We asked industry experts to answer common beauty questions you’re too embarrassed to ask

12 February 2019
By Fashion Quarterly

Do you actually need to use toner? Is gel nail polish bad for your nails? Some of the country's top beauty experts answer your burning questions.

Can you wear a red lip at any age? Are face masks worth doing? And do you actually need to use a toner? We asked some of the country’s top beauty experts for answers to these questions and more:

Is gel nail polish bad for my nails? | common-beauty-questions-answered_gallery_1000w_Is gel nail polish bad for my nails

Is gel nail polish bad for my nails?

“Gel polish is totally safe and will never damage your nails,” says celebrity manicurist Leah Light, who has done the nails of Taylor Swift and Rihanna when they were in town. “It comes down to how it was applied and how it gets removed,” Light says. “Something we tell all new clients is to remember gel polish is not bullet-proof and how long it lasts can vary. Most people get between two and three weeks; however, if you are really hard on your nails you may get less.”

Do you actually need to use a toner? | common-beauty-questions-answered_gallery_1000w-do-you-need-to-use-a-toner

Do you actually need to use a toner?

You may think it’s a useless step in your bedtime beauty regime but toner is pretty important. It will sweep away the top layer of dead skin cells, dirt and oil, leaving the skin looking more healthy. “A toner helps prepare the skin for the next phase of the skincare regime, which will help the products then penetrate much deeper into the skin,” says Hayley Wren, Estée Lauder’s national education manager. “For those who invest in their skincare regime, make sure the toner is part of your daily ritual.”

SHOP: Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner, $30; Pixi Glow Tonic, $34; Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner, $40.

Why do I always shave dry lips? | common-beauty-questions-answered_gallery_1000w-lip-balm

How do I stop my lips from becoming too dry?

  • Lipstick queen Karen Murrell gives us her top tips:
  • Look for hydrating ingredients like avocado oil, evening primrose oil and shea butter.
  •  Buff away any dry or dead skin with a lip exfoliator. Using a little natural cleanser on a flannel in the shower can also do the trick.
  • Don’t lick your lips – it will only cause them to dry out more. Instead, make sure you are always well hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Choose a natural lipstick or lip balm to protect lips and hydrate them at the same time.

SHOP: Marc Jacobs Beauty Lip Lock Moisture Balm, $35;

Can anyone wear a red lip – and at any age? | common-beauty-questions-answered_gallery_1000w_red-lipstick

Can anyone wear a red lip – and at any age?

Short answer – yes! L’Oréal national makeup director Lisa Matson says anyone can pull off a glamorous red lip “as long as it’s applied evenly, doesn’t bleed around the lip line, and you have the belief that you look fantastic in it”.

SHOP: Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint, $41; M.A.C Cosmetics Lipstick in Ruby Woo, $40

How often should I clean my makeup brushes? |common-beauty-questions-answered_gallery_1000w_clean-makeup-brushes


How often should I clean my makeup brushes?

To prevent the spread of bacteria it is probably best to wash your brushes at least once a week. “When washing, use shampoo and conditioner to keep bristles smooth and soft,” says Nadia Henry, brand manager for Smashbox Cosmetics.

I don’t wear lip liner but wonder if I should. Can you explain what it’s for and how to use it? \ common-beauty-questions-answered_gallery_1000w_lipliner

I don’t wear lip liner but wonder if I should. Can you explain what it’s for and how to use it?

MAC national makeup artist Kiekie Stanners explains, “It’s a very important step to keep lip products on your lips for longer. I always fill the whole lip in first with the liner colour. Not only will this give you a sharper lip line, it also provides a base for lipstick to adhere to.”

SHOP: M.A.C Cosmetics Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Shock Value, $50.


No matter what brand I try or what application method I use, I cannot apply fake tan without causing streaking or patches. What is the best approach?

“Applying fake tan is like applying foundation; it is all in the prep to gain perfection,” says St Tropez skin finishing expert Michael Brown. Here are his tips:

  • The more moisture you have locked in your skin, the longer your tan will last.
  • The week of your tan you should increase your moisturiser application; this way the skin is plump and smooth for a more streak-free look.
  • The day before you are going to tan, make sure you exfoliate your entire body and do any hair removal that is needed – do not do any of this the day of your tan application as it can dry out your skin.
  • Moisturise your entire body the day/night before. The day of your tan, only moisturise dry areas, not your whole body as this will weaken the tan’s bond to the skin. Dry areas are usually the feet, hands, ankles, wrists, and knees. With these areas moisturised, they will not make the area go darker because tan will not stick as much.
  • Apply tan with your hands, instead of a mitt, as you can feel every part of the body that you are applying the product to. Massage really well – the heat from your hands should melt the tan into skin.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly; Brown’s top tip is to use hair removal cream to get any excess tan off your hands… it works every time. Wait at least eight hours before you moisturise and then do so daily to lock in your tan.

SHOP: St Tropez Mousse Express, $75.


Some creams come with a thin plastic cover under the lid… should I keep it?

Yes – it will help protect the active ingredients in the cream – essentially making it more effective.


Is there a correct technique to applying fake eyelashes?

We went to MAC national makeup artist Kiekie Stanners to find out the best way. Here’s her step-by-step guide:

  1. Make sure to do your eye makeup before applying false lashes, as it is much harder to work around them once applied.
  2. Start by checking your false lashes fit your own lash line by holding them in place before applying the glue. If you need to trim the length of the lash strip, do so by cutting off the outer corners.
  3. Apply a thin layer of lash glue along the base of the lash. Allow time for the glue to become tacky; this will help the lashes adhere to the lash line.
  4. Look straight into the mirror, lifting your chin so you can see your lash line and where you want to apply the lash.
  5. Start by placing the outer corner of the lash on the outer lash line. Then gently move down the lash, making sure the inner corners of the lash are last to be applied.

Try: MAC Lashes #36, $26; and Duo Eye Lash Adhesive, $24.


Other than making your face feel fresh what benefits does a mask offer?

Mask reinforce your daily skin regime, says Caroline Parker, head of education for Dermalogica New Zealand. “Each mask can have a different action – nourishing, refining, calming or hydrating, giving us the opportunity to target a specific skin concern,” Parker says.

To combat an oily T zone, applying a deep cleansing clay masque would be the right move for you. And for dry skin, you should choose a hydrating mask. However, these days so many masks on the market are multi-functional, meaning they’ll do a variety of things, giving you more bang for your buck.

SHOP: Dermalogica MultiVitamin Power Recovery Masque, $97.


Is conditioning before shampoo better for you?

There are a few schools of thought on this one. People who subscribe to this theory say no matter how many times you rinse after conditioning you never quite get the residue out – and it’s that residue that weighs down your hair. Because of this, reversing the order is said to give you more volume. However, Richard Kavanagh thinks you should stick with shampooing first. “Conditioning the hair allows you to add concentrated protein or moisture-based ingredients to your hair in a targeted and specific way,” he says. “If you condition before shampooing, you’ll wash away all the goodness and cosmetic effect of the conditioner. Always condition after shampooing and ideally use a daily leave-in treatment for added lushness.”

SHOP: Redken All Soft Mega Shampoo, $35 and Conditioner, $35. 

Words: Supplied
Photos: Getty Images & Supplied

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