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January 6, 2017

A Golden mine of beauty finds, as the Secret Room honours 74th Globes nominees

Elyse Glickman/22.42




J. C. Olivera

Among the celebrities attending: Rénée Oldstead, Amara Karan, Katie Leclerc.

Anyone attending a Secret Room event during an award show weekend can count on discovering cutting-edge, kind-to-the-environment beauty products. However, the Secret Room Events honouring 74th Golden Globe Awards nominees and presenters focused almost entirely of skin care and wellness products made with medically or environmentally sound ingredients.
   Thanks to the product displays and the æsthetic finesse and artistic skills of platinum sponsor Anne Neilson of Charlotte, NC’s Anne Neilson Home, the SLS Hotel main ballroom in Beverly Hills felt like the ultimate hotel spa reception area. Neilson’s candles, coffee table books and spa beverage dispenser greeted guests after having their red carpet photos taken. However, not many hotel spas admit pets. Here, pets were not only welcomed with open paws, but also Paw Works, the event’s official charity. The non-profit animal rescue organization is dedicated to partnering with county and city businesses to provide abandoned animals through rescues, adoption services and other services.
   Like a good spa, there was a world of skin care products at one’s fingertips with tempting displays and open testers. First, the Pacific Ocean side of the world: South Korea was represented with UrbanHeal’s soon-to-launch line of home facial masks, while Japan’s McCoy Ltd. returned with a new post-workout body care marvel called Non F Expert designed to further advance a sleeker appearance with stem cell extracts and rice-based components. Australia-based Auspect Skincare International introduced its all-purpose line with some products made in the US that includes everything from anti-ageing serums for fine lines and wrinkles and eye cream for dark circles to solutions for rosacea and acne-prone skin. Aromababy touted its Australian-made ranges of pure and gentle aroma-free or therapeutic grade (essential oil) aromatic products for babies and young children.
   There was much to discover in the world of European beauty. Crossing over the Atlantic, guests encountered Storm Rejuvenate Pro, which proved powerful do indeed come in small packages. A tiny box with 50 little packets contains a few drops of a gel serum that instantly diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and loose skin, creating the perfect canvas for one’s make-up. Russia’s Splat encouraged smiles with its prolific line of ultra-premium dental care as well as Heya balsam shampoos. Bioderma was not only back with its popular Sensibio H2O micelle solution but also representative products from its Sebium (acne remedy) and moisturizing Hydrabio lines. European Skin and Massage Studio introduced Woda European Natural Skin Care products from Poland.
   It is no surprise that there were also several made-in-California remedies on hand, from spa equipment supplier Martinni Beauty’s cooling at-home masques to Beverly Hills-based Serumtologie, featured on CNBC’s business programme, showcasing Cserum 22 and Pure Whipped Chiffon moisturizer. The ultra-luxurious CelleCle Skincare, based in Orange County, builds its niche on products tackling skin problems brought on by urbanization, environmental stress, technology and pollution with ‘unique plant flavonoids’ and other ingredients that penetrate several dermal layers. Cote Hair Care, hailing from Las Vegas, rolled out its professional vegan hair care products replacing such nasty stuff as parabens, GMOs and gluten with quinoa oil and plant-based complexes.
   Speaking of plant-based, there were some edible and nutritious treats offered by Barlean’s and Julie’s Real. The real Julie (Fox) behind Julie’s Real was handing out samples of her grain-free granola and almond butters while reps from Barlean’s got us excited about their superfoods with omega-3 fish oil, flax oil and vegan greens powders that make everything from salads to smoothies more nutritious and delicious. All one tastes in the key lime fish oil, straight or mixed with a smoothie, is creamy tropical goodness.
   Many celebrities were on hand to sample and compare, but the most interesting spotting was comedy legend Elayne Boosler, who spent her day behind the tables promoting her Tails of Joy and supporting the inventor of Mighty No Bitey, Inc. insect repellant. I had the privilege of interviewing Boosler when she performed in Chicago back in my college newspaper days, and was delighted to see that face to face, many years on, she’s as passionate, politically astute, progressive and feisty as ever. Here’s hoping she continues to speak out, whether it’s for animal rescue or human rights in America as a new presidency approaches.
   The lone fashion-oriented sponsor was Forever in My Heart Jewelry by Mira, whose founder was also devoted to animal welfare. Her eclectic collection contained mix of special lockets (holding ashes from departed pets), statement pieces and everyday jewellery. The Happiness Box, meanwhile, was something that would be inside a spa reception area. The cylindrical can contains 365 statements of affirmation one can select to ensure every day of the year starts with a positive thought.
   There was also a handy gadget of note, the Dripo Japanese-style ice drip coffee maker, which brews potent and flavourful iced coffee without any electricity. If you have access to ice and 25 g of your favorite coffee on hand, follow the directions, go and do something else for 90 minutes, and return for a warm weather pick-me-up. The packaging for the gadget, a large cardboard carton that would normally contain prefabricated stuff, is also genius.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor







J. C. Olivera

Above, from top: Peter Mackenzie and Graham Beckel. Sara Rue. Kevin Dillon. Priyanka Bose. Annie Funke. Saniyya Sidney.















Elyse Glickman

November 17, 2016

Sustainability in brief: Living Nature’s lipstick gift packs; Ãœmran Aysan introduces fashion label

Lucire staff/11.42



Living Nature’s Colour Me Beautiful lipstick gift packs have become a permanent line, featuring three complementary, certified-natural, organic lipsticks in each pack. They are presented in three themes: Colour Me Natural, Colour Me Romantic, and Colour Me Vibrant.
   Living Nature points out that in a lifetime, we can ingest up to 1·7 kg of lipstick, hence choosing ones with natural ingredients is vital. Living Nature’s lipsticks feature coconut extracts, vitamin E, and nourishing waxes, moisturizing the lips. They are allergen-free, have no synthetic chemicals or preservatives, and are safe for use during pregnancy. Retail price is NZ$75, and they are available through Living Nature’s website.
   Meanwhile, Ægean-raised, London-based designer Ãœmran Aysan is contributing to sustainability in fashion.
   As a counter to fast fashion, and with a desire to reintroduce craftsmanship and a respect for local and ethical sourcing, Aysan has launched her eponymous label, featuring pieces for resort 2017 using exquisite, natural fabrics. Look closer and you’ll see delicate needle-craft and other details from local artisans. Positive Luxury has deemed Ãœmran Aysan a ‘Brand to Trust’ for her commitment to sustainability and her support of local communities.

November 14, 2016

Green with beauty: a holistic understanding through Organic Spa Magazine

Lucire staff/11.50




Randall Michelson

Since 2007, Organic Spa Magazine has inspired and informed readers on green beauty and living. By no means limited to the world of day spas, Organic Spa educates and motivates on all aspects of a holistic lifestyle. At the famously posh Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills on a rather balmy October evening, members of the press were learned first-hand how Organic Spa has galvanized the once-niche market into a universally practised way of life.
   In addition to a cool gift bag filled with some of the latest and greatest in organic beauty (we’ll get to that shortly) and a tasting of some deliciously healthy food prepared with good-for-your skin enhancements, the event presented a panel and conversation with some true luminaries in fitness and eco-conscious beauty. These guest speakers included: Tracy Anderson, creator of the Tracy Anderson Method; Kimberly Snyder, nutritionist, yogi, New York Times best selling author; Christie Coleman, Head of Innovation for BeautyCounter; and Louis Schwartzberg, director, producer, and cinematographer.
   What was most impressive and refreshing is that none of them endeavoured to promote their brand or product. Instead, the exchange focused on the future of organic living and perhaps most vitally: a message of beauty from within. What can such an overused cliché mean, you ask? Simply put, ditch the celebrity and media stereotypes of physical beauty that bombard our lives. They are illusory and temporal, and have a tenuous hold on reality. Embrace balance and harmony at a slower pace of life. Remember that your beauty regimen starts from within and by respecting nature. Give back and you will be rewarded. Take it slowly, make a commitment and your beauty will be revealed.
   And now as promised, a peek at some of the hottest trending brands and products that are not merely naturally derived, but results-driven.
   When we say beauty comes from within, we’re not kidding. Neocell is a recognized leader in skin-enhancing nutritional supplements. Their DermaMatrix Collagen Skin Complex is part of their new Platinum Collection, a premium line of nutraceuticals targeting specific collagen systems. Firmer and more elastic skin is as easy as making a fresh smoothie using a scoop of the instantly dissolving powder. Other notable products in the line include berry-flavoured chewable Beauty Bursts, and the Move Matrix Advanced Joint Hydrator.
   A leader in the world of organic skin care, Mychelle Dermaceauticals introduces their most potent mask yet: the Perfect C Pro Speed Peel, a professional-level, one-step, fast-acting 25 per cent citrus fruit purée peel, formulated with 10 per cent L-ascorbic acid blended with L-lactic acid, Plant C-Stem, and retinal to deliver youthful, glowing skin. Also new from Mychelle are the Bio-Firm HydroGel Concentrate and Perfect C Radiance Lotion.
   From the UK, Earth Kiss Face Masks are energized with Himalayan shilajit, a prized ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine. Known as a potent skin rejuvenator, the 100 per cent natural masks are formulated with cherished ingredients from across the globe such as white Thai muds, ancient rhassoul clay and deeply hydrating boabab oil from Africa.
   â€˜Slow beauty for a fast world’ is the motto of SpaRitual, a collection of delightfully decadent vegan body and nail products that never compromise on quality. The newest addition is a first-ever CC Crème for your nails, a combination treatment and colour that is infused with beneficial ingredients to help strengthen, smooth, brighten and protect while providing a no-polish-needed coat of sheer tint.
   Quick-drying, non-toxic, non-yellowing and vegan, Dazzle Dry is the fairy godmother of nail lacquers. For extra indulgence to relieve unsightly and itchy cracked skin, Hand & Elbows Cream contains potent bioactive ingredients to hydrate and exfoliate rapidly and efficiently, while allantoin speeds up new skin cell regeneration.—Jody Miller, LA Correspondent






































Randall Michelson

October 24, 2016

Travel editor’s diary: a day at the recolta

Lucire staff/22.34




Paula Sweet

Yesterday, 10.15 a.m., reading on my tablet online the latest insult to democracy from the Republican nominee, words uttered hours earlier across the sea, and the phone rings. It’s the Principessa Zaramella asking if we can be ready in ten minutes to drive out to the country for the recolta, the annual olive-picking at a friend’s estate. I cannot refuse. The harvest happens at the last minute every year on a date which can’t be predicted, when family and friends are summoned to the orchards for a decidedly ancient experience rendered in real time. It’s a one-hour ride into a forgotten age, leaving the industrial neighbourhoods which surround Vicenza, venturing into the rolling landscapes and alluvial valleys nestled between extinct volcanoes, rambling through mediæval villages and vineyards of orange and purple leaves, into the zone of two-lane roads and ill-marked switchbacks until all we see are storybook vistas punctuated by red roofs and the occasional lofty campanile. A hard left onto a gravel road, up a wooded hill and we find ourselves surrounded by terraces of olive trees thick with ripe black fruit, an excellent harvest this year.
   Nets have been spread below the trees and people of all ages are releasing the olives from the trees, picking by hand, or raking the boughs, green and yellow and black projectiles raining down on us, the pleasurable thud-thud-thud. The Italian language surrounds us—there’s no rushing the process, and people take the time to converse, opine, joke as bins are filled.
   Unlike berry-picking, you can’t eat what you retrieve. One is made to wait: the olives won’t be pressed today, though in a month the principessa will call us (no doubt at the last minute) to say that a litre of the production is waiting for us when we can come fetch it. For the moment we exist in the present, outside the bounds of our hand-held devices, breathing the fresh air, communing with the branches, listening to the children singing folk songs among the trees.
   At no particular moment comes the call ‘A mangiare!’ Everyone drops what they are doing and trudges up the hill, where a table has been set with everything delectable in the world: local cheeses, breads, pomegranates and mandarins and apples in baskets, sausages, bottles of Nero d’Avola and Cannonau di Sardegna and wine I dare not touch from the local production in unlabelled bottles which will surely deliver the Hangover of the Century to the uninitiated. This followed by huge plates of food, pasta fagioli garlanded with fresh olive oil, an enormous salad of garden greens, pepperoncinis, radicchio di Terviso tarte, fritelli of Mozzarella, penne al sugo. The children retire to the chairs on the lawn, while the adults repair to impromptu seating under the arbor, which delivers a view of the pristine valley below. Cross-talk, teasing, the constant discussion of food, familiar faces coming and going, the casual discovery that some of these people actually speak English, at least a tolerable version of it peppered with como-se-dices and the occasional attempt at French. There is no attendant traffic noise, no recorded music, no phone sounds, no sirens, no voices of madness or conflict, only the murmur of conversation, mostly about food. Thence the dessert. Local rosegota, a hard hand-made flat cake, rum-laced crema di mascarpone, apricot tart, local thick cakes with fluffy insides, chocolate biscotti, after which a tray of espresso appears. A kind of drunken dizziness surrounds us, visions of shepherds napping under trees or vague trysts among the vines. But our host knows the rhythms need to return and with a sharp ‘A lavoro!’ we are back to the trees, back to our rakes and bins, for more time with the harvest. The light fades, we decelerate, and a languid pace for the last hours among the trees.
   Paulina, who chauffeured us out to the recolta, mentions that Arqua is not far away, a perfectly preserved mediæval village where Petrarch lived out his last days. Would we like to visit on our way home, see his house? A half-hour later we find ourselves wandering the ancient hillside streets, happening upon the Casa del Petrarca, then taking coffees at a typical enoteca. It is night when we exit the cafe and climb the old lanes back to the car. A night ride to Vicenza, back to the flat.
   As I close my eyes at home last night, I dream of the Greeks and their amphoræ, of the Romans at the harvest, and of Petrarch. I dream of compelling Donald Trump to pick olives for an afternoon, away from his Twitter feed and the screaming masses. I make him listen to other people’s conversations, rake the boughs and collect the olives and I tell him he must wait a month for his litre of olive oil.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor












Paula Sweet

October 18, 2016

Viktor & Rolf, Fragrance du Bois each launch a collection of six fragrances

Lucire staff/12.25




Top: Viktor & Rolf showed their Magic fragrance collection at the Upper East Side Academy Mansion, New York. Centre: Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren flank actress Taraji P. Henson. Above: The Fragrance du Bois Nature’s Treasures collection.

French luxury brand Fragrance du Bois has released its Nature’s Treasures collection of hand-blended perfumes using only sustainably sourced, natural ingredients.
   The collection comprises six fragrances: Baie Rose, Patchouli Argent, Brume du Matin, Pétales de Cashmere, Santal Complet and Zest Marin.
   Unlike earlier fragrances from the company, these six are not oud-based, but brand director Nicola Parker stresses that only the best natural ingredients feature, and each has been created by a master perfumer. She notes that the new line does not deviate from its core values.
   Parker also says Asian customers may prefer a lighter, fresher scent.
   Each perfume has a Swarovski crystal-encrusted, gold-plated cap, with prices commencing at €295 for 50 ml, up to €595 for 100 ml. They retail at Fragrance du Bois’s boutiques in Paris, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Genèva.
   An older, storied brand, Viktor & Rolf, has launched a new perfume line, too, dubbed the Magic Collection. Like Fragrance du Bois, there are six in the new line, which the company describes as an ‘unexpected twist on niche fragrances’.
   Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren themselves were in New York at the Upper East Side Academy Mansion to launch the fragrances on October 10, with VIPs Taraji P. Henson, Sasheer Zamata, model Sean O’Pry, Anna Baryshnikov, and others. Music was provided by DJ Mia Moretti, while celebrity magician Dan White performed live, in keeping with the theme.
   The Viktor & Rolf Magic Collection will be released in February 2017, exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue retailers in the US, and online at SaksFifthAvenue.com.




Above, from top: Sasheer Zamata. Taraji P. Henson. Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren.

October 12, 2016

With clear night skies, Tekapo Springs to offer Star-Gazing package from early ’17

Lucire staff/2.46


Astrophotographer Mark Gee (@theartofnight)

The summer is a perfect time for stargazers to head to the South Island of New Zealand, with its clear night sky within the world’s largest dark-sky reserve (of 4,144 km²), and Tekapo Springs is the ideal place for travellers.
   Known for its pools and spas, Tekapo Springs in the MacKenzie Country will offer a Tekapo Star-Gazing package from early 2017 to complement its existing offerings.
   Tekapo Star Gazing is a unique tour, which allows guests to see the stars and constellations from Tekapo Springs’ hot pools from 9.30 p.m.
   Relaxing music plays in the background while qualified ‘star guides’ point out the night sky’s features and answer questions from guests. The sessions will run between 1¼ and 1½ hours long.
   Tekapo Springs has added two new 9·25 aperture Celestron telescopes at its Tahr Bar & Café for guests to check out after their hot pools’ experience.
   Its location by Lake Tekapo means some of the country’s most stunning views, often seen in photographs promoting New Zealand tourism.
   Bookings can be made via its website at www.tekaposprings.co.nz/book-now, or call 0800 2353-8283 within New Zealand, 64 3 680-6550 internationally.

October 7, 2016

Beauty in brief: Environ launches Youth EssentiA for healthy skin; Madam C. J. Walker launches new oils for hair

Lucire staff/23.25

Environ has improved on its Ionzyme range, with new ingredients (retinyl propionate and BHT) and a longer shelf life, and has given it a new name: Youth EssentiA. It’s positioned as a more premium offering, aiming to reduce visible signs of ageing and creating healthier, smoother-looking skin.
   The new range comprises the Hydra-Intense cleansing lotion, Vita-Peptide toner, Vita-Peptide eye gel, four-step Vita-Peptide C-Quence serums (£89·95 each), an Antioxidant Defence Crème (£66) designed to work with the serums, a Focus frown serum, Focus hydrating serum and Energising Masque.
   Environ’s Kirstin Kruger noted, ‘What people don’t know is that the skin needs to gradually become accustomed to increased levels of vitamin A. The Youth EssentiA range of Vita-Peptide C-Quence serums is based on Environ’s industry-leading Vitamin Step-Up system, which is designed to help skin become gradually more comfortable with increased levels of vitamin A and other ingredients that keep skin looking healthy and beautiful for life.’
   Meanwhile, for hair, Madam C. J. Walker Beauty Culture’s Scent & Shine Oil collection has been launched, with three silicone-free and antioxidant-packed lightweight oils retailing for US$26 each. The brassica seed oil helps smooth and silken heat styled hair; the coconut oil adds shine and protects against humidity; while the Jamaican black castor oil hydrates extra-dry hair and scalps. Each has a subtly scented formula, and can be used whether the hair is wet or dry. The new products are cruelty-free and do not contain parabens, sulphates, phthalates, artificial colours or fragrance, mineral oil, or alcohol.

October 3, 2016

Summer indulgence: the Body Shop’s Piñita Colada range

Bhavana Bhim/23.24

Summer is just around the corner—why not get yourself ready with a cocktail of coconut and pineapple for the skin? The Body Shop’s Caribbean-inspired Piñita Colada body range is ready to burst your skin with summer freshness.
   The range includes Piñita Colada exfoliating cream, body butter, shower gel and Fresh Body Sorbet. All these products smell divine with the hand-harvested coconuts from the Antilles region of the Caribbean, combined with zesty pineapple from the Santo-Domingo area.
   The Exfoliating Scrub (250 ml, NZ$47·50), smooths and refines the skin with real shredded coconut and pineapple extracts.
   Wash away the heat of the day with the shower gel (250 ml, NZ$17·50). The refreshing lather cleanses the skin.
   The skin-quenching body butter (50 ml, NZ$17·50; 300 ml, NZ$38·95) hydrates the skin in the heat of summer. The butter glides onto the skin without any sticky residue. Immediately the skin is invigorated with the fresh cooling scent.
   Finally, we sampled the Fresh Body Sorbet (200 ml, NZ$27·50). This lightweight product feeds the skin with the cooling moisture of Caribbean extracts.
   Treat yourself this summer and let the happy hour come to you with this limited-edition range. All products will be available in-store in New Zealand beginning October 3.—Bhavana Bhim

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