If you’re from Sydney and have an interest in skin, you’ve no doubt heard of Clare McColl. As one of the most trusted names in the industry, McColl is known and loved for her holistic but result-driven approach; a practice that marries traditional treatments with grounding rituals for a 360 degree approach to skin health.

Earlier this year, McColl opened Fenn Store with co-founder Nicole Manning — a serene space in leafy Paddington that offers skin treatments and naturopathy. Anyone who had the chance to visit pre-lockdown will know Fenn hits every touchpoint: chic interiors, a brilliant curation of brands, and of course some of the best skin treatments in the country (both Nicole and Clare are known for their legendary facial massage).

Clare is obviously a wealth of knowledge when it comes to skincare, and her personal routine is one that’s worth knowing — so we quizzed her on everything from her favourite products to a superlative Sunday facial routine.

Keep scrolling for the interview.

GRAZIA: What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

CLARE: Hydrate! I reach for my water canister, take a big long sip, lay back down and plan out my day ahead. Quickly check any emails that need addressing and I’m up!

GRAZIA: Do you take any supplements OF A MORNING?

CLARE: Yes! I’ve been guided by our incredibly talented FENN Naturopath, Michaela who has me on a few concoctions to support skin and gut health.

I take zinc and vitamin A for cell replication and immune support, also works to address inflammation.

High strength fish oil, which improves barrier function, boosting skin moisture and integrity. Probiotics and a daily dose of liquid collagen to protect gut lining and balance immune response and gut skin axis.

I’m also taking Alexis Smart flower remedies every day a few times a day. Flower remedies are really interesting. They work by suppressing negativity, and encourage the positive aspects of our personalities. I think of it like this, if I’m having a bit of a sluggish, frustrated day (which lets face it, at the moment is pretty regular) I take my remedy and I immediately feel calmer and more focused.  Perhaps a bit woo woo for some, but if you’re into it, they won’t disappoint! We interviewed Alexis for the FENN journal recently, and her approach and knowledge of herbal remedies is so fascinating (the interview will be out in our next newsletter – sign up via our website).

GRAZIA: What does your morning skincare routine look like right now?

CLARE: I first apply Emma Lewisham’s Illuminating Oil Cleanser and massage it into my skin before I jump in the shower to stimulate blood flow and the lymphatic system. Once cleansed and I’m finished in the shower I pat dry my skin and spritz my face and décolletage with Lesse Regeneration Face Mist. Then onto damp skin I layer Medik8’s Hydra B5 Intense Serum and Medik8 Calm Wise Serum (I’ve had some sensitivity of late which Calm Wise addresses by reducing inflammation and redness, also incredible to maintain barrier function).

To lock in the Serums I finish off by applying Emma Lewisham’s Supernatural Cream — I’ve been using this morning and night for extra nourishment during winter. Before leaving the house I always apply a 30+ tinted SPF.

GRAZIA: If you were racing out the door and could only apply one thing to your face, what would it be?

CLARE: An SPF day cream. No debate here. Sunscreen is a superhero when it comes to preventing skin ageing and inflammation caused by UVA & UVB rays. I’m trialing a new SPF product from a friend at the moment which is due to launch before Christmas. It’s brilliant!

GRAZIA: What about a Sunday facial? Any DIY tips we can borrow whilst in lockdown? 

CLARE: I’ve just invested in a Omnilux Face Contour mask which I’ve been using to prep my skin for my wedding (also as we’re in a lockdown, Sunday becomes basically any day)

  • Before using the mask I’ll take time to cleanse my skin with a balmy cleanser and remove any excess with a warm compress. I’m using Baina at the moment, the GOAT of face cloths!
  • Then exfoliate my skin – generally the exfoliation step is with a purifying mask or brightening scrub; I’m alternating between Lesse Refining Cleanser and Emma Lewisham Illuminating Exfoliant
  • Refresh my face with a mist,Josh Rosebrook Hydrating Accelerator is a long time favourite.
  • Apply the Omnilux contour mask for 10-15 minutes (with a relaxing playlist on in the background)
  • I’ve been a bit boujee of late, because it’s helping me get through lockdown! And I apply a sheet mask, I adore the Medik8 Ultimate Recovery masks, after the LED session and go about my business (let’s say 20 mins of reading, cooking, a glass of wine)
  • Remove the sheet mask and massage the excess serum from the sheet mask into my skin and finish with a nourishing oil or cream! Voila! Fresh AF.

GRAZIA: Amazing! What about before bed? What does your typical evening skincare routine look like? 

CLARE: Again I use the Emma Lewisham oil cleanser to take off any makeup, dirt and grime that’s built up from the day. Remove with my beloved BAINA face cloth (seriously a good, soft face cloth feels like such a luxury step in the routine). My second cleanse at the moment is in the shower with the Josh Rosebrook Complete Moisture Cleanse (incidentally my fiance LOVES this cleanser too, he thinks it smells like bananas).

Post shower, I prep skin with Lesse Regeneration Mist then serum time; I first layer HydraB Intense, and on alternating evenings I’ll apply Medik8 Crystal Retinol 3 and Lesse Ritual Serum, always finishing with Emma Lewisham Supernatural Cream.

I love to read before I go to sleep. We’ve just introduced a “no phone” policy in our bedroom so there’s even more reason to have a little page turner, currently educating myself on one of life’s finer things; wine with Aldo Sohm’s Wine Simple.   I like to use my Gua Sha Jade Face Tool whilst I’m reading as well, a nice little face massage to relieve facial tension and stimulate circulation.

GRAZIA: Let’s talk about Fenn! The space is built on both holistic practice and results. How do you go about balancing the two?

CLARE: I think it’s all about listening to our clients and their individual needs. Really taking into account what someone might be experiencing holistically and how their bodies and skin are responding. Working with all the information they can provide and then applying it to our practice of traditional luxury facials and contemporary clinical techniques. We’re really proud of how we’ve been able to create a symbiotic approach of the traditional and contemporary, which is optimised towards achieving consistent results: natural, healthy, glowing skin.

GRAZIA: You’re also known in Sydney for your incredible facial massage! Is this something you also do for yourself at home?

CLARE: Yes! To make things easier for myself, I always have a gua sha at home that I keep in the fridge. I’ve been doing a lot of pressure point work at the moment because I’ve been looking at my screen a lot so this helps relieve tension between my brows and forehead (frown lines be gone).

grazia: Any tips for an at-home facial massage for those reading from lockdown? 

CLARE: Take your time, be delicate with your skin (make sure you have a bit of face oil or serum on to help with movement) and try as much as possible to use upward massage movements working with the contours of the face. I’d also recommend getting yourself a beautiful face cloth that you can gently press into the skin to remove excess product. It’s just a nice little luxury you can use to fancy up your DIY.

grazia: For anyone visiting Fenn for the first time, what treatment do you suggest they try?

For first timers I’d recommend the Fenn Classic. It’s an all encompassing treatment which has a little bit of everything in it. All of our treatments are bespoke and so whether it’s your first time at Fenn or your first-ever treatment we ensure it is completely customised to support your skin.


Emma Lewisham Illuminating Oil Cleanser,$70. SHOP NOW EMMA LEWISHAM SUPERNATURAL NIGHT CREME, $135. shop now Medik8 crystal retinol 3, $87. shop nowLesse Regeneration Mist, $75. SHOP NOW