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 (click here to read her review from February).
This month, she looks at - and actually uses - some new skincare products.
Hello friends! This month I’ve been swimming in brightening formulas, vitamin C filled serums, illuminating facial oils, moisturisers and more. I feel like a shiny, dewy faced newborn playing with these potions. Glow-getters, this one is for you!
I was excited to try this one! Claiming to help with stubborn hyperpigmentation, I zeroed in on a little hyperpigmentation patch on my cheek and whispered, “be gone!” while taking before photos.
Key ingredients include Niacinamide (vitamin B) and Hexylresorcinol (Phenolic Lipid), known for fading dark spots, as well as brightening Shiitake Mushroom, and Ashwagandha for smoothing, and Black Currant Oil and Peony Flower for illuminating.
I made sure this was my first step after cleansing for maximum results, and have been using it daily for two weeks now.
It’s a light, milky texture with a herbal scent, leaving a dry-ish, lightly tacky texture as it sits on the skin. Leave it on for one minute for maximum absorption.
Happy to keep it real, I was delighted to see some hormonal blemishes had popped up in time for the day one photo! After two weeks, I was slightly disappointed to see that the patch of pigmentation on my cheek hadn’t budged, but the dark spots left behind by those zits had severely and rapidly reduced. I have to say, it IS exciting to see results like this. Great for stubborn dark spots from blemishes gone by, but perhaps not for larger patches of hyperpigmentation.
I’m a big fan of this brand, from its sustainable packaging efforts to how it strives for scientifically backed natural skincare. Truly a beauty industry pioneer!
This new Illuminating Day Crème is no exception to their stunning range, and might be my new favourite product I’ve tried this month. The packaging comes disassembled with a detachable refill pod - honestly, I think making you physically put this together is a genius method in reminding you about the Emma Lewisham Beauty Circle Refill Programme. Refills are the future, I love this!
And oh boy, do I love an airless pump. There’s something very satisfying about pushing down and always receiving a perfect amount of product, no messing around with one pump not being enough and two being too much and putting the rest on your elbows (though they do need love too!).
A pastel peach colour, this has the most delicate amount of shimmer and smells delicious and fresh, like a citrusy sherbert. The texture is whipped and luxurious without being heavy or thick, delivering a formidable amount of brightening, hydrating and plumping goodness.
Ingredients include our brightening superhero Vitamin C, AHA/BHAs, ceramides, and Saccharide Isomerate, a “next generation” of one of my favourite skincare elements, Hyaluronic Acid, known for its plumping effects.
I’ve had consistent compliments on how bright and dewy my skin looks since using this. It feels super nourished, and I’ve loved going makeup free with this secret weapon. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen over this!
I might have mentioned that I’ve had a difficult relationship with peels in the past. I’ve overdone it with exfoliating peel pads, but a very knowledgeable facialist (shout out to Sophia at Loft!) educated me about how I’d damaged my acid mantle, the protective barrier of natural oils, and how it had left me with patchy bits that foundation seemed to be repelled by. Thankfully I’m back on track and ready to shed some skin in my sleep like a little snake.
This overnight peel contains a powerful blend of Glycolic Acid, Retinol and Niacinamide, and it claims to accelerate surface skin turnover, and enhance texture and clarity while you sleep. With added vitamin E as a moisturising protective veil, it’s gentle enough for overnight use.
Armed with the knowledge that my skin is back in good shape, I cleansed and dried my face, ready to apply a very thin and even layer of this overnight peel.
They recommend not using this with any other retinol products on the same night, but with the nature of these things you probably shouldn't be layering anything else with this anyway!
Climbing into bed, I noticed the tingling - a very normal reaction to active ingredients; though thankfully it didn’t last for too long, as it’s definitely a little spicy...
The next morning though, my skin felt smoother and had a brightness first thing that I usually don't. The recommended use is 2-3x a week, but I’m a little gun-shy, so I would keep this to once a month or every 2-3 weeks instead. And as always: slather on that SPF if you’re using any actives!
Now you might be thinking, how are these new? These cult-favourite nipple guys (not the official term) were first launched in 1990, and I’ve definitely been curious about them. They seem to radiate high-tech science and glamour and luxury that seemed to be reserved only for our mums (or at least that’s what I remember seeing of them when I was younger!). So I was excited to try these out.
Elizabeth Arden has released various incarnations or spinoffs of the iconic ampoules since the ‘90s, including a Vitamin C Ceramide option; they recently released a handy 90 capsule size.
This is the epitome of a hard-working serum, filled with ceramides, which help repair your skin barrier, which can be damaged from over-exfoliating. They work by strengthening, firming and improving the skin barrier’s function, as well as cell renewal and smoothing. Phew!
Twisting these capsules open can take a while to get a hang of if you have long claws like me, but you’ll get there. Holding the tab tightly, twist the biodegradable elixir pouch about 2-3 times and it’ll open up - recommended usage is to apply three drops to your neck and décolletage, and the rest is massaged on your face.
I’ve been a bit gumby with these, so releasing individual drops proved difficult, but I did manage to spread it out, with the extra always going on my weird elbow skin. Anyone else do this?
The formula itself is fragrance-free, and feels like a dry oil texture. This was surprising! As it’s so light, it slipped into my skin routine easily, replacing the ceramide cream I was using.
Make sure to let it sink in for about 30 seconds before moving onto your next step. I definitely felt like I had some extra protection with these bad (nipple) boys in my arsenal. With winter sneaking up around the corner, these will be put to good use.
Anyone else a sensitive-to-smells Judy out there? My first reaction to hearing about a vanilla infused facial oil brought me straight back to choking on clouds of Vanilla Kisses Impulse body spray in my high school changing rooms, and I’ve been put off ever since. Hesitantly, I cracked the bottle open and released a few drops on the back of my hand, nervous about flashbacks hitting me. Reader, we’re in the clear, this is bloody gorgeous.
Rubbing it in, I can already feel how light and nourishing it is, a light golden oil that wants to be on your skin. The ingredients list is a dream, featuring Jojoba, Borage, Marula, Vitamin C and E, VanilleActiv2 among other faves.
It claims to boost collagen production, stimulate skin cell repair and renewal. I could happily only use this in lieu of moisturiser in summer months, it’s so light!
The ultimate test though, how does foundation apply over it? Leaving the skin plump, moisturised and dewy, anything you put over the top of this feels wonderful. You can even add a few drops to your day or night cream for an extra moisture boost. The scent lingers for a short window, but fades before lunchtime. Yum.
What else is new in beauty this month?
- Cult brand Milk Makeup arrives in New Zealand, available at Sephora stores and online. We’re big fans of this NYC-based brand that’s known for its genuine inclusivity, gender neutral products and embrace of self-expression - and can’t wait to have a play with the products.
- Brave Face is a new local brand from Katherine Douglas (granddaughter of Sir Graeme Douglas, founder of Douglas Pharmaceuticals), with an initial offering of three products that focus on mental wellbeing - a spray (we love a facial mister), supplement and sleep drops.
- The Estée Lauder Perfectionist Pro Rapid Brightening Treatment and Intense Brightening Treatment Ampoules are major launches from the brand this year, and there’s certainly been a lot of buzz. We’re trialling a full month treatment; stand by for our honest findings soon.