London-based makeup artist and mother of 1.5 (son Flynn, pictured above, is 4; baby #2 is due in June), Charlotte Tilbury has long been on the industry’s short list for styling top-tier cover shoots, fashion editorials and ad campaigns around the world. A flame-haired beauty herself, Charlotte counts Kate Moss, Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow among her loyal clients and friends, relationships bolstered no doubt by a common bond of having young children. In honor of Mother’s Day, we caught up with the endlessly energetic, effervescent industry star to get her refreshingly honest—and uniquely British—take on being a modern mum.
BEAUTY BLOG: Mother’s Day in England was March 30th. Are there any special British Mother’s Day traditions?
CHARLOTTE TILBURY: Actually, Mother’s Day in the U.K. is very similar to that in the U.S. It’s all about cherishing your mother and showing her your appreciation by giving her gifts or simply spending time with her.
Would you say you’re a typical British mum?
I guess there’s a stereotype that British mums are quite strict and disciplined, but I don’t think I’m either of those! However, there are some universal aspects of motherhood we all share, like trying to juggle too many things at once. I’m no different—as a working mother, I’m always running from one thing to the next, often doing my makeup with a car side-view mirror! My travel itinerary is certainly atypical though, with regular flights to New York or L.A. or Paris or Milan and beyond for work. Flynn now assumes everyone travels with seven suitcases of makeup.
Glamour girls: Charlotte and her mother
What did your mother teach you about beauty?
So much! My mother always looks fabulous, takes care of herself and puts her best foot forward in life. She used to tell me that putting on one’s makeup must be a discipline every morning, and there’s no excuse for not doing it! She believes everyone has at least five minutes in the morning she can take for herself. “Lipstick is instant glamour” is one of her favorite expressions—she is and always has been incredibly glamorous.
How do you think you’ll talk to your son about beauty and appearance?
With my work, Flynn already has had a lot of exposure to makeup—sometimes he’ll take my brushes and try to do mine! I will always tell him he is beautiful, as my mother used to tell me, and that he should take care of his skin and take pride in how he looks.
Has your beauty routine changed as a mother?
Never! I believe you should always make time for yourself—plus I’ve always done my makeup on the go.
What’s the most beautiful thing about being a mom?
Being needed and loved unconditionally.
Three generations of beauties: Charlotte with her mum, sister and nieces
What’s your favorite Mother’s Day gift? Your ultimate fantasy Mother’s Day gift?
Flynn painted a heart-shaped stone for me that I now carry around in my handbag. My fantasy Mother’s Day gift would be lunch with my idols: Helena Rubinstein, Coco Chanel, Estée Lauder and Marilyn Monroe.
What’s something you said you’d never do as a mother but find yourself doing anyway?
Spoiling my son, especially when I’ve come back from working abroad. Call it mother’s guilt, but it’s impossible not to come back with a treat for him!
Your second baby is due next month. Which products will be in your hospital bag?
A super-hydrating moisturizer, illuminating primer, mascara, concealer and lipstick for that first baby photo!
Happy Mother’s Day to Charlotte and all the extraordinary mums in the world.
Say thanks to the ‘Women Who Wow’ (a.k.a. moms) in your life with the perfect gift.