Ellie Goulding on her pared-back beauty regime and resisting Instagram perfection

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Nicola Rachel Colyer
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The singer talks exclusively to about Instagram culture, skincare secrets, feeling empowered and more.

For someone who spends her life in the spotlight, Ellie Goulding has a refreshingly simple approach to beauty. With a pared-back routine and a tight edit of products, her focus is on letting her natural self shine. 

We sat down with the musician to discuss how she found confidence in her own skin, her Holy Grail products and why she tries to keep things real in a world of Instagram perfection. 

On her changing attitude to beauty

“As I get older, the more natural I want to be and the more I want my beauty to come from within. I love hair, make-up and skincare products as much as the next person… but I think there needs to be more emphasis on who you are as a person, and the body and face that you were given.”

On the pressure of Instagram and taking selfies

“It’s weird because there is simultaneously this incredible power growing in women [and] I feel like we’re in really good place at the moment, [but] at the same time there is this Instagram culture of heavy make-up, the perfect selfie and only posting pictures after you’ve taken a thousand before it.

It’s confusing and I think a lot of women are torn both ways, but my advice would be to love yourself entirely, love the fact that you are a functioning human being, that you’ve got your health, that you’ve got the power to do whatever you want now. 

Things like ‘do I look pretty enough to post a selfie?’ shouldn’t even have to come into it, you should just recognise that you are a powerful woman and you don’t need other people to clarify your strengths or your weaknesses.”

On opting to go make-up free

“I very rarely wear make-up. I got to a point in my life where I feel like my skin is good, it feels and looks healthy.

If I do wear make-up, I use a tinted moisturiser, I’ll do mascara [she swears by Kevyn Aucoin’s The Volume Mascara and The Curling Mascara] and a bit of eyeshadow and maybe a bit of contouring because I find that quite fun, but I only do that because I like doing it, it’s quite therapeutic for me.”

On her ‘less is more’ approach to skincare

“When I get out of the shower I use Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence as a toner [and] then I use Chantecaille Rose de Mai Face Oil – I smother my face in that. 

At night I use Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution to remove any make-up and then a spritz of my Tata Harper toner with the occasional use of a night cream. I don’t like to overload my face with stuff.”

On taking care of her blonde hair

“My hair has been my strongest feature since I was very young. It was always the thing that made me feel powerful and I used to joke that I was like Samson because if someone cut my hair off I would lose my magical powers. 

I try not to wash it every day, but I usually end up doing it out of convenience. Pantene’s 3 Minute Miracle Repair and Protect Conditioner is my favourite at the moment. It puts back the strength into your hair [and repairs] the damage that has accumulated. 

I always put in the Pantene Repair & Protect Dry Oil afterwards and then I try not to dry it, especially in the summer. It just gives it that beachy look, which I like.”

On getting rid of her tattoos

“I’m getting them removed soon because I don’t like them anymore. I went through a real phase of liking tattoos and finding it a way to cement my individuality [but] I’ve realised that I don’t have to have tattoos to prove my individuality and that [it] comes very much from within. That was a stage I went through and I give a nod to that era of my life, but it’s not really who I am anymore.”

On her go-to spa treatments and her favourite ways to relax

“Steaming is really good for your skin; going in a cold plunge pool is really good for resetting your circulation. I think going into a cryo-chamber is really effective – you come out feeling like you’ve taken some sort of hallucinogenic drug! I love Le Labo and Neom candles to help me unwind, and I use a dōTERRA diffuser with either lavender or wild orange essential oils for their therapeutic benefits.”

On Pantene’s ‘Strong Is Beautiful’ campaign

“My focus has always been on being strong physically and mentally. I’ve always admired and looked up to women who keep fit and are strong as opposed to anyone who promotes women having to be skinny and feminine. So much of inequality is based on women being physically less fit than men and by having my passion for boxing as the focus of the campaign, I wanted to encourage women to know their body and know that they are fully capable of being incredibly strong and fit.”

On working, reflecting and relaxing

“I’ve definitely needed the last year to reflect on everything. I think there is so much to do, there is so much to achieve and so much to conquer but I always think what’s the best use of my time that a) makes me feel happy, b) makes me feel content and relaxed and c) makes me feel like I am learning. 

It’s very difficult to do this job and not be affected by it – it’s a very strange way of life, touring can take its toll on you, and travelling is very unsettling – so I’ve definitely got more into yoga and relaxation. I’ve been able to relax properly for the first time this year, not touring and being able to see my boyfriend and to really be able to take time to think about everything … I’ve desperately needed it but I think it’s time to get back on the road.”

Images: Getty/Instagram

Ellie Goulding is the UK Ambassador for Pantene Haircare


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Nicola Rachel Colyer

Nicola Colyer is a freelance writer and ex-corporate girl. A francophile and relapsing sugar-free graduate, she'll often be found seeking out the best places for brunch or struggling to choose between a green juice and a G&T.