Real-life pinup girl Dita Von Teese is the master of working a flawless signature beauty look. We sat down with the glamour icon to talk skincare, vintage-beauty tips and finding the perfect red lipstick (she recently helped MAC develop her own dream shade). Here, the beauty rules Dita lives by.
Classic Beauty Done Right
Trial And Error Always Pays Off
"In the early '90s I did a lot of experimenting. I wore my hair in every style from a red 1950s flip to a Louise Brooks bob. I even wore my blonde hair in a beehive and Barbarella ponytail. The cat eye and red lip have been my go-to makeup look since I was a teenager. When I dyed my hair black sometime around '94, I realized, That's my look. It hasn't changed much since then. I've just gotten better at it."
Inspiration Is Everything
"My look is influenced by old movies and a Blumenfeld image that appeared on a famous cover of Vogue. It was a very striking shot with a close-up of the perfect cat eye and red lip. The model had a certain gaze and that was what did it for me. I was like, Why would anyone wear makeup any other way?"
Know What Looks Good On You
"When it comes to finding the perfect red lipstick, I look for super-high pigmentation. I don't like gloss or things that have a lot of slip, but I do play with lots of different shades—not just classic red. I love bright orange, bright fuchsia, burgundy, magenta, orange-reds, blue-reds, pink-reds. It just has to be vibrant.
Collaborating with MAC on my own shade was easy. I wanted a vivid, pink-toned red—not quite pink and not quite red. We landed on a versatile rose-petal shade that you can make brighter with a light lip liner or add depth and richness to with a darker one."
Always Put Your Best Face Forward
"One of the things I love about the past is that putting your best face forward was common etiquette. Even if I don't have a lot of time to spend on glamour, I always take 5 minutes to put on my red lipstick, a sweep of face powder and throw my hair in a twist. To me, it's the same as brushing my teeth or bathing—it's not optional, it's not negotiable."
Beauty Is More Than Your Makeup
"To be a pinup really takes the right attitude. There's a playful sensuality. She's light, she has a sense of humor, she's a little bit innocent but has a bit of a wink in her eye. I think it's really about understanding the character of the pinup. She's a good girl who isn't trying too hard.
My favorite part about burlesque is the art of creation. It's not about being born with natural beauty—it's about creating a fantasy. I think anyone can do it if she sets her mind to it and if she wants it. My least favorite part is posing in lingerie—I'm not always in the mood for it. No one wants to be in her underwear when there's bad lighting."
Skin Is Important
"I'm really diligent about my skincare regimen—I can't remember a time when I was too tired or too drunk to take off my makeup. I enjoy the routine, and it's amazing how good it makes me feel to strip off the makeup. I really love natural skincare—I use a lot of Eminence products.
If you have any skin issues, my advice is to see a dermatologist. Not a Hollywood dermatologist—someone who is actually interested in fixing your skin and getting to the root of the problem. Someone who doesn't have his own skincare line he's trying to push on you."