“I grew up in Los Angeles, and as a kid I thought I’d either be a photographer or a soccer star. I didn’t think in a million years I’d be a model. I got discovered when I was 14, and it was a slow build—I didn’t really start until I was 18, and I moved to New York to pursue it a year later. I was always such a tomboy, and suddenly everything changed—I was living at Barney’s, buying everything. Carolyn Murphy has always been one of my mentors, and when I was a young model, she would drill it into me that modeling is a business, and professionalism matters. So many young girls come here partying, and they treat modeling like a lifestyle. I definitely had enough fun for any one person, but I'm a professional when I go to work. I’m always the first person at the shoot—that’s just something that’s been instilled in me.
I’ve always been drawn to children, and I’ve always wanted to be a mom, but I definitely felt more pressure being pregnant. With my daughter, I was doing the Victoria’s Secret show four or five months after I gave birth—no one told me I had to lose weight or anything, but I wanted to look good. I was still eating a ton, because you have to when you’re nursing, but everything was really clean. This time I felt no pressure, and it’s been glorious. If you look at the CFDA photos, I’m wearing this beautiful Brandon Maxwell dress and you can totally see my little pregnancy tummy. But it’s gorgeous! My beautiful baby boy came out of that tummy. There’s also less pressure on the day-to-day, because we live in Nashville now. My husband is from Nashville, and when Dixie was starting school we decided to stay there full-time. There’s no paparazzi, and I don’t have to worry about if I’m wearing the coolest look all the time. [Laughs]
Two years ago I decided to start my perfume line. Each of the four fragrances are based on a place that’s important to me, and Haven, the first that just launched, is based on home. I used to love my mom’s perfume—so much that I used to spray it all over the place. My mom got me rose water spray so I could have something of my own, and I did that for my daughter, too. She gravitates towards my perfumes—since I’ve been creating my own line, I come home and find her in her bunk bed, giving ‘beauty treatments’ to her dolls with the samples. It’s very… fragrant. [Laughs] So I got her rose water spray. Actually, we were snuggling one day and she smelled so good that I went back and re-sprayed all the samples to find the one that smelled like her. Now it’s one of my favorite scents in the whole world—it’s the last one in my collection that’s going to come out.
I’m nursing right now—my beauty routine is always pretty natural, but when I’m pregnant or nursing it’s even more extreme. There are so many amazing, natural products now that weren’t around when I was pregnant the first time, but all the ingredients can still be confusing. Sometimes I’ll personally DM brands and ask, ‘Is there anything in your products that I should avoid? Can you help me get through this?’ They’re usually very helpful. You can’t use retinol when you’re pregnant or nursing, but when I’m not, I love Shani Darden’s Retinol Reform. I also see her in LA—I’m a mom, I have a seven-month-old, I’m not sleeping, and when I leave her I feel so fresh. In New York I see Joanna Czech, or I’ll get Triad Facials from Dr. Colbert, but I haven’t been able to do those in a while.
There are so many amazing, natural products now that weren’t around when I was pregnant the first time, but all the ingredients can still be confusing.
I kind of have two routines—the quick one when I’m half asleep getting my kids to school, and then my more luxurious one during nap time. That’s when I’m running the bath, playing 'Hamilton'… [Laughs] Usually I’ll get up, brush my teeth, put deodorant and moisturizer on, and get my daughter to school. When my son goes down for his 9 o’clock, I’ll redo my skincare. I start by taking my makeup off because I’m usually too lazy to do it at night. I’ll either use Burt’s Bees wipes or these gorgeous coconut wipes from RMS, which are better if there’s a lot of makeup. Then I’ll use Tata Harper’s scrubby cleanser, and take it off with a warm towel. After that, I use Tata Harper’s Brightening Essence on a cotton ball, which takes off any leftover dirt and makes my skin shiny, and then maybe a vitamin C serum from Kora Organics. Miranda [Kerr] is one of my best friends, and she was teaching me about organic and natural things like, 15 years ago. Then I use Tata Harper’s Repairative Moisturizer, or the Crème Riche at night, which I keep next to my bed. I’m not trying to sound like a Tata Harper ad, but I really love her line.
I love MAC Face and Body, but I’ve been trying not to use it pregnant and nursing. It’s been so hard to find anything comparable—it’s nice coverage, but I’m still able to see my freckles. The closest I’ve come is a tinted face oil I bought in the clean section of Sephora in Nashville—the Kosas one, have you seen it? It’s my new favorite thing. I use that with RMS Un Cover-Up around my nose, under my eyes, and around my lips. When I have to wear full-coverage makeup for an event, I love when makeup artists draw my freckles back on. Hung [Vanngo] did my makeup the other night and used this product called Freck—it’s such a good trick. It makes me look like myself. I the RMS highlighter quad, and if I’m getting really jazzy, I’ll bust out the Charlotte Tilbury bronzer and use it on my cheekbones and forehead.
I don’t love eyeshadow because I find that it can age me, but one of my favorite makeup artist tricks is to contour my eyelids. I put a little bronzer in the crease, and it gives my eyes some nice depth. I look made up, but not makeup-y. Then I use mascara. I’ve been loving Marc Jacobs mascara recently—it’s really thick and black. If I just fill in my eyebrows, all of a sudden my face looks more structured. I’ve gone through so many different pencils, and Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Brown is perfect for me. I like the pencil to be a little bit lighter than my natural brows. Right now I’m wearing my favorite Serge Lutens lip liner, which is perfect for lip contouring—if you overdraw your lips a little, it just looks like the shadow of your lip. Michael Kors always asks me, ‘Is that your lip color?’ It basically is, but a little more special. In most photos, I’m either wearing that or Tom Ford’s Sable Smoke. And I love Windsor Edwards lip balm—all the packaging is biodegradable, and the whole line is very sustainable and conscious.
I didn’t have my hair colored for a long time when I was pregnant. I’m naturally very dark, so I’d grow it out, and then cut it, and eventually it was all one color. Tracey Cunningham does my hair in LA, and she’s the sweetest, kindest woman—she’s like family. A few months after my son was born I asked if she could send one of her assistants to Nashville to give me highlights, and Tracey was on the next flight. She landed in Nashville, did my color, had dinner with me, and then got on the next flight home. I feel like a new woman—when you’re a mom, it’s easy to forget to do things that make you feel good. I needed that mom love, you know? If I’m working I wash it more, but if I’m home I maybe wash it every three days. My natural texture is really curly, but if I let it dry in braids the top will stay a little bit flatter. I use a leave-in conditioner spray from Christophe Robin, detangle with a metal comb, and then put it in braids or, if I need something easier, a bun. I also I really love Olaplex, but for most of my pregnancy I stopped using it. However, the other day I noticed it was in Sephora’s clean section, and I’m so happy it’s back in my life. They should promote that more!
When you’re a mom, it’s easy to forget to do things that make you feel good. I needed that mom love, you know?
FRAGRANCE + BODY + NAILS
I wanted to create four fragrances because I always use more than one fragrance. Some days I’m in the mood for something brighter, other days I want something moodier… I usually gravitate towards something floral with jasmine or rose. Apart from my own fragrances, I love Jason Wu’s, and Stella McCartney’s—hers is actually called Lily [Ed note: discontinued]. It’s in a beautiful vintage-y glass bottle. I think Byredo makes such beautiful scents. And I always love Tom Ford Jasmin Rouge.
I try to take a bath every morning, and I love Goop’s bath salts. There’s one that’s mustardy, and it smells so good. I always have Jason body wash from Whole Foods, either the rose one or the lavender one, and I also use that on Dixie. If I'm going to a big event I’ll use normal deodorant, but right now I’m fully on the crystal stick. Manicures are my favorite indulgence—I go once a week, if I can. To me, having fresh nails is heavenly. This is my first delve into nail art, for my perfume launch—MoMo came to me to do it. I wanted some little roses and I asked her to do one on each ring finger, but she said they had to be sporadic. Teach me the way of the nail art, MoMo! Usually I just do a buff or OPI Passion, which is a really nice see-through nude. You can’t go wrong.”
—as told to ITG
Lily Aldridge photographed by Tom Newton in New York on September 9, 2019.