Friday, July 19, 2019

Daily delight: Kate Moss for Alexander McQueen AW19

Beauty destination: The NOW Massage, LA

If you read my post on the amazing Heyday a few weeks ago you’ll know that I was recently in Los Angeles, where I did a kind of Tour of Beauty so you don’t have to! Well you’ll probably want to given the amazing places I checked out, one of which was the massage and good vibes-giving marvel known as The NOW Massage.
In LA, your spiritual and emotional maintenance is as crucial as blowouts and facials, and thanks to the drop-in massage studio The NOW, the holistic benefits of massage—better sleep, lower anxiety and more—have become as accessible (and affordable) as having a professional help give you great hair on a Friday night.
Since they opened their first studio in 2015, The NOW  studios have become an Angeleno go-to for high-quality massages in a calm and chic space that won't break the bank. Co-founder and Creative Director Gara Post was responsible for helping create the look and feel of each relaxation destination, and you feel the bliss wash over you from the moment you walk through the doors. I visited the West Hollywood location and began snapping for Instagram the minute that I crossed over the threshold, envisaging creating a similar vibe at home as soon as a landed back in New Zealand. Post’s vision was always to embrace a 'minimalist, soothing aesthetic' to whisk away the stressors of daily city life, creating an oasis in the city and an escape from the fast-paced, digital overload we experience on a daily basis. The idea was to bring nature indoors, and incorporate raw elements and natural materials that conjure smells and scenes from exotic destinations, and it most definitely works. All wood surfaces, whitewashed walls and kilim pillows, the spaces ever have hand-made crystal grid installations to give positive energy to each boutique.
Like Drybar and Heyday, The NOW has taken an indulgence and made it more accessible every day, with a price within reach for many looking to incorporate regular massage into their lives. We booked in advance but they also welcome drop ins, with several beds on the go at once in their blissful locales.
For a place offering such affordable services, The NOW’s menu is impressively broad. I went for the signature massage known just as “The NOW”—a blend of Swedish and Thai techniques – with a CBD balm and gua sha add-on. I felt like I was walking on air when I left, and took home my own rose quartz gua sha and pot of balm that I have used more than a few times since returning home. They also offer their own body oil to buy, and a range of beautifully curated body and wellness-focused products that are well worth a browse through.
With four locations now open in LA, The NOW is most definitely a place to book into the minute you hit the city. Beat the jet lag and ease yourself into the Californian way of life, one smooth stroke at a time.
For bookings and pricing head here.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Daily delight: Yara Shahidi for Harper’s Bazaar US

Love it: Kérastase's new 8H Magic Night Serum

Continuing on their quest to create high performance haircare with the kind of careful approach more akin to next level, luxury skincare, the amazing team at Kérastase has unveiled what is quite possibly the missing step in your bedtime routine.
You wouldn’t dream of hitting the sheets without completing your night time beauty routine, but what about your hair? Is it just a matter of pulling it all back in a ballerina bun and be done with it? Known for serving up the most luxe of haircare products, Kérastase's new 8H Magic Night Serum has arrived to enable you to seamlessly bring haircare into your nightly routine and redefine the term ‘beauty sleep’ when it comes to your locks.
An overnight leave-in serum that is in salon now, 8H Magic Night Serum gives a nourishing boost to all dry hair types – be they wavy, straight or curly.  Super lightweight to use and quickly absorbed, it tackles the likes of dryness, dullness, damage and breakage with aplomb, going to work and delivering real results while you sleep.
Key ingredients in the formula include Iris Root Extract – which continually nurtures and coats hair fibres over eight hours, while reversing loss of nutrients – and a Five Vitamin Blend that seals nutrients and anchors roots to leave the hair with a truly satin finish. And not only does the product replenish the nutrients and moisture lost from factors such as hot-tool styling and environmental elements during the day, but it also takes into consideration the challenges hair meets when you're sleeping. How so? I use a silk satin pillowcase, but other types can lead to hair cuticle damage. 8H Magic Night Serum works to protect your strands from pillow friction and provides hydration to combat the drying effects brought on by any heat or AC in your bedroom.
The easy-to-use serum's process is made up of two simple steps, so although it is an extra step in your routine, it’s not an arduous one. First, spread the product in your hands, and then disperse it evenly throughout your hair lengths and ends. The milky-gel like cream literally melts into the hair and is quickly absorbed, leaving behind a soothing lavender essence to help with deep sleep.
The next morning there is no need to get up early to rinse, just roll out of bed with lightweight, shiny strands.
Kérastase 8H Magic Night Serum has an RRP of $70 - which isn’t cheap, but think about how much you spent on your last moisturiser! And you wouldn’t dream of hitting the sheets without completing your night time beauty routine, would you?

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Daily delight: Ariana Grande for Givenchy Fall19

Love it: the Living Proof Colour Care Collection

I have been obsessed by the cult US haircare brand Living Proof since it first launched, buying up bits and pieces from the collection whenever I passed through the States. I have their travel minis on hand for whenever I’m lucky enough to be boarding a plane (their dry shampoo just may be the Holy Grail of its ilk), and have used their shampoos and conditioners over the years whenever I have enough space in my luggage to stock up.
So, when the brand landed locally at Mecca Cosmetica I was over the moon, and basically said goodbye to ever having spare cash again… ha ha! The latest specialist release from Living Proof is one I am lucky enough to have been gifted, and have been putting to the test since it arrived on my doorstep. Called the Colour Care collection, each product features a silicone-free system that effectively helps stop colour fading and improves the health of hair over time, without any trade-offs. When you consider how often you need to tone and or refresh your colour to keep it looking flawless this is a huge bonus in terms of hair health (as well as your wallet’s), and I could not have been happier to give it a whirl.
The breakthrough Colour Care system in the line that makes hair colour last an amazing two times longer is powered by the newest patented technology, the Locking Molecule (CPULA), which helps lock in colour - even after your hair has been rinsed. There is even a UV filter in Colour Care Shampoo that is positively charged so it’s substantive to hair and actually limits wash-off. Amazing.
The collection features a Shampoo, Conditioner and two shades of Whipped Glazes, all of which are formulated without the silicones typically used in colour care ranges. Additionally, it is sulphate-free and includes other ingredients that provide benefits for colour-treated hair, and I’m totally in love. The Colour Care Shampoo protects against hard water as well as UV, whilst the Colour Care Conditioner forms a protective layer to help lock in colour and helps replenish the outer layer often damaged during the colouring process. The latter has been an absolute godsend for my damaged ends, eliminating frizz and keeping my tone super fresh. The Colour Care Whipped Glaze comes in Light and Dark, and essentially deposits temporary colour to instantly boost vibrancy, counteract fading and rebalance tone and/or brassiness. You apply them to clean, detangled towel-dried hair by applying a small amount through sections, from roots to ends. Comb through to evenly distribute - applying more as needed – then drying and styling as usual. Too easy. You can reapply your glaze as needed to maintain your desired colour, and it’s recommended that you begin using your glaze when you first start to see a shift in your tone. 
The Living Proof Colour Care collection is available right now in New Zealand exclusively at Mecca Cosmetica, Mecca Maxima and online at 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Daily delight: Cara Delevingne for Puma Nova

All about: new Dose & Co

A few months ago I first heard word of Dose & Co, a new health and wellness supplement range by New Zealand-born, US-based naturopath and nutritionist, Libby Matthews (above). I was immediately intrigued and now I’ve tried some of their offering – totally in love.
Also the co-founder of Two Islands Co. (although no longer with the company), I first met Libby when she and her sister began the Julia & Libby brand, which became known around town for creating deliciously decadent recipes free of refined sugar, as well as often dairy free, gluten free and vegan. Libby herself has always been the ultimate picture of health and wellbeing, and clearly well qualified to do her own thing when the right time came about.
That ‘thing’ is the aforementioned Dose & Co, which is a range of clean, sustainable probiotic protein powders and bio-available collagen powders that have been designed with good health and great taste top of mind. Focused on improving health from the inside out, each product has been developed to improve gut health through nourishing, high quality ingredients free of fillers and artificial flavours – and the one I’ve been taking tastes pretty amazing too.
The range features two New Zealand ‘firsts’ – the first probiotic protein powder and first collagen creamer (specifically designed to be added to coffee).  These are formulated using only clean ingredients that have been sustainably sourced (an absolute must when it comes to collagen supplements), and what they come in has been just as carefully thought out. Alongside spending a huge amount of time sourcing sustainable and clean ingredients that taste great, Libby took the upmost care when considering the packaging, which is fully biodegradable - the carton, spoon, packaging (even using paper cellotape).  
In Libby’s words, “the range has been designed with simplicity in mind - the easier it is for you to adopt, the more likely you are to use it and the longer you’ll feel the benefits. Whether it’s the addition of the Collagen Creamer to your morning coffee, a scoop of the protein powder into your post workout smoothie, or swapping out flour for protein powder in baking.”
I haven’t tried the plant- based probiotic protein powder, but it sounds like a definite winner. As well as containing easily-absorbed GanedenBC30 probiotics, it has been made up of European GMO-free yellow pea protein, which has been mixed into three flavours: Chocolate Fudge; Creamy Vanilla and Salted Caramel Toffee. “It was really important to me to use natural, clean ingredients,” says Libby, “so instead of the usual sweeteners used in protein powders and supplements, we have used Monk fruit extract. Monk fruit extract has high antioxidant properties, contains zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and it does not affect blood sugar levels making it suitable for diabetics.” 
The Collagen Creamer I have used, both in my coffee and smoothies. It uses German Bovine collagen which helps improve digestive health as well as skin, hair, nails and bone health. With a base of coconut milk, it is packed with MCT fats, so is perfect for those following the KETO and Paleo diets, and it’s available in two flavours: Vanilla and Mocha. 
Available from, the Protein Powder comes in two sizes, $54.90 for 500 grams, and $94.90 for 1kg, whilst the Collagen Creamer comes in a very pretty 350 gram tub for $54.90. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Daily delight: Kim Kardashian for Vogue Japan

What a steal: Rimmel’s new Wonder’Full Brow

There has been a full focus placed on brows over the last few years, with brow styles now ever evolving and a slew of products you can use to create your ‘best brows ever’. Many of these products are unnecessary IMHO, and often wildly overpriced considering how little they do.
One product that I do think is an absolute no-brainer however is a great brow gel, and when they come complete with a tint it’s even better. Some of the luxury brands have released their own versions that are insanely sub-par given the price point, but one high street brand that has absolutely nailed a truly high performance brow gel is Rimmel – and it’s less than $18 a tube!
Called Wonder’Full Brow, it is a seriously impressive, 24 hour wear, waterproof brow gel with fibres that ensure daily arch perfection that lasts and lasts. The key element is the aforementioned 2mm flower-shaped fibres, which impart major volume and fullness and make it perfect for between brow services as well as doing a very admirable job all on its own. With three shades on offer it is officially an all-in-one marvel, as it colours, fills and tames brows in a single stroke to easily build full, perfected arches that wear all day and night. 
It also comes with a mistake-proof application factor as the tiny tapered brush accurately grabs and coats each and every hair. With three carefully selected shades to choose from – Blonde, Medium Brown and Dark Brown – it’s easy to find the right flattering hue for you, and it’s easy to remove at the end of the night. I highly recommend this truly magical formula, and the price makes it a serious beauty steal if ever there was one.
Rimmel Wonder’Full Brow comes with an RRP of $17.99 and is available right now from Farmers, The Warehouse, Kmart, and Chemist Warehouse stores. 

Monday, July 8, 2019

Daily delight: Kristen Stewart for Vogue Korea

All about: Kaia naturals’ takesumi detox deodorant

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago, I went hard on eliminating any sort of unnecessary chemical use from my daily routine – and that included my deodorant. The aluminium found in many mainstream deodorant formulas has been what most has been cited in the headlines more than anything else, with claims that using deodorants or antiperspirants increase your risk of breast cancer floating around now for several years. As yet no convincing link has been established between the aforementioned aluminium content and cancer but hey, the less a chemical load I can put in my body, the better.
Over the years I’ve tried a few deodorants from the natural world, with varying degrees of success. I’m lucky that I’m not the sweatiest of people, because I have to say that since they first started arriving on the scene, most natural deodorants literally reeked of issues. They weren't particularly easy to use, nor were they able to keep you smelling fresh until the end of the day. But after years of research, cosmetic chemists kept chugging until they found formulas that are just as good as the other deodorants you know and love. 
One brand that is new to New Zealand and a major player on the natural deordorant scene is Kaia naturals, who created the first ever bamboo charcoal deodorant stick, the takesumi detox®. Takesumi (activated bamboo charcoal) is a time-honoured Japanese secret for odour control and detoxification and yep, it works. Charcoal acts like a magnet to pull toxins from sweat glands and neutralises underarm bacteria to eliminate odour, and their beautiful formula also comes with a range of natural scents. I took a mini-sized, Sakura scented version to California with me recently and it most definitely performed – even in 43 degree Palm Springs heat!
The takesumi detox is 100 per cent non-toxic, cruelty-free and vegan, and the high performance formula stays away from traditional natural deodorant ingredients, which often include irritating baking soda and coconut oil. There is no Aluminum, Propylene glycol, Parabens or Phthalates in there either, making it a no brainer if you’re looking to make the switch.
If you’re new to natural deodorant, you may go through a period of ‘detox’, which if you persevere with will deliver a great end result. A two to four-week transition period can be expected when changing from antiperspirant to natural deodorant, during which time underarm odour and moisture levels will normalize as your body adjusts. Studies show that antiperspirant users experience an increase in odorous bacteria in the underarm area when they stop using antiperspirant, as well as a little additional moisture, which is temporary. Fight on through and your body will thank you for it – I promise!
With an RRP of $39, Kaia naturals’ takesumi detox is available in six artisanal blends, depending on your taste. Sakura Blossom is pretty and spring-like, whilst Cold Pressed Rose is a delicate floral. Nordic Frost is cool and considered, whilst English Lime Mint is fresh and summer-y. Last up, Mandarin Pomelo is perfect for citrus lovers, and Black Oak & Bourbon is rich and woody.
Kaia naturals also offer The Underarm Bar, a handy add-on for sports lovers that transforms any natural deodorant into extra strength odour protection. Formulated with apple cider vinegar and charcoal, it basically eliminates bacteria on your skin BEFORE applying natural deodorant and has an RRP of $39.
To find a stockist near you, email 

Friday, July 5, 2019

Daily delight: Gigi Hadid for Michael Kors Wonderlust

Beauty news: ghd’s new ink on pink collection

As a two-time breast cancer survivor, I always appreciate it when a beauty brand decides to “go pink” for the cause and actually commits to it year after year. A lot don’t, believe me! Many a brand will jump on the bandwagon to leverage a few sales, then disappear the following year when a newer, shinier charity takes their eye.
This is vastly unlike ghd, who have been in it for the long haul. This is the fifteenth (seriously, fifteen!) year that ghd New Zealand has served up an amazing fundraising initiative for the Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand, having already donated an over $1,000,000 to the charity through sales of their annual, highly coveted ghd pink stylers. The work done by the BCFNZ is vital for people like me, and their services that I have accessed over the years have made an incredible impact at a very difficult time.
But on to this year’s limited edition styling tools at hand, which were unveiled on July 1 and are available now. To date the ghd brand has helped raise over $15 million for breast cancer charities globally, and this year they have partnered with Chicago-based tattoo artist, David Allen to create perhaps their most beautiful – and thoughtful – offering yet. 
For almost ten years now, David has made his mission to help women reclaim their femininity after breast cancer by concealing their mastectomy scars with beautiful floral design. He is widely recognised within the medical community, working with oncologists for advice when creating these intricate designs. As the only editable design, flowers are used as they symbolise life, rebirth and femininity, empowering women and giving back the control over their bodies. 
 “I had open heart surgery when I was 9 months old,’ explains David, “and so I was aware of scars and markings on the body. You start to know your good and bad angles – what is and isn’t comfortable. I had a woman in New York keep getting in touch about my tattoos. She had had a single mastectomy and construction and wanted me to tattoo where her scarring was, but no - I hadn’t ever done this kind of tattoo before and knew that the skin would have healed differently. She was so persistent that I ended up flying to Baltimore to meet her and discuss with her further. During this process I was hands on with someone and watching them heal. I was using my craft and work, which overwhelmed me – I had to take a break and weep.”
He posted it online once the work was complete and it went viral. He suddenly had an influx of demand from other women who had seen it and wanted something similar, and now he does between 6 and 8 mastectomy tattoos a month – it’s a long process and takes a whole day to complete. Each design is totally different and they look amazing – I wish that I could have David help with covering mine, one can but dream!
Collaborating with David Allen for the designs of the stylers, ghd brought in two women to be the muse of this year’s limited edition collection - Grace Lombardo and Molly Weingart. Grace is 38 year old mother of three, living in Chicago.  In April 2016, Grace was diagnosed with breast cancer, going through a bilateral mastectomy. A year later, she trusted David to conceal her scars. Molly is a 33-year-old woman living in Philadelphia training to be a Physical Therapist. Diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32, Molly was tattooed by the Chicago-based tattoo artist on the shoot of the ghd pink campaign. She came to the shoot with her mum Deborah, who survived breast cancer herself 20 years ago.
The end result is just beautiful – see the pics above and below – and the fact that the design is featured on ghd’s award-winning ghd platinum+ and ghd gold stylers makes it even more covetable. 
The ghd ink on pink collection is available right now, with $20 from every pink limited edition styler sold going to the Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand. So what are you waiting for?

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Daily delight: Sophie Turner for PORTER Edit

Love it: YSL Beauté Vernis À Lèvres Water Stain

I have long maintained that I’m not a fan of gloss – it’s sticky, gloopy and wears off way too fast, as well as being a health hazard when you have lots of hair like me and it ensures that a large chunk of it becomes trapped in my mouth! I love the look of it though, so when I got wind of YSL Beauté’s brand new Vernis À Lèvres Water Stain I definitely wanted in.
A long lasting lip colour that is glossy but – hallelujah! – never sticky, it has answered my gloss dreams by also being amazingly long-lasting but also comfortable to wear. Oh and did I mention that it comes with pigment plus so just a couple of swipes will do? Major boxes ticked, and then some.
Giving a durable wet and intense look to the lips, it has the feel of a thin watery-ish film that I honestly though wouldn’t look like much, let alone last. How wrong was I. It is also super easy to layer to give a shine that is subtle or intense, and looks incredibly pretty to boot. The innovation of the formula, which is composed of up to 40 per cent actual water, provides a unique thin film that envelops the lips with a cool and watery feel. To get the perfect look go for a single layer for a light splash of colour to enhance the lips and 2-3 layers for full colour and shine. A summer release in the Northern Hemisphere, I think this works equally as well Down Under when applied using the latter technique, and by day it’s a lot softer than a matte if you like a blod, bright shade.
It also comes in 16 beautiful colour options, which come with names inspired by the light, watery sensation of the formula. Encompassing all shades of nude, orange, pink and reds, the colour range was designed by Global Beauty Director Tom Pecheux to enhance all skin tones from light to dark.
If you are a fan of nudes then the shades for you are:
606 - Rosewood Flow
610 - Nude Underwater
616 - Bathed In Beige *online exclusive*
617 - Dive In The Nude
For reds:
612 - Rouge Deluge
613 - Cascade Bordeaux
615 - Ruby Wave
618 - Wet Vermillon
Some beautiful pinks:
601 - Fuchsia Tide
602 - Vague De Rouge
608 - Flot De Fuchsia
614 - Rose Immerge
Warm corals and orange tones:
609 - Submerged Coral
605 - Bain De Corail
604 - Peach Plunge *online exclusive*
607 - Inondation Orange
YSL Beauté Vernis À Lèvres Water Stain is available exclusively from Farmers from next Wednesday, and then on counter at Department Stores and Pharmacies from August. RRP $69.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Daily delight: Karlie Kloss for Vogue UK

Get the look: Jorja Smith X Dior at Glastonbury 2019

Makeup artist Carol Lopez Reid created a flawlessly natural, festival-ready face for superstar Jorja Smith at the recent Glastonbury Festival, where the sun was shining for once and a fabulous day was had by all. The respected MUA and Smith’s long time go-to used all Dior makeup, and with three performances over the course of the weekend, the 22-year-old had plenty of opportunities to flaunt her look.
"Jorja wanted something soft and defining, a neutral look that complimented her bold outfit and emphasised her glowing skin," Carol explained, and the end result was just that and more.
To recreate the look yourself, the full luxe beauty line up is…
Complexion: To prep the skin, Carol first exfoliated Jorja’s face with Hydra Life Time to Glow Ultra Fine Exfoliating Powder and followed with Dior Capture Youth Glow Booster Age-Delay Illuminating Serum and Dior Hydra Life Fresh Hydration Sorbet Crème.
Base: To create Jorja’s luminous base, Carol applied a thin layer of Dior Backstage Face & Body Primer then added Dior Forever Skin Glow #4WO. Next she applied Dior Fix It 2-in1 Prime & Correct in #2N and Diorskin Forever Undercover Concealer in a mix of #30 and #40 to even out Jorja’s already beautiful skin.
To gently contour and bronze, the Dior Backstage Contour Palette was used just under the cheekbone, and Diorskin Mineral Nude Bronze #50 to warm up the complexion. To add a little colour and a subtle highlight, Dior Rouge Blush #219 and golden shades from the Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette #001 were the perfect mix.
Eyes: On Jorja’s brows, Carol used a combination of the Dior Backstage Brow Palette #002 and Diorshow Brow Styler #002 for a soft yet defined look. Her eyelids were prepped with Dior Backstage Eye Prime before Diorshow 3 Couleurs Tri(O)blique #853 added colour. Dior Eyeliner Waterproof in #094 Trinidad Black was smudged on the top waterline, then Diorshow Pump n’ Volume HD Mascara in #90 added a little drama.
Lips: Lastly, lips were well moisturised with Dior Addict Lip Glow #001, the perfect pinky base shade. Dior Addict Stellar Shine #260 was then applied all over, with a little extra something added with a drop of Dior Addict Ultra-Gloss #629 applied to the centre of the lips.

Photos by: Mike Excell for Christian Dior Parfums 

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Daily delight: Bella Hadid for ELLE France

Love it: La Prairie's Cellular 3-Minute Peel

Being a possession of pretty sensitive skin that most definitely goes rogue on a regular basis, I’ve avoided most exfoliants like the plague over the last few years with good reason. The mechanical ones are a definite no-no, whilst many of the chemical ones don’t quite do the trick with any sort of decent result. I have become a fan of peels though, which when done right serve to renew and strengthen my skin as well as soothe when it’s at its most fractious.
One I discovered after an incredible facial in the La Prairie beauty room at Smith & Caughey’s Queen Street is La Prairie's Cellular 3-Minute Peel, which is an at-home product that I am now shamelessly obsessed by. Essentially, it serves as a weekly booster to help renew, refresh and revitalise skin – and it works. A gentle yet most definitely potent peel, it polishes and refines skin by helping to usher fresh, young cells to the surface using a unique ingredient mix. Formulated with AHAs and BHAs, salicylic acid and mixed fruit acids, it is a global beauty editor favourite with good reason. 
Designed for skin that has lost some of its elasticity and developed enlarged pores, it is an incredibly fast-acting mask that contains concentrated exfoliants to speed up cell renewal in a very life-friendly period of time. Easy to use and super fast acting (three minutes like the name says!) it refines without irritation and is the perfect treat before your favourite products. It helps shrink the appearance of pores, improves elasticity, hydrates the skin and helps protect against moisture loss, and you really feel results right away. The fact that it is so speedy means that consistent use is a very real option, and weekly use will really see results. It takes a couple of weeks to see any improvement in dark spots and fine lines, but before you know it' your skin will see a radical re-set taking place literally before your eyes. And despite being a peel with really quite strong ingredients, it's very gentle on my skin and requires no down time afterwards.
I love that it comes with an applicator so that you don't waste too much product, and in true La Prairie style, the little brush mounted on the side just makes it all feel so much more luxe. It’s a pricey product but worth it if you need a strong yet gentle peel, and as I said, the results are pretty amazing. It’s also very attractive to the time poor who can’t spare an hour every week to visit their facialist, and is a worthy addition to any skincare regime.
La Prairie's Cellular 3-Minute Peel is on counter now and comes highly recommended, RRP $365 for a 40ml jar.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Daily delight: Pamela Anderson for Porter

Beauty news: talking with Alex Chantecaille

When I met Alex Chantecaille (above, right) at the Mecca flagship store in Auckland’s CBD, I was going in as a major fan of the Chantecaille brand but keen to learn more about the family behind the beauty. The daughter of beauty visionary Sylvie Chantecaille (above, left), Alex is the director of sales and promotions for the company and spearheads the expansion from the key sales base of North America into super receptive Asia and beyond.
Since its inception 20 years ago, New York-based Chantecaille has been a quiet innovator in so many ways. Pioneers in the area of luxurious, botanical beauty, the brand has long been active in the area of philanthropy as well as creating high performance, naturally derived skincare and makeup. Their truly global products are made in Japan (foundation), Italy (powders and lipsticks), Switzerland (skincare) and France (fragrance and rosewater), and they see giving back what they take from nature as a given. They believe in the healing powers of flowers and plants, and build their formulas on pure ingredients and smart science. Their collections are also free of Phthalates, Sulphate Detergents, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Palm Oil, Synthetic Colours, Synthetic Fragrances and GMOs, which is essential in an age of clean beauty and all that entails.
A key impetus for creating their company was a strong desire to establish a platform with the power to draw attention to important issues of global sustainability, and to fund a foundation that could support related initiatives. From what I know of Chantecaille, they have always had an awareness of the planet and its inhabitants, well before it was de rigueur to do so. Does Alex call the brand ‘natural’, or ‘clean’ beauty? Or has that become just another catchphrase? “We call ourselves natural,” the super chic blonde tells me. “I think the clean label is one that has come up recently, and it has surprised a few people when they find out how easily we fit into that category too. People are still amazed that luxury and natural can go together, whereas we’ve always seen that as a given.”
“When my mom started the company 21 years ago,” she continues, “her focus was on eliminating any nasties like phthalates, and producing a line with zero palm oil. It was purely personal preference and not a trend, and the lack of chemicals and fragrance were to allow the skin to do what it does best – heal.” Chantecaille skincare was always designed to support and soothe the skin and not stress it out, with Alex telling me: “cocooning the skin has been key since the beginning, and that’s done through beautiful, natural ingredients”.
Do they ever feel that now they have to shout their mission statement from the rooftops as the space is so crowded? “In a way, and I’m making sure we state on all of our packaging that we are PETA-certified and vegan, as that is just so important to consumers. And it should be.”
Chantecaille is classed as a luxury brand, and the price points support this. Is that ever a hard sell, I wonder? “Our formulas are very efficacious and the cost is in the product as we put a lot of money and time into creating formulas that do what they say they will,” says Alex with a smile. “For example, the rose we talk about is hand harvested, the rose water created from the petals of a rose that blooms for one month only in Grasse, France. The petals are dried in the sun and then boiled in artesian well water to produce the steam from which we create our rose water. It’s definitely no easy task.”
Philanthropy and conservation have always been at the heart of the brand, especially the makeup line. Is it true that each season, Chantecaille aligns its collection with an environmental cause? “Correct, and we’ve made our cheek and lip initiatives part of our permanent collection, with a permanent eye collection coming too.” She tells me that the idea to support environmental causes “came from my mom wanting to give back to nature after taking from it to create beautiful products, and she thought that by using a beautiful palette to tell an important story our customers would really engage. Each campaign lead to people wanting to know what the next animal to be supported would be and it turned on a conversation that wasn’t being had before”. Instead of just picking up the perfect lipstick and leaving a store, “a dialogue would start with a customer who would then continue that conversation with her friends, her husband, her children…”
One of Alex’s favourite, super luxe offerings from the brand is the Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Eye Serum (below), which I have been lucky enough to try. It uses the power of 24k Nano Gold to help prevent aging and improve cellular respiration by safely delivering healing botanicals deep into the skin, and it feels like a cooling dream to use thanks to its roller ball applicator. LycoSkin is included in the formula to prevent the breakdown of the cellular matrix and greatly strengthen the skin, whilst Raspberry Stem Cells deliver a robust array of antioxidants, reducing inflammation and slowing the aging process. The Anti-Wrinkle Hexapeptide has a Botox-like effect and visibly reduces the depth and length of wrinkles, whilst White Flower Stem Cells stimulate and repair collagen growth in skin cells, strengthening the thin skin around the eyes. Essentially, it delivers a power pack of anti-ageing ingredients to the eyes – and it feels like heaven. With an RRP of $360 this is definitely a ‘splurge’ as opposed to a ‘steal’, but if you’ve got the cash to spare then it comes highly recommended.
Chantecaille is available in New Zealand exclusively at Mecca Cosmetica and from