Beauty & Health

Confessions of a Beauty Editor

by Adriana Donnola, expert beauty stylist 

With a plethora of beauty products on the market it can be overwhelming at times, trying to navigate the aisles when all you want is the ‘must-have’ edit. When my girlfriends call, and inevitably ask for a list to take shopping, I always start off with these cult favourites. Some are expensive, others are purse-friendly but all of them are results-driven.  

1. MCoBeauty Highlight & Glow Stick in Champagne, Nectar, $14 each, Woolworths​.
One of these highlighters sells every 30 seconds! Never heard of the brand? It’s the budget-friendly little sister of the hot pink Sydney-born ModelCo.These chubby sticks contain super-fine micro-pearl particles that give skin an instant luminous glow. Pop on cheekbones and above the brow bone for a skin-brightening lift. It performs like a high-end version but at a fraction of the price.

2. Dyson Airwrap, $799, David Jones, Sephora​.
When this unique dryer first launched it revolutionised the hot tool market. It has multiple attachment tools that allows you to style your hair as it dries. Not only is it easy to create beautiful waves every day at home, it’s way less damaging on your hair since it uses a far lower heat setting than a traditional curling iron and uses air - not extreme heat - to set curls. The Airwrap barrels sucks your hair in (much like a vacuum does) which causes your hair to wrap around the barrel by itself. Genius.  


3. Egyptian Magic, $34.99, Myer​. 
I met the founder LordPharaoh ImHotepAmonRa (quite the character!) many years ago during a Priceline event and I have been using his wonder balm ever since. Loved by Oprah and Madonna, this iconic salve is a clean multi-tasker (just olive oil, beeswax, honey, pee pollen, propolis and royal jelly). I use it on my lips, nails, frizzy hair ends, knees, elbows and any other dry spots. A little goes a long way.

4. essence “you better work” waterproof mascara,$7, Target.​ 
Once this creates bolder and fuller lashes, it does not budge through a gym session and ocean swim. I still can’t get my head around the price though. . .


5. Jojoba Company’s Jojoba Oil, $19.99, Priceline Pharmacy.
Yes, this will nourish and moisturise skin but it’s point of difference is that it has the unique ability to improve the hydration of any skin type - from acne to sensitive and super dry. This is because it’s not actually an oil but a wax which closely mimics the molecular structure of the oil found in our skin, so its antioxidant-rich formula is easily absorbed. Make sure your skin is warm and damp first (just out of the shower is a good time) and press into your face for maximum benefit. 

6. IT Cosmetics CC SPF 50+ , $25 (12ml) Sephora.
This full-coverage foundation was developed in consultation with cosmetic surgeons so it has skin benefits too. The aim was to create the most beautiful colour-correcting base and it worked. It regularly sells out because not only does it deliver a flawless finish but it still feels light and hydrated thanks to its skin-loving formula of hyaluronic acid, peptides and collagen.


7. Lanolips Tinted Lip Balm SPF 30+, $14.95 each, Mecca Maxima​.
I have several of these on high-rotation at all times throughout summer. Not only for the high sun protection but lip beautifying benefits too. No stickiness either.

8. La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF 50+, $29.95 each, Priceline Pharmacy.​
The biggest complaint with sunscreen is a greasy feeling, which does not sit well with makeup. This next-gen, broad spectrum UVA/UVB (which means it protects from ageing and burning) is so incredibly light that it is a complete joy to wear every day. The tinted version is my go-to on weekends.


9. InEssence 360 Diffuser Whisperer, $199, Myer​.
A mood-shifting ultrasonic diffuser is a life-changing addition to the home. Not only does it mean there is no chance of leaving a candle alight ever again (as it uses water to transport the scent not heat) but you can design a bespoke scent depending on the atmosphere you wish to create, be that balancing, stimulating or calming.  

10. L’Oreal Paris Elnett Satin Normal Strength Hairspray, $10.99, Priceline Pharmacy, Woolworths.​
This is the hairspray of choice for photo shoots, runway shows and red carpet events. It’s the only one you need to hold a style for longer, banish humidity frizz and then completely brush out with ease.


Adriana Donnola has been writing about all things lifestyle for over 25 years on magazines including New Idea, Who, InStyle, TV Week and New Weekly. She has interviewed the world’s top celebrity makeup artists, skincare specialists and hairstylists loves to help women become a more beautiful version of themselves. For more information, please click here to visit her website 'Shop With A Beauty Editor'.