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What's new in beauty, with Tanya Barlow

Tanya Barlow is an Auckland-based hair, makeup and nail artist, and the owner of Hello Tanya. Known for her playful nail art and personal style, she’s also a genuine beauty fan. She’ll be casting her knowledgeable, savvy and honest eye over the makeup, skincare and other beauty products worth trying and buying each month.

NAPOLEON PERDIS COMPLEX SKIN RENEWAL SERUM, $89

If you’re around my age *cough late thirties cough*, you might remember seeing NP around back in the day - I’m fairly certain that I have an obnoxiously bright red eyeshadow in my makeup archives which I loved! So I was pretty excited to dive back into these samples, with the announcement that the brand is back in New Zealand exclusively at Smith & Caughey’s. My first impressions were how luxe and gold everything is.

I was curious to see how NP approached skincare with this antioxidant-rich serum, claiming to help with weather dehydration (how windy as it been lately?), skin stress and premature ageing. A heavy gold dropper bottle, the serum itself is a gorgeous barely there pale pink. I’ve never thought about the colour of serum before, but I enjoyed how delicate it looked. A surprising sweet scent appears as I rub it into the back of my hand: faintly like - forgive me here - candy necklaces? It’s not obnoxious at all, just surprising! It has almost a cooling sensation as it’s rubbed in, with a pleasing amount of slip, almost immediately sinking into the skin without any sticky residue. Oh, this is lovely.

NAPOLEON PERDIS AUTO-PILOT PRE-FOUNDATION SKIN PRIMER, $69

Tanya with the Napoleon Perdis primer on.

Okay so I don’t usually reach for a makeup primer for my own skin, or on make up jobs. I couldn’t even tell you why. I just don’t! However, I was intrigued by the pro-tip on the packaging to use the primer itself to remove (!) your base before reapplying foundation as a quick hydrating treatment. I love anything that multitasks. 

Full of chamomile, yarrow extract and vitamin E to boost hydration levels and help your makeup last, NP suggests you can use this alone or on top of moisturiser if you have dry skin. Like the Complex Skin Renewal Serum, it’s cooling to the touch and as it dries on the skin. At least it seems that way, perhaps it’s too hot to tell right now?

It melts into the skin easily rather than sitting on top of it. And though it does contain dimethicone, a silicone-based emollient that acts as a skin protectant (yes, I’m a skin nerd), it doesn’t have that *silicone-y* feeling that some primers have. It also leaves a lovely subtle glow on the skin, rather than mattifying it. Ready for foundation!

NAPOLEON PERDIS STROKE OF GENIUS LIQUID CASHMERE FOUNDATION SPF 20, $79

Now, I’m a glowy gal - I like my skin to be shiny enough to be seen from space - so I wouldn’t normally reach for a foundation described as cashmere, which I associate with quite a matte finish. But I do like that this is medium coverage which can be layered up in places or sheered out according to what you need. 

This guy comes with a built-in brush - I can imagine this would be useful for on the go touch-ups and having one less thing in that heaving makeup bag. Personally I’m still hands-on with most products, so while I applied some of this with the brush, I blended the rest in with my fingers. 

It’s a thicker consistency foundation but as it’s a soft formula, it blends in easily. And surprisingly I was still left with a glowy demi-matte finish! It feels comfortable on the skin, and with an SPF20, you really can’t go wrong.

NAPOLEON PERDIS CHEEK SWITCH CRÈME BLUSH STICK IN ‘PINK LADY’, $58

Oh hello again my blushy friend. Y’all know I live for a blush. And a cream (sorry, crème) blush, to boot. First of all, this is a huge amount of product - this blush stick is gonna last you forever! No deceptively shallow pans or eye-tricks glass/plastic packaging, this is 12g of blush goodness. 

At first swatch, it glides easily and is quite sheer; you could happily dot this right onto your cheeks and blend in with your fingers without fear of overdoing it. A lighter amount of pigment totally means more control. Very into this! I pat-pat-patted this onto the apples of my cheeks, and just because I can, on my lips and eyelids too. Straight into the makeup kit, thank you very much!

With the blush applied on cheeks, lips and eyelids.

NAPOLEON PERDIS THE ULTIMATE CONTOUR PALETTE IN ‘LIGHT’, $82

Wearing the palette.

If contouring terrifies you, this little kit might be for you. It comes with a champagne highlight, a peachy pink blush, and a light brown contour colour, as well as a handy product placement guide telling you where to put what where. Helpful!

I think the contour colour might be the hero of the three, as someone who doesn’t contour my own face very often, this shade is really flattering. Not too warm/orangey, and not too cool or grey-toned. It feels finely milled and applied smoothly on top of the Liquid Cashmere Foundation. In true Tanya fashion, I popped some of the contour colour on my eyelids as eyeshadow. Warmed up with the blush and topped off with a highlighter, this is a great little handy palette.

CORBIN RD RESTORATIVE CLEANSING BALM, $50

I’ve always preferred an oil based cleanser, and this cleansing balm from Corbin Rd is no exception. There’s something so satisfying about warming up this moisture-rich balm in your hands, slathering it over your face and feeling it emulsify without being remotely drying. This balm is packed full of natural oils, has a wonderful botanical scent and breaks down makeup (looking at you, mascara!) and sunscreen easily, leaving your skin delightfully clean and hydrated.

For extra exfoliation, use a hot, damp muslin cloth (Corbin Rd also sells silk exfoliating cloths) to gently remove the excess balm and debris. For a little extra indulgence, rinse and wring out your cloth under hot water, place it over your face and take three deep breaths. Ah, lovely.

TRILOGY VITAMIN C POLISHING POWDER, $45

Alright glow-getters, this one’s for you. Gone are the days of harsh physical scrubs with little bits of what felt like sand and rocks and walnut shells to exfoliate, my friends! This polishing powder is rice starch based, which gently buffs away dead skin cells and cleanses pores, which activates when mixed with water and turns into a non abrasive polishing milk. 

With added vitamin C, this is a great addition to your regime if you’re looking for something brightening. As I mixed up my potion in the palm of my hand like a mad scientist in the shower and gently massaged it into my skin, it definitely feels like it’s doing something. Afterwards, my face felt impeccably squeaky clean. I highly recommend going straight in with moisturising serums and sunscreen when using exfoliating products, and only using it once or twice a week so you’re not overdoing it. Great for when you feel like the sunscreen build up is a bit too much in the summer and you want to smooth things out without using anything too harsh.

KESTER BLACK HYPERREAL MATTE LIPSTICK IN ‘POW WOW’, $45

With the Kester Black lipstick on.

Oh the things I would do for the perfect red lippy. It’s a holy grail, right? A power move, a statement, a just focus on this bold lip, cos I haven’t had time to deal with my brows moment. KB, usually known for their nail polish line, has ventured into lipsticks and I couldn’t be more stoked about it. At first swatch on the back of my hand, it’s shiny, smooth and SO pigmented. Emboldened, I went straight in. The doe foot applicator is tapered with a small well that holds products - no need to double dip babe! 

Application was smooth as heck, and the sides of the applicator meant I had an excellently crisp lip line. No catching or dragging; you have quite a bit of time to perfect your red lip before it starts drying down to a matte finish. Not even remotely drying, I can still rub my lips together when it’s set! Another one that’s staying in my handbag, thaaaank you!

KESTER BLACK SELF LOVE CUTICLE OIL, $32

You might say I know a thing or two about cuticles and cuticle oil as I make my own in my salon! I’m always very excited to get more moisture into my hands and nail beds. I like the size of this dropper bottle, and even more how teeny tiny the dropper is: very helpful in not dispensing too much product. 

At first drop, the formula is not as oily as you’d expect from an oil, but rather almost immediately sinks into the skin, without leaving an oily residue and unable to touch anything for fear of smears. My hands love this; it’s particularly great for combatting hand washing and sanitiser dries, as well as helping your gel manicure last longer. Trust me on this!

SHISEIDO ULTIMUNE POWER INFUSING CONCENTRATE, $129

Oof, this packaging is off the charts luxe! Like any luxurious skincare that feels like it might change your life for the better, it’s beautiful, made of comfortingly weighted glass, and would look stunning in your bathroom cabinet.

This hard-working serum boasts anti-ageing qualities thanks to ingredient superstars Reishi Mushroom and Iris Root Extract. This concentrate kind of acts like a pre-serum serum, encouraging serums and moisturisers to sink in easily after its use, locking in moisture. On the back of my hand, it’s silky and cooling and sinks in almost immediately after rubbing in, leaving a dewy and plump finish. I used this right after the Trilogy Polishing Powder and my skin drank it all up! Incorporating this one into the routine.

SHISEIDO VITAL PERFECTION - UPLIFTING AND FIRMING CREAM, $189

Okay, hands down, I’m already obsessed with this moisturiser. Prepped with the Ultimune Concentrate, I was ready to try this firming cream but not quite sure what to expect. What gets me the most is that it has the most gorgeous scent! I’m not usually a fan of anything too perfumed in my skincare, but this is maybe the nicest one I’ve ever come across? A delicate mix of peach and cherry blossom and a hint of herbal, I stopped sniffing the back of my hand when I remembered I needed to put it on my face. The texture is super luxurious, not too thin or hard to rub in; it’s rich without being heavy. An absolute dream consistency that my skin was absolutely happy about. It’s so smooth and dewy! Every day’s a spa day with this. Love it.

No items found.

Tanya Barlow is an Auckland-based hair, makeup and nail artist, and the owner of Hello Tanya. Known for her playful nail art and personal style, she’s also a genuine beauty fan. She’ll be casting her knowledgeable, savvy and honest eye over the makeup, skincare and other beauty products worth trying and buying each month.

NAPOLEON PERDIS COMPLEX SKIN RENEWAL SERUM, $89

If you’re around my age *cough late thirties cough*, you might remember seeing NP around back in the day - I’m fairly certain that I have an obnoxiously bright red eyeshadow in my makeup archives which I loved! So I was pretty excited to dive back into these samples, with the announcement that the brand is back in New Zealand exclusively at Smith & Caughey’s. My first impressions were how luxe and gold everything is.

I was curious to see how NP approached skincare with this antioxidant-rich serum, claiming to help with weather dehydration (how windy as it been lately?), skin stress and premature ageing. A heavy gold dropper bottle, the serum itself is a gorgeous barely there pale pink. I’ve never thought about the colour of serum before, but I enjoyed how delicate it looked. A surprising sweet scent appears as I rub it into the back of my hand: faintly like - forgive me here - candy necklaces? It’s not obnoxious at all, just surprising! It has almost a cooling sensation as it’s rubbed in, with a pleasing amount of slip, almost immediately sinking into the skin without any sticky residue. Oh, this is lovely.

NAPOLEON PERDIS AUTO-PILOT PRE-FOUNDATION SKIN PRIMER, $69

Tanya with the Napoleon Perdis primer on.

Okay so I don’t usually reach for a makeup primer for my own skin, or on make up jobs. I couldn’t even tell you why. I just don’t! However, I was intrigued by the pro-tip on the packaging to use the primer itself to remove (!) your base before reapplying foundation as a quick hydrating treatment. I love anything that multitasks. 

Full of chamomile, yarrow extract and vitamin E to boost hydration levels and help your makeup last, NP suggests you can use this alone or on top of moisturiser if you have dry skin. Like the Complex Skin Renewal Serum, it’s cooling to the touch and as it dries on the skin. At least it seems that way, perhaps it’s too hot to tell right now?

It melts into the skin easily rather than sitting on top of it. And though it does contain dimethicone, a silicone-based emollient that acts as a skin protectant (yes, I’m a skin nerd), it doesn’t have that *silicone-y* feeling that some primers have. It also leaves a lovely subtle glow on the skin, rather than mattifying it. Ready for foundation!

NAPOLEON PERDIS STROKE OF GENIUS LIQUID CASHMERE FOUNDATION SPF 20, $79

Now, I’m a glowy gal - I like my skin to be shiny enough to be seen from space - so I wouldn’t normally reach for a foundation described as cashmere, which I associate with quite a matte finish. But I do like that this is medium coverage which can be layered up in places or sheered out according to what you need. 

This guy comes with a built-in brush - I can imagine this would be useful for on the go touch-ups and having one less thing in that heaving makeup bag. Personally I’m still hands-on with most products, so while I applied some of this with the brush, I blended the rest in with my fingers. 

It’s a thicker consistency foundation but as it’s a soft formula, it blends in easily. And surprisingly I was still left with a glowy demi-matte finish! It feels comfortable on the skin, and with an SPF20, you really can’t go wrong.

NAPOLEON PERDIS CHEEK SWITCH CRÈME BLUSH STICK IN ‘PINK LADY’, $58

Oh hello again my blushy friend. Y’all know I live for a blush. And a cream (sorry, crème) blush, to boot. First of all, this is a huge amount of product - this blush stick is gonna last you forever! No deceptively shallow pans or eye-tricks glass/plastic packaging, this is 12g of blush goodness. 

At first swatch, it glides easily and is quite sheer; you could happily dot this right onto your cheeks and blend in with your fingers without fear of overdoing it. A lighter amount of pigment totally means more control. Very into this! I pat-pat-patted this onto the apples of my cheeks, and just because I can, on my lips and eyelids too. Straight into the makeup kit, thank you very much!

With the blush applied on cheeks, lips and eyelids.

NAPOLEON PERDIS THE ULTIMATE CONTOUR PALETTE IN ‘LIGHT’, $82

Wearing the palette.

If contouring terrifies you, this little kit might be for you. It comes with a champagne highlight, a peachy pink blush, and a light brown contour colour, as well as a handy product placement guide telling you where to put what where. Helpful!

I think the contour colour might be the hero of the three, as someone who doesn’t contour my own face very often, this shade is really flattering. Not too warm/orangey, and not too cool or grey-toned. It feels finely milled and applied smoothly on top of the Liquid Cashmere Foundation. In true Tanya fashion, I popped some of the contour colour on my eyelids as eyeshadow. Warmed up with the blush and topped off with a highlighter, this is a great little handy palette.

CORBIN RD RESTORATIVE CLEANSING BALM, $50

I’ve always preferred an oil based cleanser, and this cleansing balm from Corbin Rd is no exception. There’s something so satisfying about warming up this moisture-rich balm in your hands, slathering it over your face and feeling it emulsify without being remotely drying. This balm is packed full of natural oils, has a wonderful botanical scent and breaks down makeup (looking at you, mascara!) and sunscreen easily, leaving your skin delightfully clean and hydrated.

For extra exfoliation, use a hot, damp muslin cloth (Corbin Rd also sells silk exfoliating cloths) to gently remove the excess balm and debris. For a little extra indulgence, rinse and wring out your cloth under hot water, place it over your face and take three deep breaths. Ah, lovely.

TRILOGY VITAMIN C POLISHING POWDER, $45

Alright glow-getters, this one’s for you. Gone are the days of harsh physical scrubs with little bits of what felt like sand and rocks and walnut shells to exfoliate, my friends! This polishing powder is rice starch based, which gently buffs away dead skin cells and cleanses pores, which activates when mixed with water and turns into a non abrasive polishing milk. 

With added vitamin C, this is a great addition to your regime if you’re looking for something brightening. As I mixed up my potion in the palm of my hand like a mad scientist in the shower and gently massaged it into my skin, it definitely feels like it’s doing something. Afterwards, my face felt impeccably squeaky clean. I highly recommend going straight in with moisturising serums and sunscreen when using exfoliating products, and only using it once or twice a week so you’re not overdoing it. Great for when you feel like the sunscreen build up is a bit too much in the summer and you want to smooth things out without using anything too harsh.

KESTER BLACK HYPERREAL MATTE LIPSTICK IN ‘POW WOW’, $45

With the Kester Black lipstick on.

Oh the things I would do for the perfect red lippy. It’s a holy grail, right? A power move, a statement, a just focus on this bold lip, cos I haven’t had time to deal with my brows moment. KB, usually known for their nail polish line, has ventured into lipsticks and I couldn’t be more stoked about it. At first swatch on the back of my hand, it’s shiny, smooth and SO pigmented. Emboldened, I went straight in. The doe foot applicator is tapered with a small well that holds products - no need to double dip babe! 

Application was smooth as heck, and the sides of the applicator meant I had an excellently crisp lip line. No catching or dragging; you have quite a bit of time to perfect your red lip before it starts drying down to a matte finish. Not even remotely drying, I can still rub my lips together when it’s set! Another one that’s staying in my handbag, thaaaank you!

KESTER BLACK SELF LOVE CUTICLE OIL, $32

You might say I know a thing or two about cuticles and cuticle oil as I make my own in my salon! I’m always very excited to get more moisture into my hands and nail beds. I like the size of this dropper bottle, and even more how teeny tiny the dropper is: very helpful in not dispensing too much product. 

At first drop, the formula is not as oily as you’d expect from an oil, but rather almost immediately sinks into the skin, without leaving an oily residue and unable to touch anything for fear of smears. My hands love this; it’s particularly great for combatting hand washing and sanitiser dries, as well as helping your gel manicure last longer. Trust me on this!

SHISEIDO ULTIMUNE POWER INFUSING CONCENTRATE, $129

Oof, this packaging is off the charts luxe! Like any luxurious skincare that feels like it might change your life for the better, it’s beautiful, made of comfortingly weighted glass, and would look stunning in your bathroom cabinet.

This hard-working serum boasts anti-ageing qualities thanks to ingredient superstars Reishi Mushroom and Iris Root Extract. This concentrate kind of acts like a pre-serum serum, encouraging serums and moisturisers to sink in easily after its use, locking in moisture. On the back of my hand, it’s silky and cooling and sinks in almost immediately after rubbing in, leaving a dewy and plump finish. I used this right after the Trilogy Polishing Powder and my skin drank it all up! Incorporating this one into the routine.

SHISEIDO VITAL PERFECTION - UPLIFTING AND FIRMING CREAM, $189

Okay, hands down, I’m already obsessed with this moisturiser. Prepped with the Ultimune Concentrate, I was ready to try this firming cream but not quite sure what to expect. What gets me the most is that it has the most gorgeous scent! I’m not usually a fan of anything too perfumed in my skincare, but this is maybe the nicest one I’ve ever come across? A delicate mix of peach and cherry blossom and a hint of herbal, I stopped sniffing the back of my hand when I remembered I needed to put it on my face. The texture is super luxurious, not too thin or hard to rub in; it’s rich without being heavy. An absolute dream consistency that my skin was absolutely happy about. It’s so smooth and dewy! Every day’s a spa day with this. Love it.

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

What's new in beauty, with Tanya Barlow

Tanya Barlow is an Auckland-based hair, makeup and nail artist, and the owner of Hello Tanya. Known for her playful nail art and personal style, she’s also a genuine beauty fan. She’ll be casting her knowledgeable, savvy and honest eye over the makeup, skincare and other beauty products worth trying and buying each month.

NAPOLEON PERDIS COMPLEX SKIN RENEWAL SERUM, $89

If you’re around my age *cough late thirties cough*, you might remember seeing NP around back in the day - I’m fairly certain that I have an obnoxiously bright red eyeshadow in my makeup archives which I loved! So I was pretty excited to dive back into these samples, with the announcement that the brand is back in New Zealand exclusively at Smith & Caughey’s. My first impressions were how luxe and gold everything is.

I was curious to see how NP approached skincare with this antioxidant-rich serum, claiming to help with weather dehydration (how windy as it been lately?), skin stress and premature ageing. A heavy gold dropper bottle, the serum itself is a gorgeous barely there pale pink. I’ve never thought about the colour of serum before, but I enjoyed how delicate it looked. A surprising sweet scent appears as I rub it into the back of my hand: faintly like - forgive me here - candy necklaces? It’s not obnoxious at all, just surprising! It has almost a cooling sensation as it’s rubbed in, with a pleasing amount of slip, almost immediately sinking into the skin without any sticky residue. Oh, this is lovely.

NAPOLEON PERDIS AUTO-PILOT PRE-FOUNDATION SKIN PRIMER, $69

Tanya with the Napoleon Perdis primer on.

Okay so I don’t usually reach for a makeup primer for my own skin, or on make up jobs. I couldn’t even tell you why. I just don’t! However, I was intrigued by the pro-tip on the packaging to use the primer itself to remove (!) your base before reapplying foundation as a quick hydrating treatment. I love anything that multitasks. 

Full of chamomile, yarrow extract and vitamin E to boost hydration levels and help your makeup last, NP suggests you can use this alone or on top of moisturiser if you have dry skin. Like the Complex Skin Renewal Serum, it’s cooling to the touch and as it dries on the skin. At least it seems that way, perhaps it’s too hot to tell right now?

It melts into the skin easily rather than sitting on top of it. And though it does contain dimethicone, a silicone-based emollient that acts as a skin protectant (yes, I’m a skin nerd), it doesn’t have that *silicone-y* feeling that some primers have. It also leaves a lovely subtle glow on the skin, rather than mattifying it. Ready for foundation!

NAPOLEON PERDIS STROKE OF GENIUS LIQUID CASHMERE FOUNDATION SPF 20, $79

Now, I’m a glowy gal - I like my skin to be shiny enough to be seen from space - so I wouldn’t normally reach for a foundation described as cashmere, which I associate with quite a matte finish. But I do like that this is medium coverage which can be layered up in places or sheered out according to what you need. 

This guy comes with a built-in brush - I can imagine this would be useful for on the go touch-ups and having one less thing in that heaving makeup bag. Personally I’m still hands-on with most products, so while I applied some of this with the brush, I blended the rest in with my fingers. 

It’s a thicker consistency foundation but as it’s a soft formula, it blends in easily. And surprisingly I was still left with a glowy demi-matte finish! It feels comfortable on the skin, and with an SPF20, you really can’t go wrong.

NAPOLEON PERDIS CHEEK SWITCH CRÈME BLUSH STICK IN ‘PINK LADY’, $58

Oh hello again my blushy friend. Y’all know I live for a blush. And a cream (sorry, crème) blush, to boot. First of all, this is a huge amount of product - this blush stick is gonna last you forever! No deceptively shallow pans or eye-tricks glass/plastic packaging, this is 12g of blush goodness. 

At first swatch, it glides easily and is quite sheer; you could happily dot this right onto your cheeks and blend in with your fingers without fear of overdoing it. A lighter amount of pigment totally means more control. Very into this! I pat-pat-patted this onto the apples of my cheeks, and just because I can, on my lips and eyelids too. Straight into the makeup kit, thank you very much!

With the blush applied on cheeks, lips and eyelids.

NAPOLEON PERDIS THE ULTIMATE CONTOUR PALETTE IN ‘LIGHT’, $82

Wearing the palette.

If contouring terrifies you, this little kit might be for you. It comes with a champagne highlight, a peachy pink blush, and a light brown contour colour, as well as a handy product placement guide telling you where to put what where. Helpful!

I think the contour colour might be the hero of the three, as someone who doesn’t contour my own face very often, this shade is really flattering. Not too warm/orangey, and not too cool or grey-toned. It feels finely milled and applied smoothly on top of the Liquid Cashmere Foundation. In true Tanya fashion, I popped some of the contour colour on my eyelids as eyeshadow. Warmed up with the blush and topped off with a highlighter, this is a great little handy palette.

CORBIN RD RESTORATIVE CLEANSING BALM, $50

I’ve always preferred an oil based cleanser, and this cleansing balm from Corbin Rd is no exception. There’s something so satisfying about warming up this moisture-rich balm in your hands, slathering it over your face and feeling it emulsify without being remotely drying. This balm is packed full of natural oils, has a wonderful botanical scent and breaks down makeup (looking at you, mascara!) and sunscreen easily, leaving your skin delightfully clean and hydrated.

For extra exfoliation, use a hot, damp muslin cloth (Corbin Rd also sells silk exfoliating cloths) to gently remove the excess balm and debris. For a little extra indulgence, rinse and wring out your cloth under hot water, place it over your face and take three deep breaths. Ah, lovely.

TRILOGY VITAMIN C POLISHING POWDER, $45

Alright glow-getters, this one’s for you. Gone are the days of harsh physical scrubs with little bits of what felt like sand and rocks and walnut shells to exfoliate, my friends! This polishing powder is rice starch based, which gently buffs away dead skin cells and cleanses pores, which activates when mixed with water and turns into a non abrasive polishing milk. 

With added vitamin C, this is a great addition to your regime if you’re looking for something brightening. As I mixed up my potion in the palm of my hand like a mad scientist in the shower and gently massaged it into my skin, it definitely feels like it’s doing something. Afterwards, my face felt impeccably squeaky clean. I highly recommend going straight in with moisturising serums and sunscreen when using exfoliating products, and only using it once or twice a week so you’re not overdoing it. Great for when you feel like the sunscreen build up is a bit too much in the summer and you want to smooth things out without using anything too harsh.

KESTER BLACK HYPERREAL MATTE LIPSTICK IN ‘POW WOW’, $45

With the Kester Black lipstick on.

Oh the things I would do for the perfect red lippy. It’s a holy grail, right? A power move, a statement, a just focus on this bold lip, cos I haven’t had time to deal with my brows moment. KB, usually known for their nail polish line, has ventured into lipsticks and I couldn’t be more stoked about it. At first swatch on the back of my hand, it’s shiny, smooth and SO pigmented. Emboldened, I went straight in. The doe foot applicator is tapered with a small well that holds products - no need to double dip babe! 

Application was smooth as heck, and the sides of the applicator meant I had an excellently crisp lip line. No catching or dragging; you have quite a bit of time to perfect your red lip before it starts drying down to a matte finish. Not even remotely drying, I can still rub my lips together when it’s set! Another one that’s staying in my handbag, thaaaank you!

KESTER BLACK SELF LOVE CUTICLE OIL, $32

You might say I know a thing or two about cuticles and cuticle oil as I make my own in my salon! I’m always very excited to get more moisture into my hands and nail beds. I like the size of this dropper bottle, and even more how teeny tiny the dropper is: very helpful in not dispensing too much product. 

At first drop, the formula is not as oily as you’d expect from an oil, but rather almost immediately sinks into the skin, without leaving an oily residue and unable to touch anything for fear of smears. My hands love this; it’s particularly great for combatting hand washing and sanitiser dries, as well as helping your gel manicure last longer. Trust me on this!

SHISEIDO ULTIMUNE POWER INFUSING CONCENTRATE, $129

Oof, this packaging is off the charts luxe! Like any luxurious skincare that feels like it might change your life for the better, it’s beautiful, made of comfortingly weighted glass, and would look stunning in your bathroom cabinet.

This hard-working serum boasts anti-ageing qualities thanks to ingredient superstars Reishi Mushroom and Iris Root Extract. This concentrate kind of acts like a pre-serum serum, encouraging serums and moisturisers to sink in easily after its use, locking in moisture. On the back of my hand, it’s silky and cooling and sinks in almost immediately after rubbing in, leaving a dewy and plump finish. I used this right after the Trilogy Polishing Powder and my skin drank it all up! Incorporating this one into the routine.

SHISEIDO VITAL PERFECTION - UPLIFTING AND FIRMING CREAM, $189

Okay, hands down, I’m already obsessed with this moisturiser. Prepped with the Ultimune Concentrate, I was ready to try this firming cream but not quite sure what to expect. What gets me the most is that it has the most gorgeous scent! I’m not usually a fan of anything too perfumed in my skincare, but this is maybe the nicest one I’ve ever come across? A delicate mix of peach and cherry blossom and a hint of herbal, I stopped sniffing the back of my hand when I remembered I needed to put it on my face. The texture is super luxurious, not too thin or hard to rub in; it’s rich without being heavy. An absolute dream consistency that my skin was absolutely happy about. It’s so smooth and dewy! Every day’s a spa day with this. Love it.

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

What's new in beauty, with Tanya Barlow

Tanya Barlow is an Auckland-based hair, makeup and nail artist, and the owner of Hello Tanya. Known for her playful nail art and personal style, she’s also a genuine beauty fan. She’ll be casting her knowledgeable, savvy and honest eye over the makeup, skincare and other beauty products worth trying and buying each month.

NAPOLEON PERDIS COMPLEX SKIN RENEWAL SERUM, $89

If you’re around my age *cough late thirties cough*, you might remember seeing NP around back in the day - I’m fairly certain that I have an obnoxiously bright red eyeshadow in my makeup archives which I loved! So I was pretty excited to dive back into these samples, with the announcement that the brand is back in New Zealand exclusively at Smith & Caughey’s. My first impressions were how luxe and gold everything is.

I was curious to see how NP approached skincare with this antioxidant-rich serum, claiming to help with weather dehydration (how windy as it been lately?), skin stress and premature ageing. A heavy gold dropper bottle, the serum itself is a gorgeous barely there pale pink. I’ve never thought about the colour of serum before, but I enjoyed how delicate it looked. A surprising sweet scent appears as I rub it into the back of my hand: faintly like - forgive me here - candy necklaces? It’s not obnoxious at all, just surprising! It has almost a cooling sensation as it’s rubbed in, with a pleasing amount of slip, almost immediately sinking into the skin without any sticky residue. Oh, this is lovely.

NAPOLEON PERDIS AUTO-PILOT PRE-FOUNDATION SKIN PRIMER, $69

Tanya with the Napoleon Perdis primer on.

Okay so I don’t usually reach for a makeup primer for my own skin, or on make up jobs. I couldn’t even tell you why. I just don’t! However, I was intrigued by the pro-tip on the packaging to use the primer itself to remove (!) your base before reapplying foundation as a quick hydrating treatment. I love anything that multitasks. 

Full of chamomile, yarrow extract and vitamin E to boost hydration levels and help your makeup last, NP suggests you can use this alone or on top of moisturiser if you have dry skin. Like the Complex Skin Renewal Serum, it’s cooling to the touch and as it dries on the skin. At least it seems that way, perhaps it’s too hot to tell right now?

It melts into the skin easily rather than sitting on top of it. And though it does contain dimethicone, a silicone-based emollient that acts as a skin protectant (yes, I’m a skin nerd), it doesn’t have that *silicone-y* feeling that some primers have. It also leaves a lovely subtle glow on the skin, rather than mattifying it. Ready for foundation!

NAPOLEON PERDIS STROKE OF GENIUS LIQUID CASHMERE FOUNDATION SPF 20, $79

Now, I’m a glowy gal - I like my skin to be shiny enough to be seen from space - so I wouldn’t normally reach for a foundation described as cashmere, which I associate with quite a matte finish. But I do like that this is medium coverage which can be layered up in places or sheered out according to what you need. 

This guy comes with a built-in brush - I can imagine this would be useful for on the go touch-ups and having one less thing in that heaving makeup bag. Personally I’m still hands-on with most products, so while I applied some of this with the brush, I blended the rest in with my fingers. 

It’s a thicker consistency foundation but as it’s a soft formula, it blends in easily. And surprisingly I was still left with a glowy demi-matte finish! It feels comfortable on the skin, and with an SPF20, you really can’t go wrong.

NAPOLEON PERDIS CHEEK SWITCH CRÈME BLUSH STICK IN ‘PINK LADY’, $58

Oh hello again my blushy friend. Y’all know I live for a blush. And a cream (sorry, crème) blush, to boot. First of all, this is a huge amount of product - this blush stick is gonna last you forever! No deceptively shallow pans or eye-tricks glass/plastic packaging, this is 12g of blush goodness. 

At first swatch, it glides easily and is quite sheer; you could happily dot this right onto your cheeks and blend in with your fingers without fear of overdoing it. A lighter amount of pigment totally means more control. Very into this! I pat-pat-patted this onto the apples of my cheeks, and just because I can, on my lips and eyelids too. Straight into the makeup kit, thank you very much!

With the blush applied on cheeks, lips and eyelids.

NAPOLEON PERDIS THE ULTIMATE CONTOUR PALETTE IN ‘LIGHT’, $82

Wearing the palette.

If contouring terrifies you, this little kit might be for you. It comes with a champagne highlight, a peachy pink blush, and a light brown contour colour, as well as a handy product placement guide telling you where to put what where. Helpful!

I think the contour colour might be the hero of the three, as someone who doesn’t contour my own face very often, this shade is really flattering. Not too warm/orangey, and not too cool or grey-toned. It feels finely milled and applied smoothly on top of the Liquid Cashmere Foundation. In true Tanya fashion, I popped some of the contour colour on my eyelids as eyeshadow. Warmed up with the blush and topped off with a highlighter, this is a great little handy palette.

CORBIN RD RESTORATIVE CLEANSING BALM, $50

I’ve always preferred an oil based cleanser, and this cleansing balm from Corbin Rd is no exception. There’s something so satisfying about warming up this moisture-rich balm in your hands, slathering it over your face and feeling it emulsify without being remotely drying. This balm is packed full of natural oils, has a wonderful botanical scent and breaks down makeup (looking at you, mascara!) and sunscreen easily, leaving your skin delightfully clean and hydrated.

For extra exfoliation, use a hot, damp muslin cloth (Corbin Rd also sells silk exfoliating cloths) to gently remove the excess balm and debris. For a little extra indulgence, rinse and wring out your cloth under hot water, place it over your face and take three deep breaths. Ah, lovely.

TRILOGY VITAMIN C POLISHING POWDER, $45

Alright glow-getters, this one’s for you. Gone are the days of harsh physical scrubs with little bits of what felt like sand and rocks and walnut shells to exfoliate, my friends! This polishing powder is rice starch based, which gently buffs away dead skin cells and cleanses pores, which activates when mixed with water and turns into a non abrasive polishing milk. 

With added vitamin C, this is a great addition to your regime if you’re looking for something brightening. As I mixed up my potion in the palm of my hand like a mad scientist in the shower and gently massaged it into my skin, it definitely feels like it’s doing something. Afterwards, my face felt impeccably squeaky clean. I highly recommend going straight in with moisturising serums and sunscreen when using exfoliating products, and only using it once or twice a week so you’re not overdoing it. Great for when you feel like the sunscreen build up is a bit too much in the summer and you want to smooth things out without using anything too harsh.

KESTER BLACK HYPERREAL MATTE LIPSTICK IN ‘POW WOW’, $45

With the Kester Black lipstick on.

Oh the things I would do for the perfect red lippy. It’s a holy grail, right? A power move, a statement, a just focus on this bold lip, cos I haven’t had time to deal with my brows moment. KB, usually known for their nail polish line, has ventured into lipsticks and I couldn’t be more stoked about it. At first swatch on the back of my hand, it’s shiny, smooth and SO pigmented. Emboldened, I went straight in. The doe foot applicator is tapered with a small well that holds products - no need to double dip babe! 

Application was smooth as heck, and the sides of the applicator meant I had an excellently crisp lip line. No catching or dragging; you have quite a bit of time to perfect your red lip before it starts drying down to a matte finish. Not even remotely drying, I can still rub my lips together when it’s set! Another one that’s staying in my handbag, thaaaank you!

KESTER BLACK SELF LOVE CUTICLE OIL, $32

You might say I know a thing or two about cuticles and cuticle oil as I make my own in my salon! I’m always very excited to get more moisture into my hands and nail beds. I like the size of this dropper bottle, and even more how teeny tiny the dropper is: very helpful in not dispensing too much product. 

At first drop, the formula is not as oily as you’d expect from an oil, but rather almost immediately sinks into the skin, without leaving an oily residue and unable to touch anything for fear of smears. My hands love this; it’s particularly great for combatting hand washing and sanitiser dries, as well as helping your gel manicure last longer. Trust me on this!

SHISEIDO ULTIMUNE POWER INFUSING CONCENTRATE, $129

Oof, this packaging is off the charts luxe! Like any luxurious skincare that feels like it might change your life for the better, it’s beautiful, made of comfortingly weighted glass, and would look stunning in your bathroom cabinet.

This hard-working serum boasts anti-ageing qualities thanks to ingredient superstars Reishi Mushroom and Iris Root Extract. This concentrate kind of acts like a pre-serum serum, encouraging serums and moisturisers to sink in easily after its use, locking in moisture. On the back of my hand, it’s silky and cooling and sinks in almost immediately after rubbing in, leaving a dewy and plump finish. I used this right after the Trilogy Polishing Powder and my skin drank it all up! Incorporating this one into the routine.

SHISEIDO VITAL PERFECTION - UPLIFTING AND FIRMING CREAM, $189

Okay, hands down, I’m already obsessed with this moisturiser. Prepped with the Ultimune Concentrate, I was ready to try this firming cream but not quite sure what to expect. What gets me the most is that it has the most gorgeous scent! I’m not usually a fan of anything too perfumed in my skincare, but this is maybe the nicest one I’ve ever come across? A delicate mix of peach and cherry blossom and a hint of herbal, I stopped sniffing the back of my hand when I remembered I needed to put it on my face. The texture is super luxurious, not too thin or hard to rub in; it’s rich without being heavy. An absolute dream consistency that my skin was absolutely happy about. It’s so smooth and dewy! Every day’s a spa day with this. Love it.

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

Tanya Barlow is an Auckland-based hair, makeup and nail artist, and the owner of Hello Tanya. Known for her playful nail art and personal style, she’s also a genuine beauty fan. She’ll be casting her knowledgeable, savvy and honest eye over the makeup, skincare and other beauty products worth trying and buying each month.

NAPOLEON PERDIS COMPLEX SKIN RENEWAL SERUM, $89

If you’re around my age *cough late thirties cough*, you might remember seeing NP around back in the day - I’m fairly certain that I have an obnoxiously bright red eyeshadow in my makeup archives which I loved! So I was pretty excited to dive back into these samples, with the announcement that the brand is back in New Zealand exclusively at Smith & Caughey’s. My first impressions were how luxe and gold everything is.

I was curious to see how NP approached skincare with this antioxidant-rich serum, claiming to help with weather dehydration (how windy as it been lately?), skin stress and premature ageing. A heavy gold dropper bottle, the serum itself is a gorgeous barely there pale pink. I’ve never thought about the colour of serum before, but I enjoyed how delicate it looked. A surprising sweet scent appears as I rub it into the back of my hand: faintly like - forgive me here - candy necklaces? It’s not obnoxious at all, just surprising! It has almost a cooling sensation as it’s rubbed in, with a pleasing amount of slip, almost immediately sinking into the skin without any sticky residue. Oh, this is lovely.

NAPOLEON PERDIS AUTO-PILOT PRE-FOUNDATION SKIN PRIMER, $69

Tanya with the Napoleon Perdis primer on.

Okay so I don’t usually reach for a makeup primer for my own skin, or on make up jobs. I couldn’t even tell you why. I just don’t! However, I was intrigued by the pro-tip on the packaging to use the primer itself to remove (!) your base before reapplying foundation as a quick hydrating treatment. I love anything that multitasks. 

Full of chamomile, yarrow extract and vitamin E to boost hydration levels and help your makeup last, NP suggests you can use this alone or on top of moisturiser if you have dry skin. Like the Complex Skin Renewal Serum, it’s cooling to the touch and as it dries on the skin. At least it seems that way, perhaps it’s too hot to tell right now?

It melts into the skin easily rather than sitting on top of it. And though it does contain dimethicone, a silicone-based emollient that acts as a skin protectant (yes, I’m a skin nerd), it doesn’t have that *silicone-y* feeling that some primers have. It also leaves a lovely subtle glow on the skin, rather than mattifying it. Ready for foundation!

NAPOLEON PERDIS STROKE OF GENIUS LIQUID CASHMERE FOUNDATION SPF 20, $79

Now, I’m a glowy gal - I like my skin to be shiny enough to be seen from space - so I wouldn’t normally reach for a foundation described as cashmere, which I associate with quite a matte finish. But I do like that this is medium coverage which can be layered up in places or sheered out according to what you need. 

This guy comes with a built-in brush - I can imagine this would be useful for on the go touch-ups and having one less thing in that heaving makeup bag. Personally I’m still hands-on with most products, so while I applied some of this with the brush, I blended the rest in with my fingers. 

It’s a thicker consistency foundation but as it’s a soft formula, it blends in easily. And surprisingly I was still left with a glowy demi-matte finish! It feels comfortable on the skin, and with an SPF20, you really can’t go wrong.

NAPOLEON PERDIS CHEEK SWITCH CRÈME BLUSH STICK IN ‘PINK LADY’, $58

Oh hello again my blushy friend. Y’all know I live for a blush. And a cream (sorry, crème) blush, to boot. First of all, this is a huge amount of product - this blush stick is gonna last you forever! No deceptively shallow pans or eye-tricks glass/plastic packaging, this is 12g of blush goodness. 

At first swatch, it glides easily and is quite sheer; you could happily dot this right onto your cheeks and blend in with your fingers without fear of overdoing it. A lighter amount of pigment totally means more control. Very into this! I pat-pat-patted this onto the apples of my cheeks, and just because I can, on my lips and eyelids too. Straight into the makeup kit, thank you very much!

With the blush applied on cheeks, lips and eyelids.

NAPOLEON PERDIS THE ULTIMATE CONTOUR PALETTE IN ‘LIGHT’, $82

Wearing the palette.

If contouring terrifies you, this little kit might be for you. It comes with a champagne highlight, a peachy pink blush, and a light brown contour colour, as well as a handy product placement guide telling you where to put what where. Helpful!

I think the contour colour might be the hero of the three, as someone who doesn’t contour my own face very often, this shade is really flattering. Not too warm/orangey, and not too cool or grey-toned. It feels finely milled and applied smoothly on top of the Liquid Cashmere Foundation. In true Tanya fashion, I popped some of the contour colour on my eyelids as eyeshadow. Warmed up with the blush and topped off with a highlighter, this is a great little handy palette.

CORBIN RD RESTORATIVE CLEANSING BALM, $50

I’ve always preferred an oil based cleanser, and this cleansing balm from Corbin Rd is no exception. There’s something so satisfying about warming up this moisture-rich balm in your hands, slathering it over your face and feeling it emulsify without being remotely drying. This balm is packed full of natural oils, has a wonderful botanical scent and breaks down makeup (looking at you, mascara!) and sunscreen easily, leaving your skin delightfully clean and hydrated.

For extra exfoliation, use a hot, damp muslin cloth (Corbin Rd also sells silk exfoliating cloths) to gently remove the excess balm and debris. For a little extra indulgence, rinse and wring out your cloth under hot water, place it over your face and take three deep breaths. Ah, lovely.

TRILOGY VITAMIN C POLISHING POWDER, $45

Alright glow-getters, this one’s for you. Gone are the days of harsh physical scrubs with little bits of what felt like sand and rocks and walnut shells to exfoliate, my friends! This polishing powder is rice starch based, which gently buffs away dead skin cells and cleanses pores, which activates when mixed with water and turns into a non abrasive polishing milk. 

With added vitamin C, this is a great addition to your regime if you’re looking for something brightening. As I mixed up my potion in the palm of my hand like a mad scientist in the shower and gently massaged it into my skin, it definitely feels like it’s doing something. Afterwards, my face felt impeccably squeaky clean. I highly recommend going straight in with moisturising serums and sunscreen when using exfoliating products, and only using it once or twice a week so you’re not overdoing it. Great for when you feel like the sunscreen build up is a bit too much in the summer and you want to smooth things out without using anything too harsh.

KESTER BLACK HYPERREAL MATTE LIPSTICK IN ‘POW WOW’, $45

With the Kester Black lipstick on.

Oh the things I would do for the perfect red lippy. It’s a holy grail, right? A power move, a statement, a just focus on this bold lip, cos I haven’t had time to deal with my brows moment. KB, usually known for their nail polish line, has ventured into lipsticks and I couldn’t be more stoked about it. At first swatch on the back of my hand, it’s shiny, smooth and SO pigmented. Emboldened, I went straight in. The doe foot applicator is tapered with a small well that holds products - no need to double dip babe! 

Application was smooth as heck, and the sides of the applicator meant I had an excellently crisp lip line. No catching or dragging; you have quite a bit of time to perfect your red lip before it starts drying down to a matte finish. Not even remotely drying, I can still rub my lips together when it’s set! Another one that’s staying in my handbag, thaaaank you!

KESTER BLACK SELF LOVE CUTICLE OIL, $32

You might say I know a thing or two about cuticles and cuticle oil as I make my own in my salon! I’m always very excited to get more moisture into my hands and nail beds. I like the size of this dropper bottle, and even more how teeny tiny the dropper is: very helpful in not dispensing too much product. 

At first drop, the formula is not as oily as you’d expect from an oil, but rather almost immediately sinks into the skin, without leaving an oily residue and unable to touch anything for fear of smears. My hands love this; it’s particularly great for combatting hand washing and sanitiser dries, as well as helping your gel manicure last longer. Trust me on this!

SHISEIDO ULTIMUNE POWER INFUSING CONCENTRATE, $129

Oof, this packaging is off the charts luxe! Like any luxurious skincare that feels like it might change your life for the better, it’s beautiful, made of comfortingly weighted glass, and would look stunning in your bathroom cabinet.

This hard-working serum boasts anti-ageing qualities thanks to ingredient superstars Reishi Mushroom and Iris Root Extract. This concentrate kind of acts like a pre-serum serum, encouraging serums and moisturisers to sink in easily after its use, locking in moisture. On the back of my hand, it’s silky and cooling and sinks in almost immediately after rubbing in, leaving a dewy and plump finish. I used this right after the Trilogy Polishing Powder and my skin drank it all up! Incorporating this one into the routine.

SHISEIDO VITAL PERFECTION - UPLIFTING AND FIRMING CREAM, $189

Okay, hands down, I’m already obsessed with this moisturiser. Prepped with the Ultimune Concentrate, I was ready to try this firming cream but not quite sure what to expect. What gets me the most is that it has the most gorgeous scent! I’m not usually a fan of anything too perfumed in my skincare, but this is maybe the nicest one I’ve ever come across? A delicate mix of peach and cherry blossom and a hint of herbal, I stopped sniffing the back of my hand when I remembered I needed to put it on my face. The texture is super luxurious, not too thin or hard to rub in; it’s rich without being heavy. An absolute dream consistency that my skin was absolutely happy about. It’s so smooth and dewy! Every day’s a spa day with this. Love it.

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

What's new in beauty, with Tanya Barlow

Tanya Barlow is an Auckland-based hair, makeup and nail artist, and the owner of Hello Tanya. Known for her playful nail art and personal style, she’s also a genuine beauty fan. She’ll be casting her knowledgeable, savvy and honest eye over the makeup, skincare and other beauty products worth trying and buying each month.

NAPOLEON PERDIS COMPLEX SKIN RENEWAL SERUM, $89

If you’re around my age *cough late thirties cough*, you might remember seeing NP around back in the day - I’m fairly certain that I have an obnoxiously bright red eyeshadow in my makeup archives which I loved! So I was pretty excited to dive back into these samples, with the announcement that the brand is back in New Zealand exclusively at Smith & Caughey’s. My first impressions were how luxe and gold everything is.

I was curious to see how NP approached skincare with this antioxidant-rich serum, claiming to help with weather dehydration (how windy as it been lately?), skin stress and premature ageing. A heavy gold dropper bottle, the serum itself is a gorgeous barely there pale pink. I’ve never thought about the colour of serum before, but I enjoyed how delicate it looked. A surprising sweet scent appears as I rub it into the back of my hand: faintly like - forgive me here - candy necklaces? It’s not obnoxious at all, just surprising! It has almost a cooling sensation as it’s rubbed in, with a pleasing amount of slip, almost immediately sinking into the skin without any sticky residue. Oh, this is lovely.

NAPOLEON PERDIS AUTO-PILOT PRE-FOUNDATION SKIN PRIMER, $69

Tanya with the Napoleon Perdis primer on.

Okay so I don’t usually reach for a makeup primer for my own skin, or on make up jobs. I couldn’t even tell you why. I just don’t! However, I was intrigued by the pro-tip on the packaging to use the primer itself to remove (!) your base before reapplying foundation as a quick hydrating treatment. I love anything that multitasks. 

Full of chamomile, yarrow extract and vitamin E to boost hydration levels and help your makeup last, NP suggests you can use this alone or on top of moisturiser if you have dry skin. Like the Complex Skin Renewal Serum, it’s cooling to the touch and as it dries on the skin. At least it seems that way, perhaps it’s too hot to tell right now?

It melts into the skin easily rather than sitting on top of it. And though it does contain dimethicone, a silicone-based emollient that acts as a skin protectant (yes, I’m a skin nerd), it doesn’t have that *silicone-y* feeling that some primers have. It also leaves a lovely subtle glow on the skin, rather than mattifying it. Ready for foundation!

NAPOLEON PERDIS STROKE OF GENIUS LIQUID CASHMERE FOUNDATION SPF 20, $79

Now, I’m a glowy gal - I like my skin to be shiny enough to be seen from space - so I wouldn’t normally reach for a foundation described as cashmere, which I associate with quite a matte finish. But I do like that this is medium coverage which can be layered up in places or sheered out according to what you need. 

This guy comes with a built-in brush - I can imagine this would be useful for on the go touch-ups and having one less thing in that heaving makeup bag. Personally I’m still hands-on with most products, so while I applied some of this with the brush, I blended the rest in with my fingers. 

It’s a thicker consistency foundation but as it’s a soft formula, it blends in easily. And surprisingly I was still left with a glowy demi-matte finish! It feels comfortable on the skin, and with an SPF20, you really can’t go wrong.

NAPOLEON PERDIS CHEEK SWITCH CRÈME BLUSH STICK IN ‘PINK LADY’, $58

Oh hello again my blushy friend. Y’all know I live for a blush. And a cream (sorry, crème) blush, to boot. First of all, this is a huge amount of product - this blush stick is gonna last you forever! No deceptively shallow pans or eye-tricks glass/plastic packaging, this is 12g of blush goodness. 

At first swatch, it glides easily and is quite sheer; you could happily dot this right onto your cheeks and blend in with your fingers without fear of overdoing it. A lighter amount of pigment totally means more control. Very into this! I pat-pat-patted this onto the apples of my cheeks, and just because I can, on my lips and eyelids too. Straight into the makeup kit, thank you very much!

With the blush applied on cheeks, lips and eyelids.

NAPOLEON PERDIS THE ULTIMATE CONTOUR PALETTE IN ‘LIGHT’, $82

Wearing the palette.

If contouring terrifies you, this little kit might be for you. It comes with a champagne highlight, a peachy pink blush, and a light brown contour colour, as well as a handy product placement guide telling you where to put what where. Helpful!

I think the contour colour might be the hero of the three, as someone who doesn’t contour my own face very often, this shade is really flattering. Not too warm/orangey, and not too cool or grey-toned. It feels finely milled and applied smoothly on top of the Liquid Cashmere Foundation. In true Tanya fashion, I popped some of the contour colour on my eyelids as eyeshadow. Warmed up with the blush and topped off with a highlighter, this is a great little handy palette.

CORBIN RD RESTORATIVE CLEANSING BALM, $50

I’ve always preferred an oil based cleanser, and this cleansing balm from Corbin Rd is no exception. There’s something so satisfying about warming up this moisture-rich balm in your hands, slathering it over your face and feeling it emulsify without being remotely drying. This balm is packed full of natural oils, has a wonderful botanical scent and breaks down makeup (looking at you, mascara!) and sunscreen easily, leaving your skin delightfully clean and hydrated.

For extra exfoliation, use a hot, damp muslin cloth (Corbin Rd also sells silk exfoliating cloths) to gently remove the excess balm and debris. For a little extra indulgence, rinse and wring out your cloth under hot water, place it over your face and take three deep breaths. Ah, lovely.

TRILOGY VITAMIN C POLISHING POWDER, $45

Alright glow-getters, this one’s for you. Gone are the days of harsh physical scrubs with little bits of what felt like sand and rocks and walnut shells to exfoliate, my friends! This polishing powder is rice starch based, which gently buffs away dead skin cells and cleanses pores, which activates when mixed with water and turns into a non abrasive polishing milk. 

With added vitamin C, this is a great addition to your regime if you’re looking for something brightening. As I mixed up my potion in the palm of my hand like a mad scientist in the shower and gently massaged it into my skin, it definitely feels like it’s doing something. Afterwards, my face felt impeccably squeaky clean. I highly recommend going straight in with moisturising serums and sunscreen when using exfoliating products, and only using it once or twice a week so you’re not overdoing it. Great for when you feel like the sunscreen build up is a bit too much in the summer and you want to smooth things out without using anything too harsh.

KESTER BLACK HYPERREAL MATTE LIPSTICK IN ‘POW WOW’, $45

With the Kester Black lipstick on.

Oh the things I would do for the perfect red lippy. It’s a holy grail, right? A power move, a statement, a just focus on this bold lip, cos I haven’t had time to deal with my brows moment. KB, usually known for their nail polish line, has ventured into lipsticks and I couldn’t be more stoked about it. At first swatch on the back of my hand, it’s shiny, smooth and SO pigmented. Emboldened, I went straight in. The doe foot applicator is tapered with a small well that holds products - no need to double dip babe! 

Application was smooth as heck, and the sides of the applicator meant I had an excellently crisp lip line. No catching or dragging; you have quite a bit of time to perfect your red lip before it starts drying down to a matte finish. Not even remotely drying, I can still rub my lips together when it’s set! Another one that’s staying in my handbag, thaaaank you!

KESTER BLACK SELF LOVE CUTICLE OIL, $32

You might say I know a thing or two about cuticles and cuticle oil as I make my own in my salon! I’m always very excited to get more moisture into my hands and nail beds. I like the size of this dropper bottle, and even more how teeny tiny the dropper is: very helpful in not dispensing too much product. 

At first drop, the formula is not as oily as you’d expect from an oil, but rather almost immediately sinks into the skin, without leaving an oily residue and unable to touch anything for fear of smears. My hands love this; it’s particularly great for combatting hand washing and sanitiser dries, as well as helping your gel manicure last longer. Trust me on this!

SHISEIDO ULTIMUNE POWER INFUSING CONCENTRATE, $129

Oof, this packaging is off the charts luxe! Like any luxurious skincare that feels like it might change your life for the better, it’s beautiful, made of comfortingly weighted glass, and would look stunning in your bathroom cabinet.

This hard-working serum boasts anti-ageing qualities thanks to ingredient superstars Reishi Mushroom and Iris Root Extract. This concentrate kind of acts like a pre-serum serum, encouraging serums and moisturisers to sink in easily after its use, locking in moisture. On the back of my hand, it’s silky and cooling and sinks in almost immediately after rubbing in, leaving a dewy and plump finish. I used this right after the Trilogy Polishing Powder and my skin drank it all up! Incorporating this one into the routine.

SHISEIDO VITAL PERFECTION - UPLIFTING AND FIRMING CREAM, $189

Okay, hands down, I’m already obsessed with this moisturiser. Prepped with the Ultimune Concentrate, I was ready to try this firming cream but not quite sure what to expect. What gets me the most is that it has the most gorgeous scent! I’m not usually a fan of anything too perfumed in my skincare, but this is maybe the nicest one I’ve ever come across? A delicate mix of peach and cherry blossom and a hint of herbal, I stopped sniffing the back of my hand when I remembered I needed to put it on my face. The texture is super luxurious, not too thin or hard to rub in; it’s rich without being heavy. An absolute dream consistency that my skin was absolutely happy about. It’s so smooth and dewy! Every day’s a spa day with this. Love it.

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