"If you look at a picture from 1986, I’m pretty much the exact same hair and face–I just wanted to look like Rick James. I am very into the past in general. Younger me was always very lucky in the skin department–looking back, I try to figure out what I did, but all I know is I chain smoked and I picked at my skin. Now I’m in kind of a good place–my favorite beauty products are the free ones, and I feel deeply grateful for them because they have legitimately changed the quality of my skin. I still smoke, but I really resent it. [Laughs]
I’m really irresponsible about washing my face at night because I like to go to bed feeling like a winner. You wake up and look sort of sexy and messy, and the hair is always better the day after… But at some point I’ll take a shower because I’m a good person. And that’s where I really get into it. Usually I’ll do some sort of light exfoliating scrub, a nice milky face wash and when I get out, I do the whole thing–toner, serum, moisturizer, sun block. I don’t fuck around. But I will say I’m a very play-it-as-it-lays kind of woman. For example, I was in Wales recently shooting a movie called Show Dogs. Decléor was the only spa in town, and suddenly I was a Decléor person. Then it was Tata Harper–those are some knock-out products, and they aren’t even paying me. They class up the joint, which I like. I like a good-looking bottle. I use one of their toners and, like I said, one of my better situations is my skin, but I am a bit pink and sometimes very freckle-y. Tata's Luminous Glow stuff helps.
My mascara is Maybelline Great Lash, or I like Dr. Hauschka’s, which I’ll always try to steal from set. Six months out of the year I'm wall-to-wall in mascara, because of Orange is the New Black. That's really the character's thing—[lots of mascara] used to be mine, but now it's hers. Although now that I have bangs, I don’t really need mascara in my day-to-day life. Some people might think I do, but I don’t care what other people think. In all my desire to be someone that has huge lashes, I've never gathered the nerve to use Latisse because I’m scared it’s going to take it all off. I tell myself I’m going to buy castor oil because I hear that works, but I never find the time to go to the castor oil store. And I don’t really like the whole thing of putting the white mascara and then the black mascara—it’s too much.
You know that Dior Crème de Rose Balm? I like that, I like a good lip balm. And I’m also very impressed when the makeup artists break out the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour cream. They all love Homeoplasmine–if they’re breaking that out, you know they’re fancy. [Laughs] Next up is the lip–I like that Kevyn Aucoin lip liner in a natural color, or a Mac one with balm on top. I’m a big fan of Glossier Boy Brow and the Stretch Concealer–just a very minimal amount of concealer blended so you can’t see that it’s there, and then some blush. I like to feel like I’m wearing no makeup at all.
I’m into a bit of contour, but every time I'm around a real makeup artist they tell me I’m putting it in the wrong place. The thing is, they want me to look like the photo of a young Polish girl in a locket from the turn of the century. Round-faced, pale, sweet. I always put it back afterwards. I want to be hard as nails and cut."
—as told to ITG
Natasha Lyonne photographed by Tom Newton in New York on May 9, 2017. Hair by Matt Fugate for Exclusive Artists using Kerastase Aura Botanica.