LIFE | Two social enterprise Kickstarters worth backing

(Well, one’s technically a Pledge Me, not a Kickstarter, but nitpicking over details is a waste of time.)

A few weeks ago I worked on a photoshoot for a new underwear brand based in Wellington, called nisa. Nisa is a social enterprise producing organic cotton underwear made by women with a refugee background, and they’ve launched a Pledge Me to get the company off the ground.

Another Kickstarter on my radar, which I’ve already backed but needs more support, is indigo & iris.

SKIN | Vestige Verdant comes to New Zealand

Vestige Verdant premium organic skincare

Vestige Verdant is a luxury natural skincare brand hailing from Estonia, which is newly available in New Zealand and Australia. I don’t know a lot about Estonia—the only connection it sparks in my mind is with a guy from Estonia I knew on a music forum, years ago.

What I do know is that these products start off very well with a minimalist and stylish packaging design in the vein of Sunday Riley, which I am particularly susceptible to for some reason. Perhaps because it’s a natural brand that isn’t yelling at me from the packaging that it’s paraben free, organic, chemical free, no nasties, bullshit ad nauseam. I mean, it is paraben free and organic, but they focus on the effectiveness of their ingredients rather than screaming about what they don’t include.

LIFE | 48Hours—I won best makeup!

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that the makeup I did for my team’s 48Hours film was nominated for Best Makeup in Wellington, and it turns out that I won! I wasn’t at the screening/Wellington finals but got a message from a friend who had been there saying congrats, so that was a nice surprise.

This isn’t going to be much of a blog post but I wanted to post a couple of screenshots from the film and a link to watch it if you feel like it. There’s a kind of revolving crew of folks that make up the team and I’ve worked with them for the past three years. It’s lots of fun, although very exhausting—and I somehow always end up getting roped in to act in it as well. I’m in this one. It is what it is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

FACE | Tinies

Miniature beauty products - deluxe sized recent releases

Everyone has a soft spot for miniature-sized beauty products. The subscription box industry is built on this fact. Loyalty programmes are built on this fact. Smaller products are a marketer’s way to get people to try something expensive without having to buying the full size.

Ever wonder why cheap products don’t come in deluxe mini sizes? It’s because most peoples’ impulse spending threshold is high enough that we’ll just buy the full product. Like, you know, I’ll buy the full size of a Neutrogena or Goodness product untested because it’s only $20 if I don’t like it—but it’s only these Drunk Elephant minis that could get me to try the brand when the full-sized B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel is $82. (I haven’t even caved and bought the Drunk Elephant minis yet… but it’s only a matter of time.)

Anyway, more and more brands are making baby-sized products and my cynicism will step aside and make room for them every time. Tiny foundation bottle that looks like the full size? Yes please. Teeny powder jar, sifter and all? Get into my hands.

LIPS | Making my own lipstick at Blend Beauty

Blend Beauty Lower Hutt custom lipstick experience

Since I saw photos of the Bite Beauty lip lab in New York City I’ve been dying to try a custom blended lipstick ~experience~. You get to go along and they work with you to blend a lipstick to your exact preference and then put it into a tube right there for you.

Then a few months ago I was invited to the opening of Blend Beauty, a custom lipstick and foundation blending experience at Dollface Beauty Hub in Lower Hutt. Custom lipstick right here in the city I grew up in! And it’s a local business!

So obviously getting a custom lipstick blended is super fun, but it has some other advantages too. If you’ve ever felt like you can’t find just the right red or nude or whatever for you, this is the way to try a few iterations and adjust it until you get something perfect. Or if you have a lip colour you love but it’s discontinued, the team at Blend Beauty can whip you up a match. And did I mention it’s really fun? And cheaper than buying a MAC lipstick, even? (It’s $37!)

SKIN | Seed and Soul New Zealand natural skincare

Seed and Soul New Zealand natural skincare company

Seed + Soul are the newest company to hit the growing New Zealand natural skincare market and today I’m looking at what they’re about and what sets them apart from the rest. I’m vibing on their sleek packaging and charming product names, but it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? These products use all natural plant-derived, paraben free ingredients.

I know what you’re thinking. Morgan, you hate that kind of thing! Not quite. I’m perfectly happy putting parabens and chemicals on my skin but I’m also perfectly happy to put plant-based and natural ingredients on my skin—as long as they don’t claim to do anything they can’t.

With that out the way, let’s get in to the products proper.

SKIN | Affordable natural serums

New Zealand skincare brand natural serums

One of the most intimidating products in skincare is the serum. Designed for intensive treatment targeted at a specific issue, serums are often the most expensive part of your skincare routine. If you’re spending major cash, you want to be certain a product will work. This is why I don’t write about serums a lot here: I just don’t have the money to be throwing at specialised treatments. Luckily, nice brands sometimes send me things to try, which means I get to do the testing part and you get to do the ‘making informed decisions about where you put your money’ part. Here are two natural serums that tick three major boxes for me: a) functional, b) affordable, and c) New Zealand made!