Colour conversation with hair and make-up artist, Nina Davis

For our latest Colour Conversation, we talk seasonal make-up and beauty tips with hair and make-up artist Nina Davis, who has worked with us on our fashion shoots for the past 11 years.

Tell us about how you came to be a hair and make-up artist…

I modelled between the ages of 13 and 18, and was one of the original Timotei South Africa models back in the Eighties. One day my aunt sent me a cutting for a make-up course and that was the start of my new career. I’ve been doing hair and make-up for fashion shoots now for 20 years.

right: Nina wears a Bubblegum Pink Supersoft Sweatshirt (coming soon) with a Lavender Grey Cashmere Gauze Stole
Nina's Timotei ad

Describe an average day…

It’s always an early 5am or 6am start. I live in Hout Bay, Cape Town, with my husband Craig, a commercials director, and our two teenage children, and I’m either up early for a fashion shoot or to take our son James to water polo.

Summertime, from October to March, is the busiest time in South Africa, with mostly international companies coming over to shoot and film here, so it’s often a long day. And, as Melissa and the team have found over the years, the weather can be quite extreme – super-hot and balmy one minute, gale-force winds, sea mists and cloud the next. I always try to reassure them not to worry – we have four seasons in one day, but they will always get their lovely colourful images!

Nina styling model, Alex and with John (owner) and Ben (photographer)

Have you had your colours analysed?

Yes, I’m a Summer. I had my colours done on one of my visits back to the UK to see my aunt and I can see that I really suit the palette. Melissa tells me it fits with my Summer personality too – I’m the person who is always busy and quietly getting on with things behind the scenes.

What colours do you love from your palette?

I feel comfortable in the colours that suit me best: French grey, light blue, steel grey, powder pink, sea green and French Navy. I like plain colours and natural fabrics with texture, no prints or anything too noticeable or bright. When it comes to interiors, my home is quite neutral but with more daring accents of red and pink.


Double celebrations - Nina finding out she was a Summer (and dyeing her hair a gorgeous Summer pink!) and celebrating her birthday with Melissa.

Last great colourful buy?

An aqua salad bowl from the ceramic brand Wonki Ware.

Do you approach make-up seasonally?

Yes, working with Kettlewell has really changed the way I do make-up on shoots. I divide into warm and cool shades and blend lip colours accordingly. For Springs, I’ll always go for a bright coral lip as it makes their eyes sparkle, and I’ll use a little sparkle eyeshadow. For Summers I love to use soft smoky greys on the eyes and a hint of pink on the lips. For Autumns, I use a warm foundation with a touch of bronze and always matt eyeshadow, then build rustic tones on cheeks and lips. For Winters, I like to keep the base quite pale and highlight with a cool pink blush, then I’ll add a strong lip for contrast. Absolutely no bronze or coral tones for Winters!

Styling Daisy, Jen and Paula - and celebrating another birthday!

Favourite beauty tip?

People often find it surprising for a hair and make-up artist that I rarely wear make-up myself and I cut my own hair but one of my personal top tips for a contemporary look is not to overdo the make-up. If you go for a strong lip, keep the eyes natural and vice versa. Also, I’d say don’t be frightened of a colour just because it looks intense in the packaging – it’s all in the blending. Always blend on your skin to see how the colour will look on you before you apply it.

Favourite beauty product?

My own lip balm, which I produce with my aunt in Sussex. We also make soaps, and all our products are natural and handmade, and we will be launching our website soon. I also love to use organic rosehip oil on my skin, which I buy directly from Rosehip Farm here in South Africa, as well as from Fushi in the UK. It’s rich in vitamins A and E and is a great moisturiser for mature, dehydrated skin. I wouldn’t be without it.

Styling Michelle, Andrea & Lauren. The Kettlewell shoot team Zoe (stylist), Keira (stylist), Melissa, Nina and John

Pam Huke on Nov 12, 2020 5:48 PM

Hi Nina

I have found at last that you seem to be the same Summer as me. You have warm skin tones, tan easily and have silver, grey hair.

Often summers have cool tone skin and I get confused. I also find that comiyrzfton other pallets suit me - like lime green and orange 😀

Barbara on Feb 10, 2020 9:04 AM

On the subject of make up for each palette can you tell me the colour of the lipstick Daisy is wearing in the 'colour of the month - Chocolate' blog?

Kettlewell Colours: I have checked with Nina and this was her reply:

'When I shoot Kettlewell I seldom use one straight colour.

I have all my lip colours scooped out of their original package and I put them into a palette.I take touches of a few and mix them.

With each season there's usually a mix that is great but every now and then depending on the outfit and or the shot I blot a little away or add a little more. I also mostly use more matte colours and add balm or gloss as and when needed.'

If you are looking for Autumn shades, you can shop just Autumn makeup colours on the House of Colour website

Hope this helps.

Michelle on Feb 09, 2020 10:56 AM

Love Melissa's colourful zig zag skirt. Is that from the upcoming spring collection? Like Nina, I'm a summer and I'm just beginning to get used to my colours. I was a little disappointed to start with as I'm not a pink person, and the rest of it seemed to be blues and grey's. But, it's slowly growing on me.

Kettlewell Colours: Melissa's skirt is from our AW16 collection! It was a popular print :-)

Heidi on Feb 08, 2020 9:33 PM

I absolutely love these blogs they are so informative especially when the person is a summer.i can’t wait for new season hurry please .

Elaine Billingham on Feb 08, 2020 4:33 PM

When can I buy the pink bubblegumjumper and scarf in lavender grey shown in the last photo.

Kettlewell Colours: The sweater is a Supersoft Sweatshirt which will be available in a couple of weeks when we launch the new season and the Cashmere Gauze Stole is available to buy now.

Vanessa Hindle on Feb 08, 2020 2:40 PM

Hi Nina...lovely to read your blog! I co-own a Health and Well-being centre in Hove (East Sussex) and would be very interested in the natural line you and your aunt in Sussex are producing as we like to promote natural local companies. You have my email; could you please get in touch when it’s up and running? Thank you!

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