29 JUN - 2021
The first Editor’s Picks of many to come, I feel a sense of future nostalgia now that I am finally writing from this not so new but slightly different perspective.
Following a year and a half of what was meant to be rest and recuperation, which later turned out to be a ginormous pain in the ass of seemingly endless trials and tribulations, it was fair time I gave something my all again - except I’d be doing it all for something I wholeheartedly believed in.
Over the month of May, there was a major milestone that was reached at this end. First and foremost, 2016’s Chatty Chums got a well-deserved makeover, and finally, her posh and lush new look was revealed after months of creating, editing and troubleshooting.
The first Editor’s Pick of many to come, I feel a sense of future nostalgia now that I am finally writing from this not so new but slightly different perspective.
It’s a fresh chapter in the same book and I’m hoping you’ll come and enjoy this new expedition.
Over the past couple of months, I tried a range of products that are new to the world. From the best nude lip shade to cult classics and hidden gems, here are a dozen covetable things that you’ll want to put on your wish list. I’m a total joker and serial pest but when it comes to product recommendations, there’s no one quite as serious.
Bounce Like Jelly
Speaking of serious, I’m going to start with the most serious skincare brand I’ve ever encountered. Forgoing all the fluffy things like pretty package design, BS marketing tactics and completely disregarding any toxic ingredients, dermaviduals is the best skincare brand I’ve ever used in my entire life. So much so that I’ve been in a very deep relationship with it for the past 4+ years. In fact, 8th May 2017 marks the day that it so serendipitously became my skin’s partner in life. Admittedly, I wanted to eat my cake and have it too so I flirted with a rising star in natural cosmeceuticals but after finishing the set, I came crawling on my hands and knees, back to dermaviduals.
Now, things are as solid as ever and the anti-aging effects are back in motion. The aforementioned natural cosmeceutical brand wasn’t bad at all. It was a pretty good candidate to pause and dip my toe into the pool of possibility, but it just couldn’t keep up with dermaviduals and I saw myself aging faster in my reflection. Obviously, that was not going to work with me. If there’s one thing I don’t want to lose from time, it’s my youth.
While the rest of the world was faffing about marketing hyaluronic acid as the skin’s ultimate hydrator and plumper, dermaviduals concocted and already launched the next generation of skin hydration. You see, not all hyaluronic acid is the same.
dermaviduals Hyaluronan NAG Liposomes, $260, uses N-Acetyl-Glucosamin which stimulates the endogenous formation of hyaluronic acid in our skin. Together with highly dosed Hyaluronic Acid, all encapsulated in skin-mimicking liposomes, this wee understated bottle has superior moisture-retaining properties and plumping effects.
The price is steep but if you’re a serial skincare addict with cash to burn for the sake of your one and only face, you may want to explore this at least once. It instantly makes your skin feel moisturised to the point where it feels bouncy and ‘chewy’ like Haribo jellies. They say our skin’s peak is when we’re 22 years old and I’m not sure if you’ve felt a 22 year old’s skin recently, but that’s what it feels like when you use this magical potion.
Even though I have a hundred and one nude lipsticks in different types of finishes and formulas, I feel like I am always in search of the it-shade to match my mood and weather for the day. Beauty trends are evolving by the minute and it’s getting harder to keep your finger on the pulse with fleeting trends.
Dior Rouge 100 Nude Look, $66, is a reinterpretation of Christian Dior’s greige new look of 1947. The perfect shade that blends grey with nude, it’s an edgy and in-vogue greige nude that miraculously suits all skin tones. It comes in a matte finish that glides on and blends out easily with your ring finger if you want a blurred out look. Enriched with shea butter, the formula is comfortable and non-drying for smooth application.
Considering sustainability in its package design, Rouge Dior has once again been made refillable with the ‘CD’ initials adorning the case for a sexy and modern vibe.
You may have noticed that bigger is better when it comes to hair at the moment. Velcro rollers have been creeping in and you’ve got to prepare yourself for the huge comeback of 90’s volume. Think Cindy Crawford and Jennifer Anistons’ lush blow out look.
Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray, $65, is a humidity-resistant blow-dry styling spray that creates a waterfall-like high-gloss sheen. A solid tip is to section your hair and really douse it with Dream Coat before blow-drying it with tension. It combats frizziness like nothing else and lasts for up to four washes. To kick the shine up a notch, follow through with an iron and you’ll have that windswept look that J.Lo has in every one of her music videos.
A balm-like lippie with buildable tint, Bobbi Brown Crushed Shine Jelly Stick, $50, gives a vibrant pop of colour and moisture to the lips. It creates a thin veil over the skin and works well for a just-bitten look. Non-sticky or greasy, the texture is super comfortable to wear while giving a subtle shine.
One of my favourite highlighters is the Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette in 001 Universal. The latest addition to the line is 004 Rose Gold, $94 - and it’s truly divine. The four hues come in shimmer, metallic and glittery finishes that can be used individually or blended together for a rosy gleam atop the cheekbones. With a light sweep, it creates an incredible radiance but it can build up quickly for a super reflective luminosity, so use sparingly!
I absolutely love the light pearlescent rose shade and the sheer gold pearl on my fairer winter skin at the moment. The metallic pink gold is quite pigmented and so, it works well as a topper to your blush if you want your smile to be extra-dimensional. This palette is not for the faint-hearted as there’s plenty of fine-milled sparkles in the texture.
An aromatherapeutic skin-loving body oil, Pure Body Luxe Nourish Moisture Surge Evening Oil, 100ml, $89, deeply hydrates dry and damaged skin. A blend of coconut, apricot kernel, aloe vera, camellia, echium, watermelon seed, argain, shea, kiwi seed and avocado oil gives it a rich yet easy-to-absorb texture that sinks into my scaly dry skin instantly. Intoxicating yet uplifting, this face and body oil has opening notes of frankincense and mandarin, a heart of myrrh and ylang ylang and a base of bergamot. Exuding a woody citrus aroma with a slight pepperiness, it’s the perfect way to relax and finish off the day.
Swedish lip care brand Henne, puts clean and green beauty in the limelight. An advocate of minimalism, Henne strives to deliver luxury essentials for the modern woman. The Lip Mask, $69, includes sea buckthorn and cranberry seed oils alongside evening primrose oil to deeply moisturise, soothe and soften dry, chapped, winter lips. Apply a thick layer onto your lips for half an hour and remove it with a tissue.
Founded by female kiwi power duo, Miky Ryken and Ella Stanton, Rey the Label launched at the end of May with two designs - From Me to Me and Leap of Faith - selling out in 24 hours.
Catering to the girls who want trendy yet affordable vegan leather handbags, Rey the Label is at a pleasantly surprising price point considering how considered their designs are. My favourite design is The Staple, $149.99. With its large detachable and adjustable crossbody strap, it also has a golden chain as well as a handle, so you can carry it however you want to.
On Cloud Nine
Following two years of product development, Kiwi wellness brand Jeuneora recently launched a line of vegan-friendly skincare products dubbed the ‘Essential Seven.’
Leading up to the launch, I picked the brain of founder and CEO, Monique Kaminski. With 90%+ natural origin science-backed formulas, she mentioned that efficacy and sensorial experience was a key focus for her skincare range.
The orthogonal block colour packaging is so on-trend with its pastel shades and vanity-friendly, to say the least. My favourite product from the line is the SuperSuper Face Oil, $108. Incredibly lightweight, it’s fast-absorbing, non-sticky and clear so it doesn’t leave an orange stain on your face as rosehip oil would.
Bottling nine plant and nut oils, it houses all of the latest hype ingredients such as kakadu plum, known to be the world’s most potent source of Vitamin C; cold pressed cacay oil, rich in essential fatty acids (EFAs) to work synergistically with our skin; squalane, extracted from olives to reduce trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL); as well as cucumber seed, jojoba, avocado, rosehip, raspberry seed, and sweet almond oils to increase elasticity and provide a decent dose of Vitamin E.
Fragrance wise, its quite nutty while being fresh and fruity, working perfectly as a morning face oil to lock in moisture throughout the day without causing your makeup to slide off.
Hair For It
There’s three main players when it comes to hair stylers - Cloud Nine, ghd and Dyson. We put the wide irons from the former two brands to the test in a recent article and Dyson launched their extremely expensive cordless hair straightener last year.
The latest (and truly greatest) launch to land on the market is Cloud Nine’s new Original Iron Pro, $542.09. It’s a little dearer in price compared to the Original Iron, $372.35, but it’s worth the splash. I was positively stunned at the performance of this new tool.
There is absolutely zero snagging due to its floating plates and the iron just glides through hair like it’s air - completely friction-free. It feels incredibly lightweight and even though I have thick hair, the styling time was reduced. It also sports a revive mode in which it vibrates at 8,000 times a minute at 150°C, so you can style your hair without damage.
Out of all the hair straighteners I’ve tried; if I had to pick one, it would be this.
New Balance was all the rage in Korea around 15 years ago. I like to say that because it shows I've always been trend transcending - and also, SoKo represent!
Since the 990v5 made absolute waves globally through Instagram in early 2019, New Balance has been flying off shelves like nothing else. The latest style that has become even more difficult to get one’s hands on are the 550s.
An ode to pro basketballers, the 550s sports a 90s silhouette that you’ll instantly feel the need to have. Sporty, cute and with a pop of colour, it adds a streak of coolness to any outfit.
They’re launching a bunch of new hues on 1st July 10a.m. so if you’re like me, you’ll have this locked in your calendar with a notification to be there before your size sells out in half a heartbeat. I wanted yellow but I missed out, so green it is.
Aesop hand creams are rated for a reason. The woody and citrus fragrance instantly brings my stressed-out airy mind back and puts me back in the moment. I’m always so excited to uncap my tube of Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm, $40, and inhale the therapeutic olfactory blend of mandarin rind, rosemary and cedar. It leaves hands super soft and supple with no greasy residue so you can continue typing and working after a quick mental break.