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Posted 16 November 2016 | 4:07 pm

In: Skincare, Beauty Boxes

The Ten Worst Christmas Gifts EVER! …Are You Guilty?

My friends and I  were talking the other day about how when we were growing up we are taught that no matter what you were given you always had to say 'thank you', smile and act grateful. And sometimes, let's be honest, we have to act awful hard to be grateful, because some gifts truly were bad. Worse than bad. Terrible. Horrific even. Almost unspeakably bad. Almost. Because we then got reminiscing and came up with our top ten worst gifts…the gifts we think should never ever be given at Christmas time. Ever. 

#1 Dust buster.

Hey, Merry Christmas, I’ve noticed your car’s a tip and you clearly don’t believe in vacuuming, you dirty pig. That’s what a person hears when they unwrap a dust buster, or any cleaning implement for that matter, at Christmas.

#2 Ugly Christmas sweater.

There was debate among the beauty crew on this one. I personally have a fascination with ugly Christmas sweaters, but I was the odd one out. Apparently these are not good Christmas gifts. Because you only get to wear them once again, and usually it’s hot on Christmas day so you only end up ponging if you be polite and wear it for the day, or half an hour. (Christmas t-shirts are ok though right? ****Managerial note: No, they’re not. Let it go already.)

#3 Tea towels.

They could have the most beautiful design and be made from the finest cotton, but they’re still tea towels. Unless you can make 100% sure that the person you’re thinking of buying them for is some sort of tea towel fanatic, then just don’t.

#4 Toaster.

For one, it’s an appliance. Appliances should be bought outside of gifting times. For two, it’s something other people might get joy out of. Christmas presents should be for the joy of the giftee only. There shouldn’t be a situation where they’ll have to share it out of obligation rather than choice. This also applies to jugs, saucepans and microwaves. Ironically this does not apply to KitchenAid mixers or fancy coffee not debate why this is, just understand that it is so! 

#5 Deodorant.  

(Note the rictus. No one smiles while applying deo.)

It could cost a bomb, but it usually doesn't and all it says is ‘I think you stink, and I'm not spending more than $5.00 on you!'

#6 Egg timer.

Seriously. Who likes eggs that much? Especially do not gift to a person who does not eat eggs, and why in fact would the thought even cross your mind?

#7 Art.

Taste is a funny old thing. What you think is sublime others will think sucks. Unless you know someone’s artistic tastes through and through, do not buy them art. They’ll just have to store it somewhere and then go through the stress of remembering to put it up when you turn up for a visit.

#8 Souvenirs.

Yes, your trip to Egypt was a once in a lifetime unforgettable experience and you had to bring home a mini-pyramid paperweight. Yes Vegas was a blast and you bought the snow globe to prove it. Great for you. Not so great for others. Keep your tourist souvenirs at your house and out of Christmas gift boxes.

#9 Edible/drinkable gifts you didn’t want.

Imagine opening a box of chocolates to find they’d gone white with age? Or being given a bottle of wine that was so old you may as well been sucking back malt vinegar. Those gifts you were given a couple of years ago but not gotten round to eating and drinking? Those pickled 'Wazoo's from your bad staff Christmas Gift from last year!  Either consume them yourself or chuck them out.

#10 The gift where you get given nothing.

(Goat says, 'you what now?')

This one may be controversial… you know how it’s really nice to give to charity? How it warms your heart and makes you feel like a super good example of a human being. Well, it’s not always a good idea to give that gift of giving to someone else to another human being. Some of us want to unwrap a gift to discover a voucher to our favourite beauty store, not a voucher telling us we’ve just given a goat to a village. If we want to give goats we'll give goats of our own volition. Don't force goat giving on us.

Basically when gifting First and only rule!  – know thy recipient. Do your research. Heck, even ask them. Because a gift loved is a gift appreciated, a gift unloved is a gift unforgotten… and payback can be a you know what…

One gift we’re sure any beauty lover will adore? A Best Beauty Box Ever! Give one of our amazing boxes and you'll know that when they smile and say thank you they'll mean it. And as you generally get 2.3 x the value inside vs what you would have paid for each of the products individually when they add up the cost of what you've spent on them...well you will rocket to the top of the Christmas giving list!

Check out these amazing beauty boxes below and you'll soon see what we mean! 

    1. You won't believe it's Hair Box - Know someone that loves their locks? Then they'll love this box. It contains 9 full size hair care products from top brands, with a combined retail value of $134.00 and will only cost you $58.95! And it can be customised depending on whether they're a Blonde, Brunette or Redhead!
    2.  It's All About You Box - We'll the name says it all really doesn't it.  This box is a pampering treat box designed to make her smile. This beauty box is crammed with gorgeous beauty products designed to treat and pamper your mum, sister, aunt, nana, teacher, friend who's just had a baby. In fact anyone that deserves a little time to themselves. At only $56.95 this box contains over $160.00 of amazing pampering beauty products.
    3. NZ Brands Beauty Box - NOT to be confused with tacky gift souvenirs the NZ Brands Beauty Box is highly coveted and desirable! Containing only gorgeous full size NZ made products this is the ultimate beauty gift. The NZ Brands Box contains over $202.00 worth of gorgeousness and yet will only cost you $84.95

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Posted 16 November 2016 | 12:26 pm

In: All

The 10 worst Company gifts EVER! What your staff really think!

Unhappy employee with his Christmas gift


How do you rate your company at Christmas?

No matter where we are in our careers, what roles we've held, we've all been employees at least once, probably more.  Which means we've probably received a bad Christmas staff gift, and also for some of us, been responsible for giving them.

So what makes a bad staff gift? Sadly it's not hard to get it wrong - and yet so easy to get it right! Here are out top 10 staff gift mistakes to avoid! And as Sir Richard Branson says 'If you look after your staff, they'll look after your customers!'

  1. Giving the same thing as last year.  I once worked for a company that gave everyone a massive Christmas cake every single year.  This thing was like a 4 kg cake.  I once surveyed my colleagues.  8 of the 19 employees didn't like fruit cake.  2 didn't like marzipan.  11 were single.  All up, 14 of us were left with the world's biggest fruit cake to palm off.  And yet, no one said anything to the powers that be, because, well, you don't want to be rude to the boss right? Or seem ungrateful, but still, for the amount of money they were spending, they may as well be giving something people like.
  2. Giving the same thing to everyone.  You might look at your employees as cogs in a machine, keeping everything ticking.  But they're more like car parts.  All completely different, working together to move your company forward.  We're not saying you need to act as a personal shopper for everyone, but engaging them in the gift by offering a selection of choices will have you talked about in 'glowing best boss' terms!
  3. Giving generic food items. Everyone loves food don't get us wrong, and it's the source of the earth, but before you lob out expensive legs of ham to everyone, pause for thought. Vegetarians? Vegans? And then of course there's the gourmet basket filled with curried sheep's brains, and pickled Wazoo's.  Believe us when we say THESE.WILL.NEVER.GET.EATEN and yet, have cost the earth. If you really want to be practical & helpful in the food area, consider the Supermarket voucher, it may seem a bit impersonal but really,  your employee will be jumping on the inside! 
  4. Giving company branded items.  Where do we even start? 1. Your employees know the company, the advertising is wasted on them.  2. Your employees are not there to provide free advertising by flashing your logo-d 'gift'. This just smacks of 'stingy'  - left, right and centre! Just don't!
  5. Making the card impersonal.  At the very least, cards should be hand written and addressed it to each individual personally.  'Merry Christmas, Sincerely Big Boss Man You've Never Met' is pretty much; 'Minion here is the gift I am expected to give you once a year'.  Even better, thank them for something they, and only they, have brought to the team this year.  Ok we get that if you head up a multi national company with 1000's of people then your appetite for writing them all will probably be ZERO,  but then give the cards to your heads of department leaders and get THEM to write them for their team! 
  6. Taking them out to lunch/dinner.  This one is fraught with danger for both parties and is best avoided. With the best of intentions, you'll end up being found guilty on a number of charges! 1. Venue too posh, staff feel uncomfortable. 2. Venue not posh enough (Scrooge!) 3. Venue too far away (can't drink or $100 to taxi home) 4. Too controlled.. i.e take us out don't let us drink uncontrollably from the top shelf 5. Christ I have to sit next to my boss! ....we could go on, but you get the picture by now..(it's real!) 
  7. Giving money.  The relationship between employer and employee is essentially work in exchange for money.  Money serves no other purpose than a payment for work.  Keep bonuses and gifts separate.  
  8. Ignoring casuals or part timers.  They're a valued part of the team when you need them, right?  Christmas gifts are a token of appreciation, appreciate everyone's contributions, it doesn't have to be much.
  9. Making a charitable donation.  Giving to charity is a great thing.  It really is.  Donating on behalf of someone else, for their Christmas present?  Yeah, it's not so great for the employee.  Plus, there's always the suspicion that nothing has been donated...
  10. Giving nothing at all.  What are we, a character in a Dicken's novel?  Come on Scrooge.  Write it into the years budget and suck it up McDuck, a little bit of thought goes a long way!

To make your staff feel appreciated you don't have to spend a lot, and often as long as some thought has actually BEEN put into it it is the 'thought that counts'.  So if you want to get it right for at least the ladies in your company this year check out these great ideas below! You're guaranteed to get a 'WOW' when it's opened and the title of the "best boss EVER'!

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Posted 15 November 2016 | 12:30 pm

In: Skincare, Beauty Boxes

The Most INSANELY Expensive Beauty Gifts Ever! A candle costs what!!!

What did you ask Santa for this year?  Hopefully things off of your want list, rather than your need list.  But still, you probably opted for the the more practical things off of your lust list right?  Hair care products, your favourite skin care. 

But for some, Christmas is the time to go all out - here we give the ultimate wish list.  The 'I don't need it, but now I want it' list.  

So grab a mug of mulled wine and lose yourself in Ultimate Christmas Beauty Envy List.

Luxury Perfume Minis.


These 5ml perfume samples from Bond No.9 Magic In a Jewel Box will set you back a cool $3700.  Well, you wouldn't want to buy the full-size unless you knew you liked them right?!

 Platinum for your face

For just over $2000 you can treat your skin to some platinum loving with La Prarie's Ultimate Platinum Indulgences. Hey, it's cheaper than a ring though so.....! 

 A grown up advent calendar


Like with the colouring books for adults, why should kids get all the fun?  For a cool $500 Estee Lauder's Holiday Countdown Advent Calendar can be yours, and you can have a new mini sample product every day!

A candle that smells like Christmas


With the Diptyque Scented Candle, you'll literally be burning away $450.  But you'll also be high from the smell of silly season, and left with a cool little jar, so totally worth it right? Might take your mind off your sister in law making puppy dog eyes at your mother's new boyfriend!

Enough products to be Naked forever

For a cool $420 you can nab the Urban Decay Naked Vault Vol III and  have everything you need to be completely naked.  And boy oh boy, does it take a lot to be naked these days!


So it's been fun looking at insanely expensive beauty products, but if you're feeling ready to come back to earth, why not check out these even more awesome present ideas.  More awesome why?  Well - you get much, much more than what you pay for to start! So wanna look good in the eyes of the person you love? Well..start here!

  1. NZ Brands 2 - 8 amazing full size NZ Made cruelty free beauty products in this beauty. Even better, it only costs $84.95 and yet contains over $202.00 of amazing products. 
  2. Best of Summer - Our newest box, but guaranteed not to be around for long. This box contains as the name suggests everything you need to start prepping for the hot summer months. Only $98.95  it contains over $230.00 worth of full size beauty products, including a $99.00 in home tooth whitening kit from NZ's leading tooth whitening brand.
  3. Skin to Skin - Our skin is our largest living organ and yet so often we forget what an amazing job it does and we neglect it. This box contains 8 products to ensure your skin gets the attention and TLC it deserves. Costing only $74.95 it contains over $173.00 worth of full size products to pamper yourself with!

 So what are you waiting for? Pick one of these boxes below to give to someone you love this Christmas! 

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Posted 25 September 2016 | 9:13 pm

In: Cosmetics

Kellie tries the Face Diving trend - does it work? You probably won't believe the results...

To say I’m enamoured with K-Beauty is an understatement. Not a day goes by that I’m not scouring the interwebs to see what the next big thing is, and if I can get my hands on it, or try it out. So it was with much delight that Vogue magazine ran an article about a K-Beauty trend that I could have a go at from the comfort of my own home without having to go to any great effort. Apparently this trend was actually started by a Japanese beauty blogger, although for the life of Google I can’t find anything saying who the creator of this new trend was. Anyway, it’s called Jamsu, and it’s also called ‘face diving’. Basically what you do is apply your base – primer, foundation, concealer – then smother your face in baby powder, before diving your face into a sinkful of cold water for up to thirty seconds. Once you’ve come up for air you’re meant to pat your skin dry, apply the rest of your makeup, and you’ll go about your day with perfectly matte skin that’ll stick to your face instead of sliding off it.

Riiiiiight. Suuuuuuure.

I don’t know about you but when I read this all I could imagine was me with a face full of paste after dunking my moosh in the water.

Well… there was only one way to find out if my suspicions were correct...

So here you have me with my base face on.

On my face there’s Benefit 'That Gal' Brightening Face Primer, Lioele Triple The Solution BB Cream (which for me is way more like a medium coverage foundation), and on top of that is Revlon’s Photoready Eye Primer + Brightener.

Next up I had to pat on the powder 'freely'. I was also to release 'clouds of it into the air'. So I patted it on, and I can certainly say there were clouds involved. This was the result.

Next, it was time to plunge my face into a bowl filled with cold water. I tell you what, if you're ever feeling sluggish. Shove your full face into freezing water and hold your breath for up to thirty seconds. It gets your heart racing. 

After holding my breath for as long as I could - probably for twenty seconds, which confirms my suspicion that a career in free diving is not for me, I released my face from the chilly depths of the water and... well... it was hot cakey mess. Not to be disheartened, and refusing to give up, I patted my face dry, and, well, it was a more even, but still a pasty-coloured cakey mess.

So I gave it a couple of minutes to settle, just in case that's what it needed - but. Yeah. Nah. The photo below makes the result look better than it was. My face felt super smooth, which was nice. And it was definitely matte. But it looked like I had a mask on, or like I had bought powder foundation two shades too light and was determined to use it anyway. 

Face Diving - Fab or Fail?

It gets a big FAIL from me.

So do tell... have you tried Face Diving? Did you do it differently? Did I make a booboo along the way? And would I try it again even if I had? Nah. Life's too short to add another twenty minutes to my already long beauty routine. 


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Posted 20 September 2016 | 9:19 pm

In: All

Stop Stressful Moments Ruining Your Day - 6 Essential Tips You DO Have Time For!

Modernity is a funny thing.  As technology evolves to make even the most simple of everyday tasks easier, we still find ourselves with too few hours in the day.

It doesn't matter if you're a working mama or a student juggling study and work, it's important to take time for yourself and de-stress.  But if you can't find the time for a cup of tea, how can you be expected to find your zen?

And here, grasshopper, is the answer.  Meditation.  On the go.

You don't need to sit cross legged and partake in 20 minutes of humming to meditate. You can meditate anywhere and everywhere, enhancing your calm and making your day much less stressful.

1.  Create a mantra.

We're plagued with negative emotions throughout the day and they can come from nowhere.  For example, you might be grocery shopping and catch an unflattering glimpse in the chiller doors.  All of a sudden in the middle of picking your pesto dip, you're feeling fat, ugly and unworthy of said pesto dip. 

A simple deep breath and a positive statement can nip this negativity in the bud. 

  1. Identify the negative emotion.  Are you feeling self conscious, overwrought, panicked, stressed.  Take a step back and look at what causes you to feel this way. 
  2. Choose a positive 'opposite' and create a mantra.  "I am gorgeous", "I am calm", "I have joy in my life".
  3. When the negative emotion creeps over you, stop, take a deep breath, hold it and exhale.  Say your mantra.  Take a deep breath.  Repeat your mantra.  Take a deep breath.  Get on with your day.

2.  Breathe.

Buddhists believe your life consists of a set number of breaths - so slow down, take deep breaths and just enjoy where you are right now.  You already breathe without thinking, so don't worry about doing it right.  Just breathe deeply and slowly. 

3.  Focus on your feet.

While you're walking to the office, to the bank or the school run, don't just focus on the destination.  Be conscious of each step as you take in your surroundings.  Instead of running through the to-do list, the daily worries ("did I leave my straighteners on?") enjoy the journey - you're not going to get there any more quickly stressing through it and you'll arrive mentally refreshed if you appreciate the small things.

4.  Stop.

Do you eat on the run?  Grab a quick coffee and forget about it until it's cold?  Give yourself permission to stop.  Enjoy your sandwich, focus on the taste, savour each mouthful.  Enjoy your coffee while it's warm, breathe in the aroma.  Taking 5 minutes, even when you don't feel like you have it, is a great way to destress, and return to duty with more vigour than before. 

5.  Use technology to help you. 

If you really can't function without technology, check out some 'mind training' apps to remind you to focus on what's really important.  Headspace is a popular app that teaches you to treat your head right.  Creator and mentor Andy Puddicombe has been described by the New York Times as the Jamie Oliver of meditation.  Or try calming GIFs, like this one.  Calming Squid.

6.  Smile.

Even if you don't feel like it, smile.  Close your eyes, think of something you love, take a deep breath and smile as you exhale.  Feel better?

Lastly, when all else fails, go with The Beatles.

Let it be. 

There are things you cannot change, so why stress about it?  Did someone jump in front of you at the checkouts?  Steal your parking space?  You can't change someone else's actions, but you can control your reaction to it.  Instead of letting anger seep in and affect your mood and snowball your day, just breathe, have faith in karma, and get on with your day.  Your inner peace will thank you for it.

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Posted 15 September 2016 | 5:57 pm

In: All

When it comes to water, I need to follow my child's lead.

This video popped up in my newsfeed last week and it got me to thinking back.

Back to a few years ago when I lead the 4 Week Water Challenge over at Beauty Review.  Along with loads of members from all over the country, I increased my water intake and monitored the changes in my skin, body and mood.  I was really surprised by the results - but of course, life, babies and work has gotten in the way and I've let my water intake slide in favour of Coke Zero and tea.  

As so many parents before me, I'm a little (ok a lot) hypocritical.  At 3.5 years old, Milky Chops drinks nothing but water, and I'm stoked about that.  Me?  I seem to drink everything but.  For those who don't speak in fluid-ounces, this video is based on drinking 3 litres a day.  Right now I drink half that.  Which considering I'm breastfeeding is terrible!  So starting next Monday, I'm going to increase my water.  

It's time to kick start healthy living, starting with something easier than cutting stuff out.  I'm going to add water in.  

Are you in?  Take a selfie before and after the 4 weeks and email me them at so I can include you in the final results!


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Posted 12 September 2016 | 8:55 am

In: Skincare, Cosmetics, Hair Care

7 Things Most Women Don't Do As Often As They Should - When Did You Last?

 Life is busy right?  So it stands to reason there are lots of things we need or want to do that we just don't get round to doing.  We got chatting about these types of things the other day at BRHQ when one of the crew mentioned she'd had her 'lady-W.O.F' and had been told off by her doctor for putting it off for so long. 

"It's just one of those things isn't it?" said Beauty Crew member exclaimed.  "You know, you keep meaning to do it but never get round to it. Like buying knickers."  And thus out of this statement, a pondering blog post was born.

So, come on, when did you last... knickers

I'm going to make a bit of a sweeping generalisation.  If you live with a partner, husband, wife, lover, whatever, you've probably gone a bit longer than the average single girl when it comes to buying knickers.  

Speaking as a married woman, I can honestly say the last time I bought knickers was when I when I was pregnant and my underwear was riding down and doing my head in.  So I bought some $50 a pair over the bump knickers.  The biggest knickers I've ever seen.   

Prior to my humongous pregnancy pants, the last time I bought knickers, two years ago.

...have a smear test

If you're between 20 and 70 you should be having a cervical screen every three years.  Look, it's not very pleasant - it's very much a 'lay back and think of England' situation.  That being said, it's 5 minutes of flashing your lady area to a trained medical professional every 3 years and it could save your life. So book in.

I had my last smear test a few weeks ago.  While wearing Billy in a woven wrap.  Because sometimes you just got to get the job done.

...have a bra fitting

While we're on the subject of flashing, when did you last get fitted for a bra?  Over 90% of women when fitted find out they've been wearing the wrong size.

You should be getting measured during and after weight loss, throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period and at least once a year regardless.  Hey if you're in-store anyway, why not just get fitted and buy the right bra?

I'm 8 months post partum and still breastfeeding, but I'll get measured next time I'm shopping.  Promise.

...clean your makeup brushes

Ok not to mention the product build up on them, what about the bacteria and icky little bugs that are growing and contaminating your products and then being spread all over your face?

I was my brushes after each use.  But you should at least aim for once a week.

...have a spring-clean

We're talking spring cleaning your makeup, bathroom cabinet or wardrobe.  All three contain items that go out of date, probably sooner than you realise!

I actually went through every cupboard in every room about a month ago.  I'm not weird or anything, I just couldn't sleep!

...change your hairstyle

Anna Wintour may know about clothes, but that lady needs to know how to shake things up a little wither her hair!  I'm pretty good at this one, I know a few hairdressers and changing up my hair has never been something that bothered me.  I just go for it, and wear a hat if it's a fail.

Have you been rocking the same hairstyle for years?  Change it up!  Even something subtle like layering or a fringe can give you a bounce in your step and a new lease of life.

...treat yourself

I am bad at this, I have no issue treating the boys, or The Mummy, or The Husband on a whim, yet every purchase for myself needs justifying.  Items are added to carts and there they sit until they expire.  

Why do I find it easy to justify other people's happiness but my own I struggle with?  I dunno.  But I do know I'm about to hit checkout on the You Won't Believe It's HAIR box.  







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Posted 30 August 2016 | 8:54 pm

In: Skincare

Gross Satisfaction - the ickiest beauty chores we secretly love!

Staying beautiful isn't always pretty - the human body has some areas of maintenance that are, well, a bit icky.  Ear wax.  Belly Button fluff.  Toe nail grime.

But you have to admit, sometimes there's a bit of satisfaction to be had from the more icky beauty chores.  I quizzed my friends and family and here's what the grossest of the bunch confessed to enjoying. 

A spot popping and hitting the mirror.

Digging out an ingrown hair that turns out to be realllllly long.

Filing your feet when they're dry and witnessing a cloud of foot dust.

Peeling off a nose strip and being greeted by a forest of long black heads.

 So 'fess up then - what beauty habits give you a gross satisfaction?


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Posted 24 August 2016 | 8:06 pm

In: Hair Care

This one obvious hair fact will change the way you view common hair care tips!

With the release of our You Won't Believe It's HAIR box the crew got to talking about hair myths.  Here's a few you've probably heard, and maybe even believe:

  • Your hair gets used to your shampoo so you need to change it up.
  • Regular trims help your hair grow;
  • A cold rinse make your hair shiny.

Even your hairdresser has probably told you them - but there is one glaring hair FACT that makes these tips ridiculous.

Are you ready?

Your hair is effectively dead from the root down.

Let's look at those common facts again with this fact in mind.

1. Your hair gets used to your shampoo

Your hair is effectively dead from the root down - it doesn't feel and it certainly doesn't know if you're using the same brand day after day, month after month.  If you've found a product that works for you, don't feel the need to change it up every month.  The products will perform in the same manner every time you use it.

If your hair is oil-prone or you feel a build up of product just  use a clarifying shampoo every so often to remove residue and product build up.

2.  Regular trims help your hair grow. 

Your hair is effectively dead from the root down.  Why would removing some of the dead part of something encourage the live root to grow?  Madness. Regular trims will remove split ends making your hair look healthy and lay flat, but it won't have any impact on the rate of growth.

To encourage hair growth looks for treatments and masks that focus on delivering key nutrients to the scalp, or try a Hair, Skin and Nails supplement

3.  A cold rinse will make your hair sleeker and shinier*

We don't mean to sound repetitive, or morbid but...your hair is effectively dead from the root down It cannot feel hot from cold.  And therefore it can't react differently to them. 

It's hair swell, which is caused by water in the shaft and/or pH levels that contribute (minimally) to shine/lack of shine.  The more processed your hair is, the more porous it is.  The more water/product it absorbs the more it swells and the more your pH levels change, meaning the less shiny your hair will be.  Temperature has no effect on this.

Look for shine inducing products and oils instead.


There you go, three common hair myths busted with just one simple fact!


*This one is likely to prove contentious, but here's some further reading with interviews from experts, scientists and trichologists.  

- Does Cold Water Make My Hair Shiny?

MythBusters: Rinsing Your Hair In Cold Water

Sorry — A Cold Water Rinse Will NOT Make Your Hair Shinier

Cold Rinse, Shiny Hair: Does It Really Work?

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Posted 22 August 2016 | 10:45 pm

In: Nails

Pinterest Fail - Marbled Mugs Using Nail Polish

I'm a little bit obsessed with upcycling, re-purposing and re-imagining my beauty stash.  So when our intern Nina showed us a video of creating beautiful marbled mugs using nail polish I was keen as a bean to give it a go.

I scoured Pinterest and yeah, it looked pretty easy.  Take a bowl of warm water, pour in nail polish, stir, dip mug in, voila.  Look at this example from Pinterest:

And this one, from a KIDS page, it must be easy right?

Yeah.  Easy.  


I mean LOOK AT IT.  It's less marbling, more rainbow bird poop.

I called in The Husband for the next few attempts, because he's arty and I clearly struggle with kiddie crafts.

Apparently the technique is - hope the nail polish pours in to an ok pattern, swirl it with a toothpick like you know what you're doing and dip the mug with conviction and swagger.  While working quickly.  

The attempts did get better, but yeah, I don't think these will be sellers at the local boutique!

Have you tried nail polish marbling?  Was your attempt better than this? 

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Posted 18 August 2016 | 11:14 pm

In: Skincare, Beauty Boxes

The two products you need to get rid of Cradle Cap!

In 3.5 years of motherhood I have become quite the expert in cradle cap.  My kids have really oily heads.  Even as a 3 year old, Milky gets the occasional patch.

And, as much as I love my babies, I'm not ashamed to say, I detest cradle cap.  It's not the aesthetics, it's just the same as when I'm faced with squeezing a spot.  It quite repulses me.  And the thought of picking, flaking or scraping off my baby's head crust gives me a serious case of the heebies. 

Probably not surprising then that I set about finding the easiest way to get rid of those orange-y crusts and I'm going to show you, using my 7 month old Billy-Bob as model/guinea pig.


A lesson in cradle cap...

Cradle cap is simply an excess of sebum (oil) that forms sticky crusts.  In really severe cases it can be very dry and flakey on the top layers, but it'll still be that sticky crust below. It's harmless, and if it doesn't bother you or bebe then you can just leave it be.  

When babies come out of the womb their skin is all a tither.  They've spent 9 months floating around in fluid, and suddenly they find themselves in air.  Their skin literally dries out.  Add to that the crazy influx of hormones they receive from us during the last leg of pregnancy and the birth, and well, essentially, they're like little greasy teenagers. 

Don't go old school...

No matter what anyone says - do not sit there and flake or pick the cradle cap off.  Your baby's scalp is super sensitive, and you can risk infection.  I've been told awful stories of mums slathering their kids heads in olive oil and scraping the cradle cap off with a credit card.  (A thought that makes me quite literally heave.)

Olive oil seems to be the go-to oil for loosening flakes, but it's really quite a heavy oil, and if you don't manage to wash it all out, it blocks the pores and causes the flakes to stick even more.  

The secret to getting rid...

I've been through many an oil, and the one that consistently removes 99% of cradle cap in one go is...

Rosehip Oil.  YES!  I use Skinfood's Renew Organic Rosehip Oil*.  It's a gorgeous product, the rosehip oil is blended with Sweet Orange Oil.  

I have this kit that I picked up in the half price nursery sale at Farmers for about $7.50.  I use the textured mitt to massage the rosehip oil into Billy-Bob's scalp and leave it for 20 minutes.  When he's in the bath I use the weird orange silicone brush to gently loosen the flakes, before combing the flakes out with the bit that looks like a nit comb.

You don't need the mitt and brush combo though, you can just use a really soft brush, like a soft (new) toothbrush.  And maybe a nit comb to get the flakes out of the hair. (Only comb the hair though - not the scalp!)

As you can see - in under 25 minutes, with no effort, picking or credit cards - cradle cap be gone!  

I've tried many oils over the years, and nothing lifts cradle cap with as much ease as rosehip oil, and the Skinfood blend is the best I've tried yet!


*This is not a sponsored post.  We can only talk about products we have spent our own money on!

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Posted 17 August 2016 | 12:34 am

In: Cosmetics, Beauty Boxes

How I can be a stay at home mum and work full time - and why it's good for business!


Some days you are great at your job.  Other days you are great at being a mum.   Those days seldom occur at the same time. 

With Hilary Clinton becoming the first woman presidential candidate women’s issues in the workplace are once again on the front page.  From lower wages to less promotions, things are far from equal for us.  I’m not going to get into a massive feminist rant, there are many other resources with far more facts and stats than I can share.  What I do know is this.

Many women are still lagging behind men in business because they take time off to have babies.  [Insert your ‘well they can choose not to have babies’ argument here].  Women need to shut up and put up with their lot in life right?  If you want to be successful and at least equal to men you need to not have kids.  Or have kids but pass the role of primary caregiver to someone else. 

Newsflash.  Women can’t give up having kids the human race would end.  [Insert your overpopulation moan here].  And a simple fact of life is, for the ‘fourth trimester’ (and at least the first year, according to most) a baby is supposed to be with their mother.  The mother shouldn’t be faced with the worry that nurturing her child will negatively impact her career. 

We’re told it from childhood.  We can’t have it all.  But we can negotiate a path that allows us to at least try.  So why aren’t more people doing this?  Why aren’t mothers requesting flexibility of their employer and why aren’t bosses offering it to their employees?

Three years ago I was employed by a small start-up company, Beauty Review.  There were a few thousand members and a few thousand reviews.  We’re now the largest website in our field and have opened a phenomenally successful sister company (this one, Best Beauty Box Ever!) The core team are also all mothers and all enjoy the benefit of working for a progressive company. 

I work 40+ hours a week.  I’m also a stay at home mum to my 7 month old, with a 3-year-old part time at preschool.  If my kids are sick, I am there.  If preschool needs a parent helper, I’m there.  If I want to go and get my hair done during the day, I do it.  If I need to breastfeed my baby or pump milk for a donor baby while in a Skype meeting I do.  Hell if I'm working from home, chances are I'm in my lazy pants, hair up in a messy bun, face free from makeup.  If I'm in the office, I'm rocking the mean woven wrap multi tasking with ease mothering and working.  And the business is not negatively impacted.  You don’t experience our kind of growth if the staff aren’t doing their jobs right.

Our kind of working environment relies on reliability, trust and balance.  It’s that simple.  I must hold myself accountable for my role within the company.  I don’t take the piss.  I know what my job requires of me and I make sure I do it.  Some days I only check in during ‘office hours’, responding to members and clients, but doing the majority of my work when the kiddies are in bed.  If we’re in the middle of heavy customer service periods, I wrap my baby on and I get on with my job.  Guess what?  I can still type, talk and think with my baby around.  

My boss trusts me to do my job.  She continues to assign me tasks and she’ll pull me up if I’m falling behind.  And she’ll ask me if I need help.  Do I need someone else to take some of my load.  She knows I’m dedicated to the company and its success just as much as she is.  Our core team trust and support each other.  We’re all working mothers and we get it - we don't judge and we don't take advantage.  Which brings us to the balance.

Well getting up at 6am and going to bed at 1.00am will catch up with anyone in the end.  Working online means it's too easy to never switch off, checking your emails during dinner and saying 'in a minute' one too many times to your kids.  I practise self-care and I balance my life proactively.  And I don't feel guilty for the moments I am neither housewife, mother or employee.

Now of course not every industry or job role could engage employees in this way.  But I do think all employers can take note from mine.  Being a mother doesn't make my skills any less valuable.  It doesn't mean there is a better person for the job.  It does mean a 9-5 schedule wont always fit.  It does mean you might receive emails sent at midnight.  It does mean an errant toddler might say Hi to you over Skype.  But as long as the company suffers no loss in productivity or results, then heck, support and accommodate your employees and their lives, trust them to get the job done and they'll help you accomplish your vision.

Some days I’m great at my job.  Other days I’m great at being a mum.   Those days seldom occur at the same time.  But thanks to working for a progressive company I can at least be pretty darn good at both, most of the time.

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Posted 15 August 2016 | 9:50 am

In: Skincare, Cosmetics, Hair Care, Personal Care, Beauty Boxes

Use up your leftover products with these amazing tips and tricks!

Do you know what we love? Quick and easy tips that we can actually use in real life.

Check these fabulous ideas for using up that little bit of product left in the bottle...

  • Fill your 'empty' conditioner bottle with clean, warm water and shake.  Pour it into a spray bottle and voila, homemade detangling spray!
  • Don't throw away 'almost' empty shampoos, conditioners, body washes.  Decant in to travel containers for trips away from home.
  • If you've got a shampoo that doesn't work for your hair, use it to wash your delicates, woolens and handwash items.
  • If you've got a conditioner that doesn't work for your hair, use it in place of shaving cream, for a smooth shave and even smoother legs.
  • Mix the last little bit of your lipstick with a little 8 Hour Cream or a clear lip balm for the perfect lip tint.
  • Use the last of your favourite fragrance to make a solid perfume.  Melt some coconut oil and add the fragrance. Stir and pour in to an old lip balm pot.  Pop in the fridge to solidify. 


Check out these amazing beauty boxes available from the Best Beauty Box Ever!

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    Posted 9 August 2016 | 10:29 pm

    In: Beauty Boxes

    Which Bra Style is Best for Your Boobs?

    Overwhelmed by the choice of bras?  Here's our bra style guide!
    • Balconette - a staple for most women that covers the lower part of the breasts.  Most women will fit this shape.

    • Plunge - V shaped bras, the wires are shorter in the centre of the chest.  These are good for cleavage and suitable for most,depending on the depth of V.  Women who are flatter on the top of their breast will find that some plunges will fill it much better then a Balconette.  If you are fuller on top you might need to go up a cup size to make sure when you bend over you breast does not pop out.

    • Full cup - this is a higher cup from a Balconette and covers more of the breast and chest, it comes up much higher. Full Cups are great for fuller busted women. If you're breasts are flatter at the top, with a fullness at the bottom of the bust you may find you won't fill it out. If you are flatter up top a full cup bra with stretchy cup material that moulds to you will be better.

    • Half cup - this is a 'straight across the bust' style (the cup is shallower than a Balconette). Great for an uplifting shape and it gives a good shape without going for a plunge if you want something sexier. Good for most breasts.

    • Padded - padded bras exist to make your boobs look bigger.


    • Molded - gives a rounded shape and stops your nipples showing.  These are great for when you want a smooth finish.  They will not make you look bigger!

    • Non molded - Do not be fooled in to thinking non-molded bras will make you look pointy.  The cut of the bra will distinguish the shape of your breasts in the bra.

    • Strapless -  Any one can wear a strapless bra, but here's the thing - the back must be firm.  All bra support comes from the back - the support does not come from the straps. If you don't feel like you are getting the support - don't just tighten the straps (you'll just get sore shoulders and it'll start to pull the back of the bra up) the answer will always be that the back is too big or has worn out!  If you do not have a firm back strap your breasts have nothing to be supported from!

    General rules:

    • Balconette styles will be your normal go-to size
    • Plunge - generally need to go up a size in the cup (if you are usually a G you may need a GG)
    • Half cup - again, generally need to go up a size in the cup.
    • Full cup - may need to go down a size (Usually a G? Try a FF)

    Something a bit easier to decipher are our beauty boxes.  Check out this beauty!!


    Buy April Release - Incredible Eyes Beauty Box

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    Posted 4 August 2016 | 9:36 pm

    In: All

    Why Facebook almost kept me from the career of my dreams!

    I began working for Beauty Review nearly three years ago.  I can't imagine doing another job - this First Lady is going to be around for more than two terms.  But it almost wasn't to be.  Thanks to Facebook.  (I'm gonna hold this grudge for a longgggggg time)

    Do you remember when you didn't get a notification if a message went to your Facebook 'Others' folder?  If you didn't remember to check it you wouldn't know if there was a message sitting in there or not.  Well 3 years ago my baby knocked my laptop touch-pad and opened my Others folder.  And thank goodness he did.  

    Wait, lets rewind a bit more.  I discovered BR and joined as a member when I was a stay-at-home mum to the then nine month old Milky Chops.  It was (and still is) the perfect site to get you through late night feedings.  It's a great place to meet other Kiwi women in a similar situation.  It's a fabulous resource to make you feel less like a dead mummy and more like a yummy mummy.  

    I got stuck in online like I never had before. I joined in discussions, I commented on articles and I reviewed products.  I even found myself making suggestions of ideas for the site I had during those 3am feeds.  I felt pretty darn special when Merilyn the founder of BR made an off hand comment about how I needed to keep on feeding Milky Chops because my ideas were great.

    Have you guessed who the message in my Others folder was from yet?  Yes, it was a royal telegram from the Queen of BR.  I can remember it as clear as day. 

    'Hey I hope you don't mind me messaging you, it's just you seem really on to it and I wondered if you'd like to do some work for me'.

    I sat there having a bit 'whoa' for a minute and then I saw the date.  The message was FIVE days old.  Now in the days of snail mail, 5 days without a response was nothing to be offended by.  In modern times 5 days is a major snub.  Damn you Facebook.  Damn you.  Seriously, the developer back then didn't think...hmm they may like to know if someone's messaged them?  Really?!

    I hurriedly replied, my fingers frantically flying across the keyboard, yes.  Yes.  YES.

    One Skype call later and we'd both decided somethings are just meant to be.  You see what Queenie didn't know was that I had a lot of experience working online - I'd set up a clothing wholesaler's online store the year before I had my son.  I'm a confident writer.  I have a tenacious work ethic.  And what I didn't know was that Queenie was going to become my ultimate boss-crush.  She has a wealth of corporate experience, she's ballsy, she's confident, she's open to ideas and never closes the door on one without considering it from all angles.  I learn something from her every week and genuinely have yet to have a 'God my boss is annoying' moment.

    So the moral of this diatribe (against Facebook, just to clarify)  If you like something online, if you connect with something, don't be afraid to join in.  Don't hang back and lurk - comment, share and learn from online communities you relate to.  Enjoy being a part of something that is constantly growing and evolving from the involvement of other humans.  You might not get a job out of it, but you'll be fulfilled in other ways.

    And always, always check your messages.  

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    Posted 1 August 2016 | 9:04 pm

    In: Beauty Boxes

    Believe it or Not - Facts About Your Boobs.

    • Going braless is good for you, moving around without a bra supports and encourages lymphatic flow and proper drainage of the breasts.
    • The largest natural breasts according to the Guinness Book of Records is 70 inches around the fullest part, along the nipple line. That's 5.83 feet, or 6.5 inches taller than BR Natalie!
    • 1 breast is usually around 1/5 of a cup size larger than the other.
    • 6% of ladies have 'accessory breast tissue or nipples'. 
    • Mark Wahlberg and Lily Allen are a couple of celebrities who've opened up about their tripples. (Third nipples)
    • After looking at breasts, men perform poorly on cognitive tests.
    • Breasts are naturally warm, cosy places - they regulate a newborn's body temperature, which is why mama and baby being naked (skin to skin) is the fastest and easiest way to warm and soothe a baby.
    • In Mongolia, when a baby cries all of the females of the tribe lift their shirts and shake their boobies - which calms the baby and makes them happy.  It'd probably work on the men folk too!

     And speaking of believe it or not, can you believe what's in the Incredible Eyes box?!


    Buy April Release - Incredible Eyes Beauty Box

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    Posted 28 July 2016 | 9:47 pm

    In: Hair Care

    My husband gave me an undercut - an overwhelming case for divorce?

    Today marks six years since I met The Husband.  If you're reading dear, Happy Anniversary.  Yes I know it's not a 'real' anniversary but bring home chocolate anyway!

    In six years we've got to know each other pretty well, we trust each other, we're comfortable with each other (not that comfortable, the toilet door remains firmly closed) and we like each other almost at least half of the time.

    So I let him give me an undercut.  With a design in it.  Yeah...we might make seven years, but we will be talking? 

    I recently chopped my hair from my at-home, slightly wonky lob, to an on-purpose asymmetric bob.  I was umming and ahhing about that Halle Berry photo and eventually told my hairdresser;

    "Just do it.  If I cry it's just my natural reaction to being left with an inch of hair, it doesn't mean I hate it"

    For the record, I did cry in the shower that night, but only because half of my hair was missing.  During my shower of irrational girl-monal tears, I decided I wanted a rose design etched in to my undercut.  You know, a realistic shaded rose.  Because why go easy on the man you love?   Something like this:

    So massive undercut undertaken, design chosen - it was time to put my trust in The Husband's clipper-wielding hands. I should point out three things:

    1. The Husband shaves his head weekly, so he's good with clippers.
    2. The Husband is a fantastic artist, so coupled with point 1, this wasn't a huge-huge leap of faith.
    3. If it goes tits-up my remaining hair is long enough to cover it.

    This is what happened:

    So not a complete failure, not a hair-up result.  Looking back I may have aimed high.  I probably should have gone for a simple line design rather than asking The Husband to attempt shading a life-like rose.  Well, much like marriage we live it and we learn it.  

    Two weeks hath passed since that fateful night, filled with promise, met with both a smidgen of disappointment and the sparkle of potential.  My nape has grown back and is ready to go again, but can I be bothered?

    Nothing to do with The Husband, I reckon he'd have this down on the second sweep.  My issue isn't even the neck crippling position I was in for an hour.  It's more to do with the undercut itself.  I had visions of Ruby Rose.  But when I feel the bristles I think I got the Big Boo 'do instead.

    If you have to ask yourself 'is this me?' chances are, it isn't.

    What do you reckon?  Shall I rope The Husband in for another attempt?  Or do we leave this in the never-again pile, along with dreadlocks?

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    Posted 27 July 2016 | 9:25 pm

    In: Cosmetics

    My Squad tried One-Swipe Eyeliner...2/3rd failed miserably, the other...

    I love being tagged in amazing beauty things on Facebook and Instagram, there's just so much on the internet it's easy to miss the next great article idea.  Lutece tagged me in this video last week and I was in awe.

    "Next blog challenge?"  I replied, tagging in my colleague (and one of my most favourite people) Kellie.  We concurred that the key was confidence.  You just had to take that eyeliner pen and whip it.  One confident swipe and the perfect flick would surely follow.

    Here's what Kellie has to say about it:

    "Give that eyeliner challenge a go." They said.
    "But I have hooded eyes." I said.
    "And I suck at doing eyeliner." I said.
    "But she makes it look so easy." They said.
    Was it easy? On the first eye it looked ok, except you couldn't see my handy work because of those hooded eyes of mine. The second eye? Debacle.
    I'm leaving liquid eyeliner to the pros.

    Cheers Pixie-pie! Haha.

    Ok, my turn.  Confession.  I am pants at applying eyeliner.  Pants.  I have never mastered the cat's eye or the perfect wing.  The best I can do is a lil flick.  But I decided after watching the video that I'd clearly been over complicating matters.

    The first line wasn't too bad.  Filling it in was a disaster.  The second eye started bad, and got worse.  By the end I was one beehive short of looking like Amy Winehouse.

    Which means we had but one lady left in whom to place our faith.  Now if you're not familiar with makeupforpandas, we should point out Lutece is an eyeliner goddess.  But could she wing it like the video?

    Not too shabby at all!  Now Lutece calls this 'eyeliner fail 101, but her standards are clearly really high!

    I think we can conclusively say that the art of eyeliner isn't just confidence after all.  I don't know what it is, confidence, a steady hand, 20-20 vision, daily practice.  A dollop of luck too probably.  What I do know is...

    ...these Eye Makeup Remover Pads are the bomb - and I scored these for $3.50 in Countdown's reduced bin!

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    Posted 26 July 2016 | 2:03 pm

    In: Cosmetics

    Pretty wasteful - why do I buy things too pretty to use?!

    This might just be the prettiest makeup brush I've ever owned. It's the Za Kabuki brush.

    It's as soft as it looks, yet has enough resistance to apply and buff powder well.  You can even contour with it.  Ok I'm taking all this as gospel based on the 20+ reviews over at Beauty Review.  Because I just cannot bring myself to use it.  It's too cute.

    And the worst part of buying this brush, other than knowing I would never use it?  I bought it in a set with a bronzer I didn't need, just because I wanted the cute brush.  

    So there the brush sits, like a flower in bloom on my art deco mirrored table.  Which no one sees.  Because MTV Cribs have never asked me to appear.

    So, does anyone else do this?  Buy pretty things, knowing you'll never use them? 

    Oh and if you want to own the world's most beautiful brush, it's available here.

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    Posted 20 July 2016 | 11:44 pm

    In: Skincare, Cosmetics, Nails, Hair Care

    Amazing (and simple) ideas to reuse, repurpose or upcycle your beauty stash!


    Reusing the It's All About You box to hide a bad hair day

    I remember Nanna Babs telling me about the war and post-war years, when the economy was stunted and people simply had to make do.  From unraveling too-small sweaters and using the yarn to knit hats or gloves, to reusing the bath water to water the veggie patch, war time households learned the hidden value of many a used-up thing.

    Then came years of excess, of wants that became needs.  Houses became full, then over full, and before we knew it, we were running out of room in our landfills.

    And as with many things in life, we seem to have come full circle, with more and more people trying to reuse, repurpose or upcycle

    Here's some ideas for your beauty stash.

    1. Create household storage from lotion bottles.

    Make It & Love It blogger Ashley Johnston shared her upcycled lotion bottles on her blog.  This hanging laundry room storage system is simple, eco friendly and pretty darn cute.

    2.  De-clutter with body butter.

    Wash empty body butter tubs, lip balm tins and use them to store hair pins, pills, cotton buds and whatever other fiddly things you have lying around.

    3.  Refill empty containers with homemade makeup.


    Like this DIY rainbow highlighter!

    4.  Make statement jewellery.

    2nd Funniest Thing blogger Marta used a plastic bottle to create this chevron necklace.

    5. Reuse net body scrubbers as household cleaning tools. 

    They're great for stubborn surface stains and for hard to reach spots.

    6. Use glass foundation jars as single stem vases.

    7.  Overrun with fancy soaps? 

     Use them to freshen drawers and wardrobes until you're ready to use them.

    8.  Check out if your favourite brand has a recycling program. 

    Some brands like Lush offer customers a free product in return for xxx amount of empty containers.  More on that here.

    9.  Turn a lotion bottle in to a cellphone charging caddy.

    Make It & Love It blogger Ashley Johnston has done it again.  No more tripping up over wires while your phone is on charge!

    10.  Collect the mirrors from your used compacts to create your own bit of wall art.

    11.  Too many nail polishes to use?

    Use them to paint bobby pins in the season's must have colours.  Cheap and cheerful!

    Are you into upcycling, re-using or repurposing?  Share your ideas and tips with us below!

    Grab yourself an It's All About You box crammed with over $160 of products, in the perfect box to hide a bad hair day!

    Buy "It's all about YOU" box

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