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Beauty with Paula Ryan

21 Sep, 2017 Beauty Blog
Beauty with Paula Ryan


I have known New Zealand style icon Paula Ryan since my early days as a young makeup artist in the mid 80′s. One of my first big fashion shoots with an international photographer was for Fashion Quarterly, with Paula at the helm. Amazingly enough the model was a teenage Rachel Hunter & I still recall us arriving at Paulas apartment in the wee small hours (way before the sun rose) & her answering the door  looking head to toe immaculate… She was one of the most glamorous women I had ever seen & to this day nothing has changed!

Last month she welcomed Photographer Neil Gussey & I into her exquisite beach front home to shoot a range of portraits. As usual she looked youthful & fresh, dressed in her relaxed/glam Paula Ryan gear. While Neil set up the lights Paula sat in the makeup chair ready for me to create a beauty look that perfectly suited her clothing & image. The results speak for themselves & although Paulas face is a dream palette to work on, she really does have that inner glow that shines through making my job so easy.

The makeup in these shots definitely has my signature on it, which is fresh & natural with a glamorous edge. I love to see the skin texture & a dewy glow rather than a powdery finish with emphasis on beautifully blended eye shadow, a warm blush & a pop of colour on the lips (nude lips work just as well depending on what you prefer!) If you love this look I would like to share with you exactly what products I used…


I prepped Paulas skin with a dose of my favorite Clinique Custom Repair Serum This firms, plumps & hydrates the skin leaving no greasy residue, so its the perfect under-makeup moisture boost. I continued with a layer of Clinique Super Primer a lightweight oil free primer that creates an ideal canvas for makeup. Im addicted to using primers as they give the skin a lovely smooth finish plus your makeup lasts twice as long.


I hate a heavy foundation & so does Paula, but with photography you need a tad more coverage. My go-to base is Clinique ‘Even Better’ Foundation & I applied this combined with some Clinique BIY Pigment Drops to keep her skin tone nice & warm. I then dusted on my favorite Osmosis Mineral Powder which gives a gorgeous satiny finish. You can use mineral powder on its own or over the top of your favorite CC Cream for a sheer natural look.


 I gave Paulas brows shape & definition using Elizabeth Ardens Natural Eyebrow Pencil drawing an arch with soft short strokes (always avoid a hard line on the brow). For eye shadow I always start with a base colour over the whole eye area using matte cream powder shadow, this highlights the eyes & creates an even surface to build colour on. Next I drew a dark brown line across the top lid using a Jane Iredale mineral pencil, smudging it with a small brush & some brown shadow to keep it looking soft. For smokey-eyes-made-easy I used Bobbi Browns latest Downtown Cool palette (see pic to the left) The key to great smokey eyes is to start off very lightly & gradually build up intensity, keeping the darkest shades towards the outside of the lid. To enhance Paulas luscious lashes we used Bobbi Browns Eye Opening Mascara which is a great choice if you require thickness as well as length.


Osmosis South Beach Bronzer comes in a versatile shade of pinky-brown so its the perfect colour to shape & define while adding a warm & subtle glow. I swept this across Paulas cheek bones then added a pop of colour to the apple of the cheek using Bobbi Browns ‘Apricot’ blush. This is a handy trick of mine as it give the skin a youthful flush (which we love!)  Antipodes Healthy Lipsticks are packed with moisture boosting natural ingredients & for our shoot I used West Coast Sunset - a bright, clear red that really suited Paulas colouring. To make red lipstick last dab on touch of foundation & powder first, then apply your lipstick, blot with a tissue, then apply again.

Voila! The finished product… Paula looking fresh, stunning & impossibly glam. Photo by the wonderful Mr Neil Gussey, Makeup & Hair my me Nx 



  1. She looks stunning Nikki, a job very well done as usual! Loving the Antipodes West Coast Sunset on Paula. #lovenatural #lovewestcoastsunset #lovenikki

  2. Thanks @disqus_3Nea6LOINf:disqus I really enjoy using your lipsticks! Such a fabulous range of colours x

  3. Hi Nikki
    I loved this post. Can you please tell me if you would use the serum instead of moisturiser under foundation every day or as well as? and we don’t have osmosis in Christchurch – is there another bronzer you like please? Thanks very much

  4. What an inspiring story for women of our age!!

  5. Yes Paula really is an inspiration!

  6. Hi Claire Its not 100% necessary to use a serum under your makeup every day, but they really do work as an additional moisturizer if your skin is tired or dry. Always apply your serum before your moisturizer or sunscreen so it absorbs into clean skin. You can buy Osmosis online at @osmoisisnz but I also love the Bobbi Brown matte bronzer, also MAC mineral bronzers are fantastic. Thanks for lovely feedback.

  7. Thanks Nikki. I’ve just bought some Osmosis online. :)

  8. Great- You wont be disappointed, Osmosis is amazing!

  9. Osmosis stockist in CHCH is ‘Changing Faces’ clinic contact Jess 021770184

  10. thanks. i’ll check them out.
    i so enjoy your blogs – they’re full of practical advice and i find they really influence the products I buy. and what’s more, they’re regular when so many blogs just fade out after an initial burst. well done.

  11. Thank you claire!! Awesome feedback xx

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