On a cold, foggy Saturday morning, I was lucky enough to attend a beauty masterclass lead by Gritty Pretty editor, Eleanor Pendleton, at the Canberra Centre. Eleanor was warm, open and fun, it was a pleasure to hear her speak about herself, her business and all things beauty.
Like most of us, Eleanor’s first beauty memories are associated with her mum. ‘She had a morning ritual of moisturising from head to toe’ she laughs. ‘I’m also one of two sisters; we were always playing with makeup.’ In her teen years Eleanor described herself as a bit of a tomboy and not really into beauty at all. It wasn’t until she did an internship at Cosmo, in the beauty department with Zoe Forster, that she fell in love with beauty all over again.
Eleanor always knew she wanted to work in magazines from the age of nine or ten. ‘I never thought of anything outside of magazines. I was always a bit of a wordsmith. I love writing, but I assumed I would be a features writer or entertainment writer. I didn’t know a beauty editor existed until I interned at Cosmo.’
After her internship, Eleanor worked her way through the ranks of various print publications. As much as she loved writing about beauty as her day job, she still wanted something more. ‘Gritty pretty was born as a creative outlet. I wasn’t able to write about the products that I really loved, I was writing about products for the magazine’s audience.’ However, when Eleanor was made beauty editor of InStyle, she put Gritty Pretty on a three year hiatus so that she could focus on her publishing career.
When she decided to leave publishing, Gritty Pretty was then relaunched and now boasts a team of around twenty people. ‘When I left Instyle magazine, I left for lifestyle reasons. I was working sixteen hour days, I didn’t see my friends or my partner. I wanted more balance; I wanted to have a life. With my own business I do work long days but I love it and I can make time for my life outside of work. It keeps me grounded.’
So what does a day in the life of a successful beauty editor look like? ‘Every day is different and that’s what I love. I attend production meetings, editorial meetings, and usually 10 launches a week. Writing happens in between. Sometimes I’m up at 4am writing in my track pants! I also travel a lot. I was in LA last week shooting the new cover for the Gritty Pretty online magazine. Then I’m in Sydney for fashion week and then in I am off to Paris.’
It all sounds so glamorous but Eleanor is quick to put us straight. ‘There are definitely the glamorous parts of my job, but there is a lot of hard work involved but it’s very rewarding. The best thing is connecting with the readers. Anyone who has a blog, I urge you to continue. It is so rewarding.’
Eleanor’s Tips and Tricks on Beauty and Business
With such a wealth of knowledge behind her, Eleanor’s tips, tricks and hacks are worth paying attention to.
‘I’m a huge illuminator fan. I think sometimes women can be perplexed by it. Where and how do you apply it? I like to mix a pea size amount of liquid illuminator with my liquid foundation on the back of my hand. My other tip, always wear a primer.‘
‘My skin tip would be to invest in a serum. Serum’s have the most active ingredients and are deeply penetrating.’
‘It’s really important to look after your skin. It’s the largest organ in your body. Of course you want to looks good and age gracefully but you want to look after it from the inside out.’
‘Use dry shampoo as a styling product. I spray dry shampoo into clean hair to give it a bit of grit before curling. The heat has something to bind to and curls will last longer. Let your hair cool after you curl it to help them set. Then spray your sea salt. Spray the underneath too. Then really muss up your roots. Lasting curls are all in the prep.’
‘I recommended you invest in an essence, a serum and an eye cream. I also love micellar cleansing water and a good moisturiser is a must.’
‘I exfoliate once a week, purely because I like the feeling. Your skin is designed to shed dead skin cells so a cleanser is really all you need.’
‘My tip is to line with a white kohl pencil before using black liquid liner; this gives the liquid liner something to cling to. An eyeliner pen is the easiest to apply for beginners and you can always fix your mistakes with a little micellar water on a cotton bud. Prop your elbow on a steady surface to help keep your hand steady. Another great trick is to take a small piece of a sticky tape, about 2-3cm, and tape it to the side of your eye up to your eyebrow and trace along. The smaller the strokes you use, the better. You will get liner on the tape but when you peel it off, the actual eyeliner is so neat.’
‘I am drawn to products that can multitask and that save me a little time. I love the Charlotte Tilbury bronzer/illuminator palette. I also love Laura Mercier primers and tinted moisturisers. And the YSL Touché Eclat is amazing. You can use it as a concealer and a highlighter.’
‘I’m obsessed with eyebrows. The brows frame your entire face. It’s quite amazing how much brows change your face. Personally I use a pencil and a gel to set them. I always start my brow product at the arch and then move out so you don’t load up product in the corner. Always brush your brows out at the end.’
‘I personally use a brush to apply my foundation, I have a buffing brush. I wash it once a week.’
Liquid vs Powder Foundation
‘I use a tiny bit of pressed powder on my T-zone. If you want your skin to look youthful it should reflect light and look dewy. Powders can be aging and dampen the light.’
On Her Daily Skincare Routine
‘I cleanse, apply a few drops of essence, apply serum, eye cream, and then moisturiser. Remember, your face stops at your décolletage, not your chin so take your skin care down the neck.’
‘Apply sunscreen every day. I use at least SPF 30 or 50. I wear Mecca “To Save Face” sunscreen. Some products have an inbuilt SPF but it’s not enough. No matter the weather, wear sunscreen!’
The Relationship Between Beauty and Fashion
‘I have a natural affinity for fashion and style. Style is an organic part of my lifestyle; it comes naturally to me. I can have on a beautiful dress but if my hair and makeup isn’t done I won’t feel my best or most confident. Fashion and beauty go hand in hand.’
‘Gritty pretty and my personal brand I treat as two separate entities. I am incredibly strict about what I post. If I don’t truly believe in something I just won’t post about it. I don’t believe in negative press, I just won’t post about it at all. I even have a contract with the brands to say that if they gift me something it doesn’t mean I’m going to share it. I’m very strategic about what I post and I think that’s why the platforms are successful.’
Visit grittypretty.com for more beauty info, news, tips and tricks.