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The Best (and Worst) Skin & Beauty Advice I’ve Ever Been Given

If you’ve watched a celebrity “What’s In My Bag?” or “Get Ready with Me”, you’ll often hear them talking about how they use X product because their makeup artist gifted it to them or used it on them for a shoot, and they’ve been “obsessed” ever since.

When I was modelling (this spanned some time in Tokyo, Paris, Berlin and of course in Australia), I have to say I never liked having heavy makeup applied, and perhaps it’s why, to this day, a full face of makeup feels like work to me. It’s also why skincare is so important (you need to not only know how to effectively remove all of those layers at 11.45pm when you finally get home after a show, and you need to know how to treat the skin underneath properly).

I definitely soaked up everything laid out in front of me from each makeup artist’s kit – and would ask about certain products or what was new that everyone was getting into. I would also get snippets of advice here and there, bringing me to today, where I have a collection of tips and tricks from industry experts of all sorts. I’ve curated my top 5 most valuable skincare & makeup tips, along with just a few of the more dishonourable mentions (this is not to say these tips won’t be your holy grail guide – they just didn’t work for me).

The Goods:

#1 Excuse fingers. Warm up and apply your base product (tinted moisturiser, foundation or concealer) with your (clean) fingers, this just gets the most natural finish, and the warmth of your hands will melt the product in nicely. This is less useful for precision application, but still a tip I go back to again and again.

#2 Get handsy. I loved nothing more than a quick facial massage before makeup began – you get a relaxed flush to the skin and it’s also really lovely if you’ve been running around between shows. You can get the same feel at home with a balm or oil cleanser!

#3 Time your prime. Apply your heavy-duty lip balm (I saw a lot of Paw Paw Ointment and a lot of Homeoplasmine scattered about artist kits) during your skincare routine, so you have a good amount of time to hydrate and smooth your lips. Most of the time for a shoot or a show, this product will be wiped off in preparation for a lip pencil or lipstick – so it’s like a lip-cial (lip facial).

#4 Dewy is king. The skin finish trends are always fluctuating, but for the most part, a “glow” or a slight glossiness to the skin was often the look. I naturally have oily skin, so this worked well for me – and I suppose the lesson goes both ways: don’t fight your natural skin type.

#5 Don’t stress the small stuff. Even though we assume models have flawless skin, the reality is with so much makeup on and off on a regular basis, you’re bound to walk into a shoot or backstage with a blemish. I’m always endlessly impressed with makeup artists who manage to not only conceal imperfections and redness, but to make you feel like it’s not a problem (and most of the time they never even mention it) – they have seen it all. Consider that if you’re having a bad skin day.

The Not-So-Goods:

#1 Embryolisse EVERYWHERE. It’s cruelty-free, but that doesn’t mean it won’t do cruel things to your complexion. This heavy white moisturiser (read: shea butter people, shea butter!) was the go-to for priming ALL skin types – it always felt way too thick for me, but it was the cool-girl of the makeup artist priming kit (some really good PR?). Overall, this product is just overrated for oily or combination skin, especially under makeup.

#2 Don’t eat after your bold lip is applied. Ok, so this is more for the same of an anecdote – one particular runway show (a beautiful show and lots of fun!), had makeup directed by a very popular and well-known brand (who I shall not name). The look was dewy skin, smoky eyes and a dark red glossy lip. In staggered groups, all the girls got their faces done, and then some food came out – I personally remember eating a rice paper roll – and once the makeup artists clocked girls eating and drinking and the smudging and wear on the lips, we were banned from consuming anything. Even water was apparently off the menu! Now it was a good hour at least until showtime, and as we lined up backstage in order – waiting, as you do – a girl from my agency lolled her head, leaned back and slipped down the wall behind her – not quite fainting but certainly not well. The heat, no water, no sugar and standing still in the crowd was a combination for mass fainting – and low and behold we suddenly had a swarm of assistants carrying Tim Tams, jelly snakes and water bottles with straws. The lesson here is, don’t sacrifice your blood sugar and hydration for a bold lip.

#3 You should try this [ENTER ESSENTIAL OIL] product by [ENTER BRAND]. I always appreciate genuine product recommendations, but a common denominator of skincare recs backstage or on set was always something rosewater based, or citrus-focused – for me, essential oils are anything but essential.

I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane (catwalk?) with me, and that some of these tips assist you next time you’re prepping your face.

XX Holly


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