Noella Gabriel's wellbeing secrets
Three cheers for Noella Gabriel. A world-renowned beauty expert and former spa manager who studied shiatsu, reflexology and aromatherapy in Ireland and New York, Noella’s helped lull thousands – nay, millions – of women into a deep sense of relaxation, having created Elemis’s spa and treatment menu. Today, she continues to travel the world seeking out ingredients for the Elemis range, working on every new treatment and product innovation. Every now often, she also steps back into therapist mode to offer beauty editors a hands-on treatment, something which has us clamouring to clear our (normally) busy diaries for some of the Noella Gabriel magic.
Radiant, healthy and with an ever-ready sense of humour, Noella takes beauty seriously – but not too seriously. So: we thought it would be useful at this time of New Year's Resolutions to hear her lessons for every wannabe-gorgeous www.beautybible.com reader. (Our tip? Do as Noella says. And as she does…)
NB This first appeared under Jo's by-line on www.high50.com, the rather fab website which promises that 'Age has its benefits'. And we can't help but agree...!
What are your 'golden rules' for ageing?
It is important to me to look elegant and graceful with glowing skin. I swim five times a week in the morning - I’m an early bird! In addition I do two hours of exercise or stretching each week. It is important to me to feel fit; it’s something you really must work at as you age. I also have a simple daily skincare routine. I oil my body before showering - a lovely tip to maintain suppleness and tone – with Elemis Frangipani Monoi Body Oil. I moisturise daily to avoid the body becoming very dry due to my swimming, so always use oil first then cream.
What’s your skincare routine?
It involves daily cleansing and toning, and I use Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules with rose and lavender oil to prevent my skin from drying out. I then ‘seal’ with a moisturiser. I use a leave-on cream mask once a week which is easy and fuss-free. I believe a woman’s best friend as she gets older is oil; I call it ‘my nectar for the skin.’
How old are you now and how do you feel about that...?
I am 56. I do not strive to look younger, I am happy with looking my age. Elegance is important and I am comfortable with how I look.
Who are the women you admire in the beauty industry?
Coco Chanel for her passion and grace and Anita Roddick for her belief and commitment.
Do you believe women have an innate advantage in this industry because we know just what women want?
We live it every day: the hormonal challenges, the stress of perhaps being a working mum, wife and career woman. Which makes women the drivers of this industry.
What are the five skincare/make-up products you can't live without?
How do you take care of your overall health...?
Eat well and sleep well, but I also have fun. I think laughter is very important!
How do you cope physically with jet-lag and what's in your in-flight kit?
You must prepare for travel, and by this I mean, no alcohol the night before, dress comfortably and loosely and eat lightly. This may sound very boring but I have learned over the years having done it the wrong way so many times, that it does pay off to prepare! Always try to swim after a long flight.
I think aromatics are very important. Always carry your favourite aromatic to feel fresh and clean. Avoid heavy perfumes and scents. Lip balm is essential, eye gel, your facial moisturiser or spritzer and clean hands.
What wisdom have you gained over the years...?
I am one of those people who always ask questions and am always looking for answers, within myself or elsewhere. I believe in psychotherapy and have it as a support in my life. ‘Time for me’ to help me stay real, be a good mum and a listening boss. Music gives me my escape. I sing and play guitar, it has always been a passion and source of comfort. I practice yoga and my meditation is a long walk in the countryside with my daughter Kate.
How do you relax?
Music, spending time with friends and family and going to the movies.
Do you have a favourite spa/spa treatment in the world...?
I think the thing we remember most after having a spa treatment is not necessarily the treatment or the name but how it was delivered. Any product is only as good as the hands it’s in. I still believe that it’s great therapists who ‘listen to their hands’ that’s what we all remember.
Did you have positive 'older' role models, growing up and what did you learn from them?
Yes, an older sister and a great mum. These two women inspired me to follow my dream and taught me that anything is possible. Beauty products were always in my life; my mum never left the house without her lipstick.
What would the Noella Gabriel of today tell her 20-year-old self?
Never lose sight of the dream! Relax and enjoy, you are ‘enough.’
What's the one thing that would make your life better/easier now?
I feel my life is very rich. I have great friends, wonderful work colleagues and a job that I love. I am very happy with what I’ve got.