Welcome to Beauty Bytes; a place where I chat to celebrities about all things beauty – from their favourite products, to their biggest beauty disasters and social media habits. You know, all the important things we need to know about…
With 36% of Brits reportedly feeling stressed rather than Christmas cheer, I wanted to chat to someone who’s well-versed in tackling daily downers and finding a slice of calm. Who sprang to mind? Radio 1 DJ and TV host Maya Jama, who not only sorts out listeners’ problems on Maya’s Mares but is also the new ambassador and resident agony aunt for Aussie Hair.
We met up to chat about banishing stress, as well as how to get #GreatHairThough…
FIONA: WITH SO MUCH EXPERIENCE SORTING OUT OTHER PEOPLE’S PROBLEMS, ARE YOU THE AGONY AUNT IN YOUR FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE, TOO?
Maya: Basically, yeah. We are all different ages and I’m the youngest but I’ve probably had the most mad life experiences so they get advice from me about weird stuff.
FIONA: MAD LIFE EXPERIENCES? LIKE WHAT?
Maya: Loads of stuff! I think because I moved out so young, I’m like an old soul. I was running around London at 16 trying to chase my dreams. So I think in terms of career leaps and in terms of life, I’ve just had loads of stuff happen. I always fall over, I’ve had my bum cheek fall out by accident in a skirt, one time I even left a black hand print on my face because I touched my head and forgot my hair dye was still on! Things like that always happen to me. Stupid things, like mini mares basically.
FIONA: OK, BUT SAY YOU’RE HAVING A REALLY BAD DAY. HOW DO YOU GIVE YOURSELF A BOOST?
Maya: It’s hard. I was having a bad day the other day and I was like, ‘Maya, you’re the one who gives advice about this stuff, now it’s time to take it!’. It’s always easier to give advice to other people than actually practice it yourself. But yeah, I usually put my phone down and stay offline because when you’re not feeling great, having anything that could be a trigger or make you feel worse is never going to be the best idea. I try to get into relaxation mode and put on music that I love. I’m listening to a lot of Beyoncé at the moment.
FIONA: QUEEN BEY WILL ALWAYS GET YOU OUT OF A BAD MOOD…
Maya: But old-school Beyoncé, not new Beyoncé. It’s different vibes. I feel like old-school Beyoncé is about getting out, having a good time and shaking your hips. Then I went for a swim. When you are swimming, you don’t have any distractions, you can’t look at anything else apart from the water and you can focus on just swimming back and forth. Without realising it, your mind gets lost somewhere else. I also love a bit of a pamper, so hair mask, facemask, all of that stuff. Aussie Hair 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Treatment is the dream.
Aussie Hair 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Treatment, £4.99, Boots
FIONA: I’VE HONESTLY USED AUSSIE’s 3 MINUTE MIRACLE RECONSTRUCTOR SINCE UNIVERSITY…
Maya: Oh my God, for so long. Same! It was my first ever conditioner and I’ve stayed loyal so it makes sense.
FIONA: HOW DO YOU USE IT? TO BE FAIR, I IGNORE THE 3 MINUTE BIT AND SLEEP IN IT…
Maya: I’ll use it once a week and put a plastic bag over my hair. It traps the heat from your head so you get this steaminess that makes the ingredients seep in better. Or I’ll apply it before going into the sauna. Just doing something nice for yourself like that can boost your mood.
FIONA: IT’S JUST MAKING TIME FOR YOURSELF…
Maya: Yeah, then afterwards you’re like, ‘Ah I don’t feel as bad’. Like it doesn’t have to be buying something. It can be painting your toenails or giving yourself a body scrub or planning an outfit for a date you’re going on in future. Another thing is listing what you’re grateful for in your mind.
FIONA: TOTALLY. I KEEP A NOTEBOOK BY MY BED WHERE I WRITE DOWN THREE THINGS I’M GRATEFUL FOR EACH DAY. SOMETIMES YOU THINK YOU’VE HAD THE WORST DAY AND THEN THOSE THREE THINGS SUDDENLY MAKE YOU REALISE IT WASN’T SO BAD AFTER ALL…
Maya: That’ so good because it’s easy to get lost in negativity. You get complacent or you get ungrateful and you don’t actually pay attention to all the good things that are going on around you. Even in a bad situation, it could always be worse. So I try and focus on the good and not the bad, as hard as it is. I have a roof over my head, I’ve got nice friends, I’m actually super blessed. Suddenly that one bad thing is miniature by comparison.
FIONA: NOW ON TO LESS HEAVY STUFF. YOUR SKIN IS INCREDIBLE – HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF IT?
Maya: I’m not going to lie, I’m super skin conscious. I’m well into it now, although I’m definitely two extremes. I’ll come back from a night out and I won’t wash my make-up off. I’ll do that kind of stuff, but then at the same time, I’ll wear facemasks. I recently even bought that LED mask by Dr Dennis Gross that makes you look like an alien hunter!
Dr Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro, £430, Net-A-Porter
FIONA: SO YOU’RE REALLY INTO BEAUTY TECH THEN?
Maya: I’ve only used it once so far. I need to use that LED mask more regularly because it’s apparently great at getting rid of spots. So that’s pending. I also try to go to the sauna when I can to steam my skin. I get good facials, too. There’s a guy who does mine called Shane Cooper, who’s amazing. He’s saved my skin on bad days. I don’t eat that healthily and I party quite a lot so I try to make up for it with a techy gadget and facials. But I am bringing out my own facemasks soon – so watch this space!
FIONA: WHAT’S THE WORST BEAUTY TREND YOU’VE EVER ATTEMPTED?
Maya: I did an eyebrow slit in school once. I don’t even think I’ve got a photo. But yeah, when all the boys were doing it, I thought, ‘Oh I can do it, too’. I think I ended up shaving three quarters of my brow off. That was a mare. I also used to chew the holes in my jumpers so that I could put a thumb through them. That was quite a thing, though.
FIONA: I DID THAT, TOO, AND I PUT TIP-EX ON MY FINGERNAILS…
Maya: Yeah, yeah tip-ex thumbs. I’m into white nails on my toes, though…
FIONA: WE WERE OBVIOUSLY COOL AS HELL. WHAT’S THE BEST BIT OF BEAUTY ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Maya: Moisturise before bed with a night cream and also on planes. I didn’t travel that much before, but now I do it loads for work. I’m literally Miss Crusty Face if I don’t put a cream, oil or facemasks on.
FIONA: AND SPF IF YOU HAVE A WINDOW SEAT…
Maya: Is that worse? I didn’t know that.
FIONA: ONLY BECAUSE YOU’RE CLOSER TO THE SUN, SO THE UV RAYS ARE MUCH STRONGER…
Maya: Oh wow, I actually always ask for a window seat and I have the blind up when it’s sunny so I can get a bit of warmth. I’ll be changing that then.
FIONA: WHAT’S IN YOUR MAKE-UP BAG?
Maya: Smashbox The Original Photo Finish Foundation Primer. It’s cheap and cheerful and it keeps my make-up on longer. A liquid eyeliner – Barry M On Point Precision Eyeliner has always been my go-to.
Smashbox The Original Photo Finish Foundation Primer, £28, Lookfantastic
Barry M Cosmetics On Point Precision Eyeliner, £4.59, Lookfantastic
FIONA: DO YOU ALWAYS USE BLACK EYELINER?
Maya: Yes, it’s always been black. I haven’t experimented with colour that much. I also love MAC – it has some of my favourite products. Like the concealer I’ve used since school and the Bronzing Powder. For getting rid of shine, I’m using Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Powder as it has a yellowy tint so it gives you a glow rather than making you look ashy.
MAC Bronzing Powder in Matte Bronze, £23.50
Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Powder, £28, Cult Beauty
FIONA: WHAT’S THE BEST TIP YOU’VE LEARNT FROM HAVING YOUR MAKE-UP DONE BY PROFESSIONALS?
Maya: Ooh, if you don’t have any highlighter, then use Vaseline or body oil. Just put it on the areas where you usually highlight and it gives you the same kind of glow. I call it emergency highlighter. And use cotton buds to sharpen your eyeliner.
FIONA: APART FROM 3 MINUTE MIRACLE, HOW ELSE DO YOU LOOK AFTER YOUR HAIR?
Maya: I try to get trims as often as possible. My mum instilled that idea in me from a young age. ‘Every time your hair grows a bit, get a little trim,’ she’d say. Hair wraps also help with the condition of your hair. I never used to do it, but wearing a silk scarf around your hair avoids split ends.
FIONA: I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME I WAS TOLD THAT YOUR COTTON PILLOW CASE CAN DRY YOUR HAIR OUT AND DAMAGE THE CUTICLE. I BLEW MY SALARY ON SILK PILLOWCASES! ON THE SUBJECT OF BAD HAIR, WHAT’S THE WORST HAIRSTYLE YOU’VE EVER HAD?
Maya: Oh, I’ve had a few. I used to cut my own fringe. I had a fringe for years because my hair would grow so fast and I couldn’t always get to the hairdressers. Sometimes it would be perfect and sometimes it would literally be asymmetrical, like way too high above one eyebrow. In pictures I’d sometimes just turn to the side so it didn’t look so wonky.
FIONA: AND YOUR FAVOURITE?
Maya: I like a tousled blow-dry. Aussie Hair has really nice serums to tame frizz so I like to put those on first. The best thing about beachy wavy hair is that it always looks better the next day because you’ve slept in it.
Aussie Shine On Hair Serum, £4.99, Boots
FIONA: DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PERFUME?
Maya: Yeah I do. I wear Dior Poison. It’s in a little red apple-shaped bottle. I love that one. I also wear Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Garden, which is really floral. I’m always swapping between those two. I only started wearing fragrance properly six months ago. I thought I was allergic because one time I got a rash. But it was just an ingredient in that particular scent. So I’m a new perfume woman.
Dior Poison EDT, £40.80 for 30ml, John Lewis
Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Garden EDP, £80 for 75ml, Harrods
FIONA: WHAT ARE YOUR THREE MOST USED EMOJIS?
Maya: Mine’s a laugh, a love heart, and broccoli. I don’t know why.
FIONA: BROCCOLI? I DIDN’T THINK ANYONE USED THAT…
Maya: I find these random ones, which I like to add into conversation. I actually said to my friend yesterday, ‘Are you coming out tonight?’ and added a broccoli. Just fling a weird emoji in there to throw everyone off.
FIONA: FAVOURITE BOOK?
Maya: Dustbin Baby by Jacqueline Wilson. I love all of Jacqueline Wilson’s books to be fair. I was such a reader when I was younger and I kept my books in pristine condition. I didn’t fold the pages and I had my little bookmarks. I read Dustbin Baby like four times when I was younger. Then I read it again as an adult. I still think it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read as it really captures a young girl’s mind.
FIONA: WHAT WOULD YOUR LAST MEAL BE?
Maya: Probably a double cheeseburger, chips and a milkshake. I like trash. You can’t beat it. I’ve tried most burgers in London. Five Guys is up there but I do love a McDonald’s as well. I’m not going to lie.
FIONA: WHAT TV SHOW ARE YOU BINGING ON?
Maya: I just finished Top Boy. I always watch First Dates, too.
FIONA: FAVOURITE MOVIE?
Maya: Favourite movie ever? Miss Congeniality. I’ve watched it so many times that I know the script. I can literally mime every line when it’s on. Love it.
FIONA: FAVOURITE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS TO STALK?
Maya: Most of my friends have fake Instagrams. I don’t have one yet and I need to make one. But everyone I know pretty much has a Finsta. It’s a profile where you only follow your close friends. So you have like ten followers each and you post everything that you would never post on your main feed.
FIONA: THAT’S NUTS! WHAT WOULD YOU PUT ON IT?
Maya: Like if someone DM’d me something that was hilarious, I’d maybe put that on my Finsta for my friends to see. Or if there was a personal joke, I’d maybe put that on there.
FIONA: WHO’S THE PERSON YOU’VE BEEN MOST STAR STRUCK BY?
Maya: I don’t really get that star struck. But I was at the Fenty afterparty the other day. Rihanna walked past, obviously with loads of people in between us, and I was like, ‘I don’t even know what I’d say to her if I had the chance.’
FIONA: FINALLY, YOUR MANTRA WHEN IT COMES TO WELLBEING AND HAPPINESS…
Maya: I think just do the best you can to make yourself feel good inside and out. Do things that benefit you in a positive way. Look after your heart, your soul, your mind. But also, pamper!