'When I went to boarding school [in England] at 13, I saw that all of the English girls wore lots of makeup. That’s when I discovered mascara. I had fair eyelashes, and I went from having this 'piggy' look on my face to suddenly having these thick, black, long lashes. After three months, I went back to Ibiza on a school break, and I was more popular overnight. Everyone was like, ‘You’ve just really matured; you look really great now.’ It was like, Oh my god. This is the power of makeup. It made a massive difference on my face. After that, I never wanted to be seen without makeup ever again. And I made that pact, from that day onwards: I sleep in my makeup.
If I’m on my own, I won’t sleep in it, but my husband has never seen me without makeup. It comes off, and goes back on again. At night, I take everything off my face and moisturize—because you have to let your skin breathe a bit—but then I put everything right back on again: a little under-eye brightener, either the Tom Ford Illuminating Highlight Pen or Bobbi Brown Tinted Eye Brightener, then the eye goes back on, and maybe a little tint on the cheeks. My mother said to me, 'You always have to keep the mystery alive…' I made the mistake of showing a boyfriend my un-made-up face once, and it was a big disaster. He was like, 'What happened to your eyes?!' And I told him, '…No, you’re right, those are my eyes, not these.' [Laughs]'
—as told to ITG, in her Top Shelf
Charlotte Tilbury photographed by Emily Weiss at the Bowery Hotel in New York on February 12, 2013.