Beauty / IN THE BAG

Matilda Dods on skincare that works and why 18th century literary heroines make the best beauty icons

Matilda Dods is the Sydney-based model, writer and student that the best hangover cure is to “get stoned and spend the day on the couch.” That there is no better beauty advice than “be kind.” She also never uses a dry body brush but does attest to the transformative benefits of Pilates.


What is your morning beauty routine?

Cup of tea before everything or I will refuse to get out of bed like an obstinate child.

When I eventually roll down the stairs and into the bathroom I use the Dermaviduals cleansing milk with DMS, I put this on dry skin and get a lather going and wash it off in the shower and brush my teeth while I’m in there too. Followed with Dermaviduals Süüsmoon Lotion N, which is a nanoparticle spray for sad skin (dehydrated, dull, flakey aka me), followed by sunscreen, also by Dermaviduals. If I am feeling particularly dry, which I often am now that the temperature has dropped 4 degrees, I use the Dermaviduals DMS Base Cream High Classic underneath.

At the end of last year I had noticed that my skin was becoming much more sensitive and reactive. I was breaking out almost constantly and getting nasty allergic reactions to products that I had been using for years. I went and saw the amazing team at Aesthetica in Byron Bay who got me on to Dermaviduals products. The products are simple and straightforward, with no fragrances or emulsifiers, and are designed to help your skin barrier heal (DMS stands for Dermal Membrane Structure). It all sounds very complicated and science-y, but I actually love the respite of only having a three step program that I know isn’t stealthily doing more harm than good to my skin.

What is your night beauty routine?

Same as the morning, but no sunscreen, if I have any spots I put on a drop of Dermaviduals Plutioderm fluid directly on to them. This is by far the best spot cream I have ever used, it really diminishes the size of pimples without drying out the skin.


Describe what you do for a living? What does a typical day look like for you?

I work as a model and moonlight as a freelance writer. A typical day for me usually starts with a cup of tea in bed and 30-60 minutes of reading. I try not to go on my phone during this time, much easier if I am not needing to set an alarm and can leave it downstairs overnight. Then I will either go to the gym or a pilates class, but since our days have become completely untypical, this time is now usually spent lying on a yoga mat on the floor of the kitchen scrolling through YouTube to do a home work out and inevitably giving up and eating a hot cross bun instead.

Recently I have spent most of my days reading and doing a daily migration from the bed, the couch, the garden and back to the couch accompanied by various beverages and snacks. The aforementioned hot cross buns are a frequent cameo as are dark chocolate digestive biscuits, strong but milky tea, or a medium bodied glass of red wine.

Before we were in isolation I might have a casting or two to run to, but now I am free to get drunk in my pyjamas at 11am on a Wednesday as often as I like.


What is the supermarket/ drug store/ chemist beauty product(s) that you use and love?

Palmer’s Coco Butter moisturiser. This is the best body moisturiser. It's thick and rich enough to actually scratch the surface of my ashy ashy calves, but doesn’t leave an oil slick behind.


What is your main form of beauty body maintenance? What products do you use on your body?

See above. I have a dry brush that I say I am going to use but that I have never used.


How do you keep fit/ healthy? Does exercise form a large part of your routine?

Reformer Pilates. I started going regularly about 3 years ago. The biggest difference I see is in my posture and my balance. I am extremely uncoordinated but after doing Pilates regularly I can now successfully stand on one foot and tie my shoe. Now that’s progress!


What cosmetic procedures/ professional treatments do you have as part of your beauty routine?

I get a facial at Aestheticà every time I’m in Byron which is at least once a month. They have also started making at home facial kits since we can’t go and visit them in-clinic anymore. Mine arrived the other day and I’m saving it for a day that I am feeling particularly down about being stuck inside.

I bought a NuFace microcurrent machine a few months ago after hearing that it helps with TMJ and frown related headaches. I clench my jaw and frown a lot, resulting in awful, awful tension headaches; a specialist I went to had told me that the last option I had was botox to paralyse the muscles I was clenching, but I wasn’t in to it. After doing some research on microcurrent technology and TMJ I decided to give it a try. Full disclosure I am not sure if it’s the wonder-cure I’d hoped it would be, though I am noticing a small difference. It comes with a weird face lube to use with it but after reading the ingredients and discovering that it is essentially just expensive KY jelly I gave it a miss. I just spray the part of my face that I am using it on with water and it works fine.


What do you do when your body needs to recover?

Get stoned and spend the day on the couch. Minimum of two UberEats deliveries.


You’re tired/ hungover/ rundown: what is your beauty hack?

A strong coffee, bacon and egg roll and pray that no one asks me what I did last night.


What is the one non-negotiable in your beauty routine?

A huge glass of water with Imbibe Beauty Renewal Probiotic and Miracle collagen and a teaspoon of Tia Miers Hormone Support. Every. Single. Morning.


Do you have a beauty icon? Who are they and why?

Any 18th century literary heroine. I love that they are almost always described as not being great beauties, or ‘almost handsome’ but instead as in possession of a natural charm or sincerity that adds to their beauty. I love the description of beauty being able to be since in a face as an expression of character as opposed to an aesthetic formula… And there is nothing that I aspire to more highly than being able to swan around a gothic mansion wearing a long velvet cape and falling down dramatically on a chaise lounge at the slightest inconvenience.


What is the best advice on beauty you’ve received?

To be kind. There is nothing more ageing than malice.


What is the best advice on health you’ve received?

Every meal should contain at least 3 distinct colours, and the ingredients should look as close as possible to how they looked in nature. My mum calls it ‘eating the rainbow.’


What is the one product you can’t live without?

Not a beauty product, but Madura tea bags. I keep them on me at all times.