Vanity Affairs: The Products That Changed Thelma Plum’s Relationship With Her Hair
The Australian singer shares the beauty products she can’t live without.
Welcome to Vanity Affairs – an editorial series where we document the early morning beauty routines of notable men and women.
There are some people who have an I-can’t-put-my-finger-on-it kind of glow – a certain je ne sais quoi, if you will. You know the ones – their hair falls just right, their skin is dewy but never shiny, and they exude confidence without being arrogant.
In the interest of public service, we’ve set about tracking these aforementioned unicorns down to find out their secrets. So far, GP has spoken to model Georgia Fowler, personal shopper Gabriel Waller, Queer Eye’s resident grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness and supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (amongst others).
But today’s feature might just be the most interesting of them all. After falling ill with COVID-19 in March of this year, Australian singer Thelma Plum had a lot of time to reflect on her work, herself and her beauty routine. The proud Gamilaraay woman, who is now a mainstay on the Australian music scene, was first discovered back in 2012 after she entered her tracks ‘Blackbird’ and ‘Father Said’ into Triple J’s National Indigenous Unearthed Music Competition and won. Eight years, six ARIA nominations and one studio album later, Plum is a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.
Recently announced as Herbal Essences’ first ever Australian ambassador (!!), the Delungra-native’s relationship with her hair is stronger than ever, but it’s taken a lot for her to get to this point. “I love my hair now but it was a very long journey to get here,” she says. “For so long while I was growing up, I didn’t see people that looked like me represented in hair commercials so all I ever wanted was really straight, silky hair. But I don’t want that anymore.”
Now fully equipped to keep her hair in tip top shape, the ARIA award winner has her beauty routine down pat. So, naturally, we wanted to know the go to woah breakdown of everything she uses because, well, we’re only human.
“I have pretty thick and unruly hair which I love but it does need a bit of wrangling. So, being the new Herbal Essences ambassador has been great because I love their products so much. My favourite is definitely the Hair Oil Blend Argan Oil & Aloe Repair ($20) because it helps to reduce unwanted frizz and keep my hair healthy. I also use the Potent Aloe & Eucalyptus Shampoo ($20) and Conditioner ($20) once a week to clean my hair. Luckily for me, my hair is so thick that I can get away with washing it whenever I want. If I really want to up the ante, though, I will use the Argan Oil Repairing Hair Mask ($5). It is so beautiful and smells like heaven.”
“My skin is super sensitive and can break out a lot so my main criteria for skincare products is that they aren’t heavily fragranced or full of essential oils. I love La Roche-Posay and Skinceuticals for my core products. The La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Anti-Acne Cleanser ($25.95) is usually my step one and then I will use the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Serum ($218) to keep my skin glowing. I also love the Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel ($141) to keep my complexion smooth so I usually use them every second day. Then I also love the Sunday Riley UFO Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil ($128) – it’s a great one for controlling acne. The only thing I do differently at night is I slather my face in Weleda Skin Food ($15.95). It is the best. I’ve gotten all my friends onto it.”
“I’m pretty lowkey when it comes to everyday makeup but I do have a heartbreaking love for Glossier – which is hard when you live in Australia and a global pandemic hits because you can’t get your regular top ups. But other than that, I love the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser ($72) for a light sheen over my skin. If I want a little more coverage, I will then add the Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer ($77) on top. It’s pretty intense and pigmented, so I find it works best when I mix it with a tinted moisturiser to get a consistency that I like. I don’t wear mascara because I love my lash extensions and I usually just tame my brows with the Glossier Boy Brow and pop on a bit of their Balm Dot Com on my lips. It’s pretty simple for everyday. (Editor’s note: Benefit Gimme Brow ($45) and Lanolips 101 Ointment Multi-Balm ($13.50) are both great dupes for Plum’s Glossier faves).
“If I’m going out, on the other hand, I do love to liven my look up a little bit. I love a red lip and the NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment in Starwoman ($42) is my go-to. Then I like to add a little liquid eyeliner. My favourite is the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Midnight ($35). It’s a navy colour which suits my eye colour really nicely.”
“Since I was diagnosed with COVID-19 earlier in the year, my sense of smell has become a lot more sensitive than it used to be. So, sometimes if a scent is too strong or overwhelming it can make me feel quite sick. One that definitely does not do that is Gypsy Water by Byredo ($332). It’s my favourite.”