After a 10-minute phone call with Lily James, it was easy to see why the actress was cast as a Disney Princess in Cinderella and as Meryl Streep’s younger flashback counterpart in Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again. Just like her most notable characters, she oozes sunny, approachable charm that makes you feel like you already know her. Plus, she’s got the same laid-back approach to beauty that emphasizes the thick brows, fair skin, and wavy blonde hair she’s already working with.
James, the face of Burberry Beauty‘s latest makeup campaign, is a treasure trove of tips for a quick and easy no-makeup makeup routine and the skin care that makes it possible. She knows the best serum for dried-out skin, how to make unruly eyebrows cooperate, and the pigmented liquid lipsticks that layer with ease — and she happily told it all to us.
You’ve been working with Burberry since 2016. How have you seen your beauty persona develop since then?
“What I really love is how I have been influenced by my relationship with Burberry Beauty — like it’s symbiosis, a natural thing. I think it sticks in the [Matte Glow Foundation] campaign, that real feeling of elegance, and it feels quite sophisticated and refined. I found that’s been quite empowering, and I’ve held on to that and tried to frame that as much as possible.”
What’s the marker of a perfect foundation to you?
“I wear [Matte Glow Foundation], like, every day because it’s really light and it feels breathable. You can put a really small amount on and it gives you a nice coverage. And when you’ve got those imperfections, it really does cover them up. It lasts even with humidity and heat and stuff, and it just feels really, really beautiful on the skin. I don’t like to wear lots of makeup, so this foundation feels really perfect for that. It gives you combat coverage, but it’s not heavy.”
Tell us about your go-to skin-care routine for makeup prep.
“I always cleanse, tone, and moisturize — no matter how late it is or how much I’ve had to drink. It’s really good, particularly in England, to wash with cold water [because] my skin is quite dry. I use this amazing Dr. Barbara Strum Hyaluronic Serum to keep the liquid in my skin.”
You’re pretty well known for your enviable eyebrows. What’s your secret?
“I used to over pluck my eyebrows. When I first started acting, it was almost like they were one hair thick. Then, for a character, this director told me — I was playing a 14-year-old — he told me to grow out my eyebrows. My whole face just changed. It was a really exciting moment, and luckily they did grow back. Now, I basically pluck them as little as possible. I do fill them in a little bit ’cause I’ve got gaps, and I brush them. Sometimes I like to use a bit of eyebrow gel. Mary Greenwell, my amazing makeup artist, she always uses a toothbrush on my eyebrows, so I started copying her. It’s not the same one I brush my teeth with, but I just brush them upwards with a toothbrush.”
Are there any new makeup trends you’re itching to try?
“Lucy Boynton always does quite bright eye shadow, and I think that’s really beautiful and really fun, so maybe just to be a bit more experimental. I also really like making my lips as big as possible. I’m slowly embracing that lining right out on the outside of the lip to get a really big pout.”