Star of Years and Years and It’s a Sin, Lydia West is a rising talent on the British TV scene, and one to watch both on and off screens.
A guest at Harper’s Bazaar’s Women of the Year Awards, we caught up with the actress before she walked the glitzy red carpet while having her make-up done by A-list artist Valeria Ferreira for the occasion.
“I always let Valeria have her creative freedom – that’s how we work together,” the 29-year-old tells us. “I give a brief, which was ‘natural, nudes’ for tonight, but then I let her work away. She knows my skin and preference – I like a fresh look, but that’s also modern and cool.” This, essentially, is her beauty signature and approach when it comes to her hair, too. “I love embracing my natural hair and having as much fun with it as possible,” she explains, but adds that “it doesn’t define me”.
Here, West talks through her approach to products, treatments and how she takes care of her physical and mental health.
Do you use make-up as means of self-expression?
“Yes. It’s changed quite a bit: I used to cover up my face as a way to almost change identity, but now I embrace natural features and I love that in beauty now; I like highlighting freckles and seeing real skin that’s dewy and fresh. Beyond make-up, I believe general health and wellbeing helps the skin and then I use make-up to highlight what I already have.”
Off-set, how does your approach to make-up differ between your personal and professional lives?
“In my day-to-day I like a fresh, natural look: a brow, highlighter and blusher. For the longest time I didn’t wear blusher and now I’m like ‘why did I not wear it?!’ – having that natural-looking colour is youthful, fresh and energetic and that’s how I approach beauty now.
“I like to have fun for an event or red carpet. I match it with the look I’m wearing. So like tonight I have quite a classic dress, so I wanted something more classic while contemporary with my make-up. It’s a smouldery eye but highlighted. But I also like to experiment, especially as I get to work with amazing artists all the time. I play around and trying new things, but I remain true to myself and what I can feel confident and beautiful in.”
What are your all-time favourite beauty products?
“For skincare I love Kiehl’s Midnight Concentrate, Paula’s Choice Azelaic Acid Booster, Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Cream, the 111Skin Exfolactic Cleanser and their eye patches – I’m absolutely obsessed with those. I also tried the Charlotte Tilbury Cryo Recovery Mask the other day, which you put on straight from the fridge, it’s insane!”
“For make-up I swear by the Byredo Eyeliner, Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish powder, and Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in shade 7 and 7.5.
“Another product I swear by the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream – I use it every night on my lips and also on my eyelids and lashes, so when you wake up the eyes look fresh. It’s really lovely to do!”
How do you care for your hair?
“I love a conditioning mask. My hair is in braids now but when my curls are out I do a weekly hair mask. I’ll keep my braids in for about eight weeks at a time; they’re a protective style and during the winter this makes my hair so much easier to manage. It’s also good for growth and curl health.”
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Have you been on a journey with your hair care?
“When you have curls it takes a while to understand your curl patterns, because they can be different in every part of the hair, like my mid-section has a very different curl pattern to the hair around my lower scalp. It’s a general thing that you get to know and feel confident with. Especially in our society, when you’re younger you think ‘maybe I need to straighten my hair’ or treat it, but I always wanted to embrace my natural hair. I’ve done straight hair for jobs and things, when it works with a look and the mood I’m in, but I love embracing my natural texture and having as much fun with it as possible, it’s so beautiful to love your natural hair.
“I’m very experimental with haircuts and styles; I had long hair, then I cut and fringe and I recently did a mullet – I don’t like to be defined by my curls or hair in general, but I feel like whatever style I’m going for or sporting at the time is what I feel comfortable with. It doesn’t define me but I also embrace what it does naturally. Hair is such a huge part of what you are.”
What beauty treatments and rituals do you enjoy?
“Facials at Sarah Chapman. Oh my god – they’re amazing. I also recently went to the 111Skin Spa/Clinic [in Harley Street, London] for an amazing facial, and I went in their cryo chamber [for a whole body cryotherapy treatment].
“At home I love a bath with a bath bomb with a delicious Byredo candle burning in the background. Mmm! They’re my rituals, I guess.”
When do you feel most beautiful?
“Probably after I’ve done a hot yoga session: I’ve got dewy skin, I feel energised and have sweated my entire weekend out! No make-up, but I feel healthy. Feeling healthy is key: drinking lots of water, eating well, exercising, taking care of my physical and mental health is when I feel best and most beautiful. I think you can always put a good look on and feel a million dollars, but when I feel truly beautiful is when I feel at peace inside.”
Is this key to physical and mental self-care for you?
“Hot yoga is my absolute thing. It’s so soul nourishing. I like working out now not just for physical gains but mental gains and clarity. I find it so relaxing but also so energising. I just found it a year ago and now I’m obsessed. I’ve always been very active and sporty – I was running and boxing, doing very high intensity sports – and I thought I’d never like yoga because it’s slow. But as soon as I started to realise that slowing down is so important and it’s a practice you have to learn and get used to, it filled me with so much confidence in life. I just take a breathe and everything’s okay. That’s why I got my tattoo ‘it’s okay’ [on her forearm], everyone needs a reminder!”