Gemma Watts Breaks Down Her Beauty Essentials

A David Jones promotionGemma Watts
From serums to delicate facial brushes.

Gemma Watts must’ve been an alchemist in a past life, the way she blends serums and powders into liquid gold to harness the perfect natural glow. The writer, editor, podcaster and photographer has the science of beauty down to a fine art. When applied to the world of beauty, Watts’ playful curiosity and interest in experimentation shines brightest. She’s always first to explore the most cutting-edge technologies on the market.

Top of her current list of obsessions are LED facials, which have been praised for their ability to fight acne and help combat signs of aging. Happily, Watts can indulge from the comfort of her couch with the Foreo UFO smart mask treatment. Together with her other go-to beauty tools, like the LUNA Mini 2 facial brush which remove deep impurities with gentle vibration, they provide a glow-up that’s next-level good.

Watts believes in an uncomplicated approach to skincare and beauty. Her advice to those looking to change up their daily routine is: start simple and customise, customise, customise! Because beauty is all about what makes you feel good — inside and out. 

With Mother's Day approaching, she suggests sharing some of that feel-good energy with the most important lady in your life by treating your mum to a facial – or give her the gift that keeps on giving and wrap up some Foreo goodies for her.

We sat down with Watts to discuss and her beauty must-haves and Mother's Day plans.

You wear many hats — podcaster, photographer, editor, writer, event MC, phew! What is your favourite and why?

Is it cheating if I say all of them? They’re all really nice hats! I love them all for different reasons. Writing will always be my first love, and what I love about writing, editing and photography is that I can really get creative with them — no two days are ever the same. I love emceeing and hosting the podcast because, this won’t come as a shock to anyone, I LOVE a good chat! I’m a true extrovert, so talking to people is quite literally how I charge my batteries.

Can you talk us through your nightly skincare routine?

Because of my job, I’m trialing new products and brands all the time, however the fundamentals of my routine never change. First, I’ll remove makeup using an oil or balm cleanser. Then, I’ll go in for a second deep cleanse, usually with my Foreo LUNA Mini 2.

I’ve used this for years now and swear by it. If it’s humid I’ll use a toner, then I’ll apply a serum (or a mix of serums!) to target whatever my skin is needing on any given day.

Then, I’ll finish it up with a simple moisturiser and eye cream. I often use my Foreo Iris to massage in any eye cream, but I find this to be particularly helpful in the mornings to get rid of any puffiness and fluid retention.

What is the one step or beauty product you never skip, no matter how tired you are?

I’m cheating again and picking two. For the evening, I always do a proper cleanse. My skin doesn’t cope well if I sleep in my makeup (I can absolutely guarantee that if I don’t cleanse before bed, I’ll have a pimple by morning), so it’s worth fighting the urge to go straight to sleep. Working through a skincare routine is such a nice way to wind down anyway!

In the morning, I won’t leave the house without SPF on. That’s always been a non-negotiable for me — it should be for everyone.

In the morning, I won’t leave the house without SPF on. That’s always been a non-negotiable for me — it should be for everyone

What are your top three desert island beauty products?

1. SPF. This seems like a given, but I swear by sunscreen. I am very much against this idea that a suntan is glamorous, particularly when there are so many safe false tans available now. SPF isn’t just the key to younger looking skin, it’s our greatest defence against melanoma.

2. A rich, simple moisturiser. Moisturisers don’t need to be fancy or particularly complicated. You just need a great moisturiser to hydrate the skin, then you can pick and choose your serums to target specific skin concerns and do the heavy lifting.

3. With the above in mind, a serum! I love a good Vitamin B (Niacinamide) serum as an all-rounder, but you can really use your serums to customise your skincare.

When it comes to getting a flawless finish, what are your tips for foundation that stays put?

Regular, but gentle, exfoliation is the key to a smooth base that can really “take” makeup. I prefer to use a chemical exfoliant — I love AHAs, but BHAs like Salicylic Acid are wonderful for oily or acne prone skin — and I use my Foreo LUNA Mini 2  for a very gentle manual exfoliation. I find harsh scrubs and cleansing brushes aren’t a great match for my skin, but the LUNA doesn’t trigger anything. That’s why I’ve kept it in my routine for so many years now!

When it comes to physically applying your makeup, primers and setting sprays are great, but I think the real trick is as simple as choosing the right foundation for your skin type. For example, my skin can err towards dry, so a really matte, powdery foundation will cling to any dry patches and not last as long. Similarly, those with oily skin types may find an oil-based foundation will begin to separate on their skin after a few hours.

You started your career as a fashion editor. What is it about beauty that made you switch gears and stay put in the beauty space?

Fashion, particularly online, has shifted into more of a “personal styling” space. There are so many incredible, stylish, creative people online who do this so well, but it’s just not for me. I love that I can be quite objective with beauty — not everyone is going to love the same jacket, but a cleanser will either work or it won’t. Science has always been really fascinating to me, so I get to enjoy all the creative elements of beauty that I love, which was what drew me to fashion initially, and I get to deep dive into the science elements too.

What technology advances in the beauty space are exciting to you right now?

Right now, I’m growing increasingly fascinated by the power of LED therapy. I try to fit in LED facial treatments in-salon whenever I can. In-between treatments I genuinely do find that at-home LED systems, like the Foreo UFO, can work wonders. At the moment I’m really interested in the effect different LED colours have on the skin — red light is a common one for anti-ageing, but green is great for brightening the complexion and evening out any pigmentation.

What is your go-to gift to spoil mum on Mother's Day?

I try to spoil mum year-round with beauty goodies and at-home facials. She was actually in hospital recently so I took all my Foreo gear in to give her a facial — the nurses were lining up for one too! For Mother’s Day I like to buy things that are more experience-based: a night at a hotel, a beautiful dinner, a cheese and wine tasting, things she wouldn’t necessarily buy for herself.

How will you be spending Mother’s Day this year? Any traditions you follow every year?

We don’t have any traditions per se, but my parents love to entertain so we usually spend Mother’s Day with a bigger group of family and friends. Knowing us, it’ll be a big day of good food, great wine and even better company!

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