Back to Basics- Skin Care

I think we often get overwhelmed with the amount of products out there that we could potentially be using on our skin. Certainly as I've gotten older, I've added to my own routine. If you're really new to skin care or don't really use much at all, this is for you. I'm breaking down what I think you must have, down to some of the less necessary products. 

What do you Really Need Skin?

100% Yes- you need….

SPF 30-50+ every day. Remember to blend it down your neck and chest. One designed for the face is great. I like Ella Bache Facial SPF (it’s quite thick but smells good!)



If you do one thing for your skin this should be it

Cleanser You really must cleanse your face in the morning and before bed.  I use a cream cleanser in the shower like Dermalogica Essential Cleansing Solution and to take my makeup off at night I use a water-based Cleanser like Bioderma Crealine H2O. If you have dryer skin, avoid foaming/soapy cleansers as they strip the skin of natural oils. My budget pick is Cetaphil Cleanser.

If you have dry skin avoid soapy,foaming cleansers

If you have dry skin avoid soapy,foaming cleansers

Moisturiser. Choose one that is right for your skin type.  For dry skin I love Clinique Moisture Surge Intense. As we age, we tend to need more moisture so choose a lovely rich formula. I use moisturisers with SPF but make sure they are SPF 30. My budget pick is Nivea Q10 Plus Day Cream

Lip balm for protection and to soothe. I’m fan of Suvana Honey Paw Paw Cream

You Probably Should have…

Exfoliator- Use a gentle exfoliator up to three times weekly. I recommend the Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermafoliant if you're concerned about anti aging. I also like a chemical exfoliant and currently testing out the Alpha -H Liquid Gold. This uses Alpha Hydroxi acids to exfoliate and resurface the skin.  Avoid products that are overly ‘sandy’ as they can damage sensitive skin. A great budget exfoliator is a clean, warm, soft face or muslin cloth. Use  a couple of times a week with your cleanser.

A chemical exfoliant can be gentler on sensitive skin

A chemical exfoliant can be gentler on sensitive skin


Serum- Serums are not a moisturiser. They generally go under your moisturiser and are highly concentrated active ingredients for you skin, formulated according to problem areas. There are serums for anti aging, hydration and blemishes so choose one that best suits your skin type.   They are a relatively new ‘essential’ but I do recommend if you have specific areas you are targeting. For a budget serum, beauty guru, Zoe Foster Blake recommends Rose Hip Oil. For a bigger budget a great all rounder is the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair.

Eye Cream- I’m not going to worry if you don’t have this in your routine but it’s a good idea.  The skin around our eyes is thinner and more sensitive and seeds a gentle product. Anything overly oily can produce sebaceous pimples so a light cream here is great.

You Don’t really need…

Night Cream- If your using a serum and a moisturiser without spf then you’re ok.

Toner- Nice and refreshing yes, but not something you need.  My water based cleanser doubles as a toner as I don’t have to wash it off.


Eye masks- All eye masks really are, are masks infused with an eye creams or serums.  They can be lovely and refreshing and some will give you a non-permanent plump up.  If you want to really indulge, the SKII Eye Mask is lovely before an event. I'm also loving Lonvitalit24K Gold and Collagen Eye Masks.

These gold eye masks are fun but also provide and instant under eye refresh

These gold eye masks are fun but also provide and instant under eye refresh

Face Masks- Once in a while, to make you feel like you’re doing your skin some good, then a mask can be fun. I love the full masks that make you look like a mummy and they do really pack a lot of ingredients in. I'm currently testing Kiss Ready Skin's Superfoods Antioxidants Face mask. I'll keep you posted.

What are your skin must haves? 

How to Help your Makeup Last

As much as we would love to have a makeup artist on hand for all our big events, most of the time, we have to do our own makeup.  Fortunately, there are some really easy things you can do to make your makeup sweat, shine and dance proof all night long.

1.       Clean, hydrated skin. It’s a myth that we need to have dry skin to make our makeup last or that if we moisturise it will slide off. If you apply makeup to dry, un-moisturised skin, chances are your base will come off sooner and look uneven. Your makeup or primer needs something to cling to. (Tip: moisturiser needs to settle before makeup is applied so wait a few minutes before makeup application).

2.   Primer.  A primer isn’t just there to make your makeup look fresh, it’s also one sure way to keep your makeup on longer as it creates a layer between your skin and the makeup. Often primers double as mattifiers and pore minimisers so you can eliminate shine whilst giving your makeup a great surface to sit on. (Tip: if you use a silicone formula foundation you can skip this step. I love Face Atelier Ultra Pro Foundation

3.   Eye Primers or Cream Eye shadows. When I'm making up a bride, her makeup needs to last up to 15 hours. My one weapon against creased or disappearing eye shadow is a primer made for the eyes or a long lasting cream eye shadow. The primers create a crease-free surface for your shadow to sit on and should make your eye makeup bullet proof. Apply Primer to the lid before adding your eyeshadow.  For a budget option try Rimmel London Lasting Finish Eye Primer.  (Tip: eye primers need an oil based eye makeup remover to remove as they are built to stay).

Rimmel Eye Primer.jpg

Eye primers will grab hold of the eyeshadow and help it last all day

4.    Powder You don’t need bucket loads of powder to make your makeup last, but you do need the right kind. Powders that are made to absorb oil and are colour free are fantastic. My go-to is RCMA No Color Powder.  Too much pressed powder can result in a cakey look so go easy. (Tip: if you’re having flash photography avoid product with Silica and Sunscreen which cause white flashback. If the powder is HD it will usually flashback).

5.     Layer your product. To keep makeup on longer, try using creams with powders layered over the top. This works with shadows and blush. Choose a cream colour first, then apply a powder in the same colour to lock it in. The Stila Convertible Colours are a favourite cream blush. (tip: cream colours should be applies sparingly and should be almost sheer.) 

6.    Setting Spray. There are few jobs I leave without applying a setting spray. It is  insurance that your makeup will still look flawless even at the end of the night. It creates an invisible film over your makeup which is water and smudge proof. Skindinavia setting sprays are great and they even have a purse size for use on the go.  (Tip: hairspray is not the same as a setting spray)


To apply your setting spray, make sure your eyes and mouth are closed and you have a good distance between the spray and your face. Wait 30 seconds before opening your eyes.

7.    Touch ups. As much as we wish it was, makeup isn't ever totally life proof.   You need to make sure you maintain it. If it’s a hot day or night and you’re sweating, use a tissue to blot down. If you are a crier, use a folded tissue or handkerchief and catch the tears before they hit your face. A cotton tip or two in the purse can come in handy for mascara mishaps. (Tip: continually layering on pressed powder isn't a great way to maintain makeup. Tissues and oil blotters work just as well and wont leave you ghostly.)


With these tips, you are well on your way to long lasting and fresh makeup. What other tips can you offer?  

How to Choose the Perfect Wedding Makeup Artist



You’re getting married! Congratulations. All the champagne has been drunk and the date has been set. You have your venue and photographer and are ready to start planning the smaller details.

Every vendor in the wedding process is important. We all make up the perfect daisy chain that helps your day run smoothly. One isn’t necessarily more important than the other (although quietly I think dress and venue maybe trump the rest of us) and if you have the right businesses in place, your wedding day will be perfect.

If you're in Sydney you can book me here but if not, here are some things to think about when making the decision.

Word of Mouth

If your cousin Suzy had the best makeup artist ever and you’ve seen the pictures and loved them, then get in there and book that trial. Word of mouth is a great way to choose your artist. Advertising is great, but if you have a recommendation it could just be the insurance you need. If you've already booked your photographer ask them who they recommend as a great makeup artist makes their job easier too.

Nicola is an incredibly patient and talented makeup artist. My makeup was flawless and I felt absolutely beautiful
— Suzanna

Social Media

Places like Instagram and Facebook are great places to find artists. If you find an artist in your area and love their work then contact them for a trial. Be aware that not all pictures are raw and a lot have been manipulated with filters or blurring tools. This is when having a trial is priceless as you can know for sure they are right for you. You will pay a premium for artists that have a large number of followers as they will be in high demand but it doesn't always guarantee they are the right artist for you. 

Behind the Scenes

Sometimes we forget that makeup artistry is a profession and not just playing with pretty makeup. Find out; Do they have a great website? Do they advertise?  Is it easy to contact them?  Is it their full time gig and do they have professional practices in place?

If you contact an artist and they have very little in place to protect you and them, be careful. Most reputable makeup artists will have terms and conditions for you to agree to, as well as booking forms to complete. You should expect to pay for the service in advance and there should be a booking fee or retainer to save your date. There are loads of makeup artists out there who will accept cash on the day which can be great but if you haven’t paid a deposit in advance, you run the risk of a no show on the day.

Trial Run

The trial is a chance for you to not only see their work, but also get a feel for their business practices and personality. Check out the products they are using and the full set up. If their brushes or equipment look dirty then ask how they keep things clean. Make sure they are sanitising hands, brushes and products. Do they use disposable mascara wands or sanitise the wand after each application? Unfortunately there are some dodgy hygiene practices around and the last thing you want is to pick up a nasty cold sore on your honeymoon.

If you like them, book them

Some makeup artists get booked 6-18 months in advance. If you’ve found someone you like then secure the date because if they're good, someone else will. Don’t worry if you change your mind about the style of  hair or makeup, we can make changes easily and all you have to do is ask.  

Share the Love

Finally, if you’ve found a great wedding vendor of any kind, share them! It’s such a daunting task picking the right people for the most important day of your life. Let’s help make it a little easier!

Contact me if you have any questions about my Sydney hair and makeup services or if you need recommendations for any other vendors.