“If someone had only told me to get rid of the eye make-up sooner!” Jane Birkin once lamented to Vogue. Birkin, who turned 74 recently, is speaking of the Swinging ’60s, when she decamped from her native England and landed in France with exaggerated etchings and layers of lower-lash mascara.
Fast-forward to the following decade, when the gap-toothed gamine abandoned her heavy hand to embrace a more au naturel approach. As she later noted, “It was nice because then you looked like what you looked like in the morning.” It’s this effortless élan, now immortalised on countless Instagram feeds, that has come to symbolise Birkin, defining laissez-faire beauty for a whole new generation of French-girls-in-training.
No matter whether her long lengths have been haphazardly piled atop her head or shorn short as she stands onstage in a cashmere pull and faded jeans, the actress, singer, and songwriter has long espoused the kind of fresh facade that’s achieved not with a coveted cosmetic but rather, simply, a smile. “It takes 10 years off!” she’s famously quipped. Consider it sage advice for the New Year ahead.
Below, a look at Jane Birkin’s best beauty moments.
One of my favourite people in the world, dead or alive, has always been the ICONIC Audrey. Beautiful inside and out, here are some things to know about her beauty regime.
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #51 series on my blog.
As one of the most enduring beauty icons of all time, it should come as no surprise to learn that Audrey Hepburn took a considered approach to her regime. From the hair mask that was made especially for her (and remains cult today), to her religious use of a good SPF, British Vogue takes a look at some of the things that helped to make Audrey a timeless beauty – inside and out.
Her signature eye make-up
As well as the feline flick she used to define her almond-shaped eyes, Hepburn also used another trick to help create her signature doe-eyed look. She and her makeup artist, Alberto De Rossi, would use tweezers before and after applying mascara to painstakingly separate every one of her individual eyelashes. If that isn’t dedication to the clump-free life, what is?
She knew the power of a strong brow
Way before Cara Delevingne wowed the fashion world with her fulsome brows, there was Hepburn, whose thick arches were immaculately groomed using a dark brown eyebrow pencil. Her look continues to spawn countless how-to videos even today, because who doesn’t want brows like Audrey’s?
Staying hydrated was key
In his book Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen, Hepburn’s son Luca Dotti revealed the importance she placed on drinking water and staying hydrated. “She was really about drinking a lot of water and eating a lot of vegetables,” he wrote. “It was a matter of how she was brought up.” Evian at the ready.
Her secret to combatting dry skin
As well as ensuring she was well hydrated from the inside, Hepburn said that she used “a lot of moisturisers and oils, because I have rather a dry skin”. As well as these two skin saviours, she also applied yoghurt to her face, leaving it for half an hour, before washing it off. Fresh, Greek yoghurt contains lactic acid which helps to gently exfoliate while hydrating the skin.
She had the same dermatologist as Marilyn
Alongside the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner, Hepburn used to see Hungarian dermatologist Erno Laszlo, whose skincare line still exists to this day. “I owe 50 per cent of my beauty to my mother, and the other 50 per cent to Erno Laszlo,” she once said.
She always removed her makeup – thoroughly
“Working in the theatre, I’ve seen what not removing makeup well can really do to the skin, so I’m very careful about that,” said Hepburn, who referred to herself as a “soap-and-water girl” (with some of Laszlo’s skincare products thrown in). While nowadays soap is very much not recommended, using a good cleanser every morning and evening is.
The cult hair mask she swore by
Heard of Philip Kingsley’s now-cult Elasticiser? A repairing hair mask that delivers moisture directly into the hair cuticle, leaving it shiny, soft and bouncy, it was originally created for Hepburn after the pair met in 1974. She loved it so much that she is said to have had large tubs of it couriered to her regularly – and it’s just as good today as it was then.
As well as lots of fruit and vegetables, which she bought in local markets, surprisingly potatoes were “her bread and butter”, said her son. Hepburn also ate minimal amounts of meat.
She took a holistic approach to her skin
Having proclaimed that “good health is the key to good skin; if your skin isn’t good, it’s a signal that something is wrong” – a very modern ethos – Hepburn ensured she got lots of fresh air and sleep, while keeping her exposure to the sun to a minimum.
SPF was a beauty essential
You know it, I know it – and Audrey did, too. Sunscreen is essential for healthy skin, and while she stayed out of the sun as much as possible, she was religious about wearing SPF.
Her signature scent
Still a classic scent to this day (although it had a revamp in 2018), Givenchy’s L’Interdit was created especially for Hepburn in 1957. Hubert de Givenchy commissioned perfumer Francis Fabron to create the scent, which has notes of orange blossom, tuberose, vetiver and patchouli. It is called L’Interdit, which translates from French as “forbidden”, after Hepburn’s jocular response to Givenchy’s request to make it widely available to the public – not just for her.
You will have spied Italian actor Sophia Loren in British Vogue’s April issue as part of the Hollywood Portfolio, which features 27 of the world’s biggest stars. Photographed looking as glamorous as she has always been, the 86-year-old silver-screen legend has long been a fan of a glamorous look and her attitude to beauty is refreshing. She once said:
“Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical.”
Welcome to Artist Spotlight #45 series on my blog.
It only goes to show that Loren feels as good on the inside as she externally looks. Her penchant for Italian glamour has always been a whole beauty mood – it is timeless. There is the trademark feline flick and voluptuous eyelashes; the bold lipsticks, from red to pink; glamorous blow dries; and her bold eyebrows, expertly filled in. These are looks that many of us still imitate today and she is regularly name-checked backstage at fashion shows. Here, let’s take a look at some of her most show-stopping vintage beauty looks over the years.
Sometimes we are so caught up in running errands, cleaning the house, or spend countless hours in the car. Reading blogs is a lighter alternatives to books, especially when it comes to beauty and makeup topics. But even easier to consumer are podcasts. Here I put together four of my favourite beauty podcasts for your listening pleasure. Welcome to Artist Spotlight #6 series on my blog.
Fat Mascara – Hosts (and friends) Jessica Matlin and Jennifer Goldstein bring you the big, juicy, world of beauty on their award-winning weekly podcast. With day jobs as beauty editors, Jess & Jenn are plugged in to the industry’s latest news and share their inside access along with candid stories of their beauty adventures, from celebrity interviews and freaky new facials to miracle products and epic beauty fails. Each week, they also get advice from their favorite people in the beauty business, including influencers (Olivia Wilde, Miranda Kerr, Jaclyn Hill, Emily Weiss, Christian Louboutin, Bianca Del Rio, Patrick Starrr), makeup artists (Mario Dedivanovic, Lucia Pica, Sir John, Charlotte Tilbury, Bobbi Brown), hair stylists (Serge Normant, Jawara, Orlando Pita, Ursula Stephen, Frederic Fekkai), and other industry experts like dermatologists, colorists, manicurists, perfumers, and more.
The Beauty Brains – They’re here to help us cut through the confusing, misleading and sometimes false information that the beauty companies bombard us with. Their goal is to explain cosmetic science to us in a way that’s entertaining and easy to understand. They believe the more information we have, the better we’ll be able to find products that we like at a price we can afford. So, we can listen to the advertising. Or advice from a friend. Or what our stylist tells us. But if we want to really understand cosmetic products in an unbiased, scientific way, ask The Beauty Brains. You’ll get answers from a team of scientists who have no sales pitch and nothing for you to buy.
That’s So Retrograde – Elizabeth Kott and Stephanie Simbari have been coined “the Ab Fab of the new age” with good reason. Effortlessly merging pop culture and wellness, the ladies of That’s So Retrograde seek out their most authentic selves, one mistake — or mindful awakening — at a time, while graciously bringing their listeners along for the ride.
You Must Remember This – This is the podcast dedicated to exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. Since launching as a passion project in April 2014, You Must Remember This has become one of the top film podcasts around. This podcast is a heavily-researched work of creative nonfiction. Every reasonable attempt is made at accuracy, but quite often when it comes to the kinds of stories they explore here, between conflicting reports, conscious and unconscious mythologizing and institutionalized spin, the truth is murky at best. That’s kind of what the podcast is, ultimately, about.