Singer-Songwriter Reb Fountain's Beauty Routine
Like her genre-crossing music, Reb's approach to appearance is original and authentic
From ocean dips, to walking her dog and leaving her hair to dry naturally in the breeze, Reb Fountain likes to enjoy the outdoors. This weekend she will be in her element performing at Cornwall Park, with a trip to Womad in New Plymouth looming next month. The busy summer season follows a productive few years, spanning touring overseas, both as a solo artist and with the likes of Neil Finn, to recording and song-writing. In 2018 Reb was awarded Best Country Music Artist at the 2018 New Zealand Music Awards. With a performance style described as noir punk-folk, many bases are covered. Reb has a new album due out in May. Pack a picnic and read on to find her favourite sunscreen and more.
• See Reb at Cornwall Park, at the Band Rotunda, in a free show on Saturday, February 29 from 5pm to 7pm.
Day to day I am very much a ‘go for a swim in the sea, pop your clothes back on and head out into the world’ sort of woman… just like I’ve just stepped out of a salon — only salty. When I perform I draw on other aspects of my personality and I like to use clothes and makeup to enhance and hold onto that strong, feminine — always feminist — vulnerable space that my job requires me to inhabit. I think of my beauty ethos as punk: a place of refuge from that which the world wants me to be, where my body is the site that I can fully be, become and care for, myself.
It’s hard enough being a woman in our culture facing the pressure of maintaining eternal youth, the perfect body size — or colour. Technology that reinforces representing an ‘enhanced’ version of oneself, advertising that makes you feel like you’re abnormal for having normal human bodies that ebb and flow in their development. Physically ‘fronting’ my own brand as a musician really collided with those narratives of femininity early on. I’ve been working hard to subvert the external and internal pressure that I have felt to be that which I am not, and worked hard on self-acceptance. Unfortunately I learned the hard way and discovered that doing otherwise meant I could get easily sucked into whether other people accepted or rejected me… that always ended badly because the truth was I’d reject myself before anyone else got a chance to. So now I accept myself and back myself 100 per cent — even if I have to fake it to make it, I own my body, my appearance and my performance… it’s all about loving oneself.
I vividly remember, at the very grown up 11 years of age, heading into Cathedral Square in Christchurch with my friend Lucy and promising her I would never wear any makeup. Cut to meeting up with another friend Sheryl in the toilets of the Regent Theatre and putting on black eyeliner because I thought it looked cool. I was pretty happy with myself… Lucy, however, was not impressed.
I grew up feeling like and being called a ‘tomboy’ — barefoot, jeans and a sweatshirt was my everyday wear. I was super active and that played a part in my style choices but for the most part I spent a lot of time trying to hide my burgeoning sexuality, which I felt was very much a threat to my safety. I don’t think I’m alone in this. The transition into womanhood is not always easy or safe for young women. For me, negative experiences around my body really affected my self-esteem and it took me a long time to establish a style that felt free of that shame. Today I still rock around in bare feet and relaxed clothing — dog walks require cut-offs and boots as do the best of days and I do a lot of work from home so can easily romp around in my jammies. I don’t shampoo my hair/mane a lot but I do look after my skin morning and night and in between. When I go out I always allow myself to be whoever I want to be and express that however I want to with my clothing and makeup. In truth though, the fanciest I get is on stage… and when I say fancy it just means that I take longer than a few minutes to get ready.
Best show look
Tami Neilson offered to do my makeup while we were touring The Last Waltz 40th Anniversary Tour. As your readers will know from Tami’s Beauty Routine she is a style queen… and it’s possible she took one look at my rag-time jeans and cowgirl boots the first night of the show and was not bedazzled. Tami and I are old friends, she’s one of the most hard-working musicians I’ve ever met and a gorgeous mama to boot. I eagerly accepted her gracious offer and Tami transformed me — hair-do et al — into a woman who deserved to be standing on a sold-out Civic Stage. Tami’s taught me a lot about working hard and being a woman in our industry; that night she taught me a lot about self-respect and sisterhood. Love you Tim Tam.
Supermarket v stage
If you could find me under my baseball cap and unkempt hair at the supermarket you’d probably be steering your cart away from me as a security guard trailed behind me to make sure I wasn’t shop lifting… the hair and cap gets them every time. On stage there’s no hiding — I am right there, with you, looking you in the eye — and you won’t forget me.
For me beauty isn’t something you plaster on before a show... it’s a lifestyle choice that takes daily commitment and practice. I have learned that it’s always worth it to look after myself — that way I can be wonder woman when needed just as much as I can lie in front of the tele watching action flicks and downing kombucha when necessary. SO… I drink a lot of water — hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I eat what my body needs — often it requires margaritas and Mexican, sometimes just fruit and Redeem. I lather up skin up with loveliness and don’t drink a lot of alcohol or take other drugs because they make me feel so crappy the next day. Then, when I step on stage I know that along with rehearsing like crazy and working on myself, my body feels in prime condition. The outfit, the makeup, they are just cherries on the cake… I do like cherries!
If I’m waiting to shower, post yoga/dog walk/gym/swim, I’ll cleanse my face with hot water and lavender essential oil, holding and pressing the facecloth to my face like a lovely steam bath two or three times. It feels so good and is super refreshing plus locks all the moisture in before I suit up with my favourite Antipodes products. I loooove the Hosanna Plumping Serum (actually I love everything Antipodes) so I will switch between applying this or the Skin Brightening Serum then following with one of their amazing oil-based moisturisers: Divine Face Oil or Joyous Protein-Rich Night Replenish Serum (I use this day or night).
I’m a big fan of earth and animal-friendly sunblock so I use Alba Botanica’s green tea SPF45… it feels so good as a moisturiser and protects me from New Zealand’s incredibly hot sun.
In the shower I’ll get stuck into Murad Hydration AHA/BHA Exfoliation cleanser and follow with the above. I also use Murad’s amazing Retinol Youth Renewal Serum and Renewing Eye Cream after a shower or before bed. Antipodes Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream is my go to before bed … I need love and moisture and it’s all right there.
For special occasions I’ll get out the Antipodes Mask... pull out my guitar and play a song or two then wash it off and I feel sparkly new.
Recently I have started washing my hair with Ethique shampoo and conditioner bars. I love the way they feel. It’s a different experience than regular (encased in plastic) hair-washing products, less suds, but it is doing the trick. And I actually like the way my hair looks and feels post washing… which as you’ve ascertained is unusual for me! Go Ethique!
1. Antipodes: New Zealand made, environmentally conscious, nourishing, gorgeous and effective … everything is amazing ... I’m so addicted.
2. Weleda: The deodorants and body oils are key to my full body care tool kit. I love the rose spray deodorant as a light fragrance and the pomegranate roll on as a solid deodoriser. The pomegranate and birch body oils smell so good and can be used all over the body (I use rose and pomegranate on my face for a quick intake of moisture) and the birch cellulite oil is great for use with cupping.
3. Lunette: If you haven’t tried a ‘moon cup’ it’s time you did yourself, your daughters and the world a favour by getting stuck in. Lunette are high quality silicone (not all brands are equal). Ceres Organics distribute them in New Zealand so they are readily available and most importantly they will change your life. It can take a couple months practice — and beware you do get into the nitty gritty — but on top of the sustainability of menstrual cups; getting to know your own body, your flow, how it changes from day to day and month to month is so empowering and worth it!!
4. Murad: I’ve just happened upon Murad and it’s been hard not to go nuts... although the price tag has kept me from going crazy. Apparently their Renewal Youth Serum is [a cosmeceutical category] number one in the US — two weeks to glory apparently... I’m still early days.
5. M.A.C: Makeup and I haven’t been the best of friends. My skin tone’s always tricky to match, my eyes water with every mascara, my eyeliner won’t stick, my eyes are sunk and eyeshadows make me look like a zombie and I seems to get lost rather than stand out. While on tour with Neil Finn the sensational Victoria Kelly (musician, composer and director of NZ member services at APRA) stole me away to M.A.C. Makeup at Melbourne airport. I got some magical fairy dust, a lip liner and lipstick and all of a sudden me and makeup were besties... we don’t hang out all the time but when I do it’s M.A.C all the way.
Generally recleanse, re-hydrate, pop in some more earrings, add a little eyeliner and mascara (if that) and I’m off. On stage however it's the whole shabaam with much help from Karin Canzek my bass player — thank goodness for having another girl in the band!!
Hair and its care
Swim in the sea then dry your hair out of the car window on the way out — works a treat. (if not driving, walk quickly). Pull into messy bun or messy ponytail when it all turns to custard.
Treatment to try
Nicola Ralston’s Yoga Retreat at The Sherwood Queenstown is all things: pampering, practice, nourishment (the food is ridiculously good and good for you), companionship, time for yourself. It’s just love in a retreat, and yoga, and more love — so good!
Beauty to you is…
Love, compassion and creativity.
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