Heading

This is some text inside of a div block.

New in beauty: hot products for cooler months

Winter is coming, and with cooler days come changing skin andhair concerns. Our beauty expert Tanya Barlow is here with a slew of fully-tested products to hydrate, refresh, glow and dazzle.

Estée Lauder Perfectionist Pro Rapid Brightening Treatment with Ferment³ + Vitamin C, $218, and Intense Brightening Essence Ampoule with Vit C/E + Licorice, $218

I’ve been trialing two items from Estée Lauder’s Perfectionist Pro line for about five weeks now - the Brightening Essence Ampoule and Rapid Brightening treatment. Y’all know I love brightening products!

The Ampoule comes with four 10ml vials, meant to last you four weeks and claims to renew skin, reduce the look of dark spots, uneven skin tone and texture with ingredients such as Vitamin C, E and Licorice Extract. Heavy lifting and huge claims, right? The texture of the essence is extremely light, just a hair heavier than water, fragrance free, doesn’t feel oily, and absorbs rapidly into the skin, leaving almost a cooling sensation. It kind of reminds me of a toner in texture.

The companion Rapid Brightening Treatment is more of a traditional serum, slightly more viscous in texture and delicious on the skin. It has a very light floral scent that fades quickly and doesn’t leave a sticky residue after application. The serum also has exciting claims, such as a reduction in dark spots, sun spots, age spots and blemish marks, as well as reducing pore size, heavy hydration and brightening, phew!

Hardworking ingredients such as Vitamin C (the brightening superhero) and Ferment3, which is a powerful triple-ferment, combining a high concentration of Yeast Ferment, Molasses Ferment and Algae Ferment - which claim to be spot targeting, powerfully soothing, reduces dark spots and improves clarity for glowing skin.

Now, how did I go? I dutifully used both of these treatments daily, excited about shining bright like a diamond, but as always a little cynical about dark spot reducing claims. Hot tip - a little goes a long way for both the ampoule and the serum - after five weeks, I still have two bottles of four left!

I can absolutely see a brightened difference in my skin, and I’m definitely glowing while make-up free, but once again I’m not so sure about these spot reduction claims. Personally I don’t see pores as a bad thing, but I have noticed that my skin texture has improved and I’m feeling smooth, soothed and hydrated with this duo. I’m gonna keep using these till they run out.

Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Cleanser, $52, from Sephora

I was very excited to see cult beauty fave Milk Makeup appearing at Sephora in New Zealand! I hadn’t tried their make up or skincare before, so was interested to see how this Vegan Milk Cleanser was. It’s a great option for the more conscientious consumer, being sulphate, fragrance and paraben free, and of course, vegan.

It’s called Milk Cleanser as it’s formulated with “desert milk”, which is a blend of Kalahari melon, baobab, jojoba and aloe vera, as well as fig milk, oat milk and shea butter.

Leaning towards a strong papaya scent, the texture is a thick heavy cream that foams into a silky milky lather on the skin after adding water. This satisfyingly removed all my makeup (and sunscreen and puppy kisses) effectively, and left my skin squeaky clean. Ideal for those with more oily or combination skin and seeking out that squeaky clean feeling.

Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask, $39, from Sephora

“Sleep your way to softer lips,” it says on the box. Okay, I’m interested!

Claiming to replenish, hydrate and calm, I popped some on before heading to bed. Now, anyone with a cat can tell you that going to bed with any kind of overnight mask is a dangerous game. This lip mask is no exception.

Heavy and emollient to the touch, I did feel like I had to pile it on to get good coverage, and all I could think about was how much fur was going to be stuck to my face in the morning. Warming it up by rubbing my lips together helped it sink in.

The overwhelming fragrance of lavender hits my nose and I think two things - my brain tells me that lavender is a soothing nighttime smell and it makes sense, and then I’m hit with a scent flashback (sniffback? Smellback? Flashfragrance?) of a lavender pillow I used to have at uni that put me off the scent for a long time.

Thankfully, this wasn’t too overwhelming. I’m a bit skeptical about the melatonin and plumping claims, but I did drift off eventually, even while paranoid about cat hair sticking to my face.

The next morning the stickiness was all gone and my lips definitely felt more moisturised, though I’m not sure they were plumped. I’ve found myself reaching for it during the day, applying a small amount as a lip balm during this colder weather. Maybe I do like lavender after all...

Dermalogica Melting Moisture Masque, $118

It’s certainly getting chillier and drier, so Dermalogica’s Melting Moisture Masque came by my desk at the perfect time. As soon as I read that it claims to help restore and protect the skin’s moisture barrier, I was in, invested, get it on my face already.

First of all, it’s a leave-on masque (!), so depending on how dry your skin is, you can leave it on, or towel off the excess. I’m into this - it makes it feel like you’re getting more hydration delivered to your skin for longer, as opposed to 15-20 minutes of good stuff before wiping it off/washing your face and possibly stripping that moisture all over again.

The texture is a thick balm, which melts into a soothing oil when it comes into contact with your skin’s natural heat. The scent is rather herbal, with lavender notes and what smells like tea-tree or citronella. Not the most delicious thing I’ve smelled, but it does remind me a bit of being at the spa.

It contains powerhouse moisturisers such as Mango Seed Butter, Shea Butter, C10-18 Triglycerides, Mimosa/Sunflower/Jojoba Oil Blend, as well as Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) which locks in moisture, and Micro-algae Plankton Extract that offers soothing properties.

Reader beware, use a tiny, TINY amount! That pea-sized amount of balm translates into enough product to cover your whole face and neck, so in usual fashion I used the rest on my elbows, as I didn’t want to go overboard since it’s a leave-on masque!

This will leave you glowing and shiny, so for those with T-zone issues, get that towel handy for a wipe-off. This felt so, so dreamy and moisturising. I towelled off a little bit of excess, applied sunscreen and went about my day, feeling like I’d cheated winter a little bit.

It would be wonderful as an overnight masque too, as it sinks in enough not to worry about being sticky.

Tarte Tartelette Juicy Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette, $90 from Sephora

Searching for the elusive perfect eyeshadow palette can be frustrating, as the market is saturated - but if you’re not a dab hand at picking individual colours, this palette could be for you!

It would be perfect as an everyday palette, easily taking you from sweet and fresh soft pinks, peaches and shimmery plums, all the way to warm nude and neutral shades and deep browns - making it easy to turn most of these lighter shades into a smokey eye with lighter shimmery champagne shades sprinkled in for easy inner corner or eyelid highlighting.

These have a slightly sweet chocolatey scent, and the formula is buttery, easy to blend, and as someone who uses her fingers to do most of her makeup, absolutely fool-proof approved!

I’ve been really into these warmer shades, so tried out makeup looks with the shades Orchid and Dream Chaser for something a little fancy, and for a softer daytime look, used Rose all over the lid with the darkest shade, Euphoric on the lashline.

This would be a great starter palette if you’re looking for an all-rounder taking you from day-to-night. Would also be perfect for a bridal look!

Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub, $110, from Sephora

Sometimes the word “scrub” gives me spooky flashbacks of *that* St Ives scrub and rubbing what is essentially rocks on my face as a teenager and unknowingly causing hecka damage.

Wishful’s Yo Glow enzyme scrub is thankfully nowhere near as harsh! With some of my favourite exfoliating ingredients like papaya enzyme, AHA and BHA, and made in skincare mecca South Korea, I had a feeling I wouldn’t be disappointed. And I wasn’t!

First of all, it smells amazing - sweet and floral.

Applying a generous amount to dry skin, I massaged in circular motions and had that satisfying feeling of dead skin slowly pilling, particularly around my nose, chin and forehead. Anyone who’s tried an enzyme scrub knows what I’m talking about - the physical evidence of sloughing dead skin cells balling up into bits. Goodbye flakies!

I rinsed well with warm water and my skin felt smooth and soft, without a hint of tingle. A great option for gentle exfoliation of flaky problem spots (for me, it’s always the nose and chin) without it feeling too spicy. I like this one.

Briogeo Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Superfood Hair Mask, $61, from Mecca

The main ingredients in this natural and moisturising hair mask sound like the most delicious green smoothie:  avocado, containing fatty acids for nourishment and conditioning, kiwi, providing high vitamin C content, and spinach, full of flavonoids and antioxidants.

The scent is delicious! Sweet and creamy like ice cream or candy, with a colour like melon sorbet. Now I don’t have the longest or most damaged hair, but I went ahead and popped this deep conditioner on for about 10 minutes. After rinsing it out and letting it air dry (!), my hair was super soft and shiny, manageable and without a trace of frizz or that just-washed-fluff.

Volume fiends, use this on the mid-lengths to ends of your hair to keep some root lift. You can use this in place of a hair conditioner about once a week for a luxurious treat too.

And yes, after using this I might have swished my hair around a lot more than usual since it smelt like lollies.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum 2.0, $305

If you were born in the early ‘80s like me, you’re probably eyeing up “anti-aging” products, are a bit tired all the time, should have worn more sunscreen 10 years ago and also need to drink more water. Surely it’s not just me! So I was interested to try this one...

Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage anti-aging range has undergone a “facelift” (lol their words and quite a good joke tbh), and their new Daily Serum boasts an impressive range of benefits: protecting and correcting the look of skin, shielding from environmental “assaults” (wow), intercepting future ageing signs (!) and improving the look of sun damaged skin.

They’ve run intensive clinical trials claiming improvement to radiance and brightness, skintone, sun damage, firmness and elasticity, among other things. Their hero ingredient for this serum is Idebenone, which, according to the EA website, is “the most powerful antioxidant available today”. Impressive, right? So what’s it like?

A surprising light mango colour (was not expecting that) which seems to have a slight shimmer to it, the serum has a silky/velvety feel when rubbing it into the skin.

With a light floral fragrance that disappears as soon as it’s sunk in, it left my skin feeling nourished and smooth, with no residue, and plays well with the rest of my skincare routine and feels lovely under makeup.

As for its plethora of claims, I can’t say for sure that I feel shielded by environmental assaults, and I’m blessed not to have visible fine lines (yet) that I could see improving, but I’m willing to give this a longer go.

For those with sensitive skin, I would possibly give this one a miss; simply based on the intense ingredients list and a handful of international reviews claiming bad reactions. Do a spot test for safety.

No items found.

Winter is coming, and with cooler days come changing skin andhair concerns. Our beauty expert Tanya Barlow is here with a slew of fully-tested products to hydrate, refresh, glow and dazzle.

Estée Lauder Perfectionist Pro Rapid Brightening Treatment with Ferment³ + Vitamin C, $218, and Intense Brightening Essence Ampoule with Vit C/E + Licorice, $218

I’ve been trialing two items from Estée Lauder’s Perfectionist Pro line for about five weeks now - the Brightening Essence Ampoule and Rapid Brightening treatment. Y’all know I love brightening products!

The Ampoule comes with four 10ml vials, meant to last you four weeks and claims to renew skin, reduce the look of dark spots, uneven skin tone and texture with ingredients such as Vitamin C, E and Licorice Extract. Heavy lifting and huge claims, right? The texture of the essence is extremely light, just a hair heavier than water, fragrance free, doesn’t feel oily, and absorbs rapidly into the skin, leaving almost a cooling sensation. It kind of reminds me of a toner in texture.

The companion Rapid Brightening Treatment is more of a traditional serum, slightly more viscous in texture and delicious on the skin. It has a very light floral scent that fades quickly and doesn’t leave a sticky residue after application. The serum also has exciting claims, such as a reduction in dark spots, sun spots, age spots and blemish marks, as well as reducing pore size, heavy hydration and brightening, phew!

Hardworking ingredients such as Vitamin C (the brightening superhero) and Ferment3, which is a powerful triple-ferment, combining a high concentration of Yeast Ferment, Molasses Ferment and Algae Ferment - which claim to be spot targeting, powerfully soothing, reduces dark spots and improves clarity for glowing skin.

Now, how did I go? I dutifully used both of these treatments daily, excited about shining bright like a diamond, but as always a little cynical about dark spot reducing claims. Hot tip - a little goes a long way for both the ampoule and the serum - after five weeks, I still have two bottles of four left!

I can absolutely see a brightened difference in my skin, and I’m definitely glowing while make-up free, but once again I’m not so sure about these spot reduction claims. Personally I don’t see pores as a bad thing, but I have noticed that my skin texture has improved and I’m feeling smooth, soothed and hydrated with this duo. I’m gonna keep using these till they run out.

Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Cleanser, $52, from Sephora

I was very excited to see cult beauty fave Milk Makeup appearing at Sephora in New Zealand! I hadn’t tried their make up or skincare before, so was interested to see how this Vegan Milk Cleanser was. It’s a great option for the more conscientious consumer, being sulphate, fragrance and paraben free, and of course, vegan.

It’s called Milk Cleanser as it’s formulated with “desert milk”, which is a blend of Kalahari melon, baobab, jojoba and aloe vera, as well as fig milk, oat milk and shea butter.

Leaning towards a strong papaya scent, the texture is a thick heavy cream that foams into a silky milky lather on the skin after adding water. This satisfyingly removed all my makeup (and sunscreen and puppy kisses) effectively, and left my skin squeaky clean. Ideal for those with more oily or combination skin and seeking out that squeaky clean feeling.

Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask, $39, from Sephora

“Sleep your way to softer lips,” it says on the box. Okay, I’m interested!

Claiming to replenish, hydrate and calm, I popped some on before heading to bed. Now, anyone with a cat can tell you that going to bed with any kind of overnight mask is a dangerous game. This lip mask is no exception.

Heavy and emollient to the touch, I did feel like I had to pile it on to get good coverage, and all I could think about was how much fur was going to be stuck to my face in the morning. Warming it up by rubbing my lips together helped it sink in.

The overwhelming fragrance of lavender hits my nose and I think two things - my brain tells me that lavender is a soothing nighttime smell and it makes sense, and then I’m hit with a scent flashback (sniffback? Smellback? Flashfragrance?) of a lavender pillow I used to have at uni that put me off the scent for a long time.

Thankfully, this wasn’t too overwhelming. I’m a bit skeptical about the melatonin and plumping claims, but I did drift off eventually, even while paranoid about cat hair sticking to my face.

The next morning the stickiness was all gone and my lips definitely felt more moisturised, though I’m not sure they were plumped. I’ve found myself reaching for it during the day, applying a small amount as a lip balm during this colder weather. Maybe I do like lavender after all...

Dermalogica Melting Moisture Masque, $118

It’s certainly getting chillier and drier, so Dermalogica’s Melting Moisture Masque came by my desk at the perfect time. As soon as I read that it claims to help restore and protect the skin’s moisture barrier, I was in, invested, get it on my face already.

First of all, it’s a leave-on masque (!), so depending on how dry your skin is, you can leave it on, or towel off the excess. I’m into this - it makes it feel like you’re getting more hydration delivered to your skin for longer, as opposed to 15-20 minutes of good stuff before wiping it off/washing your face and possibly stripping that moisture all over again.

The texture is a thick balm, which melts into a soothing oil when it comes into contact with your skin’s natural heat. The scent is rather herbal, with lavender notes and what smells like tea-tree or citronella. Not the most delicious thing I’ve smelled, but it does remind me a bit of being at the spa.

It contains powerhouse moisturisers such as Mango Seed Butter, Shea Butter, C10-18 Triglycerides, Mimosa/Sunflower/Jojoba Oil Blend, as well as Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) which locks in moisture, and Micro-algae Plankton Extract that offers soothing properties.

Reader beware, use a tiny, TINY amount! That pea-sized amount of balm translates into enough product to cover your whole face and neck, so in usual fashion I used the rest on my elbows, as I didn’t want to go overboard since it’s a leave-on masque!

This will leave you glowing and shiny, so for those with T-zone issues, get that towel handy for a wipe-off. This felt so, so dreamy and moisturising. I towelled off a little bit of excess, applied sunscreen and went about my day, feeling like I’d cheated winter a little bit.

It would be wonderful as an overnight masque too, as it sinks in enough not to worry about being sticky.

Tarte Tartelette Juicy Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette, $90 from Sephora

Searching for the elusive perfect eyeshadow palette can be frustrating, as the market is saturated - but if you’re not a dab hand at picking individual colours, this palette could be for you!

It would be perfect as an everyday palette, easily taking you from sweet and fresh soft pinks, peaches and shimmery plums, all the way to warm nude and neutral shades and deep browns - making it easy to turn most of these lighter shades into a smokey eye with lighter shimmery champagne shades sprinkled in for easy inner corner or eyelid highlighting.

These have a slightly sweet chocolatey scent, and the formula is buttery, easy to blend, and as someone who uses her fingers to do most of her makeup, absolutely fool-proof approved!

I’ve been really into these warmer shades, so tried out makeup looks with the shades Orchid and Dream Chaser for something a little fancy, and for a softer daytime look, used Rose all over the lid with the darkest shade, Euphoric on the lashline.

This would be a great starter palette if you’re looking for an all-rounder taking you from day-to-night. Would also be perfect for a bridal look!

Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub, $110, from Sephora

Sometimes the word “scrub” gives me spooky flashbacks of *that* St Ives scrub and rubbing what is essentially rocks on my face as a teenager and unknowingly causing hecka damage.

Wishful’s Yo Glow enzyme scrub is thankfully nowhere near as harsh! With some of my favourite exfoliating ingredients like papaya enzyme, AHA and BHA, and made in skincare mecca South Korea, I had a feeling I wouldn’t be disappointed. And I wasn’t!

First of all, it smells amazing - sweet and floral.

Applying a generous amount to dry skin, I massaged in circular motions and had that satisfying feeling of dead skin slowly pilling, particularly around my nose, chin and forehead. Anyone who’s tried an enzyme scrub knows what I’m talking about - the physical evidence of sloughing dead skin cells balling up into bits. Goodbye flakies!

I rinsed well with warm water and my skin felt smooth and soft, without a hint of tingle. A great option for gentle exfoliation of flaky problem spots (for me, it’s always the nose and chin) without it feeling too spicy. I like this one.

Briogeo Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Superfood Hair Mask, $61, from Mecca

The main ingredients in this natural and moisturising hair mask sound like the most delicious green smoothie:  avocado, containing fatty acids for nourishment and conditioning, kiwi, providing high vitamin C content, and spinach, full of flavonoids and antioxidants.

The scent is delicious! Sweet and creamy like ice cream or candy, with a colour like melon sorbet. Now I don’t have the longest or most damaged hair, but I went ahead and popped this deep conditioner on for about 10 minutes. After rinsing it out and letting it air dry (!), my hair was super soft and shiny, manageable and without a trace of frizz or that just-washed-fluff.

Volume fiends, use this on the mid-lengths to ends of your hair to keep some root lift. You can use this in place of a hair conditioner about once a week for a luxurious treat too.

And yes, after using this I might have swished my hair around a lot more than usual since it smelt like lollies.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum 2.0, $305

If you were born in the early ‘80s like me, you’re probably eyeing up “anti-aging” products, are a bit tired all the time, should have worn more sunscreen 10 years ago and also need to drink more water. Surely it’s not just me! So I was interested to try this one...

Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage anti-aging range has undergone a “facelift” (lol their words and quite a good joke tbh), and their new Daily Serum boasts an impressive range of benefits: protecting and correcting the look of skin, shielding from environmental “assaults” (wow), intercepting future ageing signs (!) and improving the look of sun damaged skin.

They’ve run intensive clinical trials claiming improvement to radiance and brightness, skintone, sun damage, firmness and elasticity, among other things. Their hero ingredient for this serum is Idebenone, which, according to the EA website, is “the most powerful antioxidant available today”. Impressive, right? So what’s it like?

A surprising light mango colour (was not expecting that) which seems to have a slight shimmer to it, the serum has a silky/velvety feel when rubbing it into the skin.

With a light floral fragrance that disappears as soon as it’s sunk in, it left my skin feeling nourished and smooth, with no residue, and plays well with the rest of my skincare routine and feels lovely under makeup.

As for its plethora of claims, I can’t say for sure that I feel shielded by environmental assaults, and I’m blessed not to have visible fine lines (yet) that I could see improving, but I’m willing to give this a longer go.

For those with sensitive skin, I would possibly give this one a miss; simply based on the intense ingredients list and a handful of international reviews claiming bad reactions. Do a spot test for safety.

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

New in beauty: hot products for cooler months

Winter is coming, and with cooler days come changing skin andhair concerns. Our beauty expert Tanya Barlow is here with a slew of fully-tested products to hydrate, refresh, glow and dazzle.

Estée Lauder Perfectionist Pro Rapid Brightening Treatment with Ferment³ + Vitamin C, $218, and Intense Brightening Essence Ampoule with Vit C/E + Licorice, $218

I’ve been trialing two items from Estée Lauder’s Perfectionist Pro line for about five weeks now - the Brightening Essence Ampoule and Rapid Brightening treatment. Y’all know I love brightening products!

The Ampoule comes with four 10ml vials, meant to last you four weeks and claims to renew skin, reduce the look of dark spots, uneven skin tone and texture with ingredients such as Vitamin C, E and Licorice Extract. Heavy lifting and huge claims, right? The texture of the essence is extremely light, just a hair heavier than water, fragrance free, doesn’t feel oily, and absorbs rapidly into the skin, leaving almost a cooling sensation. It kind of reminds me of a toner in texture.

The companion Rapid Brightening Treatment is more of a traditional serum, slightly more viscous in texture and delicious on the skin. It has a very light floral scent that fades quickly and doesn’t leave a sticky residue after application. The serum also has exciting claims, such as a reduction in dark spots, sun spots, age spots and blemish marks, as well as reducing pore size, heavy hydration and brightening, phew!

Hardworking ingredients such as Vitamin C (the brightening superhero) and Ferment3, which is a powerful triple-ferment, combining a high concentration of Yeast Ferment, Molasses Ferment and Algae Ferment - which claim to be spot targeting, powerfully soothing, reduces dark spots and improves clarity for glowing skin.

Now, how did I go? I dutifully used both of these treatments daily, excited about shining bright like a diamond, but as always a little cynical about dark spot reducing claims. Hot tip - a little goes a long way for both the ampoule and the serum - after five weeks, I still have two bottles of four left!

I can absolutely see a brightened difference in my skin, and I’m definitely glowing while make-up free, but once again I’m not so sure about these spot reduction claims. Personally I don’t see pores as a bad thing, but I have noticed that my skin texture has improved and I’m feeling smooth, soothed and hydrated with this duo. I’m gonna keep using these till they run out.

Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Cleanser, $52, from Sephora

I was very excited to see cult beauty fave Milk Makeup appearing at Sephora in New Zealand! I hadn’t tried their make up or skincare before, so was interested to see how this Vegan Milk Cleanser was. It’s a great option for the more conscientious consumer, being sulphate, fragrance and paraben free, and of course, vegan.

It’s called Milk Cleanser as it’s formulated with “desert milk”, which is a blend of Kalahari melon, baobab, jojoba and aloe vera, as well as fig milk, oat milk and shea butter.

Leaning towards a strong papaya scent, the texture is a thick heavy cream that foams into a silky milky lather on the skin after adding water. This satisfyingly removed all my makeup (and sunscreen and puppy kisses) effectively, and left my skin squeaky clean. Ideal for those with more oily or combination skin and seeking out that squeaky clean feeling.

Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask, $39, from Sephora

“Sleep your way to softer lips,” it says on the box. Okay, I’m interested!

Claiming to replenish, hydrate and calm, I popped some on before heading to bed. Now, anyone with a cat can tell you that going to bed with any kind of overnight mask is a dangerous game. This lip mask is no exception.

Heavy and emollient to the touch, I did feel like I had to pile it on to get good coverage, and all I could think about was how much fur was going to be stuck to my face in the morning. Warming it up by rubbing my lips together helped it sink in.

The overwhelming fragrance of lavender hits my nose and I think two things - my brain tells me that lavender is a soothing nighttime smell and it makes sense, and then I’m hit with a scent flashback (sniffback? Smellback? Flashfragrance?) of a lavender pillow I used to have at uni that put me off the scent for a long time.

Thankfully, this wasn’t too overwhelming. I’m a bit skeptical about the melatonin and plumping claims, but I did drift off eventually, even while paranoid about cat hair sticking to my face.

The next morning the stickiness was all gone and my lips definitely felt more moisturised, though I’m not sure they were plumped. I’ve found myself reaching for it during the day, applying a small amount as a lip balm during this colder weather. Maybe I do like lavender after all...

Dermalogica Melting Moisture Masque, $118

It’s certainly getting chillier and drier, so Dermalogica’s Melting Moisture Masque came by my desk at the perfect time. As soon as I read that it claims to help restore and protect the skin’s moisture barrier, I was in, invested, get it on my face already.

First of all, it’s a leave-on masque (!), so depending on how dry your skin is, you can leave it on, or towel off the excess. I’m into this - it makes it feel like you’re getting more hydration delivered to your skin for longer, as opposed to 15-20 minutes of good stuff before wiping it off/washing your face and possibly stripping that moisture all over again.

The texture is a thick balm, which melts into a soothing oil when it comes into contact with your skin’s natural heat. The scent is rather herbal, with lavender notes and what smells like tea-tree or citronella. Not the most delicious thing I’ve smelled, but it does remind me a bit of being at the spa.

It contains powerhouse moisturisers such as Mango Seed Butter, Shea Butter, C10-18 Triglycerides, Mimosa/Sunflower/Jojoba Oil Blend, as well as Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) which locks in moisture, and Micro-algae Plankton Extract that offers soothing properties.

Reader beware, use a tiny, TINY amount! That pea-sized amount of balm translates into enough product to cover your whole face and neck, so in usual fashion I used the rest on my elbows, as I didn’t want to go overboard since it’s a leave-on masque!

This will leave you glowing and shiny, so for those with T-zone issues, get that towel handy for a wipe-off. This felt so, so dreamy and moisturising. I towelled off a little bit of excess, applied sunscreen and went about my day, feeling like I’d cheated winter a little bit.

It would be wonderful as an overnight masque too, as it sinks in enough not to worry about being sticky.

Tarte Tartelette Juicy Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette, $90 from Sephora

Searching for the elusive perfect eyeshadow palette can be frustrating, as the market is saturated - but if you’re not a dab hand at picking individual colours, this palette could be for you!

It would be perfect as an everyday palette, easily taking you from sweet and fresh soft pinks, peaches and shimmery plums, all the way to warm nude and neutral shades and deep browns - making it easy to turn most of these lighter shades into a smokey eye with lighter shimmery champagne shades sprinkled in for easy inner corner or eyelid highlighting.

These have a slightly sweet chocolatey scent, and the formula is buttery, easy to blend, and as someone who uses her fingers to do most of her makeup, absolutely fool-proof approved!

I’ve been really into these warmer shades, so tried out makeup looks with the shades Orchid and Dream Chaser for something a little fancy, and for a softer daytime look, used Rose all over the lid with the darkest shade, Euphoric on the lashline.

This would be a great starter palette if you’re looking for an all-rounder taking you from day-to-night. Would also be perfect for a bridal look!

Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub, $110, from Sephora

Sometimes the word “scrub” gives me spooky flashbacks of *that* St Ives scrub and rubbing what is essentially rocks on my face as a teenager and unknowingly causing hecka damage.

Wishful’s Yo Glow enzyme scrub is thankfully nowhere near as harsh! With some of my favourite exfoliating ingredients like papaya enzyme, AHA and BHA, and made in skincare mecca South Korea, I had a feeling I wouldn’t be disappointed. And I wasn’t!

First of all, it smells amazing - sweet and floral.

Applying a generous amount to dry skin, I massaged in circular motions and had that satisfying feeling of dead skin slowly pilling, particularly around my nose, chin and forehead. Anyone who’s tried an enzyme scrub knows what I’m talking about - the physical evidence of sloughing dead skin cells balling up into bits. Goodbye flakies!

I rinsed well with warm water and my skin felt smooth and soft, without a hint of tingle. A great option for gentle exfoliation of flaky problem spots (for me, it’s always the nose and chin) without it feeling too spicy. I like this one.

Briogeo Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Superfood Hair Mask, $61, from Mecca

The main ingredients in this natural and moisturising hair mask sound like the most delicious green smoothie:  avocado, containing fatty acids for nourishment and conditioning, kiwi, providing high vitamin C content, and spinach, full of flavonoids and antioxidants.

The scent is delicious! Sweet and creamy like ice cream or candy, with a colour like melon sorbet. Now I don’t have the longest or most damaged hair, but I went ahead and popped this deep conditioner on for about 10 minutes. After rinsing it out and letting it air dry (!), my hair was super soft and shiny, manageable and without a trace of frizz or that just-washed-fluff.

Volume fiends, use this on the mid-lengths to ends of your hair to keep some root lift. You can use this in place of a hair conditioner about once a week for a luxurious treat too.

And yes, after using this I might have swished my hair around a lot more than usual since it smelt like lollies.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum 2.0, $305

If you were born in the early ‘80s like me, you’re probably eyeing up “anti-aging” products, are a bit tired all the time, should have worn more sunscreen 10 years ago and also need to drink more water. Surely it’s not just me! So I was interested to try this one...

Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage anti-aging range has undergone a “facelift” (lol their words and quite a good joke tbh), and their new Daily Serum boasts an impressive range of benefits: protecting and correcting the look of skin, shielding from environmental “assaults” (wow), intercepting future ageing signs (!) and improving the look of sun damaged skin.

They’ve run intensive clinical trials claiming improvement to radiance and brightness, skintone, sun damage, firmness and elasticity, among other things. Their hero ingredient for this serum is Idebenone, which, according to the EA website, is “the most powerful antioxidant available today”. Impressive, right? So what’s it like?

A surprising light mango colour (was not expecting that) which seems to have a slight shimmer to it, the serum has a silky/velvety feel when rubbing it into the skin.

With a light floral fragrance that disappears as soon as it’s sunk in, it left my skin feeling nourished and smooth, with no residue, and plays well with the rest of my skincare routine and feels lovely under makeup.

As for its plethora of claims, I can’t say for sure that I feel shielded by environmental assaults, and I’m blessed not to have visible fine lines (yet) that I could see improving, but I’m willing to give this a longer go.

For those with sensitive skin, I would possibly give this one a miss; simply based on the intense ingredients list and a handful of international reviews claiming bad reactions. Do a spot test for safety.

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

New in beauty: hot products for cooler months

Winter is coming, and with cooler days come changing skin andhair concerns. Our beauty expert Tanya Barlow is here with a slew of fully-tested products to hydrate, refresh, glow and dazzle.

Estée Lauder Perfectionist Pro Rapid Brightening Treatment with Ferment³ + Vitamin C, $218, and Intense Brightening Essence Ampoule with Vit C/E + Licorice, $218

I’ve been trialing two items from Estée Lauder’s Perfectionist Pro line for about five weeks now - the Brightening Essence Ampoule and Rapid Brightening treatment. Y’all know I love brightening products!

The Ampoule comes with four 10ml vials, meant to last you four weeks and claims to renew skin, reduce the look of dark spots, uneven skin tone and texture with ingredients such as Vitamin C, E and Licorice Extract. Heavy lifting and huge claims, right? The texture of the essence is extremely light, just a hair heavier than water, fragrance free, doesn’t feel oily, and absorbs rapidly into the skin, leaving almost a cooling sensation. It kind of reminds me of a toner in texture.

The companion Rapid Brightening Treatment is more of a traditional serum, slightly more viscous in texture and delicious on the skin. It has a very light floral scent that fades quickly and doesn’t leave a sticky residue after application. The serum also has exciting claims, such as a reduction in dark spots, sun spots, age spots and blemish marks, as well as reducing pore size, heavy hydration and brightening, phew!

Hardworking ingredients such as Vitamin C (the brightening superhero) and Ferment3, which is a powerful triple-ferment, combining a high concentration of Yeast Ferment, Molasses Ferment and Algae Ferment - which claim to be spot targeting, powerfully soothing, reduces dark spots and improves clarity for glowing skin.

Now, how did I go? I dutifully used both of these treatments daily, excited about shining bright like a diamond, but as always a little cynical about dark spot reducing claims. Hot tip - a little goes a long way for both the ampoule and the serum - after five weeks, I still have two bottles of four left!

I can absolutely see a brightened difference in my skin, and I’m definitely glowing while make-up free, but once again I’m not so sure about these spot reduction claims. Personally I don’t see pores as a bad thing, but I have noticed that my skin texture has improved and I’m feeling smooth, soothed and hydrated with this duo. I’m gonna keep using these till they run out.

Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Cleanser, $52, from Sephora

I was very excited to see cult beauty fave Milk Makeup appearing at Sephora in New Zealand! I hadn’t tried their make up or skincare before, so was interested to see how this Vegan Milk Cleanser was. It’s a great option for the more conscientious consumer, being sulphate, fragrance and paraben free, and of course, vegan.

It’s called Milk Cleanser as it’s formulated with “desert milk”, which is a blend of Kalahari melon, baobab, jojoba and aloe vera, as well as fig milk, oat milk and shea butter.

Leaning towards a strong papaya scent, the texture is a thick heavy cream that foams into a silky milky lather on the skin after adding water. This satisfyingly removed all my makeup (and sunscreen and puppy kisses) effectively, and left my skin squeaky clean. Ideal for those with more oily or combination skin and seeking out that squeaky clean feeling.

Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask, $39, from Sephora

“Sleep your way to softer lips,” it says on the box. Okay, I’m interested!

Claiming to replenish, hydrate and calm, I popped some on before heading to bed. Now, anyone with a cat can tell you that going to bed with any kind of overnight mask is a dangerous game. This lip mask is no exception.

Heavy and emollient to the touch, I did feel like I had to pile it on to get good coverage, and all I could think about was how much fur was going to be stuck to my face in the morning. Warming it up by rubbing my lips together helped it sink in.

The overwhelming fragrance of lavender hits my nose and I think two things - my brain tells me that lavender is a soothing nighttime smell and it makes sense, and then I’m hit with a scent flashback (sniffback? Smellback? Flashfragrance?) of a lavender pillow I used to have at uni that put me off the scent for a long time.

Thankfully, this wasn’t too overwhelming. I’m a bit skeptical about the melatonin and plumping claims, but I did drift off eventually, even while paranoid about cat hair sticking to my face.

The next morning the stickiness was all gone and my lips definitely felt more moisturised, though I’m not sure they were plumped. I’ve found myself reaching for it during the day, applying a small amount as a lip balm during this colder weather. Maybe I do like lavender after all...

Dermalogica Melting Moisture Masque, $118

It’s certainly getting chillier and drier, so Dermalogica’s Melting Moisture Masque came by my desk at the perfect time. As soon as I read that it claims to help restore and protect the skin’s moisture barrier, I was in, invested, get it on my face already.

First of all, it’s a leave-on masque (!), so depending on how dry your skin is, you can leave it on, or towel off the excess. I’m into this - it makes it feel like you’re getting more hydration delivered to your skin for longer, as opposed to 15-20 minutes of good stuff before wiping it off/washing your face and possibly stripping that moisture all over again.

The texture is a thick balm, which melts into a soothing oil when it comes into contact with your skin’s natural heat. The scent is rather herbal, with lavender notes and what smells like tea-tree or citronella. Not the most delicious thing I’ve smelled, but it does remind me a bit of being at the spa.

It contains powerhouse moisturisers such as Mango Seed Butter, Shea Butter, C10-18 Triglycerides, Mimosa/Sunflower/Jojoba Oil Blend, as well as Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) which locks in moisture, and Micro-algae Plankton Extract that offers soothing properties.

Reader beware, use a tiny, TINY amount! That pea-sized amount of balm translates into enough product to cover your whole face and neck, so in usual fashion I used the rest on my elbows, as I didn’t want to go overboard since it’s a leave-on masque!

This will leave you glowing and shiny, so for those with T-zone issues, get that towel handy for a wipe-off. This felt so, so dreamy and moisturising. I towelled off a little bit of excess, applied sunscreen and went about my day, feeling like I’d cheated winter a little bit.

It would be wonderful as an overnight masque too, as it sinks in enough not to worry about being sticky.

Tarte Tartelette Juicy Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette, $90 from Sephora

Searching for the elusive perfect eyeshadow palette can be frustrating, as the market is saturated - but if you’re not a dab hand at picking individual colours, this palette could be for you!

It would be perfect as an everyday palette, easily taking you from sweet and fresh soft pinks, peaches and shimmery plums, all the way to warm nude and neutral shades and deep browns - making it easy to turn most of these lighter shades into a smokey eye with lighter shimmery champagne shades sprinkled in for easy inner corner or eyelid highlighting.

These have a slightly sweet chocolatey scent, and the formula is buttery, easy to blend, and as someone who uses her fingers to do most of her makeup, absolutely fool-proof approved!

I’ve been really into these warmer shades, so tried out makeup looks with the shades Orchid and Dream Chaser for something a little fancy, and for a softer daytime look, used Rose all over the lid with the darkest shade, Euphoric on the lashline.

This would be a great starter palette if you’re looking for an all-rounder taking you from day-to-night. Would also be perfect for a bridal look!

Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub, $110, from Sephora

Sometimes the word “scrub” gives me spooky flashbacks of *that* St Ives scrub and rubbing what is essentially rocks on my face as a teenager and unknowingly causing hecka damage.

Wishful’s Yo Glow enzyme scrub is thankfully nowhere near as harsh! With some of my favourite exfoliating ingredients like papaya enzyme, AHA and BHA, and made in skincare mecca South Korea, I had a feeling I wouldn’t be disappointed. And I wasn’t!

First of all, it smells amazing - sweet and floral.

Applying a generous amount to dry skin, I massaged in circular motions and had that satisfying feeling of dead skin slowly pilling, particularly around my nose, chin and forehead. Anyone who’s tried an enzyme scrub knows what I’m talking about - the physical evidence of sloughing dead skin cells balling up into bits. Goodbye flakies!

I rinsed well with warm water and my skin felt smooth and soft, without a hint of tingle. A great option for gentle exfoliation of flaky problem spots (for me, it’s always the nose and chin) without it feeling too spicy. I like this one.

Briogeo Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Superfood Hair Mask, $61, from Mecca

The main ingredients in this natural and moisturising hair mask sound like the most delicious green smoothie:  avocado, containing fatty acids for nourishment and conditioning, kiwi, providing high vitamin C content, and spinach, full of flavonoids and antioxidants.

The scent is delicious! Sweet and creamy like ice cream or candy, with a colour like melon sorbet. Now I don’t have the longest or most damaged hair, but I went ahead and popped this deep conditioner on for about 10 minutes. After rinsing it out and letting it air dry (!), my hair was super soft and shiny, manageable and without a trace of frizz or that just-washed-fluff.

Volume fiends, use this on the mid-lengths to ends of your hair to keep some root lift. You can use this in place of a hair conditioner about once a week for a luxurious treat too.

And yes, after using this I might have swished my hair around a lot more than usual since it smelt like lollies.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum 2.0, $305

If you were born in the early ‘80s like me, you’re probably eyeing up “anti-aging” products, are a bit tired all the time, should have worn more sunscreen 10 years ago and also need to drink more water. Surely it’s not just me! So I was interested to try this one...

Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage anti-aging range has undergone a “facelift” (lol their words and quite a good joke tbh), and their new Daily Serum boasts an impressive range of benefits: protecting and correcting the look of skin, shielding from environmental “assaults” (wow), intercepting future ageing signs (!) and improving the look of sun damaged skin.

They’ve run intensive clinical trials claiming improvement to radiance and brightness, skintone, sun damage, firmness and elasticity, among other things. Their hero ingredient for this serum is Idebenone, which, according to the EA website, is “the most powerful antioxidant available today”. Impressive, right? So what’s it like?

A surprising light mango colour (was not expecting that) which seems to have a slight shimmer to it, the serum has a silky/velvety feel when rubbing it into the skin.

With a light floral fragrance that disappears as soon as it’s sunk in, it left my skin feeling nourished and smooth, with no residue, and plays well with the rest of my skincare routine and feels lovely under makeup.

As for its plethora of claims, I can’t say for sure that I feel shielded by environmental assaults, and I’m blessed not to have visible fine lines (yet) that I could see improving, but I’m willing to give this a longer go.

For those with sensitive skin, I would possibly give this one a miss; simply based on the intense ingredients list and a handful of international reviews claiming bad reactions. Do a spot test for safety.

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

Winter is coming, and with cooler days come changing skin andhair concerns. Our beauty expert Tanya Barlow is here with a slew of fully-tested products to hydrate, refresh, glow and dazzle.

Estée Lauder Perfectionist Pro Rapid Brightening Treatment with Ferment³ + Vitamin C, $218, and Intense Brightening Essence Ampoule with Vit C/E + Licorice, $218

I’ve been trialing two items from Estée Lauder’s Perfectionist Pro line for about five weeks now - the Brightening Essence Ampoule and Rapid Brightening treatment. Y’all know I love brightening products!

The Ampoule comes with four 10ml vials, meant to last you four weeks and claims to renew skin, reduce the look of dark spots, uneven skin tone and texture with ingredients such as Vitamin C, E and Licorice Extract. Heavy lifting and huge claims, right? The texture of the essence is extremely light, just a hair heavier than water, fragrance free, doesn’t feel oily, and absorbs rapidly into the skin, leaving almost a cooling sensation. It kind of reminds me of a toner in texture.

The companion Rapid Brightening Treatment is more of a traditional serum, slightly more viscous in texture and delicious on the skin. It has a very light floral scent that fades quickly and doesn’t leave a sticky residue after application. The serum also has exciting claims, such as a reduction in dark spots, sun spots, age spots and blemish marks, as well as reducing pore size, heavy hydration and brightening, phew!

Hardworking ingredients such as Vitamin C (the brightening superhero) and Ferment3, which is a powerful triple-ferment, combining a high concentration of Yeast Ferment, Molasses Ferment and Algae Ferment - which claim to be spot targeting, powerfully soothing, reduces dark spots and improves clarity for glowing skin.

Now, how did I go? I dutifully used both of these treatments daily, excited about shining bright like a diamond, but as always a little cynical about dark spot reducing claims. Hot tip - a little goes a long way for both the ampoule and the serum - after five weeks, I still have two bottles of four left!

I can absolutely see a brightened difference in my skin, and I’m definitely glowing while make-up free, but once again I’m not so sure about these spot reduction claims. Personally I don’t see pores as a bad thing, but I have noticed that my skin texture has improved and I’m feeling smooth, soothed and hydrated with this duo. I’m gonna keep using these till they run out.

Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Cleanser, $52, from Sephora

I was very excited to see cult beauty fave Milk Makeup appearing at Sephora in New Zealand! I hadn’t tried their make up or skincare before, so was interested to see how this Vegan Milk Cleanser was. It’s a great option for the more conscientious consumer, being sulphate, fragrance and paraben free, and of course, vegan.

It’s called Milk Cleanser as it’s formulated with “desert milk”, which is a blend of Kalahari melon, baobab, jojoba and aloe vera, as well as fig milk, oat milk and shea butter.

Leaning towards a strong papaya scent, the texture is a thick heavy cream that foams into a silky milky lather on the skin after adding water. This satisfyingly removed all my makeup (and sunscreen and puppy kisses) effectively, and left my skin squeaky clean. Ideal for those with more oily or combination skin and seeking out that squeaky clean feeling.

Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask, $39, from Sephora

“Sleep your way to softer lips,” it says on the box. Okay, I’m interested!

Claiming to replenish, hydrate and calm, I popped some on before heading to bed. Now, anyone with a cat can tell you that going to bed with any kind of overnight mask is a dangerous game. This lip mask is no exception.

Heavy and emollient to the touch, I did feel like I had to pile it on to get good coverage, and all I could think about was how much fur was going to be stuck to my face in the morning. Warming it up by rubbing my lips together helped it sink in.

The overwhelming fragrance of lavender hits my nose and I think two things - my brain tells me that lavender is a soothing nighttime smell and it makes sense, and then I’m hit with a scent flashback (sniffback? Smellback? Flashfragrance?) of a lavender pillow I used to have at uni that put me off the scent for a long time.

Thankfully, this wasn’t too overwhelming. I’m a bit skeptical about the melatonin and plumping claims, but I did drift off eventually, even while paranoid about cat hair sticking to my face.

The next morning the stickiness was all gone and my lips definitely felt more moisturised, though I’m not sure they were plumped. I’ve found myself reaching for it during the day, applying a small amount as a lip balm during this colder weather. Maybe I do like lavender after all...

Dermalogica Melting Moisture Masque, $118

It’s certainly getting chillier and drier, so Dermalogica’s Melting Moisture Masque came by my desk at the perfect time. As soon as I read that it claims to help restore and protect the skin’s moisture barrier, I was in, invested, get it on my face already.

First of all, it’s a leave-on masque (!), so depending on how dry your skin is, you can leave it on, or towel off the excess. I’m into this - it makes it feel like you’re getting more hydration delivered to your skin for longer, as opposed to 15-20 minutes of good stuff before wiping it off/washing your face and possibly stripping that moisture all over again.

The texture is a thick balm, which melts into a soothing oil when it comes into contact with your skin’s natural heat. The scent is rather herbal, with lavender notes and what smells like tea-tree or citronella. Not the most delicious thing I’ve smelled, but it does remind me a bit of being at the spa.

It contains powerhouse moisturisers such as Mango Seed Butter, Shea Butter, C10-18 Triglycerides, Mimosa/Sunflower/Jojoba Oil Blend, as well as Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) which locks in moisture, and Micro-algae Plankton Extract that offers soothing properties.

Reader beware, use a tiny, TINY amount! That pea-sized amount of balm translates into enough product to cover your whole face and neck, so in usual fashion I used the rest on my elbows, as I didn’t want to go overboard since it’s a leave-on masque!

This will leave you glowing and shiny, so for those with T-zone issues, get that towel handy for a wipe-off. This felt so, so dreamy and moisturising. I towelled off a little bit of excess, applied sunscreen and went about my day, feeling like I’d cheated winter a little bit.

It would be wonderful as an overnight masque too, as it sinks in enough not to worry about being sticky.

Tarte Tartelette Juicy Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette, $90 from Sephora

Searching for the elusive perfect eyeshadow palette can be frustrating, as the market is saturated - but if you’re not a dab hand at picking individual colours, this palette could be for you!

It would be perfect as an everyday palette, easily taking you from sweet and fresh soft pinks, peaches and shimmery plums, all the way to warm nude and neutral shades and deep browns - making it easy to turn most of these lighter shades into a smokey eye with lighter shimmery champagne shades sprinkled in for easy inner corner or eyelid highlighting.

These have a slightly sweet chocolatey scent, and the formula is buttery, easy to blend, and as someone who uses her fingers to do most of her makeup, absolutely fool-proof approved!

I’ve been really into these warmer shades, so tried out makeup looks with the shades Orchid and Dream Chaser for something a little fancy, and for a softer daytime look, used Rose all over the lid with the darkest shade, Euphoric on the lashline.

This would be a great starter palette if you’re looking for an all-rounder taking you from day-to-night. Would also be perfect for a bridal look!

Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub, $110, from Sephora

Sometimes the word “scrub” gives me spooky flashbacks of *that* St Ives scrub and rubbing what is essentially rocks on my face as a teenager and unknowingly causing hecka damage.

Wishful’s Yo Glow enzyme scrub is thankfully nowhere near as harsh! With some of my favourite exfoliating ingredients like papaya enzyme, AHA and BHA, and made in skincare mecca South Korea, I had a feeling I wouldn’t be disappointed. And I wasn’t!

First of all, it smells amazing - sweet and floral.

Applying a generous amount to dry skin, I massaged in circular motions and had that satisfying feeling of dead skin slowly pilling, particularly around my nose, chin and forehead. Anyone who’s tried an enzyme scrub knows what I’m talking about - the physical evidence of sloughing dead skin cells balling up into bits. Goodbye flakies!

I rinsed well with warm water and my skin felt smooth and soft, without a hint of tingle. A great option for gentle exfoliation of flaky problem spots (for me, it’s always the nose and chin) without it feeling too spicy. I like this one.

Briogeo Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Superfood Hair Mask, $61, from Mecca

The main ingredients in this natural and moisturising hair mask sound like the most delicious green smoothie:  avocado, containing fatty acids for nourishment and conditioning, kiwi, providing high vitamin C content, and spinach, full of flavonoids and antioxidants.

The scent is delicious! Sweet and creamy like ice cream or candy, with a colour like melon sorbet. Now I don’t have the longest or most damaged hair, but I went ahead and popped this deep conditioner on for about 10 minutes. After rinsing it out and letting it air dry (!), my hair was super soft and shiny, manageable and without a trace of frizz or that just-washed-fluff.

Volume fiends, use this on the mid-lengths to ends of your hair to keep some root lift. You can use this in place of a hair conditioner about once a week for a luxurious treat too.

And yes, after using this I might have swished my hair around a lot more than usual since it smelt like lollies.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum 2.0, $305

If you were born in the early ‘80s like me, you’re probably eyeing up “anti-aging” products, are a bit tired all the time, should have worn more sunscreen 10 years ago and also need to drink more water. Surely it’s not just me! So I was interested to try this one...

Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage anti-aging range has undergone a “facelift” (lol their words and quite a good joke tbh), and their new Daily Serum boasts an impressive range of benefits: protecting and correcting the look of skin, shielding from environmental “assaults” (wow), intercepting future ageing signs (!) and improving the look of sun damaged skin.

They’ve run intensive clinical trials claiming improvement to radiance and brightness, skintone, sun damage, firmness and elasticity, among other things. Their hero ingredient for this serum is Idebenone, which, according to the EA website, is “the most powerful antioxidant available today”. Impressive, right? So what’s it like?

A surprising light mango colour (was not expecting that) which seems to have a slight shimmer to it, the serum has a silky/velvety feel when rubbing it into the skin.

With a light floral fragrance that disappears as soon as it’s sunk in, it left my skin feeling nourished and smooth, with no residue, and plays well with the rest of my skincare routine and feels lovely under makeup.

As for its plethora of claims, I can’t say for sure that I feel shielded by environmental assaults, and I’m blessed not to have visible fine lines (yet) that I could see improving, but I’m willing to give this a longer go.

For those with sensitive skin, I would possibly give this one a miss; simply based on the intense ingredients list and a handful of international reviews claiming bad reactions. Do a spot test for safety.

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

New in beauty: hot products for cooler months

Winter is coming, and with cooler days come changing skin andhair concerns. Our beauty expert Tanya Barlow is here with a slew of fully-tested products to hydrate, refresh, glow and dazzle.

Estée Lauder Perfectionist Pro Rapid Brightening Treatment with Ferment³ + Vitamin C, $218, and Intense Brightening Essence Ampoule with Vit C/E + Licorice, $218

I’ve been trialing two items from Estée Lauder’s Perfectionist Pro line for about five weeks now - the Brightening Essence Ampoule and Rapid Brightening treatment. Y’all know I love brightening products!

The Ampoule comes with four 10ml vials, meant to last you four weeks and claims to renew skin, reduce the look of dark spots, uneven skin tone and texture with ingredients such as Vitamin C, E and Licorice Extract. Heavy lifting and huge claims, right? The texture of the essence is extremely light, just a hair heavier than water, fragrance free, doesn’t feel oily, and absorbs rapidly into the skin, leaving almost a cooling sensation. It kind of reminds me of a toner in texture.

The companion Rapid Brightening Treatment is more of a traditional serum, slightly more viscous in texture and delicious on the skin. It has a very light floral scent that fades quickly and doesn’t leave a sticky residue after application. The serum also has exciting claims, such as a reduction in dark spots, sun spots, age spots and blemish marks, as well as reducing pore size, heavy hydration and brightening, phew!

Hardworking ingredients such as Vitamin C (the brightening superhero) and Ferment3, which is a powerful triple-ferment, combining a high concentration of Yeast Ferment, Molasses Ferment and Algae Ferment - which claim to be spot targeting, powerfully soothing, reduces dark spots and improves clarity for glowing skin.

Now, how did I go? I dutifully used both of these treatments daily, excited about shining bright like a diamond, but as always a little cynical about dark spot reducing claims. Hot tip - a little goes a long way for both the ampoule and the serum - after five weeks, I still have two bottles of four left!

I can absolutely see a brightened difference in my skin, and I’m definitely glowing while make-up free, but once again I’m not so sure about these spot reduction claims. Personally I don’t see pores as a bad thing, but I have noticed that my skin texture has improved and I’m feeling smooth, soothed and hydrated with this duo. I’m gonna keep using these till they run out.

Milk Makeup Vegan Milk Cleanser, $52, from Sephora

I was very excited to see cult beauty fave Milk Makeup appearing at Sephora in New Zealand! I hadn’t tried their make up or skincare before, so was interested to see how this Vegan Milk Cleanser was. It’s a great option for the more conscientious consumer, being sulphate, fragrance and paraben free, and of course, vegan.

It’s called Milk Cleanser as it’s formulated with “desert milk”, which is a blend of Kalahari melon, baobab, jojoba and aloe vera, as well as fig milk, oat milk and shea butter.

Leaning towards a strong papaya scent, the texture is a thick heavy cream that foams into a silky milky lather on the skin after adding water. This satisfyingly removed all my makeup (and sunscreen and puppy kisses) effectively, and left my skin squeaky clean. Ideal for those with more oily or combination skin and seeking out that squeaky clean feeling.

Milk Makeup Melatonin Overnight Lip Mask, $39, from Sephora

“Sleep your way to softer lips,” it says on the box. Okay, I’m interested!

Claiming to replenish, hydrate and calm, I popped some on before heading to bed. Now, anyone with a cat can tell you that going to bed with any kind of overnight mask is a dangerous game. This lip mask is no exception.

Heavy and emollient to the touch, I did feel like I had to pile it on to get good coverage, and all I could think about was how much fur was going to be stuck to my face in the morning. Warming it up by rubbing my lips together helped it sink in.

The overwhelming fragrance of lavender hits my nose and I think two things - my brain tells me that lavender is a soothing nighttime smell and it makes sense, and then I’m hit with a scent flashback (sniffback? Smellback? Flashfragrance?) of a lavender pillow I used to have at uni that put me off the scent for a long time.

Thankfully, this wasn’t too overwhelming. I’m a bit skeptical about the melatonin and plumping claims, but I did drift off eventually, even while paranoid about cat hair sticking to my face.

The next morning the stickiness was all gone and my lips definitely felt more moisturised, though I’m not sure they were plumped. I’ve found myself reaching for it during the day, applying a small amount as a lip balm during this colder weather. Maybe I do like lavender after all...

Dermalogica Melting Moisture Masque, $118

It’s certainly getting chillier and drier, so Dermalogica’s Melting Moisture Masque came by my desk at the perfect time. As soon as I read that it claims to help restore and protect the skin’s moisture barrier, I was in, invested, get it on my face already.

First of all, it’s a leave-on masque (!), so depending on how dry your skin is, you can leave it on, or towel off the excess. I’m into this - it makes it feel like you’re getting more hydration delivered to your skin for longer, as opposed to 15-20 minutes of good stuff before wiping it off/washing your face and possibly stripping that moisture all over again.

The texture is a thick balm, which melts into a soothing oil when it comes into contact with your skin’s natural heat. The scent is rather herbal, with lavender notes and what smells like tea-tree or citronella. Not the most delicious thing I’ve smelled, but it does remind me a bit of being at the spa.

It contains powerhouse moisturisers such as Mango Seed Butter, Shea Butter, C10-18 Triglycerides, Mimosa/Sunflower/Jojoba Oil Blend, as well as Linoleic Acid (Omega 6) which locks in moisture, and Micro-algae Plankton Extract that offers soothing properties.

Reader beware, use a tiny, TINY amount! That pea-sized amount of balm translates into enough product to cover your whole face and neck, so in usual fashion I used the rest on my elbows, as I didn’t want to go overboard since it’s a leave-on masque!

This will leave you glowing and shiny, so for those with T-zone issues, get that towel handy for a wipe-off. This felt so, so dreamy and moisturising. I towelled off a little bit of excess, applied sunscreen and went about my day, feeling like I’d cheated winter a little bit.

It would be wonderful as an overnight masque too, as it sinks in enough not to worry about being sticky.

Tarte Tartelette Juicy Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette, $90 from Sephora

Searching for the elusive perfect eyeshadow palette can be frustrating, as the market is saturated - but if you’re not a dab hand at picking individual colours, this palette could be for you!

It would be perfect as an everyday palette, easily taking you from sweet and fresh soft pinks, peaches and shimmery plums, all the way to warm nude and neutral shades and deep browns - making it easy to turn most of these lighter shades into a smokey eye with lighter shimmery champagne shades sprinkled in for easy inner corner or eyelid highlighting.

These have a slightly sweet chocolatey scent, and the formula is buttery, easy to blend, and as someone who uses her fingers to do most of her makeup, absolutely fool-proof approved!

I’ve been really into these warmer shades, so tried out makeup looks with the shades Orchid and Dream Chaser for something a little fancy, and for a softer daytime look, used Rose all over the lid with the darkest shade, Euphoric on the lashline.

This would be a great starter palette if you’re looking for an all-rounder taking you from day-to-night. Would also be perfect for a bridal look!

Wishful Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub, $110, from Sephora

Sometimes the word “scrub” gives me spooky flashbacks of *that* St Ives scrub and rubbing what is essentially rocks on my face as a teenager and unknowingly causing hecka damage.

Wishful’s Yo Glow enzyme scrub is thankfully nowhere near as harsh! With some of my favourite exfoliating ingredients like papaya enzyme, AHA and BHA, and made in skincare mecca South Korea, I had a feeling I wouldn’t be disappointed. And I wasn’t!

First of all, it smells amazing - sweet and floral.

Applying a generous amount to dry skin, I massaged in circular motions and had that satisfying feeling of dead skin slowly pilling, particularly around my nose, chin and forehead. Anyone who’s tried an enzyme scrub knows what I’m talking about - the physical evidence of sloughing dead skin cells balling up into bits. Goodbye flakies!

I rinsed well with warm water and my skin felt smooth and soft, without a hint of tingle. A great option for gentle exfoliation of flaky problem spots (for me, it’s always the nose and chin) without it feeling too spicy. I like this one.

Briogeo Avocado + Kiwi Mega Moisture Superfood Hair Mask, $61, from Mecca

The main ingredients in this natural and moisturising hair mask sound like the most delicious green smoothie:  avocado, containing fatty acids for nourishment and conditioning, kiwi, providing high vitamin C content, and spinach, full of flavonoids and antioxidants.

The scent is delicious! Sweet and creamy like ice cream or candy, with a colour like melon sorbet. Now I don’t have the longest or most damaged hair, but I went ahead and popped this deep conditioner on for about 10 minutes. After rinsing it out and letting it air dry (!), my hair was super soft and shiny, manageable and without a trace of frizz or that just-washed-fluff.

Volume fiends, use this on the mid-lengths to ends of your hair to keep some root lift. You can use this in place of a hair conditioner about once a week for a luxurious treat too.

And yes, after using this I might have swished my hair around a lot more than usual since it smelt like lollies.

Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum 2.0, $305

If you were born in the early ‘80s like me, you’re probably eyeing up “anti-aging” products, are a bit tired all the time, should have worn more sunscreen 10 years ago and also need to drink more water. Surely it’s not just me! So I was interested to try this one...

Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage anti-aging range has undergone a “facelift” (lol their words and quite a good joke tbh), and their new Daily Serum boasts an impressive range of benefits: protecting and correcting the look of skin, shielding from environmental “assaults” (wow), intercepting future ageing signs (!) and improving the look of sun damaged skin.

They’ve run intensive clinical trials claiming improvement to radiance and brightness, skintone, sun damage, firmness and elasticity, among other things. Their hero ingredient for this serum is Idebenone, which, according to the EA website, is “the most powerful antioxidant available today”. Impressive, right? So what’s it like?

A surprising light mango colour (was not expecting that) which seems to have a slight shimmer to it, the serum has a silky/velvety feel when rubbing it into the skin.

With a light floral fragrance that disappears as soon as it’s sunk in, it left my skin feeling nourished and smooth, with no residue, and plays well with the rest of my skincare routine and feels lovely under makeup.

As for its plethora of claims, I can’t say for sure that I feel shielded by environmental assaults, and I’m blessed not to have visible fine lines (yet) that I could see improving, but I’m willing to give this a longer go.

For those with sensitive skin, I would possibly give this one a miss; simply based on the intense ingredients list and a handful of international reviews claiming bad reactions. Do a spot test for safety.

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