Beauty Spotlight: Skincare

Need-to-know news / Beauty Reviews from New Zealand’s most loved Health & Beauty Brands


Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser 150ml, RRP $38

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser ReviewHere it is – my FAVOURITE stand-alone cleanser of all time, and I’ve sampled many.

Prior to this I had only ever used one Kiehl’s product before, Ultra Facial Deep Moisture Balm.  Fab product, but not something I use every day, I always take it snowboarding though as it’s a perfect barrier moisturiser.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser $38, is a gentle, liquid gel cleanser that somehow holds it’s form (I can’t think of any other way to describe it lol) so that while massaging it on, you can feel the gel gliding between your fingertips and your face.  It’s such a luxe daily ritual that I really look forward to and it works beautifully on removing a full face of makeup as well as fresh morning skin.

LOVE LOVE LOVE and a great price point for a full-size product (150ml)  from a premium brand.

Garnier Pure Active Range

An excellent coup for those with sensitive skin, Garnier has just launched a 3 step cleansing and care routine designed for sensitive acne-prone skin.  

Garnier Pure Active Sensitive comprises 3 products; a soap-free Pure Active Sensitive Cleanser, a clarifying Pure Active Sensitive Toner and Pure Active Sensitive Moisturiser.  The combination of natural ingredients such as zinc to purify and boost skin immunity and witch hazel to soothe irritated skin results in a hypoallergenic and ph-neutral range, perfect for calming and caring for sensitive skin.

Point of difference to note; a gel toner!!!  I’ve never seen nor tried one before!

Garnier Pure Active Sensitive range RRP $13.99ea, available from select supermarkets, pharmacies and Farmers.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Family Garnier Pure Active Sensitive Review

Clinique Pep-Start™ HydroBlur Moisturiser, 50ml RRp $58Clinique Pep-Start HydroBlur Review

This little blue pot of matte-moisturising perfection has been my daily go-to for the past 2 months.  I took it with me to Surfers Paradise anticipating needing some help controlling shine in the warmer conditions and it exceeded my expectations.  It’s like a combination moisturiser/primer, which is awesome as it’s one less step when you’re getting ready.  I’ve found many ‘blur’ products end up sitting on top of my skin leaving a residue that seems to rub off when applying foundation or BB cream over the top – which kind of defeats the purpose really!  This stays on during makeup application and looks great on a bare-faced day as well as one where I’m sporting a full face of makeup.  Zero shine plus great looking and feeling skin.

I was gifted this but would absolutely purchase as it’s now a daily essential.  Shop it here

To discover your custom fit perfect moisturiser, take the Clinique Hydration Quiz here – that’s how I discovered Pep-Start!

L’Occitane Shea Butter Skincare Additions

I’m a huge fan of this range so am always excited to tet out new additions.  The Shea Butter skincare line from L’Occitane not only smells incredible but is pretty much the most effective hydrating collection I’ve used.

It’s got a lovely back-story too, with L’Occitane only purchasing fair trade shea butter from the women producing it sustainably in Burkina Faso.

L'Occitane Shea Solidarity Soap reviewOne of the new arrivals is the limited edition Shea Solidarity Soap, 50g RRP $8.  Do yourself and a charitable cause a favour and pick one of these up next time you’re at the mall or shopping online at  The subtle fragrance of the shea range is totally addictive and works beautifully in this solid soap bar which cleans without L'Occitane She Butter Foaming Cleanser Reviewstripping skin.  Plus, 100% of the profits are redistributed to fight avoidable blindness.  Ask in store if you can’t find this variety as it may have sold out!

I’ve also been enjoying another line addition, the Shea Butter Foaming Cleanser, 125ml RRP $45.  With 5% shea oil, this is an excellent in-between cleanser if you’re not a fan of liquid/gel cleansers but aren’t ready to commit to an oil cleansing regime.  I’d recommend this for normal to dry skin types, the end result is beautifully clean, but also really soft and hydrated skin.

Other new products in the Shea Butter Skincare Line are; Shea Butter Intensive Hand Balm 150ml, RRP $53, Whipped Body Cream Shea Rose 125ml, RRP $38, Whipped Hand Cream Shea Rose 30ml, RRP $18.

Miri Skincare Kiwifruit Seed Oil & Manuka Honey Balm, 25ml, RRP $12.99

Miri Skincare Kiwifruit Seed oil and Manuka Honey Balm ReviewYou may have seen me try this on my IG stories last week, in which you’ll remember how surprised I was at the formulation and how easily and quickly it was absorbed.  I find most all-purpose balms to be super sticky, which makes them far too annoying to keep on for any duration.  Miri’s new offering is different.  Made in New Zealand from natural ingredients, Miri’s Kiwifruit Seed Oil & Manuka Honey Balm was created with the intent to combine NZ and South Pacific ingredients into an all natural balm to soothe chapped lips or irritated skin.  Suggested uses are; moisturising lips, chapped lips, dry or cracked skin, burns, scrapes, nourishing cuticles, insect bites, prevention of nappy rash, general massage and shaving rashes.
There’s no nasty fillers, preservatives, petroleum, BHA, BHT, DEA-regulated ingredients, dibutyl phthalate, formaldehyde, parabens, PEG compounds, siloxanes, SLS or triclosan.

And it’s STILL lovely and effective.

Available from leading pharmacies nationwide.

Dermalogica PreCleanse Balm 90ml, RRP $75

Dermalogica PreCleanse Balm Review

Described as Step Zero in your cleansing routine, this is a breakthrough product that takes Dermalogica’s double-cleanse regime to the next level.  I’m a huge fan of their PreCleanse Oil, it’s in my shower for everyday use, to be honest, but the pump bottle does make it more difficult to travel with.  

Enter the innovative PreCleanase Balm that activates on contact with water, transforming from balm to oil.  LOVE.  There is no cleanse like a Dermalogica double-cleanse, that is a fact.  The retail pack comes complete with a double-sided, ergonomically-designed mitt that is heaven on skin (really), and leaves skin “soft, nourished and ready to receive the benefits of your regular skin care regimen”, Caroline Parker, Head of Education for Dermalogica New Zealand.

Available from authorised Dermalogica® skin centres, selected department stores, Life Pharmacies and online at

Eco Tan Invisible Tan® – Express Self-tanning Crème 150ml RRP $39.95

Eco Tan Invisible Tan reviewConfession time; I’ve never, ever self-tanned.  Ever.  but I’m going to.

After two revelatory spray tans, one before our family holiday on the Gold Coast and one before my trip to Melbourne last month, I realised that fake tan has come a long way since I was in high school.  You very rarely see an orange tan-victim these days, in fact, I can only think of one and his name starts with T and ends with Rump.  So, I’m going to do it.  My dad died from melanoma as many of you know, so my passion for laying out is pretty much zero these days, plus the bikini bod isn’t doing what it should either.  In the words of my very wise nail tech, “tanned fat looks a whole lot better than pasty fat’.

So that’s my new motto.

Eco Tan is a cruelty-free brand that uses natural cacao, herbs flower extract, fruit extract and chamomile to create a natural looking glow that is certified organic.  To support the Eco Tan range of tanning projects, creator Sonya Driver has also brought a beautiful range of natural body care products to market.  These are all vegan, toxic free, synthetic free, cruelty-free and licensed by PETA.

Eco Tan and Eco by Sonya Driver are available at Unichem and Life Pharmacies, Health 2000 and Commonsense Organics, leading health and organic retailers and online at

Holiday Makeup | Island Style

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand

Compared to my 12 pack of skincare products, the makeup I took to Rarotonga was much more carefully curated.  I figured (correctly) that as soon as I got a bit of sun on my cheeks I would be sans foundation, blush, highlighter, contour, bronzer, yadda yadda most days.  So, only the basics got a boarding pass.  Lips, light coverage, concealer, mascara, illuminator and brows (not pictured).   Only the basics lol.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Beauty

Dermalogica Sheer Tint spf20 Medium RRP $79

Welcoming Sheer Tint back into my life was like meeting an old friend again.  The proliferation of BB Creams from other brands saw me shy away from my faithful pal for a year or so but now I’m back and loving this excellent update on a beauty classic.

Described as the last step in skin care and first step in makeup, the 2015 reformulation sees the inclusion of Hydrolyzed Pearl Powder to promote radiant beauty and health.  Sheer Tint provides more coverage than leading BB Creams but mineral ingredient Iron Oxide creates a perfectly sheer colour wash resulting in a natural, glowing finish.

Oil-free, must-have, SPF20 everyday makeup.

Benefit Boi-ing Concealer RRP $38Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Beauty

On some days, some spots need a little more coverage and the best concealer I’ve ever discovered is this little pot of camouflage from Benefit.  Boi-ing stays put  I apply it with my fingers as in this slightly cooler weather the warmth softens it, then I blend with a brush for a perfect finish.  Cannot rave about this product enough.  Concealer is an important part of my daily makeup routine and I’m so stoked to have finally found one that I love!Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Beauty

NARS Illuminator – Orgasm RRP $30 USD

NARS make the most amazing cheek colours, I’ve had my Orgasm blush for a couple of years now and it pops that dewy glow like no other powder.  But with highlighting/strobing/all the glowing going on I felt like I need to up my game.  I added this liquid illuminator to a recent Sephora order and it’s now my favourite little secret to help me look refreshed, with a natural glow that doesn’t quit.  Available in NZ from Mecca Cosmetica.

Eye of Horus Goddess Mascara Black RRP $39.34

No surprise here, EOH Goddess Mascara is the product that kicked off my love of makeup so it was a non-negotiable inclusion in my vacation  kit.  Never clumpy, no pandas, lengthens like a dream.  With a little holiday glow going on, I would often leave the house with nothing more than some balm, a little illuminator on my cheeks and a quick swipe of mascara to upgrade from beach to cocktail hour in a second.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand BeautyBenefit Chachabalm Hydrating Tinted Lip Balm RRP $34Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Beauty

A touch of  colour was totally necessary for an easy, beachy look but it had to have super-duper moisturising properties as well.  Chachabalm is creamy, not slick and sticky and is heaven on dry lips.  This is def more of a treatment product than a gloss or tint so was the right choice for a sunny vacation, great staying power is a big plus, as is the addition of juicy mango butter – yum!

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Beauty Clinique Pop Lip Colour + Primer in Bare Pop RRP $46

This is my second Pop Lip Colour in a seriously wearable, everyday shade.  My lips-but-better pigment, long wearing and a lovely creamy non-drying formulation that feels very natural.  The addition of primer in the formulation is what sold me on Clinique Pop, when you do experience wear over the day through eating and drinking, there’s no ‘tide’ mark left around the edge of of your lips which I can’t stand.  A demi-matte finish which in this shade is perfectly casual and just what I wanted.

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm Super Strawberry RRP $40Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Beauty

I love chubby sticks because they are so easy to use and so versatile.  I didn’t take any blush on the trip but Super Strawberry can do double duty as a lip or cheek pigment!  The never-needs-sharpening case also eliminates the need to pack a sharpener!  Clinique, you’re so smart!


Top Mummy Blog new Zealand BeautyBillion Dollar Brows Mad About Brows Palette RRP $59

Ahhhh brows.  Saved the best for last?  Maybe, but if you’re wanting quick, non-fussy makeup while holidaying, then, baby do your brows.  I was a dedicated brow pencil fan until I received this palette.  Billion Dollar Brows have nailed it with this combo of four brow powders, sculpting wax and mini brow brush.  Once you get used to using the angled brush, brows become foolproof and easy, held in place with the super pliable wax that sets to a naturally defined finish.


Beauty review | Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

Garnier Micellar Water Beauty Blog Review

Gosh I was excited to review this new beauty product.  Let me tell you, I am the Laziest Lazy Girl there is when it comes to cleansing my face and removing makeup.  More often than not I will collapse into bed way later than I should with zero energy or inclination to put any more obstacles between me and my pillow.  I really, really dislike splashing around in the sink using traditional cleansers before bed, especially when its cold, plus my skin doesn’t cope well with the residue left behind by cleansing wipes, so I was crossing my fingers and toes that I would fall in love with Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water.

So, the verdict.

I have been using this miracle in a bottle for about 3 weeks now, and haven’t slept in makeup once over that period!  This is HUGE news people.  It’s one of those products that is really satisfying to use.  The results are instant and visible, in fact, I’m even going to say that my skin looks the cleanest it ever has after a few gentle swipes with Garnier Micellar Water dotted on a cotton ball.  I’ve also been using it after running if I can’t take a shower right away and love how fresh my face feels (even if the rest of me is totes stinky and gross lol).

The science behind Micellar water is impressive, micelles are suspended in the formulation and act as little magnets, easily capturing impurities, makeup and sebum from the skin.  Because nothing is left behind, this 3-in-one cleanser is perfect for all skin types, even sensitive skin!

Basically, I’m calling this a life changing product, it’s shown me how clean my skin can and should be and how easy and NOW inexpensive a micellar water is to use. Previously only available from high-end, luxe brands (think $$$), it’s super exciting that mummy supermarket warriors like me can pick some up from a trusted brand like Garnier for only $12.99 RRP! Expect excellent value for money as one bottle should see you through 200 applications – unless of course Ethan is doing your makeup every day!
Love, love, love it! Add it to the grocery list right now!

The Mascara Showdown | Benefit They’re Real! v Eye of Horus Goddess Mascara

Welcome to The Mummy Make-up Project!  I’m five years shy of 40 and after 20 years of clueless make-up application, 2015 is the year of turning drab to fab.  I’m going to find the best skincare and make-up products, share them with you and actually learn how to use them.  I would love your advice along the way as well as your support – I’m sure I’m not the only Mummy out there who is completely clueless about make-up!

Best Mascara Benefit or Eye of Horus NZ Beauty Blog

So, a couple of weeks ago I kicked off The Mummy Make-up Project by asking for your opinions on the BEST mascara on my Fb page.  You guys were into it!  Many had strong favourites but even more of you were also looking for advice on a new lash BFF.  The only mascara I have ever used is ye ol’ faithful, Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof mascara.  After 20 years of service it’s time to retire the old girl in search of something a little more ‘new millenium’.

Overwhelmingly you all recommended I try Benefit’s They’re Real! Mascara and the Goddess Mascara from cruelty free brand Eye of Horus.  I purchased both of these products with my own husbands hard earned cash, so rest assured this is not a sponsored review.

I ordered both mascaras online, the Benefit from Smith & Caughey’s RRP$45 + $5 shipping and the Eye of Horus from their website RRP$44 +$4.50 shipping.  Both were despatched super quickly and received in excellent condition.  During the trial week I wore the Benefit mascara on my left eye and Eye of Horus on my right – 7 days of faffing around with two different products!  See what I do in the name of science!  You.  Are.  Welcome.

Benefit They're Real Mascara Review Beauty Blog NZ

Benefit They’re real! Mascara

Ok, this mascara has some huge fans out there, ladies love this product so I was expecting BIG things.  I wasn’t disappointed. They’re Real! delivers some long lashes on initial, one swipe application.  The brush is a rubbery, spiky looking thing which is WAY different to the bristly, brushy Great Lash and this, I have come to believe over the past week, makes all the difference.  I had no problem with panda eyes, even after a swimming lesson with Nixon involving huge bombs in my face, I barely had any black under my eye.  I also had no trouble removing this mascara at night with the miracle product that is micellar water.  Though, in all fairness, I doubt there is much that could withstand a few cotton ball swipes of micellar! {review coming soon}.  

One thing which irked was that big clump on the end of the brush – you can see it in the image.  There are bristles right on the end of the brush which serve no purpose to me but to exacerbate clumping.  This was honestly the only negative in an otherwise amazing product.  I particularly loved how quick drying it was so no black marks on your lids from blinking.

Eye of Horus Review Beauty Blogger NZ

Eye of Horus Goddess Mascara

Like the Benefit, Eye of Horus mascara has it’s own cult following.  I’ve heard professional makeup artists swear by it and those cruelty-free gals get quivering knees at the mere mention of EOH!  So what’s all the fuss about?  Again, the brush is brilliant.  Same rubbery, spikey stylus, but…..look at that concave in the middle of the brush!  I have no idea why this makes a difference, but to my very unprofessional hand, it feels easier to apply, like I’m less likely to slip and smear it around my eye.  After more than a week of daily use, almost zero visible product on the brush.  That’s pretty impressive I think.  Overall I had less clumps with the EOH than They’re Real! but, it takes a few seconds longer to dry so I did have to fix a few lash marks on my lids over the week.  It doesn’t go on quite as long with one swipe, however after a couple more strokes there is no difference between the two products.  Again, I survived swimming with no panda eyes and was easily able to remove EOH at night with my Garnier Micellar water.

Overall, both mascara’s are just light years ahead of the Maybelline Great Lash I was using, check out the vintage brush on pinky!  Ugh.  Her only saving grace was her staying power, but these new generation mascaras can definitely hang without the specified ‘waterproof’ formulation.

Maybelline Great Lash REview Beauty Blog NZ

Mascara comaprison and Review Beauty Blogger NZ

So which would I purchase again?  The Mascara Showdown has been won by Eye of Horus Goddess Mascara.  I SO loved this product, the formulation is 10/10 with NO clumping plus that brush has curves in all the right places.  My lashes have never looked better, or longer.  If you were wondering, I am convinced that mascara is definitely one beauty product worth spending a wee bit more on, those brushes don’t lie ladies!