Lily James, from Downton Abbey to Pam & Tommy: “For each role I play, I wear a different perfume”

Exclusively, the British actress reveals to us the essential products of her beauty routine to shine with a thousand lights during the end-of-year celebrations.

Sometimes an emancipated lady in Downtown Abbeysometimes a Disney princess in Cinderella or even Russian countess in War and peace, Lily James has often distinguished herself in films and costume series. More recently, the actress has expanded her cinematic register by transforming herself into Pamela Anderson for the miniseries Pam & Tommy (it took four hours of makeup and hairstyle so that she takes on the features of the heroine ofBaywatch). His stunning transformation and performance earned him a nomination for the 2023 Golden Globes to be held next January. In the meantime, the British star shines in another role: that of muse of the cosmetics brand of Charlotte Tilbury, the make-up artist of all Hollywood.

On the poster for the new make-up collection for the end of the year, Lily James poses alongside other English icons such as Kate Moss, Twiggy and Jourdan Dunn. A flamboyant photo shoot, which recreates the joyful flights of the disco era and its spiritual home in New York, Studio 54. The opportunity to meet her and collect her beauty secrets exclusively for the festive season.

Madame Figaro.-You’re starring with fashion icons in Charlotte Tilbury’s new Christmas campaign. What do you remember from this experience?
Lily James.- It was so cool! I couldn’t believe I was going to be on a shoot with icons like Kate Moss, Twiggy and Jourdan Dunn. These are all people who inspire me and who we want to be like. They set trends, whether in beauty or fashion, or even just a term of state of mind. They created a vibes ! Those are the kind of truly amazing moments. It was so cool to be with them, and the campaign was so much fun to do.

Lily James, Kate Moss and Jourdan Dunn in Charlotte Tilbury’s new makeup campaign. Press Photo/Charlotte Tilbury

Madame Figaro.-An essential make-up to celebrate the holiday season?
Lily James.- First of all, I’m so excited to enter this festive season! It’s so nice to finally have an excuse to go out and dress up, wear your favorite sequin dress. My new must-have product for the holidays is Charlotte Tilbury’s new Hollywood Glow highlighter, because it makes you look really radiant, fresh and sparkling.

Miss Figaro.– What is your makeup routine in everyday life?
Lily James.- I’m pretty lazy! I spend about twenty minutes on it. I really like products that are easy and quick to use. I start by applying my concealer and if it’s a sophisticated makeup, I also add foundation. Next, I apply blush to my cheekbones and to my eyelids, as I like to have a similar shade in those two places. Then I put highlighter on my nose and cheeks. Finally, I brush my lashes with mascara. It’s such a quick and easy make-up.

Madame Figaro.-Essential products that you always slip into your bag?
Lily James.- I always carry a Tangle Teezer hairbrush as my hair is a real burden, as well as hair oil. It’s so cold right now that I’m basically taking travel size hydrating facials with me. And Burt Bees brand lip balms in different flavors.

Madame Figaro.-How do you take care of your hair?
Lily James.- I’ve dyed my hair about 5,000 times this year, which may have been a mistake… Luckily, I have a great colorist, John MacPherson, who takes really good care of it. I use a lot of Olaplex brand products to restore moisture and protein to my hair, mainly the hair oil and the Bonding Building Intense Treatment. My hair also tends to frizz, so I use a GHD straightener to tame it up a bit.

Madame Figaro.-Which makeup style helps you feel more confident?
Lily James.-I think it totally depends on what I do with my day. When I’m au natural and staying at home or doing my life around, I like to have very simple and light makeup. Simple and magical makeup tips can help you feel good about yourself. But I also love dressing up for a night out, adding lipstick, highlighter and gloss.

Lily James for Charlotte Tilbury. Press Photo/Charlotte Tilbury

Madame Figaro.-What’s the best makeup advice you’ve been given in your career?
Lily James.-Charlotte Tilbury’s “six points” technique is brilliant and accessible to everyone. It allows you to sculpt your facial architecture with a highlighter. Just apply it to six places on the face that catch the light: on both cheekbones, just below each eyebrow, on the jaw line and finally, on the tip of the nose. It’s like a super photographer has shone light on you to highlight your face. It really is something that transforms you. You will get the same look as the celebrities on the red carpets, but you can also use it in everyday life. Also, Charlotte said something to me one day about makeup that is so true: “You can’t have a good painting without a good canvas.” You really have to take care of your skin before applying your make-up. It makes the result prettier. All of a sudden, we are radiant, we look fresher.

For each role that I play, I choose a different perfume

Lily James

Madame Figaro.- What perfume do you like to wear to dance until the end of the night?
Lily James.-I love Versace’s Bright Crystal eau de toilette, it’s a very cheerful and sensual juice. In general, I am a very sensitive person to smells. I took a trip to India during my studies and I will always remember the smells I smelled as well as the scent that I wore at that time. It evokes so many strong memories for me, even today, I wear it all the time. I also like the smell of lavender which reminds me of my grandmother. And for each role I play, I choose a different perfume. I think it was Helena Bonham Carter who told me about it on the set of Cinderella.

Madame Figaro.-How do you relax after a long day at work?
Lily James.- I am a real homebody! I travel a lot for work, so when I get back home to Heathrow, pick up my keys and walk into my house, I feel such relief. The older I get, the more I want to stay at home! I love watching great cinema movies, snuggling up in my sheets. Recently, I fell in love with silk pillowcases, it’s so exquisite and comfortable on the skin. I love going for walks, walking in nature and in the parks of London. It immediately calms me down and puts things into perspective. I also love drinking a glass of wine next to a fireplace. There, I’m happy!

In video: Pam & Tommy, the trailer

Lily James, from Downton Abbey to Pam & Tommy: “For each role I play, I wear a different perfume”