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Olivia Palermo On The Secret To Her Signature Smokey Eye And Her Wedding Make-Up

If there’s anyone that could tempt even the most anarchic beauty rebel into snuggling up in camel cashmere with an expertly applied brown smokey eye and glowing skin, it’s Olivia Palermo. An expert at pairing all things expensive and understated, the fashion influencer and entrepreneur’s eye for exquisite style has made her an icon.

Now, the New York native is bringing her enviable taste level to the world of beauty, launching her own eponymous line, Olivia Palermo Beauty. And she knows her stuff. ‘I’m a true glam girl so I make sure I’m good at applying every part of my make-up,’ Palermo tells ELLE. ‘I try to do my glam team proud and maintain their work when I’m doing it by myself. I’ll send them visuals once in a while and they’re always very happy.’

We caught up with Palermo to discuss the importance of good brows, the secrets behind her signature eye make-up and what inspired her wedding day beauty look…

olivia palermo beauty

Olivia Palermo Beauty

On launching her own beauty brand…

‘With Olivia Palermo Beauty it was really about taking everything I’ve learned over the years and adapting that with my own formulas. I approached it like I would with fashion – finding those key pieces in your wardrobe. So I started with three great lipsticks, a great eye palette, a serum and a setting spray and I’ll continue to roll out more products from there. I wanted to make sure there was something for everyone, whether it was for guys or girls, so it was important for the collection to reflect that as well.’

On finding what products work for her…

‘I always start with the basics. Skincare has been hugely important to me from a very young age. I’ve been seeing Dr Dennis Gross since I was an early teen if not a pre-teen and I still see him today. It’s really about the science and what your skin needs. Skin is different for each person so it’s about figuring out your own system and finding products that complement your skin. I think that’s the case for make-up as well, whether that’s foundation, concealer, powder or whatever. Sometimes less is more.’

On where she finds beauty inspiration…

‘I’m a real fashion girl so I look to beautiful high fashion editorials for make-up inspiration. Anything that Charlotte Tilbury or Pat McGrath have done, they always have an incredible vision and talent for creating fantasy and glamour. I look to documentaries and fashion books as well, sometimes it’s not even necessarily fashion but I can take elements from it and create my own vision.’

On her everyday beauty routine…

‘Everyday I use my Dr Dennis Gross cleanser or a 111Skin cleanser, I go between those two religiously. Then when it comes to moisturisers I don’t really use creams, I use serums instead, so I’ll use my Prime Time Illuminating Serum. For foundation I’m very loyal to my friend Charlotte Tilbury, and I’ll mix her products in with my products. I’ll always wait until my face is dry then apply my foundation because otherwise it’ll look streaky and that’s not a good look!

‘Then I love Japanese eyelashes, they’re just really beautiful and not over the top. One of my favourite things I found in Japan years ago and that my whole glam team have is a mini eyelashes curler. When your lashes have a mind of their own, it’s perfect.’

olivia palermo beauty

Olivia Palermo Beauty

On her wedding day make-up…

‘It was really important for me to look like the best version of myself on my wedding day. I always say that you still want to look like yourself just a little bit more highlighted maybe, you don’t want to have a totally different face of make-up that doesn’t represent you, especially on that day! So for my wedding make-up I kept it fresh and classic. Lacey Redway did my hair and Itsuki did my make-up.’

On the importance of good eyebrows…

‘Eyebrows are a very important thing. I think we all fell for the skinny brow trend, it was a universal issue! I think everyone should leave their eyebrows alone for a minute, let them grow and I know that’s not easy, sometimes brows can be stubborn. But I’m really about keeping them full and groomed but not overly shaped, it shouldn’t look like they’re tattooed or drawn on.

‘When I get out of the shower I set my brows to create the shape of them so they’re tame! Otherwise I leave my brows to my make-up artist Andrea Tiller, she’s really the only other person who touches them.’

On the secret to her signature smokey eye…

‘When it comes to a smokey eye it really depends on what you’re going for with your outfit, where you’re going. You can do a nice one for day with brown and charcoal shades and then in the evening bump it up a bit with an aubergine or brown liner. I think when you just use black it can look quite heavy. I’m not really one for a liquid liner, I like to have that control and be able to blend if needs be so I use a pencil eyeliner instead.’

Olivia Palermo has partnered with LG Signature

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