For global beauty icon and Hourglass Cosmetics ambassador Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, putting on make-up has extended beyond a requirement of her career to become an emotional and creative process in her life. She talks to Kaitlyn Lai about what beauty means to her, her favourite Hourglass products and finding strength in her routine
From Victoria’s Secret Angel to Hollywood actress, and to her namesake digital beauty destination Rose Inc, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has done it all – in style. This year, she has added another accolade by becoming the first-ever brand ambassador of cruelty-free beauty brand Hourglass Cosmetics.
What does the word “beauty” mean to the global beauty icon? “I think we all know beauty really starts from the inside,” she says. “Therefore, it’s really just a state of being and the person that you choose to reflect into the world. To me, it means warmth, humility, love, and just being a caring, loving individual.”
Since giving birth in 2017 to her son, Jack, motherhood has allowed Huntington-Whiteley to experience a new perspective on warmth, humility and love, and has thus influenced how she sees beauty in others. “I definitely became much more empathetic after I had my son, and I became less judgemental about other people and their choices,” she says. “I try to see other people as always trying to do the best that they can. Sometimes we make mistakes and we don’t always get it right, but I do believe most people’s instincts are to do what they think is best for them or for their families.”
Huntington-Whiteley’s relationship with Hourglass Cosmetics goes way back. She first came across the brand around seven years ago, when a make-up artist used Hourglass products on her. “I remember being really blown away and picking up the product and thinking, ‘Wow, what’s this brand? I’ve never heard of it.’ The next day, I actually went out and purchased the products for my own make-up bag – I was that excited about them!” she says. “[Hourglass powders] all have this photo-luminescent technology, so they really diffuse the surrounding light for skin and give you that sort of lit-from-within look. Their powders are just like nothing else I’ve used.”
From her genuine love for the brand, what started out as an ordinary encounter with some beauty products blossomed into a special relationship. “I’ve been working since I was 16 years old, and I would definitely say that the partnership with Hourglass feels the most natural for me because I’ve been a genuine fan all of these years,” she says. “At this point in my career and in my life, I’m really only inspired to align with brands that I have personal affinity for or a connection to, or a brand that I really feel can make a difference in other people’s lives.”
Huntington-Whiteley has already incorporated the Ambient Lighting Edit Mini-Sculpture Unlocked from the Hourglass Holiday Collection 2020 into her morning make-up routine. She reveals a handy trick: “Although it’s bronzer and blushes and powders, I actually really love to do a quick eye make-up with this as well.”
As for her favourite product from the collection, the Confession Refillable Lipstick Duo secures the win with its interchangeable double-bullet. “With the formulation, you can wear it blotted back and kind of fade it at the edges for a more undone daytime look,” she says. “And you can also really build it up to be a really intense classic red lip that’s really impactful.”
Although the model and actress often interacts with beauty products in the make-up chair, putting on make-up has extended far beyond her career to become an emotional process and a creative mode of expression in her life. “When I put on make-up, I feel awake and ready for my day – I feel confident,” she says. “I’ve always found the experience really creative and I enjoy that sort of time to myself. It feels like you’re slowly building confidence and just getting that ready-for-the-world feeling. I feel like it’s the same as getting dressed and putting on an outfit – you feel good and it shifts everything about your demeanour in that moment.”
Under lockdown, make-up has been a material for experimentation for Huntington-Whiteley, but also a source of comfort and self-care. “There was a lot of anxiety for a lot of people – well, there still is a lot of anxiety – and through the lockdown, people were finding those moments where they could relax and take that time for themselves. I certainly know that I indulged in a lot more at-home rituals, which was nice.” On whether her relationship with make-up has changed during lockdown, she says: “I wouldn’t say it shifted so much. I look forward to putting it on. I miss applying it every day, but it’s also nice to have this less-is-more approach to things right now.”
In the simple act of putting on make-up every morning, Huntington-Whiteley admits she finds strength. “I’m a mum and I’m busy,” she says. “Some mornings I wake up, look in the mirror and go, ‘Oh my gosh, who am I?’ I’ll wash my face, do my skincare routine, apply my make-up and 20 minutes later, I’ll think, ‘Okay, I feel ready to face the world now’.” The empowerment that comes from make-up lies in the confidence it instils in her. “I think every day when I apply it, I feel my demeanour shift from being one thing into another, and there is just this real confidence boost,” she concludes. “I know for me, when I feel confident, I feel ready to tackle anything that happens throughout the day. Confidence is a really important thing that we all have to have in our lives.”
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