Mel Schilling talks MAFS outfits, confidence tips and the £30 make-up product she loves for filming

The MAFS dating expert talks through her self-care Sunday favourites...

mel schilling

by Aimee Jakes |
Updated on

Self-care will forever be our favourite hobby but we appreciate that recharging and putting yourself first looks different for everyone. Each week, we'll be asking the celeb lot to share their ideal self-care Sunday routines, the hard-working beauty products they recommend to their friends and which TV show they're currently binging…

This week it's all about Mel Schilling, the Australian-native relationship expert best known for starring in the hit television show, Married At First Sight.

She is known and loved for being incredibly insightful in all things dating, saying it exactly how it is and never being afraid to have those serious conversations - especially when red flags and gaslighting are apparent.
However, Mel also radiates sunshine - whether that's through her mood-boosting telly outfits, seeing the bright side of a situation or sharing inspirational quotes on Instagram, she is truly the expert on balancing both.

Now MAFS UK has wrapped up for the second season (just another reunion to come!) how did Mel find filming this season?

"What was funny was that I was literally filming both the Aussie show and the UK show simultaneously,- there are literal overlaps," Mel tells heat.

"I had been flying back and forth filming both, but it's an absolute joy filming the UK series. I'm still on a really steep learning curve getting my head around UK culture because it's so diverse. I think in Australia, we are a lot more homogenous as a group and culture, but in the UK if you've got someone from the north side or the south or someone from the Midlands, they're so incredibly different. Not just their approach to relationships, but their approach to the social dynamic and how they express themselves and how open they are. I absolutely love it, I learn every single day."

Mel chats exclusively to heat about her self-care routine, daily wellness habits and the wise advice she lives by...

On self-care

"For me of late, self-care has been about recovering from jet lag. Now I'm 51, bouncing back from things like jetlag or a hangover or a tough day at the gym can take a little longer when you're a bit older. I'm very aware of that, so for me, a big priority is hydration.

"When I'm travelling, particularly long haul, we're talking about a 23-hour flight each way to Australia. So for me, a lot of that is about what I do before, during and after. There's a spa I often go to in Sydney before I fly back to the UK and I do this massage that is all aloe vera. They leave it on and it's the most beautiful, soothing feeling because of course, aloe vera is very healing and intensely hydrating. To fly with that already covering your whole skin is just beautiful.

"When it comes to the inside, you can't get past a coconut. I lived in Bali for nearly three years and every time I flew to and from Bali I would have one or two young coconuts before getting on a flight. Here, you can always find a young coconut in downtown London or Sydney and it's a beautiful way to hydrate. I'll often top that up with electrolytes and that sort of thing proactively before flying.

"I will also triple up the serums and moisturisers - I've been down to sit on a long-haul flight with a sheet mask on! I may look like a ghost, but it really, really helps. Also, absolutely no alcohol when you're flying. As hard as it is to go on a business class flight and be offered the Moët! That's a lesson I've learned the hard way because it instantly dehydrates me."

On fun MAFS outfits

"I work with an incredible stylist Ellie Witt and she is a person who pushes my boundaries and I love this. She will often pull out pieces I would never in a million years have thought about trying on, let alone wearing. She does encourage me to push those boundaries and I love that. She knows I love colour, I love brightness and dressing really happy. It's a real experimental journey for me."

On skincare

"I'm quite new to skincare, it hasn't been something I've been committed to all my life. Since getting to this age, certainly, as I was reaching my late 50s and starting to get into that perimenopausal phase, my skin's changed a lot and it does need a lot more, particularly in terms of hydration. I would never have dreamed of putting a serum on my face 10 years ago because I was a kid who had oily skin and I had acne as a teenager. Now it's starting to dry out, I'm becoming interested and starting to learn a lot more.

What are the skincare products Mel recommends?

"I'm definitely not an expert but I've got two serums that I love to use. Zoë Foster Blake is an iconic Aussie and she's got a serum that I use every day, it's the first thing I'll use. Then at night, I'll use a much more intensive serum that I can feel my whole skin soak up and at the moment, it's the Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules. They're just fun because they're these little pods that you squeeze that it's a real novelty you know you put it on your skin and it's like liquid velvet.

"Then, of course, always an SPF 50. Growing up in the Australian sun particularly in the '70s and '80s before we were sun smart, I've already had a couple of skin cancers removed and I'm very aware of the need for SPF. Even in the UK on an overcast day like today, UV is still out there. I've got a few little sunspots on my face, so I'm very aware to make sure that even around the house I'll have a factor 50 on."

On make-up for filming

"Roxy Habibi is my hair and make-up glam squad legend. We've been experimenting again, she's also a person who encourages me to try something new and I love doing a different look every time. A bit of a behind-the-scenes secret, something we did try out this season with my commitment ceremony looks is we chose an iconic woman and based the look on each one. We did a J-Lo, we did a Dita Von Teese, we did a Pammy Anderson, a Gwen Stefani... We basically took their looks and styled my look after them.

"In terms of products, we've been using a lot of Charlotte Tilbury stuff. Something we've fallen in love with this season is Victoria Beckham Beauty. She's got this new range of eyeliners out and they give such an intense colour. There's one which is almost rainbow and it's sort of glittery. I think we've used a green and definitely used the pink. They just stay put... they pretty much stay for a week! I love the intensity of colour you get."

On daily wellness habits

What are the daily habits that ensure Mel feels her best self?

"I'd say supplements and exercise for me. I cannot function without exercise, even if it's a busy day and I'm literally in back-to-back meetings, I need to at least walk in between meetings. I love the gym, I love to lift weights, I love cardio. I love to sweat and work hard. For me, from a mindset perspective, it's just such a powerful way to clear my mind, get rid of that clutter and chatter going on and find some space. I'm not a meditator, I'd like to say I am, but I find meditation difficult. For me, the gym is meditation.

"Then supplements, this is something really new for me, but I can't go a day without things like fish oil and magnesium. I've started taking one called NMN which is essentially an anti-ageing supplement. It's all natural but I'm finding it helpful for giving me a bit of a boost."

On life-changing books

"I talk a lot about confidence and actually, I've written a book about confidence. This is an area I'm really passionate about and talk a lot to women about and the book that probably changed my approach the most would be Amy Cuddy's Presence."

"Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist out in the States. You might have seen people doing the Power Pose. Basically what she found was that if you stand in a powerful pose for two minutes you can change aspects of your physiology like your hormone balance, for example. It essentially makes you more confident, it makes you more likely to take calculated risks, to back yourself, to show courage in the face of adversity.

"For me, learning what you do on the outside can impact what's going on on the inside was an absolute game-changer in the way I operate and work with my clients. It means we can work from the inside out and the outside in.

"From the outside in, relates so much to what we're talking about here in terms of health and beauty and even the way you dress. What is it that you're wearing that makes you strong and powerful? What you find is when you put that on, whether it's a colour or a shoulder pad or something that accentuates a part of your body that you're proud of, that translates to how you feel on the inside and therefore impacts how you're going to behave. It's really interesting stuff."

On wise advice

"I don't know who gave this to me, but the greatest piece of advice I was given at some point in my life and it holds so true in everything I do. I do pass it on a lot. It's 'If you don't ask, you don't get.'

"It's all about assertiveness, it's about backing yourself and it's about believing you are worth it. It's about not waiting for an opportunity to be presented to you but creating an opportunity if it's not there. To be your own cheerleader and to create opportunities for yourself. Do it first and apologise later."

Quickfire round:

What show are you currently watching? The Morning Show. In Australia, it's actually called Morning Wars!

How do you like your cuppa? I'm an oat latte girl.

Go-to loungewear brand? I really love Dancing Leopard's pyjamas.

Everyday perfume? Dolce and Gabanna The One.

Go-to takeaway order? Japanese, either sushi or a Poke.

Favourite candle? It's an Australian brand but the scent is called Posy. The reason I feel very connected to that one is because when I was pregnant with my little girl, we didn't want to give away her name so my family called her posy!

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