Aotearoa’s finest: 10 homegrown beauty brands to try

Shopping local is always a desirable proposition but an ever-increasing stable of reputable homegrown beauty brands makes it easier than ever.

What to try first? We look at some worthy additions to your bathroom shelf created in locations from Paihia in the north to Wanaka in the south.

The latest in a now-packed stable of natural skincare gems, Trilogy’s Triple Action Jelly Exfoliator is designed to gentle smoothing and brightening dull skin using a combination of pumice, bamboo and jojoba spheres in a local manuka honey and rosehip oil base. The company has built a respected reputation off the back of its initial rosehip seed oil products, formulated by sisters Sarah Gibbs and Catherine de Groot in 2002 in Wellington and has since grown from a boutique local operation to an internationally loved brand with fans in the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Victoria Beckham.

Three years of sampling went into the first product from new Auckland skincare brand The Edit. Designed to offer just what you need to care for your skin and no excess, The Luminous Drops Day Cream is an ideal daily moisturiser that has natural yet useful ingredients like Macadamia oil for omegas, Kakadu Plum to brighten and hydrating Hyaluronic Acid.

Dermatologist and founder of Skin Institute and MoleMap, Dr Mark Gray used his background to inform AO Skincare, a range of clean, active skincare products with high-performance ingredients as well as some key local ingredients. Reverse Longitude PM Serum-Shot uses Retinal and Bakuchiol to reduce the appearance of hyper-pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles.

Aleph Beauty Cheek & Lip Tint, $55 We love a multi-tasker! When it comes to makeup it doesn’t get easier than these gel colours applied with your fingers, and made to melt into skin for a hint of colour. Created by Auckland makeup artist Emma Peters, they are made in NZ using skin-loving ingredients like cocoa butter and jojoba seed oil.

A fragrance experience unlike any other, Curionoir Extrait De Parfum offers unique evocative concentrated perfumes created by founder Tiffany Witehera in Auckland and should you desire, encased in hand-blown heirloom glass vessels created by Monmouth Glass Studio. Our pick? Pūroto Rose, a smoky and woody rose fragrance perfect for wearing in winter.

Snowberry’s skincare uses local natural ingredients to formulate its skincare with many key ingredients grown at the dedicated 22-hectare Snowberry Gardens in Wellsford. What’s more it backs those products with scientifically-proven results thanks to gold-standard clinical trials. It’s certainly the case with its popular New Radiance Face Serum. Containing anti-aging peptide powerhouse CuPEP™ Copper Tripeptide complex and NZ Kanuka honey, the lightweight gel serum hydrates and softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and boosts skin’s radiance.

Manuka oil and Manuka honey are a few of the ingredients Living Nature has been formulating with since its inception in Kerikeri in 1987 through they’ve since extended to included some of New Zealand’s precious, skin-loving natives like Harukeke, Totarol and Kumerahou. Research, development and manufacture still happen at the brand’s Bay of Islands base, a familiar stop on the road to Kerikeri as you can still purchase the likes of the excellent Luminous Pressed Powders and face oils from the storefront there. Thankfully for the rest of us it’s also distributed to NZ retailers far and wide as well as exporting to 14 other countries.

The world’s first deer milk skincare brand, kōtia was created by a group of Otago high-country farmers. The creation followed the discovery of the deer milk’s skin soothing, smoothing and softening properties including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, plus folic acid and vitamins E and D3. Now featuring a luxurious suite of products including day and night creams, masks and a hand cream, kōtia’s highlight is its Exfoliating Cleansing Milk. It is designed to gently sweep away surface-layer dead skin cells for a brighter complexion, while also preventing pore blockages that can lead to blemishes.

Starting with fine-fragranced candles, Wanaka-based sisters Sarah and Rose Agnew have extended their business George & Edi to further home fragrance and body care in the 10 years since their launch. Each item created holds one of the brand’s signature scents, from complex and rich Licorice, to classic oak moss or tart and fruity Rhubarbe. Artisanal, small batch producers, their candles provide a local option for those that love a chic, scented abode, the artisanal collection of vessels created with Wellington Ceramicist Angela Francis perfect if you prefer a pop of interior colour.

Karen Murell’s lipstick line has become a hit since its inception on Auckland’s North Shore in 2008, offering natural lip colours created with ingredients like avocado oil, evening primrose oil, candelilla, carnauba wax, cinnamon and sweet orange in a range of on trend shades. Her latest release is an accompanying lip scrub stick made with coconut flower sugar to remove dry skin before applying colour.

Our Academy Awards red carpet round-up

This year’s Oscars red carpet was a return to something near standard form, with a dress code of ‘Inspirational and Aspirational’ and ‘Bring your movie love’ theme. Here are some of the STYLE team’s notes from the day:

Zendaya and her long-time stylist Law Roach always come up with something show-stopping for red carpet appearances and this year – in a sea of celebs playing it safe – she was again a stand out for me! According to Law’s instagram stories, the buttercup yellow cut out gown created by Valentino had elements that bore a playful nod to Cher and a similar yellow jumpsuit the singer wore on The Sonny and Cher Show in 1970. US$6m of Bulgari jewels and relaxed, flowing waist-length locks were the perfect accompaniment. – Megan Bedford, beauty editor


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Laura Dern is basically who I want to be when I grow up, and her gown this year just strengthened that aspiration. Directional, unique yet undeniably glamorous, her Oscar de la Renta number starts as a sleek, slinky, restrained, perfectly cut and utterly elegant black long-sleeve design with a dropped waist before exploding into a full skirt of lush white feathers. Her signature loose waves, the addition of shoulder-grazing earrings (from Italian fine jewellers Pomellato and featuring 606 diamonds of over 13 carats), burgundy nails and classic black, crystal-detailed Jimmy Choo stilettos all just pile on the extra style points in my opinion. – Josie Steenhart, contributing editor

There’s no sugar coating it; this was the most uninspiring Oscars red carpet I’ve ever seen. I thought Regina King looked striking in her Louis Vuitton gown, but only because I saw her during the ceremony – the dress came across much better in video than it does in photos because you could see it glitter under the lights. In photos it looks a bit Cirque Du Soleil. Ashley Wallace, staff writer


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Ashley’s right that there wasn’t a whole heap of daring sartorial choices made, and some of the most captivating takes this year actually came from the male contingent – LaKeith Stanfield’s Saint Laurent jumpsuit was a whole mood, Leslie Odom Jr was a solid gold hit in a molten Brioni ensemble and Colman Domingo was anything but understated in an eyeball-searing hot-pink Versace suit. Not to mention the adorably stylish 9-year-old Alan Kim, who broke hearts in a tiny shorts-based tuxedo by Thom Browne. – Josie Steenhart, contributing editor