Emma Gunavardhana – The Genuine Article

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Emma Gunavardhana is an expert in all things beauty and so I was delighted when she agreed to be interviewed for The Genuine Article here at Crystal and Vanilla. Let’s find out a bit more about this amazing lady.

Emma Gunavardhana

Hi Emma, thank you so much for agreeing to be interviewed for The Genuine Article on As one of the UK’s most established beauty trend experts, my readers are going to love learning a bit more about you.

You spent 10 years as beauty editor for OK magazine, you obviously loved working there. What was the highlight of your time spent with this fabulous magazine?


A decade is a long time and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of highlights I can recall – I’d like to think it makes me a fairly entertaining dinner party guest! From attending Elton John’s White Tie & Tiara ball.


to travelling around the world to go to award ceremonies and high profile events it really was quite the whirlwind for a young girl from Kent with big dreams.

You must have interviewed countless numbers of celebrities, have you a favourite interview and why?

I have two favourite interviews that hold a special place in my heart. The first is Bette Midler;


I put myself forward for the interview because I loved her films so much and already felt as though I knew her, but as I was waiting outside the hotel room to ask my questions I froze and just kept thinking ‘oh my god, it’s Bette bloody Midler’. I had such a dry mouth and could barely look at her when I first walked in the room, but she was everything I could have hoped for and more. By the end of it we were laughing like drains and posing around her hotel suite as if we were posing for very camp OK! ‘at home’ photoshoots. I’ll never forget it – she was very special indeed.

The second is an interview I did nearly nine years ago, but in hindsight it was a very important day in my life. I was interviewing Joanna Taylor, the actress, who was pregnant with her first child at the time. During lunch we started chatting and it’s fair to say that nine years later we haven’t stopped! I see or speak to her every single day!

So if you could interview someone from the past about their beauty regime, who would you choose and why?

Honestly, it’d be Marilyn Monroe.


It’s almost certain she had cosmetic surgery and I’d love to know what, and why. She is such a beauty and I’d love to delve into her make-up bag, but I’d also love to come face to face with that mystique that makes her so eternally and iconically beautiful.

Goodness knows how many beauty products land on your desk each week to review, but has there been one product that has made a difference to your beauty regime?

Oil. It was a texture I was so fearful of, but it’s now my go-to rescue. If my sky is dry – oil. If my hair is misbehaving – oil. If my moisturisers aren’t punchy enough, I cut them with a bit of oil. Yes, it’s messy and fiddly but the difference it makes to my skin is undeniable. And I’m going to be cheeky and mention a second and that’s cleansing. I cannot express enough how much improved my skin has been since I started double-cleansing with a hot cloth every evening. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that because I’m massaging my skin and using a nourishing cleanser when it’s finally clean and ready for moisturiser it’s not begging me to slap on a thick layer. It’s made a huge difference and I recommend it to everyone.

What is in your cosmetic bag right now?

I keep it really simple and always have the following. It may sound like a lot but it used to be way more! I chop and change between brands to keep in touch with what’s new and in my effort to try everything.

  • black felt tip eye liner
  • BB cream or light/medium coverage tinted moisturiser or foundation
  • under eye concealer
  • colour correcting pencils
  • taupe blush for contouring and eyeshadow
  • pink blusher for the apples of cheeks
  • lip balm
  • brown/black mascara

I’ve heard you say, that one of the reasons you wanted to get into the beauty industry is because you had problem skin when you were younger. Your skin looks beautiful now, so what products did you find to help your skin condition?

I tried everything. When I was a teen the only thing that would manage the red, angry acne was a very chemical-based spot cream, but that’s not the greatest thing to be putting on your skin every day. I had a few bad breakouts last year and the lesson I learned from that experience, which I’d go back and tell my young self, is ‘treat it with kindness’. Nappy rash creams are great on flare-ups, I’ve found, and also the double-cleanse gives skin an awful lot of TLC and I’ve seen people have great results. Some skin conditions will need a professional eye, but cleansing thoroughly with a cream cleanser, as opposed to aggressively stripping skin with a foaming cleanser, is a good start.

I know you love the Bioeffect EGF serum just as much as I do, what has this product done for your skin?


I was so ready to dismiss this idea of a serum that you used on its own at night. It seemed absolutely bonkers and if I’m honest I gave it such a rigorous test to prove myself right – how pompous! BioEffect had the last laugh though because I couldn’t deny the results. My skin looked airbrushed and more even after a fortnight and then it looked really healthy and I was using less make-up to cover imperfections. As for the results on anti-ageing – well they speak for themselves! That’s why I always have a healthy supply.

Can you share with me the person who has influenced you the most?

I had an English teacher at school who was so very special. Her name was Caroline Riddell and she was no softy at all, but she always had a twinkle in her eye. I wasn’t exactly top of the class at school, but it always felt like she knew something I didn’t and that I was going to be okay – in her classes I always was and English was my best subject by far. There’s no doubt that her influence led to me being a writer.

Emma, tell me about your style. Are you designer, high street or a bit of both?

I like to pitch myself as liking quality because I believe that if you buy cheap, you buy twice. In fact at the end of last year I was in a bit of a funk about my wardrobe so I threw everything out. All the stuff I hadn’t worn for more than six months and everything that, quite frankly, I should have never bought in the first place. Now I’m slowly stocking up with things I know are worth investing in and that I’ll get a lot of wear out of.

Are you a slave to fashion, or do you just buy what you like to wear?

I used to desperately want to follow trends and wear the latest ‘it’ dress, but I’m actually quite classic now and just keep it simple. On a normal day I’ll probably be wearing something along the lines of a pair of ripped jeans, Ash boots and a jumper. I have an hourglass figure and sometimes think I should wear a more 1950s silhouette, but I leave that to Kim Kardashian!

When you get some time off, what do you like to do to relax?

Friends, family, food. And I try to exercise or do something active every day. In the summer my friend and I would go on epic dog walks and clock up tens of thousands of steps on our FitBits. I also train twice a week with a great personal trainer.

Do you like to cook, or eat out?

Both, but I do love to cook.

When I eat out, I always look at the dessert menu first. Do you go for sweet or savoury?

When I’m eating at a restaurant I always want a pudding, but in most restaurants a main meal is so huge that there’s never any room. I think I just need to go out for pudding one time!

Have you a song that holds special memories for you?

Gosh, yes but too many to mention. Right now it’s Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars because my godchildren and I dance around to it like loons.

You have 24 hours as an invisible woman, what would you do?

I would LOVE to be invisible at an event like The Oscars to hear what really goes on when celebrities let their hair down!

Have you any temptations that you wish you could resist?

The emails that come into my inbox telling me about a flash sale!

And finally, if someone out there was longing to have a career in beauty journalism, what piece of wisdom would you give to them to help them on their way?

Go for it. It is a tough industry – although you can make your mark using blogs and vlogs these days in a way you couldn’t ten years ago – but you’ve just got to keep hustling.

Emma, thank you so much for taking time out to chat to me today. I hope we can do it all again one day soon.

If you’ve enjoyed getting to know Emma Gunavardhana a little more today, then you can read her fantastic reviews as a columnist on @GetTheGloss

Also as Glossip Girl on

You can also follow Emma on Twitter @EmmaG

* The photos in this article are taken from Google.

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