Minimal Beauty with Eleanor Pendleton



Over the weekend we had the pleasure of attending a ‘Minimal Beauty’ masterclass at the Canberra Centre with the founder and director of Gritty Pretty, Eleanor Pendleton. For those who don’t know, Gritty Pretty is an online beauty magazine and e-commerce site.

After enjoying the Centre’s new beauty precinct every day since it launched (the joys of being unemployed), I was very keen to try out some of my goodies, including a vivid turquoise cream eyeshadow from 3ina. I built my entire outfit for the day around this eyeshadow, choosing a brightly printed dress that matched it in colour.

It didn’t really occur to me until I took my seat and gazed upon the flawless face of Eleanor, who was wearing a crisp white Camilla and Marc tunic and pants, that I was rather the polar opposite of minimal. Nevertheless, even the most maximal of us can appreciate a little minimalism now and then and I was interested to hear Eleanor’s tips.

Before we got into her beauty tips and tricks, Eleanor shared a little about how Gritty Pretty got started. ‘I knew I wanted to work in magazines from a young age, my mother was a journalist, I was good at writing. I assumed I would be an entertainment writer or a features writer because I thought that’s all there was. I landed an internship at Cosmo and assisted Zoe Forster Blake and that was it. I kind of fell into it, it wasn’t intentional, it just happened.’

‘I was working at famous magazine and writing about 8 pages of beauty but it wasn’t enough. I was looking around online and couldn’t find a beauty website that I liked, this was in 2011, so I decided to start my own. I wanted to create something minimal, pared back, cool. I started playing around with words and came up with Gritty Pretty.’

So how does she look after herself? ‘One of the most important things when it comes to beauty is that you need enough sleep. And I don’t get enough. Getting caught up and being busy can compromise my philosophy and I drop the ball a little bit. I’m human. So as much as I preach to everyone to look after themselves, I don’t always manage it.’

‘My skincare routine is my two minutes to myself. It’s an important way to start and finish my day that way. I practice yoga, I do mega forma pilates and I try to meditate. I don’t meditate twice a day every day but definitely when things get overwhelming I try to meditate.’




How to Create a Minimal Day Look

Liquid Illuminator – ‘Apply to fresh clean skin that’s been moisturised. Apply the illuminator to the high points of the face.’

Foundation – ‘My favourite foundation is NARS Sheer Glow. It’s buildable. A great tip is to mix a drop of face oil into your foundation on the back of your hand and then apply it. It helps you look extra fresh and dewy. Start in the middle of the face and spread out. You don’t need foundation all over your face, just focus on the areas that need coverage.’

Concealer – ‘I prefer to put it [concealer] on after foundation. NARS creamy concealer is my favourite. Always dab your concealer in.’

Bronzer – ‘NARS Laguna is a cult product beloved by editors, makeup artists and people everywhere. I always put some bronzer on my eyelids for the day as well as my cheeks.’

Highlighter – ‘I like Urban Decay’s powder highlighters. Remember, we want to look glowy not shiny so use a small brush to apply some to the top of your cheekbones. If you have mature skin or fine lines stick to a liquid rather than a powder.’

Mascara – ‘I like Stilla mascara and I like using an eyelash curler. A little tip is to gently blast the eyelash curler with a bit of heat before curling. The heat from the curler will set your lashes.’

Lips – ‘I love the Hourglass number 28 oil lip treatment. Oils are hydrating and great on the lips.’




Transform Your Look for Night

Smokey Eye – ‘You need a flared, soft feathered brush to create a smokey eye. Use a windscreen wiper motion to give it a soft, imprecise look. I prefer using browns to black. The Naked palette by Urban Decay is another cult product beloved by people all over the world. You might want to use one colour, or two, or three, or four. That’s what great about this palette. It’s really versatile.’

‘Use a darker colour in the outside crease of your top lid. It’s also important to take your dark shade along the lower lash line from the outside corner to halfway along. Dot the lightest highlighter colour into the inner corners of your eyes.’

Liner – ‘Use short gentle strokes with a pencil. I love Stilla liners.’

Brows – ‘Find what brow product works for you. I like the Stilla all day pencil, it’s one of my favourites. Apply it in short feathery strokes.’

Setting Spray – ‘It helps seal everything in so you won’t need to do any touch ups.’


Now go forth and be minimal just like Eleanor Pendleton.

Find out about other Masterclasses coming to the Canberra Centre.

Emma Batchelor

Emma Batchelor

As well as a near obsessive interest in fashion, Emma is a former scientist, occasional contemporary dancer, avid reader and self-confessed cat lady (she has three). Emma lived in Leiden in the Netherlands as a baby and Leiden ought to have been her middle name had her mother thought of it at the time and not chosen Louise instead.


  1. I’ve never been able to get the Smokey Eye look quite right – I will give it another go though. Thanks for the article!

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