Lily Collins on her all-time favourite beauty products and why being different is cool

'It connected me with so many people around the world and hopefully it made them feel less alone'

Lily Collins
(Image credit: 2019 Patrick McMullan)

'It connected me with so many people around the world and hopefully it made them feel less alone'

The English-American actress Lily Collins is as well known for her movies as for being a regular fixture on the best-dressed list.

But thanks to her Audrey Hepburn-esque gamine beauty she is now also the face of Lancôme’s Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate. A product the self-confessed skincare buff describes ‘as truly making my skin so much smoother and stronger’, especially on set.

Lancôme Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate, £125, Fabled

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Despite having blockbuster movies like Mirror Mirror under her belt, Lily Collins hasn’t always felt that she ticked those neatly defined beauty boxes.

‘When I was six and first moved from England to Los Angeles [after her parents musician Phil Collins and his second wife Jill Tavelman divorced], there were cultural differences right away,’ she says. ‘Obviously I sounded very different with my accent and my brows were maybe more European and I just felt a little bit like an alien.’

On the subject of those brows, Collins admits she had a love-hate relationship with them when she was younger.

‘I didn’t understand them,’ she says. ‘It was the 90s when thin brows were in and I thought, ‘oh my God they are bold!’. I wanted to blend in so I tended to shy away from accentuating my eyes because I thought maybe they are too big as well. Then I fell in love with Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara. Suddenly it was like my brows helped to showcase my eye. It was a big thing for me to learn.’

Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara, £25, Fabled

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At age 16, Lily Collins began starving herself, exercising obsessively and became addicted to diet pills. She only felt comfortable to talk about her eating disorders when she turned 28.

‘At the time I was writing Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me, where I discussed different things I went through growing up, and filming To The Bone, which was about a young woman suffering with chronic anorexia.

'I just felt that in order to truthfully speak in my book and to truthfully play this character in the movie, I was going to have to draw from my own experiences. It connected me with so many people around the world and hopefully it made them feel less alone.’

Her take on beauty in 2019?

‘Different’ is a wonderful word. We also become more confident when we remember that the things that make us ‘not perfect’ are actually what make us grow into more interesting human beings.’

Amen to that.

Fiona Embleton

Fiona Embleton has been a beauty editor for over 10 years, writing and editing beauty copy and testing over 10,000 products. She has previously worked for magazines like Marie Claire, Stylist, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health. Beauty journalism allowed her to marry up her first class degree in English Literature and Language (she’s a stickler for grammar and a self-confessed ingredients geek) with a passion for make-up and skincare, photography and catwalk trends.