My Beauty Lessons With… Mary Greenwell
My Beauty Lessons With… Mary Greenwell

My Beauty Lessons With… Mary Greenwell

Legendary make-up artist Mary Greenwell has worked with some of the most famous faces in the world – Princess Diana, Cate Blanchett, Uma Thurman, Cindy Crawford (to name just a few). For over 30 years, she has trialled and tested all the beauty launches to hit the shelves, and knows what works and what’s worth the money. Here, she tells us about the rules she follows herself and the products she’s never without, as well as the importance of taking an inside-out approach…

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Repeat Buys

“I’ve never been without my Sensai Mascara 38°C. It’s the best in the world – nothing beats it. The brush, the formula, you name it, it’s unrivalled as far as mascaras go. I swear by the Tom Ford Traceless Foundation Sticks too which are so creamy and easy to work with – especially on mature skin. Skincare-wise I love the Augustinus Bader Cream – it just works on my skin type and never feels heavy or greasy.”

Day-To-Day Routine

“I didn’t wear any make-up until I was 23. In fact, I didn’t even know about it until I was living as a hippy in LA. I first discovered products when I was offered a job on a beauty counter, and that’s when things really changed. When I worked in the 80s and 90s, make-up artists didn’t wear make-up – if anything, it was a bit tacky if you did. So, in terms of my routine, it’s not really changed and I’ve just grown up and into make-up – as well as skincare. It’s now essential to me that I wear a little bit of make-up every day – just a small amount of blush or mascara, but a hint of something is key.”

Beauty Inspiration

“I get my inspiration from the products I test and try, but also from the people I work with. It’s less about magazines and social media for me, it’s all about people.”

Rules To Follow

“There are no set rules, but I would say I’ve made a conscious effort to stop drinking recently since visiting a wellness retreat. Honestly, it’s made such a difference. My skin and eyes are brighter, and I feel so much better in myself. I would advise to stop drinking if you feel you need a refresh – I promise you, it’s game-changing for your overall mood and appearance.”

Hair Essentials

Olaplex is one of the best things I’ve ever tried – I swear by it. It’s so conditioning and completely transforms brittle, dry strands. I’m never without my Sam McKnight products either. He is, of course, a good friend but he also knows hair inside out. His Cool Girl Mist is an essential in my routine – if you’ve not tried it, you’re missing out; it just adds effortless texture and volume.”

Earliest Memory

“My earliest beauty memory is my mother doing her make-up in the morning. She wore red lipstick every single day. She used to use a Max Factor mascara that came with a tiny old-fashioned brush; she used to spit into the formula to loosen it up for application – luckily, it was a time when you didn’t share make-up! But it was what you did back then to create a good consistency. It was fascinating and I always watched her very carefully applying her make-up.”

I’ve only learned what to avoid by MY OWN MISTAKES, and it’s key everyone DOES THE SAME, otherwise how do you know WHAT YOU LIKE?

Make-Up Mistakes

“I don’t think we make mistakes as such, but I do think there are a lot of tutorials out there now that people take quite literally. It’s important to find what works for you and go from there. The only thing that upsets me is when people get older and they apply too much dark eyeshadow – it’s very ageing. You want softer tones to define your eyes – think brown, taupe and champagne colours that don’t give you a ‘punched-in-the-eye’ look. If you feel your make-up is doing more harm than good, then stop it. My advice is always to keep it soft, warm and subtle – and that’s for any age.”

Skincare Staples

“Layering up my skincare is one of my favourite things. I cleanse, use a serum and seal everything in with a nice weighty cream. If you’re on a budget, however, and can only afford one or two things, I would say invest in your serums and creams. Serums are so important as they absorb much quicker and are water-based, so you get speedier, more visible results. I love the La Prairie serums, but also anything by the brand ROC – they are brilliant and have very slick formulas with vitamin C. The latter is such a key ingredient for brightening and smoothing your skin tone.”

Go-To Tips

“For flawless skin and to lift your face immediately, use a good concealer. For me, nothing beats the Luminous Silk formula by Armani and, if you want something with even more coverage, MAC is unrivalled. They do the best palettes for all skin tones and the texture is just beautiful. They cover every imperfection and uneven area of skin for a smoother finish. I can’t rave enough about concealer. It changes everything, hides tiredness and, providing you’re using the right one, you often don’t need foundation on top. Another key product is blusher. It’s really important to wear one, especially as you age. It lifts the colour of your skin and face immediately. I recommend applying it onto the apples of your cheeks and sweeping it upwards to your temple where the cheekbone ends. Never leave your blusher just on the apples of your cheeks – this looks too theatrical. I love Chanel’s blushers.”

What To Avoid

“I’ve only learned what to avoid by my own mistakes, and it’s key everyone does the same, otherwise how do you know what you like? That said, I do believe there’s a certain point in life where red lipstick can be quite ageing – even if you’ve always worn it. I would say from your early 40s to 60s, a red lip every day can be too much and quite draining. There’s nothing wrong with it for the odd night out, or on occasions you want to go for it, but be careful thinking of it as an ‘essential’ to your look. You don’t see French women wearing it daily anymore and, to me, that’s because it’s become a little old-fashioned.”

Favourite Shops

“Going to Space NK is still one of my favourite things. I love visiting Harrods and Selfridges, too. All these stores have an incredible beauty offering. It’s better to shop in store for beauty. You don’t get a feel for things online unless you know exactly what you’re after – including the right shades for you. I still recommend taking the time to go out and experiment with things properly. Have fun with it – put colour on your hands and play. Also, the benefit of going in store is you can get your make-up done at a counter, often for free. It’s cost-effective, good fun and informative.”

Brands To Love

“I love Victoria Beckham’s beauty range and Westman Atelier by make-up artist Gucci Westman – they are both known, of course, but deserve a continual spotlight. Each line-up is seriously well-considered with products that stand out in a crowded market. The make-up is full of conditioning ingredients, too, so you get plenty of skincare benefits from both brands.”

I am a big believer that WHAT YOU PUT IN and DIGEST will reflect on your OUTER HEALTH and how you FEEL AS A WHOLE.

Brow Tricks

“Never fill in your brows too much. If you have blonde or grey hair, keep them looking as natural as possible. Thick and heavy is not a good look. Cara Delevingne may have incredible brows, but remember they are natural to her. My mother always said you’re born with what God wants to give you because it’s best that way. Why change what you have? I don’t believe in taking away from your natural prettiness. In terms of what you should use, I recommend Laura Mercier’s Brow Pencils and also the ones by Hourglass. I don’t recommend using brow products that just cover and coat. Use pencils to go gently into the skin of the brow – you want to fill in subtly with deft, light motions.”

Make-Up Favourites

“You’ll always find a couple of Chanel and Armani foundations in my make-up bag, as well as the Tom Ford Stick Foundations I mentioned earlier – these are great when you’re on-the-go. I am never without a pot of Vaseline either. It’s one of the most healing products I’ve ever used. In fact, a friend of mine had plastic surgery and had to have stitches recently – nothing to do with vanity – and her surgeon (one of the best in the business) advised her that the best healing product to use is Vaseline. It’s also a very preventative treatment. I like to use a little over my eyelids and under my eyes every night. I take a small amount on my ring finger and just a swipe it on. It’s too thick to go into your eye and it never stings either. I love it.”

Desert Island Product

“Can I have a few? If so, of course it would be sun cream. La Roche Posay’s is my favourite. Perhaps there wouldn’t be a bath on this island but, if there was, I would have to take some Susanne Kaufmann oils and body creams – it’s such a lovely brand and I can’t ever get out of the bath without slathering its products on. Finally, I’d take something nice and fragrant by either Guerlain or Chanel – that would be a big bonus.”

First Beauty Find

“My first job was working for Il Makiage. Its products were so ahead of the curve and they were some of the first I ever used. It was a brand I was introduced to early on and began to sell on a counter, so I got to know it well. Everything in the range felt complete – it was the first line to have every single colour of eyeshadow and it inspired a lot of make-up brands which now have fuller colour ranges. I still love them as a brand.”

Advice To Stick To

“My biggest piece of advice is to really consider your diet and eat as healthily as you can. Get your five-a-day in every day and remember it’s just as cheap to buy two bananas in the morning as it is to buy snack bars or anything that contains more sugar. I am a big believer that what you put in and digest will reflect on your outer health and how you feel as a whole. Obviously, the odd bit of indulgence is key but, overall, being internally healthy will always benefit you on the outside, too.”

Follow @MaryGreenwell For More Beauty Inspiration & Advice

Shop Mary’s Go-To Beauty Products

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