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Ghazaleh Golbakhsh on ageing, and moisturiser

I have never been mature for my age. An obsession with boybands and complete sobriety kept me young at heart even when I was meant to be a wild 17-year-old aching to act older. In my later years, I have learned to love the fact that I consistently feel five years younger, whether it is due to the people I hang out with, my inability to ever hold down a ‘real job’ or the fact that I still get ID’d at my local Countdown despite very much pushing 40. 

However, this elation at discovering my own deranged fountain of youth is now sobering up – with a vengeance. While my mind is the gleeful and wistful Freudian id stuck in a permanent extended youthful vigour, frolicking in some never ageing Garden of Eden, my body is clearly the ego, rigid and realistic, here to ruin the garden of delight with age. 

My mind may be 30-something, but my body clearly knows it’s 39 and like the ageing Queen, she is not amused.

The first time I realised my body was its rightful age was when I could not drink shots at someone’s 30th birthday. Shots were the thing in the early ‘00s, alongside glittery tops and low-rise jeans. You followed it up with a vodka cranberry, feeling your inner Carrie Bradshaw and dancing to problematic sexist R&B. 

The second time was just last year when I looked at my face in the mirror, I mean really looked at it, and saw flecks of dry skin. For the longest time I was so obsessed with not breaking out that suddenly when the other extreme came, I was not prepared. 

Skin obviously ages as we do and so it makes complete sense to change our skincare along with it. I started on a long, depressing, expensive, but ultimately much needed journey on finding the right moisturiser for me, now.

Perricone MD Face Finishing & Firming Moisturiser, $122, from Mecca

To indulge in my fantasy of living like my heroes, Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor, I thought it wise to start with the most expensive pot to see if the price really does affect the product. Well reader, sadly it does. There’s a reason the beauty salespeople at Mecca constantly tell me how good La Mer despite its hefty price tag. Perricone MD is a US company that likes to use words like ‘holistic’, ‘wellness’ and ‘age expert’ but whatever your thoughts on these nouns, this product was pretty damn good.

The rosewater smell is perfection when you open the lid, and for me, it was not overpowering. What I loved the most was the texture that was glossy but not watery. When I put it on, there was no tightness nor was my skin overwhelmed. If I may use a cliché, it really did glide on. 

Most importantly I had no breakouts while using this, even on the days leading up to the ol’ period and it felt good under foundation. However, I didn’t see a magical change in my skin such as more firmness or the elimination of scars which the Vitamin E is supposed to do, but perhaps that is because magic that does not exist. Sorry kids. 

Plus you really don’t want to put much Vitamin E on your face unless you’re planning to say adios forever to the sun. I used it to the last drop in the 59mL pot so perhaps, on days when I refuse to look at my sad bank account, I will buy it. 

Waso Shiseido Giga-Hydrating Rich Cream, $72

I was very excited to try this, remembering how excellent Japanese beauty products are plus Shiseido has been a brand since the 19th Century, so they know their shiz. 

The round tub with a tiny handle was cute though inexplicable. Is it for ease at opening the tub? Is it to hang from the Xmas tree as a cute treat for your beauty loving loved one? Is it a useable tiny handbag for your miniature poodle or giant tote for your hamster? I don’t know. 

However, this product smells divine. Like Greek Goddess divine. Like Aphrodite’s bow it hits you straight away and like Aphrodite’s robe it flows and smooths on brilliantly without needing to add on excess. The smell is strong, so I actually didn’t wear perfume and I loved the feel but, and this is a sad but, it was too oily for my skin. It is thick as it is a rich cream and probably better for dryer skin as I did break out slightly. But that scent, remember, it’s godly. 

Aotea Mānuka Honey Day Cream, $50

I learned many things from my obsession with fashion magazines all these years: you can mix patterns, black is everything and no one has solid sex tips, ever. But one of the most useful was how a day cream should be heavy enough to protect your skin from all the elements but light enough to wear underneath makeup. This day cream is both of those which deserves a big thumbs up. 

Unlike the two moisturisers above, it has a very subtle scent of honey so for those of you who aren’t big suckers for smell, it will do nicely. I also love the simple but effective packaging and the local brand’s ethos on keeping things as natural as possible, which they do when you look at their ingredients and are surprised to be able to pronounce them! It does also have shea butter which for me often causes breakouts but surprisingly this did not do that. 

Overall it did feel too light for daily use for me, and as I noted above, this 39-year-old skin is a tired girl, so she needs something a little thicker to quench her thirst.

Trilogy Vitamin C moisturising lotion, $53

Trilogy has been one of those cool things like TikTok that I have been meaning to engage with for ages, but unlike TikTok, trying their moisturiser did not require me to lose all hope and dignity for future generations*. I love the company’s story as it was founded in Aotearoa in 2002 by two sisters who wanted to make products by women with a strong commitment to community empowerment.

The change from tub to tube was interesting but not my favourite thing. I like solid reusable things and tubs, even the word, are more fun. It probably harks back to the fun of being a toddler and the sheer joy you would get from sticking your fingers into food, mud and Play-Doh. 

The Vitamin C in this is strong so it kind of feels like putting orange on your face which is not necessarily a bad thing. The cream is light but smooth without requiring too much content. I’m beginning to think that is the mark of a quality product – you do not need to use much to get the required effect. 

The cream did not feel as refreshing as say the Perricone so it was not my favourite, but it is still a great product for the right skin. After all, this brand has been constantly winning consumer votes (over 300) from Allure to InStyle so they’re doing something right. Alas, like TikTok, it’s just not for me.

*I’m kidding of course. I’ve never engaged with TikTok.

The majority of product in our beauty reviews is gifted to our reviewers with the requirement it be trialled over a period of time. Editorial opinions are the writer's own. Is there a product you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know!

No items found.

I have never been mature for my age. An obsession with boybands and complete sobriety kept me young at heart even when I was meant to be a wild 17-year-old aching to act older. In my later years, I have learned to love the fact that I consistently feel five years younger, whether it is due to the people I hang out with, my inability to ever hold down a ‘real job’ or the fact that I still get ID’d at my local Countdown despite very much pushing 40. 

However, this elation at discovering my own deranged fountain of youth is now sobering up – with a vengeance. While my mind is the gleeful and wistful Freudian id stuck in a permanent extended youthful vigour, frolicking in some never ageing Garden of Eden, my body is clearly the ego, rigid and realistic, here to ruin the garden of delight with age. 

My mind may be 30-something, but my body clearly knows it’s 39 and like the ageing Queen, she is not amused.

The first time I realised my body was its rightful age was when I could not drink shots at someone’s 30th birthday. Shots were the thing in the early ‘00s, alongside glittery tops and low-rise jeans. You followed it up with a vodka cranberry, feeling your inner Carrie Bradshaw and dancing to problematic sexist R&B. 

The second time was just last year when I looked at my face in the mirror, I mean really looked at it, and saw flecks of dry skin. For the longest time I was so obsessed with not breaking out that suddenly when the other extreme came, I was not prepared. 

Skin obviously ages as we do and so it makes complete sense to change our skincare along with it. I started on a long, depressing, expensive, but ultimately much needed journey on finding the right moisturiser for me, now.

Perricone MD Face Finishing & Firming Moisturiser, $122, from Mecca

To indulge in my fantasy of living like my heroes, Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor, I thought it wise to start with the most expensive pot to see if the price really does affect the product. Well reader, sadly it does. There’s a reason the beauty salespeople at Mecca constantly tell me how good La Mer despite its hefty price tag. Perricone MD is a US company that likes to use words like ‘holistic’, ‘wellness’ and ‘age expert’ but whatever your thoughts on these nouns, this product was pretty damn good.

The rosewater smell is perfection when you open the lid, and for me, it was not overpowering. What I loved the most was the texture that was glossy but not watery. When I put it on, there was no tightness nor was my skin overwhelmed. If I may use a cliché, it really did glide on. 

Most importantly I had no breakouts while using this, even on the days leading up to the ol’ period and it felt good under foundation. However, I didn’t see a magical change in my skin such as more firmness or the elimination of scars which the Vitamin E is supposed to do, but perhaps that is because magic that does not exist. Sorry kids. 

Plus you really don’t want to put much Vitamin E on your face unless you’re planning to say adios forever to the sun. I used it to the last drop in the 59mL pot so perhaps, on days when I refuse to look at my sad bank account, I will buy it. 

Waso Shiseido Giga-Hydrating Rich Cream, $72

I was very excited to try this, remembering how excellent Japanese beauty products are plus Shiseido has been a brand since the 19th Century, so they know their shiz. 

The round tub with a tiny handle was cute though inexplicable. Is it for ease at opening the tub? Is it to hang from the Xmas tree as a cute treat for your beauty loving loved one? Is it a useable tiny handbag for your miniature poodle or giant tote for your hamster? I don’t know. 

However, this product smells divine. Like Greek Goddess divine. Like Aphrodite’s bow it hits you straight away and like Aphrodite’s robe it flows and smooths on brilliantly without needing to add on excess. The smell is strong, so I actually didn’t wear perfume and I loved the feel but, and this is a sad but, it was too oily for my skin. It is thick as it is a rich cream and probably better for dryer skin as I did break out slightly. But that scent, remember, it’s godly. 

Aotea Mānuka Honey Day Cream, $50

I learned many things from my obsession with fashion magazines all these years: you can mix patterns, black is everything and no one has solid sex tips, ever. But one of the most useful was how a day cream should be heavy enough to protect your skin from all the elements but light enough to wear underneath makeup. This day cream is both of those which deserves a big thumbs up. 

Unlike the two moisturisers above, it has a very subtle scent of honey so for those of you who aren’t big suckers for smell, it will do nicely. I also love the simple but effective packaging and the local brand’s ethos on keeping things as natural as possible, which they do when you look at their ingredients and are surprised to be able to pronounce them! It does also have shea butter which for me often causes breakouts but surprisingly this did not do that. 

Overall it did feel too light for daily use for me, and as I noted above, this 39-year-old skin is a tired girl, so she needs something a little thicker to quench her thirst.

Trilogy Vitamin C moisturising lotion, $53

Trilogy has been one of those cool things like TikTok that I have been meaning to engage with for ages, but unlike TikTok, trying their moisturiser did not require me to lose all hope and dignity for future generations*. I love the company’s story as it was founded in Aotearoa in 2002 by two sisters who wanted to make products by women with a strong commitment to community empowerment.

The change from tub to tube was interesting but not my favourite thing. I like solid reusable things and tubs, even the word, are more fun. It probably harks back to the fun of being a toddler and the sheer joy you would get from sticking your fingers into food, mud and Play-Doh. 

The Vitamin C in this is strong so it kind of feels like putting orange on your face which is not necessarily a bad thing. The cream is light but smooth without requiring too much content. I’m beginning to think that is the mark of a quality product – you do not need to use much to get the required effect. 

The cream did not feel as refreshing as say the Perricone so it was not my favourite, but it is still a great product for the right skin. After all, this brand has been constantly winning consumer votes (over 300) from Allure to InStyle so they’re doing something right. Alas, like TikTok, it’s just not for me.

*I’m kidding of course. I’ve never engaged with TikTok.

The majority of product in our beauty reviews is gifted to our reviewers with the requirement it be trialled over a period of time. Editorial opinions are the writer's own. Is there a product you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know!

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

Ghazaleh Golbakhsh on ageing, and moisturiser

I have never been mature for my age. An obsession with boybands and complete sobriety kept me young at heart even when I was meant to be a wild 17-year-old aching to act older. In my later years, I have learned to love the fact that I consistently feel five years younger, whether it is due to the people I hang out with, my inability to ever hold down a ‘real job’ or the fact that I still get ID’d at my local Countdown despite very much pushing 40. 

However, this elation at discovering my own deranged fountain of youth is now sobering up – with a vengeance. While my mind is the gleeful and wistful Freudian id stuck in a permanent extended youthful vigour, frolicking in some never ageing Garden of Eden, my body is clearly the ego, rigid and realistic, here to ruin the garden of delight with age. 

My mind may be 30-something, but my body clearly knows it’s 39 and like the ageing Queen, she is not amused.

The first time I realised my body was its rightful age was when I could not drink shots at someone’s 30th birthday. Shots were the thing in the early ‘00s, alongside glittery tops and low-rise jeans. You followed it up with a vodka cranberry, feeling your inner Carrie Bradshaw and dancing to problematic sexist R&B. 

The second time was just last year when I looked at my face in the mirror, I mean really looked at it, and saw flecks of dry skin. For the longest time I was so obsessed with not breaking out that suddenly when the other extreme came, I was not prepared. 

Skin obviously ages as we do and so it makes complete sense to change our skincare along with it. I started on a long, depressing, expensive, but ultimately much needed journey on finding the right moisturiser for me, now.

Perricone MD Face Finishing & Firming Moisturiser, $122, from Mecca

To indulge in my fantasy of living like my heroes, Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor, I thought it wise to start with the most expensive pot to see if the price really does affect the product. Well reader, sadly it does. There’s a reason the beauty salespeople at Mecca constantly tell me how good La Mer despite its hefty price tag. Perricone MD is a US company that likes to use words like ‘holistic’, ‘wellness’ and ‘age expert’ but whatever your thoughts on these nouns, this product was pretty damn good.

The rosewater smell is perfection when you open the lid, and for me, it was not overpowering. What I loved the most was the texture that was glossy but not watery. When I put it on, there was no tightness nor was my skin overwhelmed. If I may use a cliché, it really did glide on. 

Most importantly I had no breakouts while using this, even on the days leading up to the ol’ period and it felt good under foundation. However, I didn’t see a magical change in my skin such as more firmness or the elimination of scars which the Vitamin E is supposed to do, but perhaps that is because magic that does not exist. Sorry kids. 

Plus you really don’t want to put much Vitamin E on your face unless you’re planning to say adios forever to the sun. I used it to the last drop in the 59mL pot so perhaps, on days when I refuse to look at my sad bank account, I will buy it. 

Waso Shiseido Giga-Hydrating Rich Cream, $72

I was very excited to try this, remembering how excellent Japanese beauty products are plus Shiseido has been a brand since the 19th Century, so they know their shiz. 

The round tub with a tiny handle was cute though inexplicable. Is it for ease at opening the tub? Is it to hang from the Xmas tree as a cute treat for your beauty loving loved one? Is it a useable tiny handbag for your miniature poodle or giant tote for your hamster? I don’t know. 

However, this product smells divine. Like Greek Goddess divine. Like Aphrodite’s bow it hits you straight away and like Aphrodite’s robe it flows and smooths on brilliantly without needing to add on excess. The smell is strong, so I actually didn’t wear perfume and I loved the feel but, and this is a sad but, it was too oily for my skin. It is thick as it is a rich cream and probably better for dryer skin as I did break out slightly. But that scent, remember, it’s godly. 

Aotea Mānuka Honey Day Cream, $50

I learned many things from my obsession with fashion magazines all these years: you can mix patterns, black is everything and no one has solid sex tips, ever. But one of the most useful was how a day cream should be heavy enough to protect your skin from all the elements but light enough to wear underneath makeup. This day cream is both of those which deserves a big thumbs up. 

Unlike the two moisturisers above, it has a very subtle scent of honey so for those of you who aren’t big suckers for smell, it will do nicely. I also love the simple but effective packaging and the local brand’s ethos on keeping things as natural as possible, which they do when you look at their ingredients and are surprised to be able to pronounce them! It does also have shea butter which for me often causes breakouts but surprisingly this did not do that. 

Overall it did feel too light for daily use for me, and as I noted above, this 39-year-old skin is a tired girl, so she needs something a little thicker to quench her thirst.

Trilogy Vitamin C moisturising lotion, $53

Trilogy has been one of those cool things like TikTok that I have been meaning to engage with for ages, but unlike TikTok, trying their moisturiser did not require me to lose all hope and dignity for future generations*. I love the company’s story as it was founded in Aotearoa in 2002 by two sisters who wanted to make products by women with a strong commitment to community empowerment.

The change from tub to tube was interesting but not my favourite thing. I like solid reusable things and tubs, even the word, are more fun. It probably harks back to the fun of being a toddler and the sheer joy you would get from sticking your fingers into food, mud and Play-Doh. 

The Vitamin C in this is strong so it kind of feels like putting orange on your face which is not necessarily a bad thing. The cream is light but smooth without requiring too much content. I’m beginning to think that is the mark of a quality product – you do not need to use much to get the required effect. 

The cream did not feel as refreshing as say the Perricone so it was not my favourite, but it is still a great product for the right skin. After all, this brand has been constantly winning consumer votes (over 300) from Allure to InStyle so they’re doing something right. Alas, like TikTok, it’s just not for me.

*I’m kidding of course. I’ve never engaged with TikTok.

The majority of product in our beauty reviews is gifted to our reviewers with the requirement it be trialled over a period of time. Editorial opinions are the writer's own. Is there a product you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know!

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

Ghazaleh Golbakhsh on ageing, and moisturiser

I have never been mature for my age. An obsession with boybands and complete sobriety kept me young at heart even when I was meant to be a wild 17-year-old aching to act older. In my later years, I have learned to love the fact that I consistently feel five years younger, whether it is due to the people I hang out with, my inability to ever hold down a ‘real job’ or the fact that I still get ID’d at my local Countdown despite very much pushing 40. 

However, this elation at discovering my own deranged fountain of youth is now sobering up – with a vengeance. While my mind is the gleeful and wistful Freudian id stuck in a permanent extended youthful vigour, frolicking in some never ageing Garden of Eden, my body is clearly the ego, rigid and realistic, here to ruin the garden of delight with age. 

My mind may be 30-something, but my body clearly knows it’s 39 and like the ageing Queen, she is not amused.

The first time I realised my body was its rightful age was when I could not drink shots at someone’s 30th birthday. Shots were the thing in the early ‘00s, alongside glittery tops and low-rise jeans. You followed it up with a vodka cranberry, feeling your inner Carrie Bradshaw and dancing to problematic sexist R&B. 

The second time was just last year when I looked at my face in the mirror, I mean really looked at it, and saw flecks of dry skin. For the longest time I was so obsessed with not breaking out that suddenly when the other extreme came, I was not prepared. 

Skin obviously ages as we do and so it makes complete sense to change our skincare along with it. I started on a long, depressing, expensive, but ultimately much needed journey on finding the right moisturiser for me, now.

Perricone MD Face Finishing & Firming Moisturiser, $122, from Mecca

To indulge in my fantasy of living like my heroes, Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor, I thought it wise to start with the most expensive pot to see if the price really does affect the product. Well reader, sadly it does. There’s a reason the beauty salespeople at Mecca constantly tell me how good La Mer despite its hefty price tag. Perricone MD is a US company that likes to use words like ‘holistic’, ‘wellness’ and ‘age expert’ but whatever your thoughts on these nouns, this product was pretty damn good.

The rosewater smell is perfection when you open the lid, and for me, it was not overpowering. What I loved the most was the texture that was glossy but not watery. When I put it on, there was no tightness nor was my skin overwhelmed. If I may use a cliché, it really did glide on. 

Most importantly I had no breakouts while using this, even on the days leading up to the ol’ period and it felt good under foundation. However, I didn’t see a magical change in my skin such as more firmness or the elimination of scars which the Vitamin E is supposed to do, but perhaps that is because magic that does not exist. Sorry kids. 

Plus you really don’t want to put much Vitamin E on your face unless you’re planning to say adios forever to the sun. I used it to the last drop in the 59mL pot so perhaps, on days when I refuse to look at my sad bank account, I will buy it. 

Waso Shiseido Giga-Hydrating Rich Cream, $72

I was very excited to try this, remembering how excellent Japanese beauty products are plus Shiseido has been a brand since the 19th Century, so they know their shiz. 

The round tub with a tiny handle was cute though inexplicable. Is it for ease at opening the tub? Is it to hang from the Xmas tree as a cute treat for your beauty loving loved one? Is it a useable tiny handbag for your miniature poodle or giant tote for your hamster? I don’t know. 

However, this product smells divine. Like Greek Goddess divine. Like Aphrodite’s bow it hits you straight away and like Aphrodite’s robe it flows and smooths on brilliantly without needing to add on excess. The smell is strong, so I actually didn’t wear perfume and I loved the feel but, and this is a sad but, it was too oily for my skin. It is thick as it is a rich cream and probably better for dryer skin as I did break out slightly. But that scent, remember, it’s godly. 

Aotea Mānuka Honey Day Cream, $50

I learned many things from my obsession with fashion magazines all these years: you can mix patterns, black is everything and no one has solid sex tips, ever. But one of the most useful was how a day cream should be heavy enough to protect your skin from all the elements but light enough to wear underneath makeup. This day cream is both of those which deserves a big thumbs up. 

Unlike the two moisturisers above, it has a very subtle scent of honey so for those of you who aren’t big suckers for smell, it will do nicely. I also love the simple but effective packaging and the local brand’s ethos on keeping things as natural as possible, which they do when you look at their ingredients and are surprised to be able to pronounce them! It does also have shea butter which for me often causes breakouts but surprisingly this did not do that. 

Overall it did feel too light for daily use for me, and as I noted above, this 39-year-old skin is a tired girl, so she needs something a little thicker to quench her thirst.

Trilogy Vitamin C moisturising lotion, $53

Trilogy has been one of those cool things like TikTok that I have been meaning to engage with for ages, but unlike TikTok, trying their moisturiser did not require me to lose all hope and dignity for future generations*. I love the company’s story as it was founded in Aotearoa in 2002 by two sisters who wanted to make products by women with a strong commitment to community empowerment.

The change from tub to tube was interesting but not my favourite thing. I like solid reusable things and tubs, even the word, are more fun. It probably harks back to the fun of being a toddler and the sheer joy you would get from sticking your fingers into food, mud and Play-Doh. 

The Vitamin C in this is strong so it kind of feels like putting orange on your face which is not necessarily a bad thing. The cream is light but smooth without requiring too much content. I’m beginning to think that is the mark of a quality product – you do not need to use much to get the required effect. 

The cream did not feel as refreshing as say the Perricone so it was not my favourite, but it is still a great product for the right skin. After all, this brand has been constantly winning consumer votes (over 300) from Allure to InStyle so they’re doing something right. Alas, like TikTok, it’s just not for me.

*I’m kidding of course. I’ve never engaged with TikTok.

The majority of product in our beauty reviews is gifted to our reviewers with the requirement it be trialled over a period of time. Editorial opinions are the writer's own. Is there a product you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know!

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
No items found.

I have never been mature for my age. An obsession with boybands and complete sobriety kept me young at heart even when I was meant to be a wild 17-year-old aching to act older. In my later years, I have learned to love the fact that I consistently feel five years younger, whether it is due to the people I hang out with, my inability to ever hold down a ‘real job’ or the fact that I still get ID’d at my local Countdown despite very much pushing 40. 

However, this elation at discovering my own deranged fountain of youth is now sobering up – with a vengeance. While my mind is the gleeful and wistful Freudian id stuck in a permanent extended youthful vigour, frolicking in some never ageing Garden of Eden, my body is clearly the ego, rigid and realistic, here to ruin the garden of delight with age. 

My mind may be 30-something, but my body clearly knows it’s 39 and like the ageing Queen, she is not amused.

The first time I realised my body was its rightful age was when I could not drink shots at someone’s 30th birthday. Shots were the thing in the early ‘00s, alongside glittery tops and low-rise jeans. You followed it up with a vodka cranberry, feeling your inner Carrie Bradshaw and dancing to problematic sexist R&B. 

The second time was just last year when I looked at my face in the mirror, I mean really looked at it, and saw flecks of dry skin. For the longest time I was so obsessed with not breaking out that suddenly when the other extreme came, I was not prepared. 

Skin obviously ages as we do and so it makes complete sense to change our skincare along with it. I started on a long, depressing, expensive, but ultimately much needed journey on finding the right moisturiser for me, now.

Perricone MD Face Finishing & Firming Moisturiser, $122, from Mecca

To indulge in my fantasy of living like my heroes, Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor, I thought it wise to start with the most expensive pot to see if the price really does affect the product. Well reader, sadly it does. There’s a reason the beauty salespeople at Mecca constantly tell me how good La Mer despite its hefty price tag. Perricone MD is a US company that likes to use words like ‘holistic’, ‘wellness’ and ‘age expert’ but whatever your thoughts on these nouns, this product was pretty damn good.

The rosewater smell is perfection when you open the lid, and for me, it was not overpowering. What I loved the most was the texture that was glossy but not watery. When I put it on, there was no tightness nor was my skin overwhelmed. If I may use a cliché, it really did glide on. 

Most importantly I had no breakouts while using this, even on the days leading up to the ol’ period and it felt good under foundation. However, I didn’t see a magical change in my skin such as more firmness or the elimination of scars which the Vitamin E is supposed to do, but perhaps that is because magic that does not exist. Sorry kids. 

Plus you really don’t want to put much Vitamin E on your face unless you’re planning to say adios forever to the sun. I used it to the last drop in the 59mL pot so perhaps, on days when I refuse to look at my sad bank account, I will buy it. 

Waso Shiseido Giga-Hydrating Rich Cream, $72

I was very excited to try this, remembering how excellent Japanese beauty products are plus Shiseido has been a brand since the 19th Century, so they know their shiz. 

The round tub with a tiny handle was cute though inexplicable. Is it for ease at opening the tub? Is it to hang from the Xmas tree as a cute treat for your beauty loving loved one? Is it a useable tiny handbag for your miniature poodle or giant tote for your hamster? I don’t know. 

However, this product smells divine. Like Greek Goddess divine. Like Aphrodite’s bow it hits you straight away and like Aphrodite’s robe it flows and smooths on brilliantly without needing to add on excess. The smell is strong, so I actually didn’t wear perfume and I loved the feel but, and this is a sad but, it was too oily for my skin. It is thick as it is a rich cream and probably better for dryer skin as I did break out slightly. But that scent, remember, it’s godly. 

Aotea Mānuka Honey Day Cream, $50

I learned many things from my obsession with fashion magazines all these years: you can mix patterns, black is everything and no one has solid sex tips, ever. But one of the most useful was how a day cream should be heavy enough to protect your skin from all the elements but light enough to wear underneath makeup. This day cream is both of those which deserves a big thumbs up. 

Unlike the two moisturisers above, it has a very subtle scent of honey so for those of you who aren’t big suckers for smell, it will do nicely. I also love the simple but effective packaging and the local brand’s ethos on keeping things as natural as possible, which they do when you look at their ingredients and are surprised to be able to pronounce them! It does also have shea butter which for me often causes breakouts but surprisingly this did not do that. 

Overall it did feel too light for daily use for me, and as I noted above, this 39-year-old skin is a tired girl, so she needs something a little thicker to quench her thirst.

Trilogy Vitamin C moisturising lotion, $53

Trilogy has been one of those cool things like TikTok that I have been meaning to engage with for ages, but unlike TikTok, trying their moisturiser did not require me to lose all hope and dignity for future generations*. I love the company’s story as it was founded in Aotearoa in 2002 by two sisters who wanted to make products by women with a strong commitment to community empowerment.

The change from tub to tube was interesting but not my favourite thing. I like solid reusable things and tubs, even the word, are more fun. It probably harks back to the fun of being a toddler and the sheer joy you would get from sticking your fingers into food, mud and Play-Doh. 

The Vitamin C in this is strong so it kind of feels like putting orange on your face which is not necessarily a bad thing. The cream is light but smooth without requiring too much content. I’m beginning to think that is the mark of a quality product – you do not need to use much to get the required effect. 

The cream did not feel as refreshing as say the Perricone so it was not my favourite, but it is still a great product for the right skin. After all, this brand has been constantly winning consumer votes (over 300) from Allure to InStyle so they’re doing something right. Alas, like TikTok, it’s just not for me.

*I’m kidding of course. I’ve never engaged with TikTok.

The majority of product in our beauty reviews is gifted to our reviewers with the requirement it be trialled over a period of time. Editorial opinions are the writer's own. Is there a product you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know!

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
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Ghazaleh Golbakhsh on ageing, and moisturiser

I have never been mature for my age. An obsession with boybands and complete sobriety kept me young at heart even when I was meant to be a wild 17-year-old aching to act older. In my later years, I have learned to love the fact that I consistently feel five years younger, whether it is due to the people I hang out with, my inability to ever hold down a ‘real job’ or the fact that I still get ID’d at my local Countdown despite very much pushing 40. 

However, this elation at discovering my own deranged fountain of youth is now sobering up – with a vengeance. While my mind is the gleeful and wistful Freudian id stuck in a permanent extended youthful vigour, frolicking in some never ageing Garden of Eden, my body is clearly the ego, rigid and realistic, here to ruin the garden of delight with age. 

My mind may be 30-something, but my body clearly knows it’s 39 and like the ageing Queen, she is not amused.

The first time I realised my body was its rightful age was when I could not drink shots at someone’s 30th birthday. Shots were the thing in the early ‘00s, alongside glittery tops and low-rise jeans. You followed it up with a vodka cranberry, feeling your inner Carrie Bradshaw and dancing to problematic sexist R&B. 

The second time was just last year when I looked at my face in the mirror, I mean really looked at it, and saw flecks of dry skin. For the longest time I was so obsessed with not breaking out that suddenly when the other extreme came, I was not prepared. 

Skin obviously ages as we do and so it makes complete sense to change our skincare along with it. I started on a long, depressing, expensive, but ultimately much needed journey on finding the right moisturiser for me, now.

Perricone MD Face Finishing & Firming Moisturiser, $122, from Mecca

To indulge in my fantasy of living like my heroes, Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor, I thought it wise to start with the most expensive pot to see if the price really does affect the product. Well reader, sadly it does. There’s a reason the beauty salespeople at Mecca constantly tell me how good La Mer despite its hefty price tag. Perricone MD is a US company that likes to use words like ‘holistic’, ‘wellness’ and ‘age expert’ but whatever your thoughts on these nouns, this product was pretty damn good.

The rosewater smell is perfection when you open the lid, and for me, it was not overpowering. What I loved the most was the texture that was glossy but not watery. When I put it on, there was no tightness nor was my skin overwhelmed. If I may use a cliché, it really did glide on. 

Most importantly I had no breakouts while using this, even on the days leading up to the ol’ period and it felt good under foundation. However, I didn’t see a magical change in my skin such as more firmness or the elimination of scars which the Vitamin E is supposed to do, but perhaps that is because magic that does not exist. Sorry kids. 

Plus you really don’t want to put much Vitamin E on your face unless you’re planning to say adios forever to the sun. I used it to the last drop in the 59mL pot so perhaps, on days when I refuse to look at my sad bank account, I will buy it. 

Waso Shiseido Giga-Hydrating Rich Cream, $72

I was very excited to try this, remembering how excellent Japanese beauty products are plus Shiseido has been a brand since the 19th Century, so they know their shiz. 

The round tub with a tiny handle was cute though inexplicable. Is it for ease at opening the tub? Is it to hang from the Xmas tree as a cute treat for your beauty loving loved one? Is it a useable tiny handbag for your miniature poodle or giant tote for your hamster? I don’t know. 

However, this product smells divine. Like Greek Goddess divine. Like Aphrodite’s bow it hits you straight away and like Aphrodite’s robe it flows and smooths on brilliantly without needing to add on excess. The smell is strong, so I actually didn’t wear perfume and I loved the feel but, and this is a sad but, it was too oily for my skin. It is thick as it is a rich cream and probably better for dryer skin as I did break out slightly. But that scent, remember, it’s godly. 

Aotea Mānuka Honey Day Cream, $50

I learned many things from my obsession with fashion magazines all these years: you can mix patterns, black is everything and no one has solid sex tips, ever. But one of the most useful was how a day cream should be heavy enough to protect your skin from all the elements but light enough to wear underneath makeup. This day cream is both of those which deserves a big thumbs up. 

Unlike the two moisturisers above, it has a very subtle scent of honey so for those of you who aren’t big suckers for smell, it will do nicely. I also love the simple but effective packaging and the local brand’s ethos on keeping things as natural as possible, which they do when you look at their ingredients and are surprised to be able to pronounce them! It does also have shea butter which for me often causes breakouts but surprisingly this did not do that. 

Overall it did feel too light for daily use for me, and as I noted above, this 39-year-old skin is a tired girl, so she needs something a little thicker to quench her thirst.

Trilogy Vitamin C moisturising lotion, $53

Trilogy has been one of those cool things like TikTok that I have been meaning to engage with for ages, but unlike TikTok, trying their moisturiser did not require me to lose all hope and dignity for future generations*. I love the company’s story as it was founded in Aotearoa in 2002 by two sisters who wanted to make products by women with a strong commitment to community empowerment.

The change from tub to tube was interesting but not my favourite thing. I like solid reusable things and tubs, even the word, are more fun. It probably harks back to the fun of being a toddler and the sheer joy you would get from sticking your fingers into food, mud and Play-Doh. 

The Vitamin C in this is strong so it kind of feels like putting orange on your face which is not necessarily a bad thing. The cream is light but smooth without requiring too much content. I’m beginning to think that is the mark of a quality product – you do not need to use much to get the required effect. 

The cream did not feel as refreshing as say the Perricone so it was not my favourite, but it is still a great product for the right skin. After all, this brand has been constantly winning consumer votes (over 300) from Allure to InStyle so they’re doing something right. Alas, like TikTok, it’s just not for me.

*I’m kidding of course. I’ve never engaged with TikTok.

The majority of product in our beauty reviews is gifted to our reviewers with the requirement it be trialled over a period of time. Editorial opinions are the writer's own. Is there a product you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know!

Creativity, evocative visual storytelling and good journalism come at a price. Support our work and join the Ensemble membership program
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