Nicole Warne Shares Her Korean-Aussie Beauty Secrets

In our new monthly series, Self-Directed, we invite influencers in the world of beauty and fashion to direct their own editorial story and create the looks they love with the glam teams they trust. You’ll learn about their best-kept beauty secrets, favorite products, and more.

Featuring Nicole Warne as the next subject of our Self-Directed series is incredibly fitting given the Aussie fashion mogul is a self-made success story. Having started a small eBay vintage shop (Gary Pepper Vintage) that later blossomed into one of the largest online vintage retailers in Australia, curating her own beauty shoot was probably cake for Warne. And the ease of the project was apparent throughout our time together—she happily went about each aspect of the shoot, even once excitedly grabbing my phone from my hands to film a Snapchat story for Byrdie’s followers. Warne’s roots may be in vintage, but on this day, she channeled a childlike happiness that transcended the entire room.

For each of the day’s three looks, Warne forwent a theme, instead choosing to literally take a page from editorials for a high-fashion vibe. And Warne is no stranger to glossies—she’s been the cover girl for Harper’s Bazaar Singapore and Malaysia, Elle Australia, and Nylon (to name a few), and her seasoned status in front of the lens was obvious.

Scroll through to see how Warne, with the help of makeup artist Katie Mellinger and hairstylist Clay Nielsen, brought her editorial beauty looks to life.

Graphic Liner

Sacha Maric


"I am known for my iconic winged liner, so experimenting with a graphic liner in an editorial way seemed like a natural choice." — Warne

Get the look:

 "For this look, I used the Marc Jacobs Magic Marc’er Precision Pen Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner ($30). I really like that pen—it’s really, really black. It’s also a marker, so it makes it easier to use. Sometimes you’ll use a liquid liner and the tip is a very tiny brush, and I find those very difficult to use day to day. I think a marker gives you a bit more control. The skin was kept the same as the previous look.” — Mellinger

The secret to Warne’s glossy, slicked-back hair for each look? Simple. “Water. And a wide-tooth comb,” explains Nielsen. "I used some Bumble and bumble Bb. Gel ($26) just to keep a bit of separation, and then just used a wide-tooth comb to make shapes—so lifting to get some height or moving it to the side. I was told they wanted something wet and sleek, so I gave them my interpretation of that —a little less sleek and a little messier. I feel like that tends to be a little bit more interesting than just slicked-back hair, so I think giving it a little bit of lift and texture tells more of a story. I think it really helps add to the makeup looks, that way it draws the attention to the makeup." 

Dewy Skin

Sacha Maric

"Being Australian, it’s all about skincare and taking care of yourself from within. I love luminous skin and using crèmes, so this look was an enhanced version of that theme. It’s about taking glowing skin to the next level." — Warne

Get the look:

"Nicole really likes dewy skin, so we definitely wanted to do a super-dewy look. For this, I really love using Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector ($19). They come in four different colors and are suitable for all skin tones. Because her skin tone is more golden, I used the shade Moonstone, which has a gold base, but you’ll see in the photo, it doesn’t look like we painted gold all over her—she’s just glowing a beautiful. That’s basically all we did—that, mascara, and lip balm." — Mellinger

 Gilded Eyes

Sacha Maric

"When I mood-board for creative projects, I always find myself drawn to beauty editorials with gold foil makeup. They feel otherworldly and surreal, so finally being able to re-create this beauty look was exciting." — Warne

Get the look:

 “I knew we wanted something with gold leaf—I can’t think of the show, but I remember a show where they actually did a gold leaf eyeliner around the eye, so I thought it would be cool to just do it under the eye and then use the gold eye shadow on top. That way, you have the effect of both. It’s sort of like a dual gold look rather than just one element. To get the dewy effect on the lid, you can use a mixing medium. You can use it with any powder shadow, but I wouldn’t suggest doing it with something very expensive because you have to dig into the powder in order to get it out of the palette. Sometimes loose shadow works really well so you can get a really vibrant color, and that way you’re not sacrificing any expensive palettes.

“Her skin is amazing. I hardly did anything to it. For all the looks, I used the Glossier Priming Moisturizer ($25). I’ve been using that a lot lately, and I really like it. It gives off a light moisture, but I feel like it really helps once you put the moisturizer on after that, it really holds the moisture to the skin. The moisturizer I used today was the Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer ($45). For the lashes, we just used Maybelline Great Lash Mascara in Blackest Black ($6)." — Mellinger

Keep scrolling to learn where Warne draws her beauty inspiration from and how she keeps her skin looking flawless.

BYRDIE: How did you come up with the looks that we shot today? Was there any inspiration behind them?

NICOLE WARNE: “I’ve always wanted to experiment with beauty looks as I find runway shows so interesting and inspiring, but the only chance I get to collaborate with makeup artists is on set or for an event, so the beauty looks are natural rather than theatrical and editorial. I wanted to create three looks that I personally love that aren’t oversaturated online. I was excited to see how Katie would interpret the looks for my Asian features, as often beauty looks I reference are on Caucasian models.”

BYRDIE: How has your Korean-Japanese and Australian background played into your beauty habits and routines? Can you briefly describe the common beauty practices of each heritage?

NW: If I had grown up in Korea, I would have translucent skin, but growing up in Australia, the outdoor lifestyle has definitely influenced my beauty regime. Australians are very active, and now that I’m older, I make it a priority to protect my skin. I wear an SPF 50+ sunscreen every day and hardly wear makeup. I think it’s important to look luminous from within, which means regular exercise, eating clean, vitamins, and investing in effective skincare products. In the last two to three years, I have definitely inherited the Korean beauty culture, though my skincare regime can range from eight to 12 steps every day.

BYRDIE: What’s your go-to everyday look?

NW: I have a four- to six-step skincare regimen morning and night, so I opt to wear minimal makeup during the day to let my skin breathe. When I do wear makeup, I use foundation to cover redness around my nose, lightly fill in my brows, add a peach blush and highlight my cheekbones and underneath my eyebrow for a natural glow. It’s very minimal, but it keeps my skin looking dewy and hydrated.

BYRDIE: Which celebrity’s beauty look do you most draw inspiration from?

NW: As I’m constantly on Pinterest collating inspiration for my photo shoots, I really draw inspiration from beauty editorials, rather than celebrities.

BYRDIE: Which celebrity do you wish you could switch beauty looks with for a day?

NW: Cate Blanchett, a fellow Australian with the most incredible complexion. We share the same skin specialist, Melanie Grant, but I’d do anything to look like Cate when I’m her age. She’s such a beauty icon.

BYRDIE: How do you keep your skin looking so flawless? (Seriously, we need to know all of your secrets!)

NW: Melanie Grant. Whenever I’m home, I visit her as much as I can. She’ll tailor facial treatments to my needs or recent travel schedule, but she usually does a light microdermabrasion, an organic facial peel, and a light treatment called Omnilux that boosts collagen production. I always leave her clinic with glowing and hydrated skin! She’s my skin secret.

BYRDIE: How do you style your hair daily? What products do you use?

NW: My hair can be quite oily, so I try to refrain from using any products in it unless it’s for work or an event. I usually let it dry naturally or I’ll add texture by making waves in it with my straightener. Other than that, I’ll use Olaplex once a week to repair my hair from all my color treatments—I leave it in overnight.

BYRDIE: What would we currently find in your makeup bag?

NW: My makeup generally stays the same unless a makeup artist introduces me to a new product on set. Day to day, it’s Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($42), Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer ($62), MAC Blush in Peaches ($22), a Burberry Effortless Brow Definer in Ash Brown ($33), and a few Chanel lipsticks in peach or flesh colors. For night, it’s Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils ($26) in Red or Plum—there’s nothing better!

BYRDIE: What’s the biggest beauty lesson you’ve ever learned?

NW: Never spend more than a few minutes plucking your eyebrows! It’s about maintaining them rather than reshaping them every time. If I spent more than three minutes plucking my eyebrows, it would result in my eyebrows getting thinner and losing their shape. Thin eyebrows should stay in the ‘90s.

BYRDIE: Does your love for vintage play into your beauty looks?

NW: I started my online business in vintage, so I’ve constantly been surrounded by classic and iconic looks, which has definitely influenced my beauty look and is perhaps where I inherited the winged eyeliner and red lipstick look.

BYRDIE: What’s a little-known product that you love that you think we should know about?

NW: Actinica ($49)—it’s a facial moisturizer with 50+ sunscreen that I use every single day. It’s quite sticky, but doesn’t leave a white residue like most sunscreens, so I find it leaves my skin looking quite dewy. I even use it at night as a primer before I go out, as it creates such a glowing complexion.

Head on over to our sister site, Who What Wear for more of Warne and her chic, enviable style.

Photographer: Sacha Maric; hair: Clay Nielsen; makeup: Katie Mellinger; styling: Jess Roberts.

Who would you like to see featured in our next Self-Directed? Sound off below!


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