Exclusive: Charlotte Tilbury on the power of make-up
When it comes to celebrity make-up artists, Charlotte Tilbury is the Holy Grail. Kate Moss and Amal Clooney entrusted her with their wedding make-up, and Nicole Kidman, Sienna Miller, Penelope Cruz, and Kim Kardashian have her on speed dial (and that's just a taste of her regulars). But apart from her insanely impressive clientele list, Charlotte Tilbury's very own cosmetic line is one of the most popular and loved make-up collections out there. And the stuff is good. Like, we're talking, I-want-every-single-item good.
I spoke to Charlotte Tilbury recently to pick her brain on all things make-up. And apart from her incredibly glamorous idioms on life ("lipstick is happiness in a tube" was my personal fav); she's full of make-up wisdom and truly seeks to make women feel more beautiful. Here's how it all went down:
What inspired you to get into makeup?
A real turning point for me was meeting Mary Greenwell aged 13. I remember my parents' friends looking at a Vogue cover of Jerry Hall and saying, 'Look what Mary Greenwell has done!' She opened my eyes to the world of makeup. I'd always been fascinated by the power a beautiful woman has when she enters a room and I wanted to understand that type of beauty and how its magnetic pull can command attention. I understood the power of makeup for myself when I first applied mascara, and instantly felt more empowered, confident and noticed. I became Mary's assistant, attended Glauca Rossi and the rest is history!
What is your most requested look from your celebrity clients?
To simply look like the most beautiful version of themselves! My gorgeous 'Golden Goddess' look flatters everyone. The look is all about natural glowing skin, honey-toned cheekbones, gleaming eyes, fresh coral lips and a smattering of pretty freckles. It just makes you look and feel so radiant and healthy. The look really captures that gorgeous 'back-from-holiday' glow that we all want.
How do you prep your clients before an event?
We start with the dress and then work from there. When I was working with Nicole Kidman at the Golden Globes it was all about glowing, hypnotic makeup to really complement her dreamy silver tulle dress. And when creating the perfect red carpet look for Emma Roberts at the Oscars, I gave her this gorgeous bombshell glow look to enhance her incredible vintage Armani Privé dress. So many of my clients are incredible friends of mine, so we're constantly gossiping, laughing, and chatting away together on set. The celebrities and starlets I get to work with are always such a dream - it's very much a collaborative effort.
What do you think is the most common mistake women are making?
Women choose the wrong shade of foundation - it can be too yellow, too grey, or too pink. And if you forget to blend in properly, you get the dreaded "tide mark" along the jawline. The most important thing when choosing the right shade of foundation is to test out the colour in a natural light to get your perfect match. If the light is too dark, it's likely that your foundation will be too dark. A lot of women also forget to match the skin on their neck and ears. Use your fingers to draw a line of foundation onto your cheek, neck and ears and if it's the right colour it should blend seamlessly into the skin.
What are your can't-live-without products?
My absolute essential is my Dolce Vita palette. I love how the molten bronze, copper and chocolate shades really make my green eyes pop. I wear a smoky Dolce Vita eye every day. I never leave the house without one, and I believe you can hypnotise the world with your eyes. For an instant eye lift I use my liquid Feline Flick pen to define and elongate the eyes. It's so easy to use and makes your eyes look instantly bigger and brighter. I always finish any eye look with lashings of Full Fat Lashes mascara - I'm obsessed! It gives you that gorgeous false-lash effect. I always switch between my Penelope Pink and Kim K-W lipsticks. These colours complement my fair skin and red hair beautifully.
You've recently brought out a fragrance (which smells SO good), what was the idea behind 'Scent of a Dream' and have you always wanted to get into perfume?
Fragrance has always played such a key role in my life, and it was always part of my plan to share my secret perfume. I've only ever wanted to innovate - never imitate! - so creating a bespoke fragrance came naturally to me. I've always been obsessed with the transformative powers fragrance has, and I wanted to create a perfume that could change your frame of mind, alter the aura and energy you emit, and directly impact the way people perceive you. I knew exactly how I wanted the perfume to smell - down to the very last drop! And worked with leading perfumer François Robert and visionary experts within the fields of neuroscience and fragrance to ensure Scent of a Dream was a revolution.
Do you still believe contouring is "a thing" or do you think women now want a more natural look? Contouring is a trick that makeup artists have been using for years. It's every woman's secret power for perfecting killer cheekbones. And it's actually really easy to achieve; simply suck in your cheeks and using my amazing Powder & Sculpt brush follow the hollow with the natural Sculpt shade. To finish, sweep the dreamy Highlight shade onto the top of the cheekbones and temples to perfect your contoured, candelit look!
If you could only recommend 3 products, what would they be?
My miracle-working Magic Cream, my new Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask, and my Pillow Talk lipstick; it's the perfect nude-y pink shade for a natural, pillow-y pout that you can wear every day.
How important is wearing lipstick for your overall appearance?
It's essential, darling! Lipstick is happiness in a tube: It boosts your confidence, brightens your complexion and adds instant glamour to any outfit. It's instant glamour!
What does make-up mean to Charlotte Tilbury?
Makeup is hugely empowering - it has the incredible power to transform and boost every woman's confidence. Everyone looks better with makeup - even if it's a very natural look and you can't tell the person is wearing any. Makeup is my secret weapon - it's every woman's secret weapon! I say, give a woman the right makeup and she can conquer the world.
Popped lip or dramatic smokey-eye?
Both, darling! A beautifully defined eye and a statement lip is a classic after-dark look. I always say: 'eyes to mesmerise, lips to lead astray!'
What is your ultimate make-up tip?
By tracing the natural outline of your lips, you can completely re-shape and re-size the cupid's bow, as well as any asymmetrical unevenness in an instant.
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