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      Why Is Everyone Obsessed With SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum?

      An ode from a true devotee #notsponsored.

      We just calculated that there were around 50 deliveries that arrived at Gritty Pretty HQ last week, spanning skincare, hair, fragrance, wellness and make-up. It’s a beauty lovers dream, and trialling them gives us the opportunity to provide a really curated edit of the best products hitting counters. When you break down the sheer volume of launches each month, you can imagine how few beauty buys actually have the last few drops twisted, scrunched and squeezed out of them by the GP team.

      But there are those times when a product so good passes my desk that I’ll want to call first dibs on it (sorry, EP); it may even kick-off a new WhatsApp* group chat amongst some of my fellow beauty editors. That’s what happened when I discovered SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum for the first time. I was introduced to the facial serum by none other than celebrity skin-whisperer Melanie Grant, who counts Lara Worthington and Phoebe Tonkin as clients. It was about five years ago when I was going through a period of particularly dull skin, and Mel told me it was the OG for brightening, assuring me that it would work wonders on my skin tone to boost overall radiance.

      Here’s how it works: The formula is rich in antioxidants, thanks to a potent combination of vitamins C and E and ferulic acid. As you know, vitamin C is a buzzword for skin brightening, but cosmetic benefits aside, it also neutralises free radicals caused by exposure to UVA/UVB and ozone pollution, reduces inflammation and stimulates collagen. Meanwhile, vitamin E soothes. But when the two are paired together they become a kind of power duo, evening out skin tone and providing yet another layer of defense against environmental stressors.

      Ferulic acid, also an antioxidant, is the third and essential last piece of the puzzle. It supercharges the skin-brightening perks of vitamins C and E and slows down the ageing process, minimising the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage and even dark spots. It’s designed to be applied daily, in the morning, as C E Ferulic also helps to further the protecting benefits of your broad-spectrum sunscreen.

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      But here’s where it gets really interesting: a) it has kind of a strange scent—a fellow beauty ed swears it smells like mushrooms, though I think it’s more like baked beans; b) You’ll see instant results. After one day of using it—ONE—my skin was literally transformed. My complexion was clearer and brighter, more dewy and healthy-looking. It also improved the texture and helped with hydration (my skin also veers on the dry side), meaning that my make-up went on more smoothly, and better still, I actually didn’t need to use as much foundation. In a nutshell, I had the plumped-up skin of my dreams.

      It’s also the type of product where you’ll see further improvement over time with consistent use, which of course means you’ll want to keep buying it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come cheap, so maybe best to add it to cart come payday—one bottle will set you back a cool $188.32. But if you think about all of the illuminators you’ll no longer need to buy, it absolutely evens out.

      *Just in case you think I’m exaggerating, I thought I better rally the rest of the fan club. You know that WhatsApp group I mentioned earlier? Here’s what they had to say re: my beloved…

      “One of the many perks of being a beauty editor is having the opportunity to share product around with my sisters and friends, but there are a few I never, ever share—Hourglass primers, SK-II Facial Treatment Masks, and SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum. The packaging is nothing special and the price tag kinda steep, but this vitamin C serum is worth every bit of the adoring hype it receives from dermatologists, beauty experts and skincare fanatics everywhere. I stockpile the stuff.” — Sherine Youssef, beauty editor

      “Being introduced to C E Ferulic is like being invited to one of those super fancy members only clubs—except everyone has amazing skin instead of a black Amex. Friends would grasp my arm and tell me ‘I look SO well’… and then wouldn’t let it go until I gave up my secret. Other beauty editors would corner me at events to ask what I was doing differently—I even had facialist’s demand to know why my skin was so glowy. I would hoard the product, fearful of the day it would end, and shed a small, single tear every time that day would (inevitably) come. The glow is real. And so is the addiction.” — Sarah Tarca, beauty editor

      “Melanie Grant recommended C E Ferulic to me and it quickly became a game-changer. And trust me, as an ex-beauty editor I have tried every ‘cult’ serum under the sun. I started using it daily under my moisturiser and saw an almost-immediate change in the texture of my skin—it was tighter, smoother and brighter. I suffer from melasma, enlarged pores and blackheads (cute), and I can hand on heart say it reduced the appearance of all three. I’ve found the fresher the serum and ingredients, the more effective. Reason being the efficacy of vitamin C is diluted the moment it is exposed to air. I tried using smaller amounts to make it last but the results decreased.” — Alison Rice, group publisher, Allure Media Women’s Network

      Convinced yet? Tell us, have you tried SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Serum? Planning to take it for a test drive now?

      Let us know in the comments!


      Bridal Beauty: Morgan Tait Timberlake

      A wedding is the perfect excuse to splurge on your skin, but we get that it can be overwhelming. There are a lot of treatments and not a lot of time. That’s why Gritty Pretty introduced Bridal Beauty, a section dedicated to word-of-mouth bridal beauty tips from those in the know.

      In this edition, we’re taking you behind the pre-wedding beauty routine of Gritty Pretty‘s very own creative director Morgan Tait Timberlake (née Tait), who was married to her longtime partner Steve Timberlake by none other than our founder and editor-in-chief, Eleanor Pendleton, at Ataahua Garden Venue in New Zealand earlier this year.

      From the undone yet sophisticated hair, to her divine gown designed by Australian couture label Pallas Couture, trust us—you’ll immediately want to save these images on your Pinterest (or hit ‘follow’ on Morgan’s wedding board).

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      “I already go to semi-regular facials with friend and skin therapist Jocelyn Petroni, so we sat down and created a regimen which included both in-salon treatments and an at-home routine. The team at Jocelyn Petroni booked me in for a Heart Chakra facial every six weeks, and starting from eight weeks out from the wedding, we started a combination of peels and Omnilux light therapy treatments.

      I saw the biggest difference in my skin when I started cleansing twice morning and night – big game changer! I also made sure to exfoliate at home twice a week, and sleep with a hydrating oil once a week instead of my nightly moisturiser.

      I was really nervous about flying over to New Zealand because my skin reacts badly when I fly, so the second I was on the flight, I took off my makeup with Bioderma and applied a thick moisturiser. The night before the big day, I also did a face mask with my girlfriends over a wine (or two).”


      “My skin really needs active ingredients to look its best—I find that it doesn’t really react to anything too natural. The Ultraceuticals range, which I discovered through Gritty Pretty, works really well for my skin type — I swear by it!

      For morning and night my routine was quite similar. First, I double cleansed with the Ultraceuticals MD Brightening Foaming Cleanser and then apply my serum—for the day, it was the Ultraceuticals MD Ultra Brightening Serum, and at night, I would apply the Ultimate A Refining Serum.

      At both morning and night I would follow with the Ultraceuticals Ultra Rich Moisturiser Cream. For eye cream, I loved the Sodashi Samadara Eye Creme and when I would run out of it, I used the Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Creme, which Gritty Pretty’s Eleanor Pendleton swears by due to its light-reflecting pigments.”


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      “If I could do it all over, I would definitely try to drink more water and less alcohol. I was aiming to stick to this goal, but I was travelling right before the wedding and it definitely went out the window, despite best intentions!

      In terms of the wedding itself, I would be more organised from the very start. Unfortunately, I left a few things to the last minute because I was so focussed on work, which made the final planning very stressful when it didn’t need to be! So, I’d definitely advise to start planning earlier rather than later—you can never be too organised.”


      “I wanted to keep our wedding really classic and clean—lots of whites, perspex and greenery. With our venue being in New Zealand, it was already so incredibly lush and green I didn’t want to take away from it too much.

      For me, I found that Pinterest, was the best place for wedding inspiration. My board is overloaded with white, black and green!”


      “My makeup artist Olivia Wildley was highly recommended by two of my good friends Kat Moses and Jamie Ridge. Olivia was divine, she knew that I wanted to have more fun with my makeup but I didn’t want a ‘cakey’ finish.

      We did really natural coverage on my skin with a mix of Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier products, then going in a little heavier on the eye. Who doesn’t love a brown smokey eye? I only touched up twice during the night with Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder and my all-time favourite highlighter, the CHANEL Baume Essentiel in Transparent.”


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      “Gosh, I was actually so unorganised for my hair. I knew that I wanted a low bun, but I was struggling to find the right ‘low, non-bridal bun’ on reference on Pinterest. Luckily, I found it the night before my wedding from a street style image from Paris Fashion Week and Mary brought it to life.

      I wanted it to feel like I myself had pulled it back, just like I would on a normal day at work. For me, the final hairstyle had the right balance of a wavy texture, but still keeping the structure of the bun without any flyaways.”


      “I went with Cherish by MAC Cosmetics. My all-time favourite shade is Velvet Teddy, but I wanted to wear a shade I don’t normally wear day-to-day. Cherish was slightly pinker, and went really well with the luminous dewy skin that Olivia created.

      I also gave all of my bridesmaids and my mum the same shade of lipstick and lipliner so they too could touch up during the day.”


      “I’m pretty fussy with my fragrances—I love a more masculine scent over anything than floral. For me, fragrance evokes memories, so taking on board the recommendation of Gritty Pretty’s beauty director, I decided to wear a scent I’ve never worn before and was unique to our wedding day. I instantly knew that I wanted to wear Fucking Fabulous by Tom Ford. My husband Steve usually wears Dior Sauvage, but he too chose a special scent for the day, which was John Varvatos Dark Rebel Rider.”


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      Interviews Makeup

      Beauty Talk: Hailey Bieber

      When Hayley met Hailey.

      It has been two years since Hailey Bieber (née Baldwin) appeared on the cover of Gritty Pretty Magazine, and if anything, the model has gotten better with age. Her hair, healthy and flowing, her skin, flawless. You could say that six months after her wedding  to Justin Bieber, married life is agreeing with her.

      I had the opportunity to interview Hailey when I was recently in Los Angeles at the launch of BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick, which landed at Mecca Cosmetica this week. As a BareMinerals Ambassador, Hailey was in LA for a number of press interviews, and also a makeup masterclass with celebrity makeup artist and one of the brand’s global ambassadors Nikki DeRoest.

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      We settled into comfortable chairs upstairs at the Hamptons-esque Lombardi House in Hollywood, where Hailey greeted both myself and Gritty Pretty’s creative director Morgan Tait. After throwing around the inevitable questions Australians get asked about jetlag—four days into our trip, the fog was still very much real—we talked makeup, and more specifically, her partnership with BareMinerals. “My mum used BareMinerals when I was a kid, so she’s [basically] used it my whole life,” explains the 22-year-old. “I felt like it was a familiar brand to me, I know they are really clean products—that’s the main thing I look for in the products that I use—so that was what drew me to the partnership in the first place.”

      As someone who prefers to use natural beauty products, Bieber is excited about the new Complexion Rescue Stick because unlike the vast majority of foundation sticks—which have the reputation of appearing heavy and often possess a drying texture—the formula harnesses the benefits of hydrating volcanic sea water and red algae and offers a lightweight, buildable finish. “I love that its hydrating, and the [ingredients] are actually really good for your skin in general, so you’re putting it on but you’re not worrying about if it’s going to make you break out,” she says. “I like the fact that if you want to put a little bit on you can, or if you really want to layer it on, you can, but it’s never cakey. You can also just put it under your eyes, or I also use it to a contour on my face.”

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      Here’s what she had to say on her beauty essentials…

      Gritty Pretty: What does your everyday makeup routine consist of?

      Hailey Bieber: “I use the Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick because it’s the perfect product for my skin. It’s super hydrating. I use that in the spots that I think I need it. A little bit of powder, eyebrow gel, mascara and a little bit of [colour] on the cheeks, and a little glow. I know it sounds like a lot of steps but I can do my makeup in five minutes.”

      GP: What about when it comes to the red carpet—do you have a signature makeup look?

      HB: “I definitely do it up more because I like to play when I’m on the red carpet. Depending on the event you might get to wear a cool dress, and you get to wear different looks or match your look to the makeup. It’s really fun for me.”

      GP: Do you follow a strict skincare regimen?

      HB: “I’m pretty strict with my skincare regimen. I know there are some people who fall asleep with their makeup on and they’ll wash it off in the morning and that’s fine but it’s not for me. I just don’t think that’s healthy—I would never go to bed without washing my face. I always use a good moisturiser because my skin always gets really dry, especially in the winter. When I travel I just find that I have to have something [hydrating] with me on the plane when I’m flying, as an extra barrier.”

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      GP: What is the best piece of beauty advice you have been picked up from your makeup artist?

      HB: “I’m always asking [makeup artist Nikki DeRoest] about products, what she recommends for hydration and what she loves. She is got me onto the [Skinlongevity Vital Power Infusion] actually, because she has great skin. She always looks so glowy, fresh and beautiful, and she’s a little bit older than I am so I like to know what she has been using. I also always pay attention to how makeup artists apply makeup—Nikki uses her fingers and some people probably don’t want people touching their face but I actually don’t mind it because I think it gives a more natural finish. Nikki is great, and she is chock-full of good tips!”

      GP: If we were to take a look inside your makeup bag, what would we find?

      HB: “Well I’m not going to lie because they aren’t all BareMinerals but the majority of them are! The Complexion Rescue Hydrating Foundation Stick, the BarePRO Glow Highlighter, there’s probably lots of them lying them around! I definitely use the Bare Mineral Veil on a daily basis—if I’m wearing makeup that day, it’s [always] part of my routine! I also love the brand’s lipgloss, they’re great, and I also love a stick highlighter, a good eyebrow gel, a good mascara, and a lip balm—I love Vaseline.”

      Have you tried BareMinerals? How important are natural ingredients in your skincare?


      The Prime Up

      There are makeup essentials and then there are makeup essentials.

      And my friends, primer is one of those products that every woman should own, potentially in even more than one variant to cater for changes in the state of your skin. It’s not just because of the most commonly known reason—and still the most important one—that it creates the perfect base for your makeup, allowing it to remain fresh throughout the day, explains Sephora’s National Artistry Lead Alphie Sadsad. “Primers are also amazing for when you have dry, oily or uneven textured skin, as they give the illusion of an even canvas thanks to their blurring and smoothing properties,” he explains. “They also hydrate, control oil and conceal.”

      So in case you haven’t yet managed to ace your base (see what we did there?), Sadsad tells us how to find a formula, apply it and share a few of his tips and tricks.

      Alphie, we owe you one.

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      APPLY IT: Contrary to popular belief, primers are generally best applied with your fingers, explains Sadsad. “This helps to warm up the product and allows it to melt into the skin to create that super smooth, blurred effect. However if you’re concerned about controlling oil, I’d suggest using a foundation brush so you don’t add any additional natural oils from your fingers to your skin,” he adds.

      KNOW YOUR SKIN TYPE: Just like finding the perfect shade of foundation is crucial to your overall makeup look, uncovering a primer that suits your skin type will help your makeup last longer and remain fresh, says Sadsad. “When you find the right primer, there’s no need for a mid-afternoon touch-up. Better still, most primers address specific skin concerns so they’re working twice as hard.”

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      PAUSE BETWEEN LAYERS: We talk about allowing your skin to absorb each layer of your skincare on the reg, so it’s important to take this into consideration when you’re adding a primer to your makeup repertoire. For skincare, it’s recommended that you wait at least one to two minutes to allow each layer to settle into your skin (real talk: even if this means brushing your teeth, or starting to style your hair on rushed mornings). The same goes for primer—Sadsad recommends waiting a minimum of two minutes for it to sink in, otherwise it can start to ‘ball’ or ‘pill,’ making foundation application virtually impossible.

      MAKE IT LAST: If you have oily skin, you likely fall into the category where your makeup wears off by your lunch break. “With oily skin you need to be really conscious of the texture of your products,” explains Sadsad. “Water or gel-based textures that are oil-free are ideal because if you’re using a cream moisturiser that contains oil, your makeup will have a tendency to separate throughout the day. You could also match a mattifying silicone-based foundation with a silicone-based primer.”

      MIX AND MATCH: While it might be more suitable for special occasions—when you have the time and the resources—much like the concept of treating different sections of your face with skincare, you can apply a selection of primers to each area of your complexion. It’s perfect for those who have multiple skin concerns or a combination skin type: “Consider a mattifying primer for your T-zone, a blurring primer for your jawline, and an illuminating option for your cheekbones!” says Sadsad.

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      Here are some of our go-to formulas…

      Interviews Makeup

      Reese Witherspoon Talks to Gritty Pretty About Beauty and Female Empowerment

      Just like all women, Reese Witherspoon is a wearer of many hats.

      As a mother, an actress and business woman, Reese Witherspoon has little time to spend on an extensive makeup regimen, she laughs down the phone from Malibu, California, where she’s chatting to Gritty Pretty. “It’s definitely about balance. I try to make the time to take care of myself because I think those little things you do for yourself every day are so important. I have a five-, 10- and 30-minute makeup routine—although I usually only have time for the five-minute routine—which I have down to about seven products. The key being concealer, eyeliner, mascara, blush, as well as a bright lip colour.”

      It’s a bright lip that forms part of the reasons why I was fortunate enough to chat with Reese—and let me tell you, I was desperate to tell her just how many times I’ve watched Legally Blonde and Big Little Lies, but don’t worry, I played it (somewhat) cool. As the Storyteller-in-Chief for Elizabeth Arden, Reese is at the forefront of championing initiatives like March On, where throughout the month of March, the brand donated 100% of proceeds of the sale of the Beautiful Color Moisturising Lipstick in Pink Punch globally to UN Women, to advance women’s issues worldwide. Each product has her signature stamped on the bullet, and it’s an initiative she is obviously proud to be a part of. “By creating products that benefit the UN Women’s programs, [Elizabeth Arden] are really telling the world how much they truly care for their customers and women’s rights around the world,” she explains. As we all know, empowerment comes in many forms but when it comes to beauty, there’s nothing like a slick of bright lipstick to give you a confidence boost. “I love powerful colours that bring positivity and spirit, and I have a bright lipstick in my purse all the time,” says Reese. “Pink Punch in particular is just so happy, and there’s something so optimistic about a bold lip that makes you feel ready for the world,” she says.

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      Reese first felt a synergy with the brand when she heard the story of how Elizabeth Arden built her beauty empire. “I really saw a kinship between myself and her story, and what a fierce advocate she was for women, so it felt like a natural partnership [for me] to extend the messaging to her customers about what an incredible woman she was.” With her own burgeoning empire, professionally, female empowerment is also at the forefront of each and every project Reese takes on. As an actress but also a producer (she runs her own media company Hello Sunshine) she has made a name for herself creating content and producing television and film written by women, starring women and focusing on women’s narratives. “I think if you cannot see yourself on film, it’s hard to imagine a world that values you. The mission of Hello Sunshine is to put women at the centre of their stories, whether that’s them writing the story, they’re the photographer or director, but also just getting stories that are about women, by women, out into the world,” she says. “I think if we can see a broader range of the female experience, I think we’ll understand each other better as people, because we’re not seeing the same body type represented or the same skin colour represented or the same sexuality represented over and over again. It doesn’t progress society forward.”

      With so much on her plate, I ask Reese how she carves out time for herself. And when she does, what does that look like? She answers honestly: “I think if you don’t take care of yourself, you start to forget who you are,” she says. Take something as simple as her skincare regimen, for example. “I wear a lot of makeup at work, so it’s important that I have clean, well-hydrated skin. I take off my makeup every night and use the Retinol Ceramide Capsules—they really help with my skin tone and texture, as well as the Ceramide Night Cream, which smells so good. In the morning I use the Advanced Ceramide Capsules just as a serum after I wash my face, followed by the Prevage City Smart sunscreen, and then I go to work and put makeup on top of that!” Life can get in the way, too. “We’re all so busy with work, friendships and family that we start to lose ourselves a little bit, and I think it’s important to take care of yourself with things that make you feel good and like your best self. Which also means investing your time well—who you spend time with, what books you read, what ideas do you put in your head that make you uniquely you—I think all of those things are really important to maintaining your individuality,” she says.

      In a time when there has never been more pressure for women to do—and have it all—Reese says she feels optimistic about the future for her own daughter, Ava, age 19, and her peers. “I think we’re in a period where we’re more conscious of what we consume, we want brands to be more transparent about their ethics and what they really believe in,” she explains. “We want media and film that shows us proper representation of the world we really live in and the way we really look, think and feel, so I think it’s a progressive time. We’re learning a lot and I think there are a lot of great changes that are coming about.”

      Leading by example, it’s clear that Reese has a wealth of advice and wisdom to pass onto her children, especially Ava. “I try to tell her to be positive every day,” says Reese. “People are more attracted to people who are positive and joyful, and to remember to always be additive to every community and in every interaction that you have. My mother taught me that and I think it’s great life advice.” Talk about girl power.

      Interviews Makeup

      We Talk To Gucci Westman, Founder of Westman Atelier

      It’s a rarity and a dream when you get to come facetoface with a legendary makeup artist like Gucci Westman.

      She’s one of the originals, a supermodel of the makeup world if you will, and has not only been the artist behind countless runway shows from over the years, but also some of the most admired red carpet beauty moments to date. Counting Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston and Drew Barrymore as clients—and friends—Gucci also did Gwyneth Paltrow’s wedding makeup.

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      Equally as important, she was also the creative force behind a number of global beauty brands, holding titles as Global Artistic Director of Revlon and also at Lancôme Paris, where she was responsible for product development and innovation, before branching out to launch her own line, Westman Atelier, globally last month.

      It’s 1.30pm, and Gucci is in Sydney for a number of press events for the launch of her muchawaited eponymous collection, Westman Atelier, which is now available at Mecca Cosmetica. It’s her first visit to Australia in a long time—she last made the trip for a press tour for the premiere of Charlie’s Angels. Stepping inside the A1 Canteen in Sydney’s Chippendale to meet team Gritty Pretty for lunch, she is the epitome of understated chic, clad in denim jeans, Gucci loafers, a beautifully cut navy Saint Laurent blazer paired with chunky gold jewellery. She oozes the sort of sophistication that you would expect from someone who has spent the better part of two decades in the beauty and fashion industry.

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      When I interview makeup artists who have created their own product range, it’s my first instinct to look at their makeup to see if they are actually wearing their own products—sounds obvious, but trust me, you’d be surprised. I’m pleased to report that Gucci was all about that Westman Atelier glow. After all, she is known for skin, making her a walking, talking advertisement for her brand—her skin was fresh and glowing, with a subtle hint of colour on the cheeks and naturally groomed brows.

      We started our conversation around why she launched Westman Atelier—as one of the most revered makeup artists in the world and with unlimited access to every beauty product known to man, she explains that she started the range because she wanted a line that was incredible (of course), efficacious (obviously), but that was also suitable to use for an array of skin concerns. Describing it as both a blessing and a curse that she has tried so many products—it has made her so particular about the ingredients in her own range—as a rosacea sufferer, Gucci wanted to create clean products that would soothe skin, rather than adding anything that could potentially irritate it. Nourishing and protective ingredients like coconut, jojoba and camellia seed oils take centre stage, and the entire range is free of parabens, sulphates, mineral oils and more. The foundation is also free of silicone, because Gucci didn’t want it to feel at all heavy.

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      Designed to be a tight edit of products that women would actually use, the formulas—bar the Super Loaded Tinted Highlighter and Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer—are in stick formula because that’s how Gucci was first taught to do makeup. Interestingly, Gucci tells me that women should always have a combination of two to three shades of foundation on rotation; not only because our skin tone can change throughout the seasons, but also because it means that you can use a light shade through the centre of the face and deeper on the contours to bring light, depth and dimension to the skin. True to her word, the texture of Vital Skin Foundation is creamy—it literally melts into your complexion, giving you that second-skin finish that she promised it would. The Baby Cheeks Blush Sticks are equally as divine, and not just because of the pretty flush of colour it brings to your makeup. Each shade is named after people in Gucci’s life that mean something to her—for example Petal, a deep rosy pink and my new go-to, and was named after Gucci’s youngest daughter. And it would be remiss of me to leave out the Lit Up Highlight Stick. With a balm-like texture, it leaves you literally luminous but not in a disco ball way, and is enriched with hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated.

      This thoughtful curation of products, while incredibly luxurious, are results-driven and create that effortless, envy-inducing glow that we’re all forever aspiring to, proving that clean beauty doesn’t have to mean compromising on high-end quality.

      Tell us, have you tried Westman Atelier? Which products are on your shopping list?


      Gritty Pretty Meets Steph Shep

      You might remember Stephanie Shepherd—better known as STEPH SHEP—as Kim Kardashian West’s former executive assistant.

      The keen businesswoman, who has an Instagram following of 1.3 million, has an avid interest in beauty, wellness and giving back. Here, you’ll find her keeping it real on the ups and downs of social media, with a side order of honesty, kindness and humour. Meet Steph Shep, #nofilter and unretouched.

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      “I have a background in cheerleading and dance, and makeup was such a huge part of that. For my first dancing recital, they gave us all a face chart and told us where each of the makeup was supposed to go—I thought it was so cool. Growing up in Ohio in a really small town, we would also go to the department stores and get our makeup done, which was a real treat. I remember my best friend—who has blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin—would come out looking beautiful, like a movie star. When it came to my turn, they could not make up my Asian eye shape, and it was so discouraging. I didn’t want to resent it because I loved playing with makeup and I never thought I looked different as a kid—I thought I just looked like my best friend.

      “I now really love Shiseido foundation, because finding my shade has always been so difficult (I have golden olive undertones), so when I moved to LA I was like ‘wait, there’s a Japanese beauty line?’ Most foundations are so pink-based, and it just would look weird on me, so when I found Shiseido, it was really cool. It might seem like only a foundation, but it feels like you’re part of a community and not having to conform to one specific shade that’s supposed to be universal, because it’s not. That’s why I love what Rihanna has done with Fenty Beauty—the range is incredible, and so inclusive, and why I love beauty—it has the ability to make people feel good.”

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      “My mum always instilled in me at a very young age to be involved and aware, and it has since been a pillar in my life. I’m so fortunate that I now have a platform I can use to spread awareness for unknown causes. I’m the strategic advisor for Khana Panties [a non-profit organisation that provides organic, and ethically produced period-proof underwear for young girls in Uganda to encourage them to stay in school]. I think Khana Panties has a really great mission statement and it’s something that people aren’t talking about—these girls feel like they have no one to talk to and no resources, and they’re dropping out of school entirely, hindering their freedom and their future. I find that on social media there’s this hunger and thirst and give back and come together, so through that we were decided to make the organisation a non-profit. We are now working on different collaborations through my brand to raise awareness for Khana, and then send on the profits.”

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      “I get so much inspiration from social media—I like to connect with my friends, and it’s a great way to start conversations and spread awareness about different causes. It’s also a platform to promote a business—you have your own personal marketing tool at your disposal, and I think it’s changing the way that people are doing business. On the other side, it’s like we are in a social experiment, and we don’t really know how it’s going to turn out.

      “I also think it can be really isolating, which is crazy—how can something make you feel part of a community at the same time make you feel so left out? The negativity is really hard; I am a grown woman who is in this industry—and have worked in it for a very long time—and I’m affected, so I can’t imagine how it is for young girls who are bullied or made to feel insecure. But if I respond to a comment and it makes someone feel good, or if I share a post that makes them feel something—like ‘she has anxiety, me too’—then to me, that is a huge positive. As small and as insignificant as it may seem, it can make a difference to someone else.”

      This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2019 issue of Gritty Pretty Magazine.



      Interviews Skin

      Beauty Talk: Chriselle Lim

      The fashion blogger welcomes us into her home.

      Here at Gritty Pretty we’ve been long-time fans of Chriselle Lim—and I told her so when I met her for our Gritty Pretty Magazine shoot at her home in Los Angeles. Personally, I’ve always loved her approach to beauty and her incredible sense of style, but most of all her down-to-earth nature and real-girl talk.

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      It has been nine years since Lim created her blog The Chriselle Factor—with a background in fashion styling, Lim would upload photos of her outfits each day and create YouTube videos complete with styling tips. Her business has since expanded—or should we say exploded; Lim now leads a team of 13 in an office in downtown LA, which encompasses not only her blog but her YouTube channel, and also CINC Studios, her production company, where her team produces content for brands and Lim serves as Creative Director. And if that wasn’t enough, Lim also has her own fashion line, The Chriselle Lim Collection, of which the Spring line launches this week on March 21st.

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      One glimpse at Lim’s walk-in-wardrobe reveals her favourite fashion pieces—she counts Christian Dior, Valentino, and Chloé as some of her favourite designers—but her love of beauty, skincare and fragrance is evident, too, via her expansive collections on display. “I spend a lot of time [in the closet] at night once the kids are in bed,” says Lim. “I really prioritise and focus on my skin, because 95% of the time, especially if I’m not shooting, I won’t wear makeup,” she says. “In the evenings, I used to do a whole ten-step Korean skincare regime, but after having [my second daughter] Colette, I’ve condensed that down—sometimes it’s just not necessary to do that many steps!”

      With two young children (Chloe, four, and Colette, five months), multi-tasking products are a must-have, she explains. “I really look for dual products—for instance, a moisturiser than can be used as a mask, or a serum that doubles as an oil. I’m also pretty religious about masking; I do a clay mask at least twice a week because I have slightly oily skin, and then I try to do a moisturising sheet mask everyday or every other day. The clay mask can dry me out so I’ll always do a moisturising mask afterwards—I love the Charlotte Tilbury Clay Goddess Mask—it doesn’t get hard like most clay masks and it’s so nice, light and effective. The application [process] and taking it off is so easy, which is so important. Sheet mask-wise, I used to use the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask a lot, but right now I’m trialling a lot of different types.”

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      For more on Lim’s home and interiors…


      Interviews Lifestyle Skin

      At Home With Founder Of Badlands Studio Talisa Sutton

      This excellent post is brought to you by La Mer.

      Located in the leafy Kensington, just a short drive to the inner city and the beaches of the Eastern Suburbs in Sydney, is the apartment that founder of Badlands Journal and Badlands Studio Talisa Sutton shares with husband Rohan Peterson and pet chihuahua Truffles. They’re soon welcoming a new member to the family, too—their first child is due in just a few weeks.

      Falling in love with their property in 2016, the duo were taken with the art deco character of the building, in particular the open layout and importantly, “the beautiful natural light during the day,” explains Sutton.

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      Taking us through her home, Sutton describing her interiors style as “Scandinavian minimalist meets California mid-century with a touch of Australian coastal style,” and the airy apartment is filled with fresh greenery set against a tonal colour palette. Textural accents of sheepskin and linens provide a cosy contrast, whilst still allowing the couple’s extensive art collection to take centre stage.

      “I keep my eye on paintings by local Australian artists including Hannah Nolan, Heath Newman, Bec Smith and Caroline Walls, and ceramics by Milly Dent and Mel Lumb,” explains Sutton of her favourite artists and artisans. “I love shopping for vintage homewares when I’m travelling, and always try to head to markets or antiques centres, too,” she says. “Rohan and I are lucky to have travelled together quite often over the past few years, and the little objects and mementos we have collected always remind me of those times—for me, it’s the memories that are most special. It’s also nice finding one off pieces that you know you couldn’t get anywhere else,” she adds.

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      The home is a reflection of Talisa’s incredible taste and sense of style, something we have come to expect via not only her curated Instagram feed, but also Badlands Studio and Badlands Journal, which Talisa and Rohan founded together. “Our backgrounds are both in graphic design and art direction, so we loved the idea of combining our skill sets to create our own design studio,” explains Sutton. “A year and half ago, we launched Badlands Journal, which is our editorial platform and digital magazine. Publishing has always been one of our passions, so it has been great to have our own creative outlet to share new concepts and ideas.”

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      As you can imagine, Sutton’s fashion and beauty collection is as Pinterest-worthy as the rest of the home. Displayed beautifully on marble and mirrored trays, Sutton says that despite her relatively simple beauty regimen, she has always had a love of beauty products—and beautiful packaging. “I keep all of my oils and fragrances on display on trays or shelves, and my other day-to-day items live in the bathroom cabinet,” she explains.

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      A fan of La Mer skincare, The Renewal Oil is one of her go-tos. “I love so many La Mer products, but The Renewal Oil feels particularly luxe and is the perfect consistency for extra hydration in the evenings. It helps give you a lovely, fresh glow the next morning, which helps fake an extra hour or two of sleep! For me, cleansing and moisturising is a must, every day and night. I’m also a big believer in never leaving the house without SPF 50+, and, in the past year, eye cream has become my new best friend.”

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      A few of her most treasured items include a Christiane Spangsberg painting—a combined Christmas and anniversary present between herself and Rohan—her wedding day fragrance, which has their names and wedding dates printed on it, and also a CHANEL bag that Sutton bought in Paris. “It was a big Parisian splurge, and while I agonised over it for a while, I’m so glad I went back and got it on our last day in Paris—it’s one of those purchases that really signified a special moment in my career. Running a business is hard work, and while I love every second of it, it was really nice to appreciate how far we had come, and that I could treat myself to something so special.”

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      Hair Lips Makeup Skin

      Beauty Editor’s Top Picks – February 2019

      What we’re loving, coveting and “borrowing” from the Gritty Pretty beauty cupboard.

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      “I find that if I don’t do a treatment on my blonde highlights, my hair tends to become dry and can also turn quite yellow. The Christophe Robin Shade Variation Mask Baby Blonde is an ideal option for me because I can apply it in the shower after I washed my hair, and leave it on for around five minutes whilst I’m shaving my legs. I’ve found that leaving it on for that amount of time is perfect for hair like mine with highlights for when you need to tone down any brassiness and give it some nourishment. I’ve also gained serious shine, and it isn’t as frizzy—a win-win!”—Morgan Tait, Creative Director.

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      “After a month-long holiday abroad in the African desert over Summer, the Dermalogica Intense Moisture Cleanser was like a lifesaver for my parched, dehydrated complexion. Light and creamy in texture and super hydrating, it has helped to minimise damage and give my skin the welcome refresh it needed.”—Amie Jones, Designer.

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      “I’ll admit, you’ll likely never catch me sporting a matte makeup look in any way, shape or form. However, the By Terry Lip Expert Liquid Matte Lipstick is the antithesis to what you would usually associate with a matte liquid lipstick—flaky, chalky and seriously drying—and instead delivers a smooth, even application that gives a healthy dose of moisture as well as long-lasting colour pay-off. It also comes in a shine variation, and the formula boasts hydrating vitamin E which left my lips feeling more nourished than any lip mask ever has done! Glossy sans the sticky factor, the vibrant pigment (I tried Cherry Wine) lingers as an even, natural-looking stain with wear so you don’t have to stress about reapplying. I’ll definitely be adding this one (and two additional shades I’m already eyeing off) to my makeup rotation.”—Hannah Paul, Editorial and Beauty Assistant.

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      “I’m a longtime fan of La Mer, so when it came to trying the The Moisturizing Cool Gel Cream, I knew my skin was in for a treat. For a little back story, this Summer, despite my skin being usually dry in texture, I noticed that I was starting to look a little oily at around 2pm each day. With this moisturiser specifically catering to combination and oily skin types, it was the perfect balance for my parched complexion—cooling (ideal during Sydney’s heatwave), lightweight in texture with a soft gel-like feel, but also nourishing enough to provide long-lasting hydration, without leaving me looking like an oil slick by the afternoon.”—Hayley D’Onofrio, Beauty Director/Executive Editor.

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      “At first glance, this Tinted Face Oil really intrigued me. How can an oil also double as a foundation? Well, this one from U.S-brand Kosås does. As expected, the formula is fluid and pours out. I applied this Tinted Face Oil onto the back of my hand and used my fingers to then apply onto my face so I could control the amount. The smell is herbaceous (this is thanks to the base of six botanicals) while three mineral pigments provide surprisingly adequate coverage. The oil is quickly absorbed, leaving behind a perfecting layer of self-adjusting colour with a velvety finish—no blending required. If you have dry skin, this Kosås Tinted Face Oil is your jam.”—Eleanor Pendleton, Editor-In-Chief.

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      “Being in the very fortunate position of getting to so many beautiful fragrances, it takes something special to really make me want to totally immerse myself in a scent. Who is Elijah was one such choice, and wow—so fresh, crisp and light, I just love it. It’s been the perfect scent for Summer, and I also love that the brand is Australian. You know it’s something special when you’re looking for any excuse to spritz!” —Sue Hoffman, Brand Partnerships Manager.

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      “True to its name, Aveda Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo and Weightless Conditioner are both so lightweight, with a natural mint scent. I did note that the shampoo didn’t foam up too much, but this is likely due to the natural ingredients, and post-use, my hair looked shiny and felt ultra-smooth. I also love that it is made of pure plant flower and essences, and that the bottles are made from 100% post-consumer recycled material.” —Erica Wildey, Business Development Manager.

      Have you tried any of the beauty buys above? Planning to add any to your shopping list?

      Cheeks Skin

      Here’s How to Hang On To Your Summer Glow

      Can you believe it will be March next week?

      We’re coming to the pointy end of Summer, and while I’m not particularly looking forward to the impending drop in mercury—seasonal changes tend to send my complexion haywire—it often signals the inevitable fading of my summer glow.

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      Nathalie Kelley wears Suboo Midsummer Knitted Bandeau and High Waisted Bottoms. Giselle Hoops.

      When I speak about said summer glow, I’m of course talking about faux tan. And despite the fact that your pins may be swathed in denim, or your arms tucked away in a cozy knit, this Autumn we’re planning on holding onto our golden skin tone. From prep work to maintenance and a few extra makeup touches, here are a few of our go-to tips we’ve picked up to help you along your way.

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      Repeat after us—it doesn’t matter how many times you top up your self tan with additional coats of colour during the week, if you don’t prep your skin prior, you’re likely going to see the telltale signs that you’re actually wearing tan. Think patchy colour, uneven fading, and rough edges, which is exactly what you want to avoid—you want to make it look like you haven’t applied anything at all. Start by gently sloughing away dead skin cells using a body exfoliant, but steer clear of any formulas that have an oil base—it prevents the colour from adhering to your skin, leaving you with a streaky finish. Try La Mer The Body Refiner, which provides a really gentle yet still hydrating exfoliation thanks to finely milled diamond powder and sea kelp.

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      Suboo Gold Knit High Cut One Piece. Vintage Palm Earring.


      We’re no longer in the thick of Summer, so rather than select a shade that is multiple hues darker than your skin tone, opt for gradual or buildable formulas to allow your colour to still look natural. I’m obsessed with St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Water Mousse Purity. It doesn’t have a strong scent—in fact, it barely has a scent at all—it doesn’t leave any residue, anywhere, and after one application your skin is, quite literally, naturally sun-kissed. For the fake tanning newbies, it’s important to note that that the formula is clear, not tinted, which means that whilst you’re applying it, you really need to ensure you have covered every surface to avoid missing any spots. Another option is a gradual tanner, like Endota Spa Lilly Pilly & Lime Gradual Tanner, which you apply daily until you reach your desired shade. This one provides a creamy, beautiful colour and simultaneously leaves your skin silky smooth, thanks to the addition of aloe vera.

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      Suboo Zanzibar Belted One Piece (available March).


      It’s always so important to keep your skin hydrated, even more so as the temperatures drop and dry skin tends to be more prominent. That goes double for those applying fake tan—not only will it extend the life of your colour, but also keep it looking fresher for longer. A win-win, really. Apply a lightweight but still nourishing body lotion like Kora Organics Enriched Body Lotion, and slather it on liberally both morning and night.

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      Suboo Savanah Belted One Piece (available March).


      If you’re going to keep up the fake tan, you also need to ensure your face blends into the rest of your tanned bod. But even if you aren’t tanning, turning to a little extra bronzer also has the instant ability to make your eyes look brighter, and in turn your skin look healthier. I’m attached to NARS Bronzer in Laguna (a forever staple in my makeup bag) but I can also recommend MAC Cosmetics Bronzing Powder  for it’s sheer, buildable formula. Subtle highlights along the high points of your face also dial up the luminosity—which we’re about all year long. Try NARS Super Radiant Booster, a gel-like formula that you can mix in with your foundation, or alone for more glow.

      Which beauty steps are you taking to hold onto your Summer glow?


      The Secrets To Achieving Classic Bridal Beauty Looks

      When I was getting married and deciding on my bridal beauty look…

      …my makeup artist gave me some sound advice—the idea was to look like an elevated version of myself on my wedding day. Still me, my style, but just a little something extra.

      It’s a piece of advice that I’ve held close to me, particularly when I have spoken to friends that are engaged and are asking the same questions I did. Which is why we worked on this heavenly bridal editorial with the team from The Future Mrs (a one-stop shop for every bit of beauty prep you need for your wedding, and any special occasion, really) so you’ll see that the common denominator is skin that still looks like skin, effortless hair and, most importantly, that these looks are a classic, yet still modern interpretation of beauty trends that will stand the test of time.

      Remember, just like an elevated version of you.

      Here, makeup artist Katie Angus and hairstylist Frankie Flanagan from The Future Mrs share their expert advice on how to achieve them.

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      To ensure that you can wear this sophisticated bridal beauty look with confidence, it’s important to picture the look as a whole—sporting your bold lip colour, sleek bun, and your dress, advises hairstylist Frankie Flanagan. “Sometimes when we do a trial with a beauty look like this, the bride can’t picture everything together. I always recommend having the trial on the same day as a dress fitting.” With this style you don’t want the hair to be too clean and slippery—wash and condition the night prior to your big day so it has a little texture and grit.

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      Makeup artist Katie Angus finds that this makeup generally appeals to those already comfortable with wearing a red lip. You can visit a professional makeup store to find a shade to suit your complexion, but Angus swears by Fenty Stunna Lip Paint. “It’s marketed as a universal red to work with all skin tones, and I have yet to find someone I don’t love using it on! It’s extremely long-wearing and flexible, too, with a wet to dry formula,” she says.

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      “Nothing allows your natural beauty to shine through like clean, glowing skin and beautiful brows,” says Angus. “It means everything else can speak on the day—there’s great beauty in simplicity!” Flanagan agrees; “I love that it allows a bride to feel like themselves, which is the whole premise behind The Future Mrs; to maintain a modern, fashionable sense of self.”

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      Breaking it down further, this look will ultimately focus on beautiful skin, which will only ever be as good as its condition prior to application, explains Angus. “I would strongly recommend as much skin prep as your budget allows prior to your wedding date by way of regular treatments plus exfoliating and applying a hydrating treatment the night before.” The same rules apply for hair, meaning prep work is key: “I wash and prep their night the day before,” says Flanagan. This will help the hairstyle to last, whilst still maintaining shine and bounce. “Always wash your hair twice and condition through the ends—it’s important for the hair to be moisturised, and if you do it correctly and use the right products, they won’t weigh it down.”

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      “The warm golden tones and reflective skin are a beautiful, flattering combination for most brides,” says Angus. “This look is also very easy to maintain should you wish to consider longevity on your wedding day. Depending on the condition of the skin, I will work between a micro-peel exfoliation and Dermalogica’s Skin Resurfacing Cleanser before applying a hydrating face mask and collagen under-eye mask. This skin requires a radiant end result, so I would also add an illuminating primer such as Charlotte Tilbury Brightening Youth Glow all over the face.”

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      For hair, it’s important to keep up regular salon visits for trims and hair treatments, adds Flanagan. “I cut layers in brides’ hair called ‘the wedding layer’, where I section out the whole perimeter of the hairline and cut really soft layers in it. It sounds crazy, but it allows you to have those really soft, effortless pieces around the face. They grow out pretty quickly!”

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      Remember to take photo references to your bridal beauty team—they are always great to discuss the specifics of your look, as verbal descriptions can get lost in translation, adds Angus.

      If you’re a bride getting ready for your wedding, what bridal beauty look are you going for?