Victoria Radford has energy. Lots of it. On our Zoom call, which I assume wasn’t her first or last interview of the day, she radiates through the screen. And it’s not just her Glow cream. I immediately recognize her style of charm. She’s established a “congenial environment” for us.
That’s a term coined by happiness researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Essentially, it’s an energy-exchange in which all parties are mutually respected, making problem solving and innovation come naturally. It’s a positive vibe that helps creatives thrive, shows research. As a former magazine journalist, I’m immediately taken back to being on set, where the editorial team, photographer, stylist, hair and makeup artist, and the model get hyped to work together.
Those who are skilled at high-end customer service understand the positive power of a congenial environment, too. I have no doubt that this is why Victoria has found her mark in the beauty industry as a celebrity makeup artist and founder of the cultish skincare and makeup line Radford Beauty. (She’s toured with Fergie, who I also imagine is a fun time.) Victoria makes people feel good, which we all know is a big part of making people look good.
“I’m wonderful – how was your day?” she starts off. Some people automatically say they’re fine and ask how you are, but with Victoria it doesn’t feel like a pleasantry. She‘s setting the tone. We bond over our Peloton bikes, goals for eating less meat and admitting that a heavy workload is our kind of balance. She also shares her ride-or-die products (yes, they are all her children, and yes, she does have a soft spot for one), what wellness means to her and how she segments healthy eating into her schedule.
A morning routine worth waking up for
Victoria is all about giving herself time in the morning. More accurately, two hours. It’s how she sets herself up to have a good day. “It’s not so much that I’m an earlier riser, as much as I need to have two hours to get my day started.” And those 120 minutes include daily intention setting, sitting in bed, sending off work emails, hitting the Peloton bike for 30 minutes, a morning coffee, a smoothie and getting ready and dressed.
“When my days get busy, the first thing I do is slice off these things, and that makes me feel like a very unhappy person. So, giving myself this indulgent amount of time really does the trick. I’m ready for whatever.”
A balanced diet is all about timing
“I’m a very indulgent human,” Victoria admits. Dieting has never worked for her. “I don’t give myself the room to negotiate.” So, during the week she eats plant-based and no refined sugar and on weekends eats whatever she wants. “I actually love meat and fish, but I feel like I’m doing my part eating this way.” It’s similar to a “flexitarian” way of eating, but she was inspired by the book Four Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss. She took the parts that worked for her and evolved it to fit her lifestyle. “I found that my niche, allowing myself to indulge – like big time. And, through the week, I eat really clean. It works for me.”
She also adds: “Sometimes when you put yourself on a program, you can kind of disconnect from your body, and I really like to include my body in the conversation. So if I’m craving something I will give it to myself.” By the way, dinner out with friends on a Friday evening counts as “during the week.”
“I have a protein shake every single day, but I try not make the exact same one every day.” She minimizes her cravings for sweets by not skimping on the flavour of her dairy alternative for her coffee or shake. She makes her own half-and-half with Silk Almond for Coffee (4 g sugar) and Earth’s Own Oat Blend (0 g sugar). “It makes me happy. I take a sip and it’s like warm hazelnut cream. What she eats throughout the day depends on how she’s feeling. “I always listen to my body.”
Flexibility in her diet is for sustainability. But it’s also so she has options. Her mom’s vegetarian, and she would make a separate meal for herself when Victoria was a kid. “Having restrictions works for some people, but it doesn’t for me. It’s not fun for me.”
Decluttering your beauty routine will give you joy
Victoria recommends you pull all of your beauty products and take stock. She bets you’ll realize that you have “thousands of dollars-worth of products” and you’re unable to use all of it. “People are so inundated with different options and marketing ploys.” She doesn’t want you to toss it all, as that would be bad for the environment. But do streamline (and give things you won’t use to a women’s charity or to friends or family). No matter your skin goals – brighter, firmer, plumper, smoother, whatever – the key to ensuring products work is to remove old skin cells that sit on the surface, she says, so your products don’t have to work so hard to get to the skin. That can be done with an exfoliator, and we bet you have one in your vanity drawers.
Victoria Radford’s favourite product
As a makeup artist with a focus on skin care, and trained by Laura Mercier, Victoria created Radford Beauty with that mentality: Gorgeous and healthy. She describes it as “clean beauty,” with ingredients as natural as possible, and synthetics only when necessary. Her favourite product though? Could she choose just one?
“I’m a medical aesthetician, and it’s my favourite thing to see really bright, beautiful skin.” She wanted a primer that showed the best side of skin, not hide it. “When you squeezed it out of the tube, it needed to look almost like a like a ball of light but with no sparkle. And it needed to look good on all skin tones.” She wanted an enhancer and that’s what she got. (I test drove Radford Beauty Tint and it adds a very sheer highlight that’s subtle enough to use all over the face.) “I created a spherical colour pigment. Most colour pigment covers, but what this does is reflects. There are three shades: Sand, Beach and Sunkiss. And each one, she says, works on 10 tone ranges. “It looks like your skin. When you put it on, you’ll never be able to see like the difference, but somehow your skin looks perfectly enhanced.”
Why Justin Beiber is responsible for her best-selling masks
“The first time I made a sheet mask, these masks didn’t really exist here. They were available in Asia. I was creating it only for my treatment room,” says Victoria. So, she developed one with Italian and Korean suppliers to calm and quench skin, much like a plastic surgeon would use silicone masks to help with wound healing and smoothing skin. “The day before my order was to arrive, Justin Bieber posted an Instagram of himself wearing a sheet mask. I sent the post to a friend in PR. I wasn’t planning on selling them.” But she did. That was seven years ago. And the masks have evolved through three iterations to what it is today.
What’s the miracle for looking younger
“There’s no such thing as a miracle, in my opinion,” she says about her lifestyle, beauty and skin care routines. “I believe in doing lots and lots of little things, and doing it consistently, and then over time you see a difference in how you feel.” She will have that collagen shake. She will get lots of sleep. She exercises.
This article on the most inspiring women we know is part of Street Meet, FLEETSTREET’s series, where we meet up with trailblazers and thought leaders to deliver unique insight and inspiration into issues we all care about.