Spray away

With fragrance being a popular gift at Christmas, here are some tips and observations from niche perfume importer Lucy Settle of Melbourne's Agence de Parfum.

* Perfume is most effective when applied on warm skin. It will last twice as long if it is sprayed on when you are fresh from the shower. This is because pores are more open and receptive.

* Don't touch a fragrance to your nose. It should be assessed initially on unbleached card (bleached paper changes the smell), then if it appeals, tested on the skin, where individual chemistry will dictate eventual aroma.


* Avoid spraying the chest and neck area, especially in summer, when skin is more likely to be exposed to sunlight. Pigmentation marks can occur, with bergamot being particularly prone to cause skin discolouration.

* If you can't smell the scent you are wearing, then you may be wearing too much, rather than too little. Your nose can get overwhelmed or overly familiar with a cloud of perfume up close.

* For a subtle enveloping effect (or to test without your nose being overwhelmed) wear fragrance on the back of your neck. Behind the knees is another excellent spot to discreetly anoint.

* Citrus scents tend to fade quicker than florals, with orientals generally lingering the longest.

* Chanel No. 5 is justifiably renowned, but it is also a victim of its own popularity being among the most returned scents worldwide. This is because it is often bought by men who have heard of it, rather than by women who want it.

* Women are more confident independent fragrance purchasers than men. Eighty per cent of men re-buy a fragrance they have been given, 20 per cent choose their own.

Certified natural

Comvita has won certification from the United States-based Natural Products Association attesting to its skincare products being natural, safe, environmentally responsible and sustainable. The New Zealand company says the NPA certification should help its global positioning in the natural beauty market. Skincare is a growing part of Comvita's business, expected to produce about $2 million in revenue this year. Medical-grade manuka honey and olive leaf extract are key ingredients in its ranges, which have been expanded to include a brightening line.


Comvita's general manager personal care, Leigh Kite, said consumers could be confused by misleading natural and organic claims in the beauty sector.

"Products with natural-sounding names or one organic ingredient can often imply they are natural and good for you. That isn't always the case," Kite said. "Comvita's customers should now have extra assurance about the quality and integrity of our products."

Mo-ve over

All those men who carried Movember into December take note - a survey by Nivea found 78 per cent of women find clean shaven men sexier and 86 per cent prefer kissing a clean-shaven man. Nivea For Men has launched a Shave It or Save It Campaign and a new sensitive skincare range to suit those with and without facial hair. Despite the recent revival of male facial hair, only 15 per cent of those surveyed by Galaxy Research liked the bearded look or considered it fashionable.

Flag lowering

Dermalogica is closing its flagship store in Albany from the beginning of February after four years of trading. It plans to focus its efforts on its other skin centres, including Smith & Caughey, and four Life pharmacies which offer the Face Mapping and speedy services the flagship store introduced to New Zealand. (From mid-January Life Pharmacy in Westfield Mall Albany will play host to a Dermalogica counter to ensure continuity for existing customers.)

Room service

The Langham has its very own nail polish. It is a pretty O.P.I shade named Langham Pink available for hotel guests or visitors to purchase. Beats skiving off with the soap.

Model search

Hair brand Pantene is looking for a new face, with great hair also a must. It has launched a Make a Swisssh competition to find someone to front its new Pantene Aqua Light range and win $10,000 cash. Entrants need to wash their hair with Pantene Aqua Light Shampoo and Conditioner then upload a video of themselves flicking their hair from side to side.

Very manly

Remember Brut, the hit everyman after-shave of an earlier era? It and related products are still going strong, with the latest being Brut V8 Antiperspirant, just the thing for the petrol-head in the family. It is designed to protect against excessive sweating, wetness and odour and is sold in supermarkets and pharmacies with a recommended retail price of $9.99.

Book in

Look out for a special deal from Boxing Day onward with Elizabeth Arden purchases.

If you buy two Elizabeth Arden items, including one from the Eight Hour Cream range of skin protectants, you will get some summer reading with a bonus copy of Sanctuary by bestselling author Nora Roberts.