How to Get a Gorgeous, Flawless Face (According to Charlotte Tilbury)

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charlotte tilbury makeup tips
Photo: Courtesy of @CTilburyMakeup

Whether she’s creating runway looks for Alice Temperley, glamming up the Victoria’s Secret Angels, beautifying A-listers such as Amal Clooney on their big day, or getting the likes of Olivia Palermo ready for Fashion Week, there’s not a day when Charlotte Tilbury isn’t working her makeup magic.

One of the most in-demand makeup artists in the world, she’s known for creating glowing complexions and natural-looking faces – all with her best-selling products, of course. So, naturally, we just had to find out her ultimate makeup tips and beauty secrets – including how she keeps her own skin looking so flawless and how you can use makeup to cheat your way to fuller lips, bigger eyes, and supermodel definition. This one’s a must-read.

charlotte tilbury interview
Photo: Courtesy of @CTilburyMakeup

Iconic women have inspired your products and love of makeup from day one. Why was this so important to you?
I have always been obsessed with beauty. From a young age, I had posters on my wall and bought loads of reference books of beauty icons and silver screen sirens like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, and Marlene Dietrich. I was fascinated by their faces. I used to spend hours studying them and thinking, “How can I steal a bit of their DNA and bottle it?” Today, my entire collection is centered around past and present beauty icons who inspire me – that’s where the idea for my “10 looks wardrobe” came about. From Kate Moss and Brigitte Bardot for ‘The Rock Chick’ to Penelope Cruz and Sophia Loren for ‘The Dolce Vita’, they’re iconic because they are trend leaders who know what works for them. They have a signature style that people want to emulate, but they can also embody several looks.

There’s also my ‘Hot Lips’ collection, which was created in homage to some of the modern beauty icons I admire. It’s the ultimate all-female collaboration with 12 incredible, mesmerizing women: Miranda Kerr, Nicole Kidman, Salma Hayek, Kate Bosworth, Laura Bailey, Cindy Crawford, Helena Bonham-Carter, Liv Tyler, Emily Ratakjowski, Carina Lau, Poppy Delevingne, and Kim Kardashian-West. I really admire each of the women who inspired the collection and, with them, I want to spread the feel-good factor that a gorgeous new lipstick shade gives. I have extracted their beauty DNA, mixing colors that really embody their style and personality, encapsulating it, and now giving it to everyone!

charlotte tilbury kate moss
Photo: Courtesy of @CTilburyMakeup

Is there a way to use makeup to make lips look fuller?
For making thin lips look fuller, my iconic and award-winning ‘Pillow Talk’ lip liner and lipstick are the ultimate pout-perfecting duo. The color mimics the delicate rose-blush hue of your lips and effortlessly enhances the appearance of the natural lip. It’s a nude-pink lipstick that creates a fuller, wider, more alluring pout for every occasion – and it suits everyone!

I always say a lip liner is a girl’s best friend to make the lips appear bigger. By tracing the natural outline of your lips with my ‘Lip Cheat’ lip liner, you can reshape and resize the lips to cheat your way to a more plump-looking pout with a flawless finish. When applying ‘Lip Cheat’, smile slightly to get a bit of tautness in the lips – you can reveal the shape that way – then softly outline the shape of the lips. ‘Lip Cheat’ has a velvety texture that glides over the lips with a wax- and oil-rich formula that works beautifully as a stencil, ensuring lip color lasts.

Another top tip to make lips look fuller is to use my amazing ‘Collagen Lip Bath’, which creates a gorgeous plump effect on the lips. It’s a hybrid lip enhancer that nourishes, refreshes, and bathes your lips in lustrous marine collagen. It contains lip-plumping mustard sprout extract to hydrate, enhance lip volume, and define the contours of the lips to create a firmer appearance. There’s also marine collagen to moisturize and pearlescent pigments for a milky, pink-opaque sheen that reflects the light, making the lips look fuller. You can literally get the lips of your dreams in seconds!

What about making small eyes look bigger?
A tip to create bigger, brighter eyes is to add a touch of my ‘Bar of Gold Palette’ or ‘Hollywood Beauty Light Wand’ to the inner corners of the eyes. This subtle pop of highlight really opens and widens the appearance of the eyes in an instant.

What are your tips for adding structure and definition using makeup?
Adding structure and definition using makeup can help you instantly look more defined. My ‘Hollywood Contour Wand’ is the easiest way to contour, as the formula blends so easily and so seamlessly into the skin in seconds. To add subtle contour, definition, and shape to the face, I apply the sculpting wand to my cheekbones, temples, forehead, and down the sides of my nose. I then buff into the skin using the large end of my ‘Hollywood Complexion Brush’.

You could also try my ‘Filmstar Bronze and Glow’ – my original highlight and contour duo for killer film star cheekbones! It’s the perfect intro to a more subtle shading and highlighting product, and the textures and shades are foolproof. Starting with the bronze shade – a natural, warm contour shade – use any precision brush, like my ‘Powder & Sculpt’ brush, suck in your cheeks, and follow the hollow. Once you’ve finished contouring, use a bigger bronzer brush to add a subtle sun-kissed glow to the skin. And remember to blend, blend, blend!

What’s the biggest makeup mistake you see women making?
Choosing the wrong shade of foundation is one of the biggest makeup mistakes a woman can make. The most important thing when choosing foundation is to test out the color in a natural light to get your perfect match. If the light is too dark, it’s likely that your foundation will be too dark. A lot of women forget to match the skin on their neck and ears, too. They often use too much foundation and, if you forget to blend in properly, you get that dreaded tide mark along the jawline.

When I’m applying foundation, I use just enough to get really beautiful coverage, starting from the center of the face and blending outwards. I use my fingers a lot because the warmth of your hands helps blend it in properly. Another mistake women make is over-plucking their eyebrows. Brows are the pillars of the face – they define your beauty! With easy-to-use tools like my ‘Legendary Brows’, you can create flawlessly defined brows in an instant. The micro-precision brush and sculpting gel coats, shades, and grooms every single hair, adding structure to your brow without making it look stuck down.

What’s the best way to cover up blemishes without the need for caking on makeup?
The best and quickest way to cover up blemishes is with my ‘Magic Away Concealer’. Before I launched it, I always found that concealers either covered momentarily and then tended to cake and dry the skin, or they did disguise, but were so heavy on the skin. The ones I tried were often chalky or cakey or drying – or all of those! There was never the right flawless, poreless-looking coverage, which is what I created with ‘Magic Away’.

It’s my secret weapon for all of your skin concerns and creates the most flawless, natural-looking skin. The elastic stretch formula makes your skin look practically poreless, and it’s so smoothing. It delivers full coverage inspired by the airbrushing techniques that I call “airbrush face”, which is perfect for every occasion. It also is incredibly long-lasting, so will keep you looking gorgeous and glamorous from day to date to disco!

What shadow colors go best with what eye colors?
Make green eyes pop with rose gold or deep-purple shades. For blue eyes, choose a very light champagne gold or glittery, gunmetal gray-black. You can enhance the vivid amber undertones in brown eyes with either a mink hue or warm-bronze shades, and illuminate the golden-green tone in hazel eyes with a soft gold or dark emerald.

What are three makeup products we’ll always find in your makeup kit?
Darling, my makeup bag is full of magical makeup products ranging from my everyday must-haves to top secret new products I’m testing, so it’s difficult to pick just three! But some of my essentials that you’ll always find in there are:

1) My award-winning ‘Charlotte’s Magic Cream’. It was how this brand began! The cream actually got its name because, for years, I used to mix it myself and use it backstage at shoots and shows to turn around the tired skin of supermodels and celebrities. They soon became obsessed and would ask me for my “magic” cream every time, so I decided to recreate and share it with everyone – it’s now a worldwide favorite! I never apply makeup without it; it gives me the perfect glowing base every time. It contains camelia oil, rosehip oil, bio-nymph peptides, and hyaluronic acid, so it instantly floods the skin with moisture.

2) I’m never without my concealer; it’s my secret weapon for all skin concerns. I liken it to a magic wand because it makes your skin wishes come true – it literally is the magic wand of makeup!

3) From my new holiday launches, I’ve been using my ‘Stars in Your Eyes’ palette every day. I’m wearing the ‘Happy Eyes’ look – it’s a sunlit, amber-inspired look with energizing bronze shades from antique rose to burnt amber and smoky matte brown. The powerful iridescent pigments really absorb and reflect the light for an eye-brightening mood-boosting look.

What’s your top tip for women in the Middle East who have to deal with heat and humidity?
My top tip for dealing with the heat is to use a super finely milled powder to lock your makeup and keep anything from slipping because of the humidity. It can also reduce any unwanted shine on the skin. For every makeup look – from red carpet to weddings to shoots – I always finish with my ‘Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder’. It’s a micro-powder that is like the most finely milled, highest thread-count cashmere. It also doesn’t sit in lines, but optically blurs them away.

I love its ultra-luxe luminosity and the high-definition result it creates. The formula is enriched with rose wax and almond oil, so it won’t sit heavy on skin either. I only like to use powders on the T-zone, down the nose, on the chin, and across the forehead. I like to keep cheekbones free of powder so that they remain dewy-looking and catch the light.

The cat-eye flick is still the bane of many women’s beauty routines. What’s a simple way to get it right every time?
This is one of the questions I get asked the most when it comes to sharing my tips and tricks! For creating the perfect cat-eye flick, my top tips would be:
– Start by adding a highlighter to the inner corner of the eye and beneath the bottom lash line (1/3 of the way along the lash line) to really open and widen the eyes.
– To add shape to the eyes, go for a thinner feline flick. This will elongate the appearance of the eye and add more definition to the lash line.
– Start in the inner corner of the eye, and draw as close to the lash line as possible. Keep drawing a thin line until you get two thirds of the way across the eye line. From this point, start to thicken the line, sweeping the pen up and out.
– Next, look in the mirror and draw a dot where your flick should end – this should be 2mm up and out from the outer corner of your eye as a guideline.
– Compare them both, and then join up the dots!

Also, when creating the perfect feline flick, a pointy Q-tip from a drug-store with a little bit of my ‘Charlotte’s Magic Cream’ is the secret to perfect lines and clearing up any little mistakes!


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Why is prepping the skin before makeup so important? What products should we use?
I really believe that taking care of your skin and having a good daily skincare routine is so important. I always say that you can’t have a beautiful painting without a beautiful canvas! The key to magic skin is all about looking after and maintaining the best skin of your life, and I love sharing my tips and tricks for skincare as much as I do for makeup! My personal skincare routine starts in the morning, and the first thing I do to get an instant glow is to cleanse with my incredible ‘Multi-Miracle Glow Balm’. Enriched with vitamins and floral extracts, it’s a purifying cleanser that gives the complexion a youthful-looking boost.

For the best complexion of my life, I then multi-mask with my ‘Goddess Skin Clay Mask’ followed by my ‘Instant Magic Facial Dry Sheet Mask’. The glow-giving, lifting effects work for up to eight hours! Next, I always prep my skin with ‘Charlotte’s Magic Cream’. I am never without it; it gives me the perfect glowing base. I then tap some of myMagic Eye Rescue’ underneath my eyes to hydrate and visibly smooth the skin. To finish, I’ll apply my Gisele-in-a-jar ‘Wonderglow’ face primer, which uses fluorescent core technology to soft-focus lines and pores while re-emitting natural light from your skin, giving you lit-from-within radiance!

Gorgeous, glowing skin is still so in. What are your top tips for getting a party glow?
Darling, glowing skin is always in! Ever since I started my makeup journey over 26 years ago, I’ve always understood and talked about the scientific power of the glow filter. A beautiful canvas of magic skin that looks lit from within – from expertly lit photoshoots to gleaming, sculpted-looking limbs on runways – I always centered my makeup looks on creating my “Tilbury glow”.

You need my ‘Hollywood Flawless Filter’ for the ultimate party glow. I have used this to give celebrities a gorgeous, flawless filter before all of the cameras – just like a filter on social media. It’s red carpet makeup in real time to make you look amazing both on and off screen. It has the versatility of primer, the mega-watt glow of highlighter, and the perfecting properties of your favorite digital filter – and everyone can find their own level of flawless glow filter!

For an extra glow boost and party-perfect highlight, my ‘Bar of Gold Palette’ is my go-to for every woman – it has three sublime shades of show-stopping gold. When choosing a highlighter, shades such as bronze, deep gold, and rose gold look gorgeous on darker skin tones. Very fair skin tones should look for a pearlescent finish and pair well with champagne-y, pale golds. A peachy-gold finish, meanwhile, suits medium to dark skin tones.

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