What would your desert-island beauty products be?
I use the Brilliant collection from Noble Panacea, so I think my number one would be the Brilliant Radiant Resilience Moisturizer (£199) because it’s something that I use day in and day out. I think if I was on a desert island, then it would be a priority to be moisturised, so I’d definitely take that. I’d also have to take some sort of brow gel, maybe a MAC Clear Brow Gel (£16) or Soap Brows (£15) is amazing, just because as soon as I brush my eyebrows up, I feel like I’m ready to go. I don’t know why I’d need that on a desert island [laughing], but I’d have to take it. Oh and SPF! You’ve gotta take SPF, right? Then I would take something like an essential oil or a body product. Do you know Ilapothecary? They do balms with lots of essential oils, so I think I’d take one of those.
If you had to leave the house in five minutes, what products would you use?
A huge thing that I love about Noble Panacea is that their products are packaged into these little active daily doses, so if you’re in a rush or running out the house, then they’re so easy to fit into your bag. The doses mean that you know the exact amount that you should use, and the packaging is all recyclable too. The Brilliant Prime Radiance Serum (£235) is something that I love, especially in the summer months, so I’d always use that before I leave the house. I know that we had like a month’s worth of rain yesterday [laughing], so this seems a little bit out of touch for me to be talking about summer right now, but these products are so perfect. Especially if you’re someone who travels a lot. Honestly, the amount of time I’ve spent at airport security holding back the tears and saying goodbye to something I’ve packed that’s over the carry-on allowance [laughing]. You can avoid that heartbreak!
Can you talk us through your skin routine, both morning and night?
I wash my face of a morning. That’s the very first thing I do. And then I apply the Prime Radiance Serum. I let that settle for a little bit, give myself five minutes, and then I use the Radiant Resilience Moisturizer. The eye cream (£138) is also phenomenal. There’s quite a lot of product in that dose, so a little goes a long way. Then I always go over that with an SPF 50 because my friend is a facialist, and that’s the one thing that she’s always drilled into me. She always says, “Don’t sit in the sun,” which I can’t fully commit to [laughs]. Where we’re from, we only get like a week’s worth of sun, so I can’t fully get on board with that, but she’s like thunder, rain, sunshine… SPF 50.
Then, honestly, the Overnight Recharge Cream (£216) is probably my favourite product from the whole line just because it is very luxurious. I think the consistency is perfect. I don’t know what you enjoy, but for me, I like to still feel [product] on my skin, but I don’t like there to be a greasy residue. I think that’s the beauty of the way that Noble Panacea have created these products. You put the cream on of an evening, and when you wake up, you feel like your skin is super nourished, you already have a glow, and you feel like you’re off to a good start to the day. Rather than waking up and being like “oh gosh” and you’ve got creases on your face from the pillow [laughing]. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had those mornings!
I imagine you must be approached by brands all the time, so what is it about Noble Panacea in particular that spoke to you?
Do you know, it’s not like I had loads of offers from beauty brands before this [laughs]. I was just so blown away by them. I think they’re really groundbreaking in regard to the packaging. There’s a lot of clean beauty about, but this is clean, it’s recyclable, and it’s all of these things that I feel are doing good in the world. They also work with a campaign called Girl Up, which encourages young women to develop their leadership skills and within science. I feel like a lot of beauty now can be very self-serving, so to be a part of a brand that aims to give back is nice. And, of course, it’s all science-led. That was a huge, huge thing for me. As someone who has, you know, throughout my teens been addicted to makeup, the amount of money that I spent on makeup was just sickening. And products! I’d read a magazine and it would say this is the next thing you need to buy, and I’m like, okay, great. I need to get it right now then! You know that constant need for the newest thing? I think what is wonderful about Noble Panacea is that they have all the science to back it up—it’s all there. So that’s something that I’m really proud to be a part of.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given that has actually made the biggest difference to your skin?
I think, as with everything, consistency is key. For me, skincare is something that’s very cathartic and it’s something that makes me feel good. So if I keep on top of it, I know that I will feel my best. I think the best advice has probably been to look after your skin from the inside out. I sometimes wonder why my skin is flaring up, and then I realise maybe I’ve been eating a lot of a certain food that doesn’t agree with me or I’ve been going out a lot and I haven’t been sleeping or I’ve been working a lot. I think being conscious of looking after yourself from the inside will always help your skin. My assistant calls me a camel [laughing] because I drink so much water. I have this bad boy [holds up a huge water bottle], and she’s just like, “I’ve never known anyone to drink as much water as you do.” I think that could also be a negative if you drink too much of it, but I think water is probably number one for skincare.
So are you a bath or a shower person? And if we looked in your bathroom, what products would we find in there?
I am definitely a bath person, but I’ll take what I can get [laughs]. Even if I’m filming quite late, like we were wrapping at 1 a.m. [last night], I’ve been getting into a pattern where I get in and have a super-hot shower just to wash the day away and because it helps me step away from what we’ve been doing. But then I love a bath. You’ve got to have your Epsom salts, you’ve got to have your magnesium salts, you’ve got to have a good old smelly candle. And then Ilapothecary have a room spray (£29), which I like to use to make it smell as close to a spa as I possibly can.
Are there any brands of bath salts that you particularly love?
Just the biggest bag! It’s about quantity, definitely quantity [laughing].
Are there any beauty secrets that you’ve picked up from the makeup artists and stylists that you’ve worked with over the years?
I work with Alex Babsky a lot, who I adore—he has worked a lot with us on the Noble Panacea campaigns—and he, to me, is an artist. And Hung Vanngo is the same. They use their fingertips a lot, which I love. I think brushes are great, but there’s something about the application when they use their hands and the warmth of their skin. I always really love how the makeup then sets, so I think that’s something that I’ve definitely taken in. I was also obsessed with Alexa Chung as a teen, so a cat eye to me is just heaven. But whenever I’ve tried to do it in the past, it always ends up, like, up here, past my eyebrows and super thick. So I asked Alex what I was doing wrong. I just want a really fine, smudgy, sultry, lovely, made-no-effort cat eye. [laughing] I’m not asking for much, am I? I always started from the outer edge, and he said the trick is to start from the centre of your eye, facing forwards. Then you take the line out to the edge of your eye from there. And I have to say, I’ve started doing that, and it really works. So that’s changed my life [laughs].
I’m going to have to try that because I am useless with eyeliner!
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve usually done the rest of my makeup, and I’ll have about 20 minutes before I have to leave, and I’m always like, should I? Should I not? Then, of course, I go for it, and I fuck it up, and it’s like noooo [laughing]. So it’s been a really useful tip for me.
Obviously, we have to talk about Killing Eve, as it is a total phenomenon. I absolutely adore it, and a big part of the appeal is the amazing costumes and the incredible hair and makeup. What are some of your favourite looks from the show, and do you ever take inspiration from Villanelle for your IRL looks?
God, I wish! Now, they hold on to the costumes a lot more, but I’ve bought a lot of her shoes—they gave me a little discount, don’t worry [laughs]—because her shoes aren’t as heavily featured. And Sam [Perry], our costume designer, always sources the best stuff. So I have a lot of her boots in my wardrobe, which I love. I can get away with them. Some of the other stuff I’ve taken I now feel like I can’t wear because it’s too associated with her. I think if someone sees me in the street, they’re going to be like, “Isn’t that Villanelle’s dress?” and it would be so embarrassing [laughs]. My all-time-favourite look was one from Berlin in season one. She had this Dries van Noten suit. There were greens and purples and burgundies, and it kind of looked like a puzzle, and then they put my hair in plaits and pinned them up, and she wore it with Doc Martens. I loved that. I think also because I was so comfortable in it.
What I love about Villanelle, and we’ve played around with it in different seasons, but especially with regard to makeup, is that I think she doesn’t think all that much about it. You know, she’s busy. She’d be like, I don’t have time for that kind of thing, which I like about her. Probably because I’m similar in that way. Although, mine comes more from a lazy place of not wanting to deal with the upkeep of makeup throughout the day. I think my makeup look would be the Radiance Resilience Moisturizer, Soap Brows, and then there’s a Westman Atelier lip palette (£78) with four shades of red in it. For me, you can put that on your lips, you can put that on your cheeks, and I think that Villanelle is that kind of girl as well.
You’ve already spoken about how you find skincare to be quite cathartic, but do you have any other wellness practices or supplements that help to give you a boost both mentally and physically?
I’m really bad at remembering, but the staples for me are getting a solid 1000 milligrams of vitamin C, and I take liquid elderberry, which is good for your immune system, because I find that when I’m filming sometimes, that’s my first thing to dip. Those two are probably my must-haves. I love Pilates, and I’ve been getting back into yoga again recently. There’s an incredible yoga teacher, her name’s Claudia [Mirallegro], and she was doing these classes online each week [during lockdown], and she’s the most incredible instructor. And I have to say that a bit of Palo Santo for me is just everything—an instant mood-lifter. It’s just so good! I sound like such an airy-fairy witch, but I think that your senses are so powerful. Breathwork for me recently is something that I’ve been really interested in too because I realised that I hold my breath a lot [laughs]. I was doing a class with Claudia, and she said, “I want you to take your first conscious breath of the day,” and her saying that just blew my mind. I was like oh my god, it’s 8 p.m., and I’m only now being conscious of the fact that I’ve been breathing all day. Just taking notice of those things sounds so simple, but because we’re so busy all of the time, we don’t pay any attention to them. I’ve been enjoying finding ways of slowing down and doing things that really make me feel good because a lot of the time, we talk ourselves out of doing them. Like with Pilates, I might feel good afterwards, but the thought of actually doing it… No, I’d rather sit on the couch, thank you [laughs]. So I’m getting a bit better about saying, no, come on, this is going to make you feel good, which is nice.
Finally, what’s your Unfiltered beauty philosophy in seven words or less?
The only thing I could think of, and this is so cheesy, because I don’t really have a philosophy, but it was that song “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” [laughing]. I just feel that beauty, to me, at this moment, is being happy, being comfortable, having a sense of self and being comfortable within my own skin. It’s probably the cheesiest one you’ve ever had, but I think that is probably my philosophy—just feeling truly content. I’m also conscious that as women, the worst thing to be told is, “Smile, love!” or this notion that a woman always has to be happy. So I don’t want to drill that; that’s not what I mean at all. Disclaimer! [Laughs].