Bon­nie Mbuli shares her skin­care, fra­grance and makeup se­crets

Fairlady - - CONTENTS - By Liesl Robert­son Pho­to­graphs by Liza van Deventer

You may know her best as a pre­sen­ter on SABC 3’s Af­ter­noon Ex­press, but Bon­nie Mbuli wears a lot of hats, in­clud­ing those of ac­tress, au­thor, speaker, mom and yoga in­struc­tor. We snooped through her beauty stash, learnt the se­cret be­hind her flaw­less skin and found out why she steers clear of an over­done brow.

Bon­nie Mbuli is very much at home in a makeup chair – and in front of the cam­era.

‘I started work­ing in the in­dus­try at 13 – I was a pre­sen­ter on a show called Zap Mag,’ she says. ‘Ba­si­cally, I’ve done this for 25 years.’ Life in the lime­light took its toll on her skin. ‘Af­ter a cou­ple of years of wear­ing such heavy makeup ev­ery day, my skin just ex­ploded. It was only in later years that I learnt how to look af­ter it prop­erly; my mom wasn’t re­ally into beauty. I’ve had to teach her about skin­care, although she does wear per­fume. My mom al­ways smelled like potpourri – I used to love open­ing her wardrobe just to get a whiff of that flowery smell. She used to wear Anais Anais.’


Bon­nie sees her­self as a min­i­mal­ist when it comes to beauty, and likes her ev­ery­day makeup to be dewy.

‘I show up big time when I have a shoot or a red­car­pet event, but it still al­ways has to be sim­ple.’

‘I love a good glow (MAC Min­er­alise Sk­inFin­ish highlighter in Gold De­posit is my go-to), and a red lip: MAC Rus­sian Red or Yard­ley’s red Stay­fast Liq­uid Matte Lip Vinyls. For a more nat­u­ral lip,

I like MAC’s Per­sis­tence lip­stick and Yard­ley’s In­tense Matte in Temptress, which is a pinky brown that is the per­fect nude for my skin tone.

‘I’m us­ing a lot of Yard­ley prod­ucts at the mo­ment. The Stay­fast Foun­da­tion is my favourite: it’s light­weight, and I can wear it all day. Some days I just wear Yard­ley’s Even Com­plex­ion Pressed Pow­der as a base – I feel cov­ered with­out be­ing clogged up. On­screen, I use blackUp Mat­i­fy­ing Fluid Foun­da­tion.

‘To bond with my boys, I give them foot mas­sages. I do a foot scrub (the Or­ganic Shop Lo­tus & Sugar is nice) and a wash. Then I mas­sage their feet.’

It’s oil-free, and blackUp has amaz­ing tones for dark skin.’

Bon­nie uses a slanted an­gle brush and a dark brown pow­der eye­shadow to fill in her brows.

‘Never black! The slay queens love a black brow. That square brow – I don’t do that. The other thing I’ll never do is the skinny ’90s brow. I shape my own brows with my Tweez­er­man. I kind of love the feel­ing when I pull out a hair and my eyes wa­ter!’

The best makeup trick she’s learnt over the years is us­ing con­cealer.

‘It’s like putting on a fil­ter. I do my un­der-eyes, I high­light my cheek­bones, and I use LA Girl Pro Con­ceal for my eye­brows: it’s in­ex­pen­sive, the shade range is di­vine and it ap­plies so nicely. I have quite a few Yard­ley high-def­i­ni­tion con­cealer pens as well. Then I use my Smash­box ba­nana pow­der to set my con­cealer. And my blushes are from In­glot – they have some­thing called the Free­dom Sys­tem: you choose the colours to as­sem­ble your own pal­ette.

‘Yard­ley has beau­ti­ful eye­shadow quads, like Dy­nasty. I like warm, earthy colours for the eyes.

I wear a smokey eye when I go out, but I’m ter­ri­ble at do­ing it my­self. I can do a wing now, though! I use the Sor­bet Stroke of Ge­nius liq­uid liner; it’s curved, so you can re­ally grip it – it’s AH-maz­ing.

‘The Essence Lashes of the Day mas­cara is great, and it’s only about R50. But I love falsies be­cause my own lashes are su­per curly and su­per short. My favourites are the 117 criss-cross strip lash from Ey­lure. That’s an ev­ery­day for me. My boyfriend hates them – if he finds them around the house, he throws them away.’ (‘Get the Duo lash glue from MAC or In­glot – it will hold your life to­gether,’ adds Tyler Williams, Bon­nie’s makeup artist.)


Bon­nie is the beauty am­bas­sador for Avène, so it comes as no sur­prise that she loves the range.

‘I love all the Avène prod­ucts, right down to the lip balm. The Ther­mal Spring Wa­ter is magic; it has in­cred­i­ble heal­ing prop­er­ties. It’s good to have in your bag – I use it as a toner and to re­fresh my makeup. I’ve even seen peo­ple spray it in their eyes as “eye­drops” – it’s got no chem­i­cals in it what­so­ever.

‘I don’t go a day with­out Avène Mi­cel­lar Lo­tion, and I use the Cleanance Mask twice a week.

The Cleans­ing Oil is rich and lath­ers nicely, so I use it as a body wash or un­der my arms when I shave.

‘I spent too many years not wear­ing sun­screen, so I use Avène’s D-Pig­ment range.’

Bon­nie also uses Avène prod­ucts on her youngest son, who has eczema. She sees skin­care as a way to spend time with her kids, who’re 7 and 8 years old.

‘To bond with my boys, I give them foot mas­sages. I do a foot scrub (the Or­ganic Shop Lo­tus & Sugar is nice) and a wash. Then I mas­sage their feet. I find that dur­ing those times, we re­ally bond in an in­ti­mate way, and a lot of sto­ries that I needed to hear come out. Things that are deep-seated that they don’t know how to talk about – it just hap­pens.’

For her feet, she loves the PEDI Re­lax range, and has a spe­cial cream or oil for al­most ev­ery body part.

‘I love body creams,’ Bon­nie says with a laugh. ‘The Body Shop Wild Ar­gan Oil Body But­ter is for the bot­tom half of my legs and my torso, and the Elan­cyl Slim De­sign Cel­lulite Cream is for my bum and thighs – be­cause of it, I’ll be rock­ing shorts this sum­mer.

I love to use oils on my arms so they look shi­i­i­iny. The Body Shop Moringa Nour­ish­ing Dry Oil is fab­u­lous.’

The best mask in the world, she says, is the Glam­glow Hol­ly­wood Cal­i­for­nia firm­ing treat­ment. ‘It turns sil­ver when it dries, then you peel it off.’

On week­ends, Bon­nie sets aside plenty of time to tend to her hair.

‘I have a whole hair wash day! Our type of hair needs to be mois­turised. I re­cently dis­cov­ered the LOC sys­tem: Liq­uid, Oil, Cream – you ap­ply it in that or­der. So the liq­uid can be wa­ter or leave-in con­di­tioner. Af­ter that, you use an oil (like olive oil or co­conut oil), then fin­ish it off with a cream con­di­tioner like the Na­tive Child Milk and Honey Mois­ture Crème. Clicks now stocks a whole range of Ja­maican Black Cas­tor Oil, which is also lovely.’

‘I mostly use Na­tive Child – I like the shea but­ter and co­conut oil hair food, and the leave-in cream con­di­tioner – and the range by Carol’s Daugh­ter. I use the clay sham­poo, the curl-defin­ing mois­ture mask and the Black Vanilla Leave-in Con­di­tioner. It con­tains aloe and vi­ta­min B5, and smells in­cred­i­ble.

‘I hardly style my hair, but Tyler bought me a great scalp-mas­sag­ing brush at Dis-Chem. It’s made of sil­i­cone, and the brush has lit­tle knob­bies that move through the hair with­out break­ing it.’


‘I adore fa­cials – I think they do 10 times the work in half the time,’ says Bon­nie. ‘I had a vam­pire fa­cial the other day: they draw blood from your body, and sep­a­rate it into platelets and plasma. Then they in­ject the platelets back into your skin – down your neck, un­der your eyes, all over. Af­ter­wards you look like you need to go home and stay there for two days!

I was ter­ri­fied, but it was amaz­ing. I go to Dr Ne­rina Wilkin­son – she’s the best.

‘I also do the Oxy­light fa­cial – LED lights are used to boost col­la­gen pro­duc­tion – and the next thing I want to try is mi­croneedling.

As for nails? ‘I’m a die-hard Gel­ish fan – I hate paint­ing my own nails. But when I do, I like the Yard­ley Stay­fast Pro-UV Gel for­mula. Sor­bet also makes a nice gel nail pol­ish.’


‘I’m a Kenzo fan – Kenzo Flower. And I love Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pure. But I of­ten just wear es­sen­tial oils as per­fume: frank­in­cense and myrrh or rose gera­nium and san­dal­wood oil. I put it on all my vi­tals – my chakras. And when I want some fire in my belly, I wear rose­mary and thyme.

‘Sì Pas­sione Gior­gio Ar­mani is for my flir­ta­tious side – my Shi­raz side. Shi­raz makes me feel WILD. I gen­er­ally stay away from it. I don’t mess with it!’


Bon­nie does yoga three times a week to stay fit (Bikram and Vinyasa), and whips up fresh juices and smooth­ies with Su­per­food pow­ders for her­self and her boys ev­ery morn­ing.

‘I’ll add spir­ulina, raw ca­cao, things like that. They all taste like medicine – but they do won­ders for how I feel. And I love sup­ple­ments: oregano oil as well as zinc, vi­ta­min B12, dan­de­lion drops, gold leaf drops… They all boost the im­mune sys­tem; they’re brain food and are good for your ner­vous sys­tem.’

But her ‘favourite thing in the world’ is a liq­uid col­la­gen sup­ple­ment from Pro-Ac­tive.

‘It tastes like cough mix­ture, but I drink it ev­ery night be­fore bed. You get it at Well­ness Ware­house – it makes your nails and your hair grow, and it lifts your boo­bies and your bum!’

‘I shape my own brows. I kind of love the feel­ing when I pull out a hair and my eyes wa­ter!’

Above: Most of Bon­nie’s makeup col­lec­tion lives on top of her jonkman­skas in her bed­room. Left: A peek in­side her go-to makeup bag – she has a few!

Right: Light streams into Bon­nie’s loft apart­ment dur­ing the day. Left: Her per­fumes, body but­ter and favourite mask.

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