Welcome to Take Note – a weekly rolodex of all the best in skin, wellness, and makeup from industry insiders. Each week, we’ll profile one woman who’s privvy to beauty, covering everything from recommendations to routines. Today, we’re talking to Ava Matthews, beauty industry veteran and co-founder of Ultra Violette, the Australian SPF brand that answered about one million requests for sunscreen that’s nice to use, looks cute in your bathroom and actually protects your skin.
Ava is like a best friend and beauty oracle all in one. She’s honest, real, and has tried it all (thanks to a career spanning multiple brands and touch points in the industry). Her own skincare child – Ultra Violette – is nothing short of incredible as far as launches are concerned. Female-founded (alongside partner Bec Jefferd) and Australian made, it offers a range of mineral and chemical broad spectrum sunscreens in a way that actually speaks ro consumers. No mean feat, given SPF needs TGA approval, and Australia’s standards are notoriously tough. Having launched into Adore Beauty within a year and now available in Sephora (in-store and online), Ultra Violette is destined for only bigger and better things. Here, Ava divulges her skincare routine, makeup favourites, affinity for glowing skin and an incredibly detailed account of what would be her death row meal. Read the full interview below.
GRAZIA: What does your morning skincare routine look like?
- Splash face with water
- Rationale Immunologist Serum
- Rationale Super Antioxidant Serum
- Rationale Photodynamic Daily Moisturiser
- SPF – Ultra Violette Queen Screen for the glow and protection.
GRAZIA: And evening?
- Wash face with Rationale Proceramide Cleanser
- Rationale Catalyst Serum (for chemical exfoliation)
- Rationale DNA Night Cream mixed with DNA Night Serum.
GRAZIA: If you were heading to a deserted island, what three products would make the cut?
Ava: Queen Screen – for SPF protection and a bit of a glow. Glossier Cloud Paint in Storm – nothing makes me feel more alive than a bit of blush. Dr. Lipp Nipple Cream for Lips – the most hydrating lip balm which I feel like I’d need and you can also use it on other cracked areas. It’s basically medical grade lanolin.
GRAZIA: Favourite SPF formula?
GRAZIA: Best treatment out there?
Ava: I use the Rationale Immunologist Mask before a shower and then let it steam up in the shower and then remove. Deeelish!
GRAZIA: Skincare cheap thrill?
Ava: Cetaphil in the tub – so good for body hydration and also face when you need a break or if you’ve got a bit of eczema.
GRAZIA: And splurge?
Ava: All of my Rationale! It’s ridiculous to spend so much money but I can’t live without it.
GRAZIA: What’s your go-to method for treating a pimple, fast?
Ava: Squeezing it (sorry) and then a dab of Catalyst Serum to help get rid of the infection – don’t listen to me guys, I am a total picker!
GRAZIA: Who is your makeup muse?
Ava: Hmm,,, maybe Brooke Shields in the 80s.
GRAZIA: What’s your go-to makeup look?
Ava: Glowy skin with minimal (if any) foundation, cream textures for blush and bronzer (again, all about the glow), and a bronzey/coppery/browny-red smokey eye with HEAPS of mascara. Or a peachy/rosy glossy lip and bold brows OR clean skin lots of mascara and a super bold bright neon lip!
GRAZIA: Holy grail foundation?
Ava: Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter. I don’t think it’s a foundation technically but I use it as one.
GRAZIA: And most used lip colour?
GRAZIA: Best ever mascara?
Ava: Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara hands down.
GRAZIA: How do you shape and fill your brows?
GRAZIA: Signature fragrance?
Ava: Le Labo Musc 31.
GRAZIA: What does your vacation makeup kit look like?
Ava: Lots of cream blushes, lots of different bronzers, all my bold lipstick colours and maybe one eyeshadow palette – and lots of SPF and fake tan!
GRAZIA: Makeup trend you’ll never try?
Ava: Matte skin, thin eyebrows. Other than that I’m pretty fair game (if someone else is doing my makeup).
GRAZIA: Quirkiest makeup trick you can share?
Ava: Blast your eyelash curler with a hairdryer to heat the wand up and once cooled slightly, curl your lashes. It really opens up your eyes. And if you want to look, alive never underestimate the power of blush – try a peachy shade.
GRAZIA: Favourite shampoo and conditioner duo?
Ava: Oribe Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner.
GRAZIA: Can’t live without styling product?
Ava: The Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil by Oribe.
GRAZIA: Tips for styling your hair texture?
Ava: To be honest, I don’t style my hair – I wash it with good hair and conditioner, use the oil at the tips and occasionally use my Parlux to dry it. I need to teach myself!
GRAZIA: In a sentence, what’s your approach to wellness?
Ava: Do what makes you feel good.
GRAZIA: What’s your philosophy when it comes to food?
Ava: I try and incorporate as many veggies into my meals as possible – I don’t love or eat much fruit. And I’m addicted to dairy and love a sweet treat. I used to be SO strict and hard on myself for eating “bad” or “junk” foods and have spent years yoyo dieting. I can now say it’s not worth it. Eat what you love but not to the point of feeling sick about it, obvs. I try to live by the ‘everything in moderation’ mindset but I am probably the least moderate person I know so that’s hard!
GRAZIA: What does your typical day on a plate look like?
Ava: At the moment, I’m kind of trying to fast as I feel that once I start eating, I just snack all day. And TBH I’m not a breakfast gal so I might have a tea – English breakfast with milk and one sugar around 10 am. My first meal might be at 12-ish, maybe eggs on toast with some avocado or a salad or leftovers. Then I’ll probably have more tea, maybe some chocolate or biscuits. Depending on how bored/hungry I am I might have another savoury snack before dinner (corn thins with vegemite and butter!). Dinner is something like soup, pasta, frittata, sautéed vegetables – I’ll try and get as many veggies into my meal here (and also for my fiancé who would never eat a green thing if I didn’t force him!). I’ll try to drink at least 2L of water throughout the day too. I also try to have 3-4 alcohol free days a week – increasingly difficult at the moment!
GRAZIA: In what ways do you love to move your body?
Ava: Before Iso I had a trainer three times a week so it would be a combo of boxing, cardio and weights. Now I’m just walking a bit, doing the odd Ryan Heffington Dance Class, the odd Fluidform Pilates class and I’ve just signed up to The Sculpt Society which looks like it’s a combo of dance and toning – let’s see if I do any of this!
GRAZIA: What would your final meal be?
Ava: Italian! I’d have some sort of amazing tomato pasta with burrata on top, a separate burrata with focaccia, and maybe another kind of pasta – carbonara or amatriciana. For dessert, a slice of vanilla birthday cake – fudgey with lots of layers.
GRAZIA: What supplements do you take regularly?
Ava: I go between taking shitloads and then forgetting to take anything. I do take my Seed pre/probiotics daily – I love them and have a subscription. In addition to that I’ll take Armaforce, ashwagahnda for anxiety, magnesium and melatonin at night to help me sleep.
GRAZIA: What tricks do you put in place to ensure you get a good night’s sleep?
Ava: I am not a good sleeper and wake frequently throughout the night. I have been taking melatonin and magnesium at night because I had a rough patch about a month ago where I wasn’t sleeping much at all. It’s been better lately – I think I’m getting used to iso life. I try to stop looking at my phone about 30 mins before bed but I’m not successful at it!
SHOP AVA’s Edit
Ultra Violette Queen Screen, $47. SHOP NOW
Rationale Catalyst Serum, $164. SHOP NOW
Kevyn Aucoin The Volume Mascara, $45. SHOP NOW