A 15 year-plus career in beauty PR means that Managing Director of Monty PR Bianca Presto is pretty clued up on everything from the latest ingredients to the hottest new brands to hit the industry. More importantly though, it’s allowed her to fine-tune her own beauty routine so that it’s jam-packed with the best of the best. We spoke to her to discover the products she can’t be without…
The Wind Down
For the most part, our Sundays are kept pretty chilled and early evenings are largely dictated by our daughter’s bath and bed time. Mentally I only start to wind down once she’s in bed around 8/8:30pm – it really depends and varies widely from Sunday to Sunday. One great thing about turning 40 is that I’ve learnt to trust when my body and mind need a definite time out. Whereas before I may have judged this as a sign of weakness in myself, I now know these little moments of down time – whether it be a bath, a morning in bed or an early night make me a more efficient and frankly a nicer person to be around. I’ll usually take a bath around 9pm so my Sunday beauty routine coincides with something on the telly like The Handmaid’s Tale. If I’m not hooked on a current series then I’ll read in the bath or listen to a podcast whilst doing a face mask. I’ve never really thought about it with a specific goal in mind, a Sunday evening bath was always part of my mother’s beauty routine so I can’t remember a time when I didn’t do it. And despite knowing better, the bath has to be scalding hot. If the water doesn’t make you instantly jump up and scratch your bottom, then you’re not doing it properly. I love music when it’s playing and my husband always has a playlist on or the radio in the background downstairs but I generally prefer silence as it gives me a chance to think and prepare for the week ahead. I love my job and genuinely look forward to coming in every day and seeing my boss and friends so Sunday is no different to any other day of the week for me. That being said, if we’ve had a particularly fun and happy weekend together as a family, then naturally I don’t want it to end. If however my kid is acting like a toe rag then I’d happily come into the office at 9pm on Sunday evening!
I tend to take more time with it on a Sunday but I’m certainly not strict about it. If I’m not in the mood then a quick cleanse and hydrating oil will suffice as long as I’ve removed my makeup. I’m very lucky in the sense I’ve never suffered with breakouts or acne. I get the odd hormonal spot or very painful cystic spots when I use a retinol or something that’s way too strong for my skin. My biggest bug bear is sun damage. How I wish I could go back and tell 15-year old me growing up in South Africa not to worry about how pale I was and step away from the cooking oil. Yes, really. Now I wear SPF every day, anything from SPF30 to SPF50 dependant on the season and love the Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte which is a physical sunscreen with a slight tint. I always use Drunk Elephant Slaai Butter Cleanser at night along with a retinol eye cream both morning and evening, then depending on my skin, I mix up the use of Drunk Elephant T.L.C Glycolic Serum with a 5% retinoid serum. I use a micro-current roller every evening when I get into bed with Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial or Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Oil. My favourite contraband item is the Drunk Elephant Baby Facial which you can’t get in the UK because the acid levels are too high but which I beg friends/beauty mules to buy for me when they’re in the States. I also love the Sarah Chapman Skinesis Intense Hydrating Booster but only wish it came in two litre bottles, and the 3D Moisture Infusion Mask which I could happily use every day. I’ve definitely gotten better at having a tight edit of products I know work, the older I get. In my 20s and 30s I wanted it all, I was like a magpie with beauty products and wanted my bathroom to resemble a Space NK store but now in my 40s I have a greater knowledge of what works for me, the ingredients and products I like and also, prefer not to spend my spare time rearranging and cleaning the dust off 150 bottles and tubes. I’m finding comfort in sticking with products and a regime that I know works for me.
Generally I’ll have a bath, but if I need to wash my hair then I’ll shower and add a weekly hydrating hair mask into the mix. I do prefer to have a shower in the summer too but there’s something about a Sunday night bath ritual that will always stay with me. If I’m having a bath then I add magnesium flakes and use Ameliorate Nourishing Body Wash or Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Scrub. I don’t suffer with Keratosis Pilaris but this product has transformed my skin for the better. I’d love to say I do dry body brushing every night before I jump in the shower or bath but it’s likely that by the time I’ve got to Sunday I will have maybe done it once so I take my time to fully “descale” my body. I apply my skincare from “t*ts to top” and on my elbows, so anything in between is usually covered in Ameliorate Transforming Body Cream. I prefer to wash my hair in the morning so it’s usually in the shower before work, and twice a week unless I’m doing a treatment, in which case I’ll do it on a Sunday morning. I use an uplifting colour shampoo and conditioner which is super hydrating as my hair is prone to dehydration and frizz. I then apply the Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil (I don’t know what I would do if they ever discontinued this product) followed by the Maximista Thickening Spray. I’m terrible at applying a mask or treatment to my hair only because the whole process of wetting hair, leaving it on for 20 mins and then rinsing out seems such a chore but I need to get better at doing this at least once a week because my hair is long. After I’ve styled my hair or left it to dry naturally, I’ll add a bit of the Dry Texturizing Spray aka the greatest product known to humankind. The team at the Josh Wood Atelier do all the hard work for me with an amazing cut and colour so usually, I’ll just apply a bit of product and allow it to air dry about 90% before I twist it and tie in the front for a very loose wave. Otherwise I’ll rough dry with a hairdryer before straightening or tonging.
I get into bed straight after the bath, around 9:30/ 9:45pm. We don’t have a TV in the bedroom but Sunday night is when my husband and I will tend to watch a film or any food related series or documentary on the iPad. My daughter loves listening to the Insight Timer meditation app, it’s like we’ve outsourced reading at bedtime because she prefers to listen this woman tell mundane stories which ultimately relaxes me during her bedtime but really, my bath and a bit of a read or some telly before sleep is enough to set me off usually. I do suffer from bouts of insomnia bought on by anxiety every so often. A combination of stress and things outside of my control can really mess with my sleep in particular falling asleep so when it kicks off, I really rely on my bath time routine to wind down. I keep my evening serums and oils next to my bed so will usually apply these with a facial roller as part of my wind down. I love the This Works Pillow Spray but rarely remember to use it! The last three beauty things I use before I turn the lights out are Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial or Drunk Elephant Marula Oil, By Terry Baume de Rose and a dose of Vitamin D oral spray. I’m terrible at taking supplements, I hate swallowing tablets so tend to stick with an oral spray but otherwise I usually forget! I’ve never got on with an eye mask unless I’m on a plane, it feels too restrictive and I prefer to be woken up naturally by the light in the morning. Same for ear plugs, I’m paranoid. I need a least 7 hours but I always aim for at least 8.
My husband sets his alarm for 6am and I wake up about half an hour later once he’s in the shower. I usually remove a foot from my back if my daughter has snuck into our bed in the early morning. If she has, I roll over, bury my head in her warm, tousled hair before tickle time. She loves / loathes tickle time but there is genuinely nothing better than the sound of her squealing breathless laughter to wake me up. If not then she will usually wake up around 7am so we spend the next hour trying to coax her to get dressed, brush her teeth, find her shoes etc on repeat ad infinitum whilst getting ourselves ready. When I wake up I generally feel like I could do with an extra four hours sleep and it definitely takes me a while to get going in the morning. Unless I have a meeting, event or need to get to the gym for training I will happily take my time but I never put the alarm on snooze. I’m usually wide awake but my body takes a while to catch up to my brain until the coffee (my only coffee of the day) hits my blood stream. This is followed shortly by a scroll through Instagram and Whatsapp.