The daily moisturiser that makes using vitamin C effortless

Have you tried Vitamin C on your skin yet? One of the superstars of skincare’s ingredient-focused products of recent years, its talents are now extremely popular for protecting the health of skin, tackling signs of ageing and achieving more radiant and even skin tone.

One of the serums that continually gets credit for being an effective, easy-to-use version is Dermalogica’s BioLumin-C Serum. First released in 2018, it has regularly appeared in ‘Best of’ lists and is often referenced by top skincare experts worldwide thanks to its stability and bioavailability to skin, something that’s sometimes not addressed in other options. In early 2020, sister product BioLumin-C Eye Serum was launched to brighten and firm the delicate eye area.

Now, the brand has extended its expertise in the area, by introducing a new product to the range, Dermalogica BioLumin-C Gel Moisturizer, $119.

The new arrival is simple to adopt if you want a one-off product that doesn’t demand numerous steps or a complicated skincare routine, but equally fits within a more involved approach if you enjoy using multiple products.


Vitamin C is an essential vitamin for skin health and can be used at both ends of the day, explains Dermalogica’s Caroline Parker, Head of Education for Dermalogica New Zealand.

“It’s a potent antioxidant that can help prevent free radical damage from UV exposure during the day and at night, it can help repair the daily damage. It’s also critical for collagen and elastin production and wound healing.” She says all skins can benefit from topical Vitamin C. “Our internal organs take most of the benefits of Vitamin C from our diet and leave little for our skin. When we apply Vitamin C topically, it is available where and when we need it.“


Using a serum with Vitamin C can be incredibly effective as serums are where the intensive treatment happens in a skincare routine. However, it needs to be used alongside adequate hydration to get the best results, says Parker, which is why the moisturiser was developed. “Most people don’t know the key to consistently bright skin is a combination of exfoliation, addressing uneven skin tone and more importantly hydration. Many people struggling with dull skin focus solely on exfoliation and evening out skin tone, missing out on the brightening benefits of hydration.

“This is because a smooth surface will always reflect light more effectively and the surface of the skin is at its most smooth when it is well hydrated,’’ she explains. “Dehydrated skin lacks the ability to reflect light well as the dry, dehydrated cells on the surface of the skin create a rough, uneven surface which looks dull and can feel rough and flaky. For bright, luminous skin we need good skin hydration levels.”


Lightweight and fresh feeling, the gel texture of the new BioLumin-C Gel Moisturizer leaves skin dewy and glowing, revitalising tired, parched skin instantly.

In terms of formulation, it builds on the same Vitamin C complex in the original serum that has two different forms of Vitamin C, by calling on the latest biotechnology to extend the antioxidant’s potency to fight free radical damage as well as helping it to penetrate skin even more effectively. Five different types of hyaluronic acid and sugar-cane-derived squalane deliver long lasting hydration, while a flower extract of Verbascum thapsus is intended to create visible luminosity, and phytic acid and pumpkin enzymes are included to support skin renewal.

The moisturiser can be used alone morning and night after cleansing, but the ultimate brightening and skin defence combination is to apply the BioLumin-C Serum underneath the BioLumin-C Gel Moisturizer.

Depending on your skin concerns, you can also layer serums with different skin benefits underneath the BioLumin-C Gel Moisturizer $119, which makes it easy to fit into an already established routine.


 Dermlaogica’s also just-released Daily Glycolic Cleanser, $67, makes an ideal companion to use prior to the BioLumin-C Gel Moisturizer as it gently sweeps away dead skin cells, product build up and environmental pollution, creating a clean canvas for the products that follow to absorb and work more effectively.   

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How Monarc became one of the most sought-after jewellery brands

An international modelling career first sparked London-based Kiwi Ella Drake’s interest in jewellery, with her ethical, sustainable and timeless-yet-contemporary brand Monarc now one of the most sought-after in the business.

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” sang Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes . Nearly 70 years later, those iconic lyrics still ring true – and in fact the sparkling precious stones have been worn as jewellery for almost 1000 years – but what has changed is the kind of diamonds that girls these days want to wear.

And that’s in no small part thanks to New Zealander Ella Drake, whose jewellery brand Monarc was among the first in the world to utilise and celebrate ‘aboveground’ diamonds – stones that are identical to earth-mined diamonds in every way (including their uniqueness) but are created in a laboratory. This incredibly innovative process not only removes any ethical concerns, but also addresses issues of sustainability.

“While mined diamonds generally pass through several owners with an origin impossible to trace, aboveground diamonds have transparent provenance,” explains Drake from her home studio and workroom in London. “The diamonds Monarc uses are 100 percent traceable, created with 100 percent renewable/green energy (carbon neutral or carbon negative even) and are guaranteed to be cartel-free.

“And by choosing one carat of sustainably produced, aboveground diamond, rather than earth-mined, you’ll currently save 545 litres of water, 250 tonnes of earth and 64kg of carbon dioxide – this was a key fact that confirmed Monarc would never use earth-mined diamonds,” she adds.

Bay of Plenty-born Drake launched Monarc in 2017, having taken a glamorous-sounding yet circuitous path to begin her career in jewellery. After a childhood spent in Mount Maunganui and being ‘discovered’ as teenager at a shopping mall by a model scout, Drake was determinedly studying graphic design at Auckland University of Technology – but the world of international modelling was calling. “I was really focused on my studies and I hadn’t planned to model, but modelling continued to present opportunities. Upon entering my third year at university, I decided to run with it [the modelling opportunities] and I suppose that decision carried me through the next six years of my life,” she says. “I began modelling in Sydney, followed by Tokyo and then on to Europe. My stay in Milan was meant to be a four-to-six week trip, but a month into my stay, I was put on contract with Gucci.”

Catching the eye of then-creative director Frida Giannini, Drake became an in-house favourite, working almost exclusively for the brand for four years. She says her favourite part about working for Gucci was “getting to know the entire team, who came to feel like family, and observing from the inside the creative discipline and magic that is spun to actualise each collection. Gucci’s designers would explore and sit with various creative directions for months, which then would be taken through to be developed and refined. The designer in me really cherished being part of this creative process.”

And it was on breaks between shooting, hanging out with the likes of “Ale” [Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s creative director since 2015], that Drake realised that while their clothing went alongside each new trend and season, often their jewellery didn’t. “I love that [jewellery can be] something timeless, which is why I wanted to pursue jewellery more than I ever did fashion. I like the sentimental nature that jewellery captures and holds … it can become a multi-generational teller of stories.”

Finding herself with time to spare between modelling gigs, Drake studied at the Gemological Institute of America in Florence, and in 2012 moved to Sydney to work for an international jewellery production company. A year later, the opportunity to manage its portfolio of European accounts came up, and Drake jumped at the chance. “Having been based in Europe for a number of years in my recent past, I felt comfortable and excited to get back to London.”

While there, Drake “began to question whether there was a better, gentler way to do things”, and in 2017, after gaining the confidence to try it out, “took a leap of faith” and started Monarc. “My driving aim was to present intelligent design and premium materials, with a focus on bespoke service. Sustainability and ethical practice have been the guiding principles of Monarc’s operations and brand decisions since day one,” she says. “I believe every decision I make for Monarc should be rooted in good intention, from the design to choosing carefully procured and considered materials, right along the whole production process.”

As well as aboveground diamonds, Monarc uses only recycled precious metals. Plesur is the brand’s first collection incorporating upcycled coloured gemstones. “Plesur is one that I feel super-passionate about!” says Drake. “I have held Monarc back from using coloured gemstones in collections to date because I haven’t been happy with current and commercial methods to obtain gemstones.

“Mining is really detrimental to the environment (no matter which way it’s spun), so I’ve worked for more than two years to collect heirloom stones and alluvial gemstones. I have absolutely loved the experience of hunting down heirloom and estate jewellery, and meeting with the people who have held their jewellery for the years prior to Monarc purchasing it for upcycling. I feel the history held by each upcycled gemstone imbues the new collection with so much more life. Due to the nature of using heirloom stones, many pieces will be limited runs and one-offs.”

A second new release sees Monarc creating a considered edit of hair accessories – barrettes and pins in silver and gold vermeil. “I’ve been working with the experts at London’s Glasshouse Salon, owned by fellow Kiwi Olivia Crighton, to create functional hair pieces that can be worn as part of an everyday look or as an elegant hair element that can be used for a special occasion,” she says.

Drake has an even newer arrival, with the birth of her daughter Ulli in early June, and is looking forward to a long-awaited trip back to New Zealand. “I plan to return home to [Mount Maunganui] for a several-month stint in 2022,” she says. “Despite living overseas for the best part of 14 years, I still call Mount Maunganui home and it’s where my family live. It’s an anchoring place and one to which I always return. My love for the beach lifestyle inspires me the most; a slower, more peaceful, coastal existence. I’m incredibly excited and feel privileged to introduce my baby to the New Zealand lifestyle.”