What Do You ‘Really’ Use?

June 1, 2017


I had a friend check with me to see what I ‘really’ use, in terms of skincare. “I know you talk a lot about Savar, but do you really use them? Do you really love them as much as you say you do?” Surprisingly, comments and questions like these don’t offend me. I’ve come to expect them, though what is surprising is that I don’t get asked them too often. I’d like to think it’s because my friends and readers know that I only share what I truly love. Questions and comments like these make sense because there are so many bloggers and influencers talking about so many products that they “just love” and “totally recommend”.

So, today I’m sharing some of my empties. Just a few products that I’ve used up recently and will be buying more of because they form such an integral part of my skincare routine.


1. Savar Rosehip Ultra Brightening Serum. I’ve written about this serum numerous times (in fact I’ve been going on about it since 2015, here). I’ve lost count as to how many bottles of this serum I’ve gone through. If this helps…there are two empties in my bathroom and one that’s almost empty as well. It’s not that they run out quickly, they actually go quite a long way, but I’m constantly using it because it makes my skin feel so good.


2. Savar Advanced Hand Repair. This is my second empty of this hand cream. I liked it the first time I used it, but then ended up using something else, and then switched back to it. Both Patrick and Rafa use it as well, and we love the subtle fragrance. I’ll be replacing this because it’s the perfect size for my handbag (and for travel) but it usually sits on the kitchen counter so we can take care of our hands throughout the day. We love seeing our guests help themselves to it too!


3. Savar Wonderlift Eye Cream. This is only the first bottle of the Savar Eye Cream that I’ve finished, the first that I’ve had. It is actually the first eye cream that I’ve ever committed to using continuously. I’ve seen a drastic improvement in my under eye area. A few months ago I couldn’t wear concealer or foundation as my under eye area was so dry that the products just caked. It wasn’t pretty. I had to forego covering up the dark circles and actually address the issue with skincare and a few changes to my diet. This is the best value for money eye cream that I’ve come across (and I’ve looked a fair bit).


4. Savar Antioxidant Night Cream. Like the eye cream, this is the first bottle I’ve tried and have finished. I’ve used it every night for a few months now. It’s lovely and thick (not greasy) and absorbs beautifully. It’s also a product that works well when you’re sharing a bed with someone. I’ve used a few products in the past that Patrick wasn’t really thrilled about. This is effective on my skin but gentle enough to not upset anyone around me (ie Patrick and Rafa).

I cannot believe I’ve come to a point in my skincare journey where I actually use up products before they ‘expire’. I haven’t had to throw any of my Savar products out because I use them up. I’m no longer switching between a variety of products hoping something works (though I do mix and match a few, I’ll tell you about that later). And for the record, yes I really use Savar products. My skincare is almost entirely made up of their range of products and yes I really do love them as much as I say. Actually, no I love them even more than I say.

Start Small

May 1, 2017


I’ve received a lot of questions about developing a skincare routine. If you follow me on Instagram you would have noticed that I really don’t talk about too many brands anymore. This is in large due to having truly honed in on what is working for me. There are so many products available and I don’t think it’s about finding the absolute best product on the market. Instead, I think about it as finding what’s best for you. Best for you in relation to your budget, your ethics, your skin needs and how your skin reacts to ingredients and products.

The best advice I can offer is to start small. Starting small might mean starting with one type of product or starting small might mean not investing too much money to begin with. It might entail asking the brand for samples and trialing these over a few weeks. I have absolutely no hesitation in emailing a brand to ask about ingredients, if there are special offers, or emailing to explain my skin issues and asking for their suggestions and often from the outset outlining what I’m willing to try or how much I’m willing to spend.

Ultimately, it is an investment. But you can still start small. And for those who persist and ask exactly what product I would ‘start small’ with, the one product I must have… Surprisingly this isn’t difficult for me to answer. After using a variety of products, I know for certain that my one must have is the Savar Natural Rosehip Ultra Brightening Serum. I’ve been using this product for two years now (there’s even a review I wrote, time stamped on the Savar website from 2015).

It has worked throughout seasons, through pregnancy and beyond. And in various countries and climates. The serum is a nutrient packed gel-like substance that I use at least twice a day. Sometimes more. Never less. I’ve also layered it with other skincare products. Applied make-up over it. And left the house with a clean face and just this serum. It’s one product I haven’t felt the need to replace or swap out for another. Instead, there’s also a bottle in my wardrobe (I never want to run out), and usually a spare because I love handing them over to the special women in my life.

If you’re struggling with your skincare and finding your skincare rhythm – take it slow. Start somewhere. And start small. Give yourself and your skin a chance to tell you and show you what’s working and what isn’t.

Interview with Skinfood New Zealand

April 21, 2017


We don’t really have a bucket list. Instead we have a criteria as we often keep going back to places we’ve already traveled to as we love getting to know these places better. Timor Leste was a country I really wanted to visit and we went a few years ago. We try to vary our travels and look at it in terms of three countries/trips per year: there’s usually a trip home to Fiji, a trip back to somewhere we’ve been already and a trip to somewhere new. One year the priority was traveling around Fiji so we stuck to that. We’re hoping to do more of the Pacific, especially the Micronesian islands, as a matter of priority given the effects of climate change on them.”

I don’t do interviews too often, but in the last few months I’ve done a few that I’ve really enjoyed. In this interview with Skinfood New Zealand I talk about blogging, working and mothering, travel and how we decide where to go and some favorite skincare tips for mum and bub.

The full interview is available here.

Savar Instant Boost Multi Toner: Review

April 4, 2017


It has been a few months now since I started using the Savar Instant Boost Multi Toner. I had started using mists/toners last year and had time to experiment with a few. This Savar one was the last that I got to (I like to really try products, and often use them until they finish).

Among the many nourishing ingredients used in this toner are New Zealand marshmallow and organic white tea. The marshmallow provides the soothing element often missing in other toners I’ve used. The Savar toner doesn’t sting when applied (even if I’ve just used a face scrub or have sensitive patches on my face). The white tea also helps reduce irritation. The product is also alcohol-free, which makes it perfectly gentle for your skin.

The biggest advantage for me was that there was no sting when I applied this toner. Often it’s not just the product that is important but also the overall experience of using the product. The design of the bottle, particularly the nozzle, also allows for easy application (ie you are not scaring the living daylights out of yourself each time you spritz it in the direction of your face and you don’t have product dripping and running down your arm). A well thought out and executed product from ingredient to design.

The Savar Instant Boost Multi Toner refreshes, hydrates, re-hydrates and creates a delightful glow all while being good for your skin, easy to use and good for the environment (in its recyclable bottle – which you can fill with water for multiple purposes once your toner runs out).

The Savar toner is such a popular product it is available in the large 240ml size, but also in a 30ml version available in the following sets: the luxury gift set, premium face essentials set and the ultra brightening face pack.

Tailoring Skincare Products Yourself

March 1, 2017

Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that end up being true revelations. Simple, serendipitous moments that bring great discovery. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the Savar Rosehip Ultra Brightening Serum it has been my  ‘product of the year’ since I started using it a few years ago. The Savar Gentle Hydrating Antioxidant Moisture Mask is a product that I’ve only started using but was impressed enough to write about here. I’m a fan of glowy, dewy looking skin but my skin needs a lot of help to achieve this. It’s naturally quite dry and matte. In the past I’ve achieved the desired glow with make-up but these days, having culled my make-up collection I’m left with skincare products and my diet. Working at achieving that glow from the inside out.

I can’t tell you exactly how I came to this combination, but I’ve started using the moisture mask and the brightening serum together. As  in, I mix them together in my hand and then apply all over my face and neck. The result has been an instant boost of moisture and glow. Because the serum is oil free to begin with, combining the two hydration and moisture dense products doesn’t leave my skin looking oily or greasy (definitely not the desired outcome). While the serum replenishes the skin’s antioxidant reserves, the mask helps strengthen the skin’s protective barrier and both function to reduce pollution penetration.

Just a few points to note:

I felt comfortable mixing these products as I have had no issues with them in the past.

The natural composition of Savar products also meant I was comfortable mixing them. I thought of it like mixing pomegranate and kiwifruit – an apt example as these are ingredients of the serum and mask. I wouldn’t have mixed products that weren’t natural/plant-based/organic.

Do a little patch test to ensure your skin doesn’t react badly.

You’ll also need to play around a bit to figure out which products mixed give you the best results and in what ratios.

This was such a pleasant little discovery for me as it also means that I get more out of the products that I have. I use this combination a few times a week, or when I want a little more glow (or when I’m a little extra tired).  It’s a novel way to further tailor your existing skincare to fit the changing needs of your skin without necessarily buying more products.

Do you mix an unlikely combination of products yourself? 

Wardrobe Staple: Statement Earrings

February 20, 2017

Emma and Roe (by Michael Hill) have a well-crafted, affordable collection of jewellery that is aesthetically pleasing and wearable as you go about your everyday adventures. 

While actively downsizing my wardrobe and accessories I noticed that what I really needed was something simple yet striking that I could wear everyday to elevate my very basic uniform (consisting of usually a black knit and black pants). I decided it needed to be a piece of jewellery. It needed to be something that was unfussy, easy to put on and wouldn’t interrupt the flow of everyday life with a 10 month old. So I decided on a pair of earrings. I only ever wear one pair, a simple diamond stud that Patrick surprised me with years ago. I love it and hardly ever take it off but that was at a time when my outfits were louder and more fussy and my jewellery needed to be simple.

After looking for a few days, I settled on these earrings and enhancer set from Emma and Roe (by Michael Hill). They offer the perfect amount of sparkle and interest. It’s been such an easy and affordable way to add a little depth to my everyday look, and has yielded some wonderful comments and enquiries.  The top ‘stud’ part of the earring can be worn on its own, or you can buy other enhancers (the bottom part) to change up the look. I had a little more money left to spend from a $200 budget (my earrings were $99), so I ended up getting a gift for my little sister – these white cubic zirconia and sterling silver stud earrings with quatre enhancers. It’s lovely having pieces of jewellery that are small and delicate but I’m enjoying having a piece that is rather bold and makes a statement yet is comfortable enough for everyday wear.

I suppose accessory and jewellery needs evolve just as clothing needs do.

*This post was created in conjunction with Emma and Roe, all opinions are my own.

In Conversation: Vicky Woolford of Savar

February 2, 2017

I am so excited about this post. My regular readers are aware that I adore skincare products from Savar. But getting to the point where I feel like I have a skincare regime that really works for me took a lot of time and trial and error. I decided to ask the owner and founder of Savar skincare some of the hard questions my readers often ask me. Vicky and I have met on a few occasions and she is someone I feel like I can have frank and honest conversations with. Here’s our little chat about all things skincare:

Vicky Woolford – Owner and Founder of Savar Skincare 

Vanisha: Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. I’ve been a huge fan of Savar for a while now, much to the point that my entire skincare routine consists only of Savar products. You have a gorgeous business – products and philosophy alike. Something I do struggle with is the sheer amount of products out there: serums, creams, oils. If you’re working towards a minimal lifestyle, how can you achieve that when it comes to skincare? I thought perhaps we could chat a little about that today, but before that I’d love it if you introduced yourself to my readers.

Vicky: Thanks Vanisha – Hi I’m Vicky Woolford the owner and founder of Savar. Savar is an ultra premium New Zealand Natural Skincare company with a loyal customer base in New Zealand and an fast expanding export market to Asia. As a working mother of four, life is always busy and I love to balance that with a healthy lifestyle (so wish I could get to the gym more often!), good wholesome food and of course natural skincare.

Vanisha: That’s a lot of things to juggle. What does the day-to-day running of a company like Savar look like?

Vicky: I always start my day checking my e-mails and catching up with social media. We are always excited to get enquiries from new export prospects. The team and I divide up the jobs – I might spend a lot of my time on product design, new promotions, account enquiries and taking beautiful images while my valued staff tackle a myriad of orders, dispatch, assembling promotions, and keep a fastidious eye on quality control. We all work hard and the highlight of the day is morning tea and lunch together.

Vanisha: You  have morning tea and lunch together everyday?

Vicky: Yes we find it is great for team building and team morale for us all to take time out together and the cherry on the top is that we all like each other! The highlight of the week is a wellness fairy (member of staff) who organises a special treat. One week it might be raw slices from the Sip Kitchen and another week it may be the most divine sushi from And Sushi in Newmarket.

Vanisha: I love the idea of a wellness fairy, how did that come about?

Vicky: It was suggested over morning tea one day and fitted in perfectly with our company philosophy of holistic wellness. We are also about to introduce a regular staff Yin Yoga lesson one morning a week that we are all looking forward to.

Vanisha: I get a few consistent comments from readers every time I share skincare posts. I’d like to share them with you and get your perspective. The most common comment is the price of skincare, why is it so expensive?

Vicky: A great question Vanisha – first let me say that we are an ultra-premium natural New Zealand brand. Therefore we have formulated our products with premium ingredients and our top quality extracts are made specifically for us. We’re proud to differentiate ourselves from the mass market. It may be easier to use an analogy of food – Here at Savar we are all into healthy eating and quality food and there will always be a difference between a packet of biscuits bought from the supermarket compared to a delicious raw caramel slice from a natural food café.

Vanisha: The next is, given the nature of skincare, where you don’t know if it’s going to work until you actually try it, people are reluctant to spend a lot of money on something they aren’t sure is going to work for them. This is a problem I had myself. I loved how brands sounded in theory, but I had no idea if that product would work for me, and I was hesitant to spend that sort of money on products. Being on the other end of the equation, how do you think consumers should best approach new skincare products in their quest of developing a skincare routine that works for them?

Vicky: As a premium company we offer samples. All of our stockists have testers so customers get the chance to try our products first. We also offer a  30 day money back guarantee on all of our products bought from our website Therefore our customers can be reassured that if our product doesn’t suit them we will refund their money – no questions asked.

Vanisha: Skincare companies often have a wide range of products and often you can’t help but notice the advice that one product must be used with the next and then the next for the best benefits. Products tend to be quite specific to problems or parts of the body. If you’re a minimalist, or on a journey towards minimalism, or really just on a tight budget, are there ways you can still create a minimalist, yet effective skincare routine for yourself with luxury products like those that Savar offer?

Vicky: There are a lot of products out there as everyone’s skins needs are different. However at Savar we keep our range to a minimum and many of our products are multi tasking and unisex therefore potentially cutting down the number of products you may need. The basics of skincare are cleanse, tone and moisturise and we have an excellent range for that. Sometimes skin needs an extra boost and our Rosehip Ultra Brightening Serum is ideal for providing skin with a shot of nutrients. Some people choose to use a serum everyday while for others, it’s an occasional treat. One way of cutting down on the amount of products is to choose multitasking products. For instance our Advanced Hand Repair also works wonders on dry and cracked heels. We also recommend our Energising Body Wash as a natural shaving gel as well as a soap free body wash as it is such a rich quality and has a wonderful glide.

Vanisha: What does your own skincare regime look like, and what would your best advice be to those wanting to develop a skincare regime of their own? 

Vicky: My personal skincare regime changes with the seasons, however I always use our Luxury Face Wash each morning and our Essential Cleansing Lotion each evening as my skin has a tendency towards dryness. I am addicted to our Rosehip Ultra Brightening Serum and use it every morning before applying either our Rosehip Advanced Protection Moisturiser SPF15 if I am heading outside or one of our Savar day moisturisers. I never travel anywhere without our Energising Body Wash as it is soap free and incredibly moisturising. I even shave with it as it has such a wonderful glide.

My best advice to those wanting to develop their own skincare regime is to listen to your skins needs and introduce new products one at a time to let your skin adjust to them. Never sleep with make up on and remember that great skin is about using the best natural products as well as overall wellness for your mind and body.

Vicky, thank you so much for taking the time to chat and for answering those questions. I hope you have all enjoyed that candid conversation. If you have any other questions, please do let us know!

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