If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, then you know Olivia Wilde is one of my most favourite and longtime beauty crushes. Imagine how excited I was to get an email from Revlon's PR asking if I'd like to interview her, in her capacity as their global brand ambassador! The answer was not just a yes, but a HELLS YES. Well, in my head—I didn't actually curse in the email back.
A date was set, I prepped my questions and then Olivia called me. NBD.
Actually, she was so laid-back and funny that if I didn't have a crush before, I definitely would've developed one by the time I got off the phone. Her voice is low—like the cool girl she is—yet she's so relatable and a bit self-deprecating (as you'll soon see when we get to the subject of eyebrows!). I was mega-inspired by what she had to say about aging and the true meaning of beauty. If you've ever felt down on yourself, like "it's all downhill from here," then you must read. I also loved hearing about her favourite products and tricks, and how much she loves working with her makeup artist, Melanie Inglessis (interviewed here).
Olivia and I spoke a few weeks before she gave birth to her son, Otis, on April 20th. Here's exactly what we talked about....
What is your day-to-day beauty routine?
Day to day, I get up; wash my face; moisturize. I have a very simple routine there. I use the Revlon CC Cream every day—I use it in the morning, and sometimes I re-apply it at night. It's my go-to. I barely wear foundation anymore. I love that it covers what it needs to cover and it has a great texture and good SPF 30. It has this nice, luminous quality. I'm a big fan of it.
I do a little concealer if I have some action happening, like bags under my eyes. Then I'll do makeup for day. I fill in my eyebrows and then I put on little bit of eyeshadow and mascara. I wear those Shadowlinks that Revlon makes. They have matte eyeshadows that are great; I use the more natural ones, like Bone, but they have colourful ones too. And I wear a good, thick, yummy mascara.
For lips, sometimes I like a very natural shade. I really like the ColorBurst crayons; I think the matte ones are a really nice texture. They're very chic and they stay put. The glossier ones are cool, too, for a different look. They're so easy. I keep one in my purse and swipe it on throughout the day.
Which beauty products can you not live without?
I'm pretty maniacal about my eyebrows. I really like to keep them filled in. I naturally have really pointy eyebrows, and I also have naturally thin eyebrows. They're a bit of a by-product of a '90s massacre that I committed, which I will forever blame on Kate Moss. We can all blame Kate Moss together.
I find it so effective to have nice, filled-in eyebrows. Everything else falls into place on your face. So I have an eyebrow pencil on me at all times. Other than that, a good lip product that's moisturizing. And then hand cream.
You're known for wearing a variety of different looks on the red carpet. Were you always so experimental? If not, how did you become so comfortable taking beauty risks?
I think it's from working with better and better makeup artists. For red carpet specifically, I'm working with amazing professionals who are artists, and they know exactly what is going to work beautifully with the dress I've picked out. Typically, we start with the dress.
Then they help encourage you to take risks. Melanie [Inglessis] is my makeup artist and one of my great friends. She's really brilliant. We love using Revlon products and we have a lot of fun with them. It's just about trying something that interests you, not trying to look like anyone else.
I've always been experimental with beauty, since I was a pre-teen. I used to dye my hair different colours, shave my head, try a billion colours of eyeliners and nail colours. I've always thought beauty was all about having fun with it. Now, when that translates to red carpet, I try to be a bit more bold.
What are the best tricks you've picked up over the years from the makeup artists you've worked with?
Melanie is really brilliant, as is Gucci Westman, who I enjoy working with so much on Revlon. They are both really careful to prep the skin well before makeup. Each taught me to treat my skin nicely and to use a good moisturizer before makeup. I know as a trick, it seems so simple or obvious, but you'd be surprised what a difference it makes.
Melanie is the one who taught me about sponges. I've been using the Beautyblender, and it has made a big difference for me. She taught me to dampen it before using it, because then it doesn't soak up all the foundation or cream. So I get it a little wet, and it makes the nicest texture; the smoothest application of makeup.
And something else Melanie does that I think is great is contouring. She can literally change the shape of your nose or cheekbones with a swipe of bronzer. It's something that sets it apart. So I've been learning more about that from her.
Gucci has this sweet trick of adding freckles over the foundation to make it look more natural, like real skin.
What was your worst or funniest "beauty fail"?
I had it out for my eyebrows from an early age, apparently. When I was five, I shaved them all off. I would watch my dad shave his face in the morning, and I wanted to participate. When nobody was looking, I took one of his razors without a mirror and started shaving my face. I got to my forehead, and thought, "Wow, my forehead's really hairy." I looked like this sad little alien.
Then they grew back, but once I hit probably 13, I started plucking and over-plucking. At the time, it really was in vogue. Once I turned 18 and understood that I really wanted to have my thick eyebrows back, I stopped plucking them. But the follicles were pretty much damaged, which was what everyone warned me about. I'm like every other woman spending the past 15 years regretting that. But that's the great thing about makeup. I love eyebrow pencil.
Do you do anything special to take care of your skin?
I'm pretty basic. I try to use simple products that aren't toxic. I think there are some wonderful brands that allow you to be good to your skin but with simple tools, not 10,000 creams. Kate Somerville makes a great gentle cleanser.
I also love the Dr. Hauschka products. A good moisturizer is really important.
I recently discovered an amazing facialist in LA, Terri Lawton, who concocts her own little potions for each patient. It's really fun; it feels like an apothecary making a special serum. It's all-natural and very simple. She's incredible. I think as I've gotten older, less is more and natural is usually better.
Do you follow any special diet or exercise regimen?
No. I love to work out because it's therapy. I think it's often the only time we give to ourselves during the day. This year, I learned an important lesson—that exercise is really self-love. I like talking about this because it was an "aha!" moment that shifted my perspective on exercise from being an obligatory, oppressive thing that I resisted, to a gift I give to myself. It's how I allow for peace and focus for myself during the day. It's all a matter of viewing it in that way. Suddenly, I don't weep at the idea of going to the gym. This is my time for me. I like SoulCycle, Pilates, yoga. There's something great about the in and out of SoulCycle. It's 45 minutes of extreme intensity.
As far as diet, it's all over the map. Since I've been pregnant, I'm responding to my nutritional needs. I'm really trying to stay away from processed foods and cook as much as I can so I know what's going into my food. I'm using organic products when I can, GMO-free and as local as I can. In New York, it's hard to get a local piece of fruit because we're iced out. But everything in moderation. I love a good Dorito!
What's your perspective on aging?
I think I've only felt more beautiful as I've gotten older. And I think that'll continue. I look at pictures of myself at 20, and if that was supposed to be my prime, then I was way off!
What you're doing as you're getting older is you're learning how to take care of yourself. You're learning what products to use. I think you just adjust your routine to take care of skin that is a different texture because you're a different age. You use products that will protect the skin you have from toxins, from sun, from everything we expose it to.
So my perspective is pretty mellow. It's clear how negatively we view aging in our society. At the same time, there are incredible women in Hollywood. People like Revlon's own Halle Berry; she is a total freak of nature, because she looks so good for her age. If I speak to her it's all about taking care of yourself. There are so many examples of women looking more beautiful than ever in their late 40s. We need to remove these ideas of your 30s as when you're slowly dwindling and fading. Instead, think of it as "I know what to do now."
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty for me is just about confidence. Happy confidence, not from an egotistical place. From a peaceful place, of feeling good from within so it shows on the outside. In men, women, old, young, the real definition is that inner happiness that shines through.
When it comes to products and all of that stuff, it's about using things that bring out that confidence in you, so that you look in the mirror and feel like your best self. It's not about looking like something you saw in a magazine. Are you having fun with your beauty? Are you feeling the freedom to experiment with it? I think that's where it can be fun, and it's not a negative thing.
Shop Olivia's Picks
Is Olivia on your list of beauty crushes, too?
Have you tried any of her top product picks?
How do you feel about her beauty (and aging) philosophy?