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Diana's beauty secrets

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In a rare exclusive interview on the 15th anniversary of Diana’s death, global makeup artist to the stars Mary Greenwell reveals what today’s women can learn from Diana’s beauty basics.

Words: Leigh Alexandra Purves, Photos: Getty Images

Above: Make-up artist Mary Greenwell

Princess Diana would have been 51 this year, how do you envisage her skin regime would have changed?

Diana was very aware of her beauty regime, cleansing, toning and moisturising twice a day. She’d be now using serums and definitely using sun block every day. Diana would also be wearing a heavier foundation which is important as women age. I mean heavy in the sense of coverage but still sheer. In your teens and early twenties, tinted moisturiser is fine. But in your 30’s, 40’s and beyond, you need something more flattering.

There is no doubt that Princess Diana had sensational skin, what were her secrets and what can today’s women learn from that?

Diana was very sensible when it came to her skin, she would always make sure she took her make up off at the end of the day and make sure she always had a clean face before applying make up.

Not enough people do this and you should. Lots of sleep is also essential, as is exercise and a good diet. After I started working with her, Diana did everything in moderation. She cut back on drinking so her skin was 100%. Women today need to take care of themselves the same way. If you smoke, drink or do anything to excess, you will destroy your most important beauty asset – your skin. You must look after yourself.

How did Princess Diana’s makeup style evolve over time?

Well the first shoot we did with her where she was sat in bed with her arms folded, that was the first time we got her out of blue eyeliner and she loved the change! It made such a difference (Blue eyes should never wear blue pencil or shadow – it dulls your eyes!). From that moment on, she was open minded about trying new looks and colours! It’s all about experimenting. And women should be experimental and try not to get stuck in a make up rut. We should try new things. Whatever our age.

How hands on was the Princess about creating her overall look?

Diana was always very open and willing with her style. I think as soon as we worked together she realized the power of hair and make up and that is something that should never be underestimated. By anyone.

You were brought on board to work with Princess Diana when Demachelier photographed her, what was she like when you first met her?

Diana was pure magic and she has the most incredible skin, which frankly at the end of the day also can come down to family genes. She was just coming into her own when we first met and had just married Prince Charles. Her marriage seemed solid and she was just the most divine, sweet kind lady. It was a huge privilege to work with our then future Queen. And she was pre-celebrity, alongside Mother Theresa, she was out there doing her thing.

What was your beauty routine with The Princess?

M: We always started with a moisturiser, a foundation to suit her skin tone exactly and then used a concealer to lift the eye area. Mascara – which is a gift of all gifts and a light blush and lip colour to suit her mood that day.

I always taught her to make sure when applying mascara by herself that she covered the roots of the lashes too!

Excite us! What are your key A/W looks for this year?

All those wonderful dark berry colours are super fashionable so we are seeing lots of berry lips! Also red oranges and brick reds.

Even the black lipstick this season can be worn lightly – Chanel and Tom Ford are great. When it comes to the eye, try smoky dark eyes. You can combine full lips with a heavy eye, the trick is to wear a light blush. You just do two elements and not three. You never ever do a full lip, eye and blush!

You can see more about Mary Greenwell's work and her fragrance Plum on her website marygreenwell.com

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