When your job involves overseeing the beauty content at a very prestigious retailer, you can’t help but become well-versed in the best that the world of beauty has to offer. As the Global Beauty Director at NET-A-PORTER, Newby Hands is in the plum position to see what beauty aficionados are adding to cart on a daily basis, and the emerging trends and cult products the site’s customers are loving across the globe in real time. Here, Newby chats her career trajectory so far, her top tip for flawless foundation, and why a day in her life doesn’t look like what you might think.

“I never really had a career plan and got into beauty from working in fashion. 

And then from working as a magazine and newspaper Beauty Director I moved into e-tail and digital content – which I love, as you can see so clearly what women are engaging with.

I joined NET-A-PORTER in 2015 and one of the reasons I love my role so much is because I work across both the buying and editorial sides of the business. I love seeing what women really love to buy, and what proves popular in different countries. My team and I are responsible for creating compelling and creative content for the beauty category, with an international point of view.

When the category launched six years ago, we had just 11 brands and now we stock over 230 brands, so it’s exciting being a part of something that is continuously growing. Plus, we have strong relationships with our brands and especially with the founders. I love beauty and so being able to work across all aspects of the industry is a real joy, and having a close connection with brands and their founders makes the perfect mix of the commercial and the creative.

I love working with amazing people in the industry from around the world, such as Dr. Barbara Sturm, Angela Caglia, Gucci Westman, and Sarah Chapman.

The industry is made up of incredible women working with true passion, and being a part of that is wonderful. I can’t really think of a ‘worst’ part, except when a favourite product gets withdrawn by a brand. I have lost so many favourite nude lipstick shades that brands have dropped over the years.

But don’t judge me by my job: away from it, I love to rough it, not brush my hair, not wear makeup, and get my hands dirty. My new hobby is gardening; I certainly don’t sit on a sofa drinking celery juice with a sheet mask on my face all day.

Newby pictured with Sarah Chapman

I like seeing customers being more aware and educated on what they put on their skin and brands working towards greater transparency with sustainable ingredients and considered materials.

It’s great to see both sides taking steps towards change. I also love how women can really enjoy beauty: trying products, playing with makeup, and increasingly using so many great devices at home.

I don’t like it when women feel they have to conform to something, like looking young or having a certain makeup look. Beauty is fun, helpful, and very creative; take from it what works for you because it is also very democratic. I always advise avoiding anything permanent when it comes to your face, but I do love things like certain fillers as they’re not permanent and in the right hands they can make a face look fresher.

Recently I have started a routine of body brushing in the morning, followed by Legology Cellu-Lite Oil and Dr. Barbara Sturm Body Lotion.

It’s super fast: the brushing takes 30 seconds max, and I especially like this body cream because it sinks in so quickly.

I never have a problem waking up and getting up which certainly makes mornings easier. I always have a cup of tea when I wake up, ideally in bed. I also try to now take some time outside first thing, whether in the garden or I go for a walk with my husband in the local woods.

Newby with her husband on their walks in the woods

My morning skincare routine is very simple.

I use Dr. Sebagh Foaming Face Wash, Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair serum, Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Hyaluronic Serum and her Glow Drops, and La Mer face cream in the winter or their lighter textured Soft Cream in the summer.

For my night-time routine, I do just one proper cleanse.

My skin tends to be pretty easy but it can be dry and requires extra care during winter, so I love a good cleansing balm and I am now using Omorovicza’s Cashmere Cleanser: it leaves my skin feeling so soft.

I love using masks in the evening, and those from 111Skin, Sisley, KORA Organics, and Summer Fridays are some of my favourite brands as they do such a wide choice of masks for every need. I always use a body cream at night, usually from Dr. Barbara Sturm, and for the day I now always apply Legology Air-Lite – it’s just amazing!

And the last beauty products I use every night is This Works Sleep Plus Pillow Spray which helps to calm my mind for a good night’s sleep.

I always do a very natural look; about twice a year I wear a red lip and that’s it! 

For an evening out it would always be about a glowing skin: I use the Westman Atelier Lit Up highlighters, a great smudged eyeliner (Victoria Beckham’s are amazing), and lots of mascara – I love the one by Gucci.

I love the Charlotte Tilbury Instant Magic Mask. Because it is a dry mask, I put it on over my makeup before going out. I even wear it in the car and then remove when parking. It makes skin look incredible and gives makeup a beautiful glow.

My best makeup tip is to choose a long-lasting base.

Try Westman Atelier Foundation Stick for a really beautiful natural look, or Hourglass’s Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation as it contains innovative active ingredients that result in a longwearing and waterproof finish. Concealer is also essential for extra coverage and wear. My top tip is to finish your base and concealer by using a kabuki brush to lightly buff all over the face. This gives makeup that seamless and natural finish, making it look like perfect skin as opposed to perfect makeup. And if you want really great glowy looking skin, try using a bit of hydrating serum pressed over your makeup; using skincare to revive your makeup at the end of the day is far better than just reapplying your base.

My hair is naturally fine and as I have the ends and lengths balayaged, they can get a bit puffy from the bleach. 

I have a super easy hair routine: twice a year I have a Brazilian blow dry that is life changing. It means the rest of the time I can blow dry my hair in minutes which has a big impact on my beauty routine!  I also sleep on a Slip silk pillowcase as I do find that makes a difference to my hair and skin as the silk absorbs less moisture from both.

I also love the Elasticizer from Philip Kingsley and I like to sleep in it. I apply lots of it to the lengths on my hair, plait it, and then put a towel on my pillow and sleep with it in. I try to do this once a week as it completely transforms dull, dry hair.

My personal style is modern, easy, and relaxed.

Usually I would go with a Saint Laurent or Theory trouser suit with a classic shirt, or – in total contrast – an Isabel Marant or Zimmerman full, floral dress.

The first beauty product I loved was Revlon’s now discontinued Flex Shampoo.

I lived in California for a summer when I was 17 and, coming from rainy Oxfordshire, it just seemed the most glamorous California-girl smell.

My mother was never big on beauty tips when I was growing up but she had a passion for bright lipstick and beautiful perfumes, so I grew up thinking that beauty was fun and vibrant and about making something your own – whether its your makeup look or your signature scent.

I believe you are what you eat, but I don’t go to extremes.

I eat organic as much as possible. I don’t snack but I do make the conscious choice to sometimes eat chocolate and drink red wine but not to excess. I also do Pilates – now via Zoom, five days a week – and usually try to do one yoga class. The combination of both is so good for keeping the body strong and flexible. I love walking, but hate running!

There is so much more to the ageing process than just wrinkles as keeping healthy, fit, and happy is so much a part of how we look and feel.  It is about living the best life, enjoying, and cherishing every moment with loved ones.”

Story by Tess de Vivie de Régie. Images supplied by Newby.

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