The Ultimate New Year’s Beauty Guide

When January 1st rolls around, resolutions to shape up, slim down and get fit resound around the world. I am certainly far from immune to this notion and slog away at the gym, refueling diligently with green juice and lean protein, just like everyone else who has indulged and enjoyed the holiday season just a bit too much.

photo courtesy of Jamie Nelson photography

photo courtesy of Jamie Nelson photography

This year, however, is a little different for me: in year’s past, I could easily conceal that extra (ok, more than one) glass of wine or cheese platter pickings underneath warm, chunky knits. This year, living in Sydney during the sky-high summer temperatures (it’s currently 37 degrees as I write this) eradicates my ability to hide behind anything, though. Luckily, I’ve picked up a few amazing tips, tricks, products and procedures to help me look and feel my best in no time flat. See you on the beach!

Starting with a clean slate is a statement I take literally when it comes to skincare. A powerful chemical peel is one option to achieve renewal, but the harsh procedure can often leave skin red, irritated and require some downtime and major sun avoidance. Enter skin expert SKEYNDOR’s fabulous new Derma Peel Pro. The gentle yet still insanely effective facial uses multi-layer sequential technology, meaning five techniques are incorporated to achieve both immediate and long term results. Not only has my skin never looked clearer, brighter and more luminous and even, but receiving a Derma Peel Pro treatment means getting pampered luxuriously and deeply enjoying the experience — this is a far cry from they typical discomforts of a peel. I left practically floating, and my skin’s glow hasn’t faded in the least.

To keep my skin fresh, healthy and even, I’ve fallen in love with Chanel‘s new Blue Serum. Inspired by ‘blue zones’, areas where the population has exceptional longevity, this lightweight and lightening quick-to-absorb serum builds on these zones’ ability to balance a better diet, activity, stress management and maintain a close-knit social structure (which translates to a beautiful, luminous complexion). Drawing out natural yet super-potent plant-based ingredients from these blue zones — the olive of Sardinia, the lentisk of Greece and green coffee from Costa Rica — this superlative serum is a salubrious daily ritual that promotes an overall wellbeing and imparts a youthful, healthy and glowing complexion. Blending this holistic approach with Chanel’s inimitable technology, skin is boosted on a cellular level to improve its ability to combat daily stressors and promote wellness, an even texture and a firmer, smoother tone. 



Loving lush lashes in Sydney’s summer means dedicating a good amount of wash up time to carefully removing waterproof mascara night after night, or simply getting a set of really good falsies. Seeing as I’m not super handy with the delicate art of lash glue and strips, I paid a visit to The Lash Studio for a full, fluttery fringe. The beautiful, home-like studio was warm and comfortable, and the ease of waking up with dark, thick eyelashes makes getting out the door in five minutes flat easier than downing that third glass of champagne. To protect the delicate eye area, I’m simply swiping on a drop of Medik8’s Hydr8 Eye 360 Eye Cream. The formula’s caffeine keeps the skin taught and fresh, while Vitamin C and 5-star UVA and UVB protection ensure thin orbital skin stays youthful by preventing damage and premature aging.


Aiding in my newfound easy, fresh start to my New Year’s skincare routine is Nude by Nature’s Sheer Glow BB Cream. Heat and humidity can often translate to a slick complexion, but this lightweight and sheer formula makes for a non-greasy texture and boasts good-for-you ingredients, like aloe vera and Vitamin C-packed Kakadu Plum extract. To keep my oily skin shine-free and ensure my makeup stays in place all day, I mix a pea-sized dollop of Skin B5’s award-winning Skin Purifying Mask right into the BB cream. The incredible antibacterial, soothing, nourishing and complexion-boosting benefits keep my face fresh and healthy all day long, plus the slight green-tinge of the French clay cancels out any redness caused by blemishes and unevenness.

To further protect makeup from slipping, I’m loving Laura Mericer’s incredibly fine and invisible Translucent Powder. Supremely sheer and silky, this lightweight powder all but vanishes, leaving behind a soft-focus glow and summer-proof setting power thanks to unique light reflecting ingredients and cashmere-soft talc.


When it’s time for a night out, nothing beats Charlotte Tilbury’s new Quick ‘N’ Easy 5 Minute Makeup sets. Four of the world’s most loved makeup artist’s signature looks — the smokey eye, red carpet ready, a natural glow and daytime chic — have all been conveniently packaged into miniature kits. The naturally glowing set is my ultimate 2017 best-face-forward look, and includes four super easy to use products that are so amazing, I don’t even need a mirror to use ‘em (which incidentally works out perfectly as the kit is housed in an adorably chic rose-gold lip print case I want to take with me everywhere).

When I want to feel extra sexy, I swipe on the lipstick queen’s inimitably hypnotizing and massively confidence-boosting Hot Lips lipstick in Hot Emily (as in collaboration with bombshell Emily Ratajowski). Velvety in texture and bold in hue, nothing makes me feels fresher and sultrier at once than this illuminating “happiness in a tube”.

Losing a few kilos come New Year’s is always welcome after indulging all December long, and cutting out junk and toxins is a definite necessity for me to do so. Adding a dash of HUM Nutrition’s Raw Beauty to my morning smoothie has helped with this immensely — it’s bursting with organic green superfoods that instantly energize and make me feel lighter. The Tahitian Vanilla and Berry flavour tastes amazing in a berry smoothie, while the Mint Chocolate Chip Infusion rendition seriously tastes like a treat when I need a 3pm boost. Clocking in at a measly 25 calories per serving, this stuff is more than guilt-free, it’s downright fantastic. Chock full of antioxidants, enzymes, probiotics and fiber, all 39 ingredients (!) in this super powder look and make you feel better from the inside out.


To further aid in my kickstart to the New Year, I’ve been taking a few of HUM’s amazingly effective supplements, too. Skinny Bird and Ripped Rooster are helping me curb my appetite and burn extra fat (buh-bye, cookie cravings!), while their Daily Cleanse detoxifies my skin, liver, lungs and lymphatic system. Furthermore, I’m loving the effects of their Flatter Me supplement — optimizing protein, carb, fiber and fat breakdown, these twice-daily capsules help aid in nutrient absorption and relief from bloating and indigestion.


Despite my clean eating and love for the barre, I’ve got stubborn fat that won’t budge no matter how hard I try (ugh, go away, love handles!). To help diminish these extra bits, I visited Platinum Dermatology for a Clatuu treatment. Using freezing technology, a clamp-like device is attached to the treatment area to freeze and eliminate fat cells, shrinking the circumference. A little uncomfortable at first (that clamp is tight and the freezing sensation is a little unpleasant at first, even for a Canadian), the area soon becomes numb, making the treatment a breeze to undergo.


The clinician doesn’t need to monitor the session, but checks in to ensure all is well. After FaceTime-ing with my sister (hi, Em!) and flicking through Vogue (thanks for all the material, Platinum Dermatology!), the device was removed and the area was massaged with an apparatus to encourage the fat cells to break up. For the next few days, I was a little bruised and tender, but felt fine otherwise; results are visible in 12 weeks, so I had to be patient! Things are looking great, though and I’m really pleased.


To treat multiple areas at once, I booked in for a SculpSure treatment. Alternatively, SculpSure uses heat to melt fat cells, and contours in a super speedy 25-minute session. Applicators are clipped in and strapped on to deliver light-based energy, which feels like waves of prickly, hot flashes of cramps followed by immediate relief. During the treatment, the clinician chats (mine was incredibly lovely and really helped the session go by in the blink of an eye; thanks so much again, Roxanne!) with you to ensure you’re experiencing specific sensations for the entire duration in order for the treatment to be effective. Adjustments were made a few times during my treatment, and I appreciated the attention to detail. Post-session, I skipped out and felt completely normal; results were visible in just six weeks, and I’m super impressed!


To contour and smooth, a VelaShape treatment at Karpati Medispa worked a treat. Simultaneously reducing cellulite and circumference, the innovative and unique technology combines infrared light, bi-polar radio frequency energy and a vacuum to quickly and effectively tighten and tone skin while reducing volume. The device head, which deeply heats fat cells, connective tissue and dermal collagen, stimulates new collagen and elastin production, which results in a smoother and firmer tone. The treatment feels like a mild, warm pinching sensation, and is rather comfortable and even relaxing. The lovely technician Ilona ensured the treatment never became too hot and monitored the temperature for the entire duration (20 or 40 minute sessions are available). Afterwards, my skin was a tiny bit red, but there was no discomfort whatsoever and I even went to the gym shortly after.


Lastly, I decided I’m over waxing. I realized it’s more expensive, time-consuming and painful than the amazingly fast and practically pain-free experience I had at Laser Clinics Australia. Getting laser hair removal always seemed a little daunting to me, but the new technology offered at the cutting-edge Laser Clinics Australia made me wonder what exactly it was I was afraid of. The session was over in under two minutes, and I can definitely say from years of experience it hurt far less than a wax. After just two treatments, I can already see a difference and my only regret is not going sooner!

Being a blonde in Australia is about as original as being sick of winter at home come February. That doesn’t mean I want to switch to the dark side, though; I just needed to find a salon that could paint those perfectly undone and elusively natural-looking highlights those Aussie surfer babes are known for around the world. Enter Lily Jackson Hair + Makeup. An airy, spacious and welcoming salon that leaves no detail unnoticed (glass of wine on arrival, anyone?), seriously attentive stylists really care about hair. The creative director, Jules Peacocke, instantly gives you the sense you’re in very good hands (hint: you are).


An initial consult confirmed my tone was a bit flat, and my ends needed some TLC. Educating me in the warmest, most informative way I have ever experienced, I learned what I thought was a helpful habit of trimming my split ends with nail scissors was actually doing quite the opposite — I had no idea there was so much importance surrounding stylists’ scissors! The super-sharp blades make a clean and ultra-precise snip, which leaves the hair shaft undisrupted and flat, unlike my dull and totally wrong nail scissors, which can actually cause spilt ends from making an uneven cut.

When brightening up my colour while simultaneously (and magically) making it look more natural, I also learned what the art of hair contouring was. (note: I also learned the salon has been using this technique since the beginning of time, and it’s simply the term that’s new). Subtly and strategically placing structured highlights in the perfect place to accentuate my face based on its shape and bone structure, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier with the outcome of my hair. It’s the most perfect, multi-faceted shade and tone, and the condition after the cut has left it healthier without looking heavy or blunt in the least. If that wasn’t enough, the salon generously offers a free blowout within four weeks of your treatment! I couldn’t wait to go back, and have already excitedly booked in my next colour and cut.


To maintain my hair’s health and texture between salon visits, I’m washing with R + Co’s Catcus Texturizing Shampoo. The texture-building particles leave my hair looking like I’ve just spent the day surfing, while building subtle waves, grit and grip that’s super easy to style. Post-wash, Oribe’s Matte Waves Texture Lotion sets that beachy style without the drying effects of salt spray, which can often make my fine hair parched and dull. This medium-hold lotion gives me that undone texture I love and keeps my strands healthy while doing so.

When I need an extra shot of moisture, I switch to Kérastase’s new Nutritive Magistral shampoo, Bain Magistral, and luscious mask, Masque Magistral. Reformulated with the most powerful nutrition complex ever, this rich, supple combo deeply nourishes my hair while miraculously keeping in light, radiant and soft. Afterwards, I comb through a dollop of R + Co’s High Dive Moisture and Shime Crème. Its deeply nourishing formula smooths frizz and keeps my hair perfect when air-drying.


When I need a glamorous boost, I love smoothing on Kérastase’s gorgeous Chronologiste Parfum en Huile. Better smelling than many perfumes, this luxuriously scented oil makes my hair shiny, radiant and nourished. Lastly, when I need a little refreshing before I’m ready for a wash, I’m absolutely in love with Oribe’s new Gold Lust Dry Shampoo. Translucent powders sooth my scalp while absorbing excess dirt, oil and product buildup, all without disturbing the texture and weight I worked so hard to achieve.

It’s no secret I adore a good golden glow, but the harsh Australian sun is far too damaging to sunbake the summer days away. I’ve fallen in love with Tan Luxe’s range, as the formulas simply mix right in to my everyday face/ body cream. It doesn’t leave a trace of a telltale tan scent, gives the most believable bronze glow, and boasts luxuriously decadent skin-boosting ingredients like raspberry seed oil, caffeine and antioxidants.


For a fresh and uniquely noted scent, my new year’s favourite summer picks are definitely Nest Fine Fragrance’s selections. For daytime, the soft yet bright Citrine boasts an invigorating balance of lemon blossom, precious woods and dew drop accord, while the Paradise adaptation lives up to its name and blends uplifting blood orange with refreshing white ginger and watery nuances.

Come nightfall, I love misting on Midnight Fleur, as it evokes pure allure with notes of vanilla orchid, exotic woods and black amber. Alternatively, Indigo is both fresh and sultry thanks to the blend of Moroccan Tea, Bergamot and Wild Fig. What’s almost as good as the illuminating scents is the stunning, artistic bottles they’re housed in: sleek black packaging is decorated with modern florals that maintain a sophisticated edge — I leave these fragrances out on display to appreciate their beauty.


I’ve always loved a good manicure, but often find myself going the DIY route. For summer-time swims and late-night cocktails, I need a chip-free paint job that doesn’t fade after a few days in the Sydney sun. First, I start with Sephora’s Formula X Prime Base Coat; it’s the stuff two-week-plus manicure dreams are made of. The combination of a super strong adhesive and its ability to fuse with the polish applied on top means this ace base makes my mani last way longer than the hemline of my favourite summer cutoffs. It’s no secret I’m a diehard classic Chanel Pirate kind of girl, but I crave the longevity and shininess of a gel manicure. To cure my shellac-envy, I simply reach for Sally Hansen’s 3D Top Coat. Transforming any manicure into a voluminous, plumped-up version, the ultra-glossy finish and extended wear ensures I never skip a topcoat again.


Finally, with all my newly toned exposed skin, I love using Fresh’s Brown Sugar Polish to keep me smooth from head to toe. Firstly, it’s as yummy as it sounds: it gently exfoliating skin with real brown sugar crystals, and both smells and feels supremely divine. I Start at my toes and work my way up in circular motions, buffing away all signs of dull, dry skin. Invigorating, revitalizing and brightening ingredients, like a cocktail of precious oils and ginseng root, leave me with the most deliciously smooth skin I’m happy to reveal all summer long.