In my beauty bag: Monique Rana

What you eat, drink, think and feel will reflect on the outside of your body, says Monique Rana.
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What you eat, drink, think and feel will reflect on the outside of your body, says Monique Rana.

As a model and founder of Bodytech gym, Monique Rana has looks that many would envy. But the wellness advocate, whose passion is helping young women with self-esteem issues, knows that true beauty comes from within. Here's the routine she relies on to feel her best. 

SKIN

I always start each morning with a glass of hot water with a squeeze of lemon, which I drink before breakfast.

I don't cleanse my face with any product in the morning except warm water while showering. I was introduced to the Environ Skincare range by PSB (Professional Skin and Beauty distributors) when we had a day spa a few years back. I use the C-Quence range, Colostrum Gel and Vitamin C for the day.

I don't use foundation very often but instead use the ASAP Correcting Cream - a tinted moisturiser with SPF15. I love the daily cleanser from ASAP because it's not dehydrating. In the evening I cleanse and use the Synergie Skin Reclaim night cream. It's extremely hydrating and smells divine. For the rest of my body I love to use anything that is organic and nourishing with a hint of almond oil and/or a mild coconut/vanilla scent.

After suffering sunstroke in Hawaii when I was 16, I've become vigilant with my sunscreen. Prior to that, I was using Tropic Oil or the like; not good for the skin to do anything but burn. Each morning I ask my daughters: "Have you put your SPF15 on?" 

Skincare therapist R.N. Christine Hames, from Auckland's Skincare on Allendale, has put me on to the ASAP Daily Defence SPF30 Sun Block during the summer months or when I exercise outdoors. The reason I love this sunblock is it's made for New Zealand conditions, it's full of antioxidants and zinc, and rubs in well. However I use the ASAP Correcting Cream Tinted Moisturiser on my face during the winter months.

I used to get facials monthly when we had our day spa but I haven't had one in years. I've tried the nourishing Pumpkin Enzyme Peel from O Cosmetics at Skincare on Allendale followed by being under the red light for 20 minutes. I swear the light and warmth from the mask gives me 20 minutes of imaginary time in Rarotonga – it's cheaper too. 

My secret to good skin is water, water, water. I feel naked without my water bottle. That and sunscreen. But, just as importantly, good skin comes from within. What you eat, drink, think and feel will affect the largest living organ, the skin. You need nourishing foods, good sleep, daily exercise. I strength-train two or three times a week, and take time out in nature. On a personal note, I stopped drinking alcohol 15 years ago and I do believe that has had a positive side effect on my skin. 

MAKEUP

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I became interested in makeup when I was about 15 or 16. It wasn't until I started modelling full-time when I was 18 that I had to learn the tricks of the trade. Back then, we had to do our own makeup and hair for shows and some photo shoots. 

I don't really have any favourite makeup products. I'm more of an eye girl than a lip girl. To hydrate my lips I use the Jane Iredale Lip Drink or Paw Paw Ointment. I love using the Jane Iredale Mineral Bronzer and Terracotta Lip Pencil. I've just replaced my makeup brushes with the Crown Mini Syntho Makeup Brush Set, which fits nicely in my gym bag and handbag. 

In my gym bag there is always a bottle of water, deodorant, Jane Iredale Lip Drink, hand cream from L'Occitane, eye drops as I have dry eyes sometimes, and a small bottle of lavender oil from Absolute Essential. 

HAIR

As my hair is thick and coarse in texture, I don't wash it every day. I like the natural oils to work on my hair. I tend to wash it twice a week – more if I have a sweaty, high intensity interval training workout.

I normally let my hair dry naturally at home but I apply Redken Smooth Lock Heat Glide before I use a ghd to straighten my hair. A must for me is the Miracle Hair Treatment from Eleven after each wash. I've just found a new product from Matrix called Style Link Turbo Dryer, which dries hair twice as fast. It's great if you have to dry your hair in a hurry after the gym.

Jenna, the owner of Auckland's Hush and the Hair Depot, has been doing my hair for a few years. She truly listens to what you want and gives her suggestions; she's an amazing colourist and stylist. I always walk out of there feeling great! 

I get a demi colour and cut every six or seven weeks. As I have a lot of hair that is thick and at times frizzy, I do invest in good-quality hair products. I also love to use a hair masque with keratin in it at least twice a month. 

NAILS

I use to get gels done, but lately I've just been doing my own manicure. I prefer to have a pedicure done professionally though. I prefer natural polish on my hands as I'm extremely hard on them. I love the CND Vinylux gold polish on my toes – it's great during the summer months with tanned feet. 

FRAGRANCE & BODY

I like to mix it up. Over the years, I've worn Coco Mademoiselle and Fracas, but now I prefer using a lotion or natural body oil, such as L'Occitane almond oil, on my skin straight after a shower. I prefer using essential oils over perfume and a subtle over a strong fragrance. 

I love to have a luxurious bath - I make it a ritual. I love the Ecoya melts and candles in French Pear, and sometimes a couple of drops of lavender or bergamot oils in the bath. Lush Bath Bombs never go amiss. I was given some last year as a gift, and I have to say they smelled divine on my skin. 

LIFESTYLE

My favourite treat would be either a full-body Balinese massage from East Day Spa or a foot massage from Bliss.

My beauty philosophy is simple: what you eat, drink, think and feel will reflect on the outside of your body. Treat it with self-love and respect. Practice meditation, eat nourishing whole foods according to the seasons, and make water your drink of choice. Strength-train at least twice a week, get outdoors, and end each night writing in a gratitude journal or giving thanks. 

When travelling, my advice is to drink at least one glass of water per hour of flight time. Hydration is key for your skin. This is also a great time to put on your headphones and listen to a guided meditation.

I normally don't window shop for beauty products. I either read about them in fashion magazines, but more often than not I listen to recommendations from friends. 

When it comes to my beauty icons, I love Gwen Stefani and Angelina Jolie.

The one product I can't live without is sunscreen. My best quick fix is spraying your face with a water spritzer, then adding mascara and a smile - it will liven up your face any time.

A beauty mistake from my past is the worst 'curly short hair perm' when I was 16. I looked way old before my time. Never again.

The beauty myth I'd like to fix is that beauty does not come in one size, colour, in a product or from a plastic surgeon. Beauty comes from within. The human body is the vehicle to whom we truly are, which is the soul within. Be in alignment with your soul and that which is greater than you (the divine), and watch the beauty shine through.

- As told to Melissa Williams-King

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