June 09, 2021

Vanity Affairs: Zeenat Wilkinson’s Curated Beauty Routine Is Full Of Cult Products

The Auckland-based creative’s beauty ritual will please every beauty lover.

Welcome to Vanity Affairs—a series where we document the beauty routines of notable people.

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 seem to exude confidence.

In the interest of public service, we’ve set about tracking down these actors, influencers, models, founders, entrepreneurs, musicians, spokespeople (and more!!) to find out their secrets. Have you got your pen and paper ready?

Previously, we’ve spoken to the founders of Mara & MineJules Sebastian, Georgia FowlerJonathan Van Ness and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Today, we’re going inside the beauty cabinet of creative, Zeenat Wilkinson.

Even if you don’t know Zeenat Wilkinson, you probably know her style—have a look in your Instagram Saves and see if she’s there. The founder, producer and editorial director of Sauce magazine, which describes itself as “a community-based editorial platform run by diverse voices,” is regularly featured on blogs of style and substance, where she’s quizzed on her personal style and how she manages to prioritise her incredibly busy life (she’s also a freelance stylist and a parent). So, we thought it was time Wilkinson was quizzed about her beauty routine, and we’re glad we did—the New Zealand-based creative has one of the most enviable top shelves we’ve ever seen.

Here, Wilkinson shares every single product she uses in the AM and PM to get her skin glowing.

Photography: Kate Reeves


“I start my day by checking my phone (terrible habit) but I follow it up with 5 to 20 minutes of mindful morning meditation on Insight Timer along with coffee and some yoga stretches. My husband Luke normally brings me a perfect cuppa to bed (blissful) and looks after our baby while I get my quiet time in the morning.”

“I am extremely intuitive in my approach to skincare so every day is a bit different and I am quite often trialling products for Sauce too. Generally, the first thing I do in the morning is wash my face with Tatcha The Rice Wash. I love this cleanser. It’s the right amount of foam and hydrating balance. The grainy texture also helps with blood circulation as I like to take my time and massage it for a few minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. On days when my skin feels extra dry I skip the rice wash and cleanse with Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm. It smells divine and just puts me in the zone.”

“After I cleanse my face, I use Emma Lewisham Skin Reset Serum to target pigmentation, followed by Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair for extra hydration and toning. I’ve also reintroduced Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate into my routine going into winter. This product is magic and if I don’t have enough time, I skip the previous product and just put it one and my skin feels wonderful all day. I follow it up with Dermalogica Dynamic Skin recovery sunscreen in SPF50. I never ever skip sunscreen.”

“I am extremely generous with my night time routine and wouldn’t skip it for the world. It helps me regroup my thoughts and make mental notes on the things that happened in the day and areas I can improve on in my life with complete self-awareness and honesty. So I take my time here.”

“I start with a gentle cleanser and massage it on and rinse with warm water to take all the makeup and dirt off. I follow it up with a foam cleanser. I use Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel as I find this really helps with acne. Sometimes I use an acid or toner to refine my texture. I then use a vitamin C-based serum to help with brightening and to heal my pigmentations. I am a huge fan of Summer Fridays CC Me Serum but the Elizabeth Arden Ceramide one is really good too. Very underrated TBH. I follow it up with an oil depending on what my skin needs or La Mer Crème de la Mer.”

“On nights when I am extremely tired and might have fallen asleep on the couch, I will do a quick cleanse (both steps but a speedy version) and then use Aesop Sublime Replenishing Night Masque. This masque is wonderful at locking in my skin’s natural moisture and creating a barrier. Done and off to bed.”

“The other thing I love to do before bedtime is moisturise my feet if I can. Especially rate this during pregnancy and postpartum. Clarins does a good foot cream for tired feet.”

“Once I am in bed, I will use This Works Stress Check Kind Hands as the smell helps me sleep really well. The combination of neroli, lavender and ylang yang is magic.”


“Body care is everything. Pregnancy and motherhood really helped me appreciate every inch of my female anatomy. When I am in the bathroom I try to dry brush my body before I turn the shower on. This process helps invigorate my mind too. I try and focus on my skin and the sensations while doing the brush and it’s a way I get to connect with my body too and clear my mind. I use This Works Deep Sleep Shower Gel (even in the mornings because why not) or I might use Sans [Ceuticals] Goji Body + Face Cleansing Oil if my skin feels extra dry from being at the beach or at a shoot all day. I use almond oil in the shower once I am done and slather it on all over soon as I pat dry. The trick is to get the moisture in while you’re still a bit damp. The oil is a nice primer for the body moisturiser. I find just using an oil doesn’t help keep my skin moisturised all day. I use very little body moisturiser and sometimes I might mix it with some oil to speed it up. Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream is great. But, I also love the local NZ brand Trilogy’s body range.”


“I love makeup but I use very little of it. Sometimes I might spend a good 20 minutes on my makeup but it still looks like I don’t have any on and that’s key. Glowy but completely natural.”

“I often use Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Custom Finish Powder Foundation in shade 360 Citrine or Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder to glaze it over my skin. I use RMS “Un” Cover-Up concealer in 44 or Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer Brighten & Correct Duo in shade 4N on areas that need it like under eyes and on my pigmentation spots, after using the compact. I know it’s probably not the right way to do it but somehow it makes my skin look much more finished and refined.”

“I love bushy eyebrows. Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil is my go-to lately and if I have time I might go over my eyebrows with an Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Gel to set it in place. I use Karen Murrell Lipstick in shade no.12 as a tint and use the same one on my cheeks too. I love the new NARS Lipstick (shade Berenice) too which almost makes my lips look airbrushed rather than lipstick so I often use this if I am going out for lunch or meeting friends. I like getting my lashes done, especially in summer but I am currently on a break so I have been using L’oréal Paris Paradise Primer and Mascara. I’ve used so many luxurious mascaras but the paradise range is still a favourite. Love a good budget buy! On days I want to be as natural as possible I use Ilia as the ingredients are much better and closer to nature.”

“Lastly I use highlighter to add a soft glow on areas I want to pop. Sometimes I use La Mer or Weleda moisturiser and use it as a highlighter to create that same glow-y effect.” 

“The days when I want to have fun with makeup my go-to is eyeshadow. The process of painting my lids makes me feel like it’s celebratory.”


“I am going through the process of rediscovering my hair. I’ve been constantly using heat tools so I really wanted to be more mindful about how I treat my hair. It’s a journey of self love and allowing my hair to shed its true identity. I think postpartum and birthing changed my hair too. It’s a lot more coarse and wavy than it used to be pre-baby. I also have visible grey hair which didn’t exist pre-baby. I use O-way products and Chloe Zara Haircare lately. The oil is utterly beautiful and it has become a part of my bedtime routine. My hairstylist Ruth has been very clever with the colour to make sure we blend the greys in instead of colouring it and hiding it in that way. I think this will be much more of a sustainable way of doing things going forward.”


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