The daytime products that top Hollywood make up artist Valli O’Reilly uses herself
Picture the scene. A corner booth in Liberty’s second floor café where a small group of women is gathered round the table, talking 19 to the dozen, while opening their make up bags and patting things on their faces.
In the middle is legendary Hollywood make up artist Valli O’Reilly, who’s in London to do Michelle Pfeiffer’s face for Maleficent, and hanging on her words are beauty insiders including Sarah and Anna-Marie Solowij, former beauty director of Vogue and joint founder of Beauty Mart. Sarah was there to glean tips from Valli about the make up she has in her own cosmetic bag and also recommends to her friends.
Valli is now in her fifties and looks great though she protests that her lines (faint as they appear) make her feel like a Shar Pei dog – whose faces are legendary for their glorious wrinkly folds.
It was the best kind of play date. And not just for this little group. As Valli launched into her list of favourites – demo’ing as she talked – it became clear that people at the tables around were riveted. Indeed one grey-haired, sweet-faced woman d’un certain âge was so captivated she asked Valli to repeat some of the product names, saying she was beetling off to buy them immediately.
Here’s the lowdown on Valli’s favourites for day wear but her first bit of advice is to ‘Marie Kondo your make up bag’, referring to the Japanese queen of decluttering whose doctrine of only keeping items that ‘spark joy’ applies as much to cosmetics as it does to clothes. ‘Get rid of all your ancient mascaras and other products you bought in a weak moment and just use the products that really work,’ Valli commands. (Our sentiments exactly.)
Foundation: Valli’s preferred brands are Chanel and Giorgio Armani.
For summer, try Chanel Vitalumière Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup, £37 in 12 shades or Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, £42 in 30 shades.
Valli suggests mixing your foundation 50:50 with moisturiser or serum to make it look natural. She likes the fab but pricey Advanced Pearl Protein Day & Night Cream by QMS Medicosmetics, £219 for 50 ml. For cheaper alternatives, see our Beauty Bible Day Cream Award Winners here.
Cheeks: Net-a-porter now carry Westman Atelier, the hotly sought after range by Gucci Westman, a fellow make up artist whose products are much admired by Valli. She recommends Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer in Coup de Soleil, £69, for a sunkissed look. For a softer pale look, try Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick in Minette, £46, which does double duty for lips, see below.
She’s also a fan of By Terry Compact-Expert Dual Powder Blush and Bronzer Powder.
Eyes: Valli’s top mascara brand is Lancôme – there are so many options, including the brand’s iconic Hypnôse mascara, that we suggest you browse the website. Lancôme also offers her chosen Le Crayon Khol Eye Liner, £18.50. If you’re Stateside, ‘look for the deep ashy brown shade called Black Coffee,’ she tips, but over here try Brun, the nearest equivalent. ‘Extend it at the outer corner of the eye and underneath in a sideways V shape.’
Setting powder: depending whether you’re going tanned or pale, Valli suggests Guerlain Météorites Pressed Powder Compact in 01 Light or deeper toned versions in 02 Medium or 03 Golden, £33.60.
Lips: Use a lip liner that’s the nearest shade to natural lip colour to outline lips (if they’re a bit narrow trace just outside your lip line), then fill in all over the lips. For daytime, just top with balm or you can stroke on the Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush Stick for a bit more pzazz if you want. Try Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Lip Pencil in Rose, £18.50 (15 other shades to choose from) and for balm, we love Balmkind Alpine Rose & Lysine Lip Balm SPF20, £13, and Lanolips Tinted Balm SPF30 (3 shades), £8.99
Teeth: Brighten your smile with Elgydium Whitening Toothpaste. ‘It makes a massive difference,’ says Valli. £10.49 from Amazon.