Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Things You Should Know: Switching It Up - Summer Skincare

The sun’s rays combined with oiliness, blemishes, dehydration, sweat and grime all contribute to the way skin reacts to the change in climate. With summer finally here, it's time to think about overhauling your daily skincare ritual to suit the season.

Embrace all that is dewy, glowing and radiant and get your skin summer-ready with these perfecting products.


The Exfoliator
Remove any build up of surface debris with a gentle exfoliator. One that uses enzymes to break down dirt is more appropriate for the hotter months as it’s not so abrasive on the skin like granular exfoliators.

Try Molton Brown Gentle Refine Papain Exfoliator, $45, which is gentle on the skin yet enriched with enzymes that target blocked pores and any surface build up.

The Cleanser & Toner
Refresh and rehydrate your skin with a gentle cleanser and toner. Cleansing will give the skin a deep clean, while toning will help minimise the amount of dirt making its way into the pores. Stay away from harsh cleansers and toners that are high in alcohol as they will excessively strip the skin of its natural oils and moisture.

Try The Body Shop Aloe Calming Toner, $15.95, which is alcohol-free and contains aloe that soothes the skin.

For a gel cleanser that helps to encourage the skin’s natural moisture retention system, try Bakel Hydra-Gel Cleanser, $65.

The Moisturiser
Opt for a fluid illuminating moisturiser that will add a summer glow to your skin, leaving you looking fresh and radiant. Look for sheer products that are lighter in texture to avoid clogging up the pores.

Try La Mer Moisturising Gel Cream, $250, which has a feathery-light feel and luxuriously nourishing quality.

The Sunscreen
Moisturiser and sunscreen should be number one in your cosmetic arsenal all year round but during the summer - they are vital. Again, go for a sunscreen that feels fluid and light. Tinted sunscreens always make life easier, especially when you’re on the go.

This summer, I’m using Invisible Zinc UV Silk Shield Foundation for its great coverage, high SPF and buildable finish.

Try Invisible Zinc UV Silk Shield Foundation, $42.


The Highlighter
Intensify your dewy complexion with a highlighter or illuminator. While contouring can be tricky, master the art with a highlighter in hand and you’ll get greater definition and glow. Blend thin lines down the centre of your nose, on the cheekbone, below the brow and on the cupid’s bow above your lip for an instant pick-me-up.

Try Guerlain Precious Light Rejuvenating Illuminator, approx $57.

The Bronzer
Summer comes hand-in-hand with a bronzing palette. They have the perfect amount of warmth and shimmer to give a sun-kissed glow. Apply to the highest points of your cheeks, chin, nose and forehead. Be sure not to choose a shade that is too dark and, of course, be wary of going overboard.

Try Clinique Almost Bronzer SPF 15, $59.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Things You Should Know: Season for Styling - Products You Should Know About

Being the holiday season, you can expect parties and events where your tresses need to be in tip top shape. Whether you use heated styling tools or your fancy fingers, finesse your finish with these handy hair styling products. Some will add a slick sheen while others give greater texture and hold. Add these beauties to your arsenal for ease in perfecting your locks.


Hair is often easier to style the day after it has been washed and has a touch of grit in it as it allows for greater hold. These products are ideal for taking care of those slippery strands.

The Mattefier
A powder mattefier will work wonders on an untamed mane that requires natural movement. Great for the lads too, start by working it into your palms and then brushing it through with your fingertips to give a boost of volume and control. Try Schwarzkopf OSIS Dust It Mattifying Powder, $28.95.

The Dry Shampoo
A spray of dry shampoo at the roots will absorb oil when you don’t have time to wash your hair. Perfect for camping or storing in your vanity for the days you’re a little short of time. For those with darker hair, try Batiste Dry Coloured Shampoo, $12.95.

The Wax
Wax is ideal for the areas in need of extra control or hold but also adds texture to assist in styling those updos. Using a pump of wax, blend with the warmth of your fingertips and work sparingly into your strands. For workable texture, try L’Oreal Professionnel Play Ball Motion Gelee, $27.

The Texturiser Spray
For undone tousled beach hair, work this spray into your lengths from the mid to ends and scrunch or pop your hair into a bun for an hour or so and then let down. Try Awapuhi Wild Ginger Sea Spray by Paul Mitchell, $34.


Products with protective elements in them are vital in maintaining the structure and health of your hair in the heat.

The Serum
Serums work as intensive treatments in the form of a fluid to rehydrate and repair tresses that have undergone stress while smoothing stray strands. During summer, your hair may suffer double damage because of the harshness of the sun. Protect your hair this summer with Kerastase Soleil Serum Apres-Soleil, $41.

The Defence Spray
Help guard your tresses from the damage of heated styling tools using a thermal defense spray. They’re perfect for protection but also minimising heat-induced frizz. Give your hair a really thorough spritz before blow-drying and then again if using tongs or an iron.
Try Tresemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Protective Spray, $9.95.


For greater ease in styling, these handy tools are ideal for creating your look.

The Nozzle
Everyone has probably already got one, but why bother with the nozzle of your hairdryer? Nozzles allow the powered heat to focus on more concentrated areas which means quicker and more precise styling. Travelling these holidays? Try the very cute VS Sassoon MiniPro Dryer VS245A, $22.95.

The Paddle Brush
If you’ve got longer hair that’s a little prone to tangling, the paddle brush is a great option. It’s also a top tool for doing the straight blow-drys. Try Aveda Wooden Paddle Brush, $49.95.

The Barrel Brush
Use while blow-drying to achieve ultimate body and shape as well as a smoothed shine. The heat works with the rounded shape to create finesse as you turn the bristles. Try a classic style like Brushworx Ebony Ceramic Radial Porcupine Brush, $19.95.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Review: Sepia Restaurant and Wine Bar

With only a few days notice, the accommodating staff at Sepia managed to squeeze us in for our late booking. Located amongst the hustle and bustle of cars that is Sussex Street, the two hat Sepia Restaurant and Wine Bar offers a sanctuary that will port you to a different era. Reflecting its name, the dark sepia-toned d├ęcor recreates a sophisticated 1920s style bar with its vintage tiling and velvet lounges, sans the smoke. The great atmosphere of Sepia is further created through the dimmed lights and chattering of diners.

Tetsuya’s previous Executive Chef Martin Benn has seen the growth of his very own restaurant receive positive reviews since its inception. Their four course summer set menu, $90 pp, brings together their best dishes that combine eclectic textures and tastes with the freshest produce. From the amuse bouche right to our dessert, the experience showcases Benn’s Eurasian training and his clean style.

We start with the Scallop Sushi which mixes the perfect combination of flavours with the crusted scallop and velvety avocado cream. This was followed by the rich Queensland Spanner Crab and Buckwheat Risotto which was highly recommended by my partner’s head chef. The main course of Roast Scampi Tail and Poached Coral Trout was, in my opinion, lacking sensation and was undersized. In contrast, the pineapple jelly cleanser followed by their famed Chocolate Forrest Floor executed mastermind brilliance. This Sepia dessert follows in the gastronomic lines of Nomo’s Radish, Soil and Herbs and does not fail to satisfy. Each bite replicates the sound of a delicate foot fall in a leafy forest as the name suggests. The cherry sorbet cuts through the green tea moss, cherry brandy jelly, creams and chocolate crumbs, twigs and flakes while the frosted fennel adds the perfect garnish.

Chocolate Forrest Floor shot by Jennifer Soo

A minor downfall was the wait time between the four courses, it wouldn’t deter our return but sometimes five minutes can be five too long. On the plus however, the staff were quite attentive and knowledgeable. It’s a great fine dining experience and we would recommend Sepia.

Find them at 201 Sussex Street, Sydney. Phone them on 02 9283 1990 or visit