Tips for buying boutique beauty products


If you need a new lipstick, next week is a good time to shop for it, with a contribution from selected purchases going to support the Look Good Feel Better charity’s Dream Week fundraiser.

Money raised goes towards hosting appearance workshops for cancer patients throughout the country. For a second year running, Westfield malls and Farmers stores are offering support. Look out for “Feel Good” information hubs in malls and merchandise for sale at Farmers. A $3 donation at either outlet will get you a cute little pen that looks like a lipstick.

If you are after the real thing, Farmers will contribute $1 to Look Good Feel Better from every lipstick purchased from the following brands: Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Christian Dior, Clarins, Clinique, Elizabeth Arden, Lancome, Napoleon Perdis, Shiseido, Revlon and Y.S.L. The department store is also selling on behalf of the charity a branded cosmetic purse for $10 and a compact mirror with light for $5.

Look Good Feel Better general manager Yvonne Brownlie says Dream Week helps meet the growing need for more workshops. Last year more than 3000 women received advice and a “pick me up” makeover from trained volunteers in 24 different centres.

The Forme Spa chain is also offering support to this worthy cause. Throughout July book in for a Winter Warmer treatment package for $189, and it will donate $20. The package, valued at $219, comprises a sugar scrub body polish and a warm bamboo back massage, plus a mini facial and a bonus beauty product.


Products for sensitive skins have well and truly gone from being a specialised category to mainstream, with the likes of Olay, Nivea and Aveeno now delivering supermarket selections. But aside from the medicinal and the mass market and some gentle natural brands, there hasn’t been much else on offer. That realisation is what led Lilli Gordon, a former American beauty editor turned brand-builder to work with a dermatologist to come up with FAB, aka First Aid Beauty.

With 12 products, the range is easy to navigate and has an appealing retro-look coupled with a smart mix of non-irritating ingredients, including botanical antioxidants. “I wanted a more luxurious, less pharmaceutical feel … skincare that addressed universal skin problems in a way that was modern,” explained Gordon, who began FAB just three years ago. It is now available in Sephora stores worldwide and has just won coveted space at Boots in Britain. It launches here in Farmers late next week, priced from $16 to $68.

Ultra Repair Cream with colloidal oatmeal is a favourite overseas, but we also like the look of the Facial Radiance Pads, Detox Eye Roller and the Anti-Redness Serum for adding innovation to what is often a rather ordinary selection of products for those with sensitivities. (NB: Those with persistent skin problems that go beyond dryness and mild irritation should seek expert advice).


Auckland pharmacist Rachelle Kazenbroot is a newcomer to the health and beauty market who felt she could do a better job filling shelves than some of the suppliers she saw stocked. So she co-founded a small range of skincare, called M&R Essentials.

As well as dealing with pharmacy customers, she cites her own experience of having dermatitis as a child and her Indo-Chinese mother’s more natural, herbal treatments as influences on her approach.

The owner of CityMed Pharmacy believes in holistic care and uses certified organic botanical oils in her range. These are single oils rather than blends and as well as favourites such as rosehip and argan, she uses anti-inflammatory tamanu and camellia, prized in the Pacific and Japan. The well-priced oils and a balm offer intensive moisturising options.

M&R also makes cough and homeopathic tonics.


M&R Skincare’s Rachelle Kazenbroot also mentioned that many of her pharmacy customers presented with sensitive skin and were often using products containing known irritants. Aqueous cream was one she pointed to. This popular product is often prescribed as a soap substitute and sometimes as a moisturiser, but the latter use can be problematic, especially for those prone to eczema.

The Ministry of Health’s Medsafe unit issued an advisory this year after new British research found the cream, which contains sodium lauryl sulphate, could damage the skin barrier when used as a leave-on emollient. It is a widely used emulsifier in shampoos and skincare, but it is increasingly being phased out. Those who suffer from itchy scalps might want to check their shampoo bottles.


Dermatologist Dr Lissa Judd who spoke on the topic of sensitive skins at a Nivea launch this month confirmed issues around aqueous cream were well known among her profession, if not the general public and even some GPs. She said the list of subsidised prescription options for skin problems through Pharmac was limited and it could be hard for people to find suitable skincare.

Dr Judd’s job involves tracking down the cause of skin irritations, which can range from workplace chemicals to a recent find that a patient had an allergy to a cooking spice.

Around 50 per cent of women and up to 40 per cent of men reported suffering from sensitive skin on occasion. This could be itching, burning, stinging and sometimes redness. Because it was visible and could be painful “a sensitive skin problem really does impact on people’s whole lives”.

The incidence was rising, and though this could be down to better reporting and awareness, pollution, stress and processed diets were also suspects. A healthy diet, choosing not to smoke and limiting alcohol intake would all help as would watching weight, as those suffering from obesity and its related endocrine changes commonly ended up with skin problems. Environmental factors such as sun, wind and heat exposure all needed watching.

Nivea, which in spring will add deodorants and sunscreens to the skincare options it aims at those with sensitive skins, said its research showed that nearly 80 per cent of people with problems avoided using products altogether.

Those with dry skins needed moisture to help, but should use gentle formulas.


Oils are currently the skincare sector’s most notable trend, but don’t forget the hydrating benefits of good old water, says Antipodes Skincare.

“Water is very under-rated in skincare we believe.” Rich heavy oils aren’t for everyone and even if people like to use an oil, their skin needs to be hydrated which in winter with heating and hot showers it often in’t. “If cells don’t have water then they won’t accept other nutrients,” says spokeswoman Stephanie Simeon. Antipodes has reworked its Hosanna serum, now subtitled as H20 Skin Plumping Serum, to be full of the stuff, plus extracts from antioxidant-rich grapes and mamaku black fern. With a recommended retail price of $49-$52, this natural skincare option has a pleasing gel-like texture and quenching feel and suits all skin types.

For those who like the feel of oils, new mid-priced options are out from The Body Shop with Moringa Beauty Oil, a seed oil mixed with nut oils and Linden Leaves Miraculous Facial Oil, which relies primarily on rosehip.

Hair oil choice continues to grow also, with affordable selections from Pantene in its Pro V Intensive Damage Repair Oil at $10.90 and L’Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Oil at $19.95.


A new range of products developed for salon and spa use and retail sale is drawing on fragrant native essences. NZ Spa is the brainchild of Donna Smith, owner of industry supplier Professional Skin & Beauty. She saw a gap in the market and after mulling over the idea for some years has spent the past 18 months developing her soon-to-launch body care range.

It is simple and stylish with added items suitable for gift giving, including candles and diffusers. Four fragrances of Pohutukawa, Wild Daisy, Alpine Fern and Flax Flower bring a local touch to a spa market dominated by overseas-derived products.

Smith says she hopes the eco-friendly, paraben-free range will deliver a feelgood factor to it users and “remind them of how blessed we are with this beautiful country”.


Goal to prize
In a bid to end animal testing, cosmetics company Lush has launched a £250,000 prize in conjunction with British magazine Ethical Consumer. The Lush Prize will reward groups or individuals working in the field of cruelty-free scientific research, awareness-raising and lobbying. It is said to be biggest prize on offer in the alternative testing sector.

Model makeup
Lily Cole has become The Body Shop’s first global brand advocate, with the environmentally aware model-turned-actor also lending her name to a new line of the chain’s cruelty-free makeup, which is not tested on animals. It is also vegetarian-friendly, including banning colourants derived from bug shells, shimmer from crushed shellfish or brushes using animal hair. The Lily Cole line includes lip gloss, cheek and eye illuminators and a nifty violet-coloured liquid eyeliner. In store next week priced from $12.50 to $45.

Filmic fragrance
Flowers are a favourite inspiration for perfumers, but Escentric Molecule is never that obvious and has come up with a new one in equally eccentric German actor Klaus Kinski. The boutique brand’s latest olfactory offering is an homage to the intense character who often teamed with director Werner Herzog in films including Aguirre, Wrath of God (1972), Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) and Fitzcarraldo (1982). We’re guessing Kinski smells like tortured spirit. If you want to check out what the whiff is, it’s new in at The Department Store, Takapuna, and costs $220.

By Janetta Mackay
| Email Janetta


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