In my beauty bag: Mary-Jane O'Reilly

16:00, Nov 27 2013
A REAL BEAUTY: O'Reilly says she only found a love for lipstick when in her fifties.

Mary-Jane O'Reilly, 63, is one of New Zealand's most successful professional dancers and choreographers. Co-founder of the iconic Limbs dance company, she choreographed the 1990 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony with a cast of 6,000; was director of the Tempo Dance Festival for seven years (and was recently honoured by the festival). 

Mum to a grown up daughter Morgana, who is herself a successful actress, most recently Mary-Jane has been choreographer and producer for the In Flagrante contemporary cabaret group, which has performed both locally and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We spent some time with Mary-Jane - just back from a private performance of In Flagrante in the Seychelles and preparing for two performances in Auckland - and talked beauty. 

"I wear a little bit of makeup every day if I am going out - and living around here, even going up to Jervois Road is going out. I wear my glasses to hide and then I don't have to wear anything, but if I am wearing my lenses I will wear makeup - not much at all.

HER ESSENTIALS: Who doesn't love a Maybelline mascara?

In the morning I stretch - a combination of yoga and Pilates that I do to keep my body balanced (my body tells me off if I don't do it and gives me pain). I only cleanse my face at night, with Cetaphil. I exfoliate very occasionally if somebody gives me something. And I picked up a Loofah in the Seychelles so I've used that on my body a few times.

I put on moisturiser first thing, and then a bit later in the morning I put on Mecca In a Good Light SPF30+ tinted moisturiser and a bit of mascara, eyeshadow and lipstick. 

I have a couple of age spots so I put concealer on those. I just bought a lovely new M.A.C eyeshadow compact on my way out at Duty Free - I am always putting eyeshadow on my eye to lift my lid - and then a bit of Maybelline mascara, that's all. 


I sometimes have a little bit of waxing for my brows at the beauty therapist. And I always wear lipstick - I like what singer Beaver said when asked what she would take to a desert island - her lipstick! But I didn't start wearing lipstick till about 10 or 15 years ago, either - when you are young you have luscious, juicy lips anyway.

For daytime I have a Revlon coral-y shade, and at night or if I want to be a bit 'more' - Revlon Raisin Rage - it's a really nice red that isn't too... well I can wear it and refresh it without looking like my lips are bleeding or something!

I cut my nails really short, I just think short nails are best for me. I have some lovely Moroccan rose oil that I got in Morocco just recently and I've been wearing that on my body. 

I wash and condition my hair with whatever is at hand (it's so easy to manage), but what is important to me is VO5 hair wax, which controls it and separates the curl - I've been known to stop the car and come back for it. It makes me feel fresher and keeps my hair off my face.

I get completely bewildered reading about the new makeup offerings and I find my dancers and my daughter great sources of information. Or if I am going to be on TV I get made up sometimes - that's a bit of a treat and I always watch closely what they are doing. 

I'm sure I was right into it as a younger woman - I've always worn eye makeup - I guess the feeling slightly out of touch is due to lack of interest, really!

Nothing is going to stop gravity and personality making your face what it is. Sometimes I wonder about a bit of 'work' but then I look at those female American journalists who have Botox and their mouths are kind of frozen. Society thinks ageing is funny which is sad. Keeping your dignity as I get older is a big thing for me."

- As told to Julie Roulston