Courtney Love


"When I like something, I am pretty loyal. And I never use things that don’t work. I used to be really into SK-II—the SK-II Cellumination Cream will always be good—and for years and years and years I’ve been using Vita-A-Kombi 2 by Karin Herzog. I actually got that from Uma Thurman, and who can complain about her fucking skin? This was back when she and I shared the same agent. And a few months ago, I discovered this Bioxidea Miracle 24 face mask that I’m wearing right now, which is crazy. You wait, like, 20 minutes and it dissolves into your skin. It’s Korean. I love it. I got it at Sundance, and I'm on my last mask right now. I'm tweeting them tomorrow three times. I need more! They also have one for your hands, your feet, which I did last night. There’s even one for your titties. I haven’t done the boobs mask one yet—you just stick it on your tits, apparently. I have to try it. But I did the foot one and the hand one yesterday, and it makes my skin crazy. It’s like I just had sex for four days.

I've seen basically every facialist, and what makes a good facialist isn’t creams, it isn’t anything they use, it’s how many fucking extractions they do—I learned that from Marcia Kilgore [the founder of Bliss] a long time ago. I had to leave there with a big red face because she got all of my pus out. I don’t want to hear about their fucking products—I just want them to get all of the pus out of my face. That’s it. But then some of their products are good: Kate Somerville has a great product called Quench, which is amazing. Put on your Vita-A-Kombi, your Revive cream, and then Quench, and you’re good. And pretty much all of SK-II is amazing—all I know is that Cate Blanchett was pimping it before they were paying her to. I use Colbert MD and Dr. Brandt skincare products, and I also love the Sensai brand by Kanebo, which I got it in Milan. Sensai is the top level of the Kanebo line, and it really works. Also, Bliss has the Triple Oxygen Mask, which I think is good. If you put it on after a long day? Boom. But it’s not as good as Karin Herzog’s Vita-A-Kombi 2. Also, I have to give it to Organic Avenue. I have one of their chlorophyll shots every day—it is the best thing for you. It’s good for preventing cancer, for your skin. I haven’t had a blemish since I’ve been doing Organic Avenue, for over a year.

I’m also really into perfume, clearly. I’m a Fracas girl—when I was growing up, I only wore that, and I don’t change it up very regularly. Well…I do cheat on Fracas. I have almost every Kilian perfume that he’s made. And a lot of Amouage fragrances, which are several hundred bucks a bottle. Sometimes I do these ones: Homage and Gold by Amouage. I feel like you would wear them if you won an Academy Award. Gold is a really heavy perfume, but you kind of feel like the Queen of England when you wear it—it’s a huge smell. Then, I have my Kilian: Back to Black, which has tobacco, cherry; it’s very rock and roll. There is also Straight to Heaven, which is really beautiful. And then here's Love & Tears, which is actually one of my favorites, not just because of the title; it’s so sexy. I’m a huge perfume collector.

What else? I love Eve Lom's Cleanser for taking my makeup off, but I don't need to wear makeup that often... Unless I’m going out, and if I’m going out, then I wear a little bit. I really still do like to play with makeup. Fuck yeah. When I was promoting my last album in 2010, Nobody’s Daughter, I remember once I was walking around in my clothes from my clothing line [Never the Bride], all this Illamasqua-style makeup, and Lagerfeld was like, ‘You look like the 26 year-old perfect rockstar whore—but you are not 26. You are never going to get laid like that.’ And it was Karl Lagerfeld, so I was like, ‘OK.’ [Laughs]

I use a lot of Make Up For Ever and Illamasqua, but Illamasqua’s my main jam. I first remember seeing an Illamasqua ad and thinking, 'What is this? It looks amazing!’ so I hunted down [founder] Julian Kynaston. He’s like a 45 year-old goth with eyeliner—amazing. I love that over-the-top look for on-stage, editorial. Absolutely. Full-fucking-on. So, I started stalking Julian and now we’re really, really good friends. And Alex Box, who is their creative director, does all of their reds, and is a genius. The packaging can sometimes be unwieldy but their reds can be amazing, especially the red called Box.

Then a couple of years ago, I started talking to Pixiwoo, who's one of the biggest stars in the Youtube makeup-tutorial world and works with Illamasqua. This girl [Samantha Chapman] and her sister do everything: Fight Club, Marlene Dietrich…The Marlene Dietrich tutorial is the one that everybody who ever wears makeup should watch. I learned a lot from that. She even did a 1920s makeup tutorial that I requested. I can watch Pixiwoo videos for hours. I am actually pretty good at doing my own makeup—I never have other people do it. I still use a lot of Kevyn Aucoin, too, for more conservative stuff, like blush. I actually still have a blush that Kevyn gave me back when he was alive. I also have a Tom Ford Lip Gloss that I like: Wet Violet. It's easy. Sometimes, I’ll use the Nars Illuminator, but not that often anymore.

I pencil my eyebrows in sometimes, but not often—I’m more into wearing L’Wren Scott and not being controversial these days, but when my new album comes out, we’ll see. [Laughs] Also, I don’t wear my blush on the apples of my cheek anymore like Kevyn Aucoin taught me; I wear it by my temples. It’s more of a Twenties thing. Even if I was going on a shoot, I would put it there. It’s an age thing, too, but I also think it’s more modern that way. When Kevyn would do my makeup back it the day, it was always amazing. He had the most incredible hands and could just make you feel so beautiful. I actually presented Best Makeup at the Academy Awards [in 1997] and Kevyn was doing Nicole Kidman after he did me. And Nicole had him doing her mother, sister, everyone. So, he had to do my makeup first. And he finished with me by 11 AM, and the Academy Awards don’t start until 3 PM. But my makeup did not smear all fucking day. He took a little puff, put some powder on the puff, and then a little lip gloss, put it in a little bag, and that’s all he gave me for touchups. I put my lips on and that was it. It stayed all day."

—as told to ITG

Courtney Love photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on March 31, 2013.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • marshmellows

    emily, just amazing. thankyou

  • Couteau

    Tags: Icon, Singer, Songwriter, Beauty Geek, Hole, Kate Moss, F***

  • Guest

    I love her! She's a survivor and to me, that's what makes her beautiful. That said, I'm glad to know that I'm not the last Fracas girl on the planet. (And if I had the budget, I would absolutely try those masks she uses. Would love to have something for my feet. They need help!)

  • Couteau

    Tags: Icon, Singer, Songwriter, Beauty Geek, Hole, Kate Moss, F***

  • Michael Fragoso

    Love this.

  • Phil

    Amazing.. just amazing

  • Suzanne

    Does anyone know which L'Artisan that is behind the Kilians? Séville à l’Aube?

    • ITGNick

      I think it's Safran Troublant:

      • Suzanne

        I think you're right--thanks!

  • Maggie

    I wasn't sure what to expect when I saw Courtney Love had a Top Shelf, but I thought it was wonderful! She came off as extremely honest (to be expected) and has a lot to offer on many different products!

  • nycingenue

    Her brash honesty is so refreshing - no paid promo here. I feel like I have to listen to someone who is such a beauty survivor. If anyone knows how to save skin - it's someone who's been to the brink and back.

  • Christina

    Emily, I love you so much for this! wow!!

  • SarahB

    Usually don't rave about anything Love says or does. But I have to say I appreciate her brutal honesty here. It's hard to come by, because it's not so easy to tell when women are saying it just for sponsorship. And totally agree about Pixiwoo. Nic and Sam are some of the most talented and down to earth makeup artists ever.

    • Sara

      Me too! I could not care less for her (and her music, her behavior, her language etc.), but I really do love this Top Shelf. And...that is a lot of Kilian! I love Kilian's perfumes! They are sooo good!

  • Femantix

    LOVE the "Get the Products" section--brilliant on so many levels!

  • jessica

    She's quite quirky, obviously, but the nice thing about Courtney is that if she thought something sucked, she would not plug it -- she's brutally honest. Which is, honestly, a huge plus from a celebrity when it comes to something like a Top Shelf. This was really awesome, actually.

  • bluesky557

    This just makes me miss Kevyn Aucoin.

    • Anastasia

      Yes! I thought the same thing when I saw his name.

  • fairytalesandcoffee

    Here here, Courtney. It is ALL ABOUT THE EXTRACTIONS. I've unfortunately been to some seriously lazy facialists, which is why I rarely bother now for those inflated prices. Apparently, slapping on a few masks and oils and some steam with light patting is worth 1-200 bucks of their time. NO THANKS.

  • La Péau Radiancé

    She does know which brands are the best, and uses some of the best products from those brands, but what she is clearly confused by is in WHICH ORDER to apply the products.
    You don't apply the Vita-Kombi Cream, THEN ReVive's Moisturizing Renewal Cream and THEN a silicone product like Quench on top. Your skin is getting all sorts of mixed signals.
    I'm a product whore, and love to try new products, and of course I mix and match, but there's a perfect sequence for this, and though I'm not at all surprised by her skincare routine, she's wasting some products that won't penetrate by just piling them on top of another.

  • Sabah A

    wow, absolutely amazing interview. If I am being honest, I always had a negative view of Ms Love but something about this was so F-ing earnest, can't help but love her. Go Courtney and ITG! <3 x

    p.s. Love that she's an illamasqua lady, that brand is just beyond.....

  • Carol Bing

    Courtney is such an inspiration! What a survivor. As a woman entering menopause it's refreshing to hear someone be blunt and honest. She is beautiful, and I'll trust her even as my body changes with age. I didn't know at first how to handle menopause, but then I watched a great documentary called "Hot Flash Havoc" that really answered my questions and made this journey easier. It's honest as well, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested. You can check it out here:

  • Marta E

    Beautiful pictures Emily!!



  • ddelriobud

    Omg I LIVE for pixiwoo tutorials. Ummm can you please make the jump and review Pixiwoo co-creator Samp Chapman's make-up brush line, Real Techniques? The best Jerry, the best!!

  • PerfumeShrine

    Courtney intelligently deconstructed every "rule" of femininity in looks and then patched it back together in a way that's truly her own. Got to love that!
    And she's every bit the perfumephile she appears to be. Way to go Cort!

  • Jane S.

    Get a Clarisonic and you won't have to worry about those extractions. I'm not a big fan of Courtney Love, I feel she's mostly famous for outrageous/bad behavior rather than anything really inspiring. And can we discuss her plastic surgery obsession? Her face is almost unrecognizable.

    • Guest

      I have a Clarisonic and while I love it, it's not a one size fits all solution. I still need professional help with the blackheads on my nose. As far as cosmetic surgery is concerned, I'm reminded of Cher, who once said "I'll put tits on my back if I feel like it!" To which I say, "amen!" Her face, her choice. None of anyone else's business.

    • Belle

      Clarisonic has helped heaps, but I still walk out of my washroom with blackheads and imperfections now and again. My skin is unbelievably sensitive, reactive and difficult, though I don't break out much.

      Love is famous for being a rockstar in a different time. I applaud her resilience. Many people these days are known for lesser things.

  • Designer Binary

    Brilliant! I love this. And must say, loving the diversity here of interesting, unique and inspiring people featured.

  • Natalie Lane

    *runs to sephora to pick up "Box"....

  • Lori Santos

    Hmm, Courtney Love. nice one ITG.

  • disqus_tLglYWAxzw

    wow..absolutely refreshing!!another reason i stalk, erm, constantly visit this site. she kept it all the way real..i can definitely respect that..i hope i can be so comfortably myself like that someday..

  • sam

    loved her pixiwoo shout out! i love them. also i love her honesty, and she has lovely taste.

  • Joana

    OH MY God *I haven't even read this yet but I just had to exclaim*
    Courtney Love's top shelf, you really rock ITG!

  • Christina Cupo

    This is the first Top Shelf that made me stop my life and drop what I'm doing in order to read it. So good call, ITG, on featuring irreverent beauties like Ms. Love.

  • missminute

    ARGH I wish I could see which Frederic Malle fragrance is on the dresser! I spy it in the background

    • tigrepeludo

      I'll hazard a guess: Lipstick Rose! (LOVE Frederic Malle fragrances)

    • therealblonde

      It looks like it is Lipstick Rose

  • mlle p

    Now I am addicted to the Pixiwoo videos and ready to go on a makeup bender.

  • Baolu Lan

    Courtney has an exquisite nose! By Kilian's Love and Tears is my favorite jasmine solifore.

  • EMvL

    I think this is the updated Marlene Dietrich make-up tutorial by Pixiwoo, it was posted more recently and is of better quality. Probably gives you a better impression of the current Pixiwoo make-up tutorials, which I love.

    • murt

      Thanks for the link. Have to admit I preferred the older video, I think because it was in lower resolution with less saturated colour. It seemed to preserve - or maybe be more of an homage to - the Dietrich mythology in comparison to this one (which I also enjoyed).

      • EMvL

        Ah I see what you mean, the lower resolution does fit in that context, though I generally prefer the newer videos, it's easier to see exactly how products look on the skin.

  • Nina

    THIS IS TOO COOL!! seriously. please do kim gordon next!

  • Jody

    I love this so much that I can't breathe!! Courtney has to be one of my all time favorite musicians, I'm such a massive fan. There's no mistaking her honesty and I really admire that she says exactly what she thinks and feels. In 1999 I saw her perform with Hole at Big Day Out, an Australian music festival. At the end of her show she picked my friend out of the crowd, gave her the guitar she'd just played her whole set on and parted with the words, "Look after that, I don't wanna see that shit for sale on the fuckin Internet". God I miss the 90s.

  • Lana

    I would love to become enlightened as to why everyone loves Courtney Love so much? I don't understand why she is a top shelf pick. I must admit I am curious to know what she uses, but not to the point where I would take advice from her. Curious.

  • Anita Bora

    This is the best top shelf ever, no faffing about, no plugging of products, just brutal. Plus agree about Sam Chapman's Real Technique brushes, I use them everyday and till date there's been no shedding, shapes have remained intact through countless washes, and is just good value for money.

  • Holly Golightly

    love this interview.
    so excited that the Kevyn Aucoin line is back at Neiman Marcus. *goes*

  • fashionista911

    Ok I have to be honest. After reading this my inner product junkie life feels complete lol. Awesome post!

  • dunzoo

    Most hilarious post ever !!

  • murt

    I really enjoyed this Top Shelf - thanks! Brightened up my afternoon!

  • Camellia

    Fascinating! Super cool Top Shelf!

  • Arosebyanyothername

    There will never be anyone like her. Can ITG do another story on her to see what she's up to now?

  • Arosebyanyothername

    But in saying that, surely she wouldn't want "more free product" from companies/brands she didn't like? And c'mon... who among us doesn't love "free stuff"... rich or poor?

  • ann

    Ahhh C<3urtney!


Kevyn Aucoin
Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow Blush
Robert Piguet
Fracas Eau de Parfum
Revive Moisturizing Renewal Cream
Kate Somerville
Kate Somerville Quench Hydrating Face Serum
SK-II Cellumination Cream Illuminating Moisturizer
bliss triple oxygen instant energizing mask
Kanebo Sensai Collection
Kanebo Sensai Collection Ultimate The Emulsion
Kanebo Sensai Collection
Kanebo Sensai Collection Ultimate The Cream
NARS Illuminator
Eve Lom
Eve Lom Cleanser
Kilian Love & Tears
Kilian Straight To Heaven Eau de Parfum
Kilian Back to Black Aphrodisiac Eau de Parfum