I. Louisa, you work for one of the world’s most prestigious beauty conglomerates, what does a day at Estée Lauder Co. look like for you?
L. I get to indulge and immerse myself in my passion and interests on a daily basis and call it ‘work’, so I count myself very lucky in that sense.
I. Was there a defining moment that set you on your trajectory in the beauty industry?
L. I don’t know if I can pinpoint any one exact moment, but I do know I’ve always been a very excitable beauty customer. I’ve always loved products.
Before I worked in the industry, I was a self-taught skin expert. I did, and still do, research and read A LOT. I buy a lot of products online because I’m obsessed with testing and trying new products and brands. I was ordering snail masks from Korea before sheet masks were even a thing, and used to have to hunt down all of INES’ amazing French pharmacy favourites-until now!
I. Has working so engrained in the beauty industry altered or shaped your attitude to beauty, cosmetics?
The irony is since working in the beauty industry, I wear less makeup than I have ever done!
Working for a heritage brand like Lauder has given me immense respect for the ins and outs of the industry. Social media and the digital landscape has completely changed the way we consume and market beauty. You could literally launch a brand tomorrow simply via Instagram. But a 50-year old beauty brand that is able to stay relevant to today’s beauty consumer, be agile in an ever-changing industry and still stay true to deeply-rooted brand storytelling – I find that hugely inspiring and motivating to be a part of.
I have always been very specific about products and I’m extremely discerning as to what I put on my skin, but I do think I’m pretty much numb to most wafty product claims now.
Nowadays, Ingredients are what is important to me. That’s not to be confused with all-natural. I like high-tech science far too much to have an all-natural skincare routine!
I know what to look for in ingredients. Minimal, efficacious and high concentration levels of certain ingredients are what I look for. This is why I love NIOD and The Ordinary brands, because they are clean and simple.
Expensive doesn’t mean the best, so do your research. A lot of the price of products you see on the shelf is packaging, or brand positioning – not always better product!
It’s also important to give products a chance to figure out if they work for you – and then stick to it! The industry is so saturated with new brands and products that if you’re constantly changing and mixing, you’ll never actually know what’s working. Once you have an established routine that works, it’s easier to introduce new products and gauge their effectiveness. I think most people expect an instant fix, but you have to remember the best products take time to give cumulative results
I know what to look for in ingredients. Minimal, efficacious and high concentration levels of certain ingredients are what I look for. This is why I love the NIOD and Ordinary brands, because they are clean and simple.
I. What is the first thing you do in the morning, and how do you get ready for the day?
L. I’m an early bird. I get up every morning around 5.30am and get straight out of the house for a walk and fresh air. I’m lucky I live really close to the beach, so I walk down to Bondi, get coffee and wake up with the sun. I don’t meditate but I enjoy the silence and my routine at this time. Being close to the ocean and watching the sunrise is a very peaceful start to the day – I really notice it on days that I miss it. Depending on the day, I will either then go to a morning pilates or ballet class, or head straight into work – but not until I’ve read my daily horoscope! Susan Miller. I have her Astrology Zone app on my phone so this punctuates my morning everyday via a 7am notification. Horoscopes are not gospel but I argue her accuracy would challenge most sceptics…
For me beauty is about looking polished and groomed – but not about looking done. I 100% believe in focusing on skin – good skin is everything!
My day-to-day routine routine is pretty boring – I save all the fun products for night and at-home treatments. In the morning, an enzyme cleanse, followed by an anti-oxidant serum and sunscreen that doubles as my daily moisturiser and base.
Sometimes, I’ll add in Vitamin C
Especially coming into summer, as this can minimise the effects of the sun on pigmentation. Right now, I’m using The Ordinary’s Ascorbic Acid. I love how few ingredients are in their products - Vitamin C is great for skin brightening and evening skin tone but most products available contain very little of the active ingredient and mix it with a bunch of other filler ingredients.
I like to have clean, super healthy, glowing skin during the day. I don’t wear much makeup because I’m far more interested in the skin prep. I don’t wear foundation at all unless I’m going out, but even then, I never put it all over my face. Most days I will just follow my skincare routine with a little concealer (RMS Un Cover Up Conclear in Shade 22) a little bit of blush and a lip tint.
Sunscreen. EVERYDAY. Not wearing sunscreen is basically the worst thing you can do for your skin, considering the sun is responsible for 99% of skin problems. I prefer a physical sunscreen (Zinc based) as this sits on top of your other products and doesn’t penetrate or interfere with them like a chemical sunscreen will.
I. Can you talk us through your night time routine?
L. I have a pretty regimented night routine.
Washing my face is generally the first thing I do when I get home. It helps me relax knowing my skin is clean from the day. I’ll do a basic double cleanse (Micellar water on a cotton pad to remove anything left over as I like to be able to see things coming off), and then I’ll do my night routine right before I go to bed.
After cleansing, I tone with P50 serum, which is a chemical exfoliator. After this, I mist. I could mist all day long! It’s a great way to keep the skin hydrated. I’m loving Niods SDS Mist.
Every second day, I’ll use Retinol Reform. Vitamin A is by far the best skincare ingredient there is. It speeds up cell production, blemishes, pigmentation – you name it! You don’t want to overdo it though, as it can make skin very sensitive and peel with overuse.
On days that I don’t use Vitamin A, I will usually do a mask of some sorts. It’s important to read your skin’s needs when masking, if it’s feeling dry, I’ll do something hydrating. When it’s oily or feeling like I’m battling a breakout, this NIODs Flavanone Mud Mask is my absolute saviour. I follow this with a hydrating serum. Give each step a few minutes to soak into the skin properly. Eye serum is a non-negotiable. I think most people think this step is more of a luxury…wrong! The eyes are the most delicate skin on your face. Tap the product into skin, don’t rub. Any leftover product I always rub into my lips.
Last but not least, I moisturise. I use Embryolisse. It’s an old school, basic moisturiser that will never-fail you. I don’t rub, but instead press it into the skin with my hands. This helps to retain water in the skin.
My approach to night beauty is pretty classic. I don’t really make any huge fashion statements with make-up – A red lip is kind of my look if I need to do something a bit special and don’t bother too much with eye makeup other than mascara and brushing up the brows. My nails are always the same shade of red.
I. Your hair is beautiful- your defining feature. How do you take care of it?L.My hair is pretty much always the same. I like voluminous, 90s supermodel hair. I always have. I do my hair religiously every morning, even if I’m not leaving the house…it’s just my thing. It sounds high-maintenance but it’s actually not. My hair takes me less than two minutes. I only wash my hair maybe once or twice a week. There’s a lot of it, so it takes a while to blowdry. I recently discovered Leonor Greyl’s Pre Shampoo Treatment, which is a magic little pre-shampoo oil that has seriously extended the time in between washes and helps it dry much faster. I am obsessed. The Jasmine Hair mask has also been a new addition that I try to do once a week – it’s great for nourishing the ends of your hair. I curl my hair everyday so it helps with heat damage and avoids breakage!
I. Do you have any inner wellness rituals?
L. Sleep has to be my biggest. Go to bed before 10pm…or get at least 8 hours. It’s boring but it will show on your skin, and your mood, for the better.
Water – always drink more than you think you should. I drink massive amounts of water, maybe 3L a day.
I am an avid fan of The Beauty Chef products. I religiously take their Glow Powder and Sleep Powder supplements daily.
2 x 1000mg High Dose Vitamin C tablets daily to keep you bright and sparkly.
In the mornings, Lemon and hot water is the elixir of life and keep your coffee black, milk is not friends with your skin.
I..What is the one product you can’t live without?
L. Sunscreen. EVERYDAY. Not wearing sunscreen is basically the worst thing you can do for your skin, considering the sun is responsible for 99% of skin problems. I prefer a physical sunscreen (Zinc based) as this sits on top of your other products and doesn’t penetrate or interfere with them like a chemical sunscreen will.
I. Bondi girl- what are your favourite local haunts?
L. BRU Coffee in North Bondi does the best coffee and banter.
Raw Bar sashimi and spicy salmon sushi– I could eat this everyday!
The terrace at North Bondi Fish for sundowners, fish tacos and oysters…
The Shop and Wine Bar on Curlewis St for happy hour and cheese boards
Anchor Bar will always have my heart with the best chili Margaritas in town…
D’Orazio for pizza, friendly faces and an always fun dinner vibe.
I. Do you have any at home tricks, tips or beauty hacks you can share?
I. How long have you got?
I have a very considered and disciplined approach to looking after my skin. I don’t think there is any one secret to great skin, other than you 100% get out what you put in. In my opinion, the more effort and care you take of your skin, the better the end result. Don’t take your skin for granted. No matter how good your genes are!
I try to steam my face twice a week with a herbal laxative mix. It’s not the most glamorous trick but you can wash your face three times and still not rid your skin of dirt and excess makeup from your pores - it’s gross. This is a little like a colonic for the skin, and leaves the skin glowing like nothing else.
There are lots of great things you can do for your skin at home that will enhance your skincare regime. Ice baths, for example, are great for reducing puffiness and waking up the skin. An excellent skin fix on a hangover too! I put 4-5 big ice cubes in a bowl of water with a little bit of rosewater or witch hazel, then submerge my face for 10s at a time, for about a minute – or as long as you can handle! It’s an instant facelift.
I also keep an ice roller in the freezer always for a quick facial massage. It’s great for stimulating the circulation and lymphatic drainage.
I. What is your first beauty memory?
L. When I used to dance, as far back as I can remember, my most favourite part was getting ready for the end of year shows. I would obsess over selecting the makeup products and meticulously pack stage makeup bags. My mum was really good at applying makeup and doing my hair – so I would always have perfect hair and makeup.
I think I can credit my mum for a lot of my beauty obsessions, like me, she loves products, and it was always our thing to make sure we tried and tested all the latest mascaras, skincare and perfumes. I developed a knack for critiquing this from a very young age.
I. What do you do to relax and unwind?
J. To be honest, I’m not very good at relaxing - I’m pretty high energy. For me, relaxing and unwinding is more about having a space or rituals that ground you or where you can recharge.
I think it’s important to feel good about yourself, so me-time for me is often pilates, a manicure or just pottering around the house with an extended version of my skincare regime. I don’t really consider these indulgences – it’s more about making time for yourself, and your well-being – whatever that might be for you.
L.What are you reading at the moment?
L.Here is Real Magic by Nate Staniforth.
I also recently finished reading Eve Babitz ‘Slow Days, Fast Company’ – An easy, gossipy-read, its set and was written in 1970s Hollywood heyday (my favourite era!) but it reads like it could have been penned today.
I.What are your top picks from INÈS?
L. Nuxe’s Huile Prodigieuse is, for good reason, one of the best beauty multi-taskers you can own. Post shower moisturising, in the ends of your hair, on cheekbones, and even to tame eyebrows. The shimmer version is my go-to for legs. It’s got this great, dry, non-sticky texture that leaves legs looking like a slightly airbrushed, better version of themselves. The smell too, it’s subtle and a little sexy but doesn’t compromise your regular perfume.
I’m a big fan of Embryolisse moisturiser because of the smell and it works on everything. Moisturiser doesn’t always need to be a splurge. Spend money on serums, as these soak into the skin the furthest and then use a basic moisturiser like this to seal all the goodness in.
Lightstim Handheld – LED light therapy is a game changer, and one day, when extravagance allows, I will have my own Omnilux machine at home. In the meantime, this little device still works a treat – you do have to spot treat areas, and be dedicated with it, but it gets the job done.