Despite an exhausting day filled with appearances and performances, singer-songwriter Karen Elson intended to stay up until the midnight release of her second album Double Roses. “It feels like Christmas Eve and I’m about to turn 21 again and all that good stuff,” Elson told Billboard. The Oldham, England-native says the seven years since she’s released her debut album, The Ghost That Walks, has been a series of “wonderful coincidences” that came together to help create Double Roses.
But one thing that hasn’t changed in the seven years since the release of The Ghost That Walks is Elson’s glamorous stature. Tall and ethereal, the 38-year-old maintains some of the beauty and style tips she’s garnered from her work as a model. From Yves Saint Laurent to Roberto Cavalli, Elson has modeled for the biggest fashion houses and in numerous magazines and runways.
Elson sat down with Billboard to discuss her makeup tips, fashion dos and don’ts, and how she gets the perfect red pout.
You know makeup better than most. What are your top tips?
Never overdo it. We live in a day and age where people put so much makeup on. In a way, less is more, so I try to do as little as possible.
I’ve been really into different color mascara, but not overly bright — something that looks dark, but enhances your eyes. Purple is fantastic for redheads. I’m just playing around with shades.
Take care of your skin. People start shoving things into their face and over-injecting, but what they realize is that as much as you can plump your face up, the number one rule is that if you take care of your skin, you look five years younger anyways.
I think the sexiest women I know are the ones who embrace their age. Be careful with overdoing with the dermatologist. I’m 38 and it’s the age where you start to go, “Do I look old?” But don’t fear it.
[Makeup artist] Pat McGrath taught me put lipstick on with your fingers. I only do that.
What are your favorite lipsticks?
I like [Rose Marie Swift’s] RMS [line]. It’s a natural beauty line. Linda Rodin also started a lipstick line and she an orangey-red and a deep red, and they’re heaven. I love the packaging and the colors are great. I also love Linda Rodin — I think she’s fascinating.
What is one of your favorite fashion trends that you’re seeing right now?
You’d have to ask my daughter. She knows more about fashion than me these days. But I’m wearing Susie Cave’s dress from her line The Vampire’s Wife. She makes these beautiful prairie dresses. I just love her line so much.
What about any fashion trends you’re not a big fan of?
There’s definitely some things where I feel like we’re going back to the ‘80s. I’m not the biggest fan of crop tops. I wouldn’t wear one. I’m so pale and it’s only flattering on a very few people. And it’s cold!