When it comes to beauty products, I like to try new things but I’m also a loyalist—once I find something I love then I’m all about it and wear it to death. During and post-lockdown I’ve been experimenting with different beauty products and have fallen in love with a select few items that have really helped to step up my makeup game. While it’s great to trial skincare, there’s something about being able to experiment with makeup that’s even more fun. And when there’s a game-changer uncovered, I most definitely have to share it. Here’s what’s currently lifting my beauty regimen.
If you’ve not heard of it or had the chance to try it, soap brows are definitely something for those who are on a constant quest for great, perfectly polished and shaped eyebrows. This product can be used instead of brow gel and it helps to set and smooth the brows. Definitely worth a try.
While lip gloss has obviously been around forever, there’s something about those from Marc Jacobs Beauty that nails the ideal gloss combination. It’s got a rich pigment, has just the right amount of shine and it’s not too sticky which means it’s actually pretty comfortable to wear. I highly recommend this, and it comes in a ton of gorgeous shades.
Once I find a foundation I like then I keep going back for more. Because am I right in saying that it is so hard to find a foundation that offers the right amount of coverage, is the right texture and just the right colour. I love the way this wears; it offers that perfect finish that only a foundation can provide but it sits lightly on the skin making it really wearable. It also stays put which always earns a big tick from me.
Achieving that falsh lash effect minus falsies can be difficult but this primer has brought me a step closer. It’s a primer for your lashes so you pop it on before you put on your mascara and voila, SO much extra volume.
I have my hair and makeup done a number of times throughout the year and as a result I am always introduced to new products. And whilst it’s always good to see what’s currently out there, it’s the ones that make it into my makeup bag that are really special. Because if a beauty product is currently a part of my beauty collection, it means that I love it and rate it highly. So what am I obsessing over right now? Here they are…
Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
I’ve been a fan of this forever. It glides on beautifully, doesn’t feel heavy and gives me the skin of my dreams.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Accomplice concealer & touch-up stick
When you find a concealer that you’re happy with it, hang onto it! I discovered this gem this year and rate it for its ability to cover all manner of beauty issues from a pesky pimple to the tell-tale signs of a big night.
Marc Jacobs Beauty O!Mega bronzer
I always love a sweeping of bronzer to add a little “I’ve just been on holidays” glow to my face and this does the job beautifully.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Accomplice Instant Blurring Beauty Powder
Yes, another MJ winner! This one is good for touch-ups and getting rid of shine, setting makeup and just generally giving myself a glowy finish.
Clarins Everlasting Youth Fluid
Yes, I like using more than one kind of foundation. Whilst Armani Luminous Silk has been a long term favourite, I was recently introduced to this Clarins Foundation and have quickly embraced it. It makes my skin look nice and dewy and also offers great coverage.
Benefit Precisely My Brow pencil and Maybelline Total Temptation brow pencil
I’m rotating between these two and love them both equally. If you’re on a budget though, the Maybelline pencil is a steal.
Benefit, Brow bar or MAC eyebrow gel
I can’t live without eyebrow gel to keep my brows in place for a polished finish. All three do a great job.
Covergirl Lash Blast mascara
This is one of those mascaras that is super affordable but does such a good job that you think it should be really expensive. It provides a really great finish and achieves beautiful lashes.
Marc Jacobs The Big O! mega eye shadow for everyday
Whilst I don’t do Kim Kardashian scale contouring because hey, she has professionals helping her achieve that, I do like to do it myself from time to time. If I’ve got a work event or occasion to go to then I like to amp up my makeup a bit more for a stronger, more impactful look.
The best thing about this wand is that it’s really easy to apply and blend, and if you don’t get both of those things right it can make contouring go very awry… Luckily though, the cushion applicator dispenses just the right amount of product and makes it easier to target specific spots on my face.
I team this product with the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Light Wand and the overall effect is a more sculpted finish, with that lit-from-within glow.
If you’ve been wanting to try contouring yourself but were afraid to because it seemed to complicated then this is a great place to start. It’s seriously super easy to use and I consistently get a great result every time.
I’ve sat in more makeup chairs than I can remember and the one thing I love about it is every time I walk away I have the most amazing glow. If I could permanently have someone doing my makeup everyday I’d totally be on board with it but alas it’s me doing it most days so I need products that are quick and easy to use. So, how to achieve a glowy skin effect without a million and one products? Well, I have become a huge fan of the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Light Wand for that very reason.
I like using highlighters to accentuate my features however I’ve never been able to find one that’s just the right consistency. This liquid highlighter is great as it’s easy to apply and blend (it comes with a sponge applicator at the tip) and is really easy to work into the skin. I don’t end up looking streaky or too overdone and achieves just the right kind of luminosity.
If you’ve been on the hunt for a highlighter that delivers just the right level of sparkle without looking like you had a run in with a glitter pen then definitely give this wand a go. I am amassing quite the collection of Charlotte Tilbury products because they’re so easy to use and the finish is always spot on and this product is no different.
What beauty product are you currently obsessed with?
Sisters Courtney (left) and Kimberley (right) are the founders of multi-million dollar business, The Lip Lab
The search for the perfect shade of lipstick can be a neverending quest for most women and it’s this very problem that inspired sisters Courtney and Kimberley Treacy to start The Lip Lab. From a single salon to now 14 locations in Australia and overseas including Canada, Singapore and the Philippines, The Lip Lab has taken customisation into the beauty arena with great success. Being able to create a custom lipstick (right down to the texture and scent), lip gloss, concealer and foundation has taken the guesswork out of buying staple cosmetics and instead turned it into a creative and fun exercise. Here I chat to Courtney and Kimberley about successfully breaking into an overcrowded beauty market, the one thing that drives them and the biggest turning point in their careers.
What inspired you to start The Lip Lab?
We saw a gap in the market here for personalised, custom blend products and thought it was a great time to start something in Australia. At the time we opened we were the only people doing custom blend on this level. Everyone we showed our idea to loved it as much as we did and this is how we knew we were onto a winner!
What were some of the big learning curves you faced in the beginning of getting your business up and running?
There were a few learning curves—staffing was hard, as we were trying to find staff who shared our passion and commitment.
Our trademark has been a learning curve also. Knowing what we know now, we would have approached our opening differently.
What’s it like working with family?
Funny enough, it’s actually great! Kimberley mainly works from her salon in Camden still, whereas I work full time on The Lip Lab. Once a week we meet at our warehouse, where we grind the numbers and work on strategies to move us forward—be it new products, international openings and basically just a good catch up on what’s happening in the business.
We are great friends and see each other every day, as well as constantly texting and calling each other, so I guess we are lucky!
The Lip Lab allows you to customise your own perfect lipstick shade
What’s been the biggest turning point in your career? Why?
A plane trip to Dallas to see a supplier of our mum’s salon, where we discovered the concept in a store there… The lady there gave us a contact, and the rest is history!
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
We both draw inspiration from many people. For example our supplier in the USA has been very kind to us and has mentored us along the way, always helping us with things we had no idea about and guiding us in the right direction.
Our mum is very entrepreneurial and has started a few businesses from scratch. She has always just dived in the deep end, and always seems to make it work. I think we’ve just always had that approach that if you don’t have a go, you’ll never know!
How do you start each day?
Courtney: It’s chaotic! I try to wake before the girls are up (Dempsey 6, Evie 5) – and spend at least an hour working out by myself whilst the house is still quiet. I find it’s the best time to plan my day, and focus of the positive affirmations that I’ve been practising lately.
Breakfast and getting kids ready is a hectic race every morning and once I have the girls at school I head to our Paddington store to either work with customers, train new staff and new store locations.
Kimberley: Like Courtney, I work out each day, but I find that the gym is the best place for me! Both my boys visit the crèche whilst I do my work out (Maddox 4, Caynan 3), and I usually eat healthy food on the run before dropping the boys at pre-school as I work within my own salon five days a week.
For me not working out isn’t an option – if I don’t do it I feel sluggish, and off for the whole day! I’m a big astrology follower so checking my outlook for the day is high on my list when I wake up, and scheduling social media for my salon before the boys wake.
Mixing up a custom shade
What drives you?
Courtney: Being a single mum, I want to give my girls the best in life that I possibly can and show them that nothing is impossible. Knowing that everything I provide them has come from my own hard work alone is uplifting and pushes me very day.
Kimberley: I’m a perfectionist and I enjoy seeing everything I’ve set my heart on come to fruition. I’m very hard on myself in both a professional and personal sense, and it drives me daily to see how much further I can push myself!
What are some tools – whether it be a gadget, an app, a favourite site – that help you manage your business?
We love Get Timely for our online bookings, which has been a total godsend! It has freed up our phone lines so that customers are able to book online, and can book any time of the day or night. We use it purely for the appointment book, and market via MailChimp and SMS.
iPhone Calendar is a lifesaver, and both Microsoft Office and our MacBooks gets used constantly. Appswise, we love Shade Scout which allows you to spotlight colours in any photo and find makeup in the exact Pantone shade family. You can also try the makeup on in real time without ever opening the packaging. You just use your front-facing camera to start a video feed, and the shade will virtually appear on your face.
We also love [photographer] Kenneth Willardt’s book The Beauty Book and the apps Bellashoot, Nail Snob and Plum Perfect!
What do you think has been the key to your success?
Hard work and not giving up. It would have been easy to give up so many times, but we ploughed on.
Offering a product that was not only of a high quality, but a fun and interactive experience, is also helpful. We really researched this product before we launched and fine-tuned it, to ensure that customers would get the best experience and product
Where do you hope to take your business in future?
We have sold three licences under a different name in Canada, the Philippines and Singapore, and have just secured a huge deal in the Middle East. We are looking to expand in India and Pakistan (over 400 enquiries so far) and eventually Europe, USA and [more locations in] Asia.
Towards the end of the year we will be launching a Blend Your Own perfume series in store, which is exciting as it will cater not just to women but will also offer men’s fragrances as well.
The Lip Lab’s range of lipsticks
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in your career?
Keep your cards close to your chest before you open, so that when you do no one can pull the rug out from under you! We are currently working on a totally new business that is not makeup and, although we are busting to show everyone, we have to wait until launch day and trademark objection dates have passed until we shout it from the rooftops!
How do you stay driven?
Regular meetings with each other and setting goals/ having a vision board works for both of us.
What’s your working style? I.e where do you love to work? What’s your most productive time of day?
Courtney: I’m very ‘by the seat of my pants’, in that I’m rather cruisey. I love the days I head to Paddington as I can also have a sneaky shopping day on the side, but I also love the days I can work from home!
The hours between 6AM and 9AM are my most productive times where I return emails, plan my day and get ready for the onslaught ahead. If I am at home, however, I do get distracted easily… And by 10AM, I’m off catching up with friends for coffee and then lunch.
Kimberley on the other hand is regimented down to the minute. She loves to be at the salon, seeing clients and working on her business. She is productive all day, from the time she wakes up until when her head hits the pillow. She multi tasks so much more easily than I do!
The sisters are still very hands on when it comes to the day to day operations of their business
What’s your number one social media tip for someone starting a business?
Make sure you have someone good doing your social media. We used some staff for a while to save on costs, and it didn’t look sharp or stylish. It’s worth every cent, especially when you look back over posts and see the difference.
Also try and do some one day courses in social media so you are across what is current and what works. Find out when your audience is watching and following you, so you’re posting at the crucial times and stay engaged with your followers.
Finally don’t limit yourself just to social media as you may be missing out on a whole demographic of people who don’t use [social media] platforms.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to anyone starting a business, especially in the crowded beauty market?
Firstly know your market, and what it is that they want. Is there a need for your product? Are there other similar products? If so, how can you stand out?
Finally… plan, plan and plan some more! Write down everything you want to achieve, and refer back to it often. We look back at what we wrote three years ago and we are on track 90 per cent of the time. There’s been a few ideas we’ve discarded along the way, and others we’ve honed and improved upon. Always surround yourself with good solicitors, accountants and PR/social media people… It will always pay off in the end!
Once you find a mascara that works you want to shout it from the rooftops—so here I am doing just that! I’m sure most women are in the same boat as I am, in that they want a mascara that will make their lashes look thick and luscious. I’ve tried a fair few in my time but this is one product that really impressed me with the results I got. A few coats of Diorshow Pump ‘n’ Volume added a ton of volume to my lashes and achieve that abundant falsh lash effect.
Whilst the original Diorshow is quite the cult beauty product, don’t dismiss this version as just slightly newer incarnation. It’s got a few key differences that are really impressive. Firstly the tube is actually made of rubber which means it’s squeezable. Aside from being quite a novelty, by giving the tube a squeeze it’s said to warm up the formula inside. By doing this it allows the mascara to glide on a lot easier and really coat all the lashes. It also allows you to move the formula around inside so you don’t have to repeatedly pump the wand (a big no-no as it’s said to allow air in which not only dries it out but also introduces bacteria) to fully coat it.
A little coat goes a long way and really gives lashes a full effect that’s hard to achieve with a lot of other mascaras. Whilst a Dior mascara is a little pricier, the results you get are definitely worth it.
Eyeshadow palettes can sometimes be a tricky thing as you’re not always guaranteed to love all the colours. I’ve had instances where I’ve played favourites with the colours only to have one that goes unused. However I’m pleased to report that there’s no such issue with this little beauty.
As with most of the Charlotte Tilbury range the colours, the finish and the wearability of this palette is spot on. The copper, bronze and champagne shades all work together to create a beautiful warm, sun-kissed effect whilst still looking natural. I hate looking too overdone and I’ve found all the hues in this quad work harmoniously together to create the perfect finish.
Whilst providing the ideal flush of colour on my eyes, I’ve found that the colour in this eyeshadow quad has staying power. I can wear this all day and it still has the same intensity as when I first walked out the door. It’s perfect for those times when I just want to look a little more polished as I’m going to an event or an important meeting during the day, with it looking too over the top. I highly recommend this for those wanting a product that’s easy to apply but delivers a flattering finish with staying power.
Cooler weather means lips are generally prone to dryness and cracking—all the things you want to avoid if you want to healthy looking pout. This little pot of By Terry Baume de Rose lip care has been my beauty saviour.
I wear this every night before I go to bed as it does a really great job of intensely moisturising my lips overnight. I always wake up with plump, smooth lips the next day. It’s also just the right consistency and is not too greasy or sticky. One of the benefits of this lip balm is that it also provides a nice little flush of colour if you want to wear it during the day. Also, the rose scent is really subtle but the aroma makes it a lovely experience to pop it on everyday.
And as an added benefit if you’re extra sun conscious, Baume de Rose comes with an inbuilt SPF15 to protect your lips from UVA and UVB rays. All this while giving you a totally kissable pout.
Who says a designer fix has to involve dropping four figures on a handbag? If you’re in the mood to treat yourself then why not get a hit of luxury in the form of designer beauty. I know one of my all time fave additions to my makeup bag is Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation and Chanel’s Vitalumiere – it’s a designer hit minus the big dent on the credit card, and hey, it’s great cost per wear as they’re both definitely something I use on an almost daily basis.
Designers such as Givenchy, Burberry and Tom Ford have distilled their chic aesthetic into quality beauty ranges that look pretty fabulous, too (in this instance you can totally judge a book by it’s cover). With each brand expanding into everything from lipsticks to eye shadows, I’ve picked out a few of my faves for a beauty hit that will definitely dial up the glamour…
My beauty kit is always changing as I love trying new products but there are certain essentials that are always a constant, so much so that I actually finish them quite often. I’m the kind of person who will often have a variety of different products in my bathroom cabinet but they’re not always so special that I’ll actually end up finishing every last drop. These products however, are my favourite go-tos and are the ones I end up having to replace time and time again.
I don’t keep mascara for more than a couple of months as I’ve heard it’s not very hygienic to hang onto it for a long time but if there’s one type I always use it’s ModelCo’s LashXtend mascara. I’m a big fan of ModelCo’s mascara as it’s not too expensive but achieves a really great finish.
My lips tend to get quite dry so I always have a tube of paw paw ointment in my bag. I tend to apply it multiple times a day so I always end up finishing it as I’ve always found it to be a really effective moisturiser.