Beauty test run: Clinique Fresh Pressed

Religiously using the same skincare breakthrough day after day and then waiting for several months to see the results has become the norm in the beauty world. So when I caught wind of Clinique’s new innovation Fresh Pressed being touted as “de-ageing for the impatient” it was mixed emotions: naturally a touch of skepticism and eagerness to get my hands on said product, stat.

Vitamin C – the key ingredient in Fresh Pressed – won’t be anything new to beauty enthusiasts; in fact, many of us have been using it in our skincare regimen for years. But those familiar with this powerful antioxidant will also be aware that vitamin C is notoriously difficult to stabilise. Expose it to sunlight and it photodegrades rapidly. “It’s highly unstable,” Tom Mammone, Clinique’s ‎vice president of skin physiology and pharmacology, told me when I visited New York last year to find out more about Fresh Pressed. And, according to Mammone, the vitamin C most of us are using in our routine tends to be a low-concentration derivative. “And that changes efficacy and performance dramatically.”

Why is Fresh Pressed different?

According to Clinique’s senior vice president of product development, Janet Pardo, the idea for Fresh Pressed was inspired by the farm-to-table movement. While other products start degrading the second they’re opened, Fresh Pressed isn’t activated until you decide to use it. The product itself is two-prong: there’s a granular cleanser that can be used once a day, and a Daily Booster serum that contains 10 per cent pure vitamin C. “The vitamin C is in a separate container, in the daily booster it’s in the lid and you press it and it activates it,” explains Mammone. “There are lots of other goodies in the serum – peptides, antioxidants. But we keep it separate and in a stable form, so once it’s activated it’s only fresh for a certain period of time.”

The results

Unsurprisingly I didn’t have to have my arm twisted to take part in Clinique’s Fresh Pressed Seven-Day Challenge – there’s a plethora of science behind the skin benefits of vitamin C, and unlike vitamin A it won’t irritate sensitive skin and is suitable for most skin types. “There are so many benefits. The first one you’re going to notice is clarification, tone and radiance in a really quick time frame,” explains Mammone. 

To start with the products are a joy to use. At first I was concerned that the powder cleanser formula might act as an exfoliant – not something you want to be doing every day – but as soon as it’s mixed with water it foams into a gentle lather. After using it my skin immediately felt softer and appeared smoother.

The most exciting part of Fresh Pressed however, comes in the form of the Daily Booster. Despite packaging technology advancing all the time, I’m always cautious about the stability of high-strength actives – it’s much easier to expose formulations to light and bacteria than you think, plus there’s shelf life to consider. The most ingenious feature of Fresh Pressed is that you get to decide when to activate the ingredients, and therefore you’re aware of how long they’re active for. And while the Daily Booster is supposed to last about seven days, I got ten days out of mine – there’s no wasted product which I love.

As far as results are concerned, they really are visible. Even though I use sunscreen religiously, coming out of summer I felt like I had my fair share of sun spots. My Fresh Pressed 7-day Challenge came at the right time; at the end of the test run my skin is clearer, I’m definitely using less foundation and the foundation I am using doesn’t have to work quite so hard. The quest for radiant, glowing skin seems to be one that most women are on, and while there are oodles of make-up products that promise a solution, you really can’t beat a natural glow that comes from within. When I come to the end of my Daily Booster my skin is noticeably more radiant – in fact, I received compliments and get asked what I’m using at the moment.

Clinique Fresh Pressed is available now. Clinique Fresh Pressed Renewing Powder Cleanser Pure Vitamin C ($70 for a 28-day supply); Clinique Fresh Pressed 7-Day System with Pure Vitamin C ($60 for one booster and seven cleanser sachets); Clinique Fresh Daily Booster with Pure Vitamin C 10% ($130 for four boosters).

Five Minutes with contemporary jeweller, Jess Winchcombe.

Coromandel native Jess Winchombe studied in Wellington prior to moving to Queenstown six years ago with her husband but jewellery has always been in her blood. “I’ve been creating jewellery for a very long time, ever since I was a kid” says Winchcombe. The contemporary jeweller grew up in a creative environment – her parents were potters and Winchcombe was able to dabble in different art forms as a youngster. Winchcombe admits that while she initially drawn to fashion at art school, it was metalwork that enticed her into jewellery. “Metal-smithing is a pretty amazing thing to do, and the community is incredible too. There’s a huge amazing contemporary jewellery movement happening, it’s quite new for an art form too, so it’s very exciting to be part of this.” We caught up with Winchcombe before she headed off to Milan, to show at the Artistar Jewels exhibition.

What’s the difference between jewellery that is art and the day-to-day jewellery most of us are familiar with?

It is a little bit confusing for people, but I think it’s become more accessible. Basically the difference is is that contemporary pieces have a concept behind them; they’re not as material driven like general jewellery. But then they’re very different to other art forms, painting for example, because they also have to function on the body. They’re small wearable pieces of art. And then the lines get a bit blurred because you can start with a concept and then end up with something quite beautiful which can be confusing but that’s also what we call gateway jewellery – it’s a nice bridge for the general public. The concept driven work can be hard to digest and even hard to wear. So many contemporary jewellers work with more obscure materials than your everyday jewellers do.

Do you draw inspiration from Queenstown?

Probably not so much the environment but being in the environment. I’ve just come back from Wellington. It’s a really quiet, beautiful place to live.There’s time and space to think. In Wellington there’s a show on every night; there’s so much on you don’t need to be making every night. But here there’s not a lot going on in the art scene so you’re really focused. When I come home I work really well. I enjoy it like that.

Can you tell us about the exhibition you’re showing at in Milan?

The exciting thing is that this is the first exhibition that I’ve done where I don’t know anyone in the show. Last year I had a group exhibition in Munich and in that show I met some Italians who asked if I’d be interested in doing a show. And then I got an invite about 5 months later asking me if I wanted to be a part of it. From a contemporary jewellery point of view it’s not very fashionable to link yourself with fashion, but I’ve always been on that boundary: I love fashion shoots, I love combining jewellery with the clothes you wear. Even though it’s a purist jewellery show, the editor in chief Vogue Accessory is on the panel for the judging which is really important for the industry because there are only about 5000 or people so involved.

Can you explain the concept behind some of the pieces you will be showing?

Because I’m showing in such a big audience in Milan I felt I need to have a big voice and need a big concept. The concept of death is something I’ve been exploring. It’s something people don’t like to talk about and I wanted to explore the idea that we pass through life and it’s not a negative thing when we die because we’re shedding our skin like a cicada, moving onto a new existence. Because so many people are obsessed with living longer, I wanted to explore the idea that maybe it’s not a bad thing to leave your old body and go on a new adventure. There’s a big ring: it’s supposed to be uncomfortable to wear because some people find it hard to talk about death, or if they have different religious views it can be quite challenging. The other pieces are lighter in to reflect new birth, they’re new and fresh. It’s very hard to attach concepts to jewellery because they have to be functional too.

Is there a particular type of person that buys your jewellery?

It tends to be people who’ve found their own style – they want something that stands out and is good quality. I do quite a few commissions, I recently did some quite simple wedding rings. The big bold pieces sell the best. They’re people who want to treat themselves to something funky, perhaps they want to stand out at an event. It gives them a license for a character change. People seem to feel a bit larger than life when they wear the pieces.


Jess Winchcombe’s jewellery is available in three galleries: Fingers in Auckland, The National in Christchurch and Quoil in Wellington.