Having travelled the world for the last ten years working as a beauty therapist, including in high-end London boutiques and aboard private yachts, Nicole Manning knows a thing or two about luxe approaches to skincare, and clients who demand the best. Now happily settled in Sydney, Nicole has joined forces with the founders of US-based Onda Beauty (one of whom is also an Aussie - none other than Naomi Watts), bringing it to our shores and serving as its Australian Director. Nicole welcomed us into their brand new Paddington boutique, and told us why she is so committed to sharing her love of elevated clean skincare, and the importance of an inside out approach to beauty.
“I am definitely a clean beauty enthusiast! I’m energised by the journey of finding balance in my health and skincare rituals, which are reflected in a natural beauty.
My approach to beauty is to create rituals which are enjoyable and enriching, rather than it being a chore. Clients should look forward to that time of an evening or in the morning where they can treat themselves to some alone time and self-love and feel great. To support this, I love sourcing products and offering treatments which align with this vision, and have dedicated my career to sharing this with clients.
When I feel my best, and my life is on-track, I have the time and energy to enjoy my full daily routine.
In the morning, I will have warm water with apple cider vinegar first up. I usually either go for a walk and jump in the ocean with my husband Tim, or do a Pilates class. Returning home, I’ll listen to music while making a smoothie. Before having a shower, I’ll use a cleansing oil, currently May Lindstrom’s Pendulum Potion, directly on dry skin and massage it into my face for a couple of minutes. I’ll then use a warm face washer to remove it. In the (very hot) shower, I use Saya body wash and once or twice a week I will use our body scrub all over.
In the evening, I like to shower again to wind down.
After showering, I double cleanse using an oil first, followed by the clay cleanser from Sodashi. Once or twice a week I’ll use a scrub, either the Goop Exfoliating Instant Facial mask or The Clean Dirt by May Lindstrom. A few nights a week I use the Gentle Retinol Night Serum by Marie Veronique. From here I mix it up a bit. Sometimes I layer Marie Veronique’s other active serums, or I’ll lather my skin in hydrating balms or Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum, depending on how my skin feels. A couple of times a week I’ll do a clay or sheet mask. At the moment I’m enjoying the Edible Beauty sheet masks, as well as the May Lindstrom Problem Solver clay mask. Both leave the skin feeling incredibly clean and fresh.
For special events, I’m much more likely to focus on how my skin looks than to rely too much on makeup.
I love to use an LED light. I find that it really brings life to the skin and gives me a wonderful glow. It is also a great 20 minute meditation, which is so nice to sneak in as a recharge after a big day! My overall beauty approach is natural and fresh. I love cream blushes and bronzers, and at the moment am enjoying wearing the Kosås tinted face oil. Natural, bushy brows always complete the look.
I’ve always been fascinated by beauty and wellness. Even back at the age of eight, my best friend Jess and I would escape into the national park behind our house in the Blue Mountains to pick flowers and soak them in water to make perfume.
My mum was always super open minded, and from quite early on I remember her often taking me to a naturopath before she’d take me to a doctor. A little later, she used to take me to get facials, and I was allowed to get my eyelashes tinted (instead of wearing makeup) which was always a treat. Of course at that age my interest wasn’t only in natural products. I distinctly remember a year nine purple eyeliner phase, and my first fake tan attempt around the same time. You can imagine my ginger hair and matching skin… it was quite a look.
My hair is naturally coarse and curly, and I have found the transition to clean haircare one of the toughest.
I am really enjoying the Rahua shampoo, and I’m so excited to have found Innersense products – my curls have never looked so good! They’re defined without being crunchy or frizzy. I tend to just scrunch this into wet hair and then let it dry naturally. I don’t colour my hair and haven’t for years, but my great friend Adele from Peache Rose Hair in Bronte always cuts and looks after it for me. I haven’t always loved my hair like I do now. It was only a few years ago that I really began to embrace being a redhead, and now it is such a part of who I am that it’s my favourite feature.
Whenever I’m travelling in Melbourne or Byron, I’ll always go and visit Stace at Little Company.
I love their treatments and we share a similar philosophy. For treatments here in Sydney, of course it has to be Onda! I love having time with the girls here. I am so excited by the experience of a facial in our Paddington space.
My personal style is seasonal, tonal and perhaps ‘coastal’. I love linens, natural fibres, silks, generally in block colours.
Lee Matthews, Sir the Label and Jillian Boustred are my current favourites. One highlight from each is a bright orange, pink & white floral high waisted skirt from Lee Matthews, a slightly dressed up black dress from Sir the Label and my favourite green jumpsuit from Jillian. All three are Australian labels, which is important to me.
Given how physical my work has been for the past 16 years, taking care of my body is a really important one for me.
I have massages with a genius Italian remedial masseuse monthly, and use a foam roller to stretch often. I’ve been lucky to build a great group of friends around exercise over the past four or five years so we tend to run, cycle and swim together. I’ve dropped the ball over the last year or so, and must get back into it. I really enjoy the beautiful studio at Bodylove Pilates in Woollahra, particularly Sophie’s classes.
I have a delicate balancing act to play between clean food, which I love to cook, and the rich meals that my husband loves to cook!
Typically three or four nights a week will involve protein with brocolini and salad. The others we will be out and about or cooking red meat at home. Lunches for me are nearly always salads and breakfasts are generally a smoothie using bananas, The Beauty Chef’s Body protein powder, chia seeds, adaptogens from Orchard Street, coconut milk and a dash of peanut butter.
The Beauty Chef Glow Powder is a staple which I love. Having that protein powder in the morning is a great way for me to feel full and energetic in a simple, routine way.
I occasionally seek magic potions from Orchard Street to support certain elements at a given time. This might be stress or hormonal balance. I also take a good Vitamin B supplement and swear by The Beauty Chef Sleep Powder to support a good night’s rest if my mind is busy.
I’ve had a real mindset shift a number of years ago. For a while there, I thought that I had to freeze my ageing process and put everything I could into stopping it; this was definitely a reflection of the people I surrounded myself with at the time.
Now, I am firmly in the ‘age gracefully’ camp, and love working with clients so that they may embrace this attitude in their own lives. Your skin reflects your stories, and I hope to attract and create ongoing relationships with clients who are comfortable and proud of their stories! Naturally, I am focused on taking the best possible care for them and for me to ensure that ageing happens beautifully.
I’ve been fascinated by natural wellness from an early age, and I think I have been fortunate that my career developments have coincided with the market evolution towards natural products.
This has made it easy for me to always want to do what I’m doing. I have always been interested in understanding wellness from its roots – your emotional state, gut health, and effective rituals supported by the best products out there.
I’ve been fortunate to work with some wonderful women in the industry who have influenced and inspired me.
Eve Lom was the strongest influence in my early career, teaching me her technique in London. More recently, Megan Larsen has been a huge inspiration and mentor within the industry. Right now, I am enjoying working with Carla Oates and loving the energy she is bringing to ‘inside out’ beauty.
I loathe the idea that a small number of big companies could control the way people treat their bodies with products, and I’m loving that people are supporting real entrepreneurial thought in the beauty space. It allows great people to create great products and bring them to the market through businesses like Onda.”