Diva Knows Best
Beyoncé Shares Her Beauty SecretsBy April Long for Elle
The last rays of afternoon sun are streaming through the window of a Manhattan loft where Beyoncé Knowles sits resplendent in a sleeveless sapphire blue dress and stilettos sharper than ice picks. Despite an epically hectic past few months in which she's scooped up six Grammy Awards; launched her spicy-sweet debut fragrance, Beyoncé Heat, with a late-night party in New York (it has since broken sales records for celebrity scents); and wrapped up her yearlong “I Am…” tour, the superstar shows not a hint of wear and tear. “I'm running on adrenaline!” she says, her voice honeyed with a surprisingly strong Texas drawl. “I'm too happy to feel tired.”
As a 16-time Grammy winner, a Golden Globe–nominated actress, a House of Deréon fashion muse, a perfume-brand powerhouse, and the woman who got Jay-Z to put a ring on it, Beyoncé has racked up almost too many accomplishments to tally since first rising to fame with Destiny's Child more than a decade ago. Whether elegantly serenading the Obamas on Inauguration Night while flashing gunmetal Minx nails, stomping across the stage as bouffant-hairdo-and-Thierry Mugler-sporting alter ego Sasha Fierce on her stadium-wowing megatours, or vamping it up in black lipstick alongside Lady Gaga in the recent “Telephone” video, she's a bona fide beauty icon who always manages to balance knockout sex appeal with good-girl charm. It's therefore something of a relief to discover that when the superbusy star finally does get some sleep, she'll be slipping under the covers with Aquaphor smeared on her face. “I go to bed looking totally greasy,” Beyoncé says, laughing. “It's not all glamour all the time.”
Are there similarities between music and perfume?
When I write songs, I want them to be sensual and sexy, so women can go out on the dance floor and feel free and strong — like they can say whatever they want to say, especially to the opposite sex. And that's what I wanted Heat to do too. You feel more confident when you're wearing a fragrance you love.
Any anti-fatigue beauty tricks?
I always keep a pair of Ray-Bans handy! And sometimes I put a little gold eye shadow in the inner corners of my eyes — it's more subtle than white, but it still really makes you look more awake.
What do you use to give your body skin that velvety sheen?
I layer on bronzers for public appearances. I love L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze One Day gel, which you can just get at Walmart, and Scott Barnes Body Bling is also great.
You do your own makeup for performances. Why not use a makeup artist?
It's a way of getting into the zone — it's part of becoming Sasha Fierce. I'm able to sit down for an hour and play around with makeup, which I find really relaxing and fun. Before a tour, I have my makeup artist design a look for me — she draws it on paper to show me where to put everything.
How important is hair and makeup for getting into film roles?
Very. Especially playing Etta James in Cadillac Records — once I put on that blond wig and those thick eyebrows, I felt much more natural in her skin. That's one of the things I love about makeup: You can change your whole attitude just by doing your eyeliner or lipstick differently.
What are some of your staple red-carpet tricks?
I use a makeup primer, and then I use a lot of powder to keep everything in place. I usually go for a waterproof mascara, or a strip of false lashes when I'm onstage, so I won't get smudgy. And I love L'Oréal Paris Elnett hairspray — it holds like nothing else.
Your mom owned a hair salon when you were growing up. Did you try out a lot of styles?
Oh, yeah. I'm sure it was scary for her because I was always messing with my hair when I was a kid. One of the worst things I did was cut my ponytails off. I saw my mom doing extensions, so I thought she'd be able to put them back on. Thankfully I had separated my hair into quarters and I only cut off the front two ponytails. Afterward I had to have really thick bangs for a while.
Did it make you more fearless about experimenting as an adult?
Definitely. I'm still always doing something to my hair — cutting layers, or bleaching it, or taking it upon myself to copy fashionable hairstyles without knowing the necessary techniques. A couple of weeks ago, I cut my own bangs and put highlights in the front. When my stylist saw me, she was like, “What did you do?!” I did a pretty good job, but she still had to fix it. We're always joking that I'm a frustrated hairdresser.
How often do you exercise?
I've never been all that consistent. If I'm onstage doing a performance for two and a half hours, I don't really think I need to do anything else. So when I'm on tour, I let it slide. But I just started working out at the Tracy Anderson gym. It's hard work!
Tracy Anderson is known for reshaping people's bodies. Is that what you want?
Not really; I'm pretty happy. I want to get my arms a bit leaner, but other than that, it's just maintenance.
Do you follow a specific diet?
Well, I don't eat pasta every day. I'm not trying to lose or gain weight, but I do have to work out and watch what I eat. I'm not someone who can go crazy. I'll usually have cereal for breakfast and a salad for lunch and a light dinner, and then on Sundays I'll allow myself to have whatever I want.
You famously did the Master Cleanse for your role in Dreamgirls. Would you ever do it again?
Never. I did it to lose weight really fast, but it wasn't fun. There are healthier ways to lose weight — I wouldn't recommend it.
Seriously, does Beyoncé ever look bad? We don't think so.PacificCoastNews.com