, they are brilliant multitaskers and great travel companions too.
Cleansing your face with an oil or balm is a given with me, but for many, anything with an oily nature may seem counterintuitive, especially for those who associate it with breakouts and the like. Well it just ain’t true, and there are more and more great oil-based cleansers and cleansing balms arriving on the market all the time that are making their way into bathroom cabinets across the globe.
Cleansing your skin is one of the most important parts of the skincare regimen, and it’s always a good idea to track down a richer, heavier cleanser when the temperature plummets or if you’re on the dry or sensitive side, like me. It can definitely help address the dryness that comes with the cooler air and air conditioning, and when used correctly can make a real difference to your skin’s health and wellbeing. Cleansing removes makeup, dirt and debris from the skin, but it also helps to cleanse pores (hair follicles actually) of dead skin cells and sebum to help prevent acne. For ageing skin, a cleansing oil or luxe balm can be a great way to help remove makeup, dirt and debris and also to help fight off free radicals that actually cause skin to age quicker. 
Developed in sunny Hawkes Bay, New Zealand Corbin Rd. has created my new favourite cleansing balm, which comes as part of a luxurious new skincare system. Called the Restorative Cleansing Balm, it is made from native kawakawa and twelve different oils that work together to dislodge debris on the skin’s surface. As well as the aforementioned New Zealand native, other ingredients in the mix include Sweet Almond oil, Rosehip oil, Kiwifruit seed oil, Macadamia and Apricot Seed, making for a heady, skin-loving cocktail if ever there was one! 
Designed to melt away make-up and effectively purge the skin of toxins, pollution and dirt, the balm nurtures and calms pollu-stressed skin, restores hydration, rebalances pH and maintains the strength of the skin’s protective barrier. The latter is crucial if you have sensitised skin like me, and it smells incredible to boot.
It’s the first step in Corbin Rd.’s two-step system, prepping the skin for the introduction of the Viteve Silk Exfoliating Cloth that is exclusive to the brand. Made of pure silk, the cloth’s unique texture and proteins exfoliate away debris, slough dead skin cells and clear congestion. The cloth also delivers proteins and amino acids to the epidermis, thereby supporting the protective barrier and strengthening the skin. Coupled with the massaging action required to use the cloth, it stimulates blood flow to the cells, upping the radiance factor further. While cleansing and polishing the skin, the two-set system also fights Pollu-Ageing and helping to counteract the effects of damaging blue light from digital devices that we are increasingly exposed to. 
The work of local beauty legend, Wendy Nowell-Usticke, the Corbin Rd. Cleansing + Exfoliating System has been meticulously researched and uniquely formulated to remove make-up and debris, restore the skin and encourage strength and suppleness, which gets a big tick from me.  I also love that the Exfoliating Cloth is made from 100 per cent natural silk protein filament and exfoliates without using microbeads or microfibre cloths, both proven to damage our already fragile ecosystem. 
Corbin Rd.’s 50g pot of Restorative Cleansing Balm has an RRP of $49.95, or you can get a 10g Restorative Cleansing Balm and single Viteve Silk Exfoliating Cloth combo for $34.95 to give the duo a go. I highly recommend you go the whole hog and get the Corbin Rd. Combo of a 50g Restorative Cleansing Balm and seven-cloth set for $159.95. That means one cloth for every day of the week, after which you just chuck them in the machine and get ready to go again!
These beauties are available online, where you’ll also find a growing list of stockists. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Daily delight: Rihanna for Savage x Fenty

Christmas countdown: Omorovicza’s Miracle Facial Set

What do you get when you take 2000 years of Hungarian skincare wisdom and inject some hi-tech innovation in a Nobel Prize-winning laboratory? Omorovicza skin care, a super duper luxe skin range that you’ll find at your local Mecca Cosmetica. A heady mix of history and science, the intriguing brand harnesses the mineral-rich waters of Hungary with potent antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and an exceptional delivery system to give you what it calls “quick and cumulative age-defying benefits”.
The brand plays a key role in Mecca’s stellar Holiday offering this year, with some beautiful sets that make perfect gifts… or gifts to self. The one I have been lucky enough to play with is the Miracle Facial Set, which features three Omorovicza favourites to refresh, hydrate and revitalise the skin, sitting pretty in the cutest box reminiscent of a treasure chest.
Key to the set for me was a 30ml of the brand’s award-winning Miracle Facial oil, which is just so damn luxe to use. Brimming with bakuchiol – a natural alternative to retinol – Omorovicza’s Miracle Facial Oil is deeply replenishing and age defying, stimulating skin’s repair and renewal processes whilst encouraging collagen synthesis to ‘plump’ fine lines, refine skin texture and gradually enhance your skin’s resilience. A cocktail of precious extracts, this gorgeous formulation is lightweight and deeply penetrative, delivering skin-strengthening nutrients directly to where the places they’re most needed. You can use it twice a day, and to super charge the Omorovicza Rejuvenating Night Cream (also included) while you sleep.
A 30ml of the brand’s heavenly Queen of Hungary Mist is also in there, which is beautiful to use and comes with quite the backstory. Legend has it that the water was ‘created’ as a beauty treatment that was so successful that it led the king (aged just 25 years) to propose marriage when she was nearing the end of her life! Omorovicza revived the 14th Century beauty recipe when creating this purifying, toning and protective facial mist, which includes Hungary’s mineral-rich thermal waters in the formula. The earth’s crust is reportedly thinner there, which is why the waters are jam-packed with skin-beneficial elements. Who knew? Keep one for home and take one on travels – just mist skin mid-flight, pre make up or when facing the 4pm slump to maintain moisture levels and keep your complexion contented.
Available for a limited time only, this set is $188 and in store and online now.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Daily delight: Halima Aden for Vogue Arabia

All about: Kevin Murphy's COLOURING.ANGELS

If you colour your hair like me, you may have heard your colourist mention a toner, gloss or a glaze. They are a must in between colour appointments for me, counteracting the unwanted hues that often come with highlights, and cooling down and enhancing the other parts that make up my locks.
Blondes know the benefits of using a purple shampoo to counteract brassy yellow tones well, and Kevin Murphy’s BLONDE.ANGEL collection was one of the first home use, toner-style product lines that really did the trick, and now he’s created the newly released COLOURING. ANGELS line for mops of all shades!
The brand says to think of COLOURING.ANGELS as “like lip gloss for your hair” – giving major shine and boost, exactly where its needed. The four conditioning colour glosses that come in the collection are AUTUMN, SUGARED, CRYSTAL and COOL, all here to impart a kiss of colour and a dose of shine, acting as the perfect treatment between colour services for colour longevity, brightness and balance. 
You can use COLOURING.ANGELS on lightened or coloured  - and even un-coloured - hair to refresh, enhance or tone colour while moisturising and delivering shine, all with multi-tonal results. The individual products and their benefits are thus:
AUTUMN.ANGEL adds a luminous shine and soft apricot rosé shade for natural or rose gold locks.
SUGARED.ANGEL is a creamy beige that mutes unwanted warmth to create a luminous, natural vanilla tone for the hair.
CRYSTAL.ANGEL is an illuminating clear gloss to enhance existing colour and create a unique clear top coat.
COOL.ANGEL magnifies cool ash shades and removes stubborn red and orange hues from the hair.
Hero ingredients included in the lineup are the likes of Green Tea Extract to deliver antioxidants to help fight free radicals and preserve moisture, and Olive Leaf Extract to hydrate and nourish the hair while offering protection from the environment. Magic!
I have been using CRYSTAL.ANGEL to add a glossy sheen, and plan to add COOL.ANGEL to the mix to cut down the brass as long days in the sun enter the equation.
To use them, apply to freshly washed hair, leave for 3-5 minutes, then rinse. Too easy!
These babies are in salon now x

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Daily delight: Jasmine Tookes for Harper’s Bazaar Kazakhstan

All about: YSL Beauty Top Secrets Moisture Glow - Ultra Moisture

Looking for a hardworking multitasker to see you skin through the upcoming party season?  Perhaps one that can do quadruple duty as moisturising cream, makeup base, nourishing mask and night care? Well look no further then: YSL Beauty’s Top Secrets Moisture Glow - Ultra Moisture is all that… and more.
A rich, almost balm-like cream in a sleek tube, it's a heady formula enriched with hyaluronic acid and shea butter that combines the silkiness of a moisturiser with the smoothing finish of a makeup primer for intensely hydrated and glowing skin. Perfect for sensitive, drier and dehydrated skin types, it has a beautiful melting texture that quite literally glides onto the skin, giving a super soft feel and comfort even when you’re on the third night out in a row and your skin really wishes you were at home on the couch!
After using this beauty for a few weeks’ now, I honestly don’t know how I lived without it. As a primer it plumps and softens, and any makeup applied on top stays and stays. In fact, it gives you better makeup glow and hold, and the hyaluronic acid hydrates so all day comfort is a given. I have found it’s also great for touch-ups over makeup, if you have the kind of skin that tends to ‘grab’ onto foundation a little too much as the day wears on. It’s also a great highlighter when used on the high points of the cheeks, which is great when you have super dry skin and avoid powder formulations like the plague. I haven’t yet used it as a mask, but have heard the results are killer – just avoid the lip and contour areas apparently, and wake up with a real morning glow.
This beauty is on counter now with an RRP of $100 – what are you waiting for? 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Daily delight: Emily Ratajkowski for ELLE Spain

Love it: Avène Day Protector Tinted BB Cream SPF 30

They are hailing it as the “only filter your skin needs”, and when the amazing Avène is concerned, you know that means business!
For those that may not have tried it (shame on you!), Eau Thermale Avène is a legendary French skincare brand that creates of some of most gentle and calming products out there. It is centred around the use of thermal spring water for its soothing properties, and all Avène products are created to heal and soothe even the most sensitive of skin types, including babies and kids.
A pharmacy-only brand that often flies a little under the radar, it is one of the most recommended skincare brands by French dermatologists and 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.
But I digress… the newest beauty weapon this incredible brand has added to its arsenal comes in the form of an almost-makeup-but-better, BB formulation. Called Day Protector Tinted BB Cream SPF 30, it is subtly tinted to suit most skin complexions, hydrates sensitive skin, provides soothing relief and daily protection from external stresses. Sheer enough to let you natural glow shine through, the formula includes the iconic Avène Thermal Spring Water to soothe discomfort, a SPF 30 photoprotective system to protect the skin from the harmful effects of UVB and UVA radiation, and a combo of mineral pigments and brightening pearls to unify the complexion and instantly correct any colour flaws. All about your skin and nothing else, it is also blissfully free from parabens, alcohol and fragrance, so is fine even for hypersensitive skin like mine.
The brand recommends that you prep your skin with their Hydrance Optimale Serum for an extra boost of hydration before application, then apply Day Protector to your entire face and neck and wait for it to be absorbed, giving you a breathable dewy finish plus that all-important UV protection. I’ve been using a little of my favourite RMS un-cover up on my super red areas (my rosacea is seriously horrible right now, but that’s another story!) and then leaving the good parts to show through, and have absolutely loved having this option to use on weekends and down days when I definitely don’t want – nor need – a face full of foundation. 
Highly recommended, this beauty is on counter now with an RRP of $49.99.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Daily delight: Margot Robbie for Harper’s Bazaar US

Christmas wish list: the Hourglass Ambient® Lighting Edit Unlocked

Yes I’m talking Christmas, because we all need ample time to select the perfect gifts for our nearest and dearest and also of course, excellent gifts to self!
Mecca stores  - online and bricks and mortar – always serve up and insane plethora of incredible options for any beauty freak, and I’ve been wading through some of the latest for my ultimate picks.
The first must be the Hourglass Ambient® Lighting Edit Unlocked palette, a limited edition beauty that the brand describes as the “next generation of the coveted Ambient® Lighting Edit”. Beautiful to look at and an absolute joy to use, the Unlocked edition features six new exclusive shades of powder, bronzer, blush and metallic strobe powder, making it a must-have from the get go.
Inside it you’ll find brand new, exclusive shades in the formof:
Ambient® Lighting Powder - Soft Light
Ambient® Lighting Powder - Filtered Light
Ambient® Lighting Bronzer - Golden Bronze Light
Ambient® Lighting Blush - Nude Glow
Ambient® Lighting Blush - Mood Flush
Ambient® Metallic Strobe Lighting Powder - Champagne Strobe Light
All six powders are formulated with pure Photoluminscent Technology to capture, diffuse and soften surrounding light for skin that appears softer, younger and lit from within – literally, a wardrobe of filters for your face. The travel friendly palette is designed to be used with the brand’s double-ended Ambient® Lighting Edit Brush, which I haven’t personally used but have heard is amazing,
The 100 per cent vegan palette also features the Hourglass symbol representing their commitment to being a cruelty free brand, and a portion of profits from this palette will go to support the Nonhuman Rights Project – the only civil rights organization in the United States working to secure legally recognized fundamental rights for nonhuman animals. How great is that?
Last up, this beauty comes without parabens, fragrance, talc, nanoparticles or gluten, and as aforementioned, is proudly vegan.
Head into your nearest Mecca store or here to find out more, and while you’re there check out all of the other amazingness on offer from Hourglass like the super cute limited edition gifting packs of their stellar lipsticks like the one below, and another limited edition palette.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Daily delight: Felicity Jones for S magazine

Beauty news: Trilogy’s SPF Moisturisers now have Blue Light Protection

If you’re serious about preventing premature ageing and keeping your skin looking its best well into your golden years, you’ll know that protection from UVA and UVB rays is no longer enough. Evolving research confirms that blue light – emitted from the sun and our digital devices – is also a major downer for our skin, and as we’re increasingly attached to our digital devices, its effects are already making themselves known.
With millennials checking their phones an average of 150 times a day, and a 2016 report finding that the average US adults clock up more than 10 hours of screen time daily, we’re getting significantly more blue light exposure than we used to from the sun alone. Blue light (also referred to as High Energy Visible or HEV light) poses potential skin harm via free radical generation, as it induces oxidative stress in live skin. Even worse, blue light has the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin compared with both UVA and UVB light, all the way to our dermis, where our collagen and elastin live. In addition, it also compromises our beauty sleep by way of disrupting our natural circadian rhythm.
All of this has meant that many conscious beauty brands have started addressing the issue of Blue Light, the latest being New Zealand natural skincare pioneers, Trilogy. Their improved SPF moisturisers now come with the breakthrough Blue Light defence super-ingredient PEPHA®-AGE, designed to deliver everyday hydration, with the added benefit of shielding all skin types from light aggressors inside and out.
PEPHA®-AGE is a breakthrough natural super-ingredient scientifically proven to protect and support the skin’s natural barrier of defence against natural and artificial Blue Light damage. Naturally derived from freshwater Algae, it is rich in Vitamin B3, zinc and amino acids which work at both the epidermal and dermal layer of the skin to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin to improve the skin’s overall appearance. Pretty clever, huh?
The two Trilogy formulas that now come with this technology are Trilogy Multi-Shield Moisturiser SPF15 - a high-performance day cream – and Trilogy Age-Proof Multi-Defence Moisturiser SPF15, a richly textured, high-performance moisturiser that nourishes and softens skin while helping to smooth fine lines. 
So if you love natural, efficacious skincare and also want to increase your defence against the effects of Blue Light, these two definitely come highly recommended. Oh and before you tweak your skincare regime – check your tech use. Night mode on your phone is a better option, and the best is that digital detox you know you should be doing on the regular.