In my beauty bag: Jennifer Ward-Lealand

03:11, Feb 21 2014
HER FAVE TOOLS: The products Jennifer can't live without.

Jennifer Ward-Lealand, 51, is one of New Zealand's most celebrated actresses and also the mother of two teenage boys: aka, she's very busy!

When we met with Jennifer in her inner-city villa she was just back from teaching summer school in Christchurch and about to jet off to LA with her husband Michael Hurst to appear at the Xena: Warrior Princess convention. 

In a rare free moment she talked us through her on- and off-stage beauty secrets: 

BUSY AND FABULOUS: Jennifer Ward-Lealand has mastered the art of five minute makeup.

"I think its important to have really good skin, especially in our business. 

If I'm working in the theatre six nights a week I have makeup on every night so I am really conscious of looking after my skin. I make sure that I cleanse really thoroughly every night and that I don't leave a scrap of makeup on.  And if you are going into photo-shoots and stuff like that, it's worthwhile keeping on top of your skin. I love beauty products, I really do.

My daily exercise is walking and stretching. I never go to the gym. I am blessed with height and I don't really try to diet but I do eat really good food, just because I love it.


My food of choice would be really good salads... a favourite meal would be something like salad, chicken and roast vegetables.

In the morning I use Environ cleanser - this product has made the most difference to my skin and believe me, I have tried a lot. I tone with Environ then in the daytime I put on a M.A.C Fast Response eye cream - good especially if i am a bit tired - and then my Environ AVST4 moisturiser. 

If I'm going to be out and about I'd put on a bit of Environ RAD sunscreen, and a bit of foundation - L'Oreal Lumi Magique or Diorskin Fluide - with either a M.A.C. primer or the Lumi Magique primer. I think the primer really makes your makeup stay on well. I only wear makeup when I have to, though.

I'm the fastest makeup applier because when you are a parent and you're juggling two productive careers and a have lot of stuff going on, your time management gets really good, so I can make myself up in less than five minutes. 

But when I'm in the theatre I like to take a good hour. I might not need it but that's hair, makeup, everything. If anything goes wrong like a bad hair day, you want to have time to redo it. If I've got an hour then I have enough time for error. I do my own makeup for plays.

For quick makeup, if I'm not going out anywhere special, I wear brown eyeliner, a bit of blush, and M.A.C lipstick. I really like 'plastique' (light cocoa) and 'creme cup', a really pretty pink. I wouldn't bother with mascara.

I use Sebastian shampoo and conditioner, and once out of the shower I use Volupt Spray and Thickify Foam volumiser. 

Sometimes I might just use a little Moroccan oil. I have a marvellous hair stylist, Carl Skinner, who colours my hair for every role I do. I'm keeping it long for Brel (on now at the New Zealand Festival)... I  quite like a long straight look for that, but it'll have to get bobbed and a little bit browner for Rita ('Rita and Douglas' in April).

For fingers and toenails I go and get a Shellac, because I know it lasts me longer - but only as needed, not regularly.

My favourite perfume was M.A.C's MV2 perfume, but they discontinued it and I'm yet to find one that replaces it. But I do wear Clarins Eau Dynamisante.

If I was going out somewhere special, I would definitely use mascara, eyebrow pencil, M.A.C eyeshadows and a little bit more contouring product, a bit more lip-gloss. But I don't go for a heavy heavy makeup look.

I will never use any other eye makeup remover than the Clarins heavy duty one! At night-time I use Environ Ionzyme Focus Hydrating serum which is bloody brilliant, and sometimes Hema oil which feels like velvet. 

I really love... being able to pull the stops out for an incredibly glamorous occasion, I don't think we do it enough in this country. And I'm talking long frocks, gowns.

I really hate coming home really late and still having to take off all your makeup properly instead of being transported instantly into bed. Actors have it easier than actresses!

If I could wave a magic wand I would maintain the same physicality I had as a 20-year-old.  As you get older, your body protests a little more!"

- As told to Julie Roulston