In my beauty bag: Amanda Billing

ENHANCING HER ASSETS: Amanda Billing's fail-safe hair and beauty routine plays up her eyes and tames her curls.
ENHANCING HER ASSETS: Amanda Billing's fail-safe hair and beauty routine plays up her eyes and tames her curls.
HER FAVOURITES: Hair tamers, body sunscreen and Benefit products are high up Amanda's must-have list.
HER FAVOURITES: Hair tamers, body sunscreen and Benefit products are high up Amanda's must-have list.

37-year-old Amanda Billing, best known for her role as Sarah Potts on Shortland Street, was born in Masterton and eventually moved to Christchurch to study at Canterbury University.

She taught High School for three years but an initial theatre acting job given to her by a friend, lead to Amanda's leaving teaching altogether. 

We talked with Amanda in her dressing room at South Pacific Pictures, about her transformation from 'just mascara and lipgloss', to a more complex regimen.

"I love things like mascara, concealer, and skin brightening stuff.  I didn't know anything about makeup all the way through High School; I wore virtually nothing, just mascara,  I found lipstick awkward and didn't even know where to begin with things like foundation.  It was only when I began working on Shortland Street in 2004 that my education about makeup really began.

In the morning I tidy up any panda eyes (sometimes I don't take my mascara off properly but I'm usually pretty good) then wash my face with Antipodes cleanser in the shower, followed by their toner and SPF moisturiser.

I use Bobbi Brown 'Corrector' to conceal under my eyes and on any other bits of my face which need attention.  After that I put on Benefit 'That Gal' brightening face primer, followed by a touch of Bare Minerals bronzer on my cheeks  and a bit of M.A.C 'Pinch o' Peach' blush.

I use good old LiLash when I remember.  I've been using it every couple of weeks for about six months and I've noticed a difference. 

My next step is the best thing in the world - Benefit's 'They're Real' mascara - it's just awesome!  Thicker, longer... I always fill in my brows with Smashbox's eyebrow palette.  I keep my brows in shape myself when I remember.

I generally put on lipliner - either M.A.C 'Whirl' or a Body Shop one called 'Beech'.  I'll just leave my lips like that or I'll put on Smashbox Limitless Long Wear Lip Gloss in 'Infinite.'

On my body I use sunblock from the SugarBaby 'Suntanned Sweeties' range, SPF 30+. It smells like coconut and the great thing is that when you have applied it, you don't look like you are covered in zinc.  It's nice and shiny and delicious.

My hair is naturally curly and I'm still working out how to tame it so that it looks tidy - if I don't style it, it just goes frizzy.  I'm growing it and I like to leave it curly so to stop it being really messy I use one of those curling wands that you buy from that kiosk in St Lukes.  It cost $250 or some craziness but it made me embrace having curly hair - it's the real me.  How to embrace and enhance what's real - that's something that has changed for me.

My hair is styled a lot for work so I have to use thermal protecting treatments - Redken Satinwear 02 is so good, and Matrix Curl Contouring Lotion goes with embracing the curl.

My nails get virtually nothing, ever.  I used to be a chronic nail chewer so now I am just stoked that I don't do that any more.  I'm kind of low maintenance - I file and clip my own nails and my toenails are generally a mess unless I treat myself once every six months to a pedicure.

I have a couple of perfumes that I wear.  One is Tom Ford Black Orchid; you can't get it here, which I quite like.  Another one is from WORLD Beauty and it's called Black Afgano,  I bought it myself as a treat, it;s not your average fragrance.  I like perfumes that are woody and smell kind of edible, florals don't feel like me.  I love perfume, I don't leave the house without it on.

I really love... making my eyes look pretty

I really hate... shadows under my eyes

If I could wave a magic wand I would... never shave or wax again!

Now that I have more miles on the clock (as my Dad would say) - I have found that the cliche that age is just a number really does apply.  In my heart I am 28 and I'm sure that feeling gets more intense and more strange with each passing year.

I don't just put makeup on because I'm going out into the world, I like doing it for me - maybe that's vanity,  It's habit now as well.  I have to say that I don't always do all of these things.  But the basics will always be brows, lashes, lips and cheeks. 

I'm all for using things to enhance what you already have."

- As told to Julie Roulston