In my beauty bag: Rebecca Brent

POSITIVE OUTLOOK: Rebecca's Brent's number one beauty tip? If you're beautiful on the inside and you smile, it radiates.
POSITIVE OUTLOOK: Rebecca's Brent's number one beauty tip? If you're beautiful on the inside and you smile, it radiates.

Rebecca Brent, 39, has owned iconic Wellington hair salon Willis York for seven years, and has also just won New Zealand Hairdresser of the Year at the L'Oréal Colour Trophy Awards.

Rebecca was born in Queenstown and, after becoming a single mum at 22, did an apprenticeship at a local salon in Wanaka at 24, finding her true passion in the process.  

The top stylist talks us through going from farm girl to glam guru... 

"I loved it because it was like, 'fashion', 'people'!

"I've always loved Wellington because of the convenience it offers, especially with a child.  I live seven minutes from work, walk to work every day, and have my business in the city - I couldn't afford that anywhere else. And the people are just great.

I grew up in Central Otago and was raised by my Dad, it was really outdoorsy. On the farm down in Wanaka there were not a lot of role models for fashion and 'beauty', the role models there were very earthy and grounded and very different to women in the city.  

I am a big believer in sleep, exercise, eating well and genetics as the secrets to beauty. If you're beautiful on the inside and you smile, it radiates. That's the best beauty tip, money can't buy that.

As I'm getting older I have become what you might call aware. Four years ago someone threw me Margaret Hema's way and I have become quite conscious of what I put on my skin.  

Her philosophy is 'less is more', and that you should treat your skin gently, like your favourite silk dress. My skin has never been better. 

In the morning I rinse my face with water. I use Margaret Hema's Millennium oil and I've also been taught that it's all about massage - gently massage everything on your face all the time and push the fluid away from the corners of your eyes.  

You know that puffy face you can get in the morning?  Massage gets the body working, gets things moving around. Asian people do it - look at how amazing elderly Asian people's skin is.

Then I apply a really light foundation - a little bit of M.A.C strobe cream mixed with foundation - my favourite would be Chanel. I wear Chanel eyeliner on my top lid for little bit of a flick, and Chanel mascara.

If I'm going out I use Chanel Rouge Noir lipstick - Uma Thurman wore the colour in Pulp Fiction on her nails - and I do a smoky eye.

I wash my hair every day because it's really fine - I use the Kerastase Bain de Force range. Being a hairdresser I love to bleach my hair to within an inch of its life and Kerastase whips it into shape. After washing I apply some Kerastase 'Initialiste' - it works on the hair's cuticle to strengthen it, I then blast it dry and then add a little L'Oréal Texture Dust to add body.  

In Wellington it's in a pony every day because it's so windy.

At the moment my hair is pink and I think I am going to have different shades of nectarine-coloured hair for the rest of my life. I've always loved pink. Some lipsticks look a bit weird with pink hair but I wear a lot of black as a hairdresser and pink looks great with that.

I use Martina Organics from Wellington on my décolletage and Aesop Resurrecting body lotion. I don't wear polish on my fingers and toes - I go and get a manicure and just get my nails shaped and buffed.  

I wear Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir and Molecule, either individually or mixed depending on how I feel.

At night I use Margaret Hema cleansing oil - it takes my makeup off as well.  Once you convert to using oil you never go back.

I really love... a good smell. People who smell different and good, men especially!  People who are comfy in their skin, not wearing too much makeup but a nice smell - often someone who walks by.

I really hate... age appropriateness. Age is a state of mind. Lots of women are afraid of even trying stuff because they think there is an age on everything.

If I could wave a magic beauty wand... I probably wouldn't have laid in the sun so much as a child! In fact, the magic would be that sun wouldn't be bad for your skin, but that it would make you younger!"

- As told to Julie Roulston