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Singer Leona Lewis on Makeup Moves, Tips from Her Makeup Artist and Why She Says No to Olive Oil

Leona Lewis might not be the person to help you put your false lashes on. But she can do a full face of makeup in a moving vehicle.
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Leona Lewis The Beauty Interview

Singer and best-selling X-Factor UK winner

Leona Lewis is the best-selling X-Factor UK winner in the United Kingdom, with three Grammy Award nominations, more than 20 million records sold worldwide, and a holiday album called Christmas With Love. Leona Lewis is also a girl who grew up on a farm around horses and cows, became a vegetarian at age 12, and loves makeup. In a relaxed, late-night phone convo, the singer/songwriter chatted easily about her collab earlier this year with The Body Shop (read the story at, which helped fund her favourite animal sanctuary, Hopefield. We talked about her beauty routine, too, from mastering winged liner to why she says no to olive oil.

leona lewis makeup moves

Leona Lewis: "I've used The Body Shop for years because I know they're against animal testing."

Leona Lewis: "I've used The Body Shop for years because I know they're against animal testing."

When did you start searching out animal-friendly cosmetics?
It started with being conscious of fashion, and leather, and then I made the transition to stop wearing leather. After that came the cosmetics. I've used The Body Shop for years because I know they're against animal testing. Their White Musk almost represents my teenage years -- I used to wear it every day.

What are your go-to makeup moves?
I really feel like I can never be too brown, so I'm a bronzer addict. I put it on temples, cheeks and a bit on my nose. I love a bit of mascara as well, and a light, light gloss, something that's just enough but not too much. I do like a bit of gel eyeliner on top with a little flick. That's probably my signature look. If I don't have a bit of mascara or something on my eyes, then I don't really feel comfortable. I feel like I have no eyes.

I do a bright lip every so often, especially if I have a tan. I love a coral lip. And sometimes if I'm wearing no makeup, I'll do a red lip and have everything else bare.

The eyeliner with the little flick -- did you have to practice that?
I had this friend Katy who used to have the most immaculate eyeliner. And she did it on the train. And I remember one time I tried to do that and I ended up looking like a mess. So definitely I had to practice. But now literally I can do it anywhere -- I can put on makeup on the crazy moving train, in the car, I can put on fake eyelashes -- I've got it down to a tee now.

How long did it take you to master false eyelashes?
Not long -- I can do them really really quick. I can't do them on other people -- I tried on my friend a little while ago and one ended up on her eyebrow. But on myself I can do them really quickly. I think it's because of doing shows and gigs where you have to do your eye makeup, you just learn how to do it.

Leona Lewis: "Makeup at the barn is not good."

Leona Lewis: "Makeup at the barn is not good."

What's your look when you don't have to be in front of a camera or paparazzi?
I try to be as fresh-faced as possible, because usually when I'm not working I have a horse, and so I'm at the barn. And makeup at the barn is not good. Sawdust sticks to your face, I come home and my eyelashes are all dusty -- it's not a good look.

I always use an SPF moisturizer; sometimes a tinted moisturizer as well to even out my skintone a little bit. I usually always do my eyebrows, too. I don't really use concealer unless it's nighttime and I'm going out with my friends.

Is there a makeup look you still want to master?
The smokey eye. I can do it, but I'm always so jealous when my makeup artist (Jane Bradley) comes and does it and it looks so amazing. It takes me such a long time, and all of the blending -- I definitely can still work on that.

Favourite tips from your makeup artist?
That for my skin tone, less is more. And to not go overboard because I can look a bit drag-queen-y if I wear too much! So definitely subtle, not a lot of foundation -- I concentrate on my eyes when I'm doing my makeup.

I don't like to be covered up; I just like a bit of evening out. Tinted moisturizer is a good day-to-day for me... or I'll just mix foundation with a nice cream or daily moisturizer. My makeup artist told me to do that because then it's just it's less heavy.

Any beauty blunders stand out in your memory?
Oh my gosh so many. A while ago my cousin was emailing pictures of me when I was 15. And for some weird reason I would wear white, white, white eyeshadow on my eyes, then really shimmery white underneath my eyebrows and a really super glossy lip. It looked like I had no eyes, I looked really strange. Super good look.

Leona Lewis: "I'm really bad. I don't really have a proper skincare routine."

Leona Lewis: "I'm really bad. I don't really have a proper skincare routine."

leona lewis haircare and skincare

You have great curls -- what do you do with your hair?
I was blonde for a long time, then I went really dark and kept it for a while -- then I just decided I was a bit bored. I get bored really easily. I blowdry my hair quite a lot because it's just easier for me when it's straighter, but I do love my curls. I condition it, I try not to mess with it too much, I wear it up in buns a lot to save it from being bashed around. I do a lot of heat styling, which isn't really ideal, but somehow my hair is still in my head. Takes me probably 15 minutes to blowdry it.

What's your skincare routine like?
I'm really bad -- I don't really have a proper skincare routine. Sometimes I wash my face with soap, and that's it. But I'm obsessed with oil. When I'm in the shower, I oil myself. Before I go to bed, I plaster oil on my skin -- I get that from my grandma. I use oil everywhere -- I'd bathe in oil if I could.

I like coconut oil, literally the stuff you cook with. I put it in the bath, and in the shower I'll put it all over my hair and all over my face. I've used brazil nut, but I don't like that for my face, more for my body.

I got into oil when I was really young. My cousin had really thick hair, and her mother used to make her this put this crazy concoction of egg yolk and olive oil in her hair. She used to stink, but she had really nice hair, so I was like yes, I'm definitely going to oil myself. I tried olive oil, but I hated it. Couldn't bear it. That's why I went to coconut oil -- it smells good.

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Follow Leona Lewis on Twitter at @leonalewismusic, and on Instagram as Horse_Shoe_Peace. Opening photo via Instagram.