Welcome to our regular new beauty section where we speak with beauty and wellness authorities about elevated beauty for occasions, weddings, events and all other things in-between which require a little more effort and ‘elevation’. I’m very excited to introduce our first guest Zeenat Wilkinson, the founding editor of Sauce Mag, the leading online Beauty, wellness and lifestyle magazine that many of you will already be familiar with.

This wonderful woman has achieved so much with Sauce Mag over the past three years. Her content is fresh, intelligent, original and diverse. There really is not much that she can’t weigh-in on when it comes to all things beauty, wellness and fashion. Zeenat even imparts some of her favourite tried and tested family beauty secrets in her interview below. She’s also rather dear to our hearts and has been a constant source of inspiration and a true friend of Together Journal over the years. We have so much respect for what she has created with Sauce Mag and the mark she is making on the beauty, wellness, media and fashion industries here in New Zealand and further afield. This girl really knows her stuff and always acts with such style and grace, which is evident in her conversation with us below.

Rituals – What are your tried and tested beauty rituals for getting occasion prepped? 

A cleaning ritual is something I always turn to, to recharge and plump my skin with hydration. I double cleanse with Syrene oil-in-foam cleanser first, followed by Monastery Sage cleansing oil. I massage this into my skin, allowing for blood flow and lymphatic drainage. I then run a towel or muslin cloth under warm water and press it into my skin for five seconds, repeating it four to five times until the top layer of my skin is plump and hydrated. I follow this up with a hydrating mask. Once the mask is off, the final step is a bit of a family secret to glowing skin before a big event—icing my face! Literally rubbing a cube of ice on the face for five minutes. I read somewhere Kate Moss does this too! Celebrity facialist Ole Henriksen mentioned it in an interview with Vogue that icing helps to dramatically improve circulation in the skin for that healthy glow we all want. It helps minimise pores, soothe inflammation for clear skin, and increase blood circulation. 

For the body, I make a little DIY scrub with my leftover coffee grind (you can also get some from your local café) and a few drops of olive oil or hemp seed oil. I use this in the shower, wash it off, and pat my skin dry. The coffee is invigorating and the oil just seals my skin with hydration.

Skincare – What are your favourite skincare products that you rely on when you have an exciting occasion coming up. Do you use them just on the day or do you use something special in the weeks leading up to an event? 

I am huge advocate for looking after your skin and using minimal make-up. So I tend to spend more time and energy on skincare than make-up. I use Estée Lauder’s Retinol Treatment two to three times a week for texture. It is gentle yet incredibly effective. Juice Green Apple Peel Exfoliating Mask from Mecca is another one of my to-go products a day prior to a big event.It contains a good dose of AHAs and BHAs made up of  glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids. This mask minimises pores and it helps reduce dead skin cells and uneven texture. Although an organic one, it is potent, so I recommend doing it a day prior to the event. P50 is another great one for texture. Jeuneora renew+ collagen powderis potent and effective on skin, hair, and nails; you can see results in a couple of weeks of using it. I also highly rate The Beauty Chef’s Glow powder.

Sometimes, you need to look after your skin from the inside out. However, if I have something really, really big, then I’ll go for a facial. The oxygenation facial at Forme spa is great for an instant glow that is short term. The Facialist is great if you’re struggling with acne. They do amazing extractions for acne and the treatment helps inflammation, too. If I am looking for a quick fix and something inexpensive, then I turn to Off & On’s dermaplaning treatment. They basically shave your face with a fine blade and it’s totally safe and instantly helps reduce all the peachy fuzz that often gets in the way.

I also love Syrene’s Aqua Hydrating Masque, it contains collagen marine and manuka honey which helps plump the skin and give it a nice dewy look. It is completely clear, so I’ll do that one on the day of a big event even if I am out and about running errands.

Makeup – What are a couple of your go to makeup product’s when it comes to occasion beauty?

I am big on glowing skin! My goal is to always look like how I look in real life. My friends often ask me, ‘What is making your skin glow like that?’ and it’s always just Bobbi Brown’s illuminating balm under foundation and Tom Ford’s Sculpting Palette II for the shape and glow on top. I hate dry chalky highlighting but I love a dewy glow. I normally highlight my cheekbones, then brow bones, cupid lip, and lately also jawline to give it that extra definition. A really great budget-friendly glow product on the market is Revlon’s Glow Gelee in good as golden. A really good gel texture that still looks natural. For day time and in winter, I also love using Weleda Skin Food as a highlighter and give my temples that natural glow. 

Having said that, I also love a good foundation. EsteeLauder’s Double Wear Foundation is my go-to for longwearing and full coverage. Lately, I have also been using the La Mer Soft Fluid Foundation for a light, dewy finish, so sometimes I mix the two foundations and that seems to work really well on my skin. I treat my foundations as an investment piece and use it carefully.

Eyebrows are an absolute must for me. Bobbi Brown does a really good brow kit [comes with a little tweezer too] if you like more of a bold eyebrow, and they do a really good brow shaper, too. 

My lips tend to get dry really easily, so I always start with La Mer Lip Balm or Clinique’s overnight lip mask. Instead of a lipstick, I normally pack in MAC’s chicory lip liner and Bobbi Brown lip tint in pink. The combination gives me more of a pinky-nude than a nude-nude look, which I prefer for my complexion.

I never used to be a fan of setting sprays as it tends to clog my skin but I am obsessed with Arbonne’s setting spray, which is also great for blocking environmental pollutants that dulls the skin. I know my make-up is going last all night if I wear this one. 

And what great highlight or hero makeup products can you recommend that make an impact and may change depending on what you are wearing or where you are going? 

The beauty trends that I’ve noticed lately are more towards using make-up as a tool of self-expression. For instance, using colour or a bold eyeshadow to celebrate a time of the year or a mood or just how you feel that month. Coloured mascara is a nice playful way to introduce colour if an eyeshadow is too much. Shiseido and YSL do coloured mascaras really well.

I love the idea of trying to push the envelope and embracing your heritage through beauty. Natural hair texture and styling that is true to your culture is a great way to share who you are. 

Another trend is the less-is-more approach. If your make-up is too done, then your hair needs to be more natural. Always a good idea to pick one. Take Coco Chanel’s advice and maybe remove one element before you step out. It could be lipstick or just blotting your skin with a tissue paper to remove excess make-up.

Also, fragrances are a great tool to elevate your mood. Scent adds that bit of glamour and mood to your overall look. You can wear a simple slip dress or jeans and a shirt, sandals, and Soliel Blanc by Tom Ford during the afternoon and that’s a statement in itself. Coromandel by Chanel, which is quite patchouli and ambery, is another great fragrance for special occasions. 

Hair – Where do you go / what do you use / what styles are you loving for occasion hair at the moment?

I am definitely a salon kind-of-gal for a fresh colour/tone before a big day. I go to stylist Ruth Irwin at Emma Bryce Salon or Jessica Taylor at Saba Salon. Both are amazing! I also love going to a salon for a wash and blow out before a big event. 

For me, hair has always been an extension of what is going on the inside. I love working with my natural texture and making my hair look like the best version of what it naturally is. I sometimes create soft waves using the GHD Styler. Another great way to add texture is to braid your hair and then iron the braid. I learned this from stylist Ruth Irwin, and it’s sort of a cooler way to do waves if you’re in the mood for something that is natural but makes a statement. In terms of products, Fatboy has a product called Tough Guy Water Wax, which I use lightly to add hold and a bit of grit once I finish styling or even just to tame fly away. 

Zeenat is photographed by Luke Foley Martin and she wears Maggie Marilyn + Harman Grubiša