'I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I always wanted to be a singer—my whole life, all I ever did was sing around the house. [Modeling and acting] all happened so young, before I even had a chance to really think about it. But I love what I do... People are always telling me how much they loved Empire Records. We had so much fun making that movie. I was so young—16 or 17. I still had a tutor! [Laughs] I wasn't really thinking about [making a fashion statement]. But those were my boots in the movie! Actually, we got into a huge fight, because I had this whole outfit planned, and then the night before filming, [the studio] said they wanted me in a mohair sweater and a plaid miniskirt. It was something about how they wanted to soften my look [photo 15], but being a rebellious teenager, I was mad. I was like, ‘Are you fucking kidding me? Really? Fine, screw you, I’m gonna wear my boots with it!’ Well, that’s what I said to myself.
Everything has changed so much in fashion and beauty since the Nineties, when I was starting out. I remember going to the Stealing Beauty premiere, and I loved Dolce & Gabbana so I reached out to them to borrow a dress and they sent me one. I think I had my hair done. But I would go to things all the time where I did my own hair and makeup. Or, when I did Inventing the Abbotts with Joaquin Phoenix, we were dating at the time, and I threw on this red Prada dress with my weird vintage coat for the premiere. I remember Gwyneth [Paltrow] came to the premiere for Armageddon and danced with me at the after-party and she had no makeup on, this little slip dress and no bra, and maybe flip-flops. It was just a different time. There weren’t as many paparazzi, the red carpets weren’t what they are now—there’s a lot of scrutiny going on and the maintenance is intense! Think about seeing Julia Roberts on the red carpet in the late 80s and early 90s in a suit with no makeup on, and that was OK. I sort of miss those days a little bit.
I really learned about makeup and skincare from watching my grandmother [Dorothea Johnson] and my mom [Bebe Buell]. My grandmother was very elegant, very detail-oriented, and kind of meticulous about her routine and about how groomed she was. She started teaching me the importance of moisturizing at six years old, putting moisturizer on me every night when I got out of the bath. She also taught me things like, ‘Never go to sleep without washing your face,’ so, at a very young age, I was washing my skin. And then I watched my mom, who was totally different. My grandma is an etiquette teacher, who’s written books on the topic—we’re actually writing one together right now—and my mom had this rebel heart. She played in punk bands and worked as a model. Growing up, I’d always watch her do her makeup, and I would break into her bag all the time and use her products. But I started working at 13! So, I can’t remember ever not having makeup or skincare around.
I'm obsessed with beauty—seriously, one of my dreams is to write a book about beauty secrets and do a skincare line. Having said that, I haven’t even begun to venture down that road, but since I was a very young teenager, I would collect masks and moisturizers, and when my girlfriends would come over, I’d be giving them ideas for what to do to their skin. I still do that all the time.
When you put a bit more effort into some things, the results are wonderful, especially as a woman—in your health, your body, your skin, your hair. It can be about that extra five little minutes a day, 30 more minutes a week. Try to shut the world out. If you’re a mom, you just say, ‘Okay, here, you’re going to watch a movie, I’m going to take a bath.’ Take the time to have a bath, to do a face mask. It really makes you feel better! And that is what makes you more beautiful—the inner-sparkle that shines out. My whole thing about skincare is starting from the inside, out. There’s no cream that’s going to make you beautiful.
That being said, I think that exfoliation is the key to beautiful skin, I really do. I use scrubing gloves every day in the shower. They just make you glow and get your blood flowing… Your skin is your biggest organ! It’s important to slough off dead cells all the time. For example, today I flew in on a red eye from L.A. and slept for four hours. So, I took a steam shower with essential oils and I scrubbed my skin, conditioned my hair, and I used the Clarisonic—just that gets your blood flowing. Your skin is flushed, awake, and alive. I’m a big believer in that type of thing. Like, if I had to go to a big event, a couple hours before, I’d take a crazy-hot bath with tons of salts and oils a few hours before. I love Kneipp Joint and Muscle Mineral Bath Salts; they’re intense. But I do more than that—I take a couple of baths a week where I use a whole box of epsom salts and either a bottle of hydrogen peroxide or a packet of baking soda. Equal parts salt and hydrogen peroxide. It makes you sweat all of the toxins out and all of the bad stuff. I learned about it from a hippie-natural-amazing pediatrician, actually, for when kids get sick.
So, I do that a couple times a week, and I’ll do a face mask while I’m in there. I love the Astara Skincare Blue Flame Purification Mask because it has lots of good oils in it and it makes you glow, or the Cellcosmet Anti-Stress Cream Mask, which I got from my facialist in LA, or Bliss' Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask. I’m also pretty much obsessed with Tracie Martyn Amla Purifying Cleanser—I put it on my Clarisonic. For toner, Caudalie Beauty Elixir is my favorite thing in the universe; I am hooked on it, and I take the travel-size one on the plane, wherever I'm going. Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil is amazing, too—when you add water, it turns into a white, milky texture and it takes your makeup off in one second.
I use different creams and moisturizers. I really like Nia25 Intensive Recovery Complex and NeoCutis BioRestorative Skin Cream, which my godmother and dermatologist told me about. It’s almost like La Mer, in that it’s soothing and very non-allergenic feeling; you can just keep loading it on and it really hydrates. After I put on my normal moisturizer, I rub tons of La Mer into my lips and then I use it as a spot treatment—a little bit under my eyes, around my nose, above my top lip. My favorite light moisturizer is Remède Alchemy Emulsion, which smells so beautiful—I’ve been using it since I was, like, 15. But the Cetaphil cream pot is my favorite, favorite, favorite moisturizer—I use it all the time, after the shower, every day. It holds the water in, and makes you have beautiful skin. At night, I’ve been using these little Pomega5 oil capsules from Bliss.
Here's one trick that I’m pretty religious about: when I’m showering, I’ll turn the water to cold for the last couple minutes, which a hairstylist friend told me closes the hair cuticle. It makes your hair really shiny and beautiful. And I always feel like it makes you a little bit skinnier. [Laughs] So, I always do that. In terms of maintenance, I shampoo and condition my hair every other day. When I condition, I use a mound of product—they say ‘quarter-size,’ but I’ve got, like, five silver dollars in there. I’ve been working with Pantene in Europe and Asia [as an ambassador] for the last couple of years, but I’ve been using their products since I was a kid, back in the Empire Records days. I like their Clinicare line, which I think is only available in Asia. It makes my hair velvet-y and light. I also love Terax products—they feel amazing.
With makeup, I like to look like I don’t have makeup on. I think I have a face that can take a lot of product. On movies, it’s always interesting because, the way my eyes are, if you do a strong eye on me, you have to keep putting it on. It’s the way my face reflects light or something, but I can take a lot of makeup. But I usually don’t wear very much, especially when I’m not working. For foundation, I mix a little bit of Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation in #123 and #12, and put it on really gently with my finger. When someone else does my face, they’ll use a sponge, but I never, ever do that when I do my own makeup. And then I do a bit of YSL Touche Éclat #2, just to highlight places. I put Givenchy Blush Gelée on my cheeks, or this crazy-old Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Moist Glow in Pravella that I love. It’s so old, he was still alive when I got it. If I was going to the beach, I would just use Becca’s Beach Tint on my cheeks and lips and nothing else.
On my eyes, I usually work some Givenchy Magic Khol in Coffee in along the top and bottom lashes and smudge it. I don’t wear eye shadow—if I want the color to go up a little higher, I’ll just keep smudging the eyeliner upwards. Then, I love Clinique’s Naturally Glossy Mascara. I use it a lot on movies because it’s so natural-looking. I’m not a big clumpy mascara fan—I like my lashes to all be fanned and spread out.
My favorite red lipstick is Rio Rio by Topshop. It’s this amazing orange-y red. It was Alexa Chung’s suggestion, actually! I saw her once and I said, ‘Chunginator, what’s your lip color?’ She told me it was from Topshop and I was like, ‘Get out of town!’ I wore it a lot in December, to a couple of premieres— The Hobbit, Django... I like the red lip. Sometimes, I’ll use a Nars Red Square Velvet Matte Lip Pencil just to help it.
I still have a stash of my Liv’s Lips lipstick that I made with Givenchy. When I started working with them, Nicolas [Degennes, the artistic director of Givenchy Beauty] and I would always put a stain on me, whether for campaign shoots or PR events. I had a couple of different ones I’d collected that were these kind of sheer, berry stains, like the Clinique Black Honey Almost Lipstick, only a bit deeper. Eventually, he made one for me, and then they produced it as a limited-edition Rouge Interdit lipstick. If you look at it, it’s black, but it goes on really sheer. It’s kind of like a mood ring—different on everyone, but always the right color for how you’re feeling.
I’ve worn the same perfume, C.O. Bigelow Musk Oil, for so many years. And I’m telling you, every day, five people will ask me what I’m wearing. That’s all it is, musk oil from Bigelow’s! I put little drops on my fingers and put some under my arms and in my belly button. My dad taught me that—if you put it where you heat up, the smell stays with you.”
—as told to ITG
[1-14] Liv Tyler photographed by Emily Weiss in New York on April 19, 2013;  Liv Tyler in Empire Records;  Liv Tyler with Joaquin Phoenix and Natalie Portman at the Inventing the Abbotts premiere.