InBeauty, Interview, Lifestyle

5 Minutes with Brittany Stewart, Beauty Podcaster

I’ve been obsessed with podcasts, specifically beauty podcasts for years now and a high point of each week is episodes of Beauty Island. Beauty Island tells stories of memories sparked by beauty products, which is hosted by Brittany Stewart, and personal favourite episodes include interviews with Kathleen Hou, Paula Joye, Sarah Humphries, Stephanie Darling, Kristen Carriol and Lisa Patulny to name just a few!

Brittany Stewart is an award-nominated beauty podcaster, journalist and copywriter. She’s the founder and host of award-nominated podcast, Beauty Island, and writes a regular beauty newsletter called It’s A Beauty! Her published work includes The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, news.com.au, Mamamia, Adore Beauty, The Australian, The Times (UK), Oz Hair and Beauty and Beauticate. Find her @britttanybeautybts.

The questions that Brittany asks allow the listener to really get to know the interviewee, and it’s almost like listening to a conversation between friends who just happen to love lipstick and perfume as much as I do.

With all of that said, I think you’re going to really enjoy this article so without further ado – enjoy!

Where did your love of beauty and skincare come from, has it always been there?

I think about this a lot because it’s partly what inspired my beauty podcast, Beauty Island, as I believe those early memories can really shape how we view and feel about beauty. For me, I can trace some of my earliest memories to my Mum. Unbiased view: she is one of the most stylish and glamorous people I know. She never leaves the house without her hair done and sporting a bright red lip. I remember sitting on her bed when I was little watching her get ready. She’d always use a YSL red lipstick (one of which I have kept for sentimental reasons!) and leave with a spritz of perfume – I think it was Chanel Chance. It really was a ritual.

Since then, it’s really in the last decade that I’ve developed a passion for beauty that has turned me from a just a consumer into it becoming part of my career. I can be a bit of a magpie – ooh shiny! glitter! fancy packaging! – but I’ve become much more discerning in the last five years as I consider the other factors in beauty besides the material things, such as the cultural, environmental and mental implications of the wider industry. I love that the impact of makeup is instant, but I appreciate the science and research and power of skincare much more than I used to.

What are your favourite skincare ingredients, and why?

I have quite dry skin so I love anything with hyaluronic acid as my skin responds really well to it. I’m also quite partial to chemical exfoliants like AHAs and BHAs. They were also some of my first ‘proper’ ingredients in fancier skincare or that I really studied to understand why and how they worked or were suited to my skin, so it’s a bit of a soft spot, too. For anyone who’s a bit nervous or intimidated by all the talk of retinol and more aggressive acids, these are great entry level ingredients that make a noticeable difference.

What are your favourite beauty treatments?

I have long, curly hair so I love treating myself to a professional blowdry at places like The Blow. I love my curly hair, but it’s nice to sometimes have something a little sleeker. (Also I’m a sucker for a scalp massage.) If I had an endless budget (one day!) I’d never wash my hair myself! I don’t do it religiously but I do think a lash lift or eyelash extensions can feel truly transformative and save so much time in the morning. I’ve had them done a few times and could see myself getting addicted to them. Home-wise, I love a luxurious bath or shower using the ‘fancy’ products in my cupboard and doing a hair mask – Philip Kingsley Elasticizer does wonders for my hair.

In regards to skin therapists and dermatologists, whose opinion or knowledge do you trust and believe in?

As a beauty journalist, I’m lucky enough to have spoken to hundreds of beauty experts over the years. Some of my go-tos who I’d trust my life with (or at least my skin!) include: 

  • Dermatologist Dr Shyamalar Gunatheesan. Incredibly knowledgeable and always explains things in such an accessible way. Talking with her is like a lightbulb going off in your head.
  • Dermatologist Dr Leona Yip – again, makes complicated skin things seem much more understandable.
  • Melanie Grant – skin expert to the stars (for good reason!) and someone I love speaking to for stories. 
  • Michelle Wong (Labmuffin Beauty Science) – More of the science background but her facts only, no-bs reviews and explainers on all things skin are brilliant. 

What are your thoughts on botox and fillers?

It’s a really interesting one. I know so many people (who you might not expect/realise!) who get botox and fillers and I’ll admit; they look great. I’m firmly in the camp that you should be able to do what you want to your skin without judgement. Do what makes you feel good – and if that means getting botox or fillers, then good for you. But I think, particularly if you’re someone in the public eye, you have a bit of a responsibility to be open about it rather than claiming that the results are all down to Mother Nature or some miracle face cream. Because no topical product will achieve the same results as injectables. Despite what the label promises. But it can be so easy to forget that.  

On a deeper level, however, I also know these desires to look a certain way don’t happen in a vacuum. And I do worry – and know from my own experience – how easy it can be to get caught up in thinking that there’s something wrong or needs fixing because you don’t look like that naturally. So I think the reason you’re doing it comes in to play as well. If you’re going to the right person (qualified, experienced etc) with the best results we shouldn’t really be able to tell – other than you look like you’ve had a week of eight hours sleep!

Personally, I’m absolutely terrified of needles so I can’t see myself getting any for cosmetic reasons any time soon!

What would you like to try next; product, service or treatment?

Because we’ve been in lockdown, it’s been less about new things and more about having all the things I love again: a massage, a pedicure, a blowdry. I’m in Melbourne so hairdressers are all booked out for months – so I’m excited to finally get my hair cut and coloured again! 

Of treatments I haven’t had before, I would love to try treatments at either Venustus in Sydney or Herbario in Melbourne. They’re both places my guests regularly rave about on Beauty Island. So Valli’s Signature Treatment at Herbario and a massage/treatment at Venustus are absolutely on my beauty bucket list!

I’m also excited to try and focus more on innovative Australian-made brands. The other side of my job is copywriting and strategy for predominantly lifestyle brands so I’m always on the lookout for brands that are truly doing something new and exciting rather than a carbon copy of what already exists. 

What is your favourite beauty magazine, and/or who are you listening/watching to in podcasts, Instagram or Youtube? 

So many! I love the beauty content that people like Gemma Watts, Ali Whittle, Rowi Singh, Hannah English, and Flex Mami create on Instagram. Also Jessica Defino who’s a beauty reporter that really challenges the industry for a different lens on beauty.

The only magazine I still buy regularly is British Vogue, but online I enjoy the beauty coverage by The Cut as it balances smarts with shiny things.

For podcasts: Beauty Island, Glow Journal, All Bases Covered, That Beauty Podcast, Beauty IQ Uncensored, On Reflection with Funmi Fetto. A more recent discovery is Beauty Is Political – I love how and what they cover within the beauty sphere.

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