Natalie Ferrari opened her first beauty salon in 2012 at the age of 24, and in the decade since, she’s made The Parlour Room Clovelly one of Sydney’s most in-demand (and luxurious) beauty destinations. As we know in life, it never rains but it pours, and 2022 is promising a major weather event for Nat: as she prepares to celebrate the ten year milestone of her business baby, she is also preparing for the arrival of her first human baby. The beauty expert told us all about about her “stripped back” (aka still pleasingly thorough) pregnancy skincare routine, her favourite multi-use makeup products for the days she’s feeling more exhausted than effervescent, and reflected on the life and business lessons that help her remain her optimistic self… even while she steers herself towards a major disruption of her lifelong love of sleep.

“Nothing is ever as glamorous as Instagram makes it seem!

The final image you see on social media or in magazines is really the culmination of a lot of hard work. Success doesn’t happen overnight and throughout life there will always be a lot of smoke and mirrors, so remember not to get swept away by that and always stay true to yourself.

Opening my own business at 24 and the journey ever since (which has been full of ups and downs) has probably been one of my biggest challenges. Especially during this past year and a half – it’s been tough for us all navigating lockdowns and having everything be outside of our control. I think life is constantly throwing out new challenges, although I’m lucky that looking back on them a few years down the track, I’m not sure most of them stack up to being as big as they may have seemed at the time.

A big lesson I’ve learned over the years is to not make decisions or respond to people when you’re angry. Always wait until you have a calmer head.

I think over time we learn to roll with the waves and trust that you’ll get through it. It definitely gets easier with age, as you learn to trust the process. I am a big believer that everything always works out in the end, even if it feels impossible at the time. You have to just take a breath, slow down and keep going.

That can be easier said than done without a strong support system, though, and my own is so important to me. There are many occasions – and I’m sure there will be many more to come – where I have felt like I want to give up or things are too hard. If you have the right people around you, though, people to help lift you back up and keep you going, it really makes all the difference. I am the youngest of five kids, which meant I have always had a lot of role models to look up to. We are all still very close; we all live and work in the same suburb and literally see each other every day.

I never thought that beauty would be my career by any means. I know that isn’t the story we often hear, and that it can feel like everyone around you has these big lifelong passions and dreams, but my whole journey has been so fun and is constantly evolving.

I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I finished school, and I think I was a bit lost. I had always been into beauty, and my friends would often ask me to help them with their makeup, so I signed up to do a makeup course (to pass the time, honestly!). I ended up really liking that course, so I decided to study a diploma in makeup and special effects, followed by a diploma in beauty therapy and that led me to the path I’m still on now.

The best part of my work by far is being surrounded by and meeting so many amazing and inspiring women. I feel really lucky to have these connections and relationships, as I think they have really helped shape the person that I am. Beauty is a very transient industry, though, so getting to know such wonderful people also makes it so difficult when it comes time for them to move on to other careers. We’re all very close at The Parlour Room and saying goodbye to staff never gets any easier, even when I am so happy for and proud of them going on to use their talents in all sorts of amazing ways.

I usually start my day with cuddles with my fur babies (my two cats) and then I get moving, either by going for a walk or doing a class at Fluidform Pilates.

I find that exercise helps me to wake up physically and mentally, and also gets me glowing.

After that comes coffee! If I’m going to be wearing makeup that day, I’ll tackle putting on the full face once that coffee hit has taken effect, but most days, especially now during pregnancy, I just do my skincare regime, pull my hair back in a low bun and go au naturel.

Since being pregnant I have really stripped back my skincare regime and stuck to basics, as my skin became extremely sensitive and reactive. 

In the mornings, I cleanse with the Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser, squeezing a small amount into the palm of my hand, emulsifying that with water and then in circular motions applying it to my face. I really like this product as it feel soft and gentle on my skin , but still leaves me with a smooth and even surface ready for any makeup that I apply. Then I go in with the Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Daily Serum 2.0. I warm up a few pumps of this serum in my hands and then gently press it into my skin, which has so many benefits, both to the feel of my skin then and there, as well as to protect it from premature ageing and sun damage. Then I finish up with either the Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Moisture Cream with Sunscreens or Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face SPF50+ Superscreen.

At night, I cleanse with iS Clinical Cream Cleanser, then massage in two drops of another favourite, Go-To Face Hero. My skin tends to be quite dry and this oil leaves it feeling very healthy and nourished. A couple of other favourites I also incorporate into my routine are the iS Clinical Pro Heal Serum Advance+ and O Cosmedics Recovery Cream: these two have worked miracles on my skin.

Two or three nights a week I will exfoliate, first by cleansing with iS Clinical Tri-Active Exfoliating Masque, and then by applying iS Clinical Active Serum, and once a week I like to use the iS Clinical Hydra-Intensive Cooling Masque.

I do my best to not only focus on my face with my skincare routine. Every evening after my shower I apply two products without fail.

First, I use our TPR Hydrate Cuticle Oil for healthy, strong nails: it truly makes such a difference. I try and apply this in the mornings too so my nails are getting that hydration all day as well as overnight.

I have used Arthimos Superfine Body Oil in Soothe Rose + Geranium every single day of my pregnancy so far. It’s a really light oil that soaks into my skin easily, so I’m not left feeling all greasy under my clothes. The scent is also divine, which has been a really wonderful find during pregnancy as I have been quite sensitive to lots of other smells!

My Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette is the secret to not looking as tired as I feel. It really is the ultimate way to hide my pregnancy exhaustion!

It’s a true multi-use palette, and I use it as a highlighter on cheeks, for definition and brightening on my eyes. I like to add some of the lightest shade in the corner of the eyes and just below the brow bone to make me look lifted and more fresh. I love products with multiple uses. One of my favourite tricks is using a cream blush as eyeshadow and lipstick as well, so you get this pretty, tonal look with such little effort.

I often do a soft smokey eye for a night out, and I get so much use out of the Charlotte Tilbury Luxury Palette in Pillow Talk to create that. Otherwise, I’ll opt for a few coats of mascara and a bright lip, and at the moment I am loving the Dior Rouge Dior Couture Finish Refillable Lipstick.

When we were doing eyebrow waxing in beauty college, the student practising on me accidentally waxed off half of my eyebrow. You could literally see my arch laying on the wax strip in her hand!

The teacher came over and was so apologetic and tried to stop me from freaking out. I mean, I couldn’t even fill it in with pencil because the product wouldn’t adhere to the hairless skin properly. So one eyebrow literally just stopped halfway along my face, and it took ages to grow back!

Now, I am definitely grateful to have my own two full brows to play with, haha. A good tip I have when applying brow products is to always start halfway through the brow and then go back to the start, so you don’t get excess product right at the beginning of the brow where it’s obvious. I like to add definition to the brow, but I don’t like it to be over the top. Generally, I am not a big fan of really heavy thick makeup, because I love being able to see the person through their makeup. I think beauty products are at their best when used to enhance a person’s natural features rather than to create brand new ones (like very full, dramatic brows that don’t really exist!) Oh, and I have one other beauty bug bear, which may seem funny for someone who owns a nail salon, but I loathe most nail art. I can get behind fine, elegant little details but different coloured designs on each nail is not for me.

I have very thick course hair, with a natural wave. I love the Olaplex products and use the entire range.

I am pretty low maintenance with styling it, and usually tie it up into a low bun. If I’m going out or have a work event, I’ll wear it down and just add a few waves with my ghd for a tousled, natural look. I do get those pesky bits around my hairline that stick out to the side, and feel like I have tried every product on the market but am yet to find one that holds them back…. stay tuned!

My mum was always been very much about less is more, learning to embrace your natural beauty, and ageing gracefully.

I love the idea of ageing gracefully, as I think a few lines tell a story and show you have had a great life. I don’t want to look 30 for the rest of my life! I love seeing women look their age, and absolutely glowing. In saying that, I do love getting a little bit of Botox to smooth out my brow line. However, I always make sure I still have movement in my face, as I really don’t like a fully frozen look. I actually think it can make you look older.

I live a very balanced lifestyle… or try to most of the time. I make sure I have lots of fruit, veggies, protein and healthy fats, and drink (or try to) two litres of water a day. I also definitely enjoy my glasses of wine, bowls of pasta and slices of cheese. My husband is Italian and is a fantastic cook, so it would be rude not to! 

Movement is really important to me, both mentally and physically, so I try to go for walks down near the ocean or in a nearby park to get plenty of fresh air, as well as doing Pilates four times a week. Finally, sleep! Getting enough sleep is everything to me. Although, given my baby arrives in February, I completely understand that I am probably in for a rude awakening very soon, and I won’t get the luxury of as much sleep as I have previously!”

Story by Zoe Briggs. Photography by Camilla Quiddington.

This article was produced in part thanks to Elizabeth Arden. Please consult your doctor as to which skincare products are suitable during pregnancy.

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