Model Abigail O’Neill talks natural beauty

Photography by Paul Giggle
Hair and make-up by Nicholas Morley

Abigail O'neillAbigail O’Neill positively glows with health and both inner and outer beauty. The stunning model and mum of three is a self-described raw chocolate activist and the author of Model Chocolate: A Recipe Book. Not only does Abigail eat copious amounts of raw chocolate, she also bathes in it, makes hair masks, face treatments and lip balm out of it.

Abigail opened her gorgeous home that she shares with her husband and children near Byron Bay. Here, she shares some fascinating natural (and incredibly sweet-toothed!) beauty secrets with us.

Can you share some of your natural beauty rituals?

I do all these weird things to myself. They seem to be working, or at the very least they feel like they have a positive, meditative, nurturing essence to them. I make showering almost like a mini-day-spa. I’m addicted to exfoliating my skin, I’m currently using a lovely exfoliate by Byron Natures Gift.

SandalwoodThen I’ll pop some 100% pure sandalwood essential oil onto my face and just let the steam soak it in. I rub cacao butter over my skin in the shower as well, which helps it penetrate deeper into the skin. When I get out I always put on a lot of essential oils. I’ve just signed up to Young Living essential oils and I’m loving the benefits to my skin. I use quite a bit of frankincense oil. It’s a natural anti-aging potion. It’s also excellent for pigmentation, which is a wonderful preventative measure, as I surf at least once a week. I also adore rose and jasmine oils – they work as the perfect perfume.

I also smother my skin in fresh aloe vera from my aloe plants daily. Nature’s moisturiser! Perfect coupled with coconut oil. I love bare, dewy skin and tousled tresses. My beauty look is relaxed, natural, and vibrantly healthy. I also love to smile a lot – I think that works wonders! My mother always taught me more about internal beauty than anything external. She taught me to love and respect myself and others.

What’s your secret to glowing naturally in less than five minutes?

I’ll often use my Cacao Lip Balm to create a dewy natural glow by popping it onto my eyelids and cheekbones. That along with a bit of Ere Perez mascara, and a little splash of colour to the lips and I’m ready for castings, a day out or to entertain impromptu guests.

Ere PerezAnd what about when you have a little more time?

Well, I have a bit of a red lipstick fetish. I’m using a nice natural one by Ere Perez that’s as close to real red as I’ve found anywhere.

How do you take care of your hair?

My hair needs a little extra attention right now after lots of surfing! If I get a few moments on a Sunday afternoon I may indulge in my Hot Hair Oil treatment from Model Chocolate which uses cacao butter and essential oils to rejuvenate the hair. Lately though I’ve been using a natural deep conditioning treatment by Giovanni in place of regular conditioner – it makes my hair feel instantly smooth!

Is it true that you even like to bath in chocolate?

Yes! I love to take a chocolate hydrotherapy bath using my Lavender Cacao Bath Salts recipe from my book once a fortnight for 45 minutes.

If I haven’t been to the sea in a while I might make up a Thalassotherapy bath by pouring in lots of seaweed, magnesium rich salts and essential oils of basil and mint as the water is running. If I really want to look gorgeous for an occasion I take in extra freshly pressed juices and greens, along with plenty of my raw chocolate of course! It works from within the body to maximise radiance on the outside. This means more beautiful skin, sparkling eyes and also a better mood.

Abigail SurfingYou mentioned surfing before. Is this your favourite form of fitness?

Nothing clears my mind like a wave. Surfing is my ultra-relaxation zone. Afterwards I may even enjoy a little sleep in the sun, it’s perfect!

I like to exercise with just myself and nature. I don’t have any trainers. I love to walk, sprint a little, surf, practice yoga, anything I can do outside preferably. I spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen and office, so to escape into nature is wonderfully revitalising and grounding to me.

How do you start your day?

When I wake up I always drink warm lemon water. I follow that up with a super smoothie of some kind or lots of greens and poached organic eggs for breakfast.

Abigail ChocolateHow do your nourish your body for the rest of the day?

Lunch, a crisp garden salad or plate of fresh fruit, with raw chocolate and green tea. Dinner is always shared with my family and I like to make a delicious vegetarian feast! I always make lots of raw and vegan options as well. I’m definitely more focused on getting myself beautiful through a nutrient-dense mostly ‘raw’ way of eating.

I supplement my diet daily with my raw chocolate creations. Even up to six pieces a day. I’ve been eating this kind of chocolate for about five years now and I’ve noticed it gives me more energy, helps to keep my skin nourished, my metabolism at its peak and my mood elevated. Raw chocolate is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and contains more antioxidants than any other single known food. I also love to fill my body with lots of raw organic fruits and vegetables.

I also take spirulina, raw brown rice protein, and lots of superfoods such as chia seeds, coconut water, bee pollen, goji berries, cacao nibs, noni juice, kombucha and cacao tea. And I never, ever, have cheat days. It’s a philosophy that works for me. After all, everyday I’m indulging in so much healthy delicious super-goodness that there’s absolutely no room left for unnatural cravings!

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Sigourney Cantelo
Sigourney is founder of new beauty website, Beauticate. With over 14 years experience in the industry, she is one of Australia's most highly-regarded beauty journalists, having previously worked as Beauty and Health Director at Vogue Australia. Beauticate is a sleek online destination devoted to the whos and how-tos of beauty. The whos offer a voyeuristic sneak-peek into the homes and beauty cabinets of some of Australia's most inspiring beauties, while the how-tos feature insider tips and tricks and easy-to-follow video and GIF tutorials. In her various magazine roles over the years, Sigourney has been lucky enough to travel the world to interview some of the world’s most fascinating women including Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Catherine Zeta-Jones. She has won three Jasmine awards, taking out the major Award for Journalistic Excellence in 2010 and has received six Star Beauty Awards.