How tick­led I am by the Queen of Slap

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Front Page -

Char­lotte Tilbury – flame­haired mas­ter of the smoky eye, cre­ator of count­less Vogue cover looks, and Kate Moss’s best mate – is search­ing my face with the fer­vour of an iris-recog­ni­tion scan­ner at Heathrow.

“Oh my GOD I am DES­PER­ATE to put make-up on you!” she shouts. “You’ve got great eyes – they’re hazel but I could make them look re­ally green! Your eyes could morph!” And she’s off, grab­bing an eye palette from the stack of prod­ucts in front of us and chat­ter­box­ing away about colour com­bi­na­tions.

In her 20 years as a makeup artist, Tilbury has made her name trans­form­ing women into un­re­served glama­zons. She’s the ma­gi­cian who gives Mossy her trade­mark fe­line eye and nude lip, Adele her peachy sheen, J-Lo her A-list god­dess glow. Now, keen to im­part her wis­dom to the rest of us, she’s bring­ing out her own range of cos­met­ics – and I’m first in the fir­ing line.

“Fifty per cent of women in this coun­try don’t en­gage with makeup, and that is a huge disas­ter,” Tilbury says, look­ing flum­moxed as she cov­ers my hand in smudges of lip­stick. “Women are not us­ing that se­cret weapon to make them­selves look gor­geous and feel bet­ter. I think lots of them are scared of look­ing stupid, they don’t know which colours to match or how much to put on, but beauty is not this ex­clu­sive club shrouded in se­crecy – ev­ery­one can look beau­ti­ful!”

Tilbury, 40, is won­der­fully, unashamedly high-main­te­nance. Fem­i­nist fat­was about nar­cis­sism don’t wash with her. So wed­ded is Tilbury to her slap that she doesn’t even take it off at night. “I take my skin off but I don’t take my eyes off,” she de­clares. Does she not wake up with panda eyes? “No, it’s just a lit­tle bit rock ‘n’ roll-look­ing.”

But surely there must be days when she can’t be both­ered with the faff of it all? “That is never an op­tion. It’s like, why would I not look fab­u­lous? Peo­ple can crit­i­cise me for it but it’s the god­damn truth! I look much bet­ter with make-up on and it makes me feel good.”

Tilbury grew up in Ibiza, the daugh­ter of a painter fa­ther and a lo­ca­tion scout mother. Her child­hood sounds bo­hemian – full of beach par­ties with the Rolling Stones and Fred­die Mer­cury – but it wasn’t un­til she en­rolled at board­ing school in Eng­land that she be­came ed­u­cated in the trans­for­ma­tive pow­ers of make-up.

She came back to Ibiza af­ter her first term, aged 13, sport­ing mas­cara, eye­liner and lip gloss. “Ev­ery­one, from seven-year-olds to 70-year-olds, re­acted to me in a to­tally dif­fer­ent way,” she says. “They all said, ‘Don’t take of­fence but you’re sud­denly so at­trac­tive!’

On the lash: Char­lotte Tilbury. ‘I look bet­ter with make-up on and it makes me feel good,’ she says

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