The shocking confessions of a beauty editor

Plus a couple of tips you’re going to love

Stephanie Darling is one of Australia’s most admired Beauty Editors. More importantly she’s one of my sweetest friends. She’s hilarious, big-hearted and what she doesn’t know about beauty is, quite simply, not worth knowing.

Here, we chat to the very appropriately-named Mrs Darling about her weekly column in Sunday Life and her newly-released beauty book Secrets of a Beauty Queen.

Firstly, a little bit of background … how did you get started in this field?
I got my first job in journalism at the age of 23 at Vogue Australia where I was a trainee sub-editor. I couldn’t believe it. The rigorous training I got there, plus being surrounded by oodles of style has made me the journalist and now author I am today.

How long have you worked in the industry?
For over 30 years. Do not do the maths!

What would surprise us about working in the industry? Well, not me, because I work in it too, but you know, the folk who don’t?
I think people would be surprised by what a supportive industry it is. I have made and continue to make lifelong friends. We are always helping each other out with advice and information and giving constructive feedback. I found this especially when I was writing Secrets of a Beauty Queen. The input and support I had from the beauty posse was incredible.

Yes … she looks like this. She really does. 

Do you really spend all day every day sipping expensive champagne and getting your nails done? (Please tell me you do!)
Only every second day. Just kidding. My column in Sunday Life has a road test element so I am now up to 179 road tests all of them different. This means I get to test drive all sorts of fabulous and sometimes painful procedures, including getting my nails done.

What is the beauty tip you wish with all your being that the rest of us knew about? Again not me because I know everything – obvs.
How important it is to wear SPF50+ sunscreen every day of your life on your face, décolletage (remember people – your face ends at your boobs) and on the backs of your hands. You need to do this if you don’t want to end up looking 15 years older than you actually are.

What is the beauty tip you use regularly that you still find completely surprising?
When I apply khol to the inner rim of my lower lid. I really should do this every day as it is completely rock star. I love black but have also experimented with violet and red!

What’s your daily skincare regime look like? Don’t lie! Remember we know you!
Ok so I am on a new Rationale regime with a cleanser, eye cream, niacinamide serum, antioxidant serum, day cream and SPF 50+ in the morning and at night: cleanser, night cream and retin A serum.

Give us a brief list of the treatments you’ve had and loved …
The treatments I love are often the simple tactile ones: I always love a manicure and pedicure as well as a blow dry.

Secrets of a Beauty Queen by Stephanie Darling. A damn fine read.

Any that you’ve loathed? Please explain. Personally I think some of those heat treatments are pretty ouchy!
I have never loathed a treatment (because you know what they say no pain no gain) but some have been on the ouchy side. My first ultherapy treatment made my eyes water – a lot.

How do you feel about non-surgical procedures such as muscle freezing injections and fillers? And yes – that’s a big old Botox needle bruise you can see on my face right now.
I think fillers and toxins, when delivered by an expert with a real understanding of how faces work, are genius. The big freeze is a thing of the past when administered with care and caution. For the over 50s the big news is that the revised facelift is back on the front burner.

Australian women are known for their beauty – why do you think that is?
I think the relaxed beauty that Australian women embrace is the key – even if it has taken two hours to look that effortless.

I’m busy and poor. I’m kind of using that as an example but it’s totally true. Bummer. What do you recommend I do in terms of A) Skincare and B) Makeup …
I think beauty supermarkets like Priceline are the best places to experiment with good affordable skin care and beauty products. You can ask advice but then take it at your own pace. And remember SPF 50+ at all times.

How do you feel about facials? If you can, recommend one to me.
I think facials are about the feel good factor as well as results. Extractions for me are key in any facial treatment.

Brow tattooing or no brow tattooing?
For those of use with pale or sparse brows, expertly administered brow tattooing is a lifesaver.

Simplest way to revamp my look?
Change up your lipstick colour. If you wear nudes embrace red.

Best hair tip EVER?
Get a blowdry.

Number one way to take off 10 years?
Have a facelift.

Do we have to spend up big if we want results?
You kinda do except if you have been good and worn sunscreen your whole life.

And on that, all-time favourite skincare product is …Ultraceuticals MD SPF 50+ sunscreen

And makeup product is
Shiseido Hydrop Liquid Compact.

Nail product?
O.P.I Nail Polish in Lincoln Park After Dark.


Tangle Teezer.



Why thank you Mrs Darling and see you for champagne and laughter very soon.

Lots of beauty love,

The Beauty Insider. Xx

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