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  • InBeauty, Features, Lifestyle

    5 Minutes with Jose Bryce Smith, founder of Original & Mineral

    Jose Bryce Smith has amazing hair. That relaxed wave with some dark roots peeking through gives me the ultimate Cali cool-girl hair vibes, and now I know what products she uses – I too am a little closer to achieving this, right? Probably not as I’m extremely uncoordinated especially with a hair tong – I have burns to prove it! – but either way, I really enjoyed speaking with Jose about her business, her beauty secrets and her morning routines.

    Once a Vogue Beauty Editor’s ‘best kept secret’, Jose Bryce Smith is the original pioneer of ammonia free hair colour in Australia, and the Founder / CEO of clean luxury haircare company, Original & Mineral (O&M). Her haircare line is a powerhouse, stocked across the globe and responsible for the expert colouring and five-free formula of O&M aficionados across 15 countries and several continents.

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

    Growing up my mother and my grandmother were always into organic and natural in food and skincare, when other kids were having chocolate, my mum bought me yoghurt raisins and we were never allowed sugary drinks. She brought me up to be concerned about chemicals and although I loved beauty, I always looked for the cleaner, more natural products.

    What are your favourite O&M products and why?

    I have very fine hair and so I love Fine Intellect shampoo and conditioner as it has lilly pilly which acts like natural collagen and plumps my hair and then I can’t live without Atonic, which is our thickening spray. Project Sukuroi is another, which is our gold smoothing balm which I use on my blonde blow dried ends and I rarely leave the house without Desert Dry which is the perfect mix between dry shampoo and texture, it makes my hair go from flat to fabulous in seconds.

    What are your favourite skincare or haircare ingredients, and why?

    I love macadamia oil, coconut oil and argan oil, they are so smoothing and repairing. I have always done a lot of heat styling and colouring with my hair and it’s about protecting it whilst still living my life and staying blonde. Its so brilliant that natural oils can replace synthetics now.

    Tell me about your hair history, has it been ever evolving? 

    I’ve always been passionate about my hair, I had long hair when I was young and pretty much I’ve had every style from a short crop to a perm, black to blonde and for a decade I had a signature haircut which was a blunt fridge and platinum blonde – that was my trademark. Now in my 40s I’m a bit more relaxed and I am into beach waves for day and glamorous waves for night! For most of my life I have been blonde apart from a few times where I got persuaded to try something different, it never lasted long!

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

    We are always testing new products and so I am very lucky that I get to try lots of whizz bang ingredients – I’m obsessed with clean and I drive chemists crazy with my desire to take out chemicals whilst still delivering performance. For me it’s always about volume, give me anything with volume and I’m a happy girl!

    What do you do when you have a moment for #selfcare, maybe a wellness ritual or something? 

    I’ve learnt over the years that for me my morning ritual is critical for setting me up for a successful day. I wake up early, generally around 5.30am and I meditate for 10 minutes. I then have a breathing routine (5 mins) and then I do EFT tapping which is clinically proven to clear blockages, then some kind of exercise – right now, a lot of walking! And during that time I plan out my day, I find that meditation is the best for creating space and allowing new experiences to come in and the breath is so good at grounding, I have a lot going on and so I try to do things that keep me in my body and out of my head. I also love to relax at night in an Epsom salt bath I do several times a week.

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

    I love Vogue UK and Allure, both which have the perfect mix of beauty and fashion. I’m a podcast and Audible addict so my playlists are never ending and always changing, I’m currently loving Hillary Kerr’s Second Life and UnStyled by Christine Barberich, and have recently also started listening to Behind the Beauty with Bobbi Brown. Some of my Instagram faves include CredoBeauty, WWD and WWW.

    May I ask what’s next for O&M, anything exciting in the works? 

    We are focused on our global expansion, the O&M tribe is growing around the world through the best hair salons, we are in 15 countries and we have several more planned for the end of this year. We also spend a huge amount of time and money on research into clean haircare and we are evolving and constantly looking at ways of reducing harsh chemicals in haircare of the O&M brand. Therefore, we will continue on our mission and we have some exciting new products coming out …

  • InBeauty, Features

    Everything You Need to Know About Brow Rehab

    Brow Hub was established by owner operator Gabby O’Sullivan in January 2015. The private specialty eyebrow studio, located in Perth Australia, was created to service customers seeking quality & personal brow styling.

    With over 10 years experience, Gabby’s highly sort after techniques has resulted in a rapidly growing clientele from all over Australia. ​The team at Brow Hub are exclusively dedicated to individual & freehand styling & one of Australia’s leading innovators in brow grooming.

    Gabby: “I was very happy when Emily asked me to write about brows! As you can imagine, having the opportunity to share my passion got me thinking about the number one issue many brow studios face: the re-education of clients. Since the ‘Instagram brow’ became famous, it hasn’t left the regular girl, let alone poor brow stylists, with much hope. Since breaking out of the 1990’s, the bold brow of today has been a hard standard to reach, trying to recreate something that is most often photo shopped or filled to an inch of it’s life with makeup. Many who fell victim to the Drew Barrymore pencil thin brows found themselves in a pickle: how is one supposed to come back from that? So lets talk about brow rehab!”

    The idea that everyone can grow their brows back is just nonsense. Nothing pains me more to hear of beauticians taking advantage of clients by selling thousands of dollars worth of lotions and potions to grow their brows (true story). A dead follicle cannot be revived & there has to be a point when someone intervenes to tell the truth. My aim is to put things into perspective so that ladies can make educated decisions about what is best for them, what the process of brow rehab involves, what the reasonable time frame is to wait, and what results to expect over time. 

    Firstly, anyone who has over-waxed or routinely tweezed and threaded his or her brows for a long period is at a higher risk of follicle damage. Combine this with the unavoidable decrease in hair growth as one ages, it becomes next to impossible to recover fuller, youthful brows. Yes, improvements can be made, but this is entirely dependent on the individual. Several widely varying factors come into play, including hormonal influences, follicle condition, age and genetics. 

    So what is follicle damage exactly? It usually involves weakened hair, dormant or permanently destroyed follicles that no longer produce new growth. Sometimes one bad wax is all that it takes for follicle damage to occur and this is why I’m an advocate for seeking professional help.

    To understand the extent of follicle damage and to see what advancements can be made, I believe everyone needs to go through brow rehab. A process that requires a commitment from the client, as well as a knowledgeable & patient therapist. The younger the client, the more achievable brow recovery is. If you have recently damaged your brows or want to stop over-shaping them, my advice is to put the tweezers down & seek professional help! The sooner you stop, the greater the chance of improvement. 

    However, seeking appropriate professional help is crucial. These days many beauticians call themselves brow specialists since the spike in brow-shaping popularity. Any beautician who was taught brow waxing during their beauty course can call themselves specialists, something few of my clients were aware of. Often the quality of teaching at beauty schools is largely outdated and poorly instructed & does not train the therapist in advanced skills. To truly specialise in brows, an extensive understanding of brow anatomy is vital, so make sure you find someone who has a lot of experience or a salon with high standards of staff training. I myself leisurely styled brows for years before specializing. I developed an immense interest and spent countless hours developing techniques, educating myself on the advance understandings of brow shaping, building experience and knowledge before exclusively focusing on brow styling. I would say the more difficult your brows are to tame, the more important it is finding someone with experience over popularity, so no random beauty salons! 

    Anyway back to brow rehab now…

    During Phase 1 of what we call brow rehab, we ask clients to go cold turkey with removing hair. Despite my initial opinion as to whether the brows will grow, the aim of this phase is to see progress through two entire growth cycles. The growth cycle is on average 2 months depending on your age, genetics, health & other varying factors. Over 10 years of dealing with brows, I have noticed the first growth cycle can be severally weak and predominately caught in the telogen phase. The telogen phase is the resting phase where the hair is not actively growing. It can take a while for the brow to forget the trauma of over shaping & will require time to recover a normal growth cycle, hence allowing further recovery time.

    During Phase 1, I recommend clients start using brow conditioners. These products contain vitamins and minerals that promote hair restoration. Certain peptides contained in serums will help hair to rebuild & will activate dormant follicles, & to increase activity in the Anagen phase.

    I suggest all clients use this for at least 4-6 months while they continue through two growth cycles. We recommend PONi Cosmetics Lash and Brow Serum, Talika Eyebrow Conditioner or the LiBrow Serum; these products have produced the best improvements in our studio. If you haven’t tried hair-boosting serums, do this before deciding your hair follicles are dead, if they are dormant you will be in for a nice surprise. So all in all, Phase 1 lasts on average 4-6 months.

    A question I often get asked is, do I need brow shaping during this time? If you have very fast growing hair, or can’t resist tweezing, we suggest coming back every 2-3 weeks for a tidy. We don’t want clients being tempted to tweeze and we find this relieves the issue. If you’re a serial tweezer this will certainly disrupt the growth cycle, meaning you won’t get as long out of your waxes. We want our clients to get their monies worth, and to have re-growth free brows for as long as possible.

    If your hair grows slow we suggest stretching the visits out to 4-8 weeks, or better yet coming back in 5-6 months if you can deal with unruly brows!

    If you don’t let the brows recover, you will never know what growth they are capable of. If there is improvement you know the client has active follicles and this is an extremely encouraging sign! Always take photos. The difference may be slight, but the evidence will be documented. 

    So what’s next? Phase 2, this involves assessing the brow condition and making an educated decision on how to continue. If we have zero improvement after Phase 1, then it is time to discuss further options such as brow tattooing, shaping the brow in an alternate way to reduce the roundness if the client suffers from hook shaped brows, or spending more time educating on how to fill the brows with product. This is a mutual decision and I make it with my client, it’s their face & their decision.

    The truth of the matter is if the brows experience no improvement during Phase 1, it is very unlikely the brows will grow enough to warrant any significant change in shape. Allowing a client to believe that continuing to spend an excessive amount of money on products to restore dead follicles, or to magically grow follicles, is simply irresponsible. To grow a hair we need a hair follicle, more importantly, one that is not dead.

    However, Phase 2 is where many therapists go wrong. During this phase, little translucent hairs start popping through, or hairs that are yet to properly develop, and many therapists fail to recognize this as a positive part of the process. Not being able to identify active growing hairs & giving up is far too common. Patience must prevail.

    Brow rehab doesn’t happen overnight, if I am seeing small improvements I will tell my client it could potentially take 12 months for their brows to recover. Yes, it’s a long time, but it is also the truth. More often than not after brows have fully recovered, clients may find areas of weakness or patchiness than can be an ongoing problem. Unfortunately this is due to follicle damage, and from my experience this may tend to remain or intermittently appear at different stages during your growth cycle.

    Phase 2 is all about identifying change and knowing how to spot hair follicles that are trying to rejuvenate, mixed with more patience, a dash of patience and a big side of patience…

    It’s a rather simple process that is dependent on the extent of damage, and unfortunately brow specialists cannot promise or predict a fast and positive outcome. I can however, assure you that it’s worth doing! The amount of clients who come to me convinced they would see no growth, or told their brows would not grow back, is simply outstanding.  No matter what age or extent of damage, give it a go! If you still need some convincing, any good brows studio will take time to consult with you and diagnose your brow situation. The slightest bit of improvement can be enough to change someone’s confidence & to create easier to manage brows.

    You have nothing to lose, only hair to gain!

    Gabby Sullivan | Owner of brow hub

     35/145 Stirling Hwy, Nedlands

    Western Australia

    Facebook | Instagram

  • InFeatures

    What’s In My Beauty Cupboard with Amy Chang

    Amy Chang is the founder and editor-in-chief of BOND EN AVANT; a luxury beauty blog that covers such topics as – plastic surgery, cosmetic and beauty trends, product and spa reviews and interviews with inspiring women in beauty. Let’s be friends! Say hi on Instagram or Facebook!

    As a beauty blogger for BOND EN AVANT, I am constantly testing out new skincare and makeup products. This means my routine changes every couple of weeks.

    Trying new products is so much fun, but sometimes my skin hates it (and me) and decides to breakout or get red and irritated. (Usually, when I have a special event. Ugh!) I have sensitive and dry skin, so it’s a constant battle. But one product I’ve discovered and I’m obsessed with that helps with this is Lotus Moon Cherry Blossom Healing Soothe. The Willowbark Extract in this balm has been found to reduce inflammation as effectively as 1% hydrocortisone cream! I apply a thin layer of this balm when my skin is irritated all over at night and wake up to calm, clear and bright skin. It’s my lifesaver.

    In the morning, I first wake up and just splash my face with water and take my dog, Cheddar, out for a thirty minute walk. We live along the beach in Pacific Palisades, so I walk him along the coast and take in the fresh air. It’s a great way to wake up.

    When I get home I start my morning beauty routine.  Currently, I’m using Therapi Honey Skincare’s Orange Blossom Gel Cleanser. I massage it all over with a konjac sponge for a little gentle exfoliation. I used to use a Clarisonic brush, but it started to irritate my skin and made my chin and nostrils so red!

    Next, I splash a little KOSE Infinity Lotion into my palms and then press it into my face. These “lotions” are really hydrating waters and insanely popular in Japan. They create moisture barriers on the skin. You layer the “lotion” with your products. So, I’ll apply the KOSE One Moisture Serum and the KOSE Infinity Moisture Serum and then layer more of the watery “lotion” on top of each layer.

    I have found this Japanese layering technique to be amazing at keeping my dry skin hydrated. I live in California and the desert dryness and low humidity make it a death trap for my skin. I’m always fighting to retain moisture.

    I’ve been testing out a lot of masks right now, so my skin is a little irritated, which is why I’ve been using the Lotus Moon Cherry Healing Soothe both morning and night. So I’ll rub a little bit between my fingers (a tiny bit is all you need) and then press it all over. Followed by whatever SPF I’m testing that week.

    As for makeup, I’m so low-key these days. When I was younger (and a makeup artist for Shiseido) I used to love wearing a full face of makeup everyday. But now, I like to let my skin breathe. And I’m a blogger and nobody sees me since I work from home, so I’m like whatever and go barefaced on most days.

    When I want to take it up a notch on the weekends or if I have a meeting, I’ll use the Tom Ford Illuminating Primer. It makes my skin glow! And it smooths out my pores. I use the Cover FX contour palette and then dust the Honest Beauty Luminizing Powder in Peach on the high planes of my face. I’m Asian with a yellow undertone and it’s the best subtle highlighter I’ve found for my skin tone. I love it! For blush, I’m currently using another green beauty brand called Antonym. To finish it all off I’ll swipe on Tom Ford’s Insidious lipstick.

    The final step of my morning beauty routine ends in the kitchen. I’m a big believer, now that I’m thirty, that healthy, beautiful skin is all about what you put into your body in addition to what you put on it. So, I’m crazy about my supplements.

    Every morning I mix hot water with lemon juice and sip on that while I prepare my breakfast. I eat the same thing every day: An organic kale, blueberries, chia seeds, collagen powder and distilled water smoothie. I’ll use it to wash down my supplements: calcium, fish oil, ashwaganda and astaxanthin. And I’ve also been taking placenta pills I picked up in Japan.

    Placenta is huge in Japan! It’s THE beauty ingredient of the moment. Studies have found that the growth factors, amino acids and enzymes in placenta have insane anti-aging benefits and speed wound healing. Since taking them, I’ve noticed the skin on my hands is so much smoother with less discoloration. (It’s the one area I’m super insecure about and freaked out about aging since I used to be a smoker, so the improvements have made me a placenta believer!)

    -Amy Chang

  • InBeauty, Features

    What’s in My Beauty Cupboard with Sarah Baker

    Sarah Baker is the founder of innovative new lash brand, SARAH JEAN, which introduces the world’s first party eyelash adhesive. The products are changing lash application at home – for the better. Brisbane based, Sarah is a down to earth and energetic business woman who lives by the ethos ‘if you give up, you didn’t want it bad enough in the first place’. True to this she’s passionate about her work, staying healthy and of course looking her best.

    Sarah, I’d love to know – what’s in your beauty cupboard?

    Where do I start…?!

    It’s my destiny to have ended up in the beauty industry. Whilst I don’t have a background in beauty despite creating a world first eyelash product, SARAH JEAN, I have always loved makeup and beauty. I am open to trying new brands as they’re recommended to me or I see them while researching….so as a result, I have a makeup and beauty cabinet (and drawers and shelves) overflowing with products….but doesn’t every gal? I do however, have a few trusted staples.

    Cleansing routine

    I cleanse twice a day and at the moment, I am using Skinstitute. In the evening, I cleanse twice. If it’s not too cold, I’ll finish the shower with a cold rinse. I use the Simplicite Rosehip Lavender Complexion Refiner which is an intense and pore cleansing mask.

    Face…creams & coverage

    My go to products are the Simplicite Sage Face Oil. I have been using it for years. I know people can be turned off by face oils, especially living in a humid climate like I do in Queensland, but it’s truly hydrating and the Sage Oil is full of skin-nurturing goodness.

    I don’t need a lot of coverage, so for me, the Sage Oil is a perfect base for my Ministry of Mineral Makeup Australia (MOMMA) BB Cream. I’d never used a BB Cream before, but this is my daily beauty essential. Like Simplicite, it’s also an Australian brand (which being a new Aussie brand myself, I do my part to shop and support local brands). Using the oil with BB cream together creates a beautiful, dewy finish, which I prefer over a matte, powder finish.

    I have just started using a concealer under my eyes…pfft where did those bags come from? Again, MOMMA’S Velvet Finish Mineral Cream Concealer does the job and a little bit goes a long way.

    I am probably a bit naughty as I don’t always use a moisturiser over the top of the Sage Oil. The Damaske Rose Day Cream again by Simplicite is lovely but since running out, I haven’t topped up. I will in the cooler months!!

    For evenings or a special occasion, I’ll swap the BB cream for Emani Hydra Wear. It’s still a light coverage so not too heavy and it’s also vegan friendly. For highlights and blushes, I swap between the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Blush Bronzer Highlighter Illuminator palette and MOMMA’S Mineral Blush in Brilliant Rose or Sunkissed Glow…if aiming to create a bronzed look on a sultry summer’s night.

    Enhancing eyes

    For perfect lashes, SARAH JEAN of course. They’re easy to apply and remove with my world first, nifty eyelash adhesive and tweezers. And also light weight, comfortable and cruelty free! Then it’s back to MOMMA for the Waterproof Precision Eye Liner Pen – amazing. The pen style applicator is great for drawing on the perfect winged liner. It claims to be semi-permanent, waterproof and smudge proof and let me say, it is! If I want a smokey eye, I’ll add this first, then apply a dark brown or black eyeshadow over the top, smudging the liner a little before it sets. Then to finish, I re-apply the liner – it creates a sexy, smoky eye with depth and that doesn’t smudge!

    For mascara, I’m not loyal (dare I announce!). I have used them all…Diorshow, Model Co, Emani…too many to list. I’m constantly asked by my customers to introduce a mascara to the SARAH JEAN collection but it would have to be outstanding since the mascara market is saturated. But never say never.

    While I have just five lash styles in the SARAH JEAN range, there’s a style for every occasion. From subtle, easy to wear (SJ001) through to vintage beauty (SJ002 or SJ005) to modern day chic, perfect for parties and events (SJ004), mascara’s not necessary for thickening my lashes as I let my falsies do it for me!

    For lovely lips

    I’m super excited to say I have done a much needed clear out of my lipsticks. I have opted for Shanghai Suzy, collecting what seems like, at least half of the collection! My favourites at the moment are Miss Fiona Grapefruit Martini, 70’s Collection Dusty Rose and Miss Louise Peachy Nude. There really is a colour for every look and mood. The chicki-babe who runs Shanghai Suzy is also a fellow Australian and the lippies are creamy and long-lasting. At risk of sounding like I am paid by MOMMA (and Simplicite for that matter!), I have a couple of their Vegan Shea Butter & Jojoba Mineral Lipsticks too that are equally as long lasting and without the nasty filler ingredients.

    Body, hair & nails

    I LOVE Pure Jali Organics’ Lemon myrtle & Fragonia body lotion and their shampoo and conditioner. It’s for sensitive skin but really, it’s a great range overall that smells amazing while being free from all the chemical nasties; it’s also vegan and Australian made!

    I’m terrible at styling my hair…I’ll be lucky to create curls with a straightener that are kink free, but I can still scrunch and spray with the Kevin Murphy Session Spray to create some body. I didn’t think there was much difference between hairsprays but this one is unlike any I have used before: light yet holds really well.

    Lastly, I’m also not too diligent with caring for my nails but when I do, my go to nail range is Gloss & Co. Also another Brisbane brand, they have an amazing range of colours, are free from the typical nasty chemicals and I find it to be gentle on my nails, which are very thin and break easy. 

    But what matters the most is staying healthy as what’s on the inside, shows on the outside. While being quite active, and having an active childhood, my parents drummed it into to us the importance of wearing a sunscreen and hat when outside. So thankfully I have always practiced this. I also think having a positive mindset is the difference between looking good and looking amazing. When you’re happy and positive, it reflects in everything you do. Plus frowning causes wrinkles and who wants that!

    ADORE you Sarah, thanks for giving us a peek into your beauty cabinet!

  • InBeauty, Features

    Adorn Cosmetics’ Briony Kennedy’s Shares Her Skincare & Makeup Routine

    “As the founder of Australian Beauty Icon, Adorn Cosmetics, taking care of my skin and looking after my appearance is paramount, however it needs to be simple and never at the cost of our beautiful ‘furfriends’ (read more here). Everything I use must be multipurpose, cruelty free, have a refill option where possible and have as minimal impact on our environment as possible. To have great looking skin I use only the best quality colour cosmetics and skincare on my face, as both are synergistic to having healthy glowing skin! A good skin care routine does not have to be complex, but rather work for your skin type and be adhered to daily.  Yes daily – to avoid the build-up of dirt, grime, pollution and dead skin cells to name a few of the yucky things that cause havoc to the health of our skin. No matter how tired I am – and I have 3 young boys so let’s face it, I am always tired!-  I will always cleanse, treat and moisturise my skin both morning and night.”

    “At the end of each day, I wash my face with Adorn’s absolutely amazing Organic Jujuba Cleanser.  After many, many years of personally suffering deep congestion this gorgeous smelling gel cleanser completely cleared those annoying bumps up.  I cleanse once of a morning and twice to remove makeup of an evening. This cleanser thoroughly takes all my make-up off without stripping my skin and doesn’t aggravate my sensitive skin. I use Adorn’s organic Rosehip Oil to remove my eye makeup.

    I spray Adorn’s Bulgarian Rosewater Mist all over my face after I’ve finished cleansing as serums and moisturisers penetrate the skin better when the skin is still slightly damp. And since Adorns minerals are water resistant, I also use this gorgeous mist during the day over the top of my makeup if I feel my skin needs a bit of a ‘pick me up’ to keep it feeling fresh and looking hydrated.

    Of an evening I alternate products based on what my skin needs that day, therefore apply either Adorn’s Anti-aging Night Lotion or our new Anti-aging Night Repair Facial oil to my face and neck. As hands show ageing I also apply these products to the backs of my hands!  Of a morning I also alternate and this will depend on what my skin needs and the makeup type I will be wearing. Most days I will apply Adorns popular Hydration+ Skin Primer and Day Moisturiser. I love this as it is a 2 in 1 product and saves time! If I am feeling a little dehydrated I will apply Adorns new Antioxidant Super Food Facial Oil for a real skin boost. Of an evening I always always apply our Vanilla and Coconut Lip Balm to keep my lips super hydrated.

    Essentially my basic skincare routine never waivers, but since skin is our largest organ and is forever changing I will sometimes add or swap products around for more targeted results when I’m feeling my skin needs that extra bit of help. Once a week I will give my skin a detox by applying Adorn’s Luxe Pure French White Clay for 10 mins, and I especially love this product before a night out as it really tightens and firms the skin, leaving my skin looking more youthful – and who doesn’t love that!”

    “My makeup is always really simple and natural looking. For daytime make up I use Adorn’s;

    – Anti-aging Loose Mineral SPF 20+ OR the Oil Free Foundation in Medium Olive mixed with our new Sheer Glow Liquid Illuminser for absolutely beautiful healthy looking skin.

    – I apply concealer under the eye area gently patting with fingertips as I feel brushes and foundation are too harsh for this delicate area,

    – Milan Bronzer for a quick contour around my hairline and cheeks,

    Cream Blush in Joie De Vivre on my cheeks,

    – Chubbi Eyeliner in Smokey Quartz or Amethyst smudged for a more natural daytime look,

    – Loose Mineral Brow Dust to frame my eyes and I always use our Lash Primer under Adorn’s Mineral Mascara for longer, fuller lashes,

    – And lastly, my go to for lips during the day is Classic Lip Gloss in Nude or Toffee OR Style Icon Lipstick in Grace.

    In addition to the above, for a more dramatic night time look I will use Adorn’s;

    Hydrating Cream Foundation in Medium Olive mixed with our new Sheer Glow Liquid Illuminser for absolutely beautiful healthy looking skin,

    – Organic Liquid Eyeliner for more definition and Loose Mineral Eyeshadows in Pink Pearl, Invincible and Obsidian for a real easy, natural looking smokey eye,

    And finally for an all over healthy glow, I apply Adorn’s Natures Organic Self Tan which looks truly natural, has no unpleasant odour AND is packed with anti-ageing ingredients for the whole body!”

    Thanks for sharing with us Briony, I love a quick peek in others beauty cabinets! To connect with Adorn Cosmetics, find their social platforms like below and enjoy the weekend gorgeous!

    ADORN COSMETICSWebsite | Facebook | Instagram

  • InBeauty, Features

    5 Minutes with Amy Pierce

    Amy Pierce is the creator of Paint Nail Lacquer, which is a brand that I’ve been familiar with some time, as their Instagram feed drew me in instantly. It’s bang on trend and perfectly showcases their polish shades, right?

    Just recently, I spent some time with the creator Amy Pierce, to learn more about what’s involved in running your own beauty business, with premium polishes that are vegan + cruelty free!

    Hi Amy, how did Paint Nail Lacquer come together?

    Paint Nail Lacquer was born in August 2015, because of my love of colour. I am an interior designer and when I was working on projects and using the paint fan decks I would often find myself wishing I could have this specific shade in a nail polish. From here I combined my passions; colour, design and beauty. Paint’s brand image is clean, minimal and classic with a strong design emphasis.

    I love that Paint is a platform for me to express myself. It brings me so much joy and satisfaction to continually grow and evolve my brand. Not only do I enjoy providing a product to the market, but the process behind the scenes is what I find most rewarding. In particular I love taking the photos, creating a design aesthetic tailored to my personal style and demographic target market, brainstorming new collaborations and art direction for the coming year. Paint really does allow me to be real. It is a creative outlet which I am genuinely so passionate about.

    What does a typical day for you look like running Paint?

    My business is based in my home in Melbourne. I work solely however friends and family help me out by modelling for my reference images which I post on social media. I do still work as an Interior Designer, however this year with the growth of Paint I have stepped back to 4 days to allow time to expand my label.

    A week typically involves sales orders and invoicing, filling orders (wholesale and retail), taking new photos for social media (continually thinking of new ways to photograph my product and the colours in application i.e. lifestyle images) and research for new season colours.

    Where do you find inspiration for your nail shades, and do you have a favourite?

    The collection began with 12 colours in 2015, and now there are 20 shades available.  I have kept the range minimal, consisting of the must have colours of the new seasons. Through interior design I am able to gain additional perspective outside of the beauty and fashion world. I am constantly looking to colour forecasts i.e. Pantone for additional inspiration. I don’t always stick to the typical idea of colours relating to a specific season, i.e spring pastels. I choose colours which I believe to be on trend and transeasonal.

    My personal favourite colours are Amazon Haze, Volcanic Ash and Tuscan Summer.

    What advice can you give to aspiring business owners/ creatives?

    • Action. Don’t overthink an idea too long just begin with action and the rest will follow. I have also found it very helpful to speak to like minded people with similar projects to gain additional advice.
    • Social media is such an amazing tool which should be researched and utilised.
    • Don’t be held back by the fear of making mistakes as these are the most valuable learning tools and often a catalyst to move forward.

    Who are your favourite bloggers/ creatives and why?

    Third Form is an Australian fashion label. I love the minimalist sophistication of their designs, the material colours and textures which act as a canvas to highlight the female form.

    Katia Carlotti is a potter who makes beautiful vessels using a hand built, pinching technique, using reduction fired stoneware. I love the neutral colours in her works and the organic shapes.

    Andy Csinger is a fashion blogger who I love. Her style is clean and casual. She has a very relaxed streetwear look but still very polished. I think she has a similar aesthetic to Paint. Approachable fashion for everyday wear.

    What are you currently working on and any new plans for 2017?

    Currently, I am currently working on a collaboration with a beauty salon called Purely Polished and we are hoping to release our colour in the next couple of months.

    Next, I plan to collaborate with a creative each season. I plan on approaching people from many areas of design ranging from beauty stylists to fashion bloggers and fashion designers, furniture designers, interior designers, artists and even the food/ hospitality industry. I think this broad range of expertise will bring something really unique to my brand.

    Brooke Holm is an Australian/American photographic artist whose work captures landscapes, conceptual still life, considered interiors and architecture. I love her art direction and I think she could bring something really unique and special to Paint. Kirra Jamison is a Melbourne based artist. I have also recently started yoga in a studio called Good Vibes founded by Kirra which is all about good vibes and awesome yoga. She is known for her oversized abstract gouache paintings and silkscreens on paper. Her colour palette is beautiful so I would love to release a colour together!

    Additionally, I also have plans to update my website to allow for more flexibility in the online orders, general branding and packaging material (eg nail polish boxes, personalised cards etc), along with releasing a non-acetone nail polish remover as this has been a regular request from my customers. I would also love to expand my range to include general nail care, gel nail polish and even potentially other beauty products, such as lipsticks.

    Lastly, I’d love to be involved in events/markets such as ‘The Big Design Market’ and ‘Finders Keepers Market’ in 2017.

    Whether you are looking for dark and sexy nail polish colours, and bright fun and summery – Paint can hook a girl up. Enjoy and make sure you check out Paint’s instagram feed too – #kyourewelcome xx

  • InFashion, Features

    5 Minutes with Christina Fowler

    “Hi, I’m Christina!

    I’m a wardrobe stylist by day and a brand stylist at ByStinaFaye during every hour in between. My journey into graphic & web design started a little over 10 years ago and I’ve been obsessed ever since. I’ve taken design courses throughout high school & college, but I pride myself in being mostly self-taught.

    From 2011-2014, my journey took me on a wild ride during my first taste of success with an online store called High Standards—this is where my love for branding was born. Through this life experience, I learned so much through trial & error that I’ve carried on into my venture with ByStinaFaye. Although my business eventually closed, my desire to design & create never subsided. My interests have always wavered between style & design, I’m ecstatic that I’m now able to combine my passions in life!”

    Hello Christina, thanks for chatting with Why Hello Beauty! I’d love to know, what is involved in a typical day designing for creative entrepreneurs? 

    A typical day for me starts with a cup of tea while I review my e-mails. I’m definitely a planner, so I find myself most efficient when I create an agenda of tasks to complete for the day which often involve a lot more than just designing. Aside from my business, I’m also a full-time Stylist for an online retailer. I get to work remotely, so I like to get my day job hours done before I dive into  designing for ByStinaFaye. I usually work about 6-8 hours per day for my job, then take a quick break before pulling another 6-8 hours with ByStinaFaye. Overall, I’d say my days involve a ton of planning, communicating, and creating—it can be overwhelming at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! 

    How did you find yourself a designer, is style an important part of your life?

    Web & graphic design started as a hobby for me when I was a teenager. Social media sites such as Myspace & Xanga really opened the doors to teaching me how to code and customize my own graphics. I planned to make a career out of it, but I was also torn between exploring fashion & journalism. I ended up leaving web & graphic design behind for a few years and started my own online store that focused on trendy reconstructed high-waisted shorts. When that trend eventually fizzled out, I found myself back in design with a ton of experience under my belt to prepare me for my latest venture. Now I feel beyond blessed that I still get to work with fashion while utilizing my design talents. You could definitely say that style is a very important part of my life! 

    Who are the typical people you work with Christina?

    My niche is in fashion but my target market is a pretty broad variety of creatives, bloggers, and entrepreneurs. I work especially well with those with a feminine and/or minimalistic aesthetic. 

    What was/has your favourite design/project of 2016 or even 2017 so far?

    My favorite project of 2016 was definitely my branding & web design project with June & Mars. The focus of the entire project was creating a brand & web design that let her work speak for itself. It was really refreshing to create something clean & minimalistic yet very impactful for the brand. 

    What beauty products can you not live without?

    My top 3 faves in my beauty bag would have to be my Mario Badescu rose water spray, Makeup Forever Duo Mat powder, and my Kat Von D shade & light palette

    What’s on your beauty wishlist for 2017?

    Right now I’ve got major heart eyes for Kylie’s Royal Peach Palette! I’d also love to add more highlighters & peachy-toned blushes to my collection. 

    Thanks for spending 5 minutes with us Christina, I’ve such a crush on designers at the moment and love nothing more than trawling through stylish mood boards On Pinterest of an evening!

    To work with Christina yourself, visit and make sure you follow C on Instagram at @bystinafaye!

  • InBeauty, Features

    A Day in the Life of Emma Dowling, Co-Creator of Organic Index

    Organic Index offers a calm, confident and natural experience through a sophisticated and welcoming environment.

    With a home base in Brisbane, Australia, Organic Index is the result of the shared passion of sisters Rebecca Medcalf, Emma Dowling, and Melissa Krueger that beauty and wellness are inseparable. Combining their business experience, values and world view gained from extensive global expeditions, with a passion for artisan crafted body products, they took the opportunity to work on something they truly believed in to channel their efforts into a unique index of all things good for your skin.

    Organic Index is just that – the embodiment of a little black book that signals the arrival of a new way of looking after yourself – the best selection of exceptionally crafted, natural and organic body products that can make a difference to your skin, your wellbeing and your life. Organic Index is built on a vision to be the ultimate, on-trend collection of natural, organic and crafted body products sourced exclusively from Australia and New Zealand.

    Every day at Organic Index we work towards changing the face of the beauty industry by delivering an unmatched customer experience that brings you exceptional creations. The underlying truth is that if you find a natural, beautiful body product and you love it, you will wear it, and share it.

    Emma says: “This year has been huge for my sisters and I as we opened our brand new business, Organic Index, which is an online and a physical retail store in the Brisbane suburb of Paddington. I have loved stepping up to meet the challenges of founding a brand new business, along with being a mum, partner, sister and friend.  My usual day can look very different depending what the business is calling for, family commitments and even where my energy levels are at on weekends.

    My secret weapon for coping with what life throws up for me in a day is having a very strong morning routine. I am usually awake by 5.30am, up and strolling with my partner and puppy by then. Exercising in morning means I never have to worry about it during the day, it is done.  I am no great athlete but I love walking. I will share a pot of coffee every morning religiously at 6am with my partner and he and I will spend about half an hour connecting, talking and planning till he is leaves for work at 6.30am.  This is our time before our daughter wakes up and the busy-ness of the day creeps in.  

    Following this I have a good breakfast with my daughter. I’ll be the first to admit that I often forget to eat lunch during the day – I get carried away with work – so this is my chance to fuel up for the day. We’ll go over her homework or read before we head out the door for the school drop. Lately we have really been making the effort to walk to school.  I’ll be home by 8.45am and start getting ready for work. I have a very simple morning routine and am currently loving the Miskin Smooth Face Cleanser. This is a cleansing oil but when water is added it turns into a creamy milk texture. I apply it in the shower, massage in and wash off with a clean warm face cloth (these are great for a gentle daily exfoliation and because you can wash them for re-use – environmentally friendly!). A good mist following cleansing is a must for me so in the morning I’ll follow with Mukti Balancing mist toner after I get out of the shower and Mukti’s Age Defiance Day Serum and  Eye serum.  

    My work day starts at 9.30am, I will try not to check with social media or emails (personal or work related) before then unless it has been marked as priority. It has taken a full year for a good solid morning routine but now it is the foundation to my day.  

    My sisters and I work in-store on rotation and the store is open by 9:30am from Tuesday to Saturday. We also have the online store and take pride in ensuring orders are sent (where possible) same day. This means the first thing we’ll usually do after the store is open is to check and prepare order that have come in overnight.  Then answer any emails, check the store’s social media and start unpacking and merchandising any new stock. This is all amongst helping customers that come in store to explore! The store has a really special atmosphere and we are often told by customers that they feel at home there. We love meeting new people and we’re loving the opportunity to develop wonderful relationships with them. We are on a mission to create a beautifully curated and on-trend collection of natural, crafted and ethical makeup, skin and body products focusing on makers exclusively from Australia and New Zealand.

    We want to share the many beautiful alternatives that we all now have available to us. Really, we see our role is about joining our customers on a journey of exploration and education and the best part is that the quality and level of sophistication natural and organic products have reached means that by switching to natural, you are not compromising at all. In fact you are actually “levelling up” as every ingredient included in these products is there because of the benefits it provides, and not for any other reason. There are plans to expand Organic Index with a second store in 2017.

    After a full day in the store, I try to spend my evenings with my partner and daughter. I also have worked out I need early nights to make sure my mornings run smoothly and I can have that time to set up for the day. Self-care isn’t just a weekly mask or a trip to the salon, it’s also about knowing what you need to be your best. After dinner, I’ll wind down and remove my makeup from the day. If we’ve gotten new stock in the store chances are I’ve been wearing a new lipstick or foundation, so it is a must that it comes off before I go to bed. I am completely converted to using oil to remove make-up and I have been using Wildcrafted Organics range for more than six months.  It removes makeup and grime from the day simply, beautifully and smells divine. I apply the cleansing oil just before I jump in the shower and again use a warm clean cloth to remove. I mist and use Wild Crafted Gorgeous serum to complete my night time ritual.  The biggest thing for me is hygiene using oils so having clean cloths in my bathroom is important for me and I believe it is so underrated as a great tip for bathrooms, they are environmentally-friendly (no disposables), they help to exfoliate gently everyday and feels indulgent and luxurious.  

    With my sisters and I in start-up mode for Organic Index and being a Mum, there’s often not a lot of time for just me but I do enjoy reading (I reckon I’d read at least a book a week) and if my partner and I have time off together we’ll often head down the coast as a family to relax and get away”. 

    About Emma

    Emma considers herself an intrepid product explorer and is driven by the discovery of a brand that has real soul and integrity – whether it be food, clothing, accessories, skincare or makeup. Together with her sisters she founded Organic Index in 2016, bringing together more than 50 natural, crafted and ethical makeup, skin and body products focusing on makers exclusively from Australia and New Zealand in the online and physical store. She is inspired by the amount of talent she sees in her travels where people are working to bring genuine care, pride and craftsmanship back into people’s space, life, and that of family, friends and community. Consciously choosing to support and share these brands through Organic Index is her ongoing commitment to her own wellness, family, community and environment.


  • InBeauty, Fashion, Features

    What’s in my Beauty Cupboard with Barbara Kovacevic

    I’ve invited my newest style muse Barbara Kovacevic, or @barbieekay as you may know her from insta, to share what’s in her beauty cupboard, to give us all something extra to swoon over. Plus girl can dress, and no explanation is needed as to why she made the cut in the recent My Favourite Street Style Instagrammers post..

    Barbara says: “My skin care routine usually begins in the evening, before bed; because doing a full routine at 5am in the morning (due to shift work) just isn’t ideal. I usually start by washing my face with hot water to open pores, then rinse with cold water to close them back up. I then use my Clarisonic Classic Sonic Skin Cleansing System (what a tounge-twister!) which is worth every cent! Before buying it, I thought I was cleaning my skin quite well, but I was seriously misled. It removes every bit of makeup, dirt and oil that I miss cleansing with my hands alone. It has improved my skin tone, helped reduce pores and leaves my skin feeling super fresh and radiant. You can use any cleanser but I like to use the Daily Essentials Refreshing Cleansing Lotion by Nivea. Usually after this, I apply Mabel & Meg Lumilixir Serum which contains vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines (because who wants wrinkles in their 20s?!). I swear by it”.

    “My makeup look is usually very natural with lots of bronze tones. I usually use the Brightening & Tightening Complexion Primer Potion by Urban Decay to develop a good base for the rest of the makeup. It has taken me years to find the right foundation but I’ve finally found one that is perfect. Napoleon Perdis Stroke of Genious Liquid Cashmere Foundation is by far the best foundation I have ever, ever used. The coverage is just right so it doesn’t make my face look cakey or shiny – and as an added bonus it has an SPF 20!

    Camera Finish Powder Foundation by Napoleon Perdis is usually something I brush on lightly after the liquid foundation to give my face a matte-like look. When the whole contour craze happened in the beauty world, I couldn’t decide which palette to buy so I opted for a cheap version and stumbled across the Sportsgirl Time to Define Contour Pallete. It is actually so perfect so after various Youtube tutorials I think I have figured out somewhat how to do it. I only use this kit when I’m going to events or in need of a more dramatic makeup look. I also use the highlighting powder from the palette on my cheekbones to give me a healthy glow”.

    “My go-to bronzer is the Sun Bunny Bronzer by Two Faced which I also use as an eyeshadow. I have eyelash extensions so I don’t really need mascara but for a more dramatic look I draw on a cat eye with Revlon’s Colourstay SKINNY eyeliner. I give my brows a little love by using the Hourglass Arch Brow Scultping Pencil. Lastly, lipstick. My two favourites are Napoleon Perdis Mattetastic Lipstick in ‘Sophia’ and Chanel Rogue Allure Velvet in #34“.

    Do you use anything of the above like B, and love them just as much? Share with me in the comments!

  • InBeauty, Features

    A Day in the Life of Camilla Phillips, Beauty Therapist at Beautiful You

    Camilla Phillips is the owner of Beautiful You – Beauty and Nails, in Bellerive Tasmania. Camilla say about the salon name; “I chose the name Beautiful You, because I believe that EVERYONE is beautiful. So many women – and men- dislike things about themselves and focus only on that. But then they fail to see the gorgeous bits and qualities about them that mean so much more. Always choose to be positive! I also believe so much in self care. It is very important for us to take time out and nourish ourselves in whichever way for our mental and emotional wellbeing! I just love that everyday I can help people look and feel so good about themselves. It’s the best feeling in the world!

    camilla1 [ Beautiful You ]

    Camilla: Being a wife, mum of 2 children, and a salon owner means that there is never a day that’s not non- stop! I have come to love it though – it’s how I operate best when I am busy.

    The morning starts with hubby heading out to work at 7.30 leaving us to get all organised and out the door by 8.30am. I like to start my day with a big glass of warm lemon water as it has so many benefits! It leaves me feeling great, boosts my metabolism, and hydrates me for the day. I pack a healthy lunch, and always have my travel mug of tea in hand as I head out the door. Then its school and day- care drop offs.

    By 9.30am my day at the salon starts. Usually I am quite booked up – whether it’s creating beautiful gel nails, doing some waxing, spraying on a flawless tan, or making up a gorgeous face. I get asked all the time what my favourite treatment is to do, and my answer is always the same – every treatment. I love the variety of the day! Every client is different, every client’s needs are different and very specific. I just adore it! No day is the same. I love seeing every different cheerful face coming through my salon door!

    In quiet moments, I use it to my advantage by giving the salon a good clean, updating my social media platforms, and doing bookwork! There is always plenty to be done when you run your own business! I finish my day at 2pm unless I go back that evening for any late night appointments. These are very popular with those that work 9-5. I also work a full day every Saturday, those days always are booked in advance! I then go off to do school and day-care pick up, and do any other errands I need to run.


    [ lash fun ]


    [ making up faces ]

    As soon as we get home, it’s cleaning and getting tea on. Hubby arrives home and we have tea, take the dogs for a walk as a family, and then get the kids bathed and into bed. Then depending on the night, its relaxation time! Most of the time I have appointments to answer and make for clients, and I catch up on my business social media. Then it’s time to switch off, I like to do a nice meditation using an app on my phone, that quietens my mind and gets me relaxed and ready for bed. And then it’s time to do it all again tomorrow!

    Facebook | Instagram

  • InFeatures

    Links I Love

    Another edition of Links I Love, which I haven’t done in a lifetime – right? It’s about time.


    First up, 5 New Yorkers’ Morning After Routines – no explanation required. And thanks to that link, I just ordered myself some Reishi Mushroom from SuperFeast after the glowing skin + internal health reviews I’ve read online… #givemeallthesuperfoods! This article on Maddie Zeigler also intrigued me, because you know I’m all about the pop culture.

    Speaking of acne last week, I was curious to read this link regarding an extensive study of the 42 most popular acne treatments on the market – one to bookmark esp. for my US readers!

    I recently signed up for Violet Grey newsletters, described as the go-to for beauty from LA based celeb makeup artist Nikki Deroest. Oh, and Nikki’s youtube videos are also worth a mention, many products have been purchased after her tutorials – like my baby Maybelline’s Brow Drama!

    If you like Violet Grey, you’ll also enjoy THE FILE, which gives you a look inside the beauty cabinets of style influencers around the world – similar vibes to Into The Gloss from Glossier’s creator Emily Weiss.

    What websites are you lovin’ right now?

  • InBeauty, Features

    A Day in the Life of Jocelyn Petroni, Australia’s Leading Beauty Artisan

    Renowned for her bespoke facials, flawless manicures and beauty treatments, Jocelyn has a passion for nurturing both inner and outer beauty. Applying the same principles of nurturing and self-giving that she encourages her clients to embrace, Jocelyn follows a holistic approach to health and beauty, incorporating disciplines such as reiki and meditation into her treatments.

    Jocelyn has worked on some of the most beautiful and famous faces (and hands) in the world including Miranda Kerr, Megan Gale and Gemma Ward and frequently appears as a beauty expert in publications and media outlets such as Vogue, Harper’s BAZAAR, ELLE and Gritty Pretty. With an unwavering commitment to delivering decadent and personalised treatments, Jocelyn is one of the most celebrated beauty experts in the Australia. In 2015, Jocelyn was appointed as the official nail expert for CHANEL Australia.


    Jocelyn says: “My days are all very different but I like to try and wake up around 6am so I can fit as much into my day as possible. I usually keep to a routine in the mornings, I love my home body ritual where I give myself the care I give my clients all day. I shower and once a week, give my skin a vigorous exfoliation with a homemade scrub made from salt and oil, I always finish with a burst of cold water – my dad taught me the benefits of having a cold rinse off after my shower and to always apply body oil after that shower – body rituals I love and follow every day.

    I’ve been practicing Tibetan Buddhism for eight years and I meditate every morning at my shrine. I actually meditate during facial treatments! Of course I look at clients when I’m analysing their skin or extracting, but otherwise I go by feel so I don’t need to look at my client to do this, it’s intuitive, and happens naturally. I always tell new clients that I do this and to let me know if my pressure gets too firm or if anything is not comfortable, because I’ll be meditating out the window gazing onto the beautiful tree lined Queen Street.

    jp2Breakfast is usually a banana smoothie with protein and maca powder, a banana, chia seeds, coconut water, Udo’s oil and raw cacao powder otherwise I have avocado and tomato on rye toast or sheep’s yoghurt with muesli, LSA, nuts and seeds, Udo’s oil and lots of fresh raspberries and blueberries. I also have a coffee sweetened with a little honey.

    Depending on the day, I might have a full day of treatments for my clients (which are usually beauty editors and celebrities) or have to attend a magazine shoot or even an event. I know it’s sounds cliche but no two days are ever the same and I love that!

    I like to make sure that our team stops and meets everyday so we can focus on what’s coming up for the day ahead, I also like the connection team meetings promote, it’s important that everybody is heard and loves what they do – that’s something I’m very passionate about.

    In the late afternoons and evenings I usually try and answer emails and any media requests for quotes and interviews that have come through during the day. This can be quite time consuming but it’s an element of my job that I really enjoy.

    I also exercise twice a week by running either along Bondi to Bronte as the sun is setting or up around Centennial Park from my home in Paddington, in the early morning.

    Dinner is usually out with friends or a takeaway tofu from my local Vietnamese, Mr T. I try and get to bed by 10:30pm especially when I’m working the next day, a good night’s sleep if really important to me, otherwise I’m not as productive the following day!”


    Facebook | Instagram

  • InBeauty, Features, Make Up

    Maria Kara ‘Essential Seven’ Makeup Brush Set

    I recently had the chance to interview Australian makeup artist Maria Kara to learn more about the ‘Essential Seven’ makeup brushes Maria created after years in the biz, which were recently seen at Vogue Fashion Night Out. The ‘Essential Seven’ makeup brush set, featuring seven essential makeup brushes that you can use to create any makeup look. The brushes are made from high quality, cruelty free natural and synthetic fibres and come in the luxurious acrylic hard case which perfectly doubles as a blending palette. The brushes can be used to apply and create any makeup look including contour, flawless base, smoky eyes, winged eyeliner, full lips, defined eyebrows and much more.


     #BeYourOwnMakeupArtist with the Maria KaraEssential Seven‘ makeup brush set.

    mariak-03v2Hi Maria, congrats on the release of the ‘Essential Seven’! I’d love to know your history, and where you found your inspiration to create the ‘Essential Seven’?

    “While working as a makeup artist, customers would love the look and often wanted to know how they could do it themselves. I would explain step by step, but found that everyone had lots of makeup and few had the right tools to get the look they wanted. When I explained which makeup brushes to use – which could be as many as fourteen or fifteen brushes, sometimes more – customers felt overwhelmed and didn’t think they had the skill to get the look on their own. Knowing that I had already culled my personal makeup set to a select few pieces and wanted to do the same with my makeup brushes. I began to look at creating the perfect set of makeup brushes, everything a girl (or guy) needed to get any makeup look, and versatile so they could be simple enough for anyone with any skill level, to use, which became the Essential Seven. I am very passionate about both good makeup and design, so for me, it was about finding the perfect balance between a set of every day makeup brushes that were super functional and versatile to use, so you would need no more than only a few good brushes. And stylish enough that people would love the look and feel of, and enjoy doing their makeup with”.

    What was your creative process in designing the makeup brushes?

    “Creating the ‘Essential Seven’ took over twelve months and 120 different makeup brushes were sampled in the design phase. Makeup brush sets are usually either natural hair or synthetic, however when we were creating the brushes we found that the softness of the natural hair has the most flawless blending for powdered makeup and the firmness of the synthetic brushes works best with the eyeliner, foundation and other liquid makeup brushes so the set was designed to be mixed. It was also important for us to make sure that the brushes (some made from animal hair) were sourced cruelty-free. It took many months to trial the brushes and make sure that they were as versatile as we wanted them to be and get down to seven that could easily be used to do classic looks all the way to on-trend and intricate makeup details. The final stage was the acrylic hard case. I wanted the brushes to have a stand so that when they weren’t being used they could sit on a vanity or dressing table on their own, and when you used the brushes, the lid of the hard case could double as a blending palette”.

    brushgroupWhat collaborations have you worked on?

    “Recently we took part in Vogue Fashion Night Out, showcasing with a pop up in Pitt Street Mall Sydney. The feedback was overwhelming. We’ve also collaborated with The Daily Edited and Art by Nez. 4”.

    What’s next for 2017?

    “We’re working on taking Maria Kara global for 2017 which will take us to a whole new level; and we’ll also be announcing key stockist early in the year. With that said, we have lots of activity planned in the pipelines that we can’t wait to share!”.

    I can’t wait to keep an eye on what’s next for these pretties and Maria Kara, have you tried these brushes yet? Let me know your thoughts below!

  • InFeatures, Jewellery

    A Day in the Life of Hannah & Rachel Vasicek, Founders of Francesca Jewellery

    Francesca is the fun, fashion-forward jewellery label by young Australian designers and sisters, Hannah and Rachel Vasicek. A melding of two minds and two styles, Francesca is the perfect blend of classic and edgy. Using only the finest quality materials, each Francesca creation is designed and made with the utmost love and care.


    As fellow Tasmanian gals, I decided to bite the bullet and reach out to Hannah and Rachel to ask about a feature and I was ever so lucky enough to spend some time chatting with the lovely Rachel – which I’ve shared below.

    Rachel says: “The beauty of operating a small business means our days are definitely not planned out and we don’t follow any kind of scheduled tasks. It is very much in the moment what needs to be done – do it! Hannah and myself are constantly involved in all aspects of the business, whether it be in store serving customers, integrating and evolving our online store and sending packages, or doing what we are truly passionate about in the business. For myself that means the creative design and marketing aspect of the business and for Hannah it is business development. I’ve shared a typical day for both Hannah and myself below!”.

    RACHEL: So a typical day for me is working on the creative aspects of the business, with coffee in hand after I’ve gone through emails. I am very sporadic with how I go about ticking things off my list, because I get inspired and way too excited at times and drop one job and pick up the next… the girls in the office are constantly laughing at me for this.


    Jewellery design: The highlight of our year for myself and Hannah is definitely when we travel to the World Jewellery fairs in Thailand and Hong Kong to design the majority of our jewellery range. We work with a number of amazing ethical companies over there who specialise in particular jewellery making techniques to bring our customers the highest quality pieces possible – from the chains we choose for our designs to our hand selected stone choices for our stacking bracelet collections.

    Once the collections have been established we set quarterly dates for their release then we will discuss marketing methods for those collections; including campaign shoots, look books and visual merchandising. All of those elements of a collections release come into my day to day planning.

    The annual visits to the jewellery fairs are definitely not enough for my urge to create. A week doesn’t go by where I don’t head into our storeroom and rummage through our bead findings and supplies to create a new piece for our jewellery range. At the moment there has been so much hype over chokers and neckties, so I have been really pushing to create a new design at least once a week for those. Once I have created a prototype and I’m satisfied with the design, I’ll show the team, get their ‘tick of approval’ and then teach our makers how to replicate the design for stock. This maintains the balance between creating and making designs in house as well as having certain items cast.

    Content Creation: Creating content for marketing purposes is definitely one of my biggest jobs! We have a large social media following and feeding them consistent and inspiring content is definitely a huge factor. Content ranges from flatlays in our studio using multiple props, to campaign photoshoots. Photoshoots are definitely something I love doing. Usually I will create a mood board of the look I’ll be going for, I will then style the outfits and lastly go on a location hunt. Once everything is organised myself and our graphic designer Rocky, will shoot, edit and release the content.

    Marketing: Social media is our main advertising platform we use to promote the brand. Once a week I will select a theme for our Instagram account, usually correlating with the photoshoot I have done. When I know the theme, I’ll lay out a grid on my computer of what the week of content will look like, then I will schedule the content for Instagram and Facebook for sponsored posts, targeting the right clientele for that particular image.

    Other methods of marketing that I use to promote the brand is reaching out to high profilers and social media influencers to collaborate. This entails finding ‘on brand’ advocates and sending them pieces to promote on their social platforms. This is a very rewarding part of my role, nothing excites me more than having someone influential to the fashion industry responding with love for the brand, then seeing them wearing the pieces. Recently I reached out to some of the Bachelor girls, Rebecca Madden from the Footy show and model Stephanie Claire Smith, who all loved the brand and were keen to support us.

    At the end of the day I’ve usually used up my creative quota and I’ll start responding to emails.


    HANNAH: I begin the day with a good coffee and tackling emails first – usually about 100 emails make their way into my inbox so I try to clear those or write a note to get back to an email which may take more time to action.

    Next up is usually a team meeting with our full time office team – we strategise for the week ahead, brainstorm email marketing campaign and social media topics.

    After this I usually look over our bookkeeping – this is all done by me so doing a little each day helps keep on top of cash flow and our position daily. Any employee changes or updates are done by me through our accounting system. A huge job is cash flow forecasting and making sure all production and material bills are planned and paid in the right order so capital is used in the most efficient way.  I work on a daily cash flow forecast to ensure we are in good stead financially for the month ahead.

    From here I will go over our production schedules for the next 6 months and make sure I have all running smoothly and there is accurate products and materials for the upcoming collections. New products such as our new watch collection are checked in with progress wise and touching base with suppliers to make sure they are sticking to schedules is frequently required. Every component needs to be thought of from whether we have enough clasps, to beads, stock, packaging and bags.


    After lunch I check in with sales in both stores – making sure we are tracking well and looking at the product mix which has been selling for the week so we know which items are popular and in need of restocking.

    If I have time in the afternoon I usually make time to read some digital marketing articles and try and brainstorm our business development areas which we can work on implementing. Usually I find a good program or app which we may be able to implement into the website straight away and delegate this to our graphic designer.

    Lastly I check over the orders and repairs in the office and see if I am needed to do repairs or special customer enquiries.

    After this I turn back to my emails and the starred emails which need actioning. I check in with all staff ensuring they know which projects need prioritising. Managing a team is quite important so that everyone knows what each member is working on so we work in the right flow together.

    At the end of the day before finishing I look over our sales for the day and ensure we are set for the next day of trading!

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  • InBeauty, Features, Nails

    A Day in the Life of Kirsten Hazell, CEO and founder of London Grace

    “I’ve always loved nails, but it was during my time living in New York that I really fell in love with the mani-pedi experience. Living in NYC on a student budget, I was amazed to find that getting my nails done was an affordable treat that I could enjoy with friends, even at 9pm.

    When I returned to London to start my career in consultancy I was disappointed by the lack of choice of nail bars in the city – the luxury, spa environments were too pricey, but the budget, high street options lacked in style and service. I realised there was an opportunity to do something unique, that offered the best of both worlds. My aim was to establish a branded lifestyle experience with beautiful store environments, high quality products and refined treatments, but at affordable prices. I wanted to transform nail care from feeling like a ‘chore,’ into a fun, social experience by creating a nail bar, coffee shop and cocktail bar concept with late night opening hours”.


    I’ve always loved nails, but it was during my time living in New York that I really fell in love with the mani-pedi experience. Living in NYC on a student budget, I was amazed to find that getting my nails done was an affordable treat that I could enjoy with friends, even at 9pm.

    When I returned to London to start my career in consultancy I was disappointed by the lack of choice of nail bars in the city – the luxury, spa environments were too pricey, but the budget, high street options lacked in style and service. I realised there was an opportunity to do something unique, that offered the best of both worlds.

    My aim was to establish a branded lifestyle experience with beautiful store environments, high quality products and refined treatments, but at affordable prices. I wanted to transform nail care from feeling like a ‘chore,’ into a fun, social experience by creating a nail bar, coffee shop and cocktail bar concept with late night opening hours. Although it’s been a lot of hard work, I’m so proud of how far London Grace has come in just under 2 years. I’ve shared a typical day for me below!

    7am: I absolutely love what I do, so I feel very lucky to wake up each morning feeling excited about the day ahead. I went from working for a large corporate technology company, to creating a beauty brand from my living room, but having a real passion for what you are doing is the best motivation!

    I swear by starting the day with one of my power smoothies (spinach, pear, apple, banana and lettuce blended with ice). I’m a firm believer in eating plenty of fruit and vegetables to keep your hair and nails strong and healthy. I love a to-do list, so I’ll write down my objectives for the day and then reply to any urgent emails before heading off to my first meetings.

    9am: I’m currently on the hunt for new locations to open London Grace, so I’ll meet with our Property Agent, Charlie and look around a few potential units in the city. Next I‘ll head to the flagship store in South West London to catch up with my office team over an Americano – we serve Ozone coffee at London Grace, which is the best!


    10am – 1pm: Once I’ve had an Ozone coffee and a snack (my go-to is peanut butter on oatcakes) I’m ready for my most productive part of the day. I studied Economics at university in the UK and then went on to study Graphic Design at university in New York, so I like a working day that involves using both sides of my brain! I am very hands-on with all aspects of the business and each day is varied. I might spend a few hours working on a lease for a new store with our lawyers, before moving on to designing a postcard advertising our party packages (we host baby showers, hen dos and birthdays).

    When 1.30pm lingers in I am ready for lunch. I’m a vegetarian so I love homemade soups and superfood salads. I’ll take a look at the weekly accounts over lunch to see how each store is performing and then meet with the Management team to discuss the business targets. I’ve experienced the ‘glass ceiling’ effect in previous environments I’ve worked in, so I really enjoy working with talented, ambitious women and encouraging them to grow within the company. One of the Manager’s joined us as a nail technician and worked her socks off to rise through the ranks and a former Barista in the store now works as a full time Admin Assistant in our office team. Not that we are by any means a ‘female only’ workplace, we have a bartender called Louis who works behind the bar and works his magic with the cocktails during our ‘Lacquer and Liquor’ happy hour.

    By late afternoon the store starts to come alive with our group bookings and although nothing beats the sound of hearing clients enjoying pampering and drinks whilst they catch up with friends, it’s not the most productive environment to work in. I’ll head back to my office at home and work through my emails, before taking a few calls from our architect and fit out team to discuss plans for our new central London store.

    7 pm: When I can fit it in, I love to sweat away the stress of the day with a spinning class. My girlfriends and I are very competitive when it comes to getting our names at the top of the leader board.

    8pm: My husband is a car journalist so he’ll pick me up in his latest test drive and we’ll head home to cook a nice dinner together. We’re recently married, so we are currently spending our evenings writing thank you cards and reminiscing over our amazing honeymoon in Bali.

    9.30pm: There’s nothing like a relaxing bath at the end of the day to help you unwind. I add a few drops of calming oil, light some candles and read my favourite magazine ‘The Week.’ My aim is to be in bed my 10.30pm as I’m an 8 hours of sleep kind of woman!

    Kirsten Hazell, CEO and Founder of London Grace

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  • InBeauty, Features, Health, Skin

    A Day in the life of Natalie Sellars, of Kindred Toxin Free Facials

    “After 13 years in traditional beauty, there came a point where I could no longer go on. I needed to take full responsibility for the message I was sending about beauty and for what I was putting on client’s skin. I start work each day excited to educate my clients that the’s another way and that a bathroom full of products does equal beautiful skin!” – Natalie Sellers, Founder, Kindred Toxin Free Facial Studio.


    I’ll have hands on and hands off days each week. The days that are hands off I spend updating my online shop, confirming bookings and all things admin related to the business. I’ll always take 2 days off a week usually a Sunday and Monday to recharge, look after myself and spend time with family and loved ones.

    The days that I work in the studio are jam-packed so I need to be prepared. I make all my meals in advance and bring 3 litres of water with me every day to make sure I’m eating well and staying hydrated. Drinking enough water is seriously one of the easiest things you can do to look after your skin.

    I’m usually fully booked a few weeks in advance which helps me see when I will need to be prepared to the max and I can capacity plan. It also gives me time to ensure during that time I’m taking very good care of myself. As the business is only me I have to ensure I’m healthy and on my game.

    Hands off days usually involve some kind of meeting with a supplier, taking my fiancee to some kind of appointment, or checking out new yoga classes or similar (self care is always a priority), researching new products and the newest wellness trends, and making my food for the upcoming days in the studio.


    So my ‘average’ day in the studio?

    6:30am: I’m an early riser and I’ll jump straight into a morning meditation. A current favourite is Alison Potts Morning Meditation. After this I’ll make a smoothie (almond milk, turmeric, proplenish, prana caramel protein, greens and a few other supplements) and check any orders that have come in overnight, check emails, or reorder any stock I need. I’ll also spend a little of this time packing up orders ready for the courier to pick up.

    8:30am: Jump in the car and three times a week I’ll stop and train with my PT at EAT RUN LIFT. I have fibromyalgia and Beau is great at training with that in mind. After training I’ll grab a coffee and head to the studio.

    10:15am: I arrive to my studio at Inna Bliss in Bulimba. I’ll have a shower and set the studio up for a day of clients. I’ll usually see around five or six clients in a day.


    1:30 – 2:30pm: Depending on what rituals are booked in I’ll try and take lunch around now. If possible I prefer to get out of the studio and sit in the sun for a little bit. I might walk up to a local cafe near the studio that has WiFi, grab a coffee and check emails.

    5:45pm: I’ll take another break around now and have dinner which I’ll bring from home. Usually it is veggies or stirfry. It is all low GI, low carb and dairy free. It has to keep me energised to make sure I am giving the same level facial treatment at 6pm that I do for my first client of the day at 11am.

    7:15pm: I’ll clean up the studio after my last client of the day and depending on how I feel I might stay for a yoga class that is on in the studio I work from. Otherwise I’ll book in for an infra-red sauna or head home.

    9pm: While my studio and non-studio days look a little different, the one thing that doesn’t change is that I’m in bed by 9pm. It is the promise I make to myself and my wellness so I can continue to operate at my maximum.

    Natalie Sellars | Website

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  • InBeauty, Features, Skin

    A Day in the Life of Alexa Mullane, Managing Director of Potion London

    Potion London launched in summer 2016 with a range of supplements promoting ‘beauty from within’. The brand aims to make life easier and take the confusion out of food supplements by offering one-a-day solutions to common nutritional needs; the range has been specially developed by nutritionists to provide the optimum nutritional intake for each particular requirement.

    imag1064 It’s hard to write about a typical day as every single day is so different. That’s one of the things I love about working for myself – if I want to sit in bed and work all day I can (not that I ever actually do this – promise), and if I want to go on holiday at the drop of a hat I can as well (not that I actually do this either but it’s nice to know that I could).

    The most typical day for me starts at 6am when the alarm goes off. I do a couple of social media posts for Potion and then drag myself to the gym. Mornings are my favourite time to exercise because I’m already in a spin or yoga class before I’ve properly woken up and realised what’s happening, and then when it’s over I feel great for the rest of the day. I’m trying to use more natural products to reduce the amount of chemicals I’m exposed to, so I use a home-made coffee scrub in the shower and use coconut oil or almond oil instead of body lotion before getting dressed.

    Breakfast after the gym is usually something like eggs and avocado or a banana and peanut butter smoothie which I prepare while checking my emails and listening to BBC 6 Music on the radio. I will either work from home or take myself off to a café where the gentle commotion of customers lulls me into a deep concentration and stops me from being distracted by that block of cheese in the fridge that keeps calling out to me.

    The morning will usually consist of responding to emails, following up with press, planning ideas for the future and taking online orders to the post office. My company is based in the UK but I’m amazed by how many overseas customers I have. My first ever orders through were from Greece and USA. It’s so exciting to think that people so far and wide are discovering the brand.

    potion-london-beauty-formulaI miss the social aspect of working in an office with lots of people so I try to schedule meetings, or coffee dates with friends most days to keep me sane. I usually arrange meetings in the afternoon – discussing brand collaborations, planning events or having strategy meetings with retailers. The UK department store Harvey Nichols launched the products exclusively when I first started the company, which has been amazing for getting the brand off the ground.

    When I’m travelling to and from meetings on the bus or the tube, I try to use the time productively and read an inspiring book to give me the motivation to keep believing in myself and to stay focused on my goals, or read a book about nutrition. At the moment I’m reading “Gut: the inside story of our body’s most underrated organ” by Giulia Enders. It’s fascinating!

    In the evenings I catch up with friends, go to French lessons, attend industry events or cook a healthy dinner (risotto or thai curry are particular favourites), and if my alarm is set for the gym the next morning I try to get to bed by 10pm (and maybe sneak in a bit of Netflix). The last thing I do before sleep is take the Potion London Collagen Boost capsules to prevent wrinkles and give me baby-soft skin…


    Alexa Mullane | Potion London

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  • InBeauty, Features, Skin

    A Day in the Life of Erica Brooke, Founder of Erica Brooke Skincare

    Erica Brooke, of Erica Brooke Skincare, believes that beautiful and truly natural skin care should not contain things like, parabens, sls, slse, propylene glycol,  phthalates, fragrance, harsh alcohols or GMO’s.

    She believe in keeping packaging to a minimum and that recycling is a must. Unrefined and organic ingredients are best and will always be used when available. She believes in being open and honest with her customers and that multi use products are the best kind of products. She believes in treating her skincare’s ingredients with respect and getting the most out of them.

    Below Erica has shared a typical busy day in her life with Why Hello Beauty’s readers!

    dsc_0118-1  6:00am

    After waking up, I’ll get out of bed and make a hot lemon drink (lemon in hot water). It is my one consistent thing I do for myself each day! After making that, I’ll usually be getting at least one of my daughters, some days both, [Erica is Mum to two girls aged 5 and 3 years] ready for Kindy which includes making lunches, getting everyone to brush their teeth and get dressed. While they’re getting dressed I’ll try and take 20 minutes for myself. Depending on the day I might use that time to give myself a mini facial, I might meditate or read a few pages of whatever book I’m reading at the time.


    I try and drop the girls at Kindy by 8:30am and swing by my local cafe for a coffee. I’ll always try and drink it at the cafe and take the time to check my emails, Facebook and set myself up for the day rather than leaving it until I get home and get distracted!


    I’ll usually try to make the products that require the most attention in the morning. This is usually our range of moisturisers or our newly launched Emerald Elixir, both of which take a lot of concentration, but sometimes I’ll be pumping out our range of natural deodorants which are becoming quite popular!


    Around 2pm I realise I should have stopped for lunch by now and have lost track of time, and I’ll switch to packing any website orders that have come in overnight. I really try and tackle that everyday so that our customers are getting their orders delivered as quickly as possible. I’ll also check what wholesale orders need to be fulfilled and make sure we’ve got enough stock made for the next week.


    I head back to kindy to pick the girls up and head home to get dinner ready, get the girls bathed and ready for bed.


    On a good day the girls have gone to bed and my husband and I get a chance to check in with each other. I’m lucky to have him help out with the business so if it is a busy week he’ll get stuck into the book work for Erica Brooke Skincare while I keep mixing, packing orders or labelling any products. I’ll often make our smaller products at night (masks, the spot sticks or lip balms). I’m really lucky to have a great support network to help if needed. My mum and girlfriends have all been known to lend a hand from time-to-time!


    I’m generally in bed by 11:30pm, sometimes later if there’s a big order to fulfil or pack. I’ve just stopped drinking coffee and hoping that is going to help with getting a little more sleep!

    Erica Brooke | Erica Brooke Skincare

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  • InBeauty, Features, Make Up

    A Day in the Life of Victoria Curtis, Creator of Curtis Collection

    Curtis Collection by Victoria is an Australian owned cosmetics brand created by Victoria Curtis. Having grown up in a family of talented hairdressers, makeup artists and beauty therapists, Victoria’s love affair with all things beauty began at a very young age. During her high school years, Victoria’s first job was in a beauty salon, an environment that she feels at home in to this day.Upon graduating from Swinburne University with a Bachelor in Business Accounting and Marketing, Victoria was awarded a graduate position in marketing with L’Oreal Australia. Her role specialised in the Professional Salon Division and it was during this time that Victoria identified a niche in the market. Her vision was to create a salon specific cosmetics range that would combine the luxury and style of a department store makeup counter with high quality products, ingredients and formulas that would compliment in store beauty services and the salon industry’s skin treating approach.

    Her quest for the ultimate makeup collection saw Victoria travel around the globe sourcing the highest grade of vitamins and minerals, cutting edge formulas and chic sophisticated packaging in order to create what is now known as the Curtis Collection.


    Victoria says: “My husband is a professional soccer player so our alarm usually goes off before 6am as he is off to training at this time! It works really well for me also, as I get my daily work out before the official business day begins. I like to mix my work outs up with a core/pilates program in the comfort of my own home, combined with half an hour of cardio straight after. This is my favourite part of the day and I utilise this alone time to to plan how I will attack the “to do list” that I usually prepare right before I go to bed.

    Following my workout I take a quick shower, cleanse and prepare my skin for makeup! My daily face is all about flawless, hydrated skin with our Curtis Collection Signature Glow. I achieve this look by applying my Skin Refining Face Primer first, as this will ensure that my makeup lasts all day no matter what I plan to do! Next I mix my Matte Perfection Mineral Foundation with Radiant Glow Illuminator to achieve a soft focus effect on my skin with a vibrant glow. I then apply my Airbrush Finish Mineral Concealer under my eyes and along my cheekbones to give my face an instant lift – this is the best way to disguise under eye circles and create volume in your cheekbones.

    I then finish with dusting our Illuminating Bronzer all over my face for a healthy, sun kissed glow. Finally, I fill in my brows with our Brow Creme, add a little mascara and apply my Glam Lipstick to complete the look. If I am attending an event, I amp up my eyes by adding eye liner and some golden and bronze shadows – love a bronzed smokey eye! This is definitely my signature look.

    I then start my business day checking all of my emails and returning phone calls right away. A typical day in the office includes speaking with our retailers, taking new business calls, creating content for our website and marketing campaigns as well as running daily reports on our sales and inventory. I also ensure that the warehouse staff are on top of our orders and that everything is running smoothly throughout the day.

    vc-head-shot2As we have over 250 retails now across Australia in New Zealand, I love to visit them in store personally for product training and hosting in store events with their clients. I normally spend part of the day planning up coming events and trying to fit everything in to my schedule for the month. Most weeks I am at the airport travelling instate. My husband and I feel as though we live there, as he is also a frequent flyer. We try to time our travel so that I can catch one of his games interstate if possible – which is always a bonus!

    At the end of the day I usually log onto our account system Xero which I can not live without! I actually have a degree in Accounting and Marketing so I can’t help but take control of the books!

    Around 6.30pm after a manic day, my husband and I will always go for a quick walk along the Brisbane River and then sit down to enjoy dinner together. I love this time as we are both so involved in the business so we take this time to debrief and share ideas. We then have a tea in front of our computer to discuss business and what we need to action the following day.

    We rarely watch television, however if we have some time to relax at the end of the night we like to watch Ted Talks or anything motivational on our Apple TV.

    If I am away for business, my evenings usually involve hosting a retailer event at one of our Curtis Collection stockist locations. Usually we invite approximately 50 clients and we educate the ladies on the best products for their skin. Curtis Collection is a skin care based makeup brand so it is designed to nourish, hydrate and protect your skin while offering a flawless glowing finish. This is one of my favourite parts of my job as I am so passionate about sharing this message. So many women are unsure about makeup and how to maintain healthy skin while enjoying beautiful coverage, so this is where I come in. I personally give guests make overs and speak with them about their beauty needs one on one.

    During our busier months, you will find me behind the scenes at our makeup shoots or Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney. I love creating the runway makeup looks for some of Australia’s leading designers and their shows – it’s such an honour to be invited to do so every year.

    Following our events, if I am in Melbourne I will always drop by Ichi Ni Nana Izakaya for dinner – it’s the best! In Sydney I love Sake the Rocks or Bondi’s Best! I love my sashimi so I always opt for Japanese!”.

    Victoria Curtis | Curtis Collection

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  • InAccessories, Fashion, Features

    A Day in the Life of Helen McMurdo, Founder & CEO of Elle + Adhira

    Elle + Adhira is a curated collection of bridal and special occasion accessories. Founded on the insight that in the age of online shopping and social media, there is an overwhelmingly huge array of choices for the modern woman – however far too many bridal and special occasion pieces are just, well… ugly! Think poufy veils, jewellery that looks like it belonged in a dress-up box, and gaudy crystal-embellished headpieces – we should be doing better.

    To solve for this, Elle + Adhira presents a boutique collection of accessories, made in collaboration with designers and creators from all over the world.



    I wake at around 6:15am, which is a sleep-in for me because outside of Elle + Adhira, I’m a yoga teacher who teaches a couple of early morning classes each week (which involve a 5am wakeup!). Keeping it totally real here: Before getting out of bed, I flick my phone out of flight mode and catch up on what I’ve missed while I’ve been sleeping. Almost half of our orders come from outside of Australia, so before I even sit up I check three things – our online store platform, to look at sales and traffic overnight; my email; and our Instagram activity. I don’t typically respond to anything just yet – unless it’s vitally urgent, or it’s from a time zone that’s about to end its business day – but getting across the activity first thing helps me feel ready to greet the day. If I don’t have an Instagram post already scheduled, I’ll often push one out now, because early mornings are a peak time for our audience.

    My husband usually walks our dog MJ and makes breakfast (typically a protein smoothie) for us while I get up and get dressed, water the plants on the rooftop and take a moment to set an intention for the day. Then it’s time for breakfast over Instagram – this time catching up on other brands’ and bloggers’ feeds.

    At about 8am, I leave home with MJ to grab a coffee and then arrive at the office, which is a very short stroll from home. MJ plants herself under my desk for her morning snooze while I clear out emails. I have a tendency to leave uninteresting emails for ‘later’, which can mean I never get around to them, so I try to make an effort to respond to every single one before moving onto other work. I check in with my team, who help with customer service and shipping, and make sure they have everything they need for the day ahead.

    In the morning I often have conference calls with designers or collaborators based in North America. After that, I’ll make a point of doing the day’s least desirable task – like finances or analytics. I find I typically have loads of energy in the mornings, so I need a task I can throw my full energy into.


    Lunchtime is when I do my own yoga practice – typically at a studio nearby the office. One of the great things about working for yourself is that you can set your own schedule, so I make a point of not booking meetings around the lunchtime window. Doing a yoga practice at lunchtime helps me cleanse any nervous energy that’s built up over the morning, and it makes for an incredibly clear-headed afternoon. Without it, my afternoons would only be half as productive as my mornings.

    I’ll eat lunch at the desk while doing something light visual – like adding to our Pinterest account, or reading influencer blogs. Afternoons are varied but over the week cover anything from marketing planning, shooting stock, arranging stock replenishments, writing a guest blog or responding to an interview, and working with our collaborating designers to develop new additions to the collection. We’re also starting to talk to retailers about stocking Elle + Adhira in their stores (both online and bricks and mortar) so the brand can keep growing, which is really exciting.

    At 6pm I ‘down tools’, take MJ for a short walk, and make dinner. I always make enough dinner for two nights so that the big cook and clean up only happens every other evening – it’s a time-hack that I couldn’t imagine living without now! I try to stay offline at night, but if our customer service team member is offline and an email or live chat comes through, it’s up to me to respond to it. But where possible, I try to leave evenings as relaxing, non-work time – I think it’s vitally important for the nervous system to unwind once the sun goes down, and it’s alarming how few professionals and employers recognise this.

    Helen McMurdo