When we started this beauty series, we can’t lie, our motives were not entirely selfless. We are really, really inquisitive (read: nosy) when it comes to the beauty routines of our favourite editors and experts. It only made sense to create a designated weekly feature dedicated to quizzing them on the nitty gritty of their make-up, skincare and wellness routines, right? And who better for us to talk to all things beauty and putting your best foot forward with than Lilah Parsons.
Wondering why her face looks familiar (and if you’re not, consider yourself obligated to Google it ASAP)? She kick started her career off as a model, lending her face to the big guns from Chanel to Vivienne Westwood before venturing into DJing and presenting for MTV.
Looking presentable and somewhat put together is a daily struggle for most of us but as someone in the public domain, it’s a whole other beast entirely so she knows a thing or two about the pressure to look photo ready at a minute’s notice. From the high street skincare brand her dermatologist has given top marks and the mascara that trumps all mascaras to her 80/20 clean eating rule and go-to make-up remover, herein lie her beauty secrets.
I have always loved magazines and fashion imagery. I’ve collected Vogue since I was 12 and was always in love with the beautiful shoots inside and photography from the greats like Tim Walker. In my early teens I did work experience at LK Bennett and Hugo Boss and at 20 I started art school. That was where I met lots of creative fashion types and really got my foot in the door. That’s also how I got into modelling. I was helping a friend style new faces for the Elite Model Look competition and at the wrap party I was scouted by another model agency. I never thought anything would come from it. I was off to London College of Fashion to study Fashion Styling and Photography. That was my plan. But then I gave the modelling a try and it just took off. I kept meaning to go back!
It’s difficult for me to define myself as one thing. I’m a presenter but I do have fingers in so many different pies. Right now, for example, the thing I’m most excited about is the launch of my first clothing collection. After modelling for them for the past three seasons, I’ve designed a capsule line for Yumi. I’m such a big fan of the brand so being able to work with them on watching my designs come to life from the original mood boards and sketches has been the most amazing experience. I can’t wait to share it with everyone. Better still, I just can’t wait to wear it! I’ve designed pieces that I really want in my own wardrobe and hopefully everyone else will agree.
My skincare routine is pretty simple. I don’t wear make-up during the day – if I’m going to work meetings I just keep my face clean and make-up free – but when I do, I always use Garnier’s oil-based Simply Essentials Soothing 2-in-1 make-up remover. It’s great for removing thick make-up easily without you needing to rub. I’m big on cleansing, toning and moisturising so always use Simple’s cleansing lotion followed by Avène’s signature toner, which really helps keeps spots at bay, and Simple’s light, hydrating moisturiser. I recently visited a top dermatologist who told me that Simple is one of the best brands for effective skincare.
Being a model has definitely made me learn a lot more about make-up. Whenever I’m on a shoot, I’m always picking tips and tricks from the hair and make-up teams – it’s little things like buffing in your foundation to make it really flawless or doing your eye makeup first then foundation to avoid any mess. I love doing shoots because they allow me to play with looks I wouldn’t necessarily try myself. The other day, for example, I was given crimpled hair, which I actually love now.
When I am wearing make-up, I’ll start by mixing Bobbi Brown Moisture Rich foundation in warm ivory, with some sun cream to create a base, buffing it in with a Real Techniques stippling brush. It protects my skin but also gives a really nice consistency that blends really naturally. Next, I tend to use an Avon shimmer block with a big brush to give my skin a hint of bronze, particularly around my cheekbones. If I’m feeling tired, I also love Touche Éclat under my eyes. I then set my make-up with a translucent powder from Benefit. When it comes to eye shadows, I tend to stick to brown tones. I have a beautiful Yves Saint Laurent palette with different nudey browns. I then use the Yves Saint Laurent Volume Effet Faux Cils mascara – it’s honestly the best I’ve ever tried. Normally, I find that most mascaras are pretty much the same but this one is a game changer. It gives you really thick, luscious lashes.
With my hair, I always used to buy any old cheap shampoo but after working with L’Oréal Professionel this year, they taught me that using a salon range for your hair makes such a big difference. The chemical formulations are just so much better and more effective. With many of the others, you’re essentially coating your hair in plastic. Now, I only use L’Oréal Professionel on my hair and honestly see the difference. It’s definitely worth spending that little bit more.
I’m generally quite low maintenance but I definitely need to get more trims – I always mean to but never get round to it. I used to pop into a salon every two weeks for a fringe cut but now I leave it a month or two. I do quite enjoy playing with styling it differently as it gets longer but I have to be careful because sometimes it gets into curtain territory and makes me look like a 90s boy band member.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
Clean living doesn’t come naturally to me. I would always prefer to be snuggled up on the sofa eating cheese than doing yoga and eating kale. Even when I am at my unhealthiest I always try and get lots of greens in though. I like having salad with meals and I enjoy eating vegetables. Maybe it just makes me feel less guilty if I’m pigging out. In general I try to live by the 80/20 rule – eating healthily 80% of the time. I know I should try and stay away from processed foods but I do love sugar. It’s my biggest weakness.
I really don’t love the gym but in recent months I have really tried to start looking after myself better. I’ve tried to get into different classes rather than going to the gym because the variety keeps me going and stops me from getting bored. I can’t lie, I do hate it at the time but I love how I feel afterwards. I like dripping with sweat when I leave. I feel like I’ve achieved something then. As I’m getting older, I’m realising that it’s really important to take care of myself and find the time. That’s what I need to keep reminding myself when I’m making excuses because you can always find an excuse not to go.
Photographs by David Nyanzi with art direction by Naomi Mdudu.
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