24 hours with... Wendyl Nissen

The radio host and former magazine editor reveals her beauty routine and makeup must-haves.


My day starts with a cup of tea my husband brings me and the newspaper which I rip through looking for stories for my show. Then it’s the iPad and the Guardian, the British Times and the New York Times. Then I remember I have to get to work.
My beauty routine is quite minimal. I’m 55 and have wrinkles which I accept – I’m not at all into anti-aging products because I know deep down that nothing will get rid of wrinkles once they are there but I do like to keep my skin well moisturised.
I always put on a really thick layer of Weleda rose and calendula cream which I discovered when I had babies and kept using on my skin. It smells gorgeous and has natural ingredients which is important to me.
About 80% of what you put on your skin ends up in your bloodstream so I’m just not interested in putting anything on my face which has parabens, fragrance or other chemicals which don’t need to be in your body. There are so many great natural products available now both here and overseas which can be easily sourced online.
After that I need to put on make-up which I would rather not. When I got the job at RadioLIVE I imagined myself being able to turn up with bed hair, no make-up and a T-shirt and jeans. Then I got there and discovered the studio has four cameras running all the time! So I had to get a make-up artist friend around to give me a quick tutorial as I haven’t really worn proper make up for years.
On top of my moisturiser I use Living Nature mineral foundation, it’s a great natural product and I like to support New Zealand made when I can.
I also use their pressed powder for touch ups like Nana used to during the day.
I do however use MAC Amber palette of 9 different brown shades of eyeshadows which my daughter gave me. I like using a different one each day – sometimes deep and brown, sometimes a bit more coffee with some sparkle in it.
I use Odylique mascara which is a British natural, organic brand and then I finish with a Karen Murrell natural lipstick – again I have a palette so that I can choose a different one every day.
My hair is long and curly so I usually just give the ends and extra curl with a curling iron so they don’t stick out, a quick brush and that’s it. If my hair is seriously out of order then I’ll pin it up in a French roll until it behaves itself.
I don’t go anywhere with out a can of L’Oreal Magic Retouch. I have grey roots which have a habit of revealing themselves at any moment. I’m in love with a new paddle brush a friend gave me from BeautyDust,com which leaves your hair really shiny. And always a couple of lipsticks.
I don’t do flash nights out like I used to in the magazine days, and if my husband can drag me out at night it’s usually for a cosy dinner then home by 9!
If I'm heading out its all about the eyeliner, and lots of it. I learned how to do this way back in the 80s when we were all doing Blondie eyes which were actually based on Marilyn Monroe eyes. Thick eyeliner, light eye shadow and a bright red lipstick. My favourite eyeliner is Dr Hauschka in black. It has neem, jojoba and rose and unlike other liners doesn’t annoy my eyes.
If I do need to go to something huge like an awards ceremony or something work oriented where I need to look my best I’ll get my make-up and hair professionally by one of the many make-up artists I know from magazines. It’s worth the cost to have the confidence that I look my best.


If I haven’t already removed my make-up I’ll do that. Usually when I get home from work I take it all off straight away – I can’t see the sense in wearing make-up around the house or to the supermarket.
I use almond oil, pure and simple. It does a great job and moisturises at the same time. Then I like to use something really strong and nourishing and smelling of roses. Everything I wear tends to be rose based as it’s my favourite scent. At the moment I pour on Badger Damascus Rose Face Oil and that’s it.
As I've gotten older my beauty routine hasn't changed much.
I still use moisturizer twice a day and go easy on the make-up when I can like at weekends and when I’m up north at my home in the Hokianga.
I used to wear Chanel Rouge Noir nail polish every day in my younger years – now my nails are kept short because I’m in the garden or fishing as often as possible.
Occasionally I will indulge in some nail polish which is always a non toxic nail polish such a Butter London and it will be pink, not rouge noire!
Every week I try to get a 90 minute Thai massage at Golden Fingers in Kingsland. I believe that a good pummelling and pressure point activation cleans out the body and detoxes your organs and therefore your skin.
I would much rather do this to my body than have a facial because it treats the whole body and that shows on my face because I’m so damned relaxed and happy afterwards.
If I had heaps of money I would happily pay for these massage therapists to go to every rest home in the country and give all our elderly people a treat.
When I’m up north I will also have loads of hot baths in the rainwater we collect which is solar heated. I load it full of my favourite bath salts Kereru rose geranium. They have some oil mixed in there so your skin feels lovely and soft and smells amazing afterwards.
I colour my own hair using L’Oreal Casting Dark Blonde. I recently spent three years growing my grey hair out which was a drama and I looked very weird but I wanted to age naturally and not be pouring chemicals onto my scalp.
Then once it was all there I had a “moment in the mirror” when I realised I had quite possibly made that decision a little prematurely at 55. So I went out and got the hair dye – threw it in and haven’t looked back.
I just do the roots now, trying not to touch the scalp and the grey streaks have gradually gone blonde. There’s no natural way to dye your grey hair successfully – believe me I’ve tried. But at least Casting leaves out the ammonia and is a semi permanent. And inbetween I use L’Oreal’s wonderful new product Magic Retouch which covers the regrowth.
This is the one area where I am not being a true greenie but I’ve never been a black and white person. And I figure I’m being so good in all the other areas of my life that this small indulgence will be okay.
I also believe in getting a good hair cut so I go to Matt Borsos at Servilles Ponsonby who understands my thick, curly hair and knows how to layer it so it doesn’t go mad. He’s also very polite about my home hairdye jobs.
My celebrity beauty icon is Gloria Steinem. She’s 83, never had work, has a natural approach to beauty and still looks as wonderful as she did in her 20s as far as I am concerned. She’s also so damn cool that is shows in her beautiful presence.