Natural skincare lines are a dime a dozen these days, but not many come in as nice a package as Stark. The vegan, environmentally friendly Canadian brand is all about showcasing the resilience and power of nature, using a menu of plant-derived clays, oils and extracts in its formulations. Launched in February, Stark's inaugural 4-strong offering of a waterless cleansing and hydrating balm, green tea detox clay mask, a calming willow bark tonic and a regulating, anti-oxidant rich face oil are made locally in small batches every four weeks for top notch freshness. Last month, it added a fifth member, a simple Argan lip treatment that softens lips with a tiny slick. Conceived as a complement to busy city lives, this Montreal-based line's less-is-more mantra suits us perfectly.
Ranging from $12-$45; www.starkskincare.com
Writers: Pei-Ru Keh and Rosa Bertoli
Chantecaille Elephant Palette
Always one for philanthropy, Chantecaille has dedicated its Fall 2012 collection to highlighting the work of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which devotes itself to rescuing young orphaned elephants in Kenya. The collection's showpiece palette is inspired by the Kenyan plains where the trust works to save and foster the animals. Containing four iridescent, Kenyan-inspired shades shaped in the form of its muse, the palette includes a pearly beige ibased on the ivory of the elephants' tusks, a green that references the savannah during the rainy season, a copper shade resembling the Kenyan cliffs and a shimmery dark gray imitating the minerals under the bright African sun.
Blue Tit Clapton, London
Just a year after opening its first salon on the borders of Dalston and Stoke Newington, East London hair salon Blue Tit has opened a second outpost in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Clapton. Contrary to East London's occasionally intimidating persona, Blue Tit's founders Andi and Perry take a welcoming and personalised approach to each client. The space's relaxed, raw décor was chosen by the duo to reflect the personality of the salon and features wooden floors, vintage chairs and a hanging garden in the brightly-lit space. Apart from doubling as a gallery for local emerging artists, the new Clapton space also boasts a photo studio on the lower floor, which is bound to establish Blue Tit as a new creative base in the area.
121 Lower Clapton Road, London E5 0NP; T: 44. 208 985 35 58; www.bluetitlondon.com
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Le Sablier, Diptyque hourglass diffuser
Despite its 50-year history, Diptyque is no stranger to innovation. The venerable Parisian brand has re-imagined the traditional fragrance diffuser as an elegant hourglass. Fresh from its launch at Design Junction during last month's London Design Festival, the intuitive vessel is comprised of two blown glass ampoules joined by a black filtering diffuser that releases wafts of Diptyque's 34 Boulevard Saint Germain scent for 20 minutes with each turn. Playful and elegant, the diffuser has been designed by R'Pure Studio, long time collaborators of the brand who also redesigned Diptyque's iconic packaging.
The Detox Kitchen
Lily Simpson has taken the pain out of healthy eating for Londoners with her mobile detox concept, The Detox Kitchen. A keen cook, the enterprising Simpson devises delicious daily menus, which are delivered to your front door in the wee hours of the early morning, ready for the day's consumption. Packed in a burlap tote bag, each carefully planned meal is fully loaded on nutrition and taste; a typical day could start out with a pot of lemon for a cleansing morning drink, breakfast, a snacking pot of nuts, a wheatgrass shot, lunch and dinner, and even dessert (a raw cacao truffle, if you must know.) Simpson's detail oriented plan also includes a biocare supplement plan, and a dose of psyllium husk for the ultimate kickstart. Depending on which plan you spring for (protein or vegan), the program will leave you with glowing skin, improved energy levels and better digestion at the end of its course. It's a no-brainer.
Starting from £29.99 per day; www.thedetoxkitchen.co.uk
Kotoha with Yuica
We can trust the Japanese to know a thing or two about purity. Yuica is a skincare and fragrance brand built around essential oils. Forget the ubiquitous lavender and bergamot offerings, Yuica's nine varieties, which include Japanese spicebush (kumoji) and Anise Magnolia (nioikoboshi), have been steam-distilled from trees in the Japanese forest. Joining them is a new range of products for hair and body called Kotoha (which appropriately translates to 'trees and leaves') that combines Yuica's essential oil expertise with the traditional healing properties of Japanese plants. Japanese graphic studio T Square Design Associates are the brains behind Kotoha's restrained packaging, which features essential graphic details and symbols.
From ¥2625; www.sei-plus.com
Laura Mercier Compact Tinted Moisturiser
Laura Mercier's Tinted Moisturiser has become one of those iconic products that no well-maintained woman would be caught without. The dependable favourite, which has long been credited with bestowing its users with a natural, luminous finish, has now been transformed into a cream compact - a departure from its recognisable tube form. Despite this practical makeover, the new pocket-sized compact version still evens the skin tone and diminishes the look of fine lines while hydrating skin, with the help of a sponge applicator for a finer result. The SPF20 formula is available in 12 shades, ranging from porcelain to mocha and everything in between.
Prada Luna Rossa
Prada Sport acquires its own olfactory incarnation this autumn with the launch of Prada Luna Rossa. With sailing as its inspiration (Luna Rossa is a Prada-sponsored Italian sailboat racing syndicate) Miuccia Prada's favoured nose, Daniela Andrier, has taken the sports fragrance genre, with its requisite rush of fresh and herbal notes, and shaken it up. She has mixed natural notes with modern synthetics, classically zingy, masculine aromas with the deeply sensual; at its core is a modern rendering of lavender, combined with orange essence, clary sage and spearmint while at the base, ambroxan and ambrette bring warmth. The result, as is so often the case with Andrier's work, is a scent that is original, seductive and unmistakably modern but that doesn't set out to challenge or provoke.
The bottle design was handled by Yves Behar and takes its lines and materials from elements of extreme sailing boat design. The distinctive red stripe of Prada Sport cuts through the centre of the bottle and box, marking it out clearly as a modern sports scent.
Eau de Toilette, 100ml, £62; www.prada.com
Sodashi Brightening Marine Mineral Mask
Australian skincare brand Sodashi has been changing the face of beauty with its chemical-free and ethically sourced products since 1999. All its ingredients are harnessed using holistic methods that respect the symbiotic relationships in nature. The brand's latest offering is an all-natural Brightening Marine Mineral Mask, a firming product with detoxifying qualities produced from locally-sourced ingredients. The distinctive formula calls upon the best of the Australian wild to deliver efficacious results; Australian Yellow and White Clay to improve skin colour and vitality, Zeolite for a deep detoxifying action, seaweed for moisture and elasticity, spirulina for its firming properties and Rosewood Oil for collagen and cell renewal.
$110 AUD; www.sodashi.com
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