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Waking up with Gemma Watts


For lack of a better word, an influencer in her own right, Gemma is the founder of, an editorial platform featuring only the very best in beauty. If you work in the Australian beauty industry, or are one to attend industry events, you will find a trend forming between all...Gemma Watts is either hosting, a keynote speaker or part of an industry panel. It is safe to say that Ms Watts knows beauty... and knows it very well. Read on to learn more.


Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?

The short answer is that I’m a “beauty writer” as it all more or less comes under that umbrella.

The slightly longer answer is that I’m the editor of Glow Journal, which is a digital beauty destination founded in 2016 comprising, an editorial platform, Glow Journal Creative, a boutique copywriting and tone of voice development agency, and the Glow Journal Podcast.

Every working day is different, but beauty is the constant!

What does a typical morning look like for you?
I am unbelievably boring! My alarm goes off at 6.30- my new trick to stop me from hitting snooze (which is actually only new to me, everyone else has been doing this for years) is making sure my alarm is a song that starts off fun. Not just any fun song- it has to start fun. Currently it’s Earth Wind & Fire, Boogie Wonderland.

Then I’ll drink some water, exercise (ideally outdoors depending on the weather), come home, drink some coffee, drink some more coffee, then start work. Breakfast is usually at the desk, which is probably a bad habit, but in my defense I’ve recently made a (very loose and non-committal) pact to stop working into the evening, so if I’m starting nice and early it means I’m finishing on time. So far it’s working!

Do you have any special rituals that you commit to daily? (Meditation, goal setting, drinking lemon water etc):
I started using the Five Minute Journal religiously this year, after years of professing that I “don’t need” a gratitude journal. I was wrong, and I love it.

I walk every single day, because fresh air keeps me sane, and I drink two, usually three, litres of water. One of those litres will have lemon in it, one will have CILK Beauty ROSE EXTRACT in it (I have consumed this for YEARS, quite literally since its inception) and one will be boring regular water. In my mind, this makes up for the wine I will undoubtedly consume later.

What is your version of self-care?
For me, self-care falls under the overarching theme of “saying NO.” I feel like you can do as many facials, as much meditation, read as many books as is humanly possible, but if you’re forcing yourself to fit them in, it doesn’t really constitute self care. Does that make sense?! For me, true self care is saying “no” to things that I just don’t have the energy for and prioritising my “me” time, rather than trying to fit those nice self-care-y activities around everything else.

Self-care, for me, looks like downtime with my partner, time with family and friends (when possible!), spending a very long time shut away in the bathroom playing with skincare, and (more recently) getting crafty! I’ve found solace in painting and pottery of late.

Current morning skincare routine:
I’ve been keeping things quite simple in the mornings of late and focusing more on barrier repair than anything else because I want my skin to be able to bounce back from mask-wearing, the seasons changing, and the general stress of a global pandemic- not a great combination for the ol’ skin barrier.

I’ve been forgoing cleanser in the morning in favour of a micellar. I’ll sweep that over the skin, then follow it up with an antioxidant serum, basic moisturiser, eye cream if I’m looking particularly tired (so, almost always) and sunscreen. That last step is the most important.


Your go-to makeup look?
Did I mention I’m boring? It’s all about bronzed, dewy skin for me. I spend 90% of my allocated makeup time on my base. I love using a lot of products, but in small quantities and light layers, so I’ll do a traditional primer, then an illuminating primer where I want some more dew, foundation, concealer, a different concealer under the eyes, cream bronzer, powder bronzer, cream blush, highlighter… then I’ll realise I’ve miscalculated the time, will comb up my brows, chuck some mascara on and line my lips as I’m running out the door.

Your top 3 makeup products that are currently on high rotation?

  1. YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touche Concealer Pen. The ultimate multi tasker and a product I’ve been repurchasing for close to 10 years.
  2. Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick. Had you asked me this six months ago I would have said a cream bronzer, but I am really leaning in to a healthy flush currently. I think blush is the most underrated colour cosmetics product.
  3. Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lip Liner. If you know, you know.

Most under-rated beauty tip?
I’ll consider this one “underrated” until everyone starts doing it- WEAR SUNSCREEN. SPF50+, broad spectrum, rain, hail or shine. If you’re allowing UV to damage your skin, you may as well throw all your other products in the bin as they aren’t doing anything!

How does wellness play a role in your approach to beauty?
Wellness plays a monumental role in my approach to beauty. We all know that feeling of just being a bit off kilter when we aren’t getting enough sleep, enough fresh air, drinking enough water- that feeling shows up on my face every time. I don’t feel a great deal of mental stress (I’m very lucky in that regard), but my skin will be the first thing to tell me that I need to chill out.

Best beauty advice you ever received:
This will come as a huge shock, but the best beauty advice I’ve ever received is WEAR SUNSCREEN EVERY DAY. And also to stop over plucking my eyebrows. That last one came courtesy of my mum, after a boy in Year 9 (whose full name I still remember but I won’t out him here) told me I had a monobrow, so I went home and waxed them right off. I thought I looked like Christina Aguilera. I did not.

What beauty products do you always carry with you/ in your handbag?
Lip balm, brow gel, a travel sized perfume and pressed powder to fix up whatever my mask has rubbed off. 


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