In my beauty bag: Caroline Marr

17:00, Apr 23 2014
CURVE CAMPAIGNER: Plus-size fashion designer Caroline Marr talks us through her low-key beauty routine.

Caroline Marr, 49, is the founder and designer of fabulous plus size label The Carpenters' Daughter (TCD). 

Born in Port Charmers, at age 13 she went with her family to Dunedin for a year and then from Dunedin to Auckland, which she has since called home. 

Marr has no formal qualifications, "not even School Cert" and she fell into fashion.

"I was a home sewer and a store detective. Whatever I as wearing - I was size 22 - women would comment on.  So I went and looked at the market to see what was available and recognised there was a niche for young, big women like myself." 

Today there are four 'bricks and mortar' TCD stores and an online store. "I've opened stores and closed stores," Marr explains. "Now I've decided that four's enough."

We took a moment out of the busy designer's schedule to chat beauty secrets ... 


"I wear makeup every day except Sundays, but I don't do full-on makeup. I only buy makeup once a year when I want a new look, because that is how long it lasts me.

When I buy makeup I go straight to M.A.C - I discovered them when in the US many years ago and just loved the experience and have loved the brand ever since. The packaging in black, my favourite colour, makes everything pop.

In the morning after going for a walk I may wash my hair. I wash it once every 2-3 days - it's wavy and curly and it gets better the longer I can leave it, fluffier and softer. I use Kerastase for sun-exposed hair because I swim in chlorine and am in the sun quite a bit. I let my hair dry in the sun with a bit of coconut oil on the ends, and I wear it down most days.

I go to Rodney Wayne to have my hair coloured. I like to use my local, and Rodney Wayne is down the road from where I work and live. If i want something done it has to happen that day, I don't book ahead, and I love that they can do that for me! I like to think my natural beauty will shine through but sometimes it's the greys that shine through.

Once I'm out of the shower I use Vision skincare. I don't cleanse, tone or exfoliate - I just use their youth serum, and that's it. Sometimes during the day I'll use some citrus lotion just to refresh. I'm aware that what I put on my skin feeds it - I'm a great advocate of coconut oil for the face, hair and body. Part of my beauty regime is that I will also swallow a teaspoon of coconut oil - it's one of those natural fats that turns into energy - I have a lot of the latter! I'm into super good foods for the body and for the whole being. I want to do the distance in life and look good while I'm doing it.

I take vitamins as part of my beauty and health routine: vitamin C so I don't get sick (and I don't) and magnesium and zinc for the skeletals (nails and hair), and sometime glucosamine for joints.

If it's a makeup day, it's all about the eyes. I will put a M.A.C. concealer on my eyelids and I have three different coloured eyeliners - deep green, purple and black - most days I wear black. I flick it up at the edges and take a nude colour to the edges of my eye with a brush. I curl my lashes and use waterproof mascara because I am in and out of the pool.

I exercise daily - if not swimming then walking or a personal trainer - just to keep my body stretched and my skeleton straight, so I can do what I need to do.

I only wear foundation if I am going somewhere important. But lips, they're the next best thing on the face after eyes. I have a huge range of M.A.C. lipsticks, I'm loving a colour that I just used for the TCD show at Wellington Fashion Week - 'Violetta.'

I love to have a pedicure, I think feet are important on women - but in winter I leave them natural and let the nail beds breathe. I keep my fingernails short and every so often I have a manicure or paint them myself. I use lanolin to try and keep my nails strong.

I only have one perfume and I have worn if for 20 years: Estee Lauder Knowing.

I was a size 22 25 years ago, now I'm a size 16-18. I want to lose a little bit more weight because 25 years on my feet have been affected, I have a bit of arthritis. 

I also think that's genetic/hereditary - lots of Maori women seem to have weight related issues with their ankles and feet (I am part Chatham Islands Maori). But I want to keep my curves.  All women have curves no matter what size they are. And I want to be kind to my body - I have had to do a lot of heavy lifting over the years!"

- As told to Julie Roulston