Photo by Mei Tao

Why Fear-Based Makeup Doesn’t Work

The Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York is not where you’d expect to run into one of the most talented makeup artists on the planet. But here, Alice Lane—after a long day shooting with Arthur Elgort, Patrick Demarchelier, Annie Leibovitz, or Bruce Weber, for Vogue, or Sephora, or Dior—packs off on a bus bound for her new home: a 1700’s colonial near Woodstock, NY, which she shares with her 7-year-old, Walt.

You might also not expect her to smell, beautifully, of goop’s new edition 01 — Winter perfume. “I was at my friend’s [actress Haley Bennett] apartment, and she’d ordered it and it came—the candle too—and it’s just this beautiful forest fragrance! Then on the way home, all the people on the bus were telling me I smelled so good. It’s amazing!”

goop Fragrance Eau de Parfum: edition 01 — Winter 2016

goop, $165

A perfume of cypress smoke, snow, sensual quiet. This is a scent composed entirely of rare, all-natural elements imbued with the power to entrance and transform. The olfactory fingerprint of each individual plant, where it was grown and how it grew gives this perfume its character, its mystery, and its beauty. It is pure, alive—the real thing.

The bus routine is relatively new: “Basically, we’re alone in a forest!” she says. “It’s fantastic!” After years in New York, she suddenly felt the need the surround herself with nature—so she moved. “It’s coming back to who I am,” says the 36-year-old veteran of countless fashion shows, red carpets, magazine, and advertising shoots. “That thing about how you have to take care of yourself first? It’s just the truth.”

The taking-care-of-yourself thing is a huge part of Lane’s makeup philosophy: “A happy face is an attractive face,” she says. “This is true even when you’re dealing with the most gorgeous models in the world. Happy energy just transfers onto your skin—be a good person, have a good life, have good skincare, and you’ll be all right.”

“That thing about how you have to take care of yourself first? It’s just the truth.”

Makeup, she says, is extra: Skin is the main event. “I’m against fear-based makeup, you know? When women end up feeling like they have to make themselves look a certain way—not just for men, but for women, for work, for family—it’s depressing. It’s like your only value is this false thing.” Accordingly, Lane approves of the #nomakeup selfie phenomenon on Instagram: “I love the whole thing with beautiful Alicia Keys and and her gorgeous face, all the people celebrating what they really look like. Makeup should be a fun accessory, not how you feel you have to make yourself look.”

“I remember shooting with Bruce Weber, when I was assisting Joe McKenna; he’d run his finger across the model’s face and I’d be in huge trouble if anything came off on his finger. That just made so much sense to me. Skin is beautiful, people are beautiful: The whole idea of base and foundation being this secret, this thing to cover up your flaws—I hate it. It comes from a place of people not being willing to stand in their age. I mean, embrace being 16! I had so many years taken away from me, that I spent wishing to look like I was another age than I was.”

Her father taught her the importance of taking care of herself, and, as she puts it, being her age. “My dad raised me as a teenager, and he taught me to be kind, he taught me what a human being is worth. When I was 15, I was approached by a modeling agency from London and my dad was like, absolutely not. I was so mad at the time, and you know what? He was absolutely right. I didn’t know what it was, what it would have meant for my life.”

Embrace 15, embrace 36? “I’m thinking of my face and my hair as this sort of experiment,” she says. “I had this amazing Edinborough great-grandmother—she always had two incredibly long braids, even after she was gray, so I’m always inspired by that. I like gray hair. I want to grow my hair out and not dye it, not have plastic surgery, just to see what I really look like. Like Georgia O’Keefe! I really dislike plastic surgery; I know it has it’s place, but it’s like Thoreau says, ‘looking in the mirror is a prison.’”

“Why can’t you say, ‘I’m a hot mess having a shitty day’ every once in awhile?”

In its place? Love, health, sleep, and skincare. “If you’re trying to go to bed and your mind is going crazy, your skin is going to look crazy,” Lane says. “Every night, I want my last thought before I go to bed to be good. I think, ‘I am a pure spirit, I have a right to be here.’ It’s that whole your-skin-is-your-largest-organ thing. You’ve got to take care of yourself. If you have love and health, your skin will be fine.”

She discovered Vintner’s Daughter face oil when the company sent some to her agent. “I had this friend whose skin was looking terrible, crazy with eczema, so I gave it to her. After a few weeks, she was like, this stuff is a miracle! Now I tell everyone to get it.”

Why Fear-Based Makeup Doesn't Work

Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum

goop, $185

It’s not surprising that this oil has a cult following: It’s an infusion of 22 active organic botanicals mixed with powerful essential oils. Phytonutrients and minerals help balance skin; phytoceramides, nourishing fatty acids, and antioxidants stimulate and brighten dull complexions. The revolutionary formula beautifully sinks in, leaving skin smooth and glowy.

Lane tries new things on her friends and clients, but she also grills them for their favorites. “It’s good to listen,” she says. “Haley introduced me to Juice Beauty—I love the bitten-vampire-blood color [Juice Beauty Liquid Lip in Chelsea], and the eyeshadow pencils—I love Haze, which is this soft beige, and Stone, which I love for darker skin tones. Haley was like, ‘You need this!,’ and I totally fell in love with their lip stains and glosses and the natural eyeshadow sticks. She also got me into the In Fiore Cellular Renewal Complex, this beautiful milky serum. I also love the Cat Burki acid peel, and her antioxidant mask. I go to this great market in Woodstock called Sunflower—it has a giant aisle of face washes and I love it.”

Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Liquid Lip

goop, $24

Liquid Lip is exactly that—a gorgeous, intensely pigmented liquid lipstick with the vividness of a stain and the hydrating shine of a gloss. The plant-based color is rich and beautifully long-lasting, organic shea and grapeseed oil moisturize like crazy, and the shine is just so pretty.

Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Cream Shadow Stick

goop, $22

This is a smudgy, faintly shimmering, ultra-flattering color that works equally well for lining eyes or shading lids (and truly, there is no easier smoky eye on this earth). The sticks go on sheer for every day naturalness, but layer easily for more intensity and drama. Plus, they’re infused with Juice Beauty’s restorative serum technology and moisture powder blend to hydrate.

Skincare is always Lane’s first priority; judiciously placed concealer also has its place. “Usually it’s good to do a little under-eye,” she says. “I always have the Bobbi Brown palette—you need at the very least three different shades, because nobody’s face is all one color. I think about bringing out the brightness in peoples faces: If you go to the Met and you look at the Boucher paintings, or the Dutch Masters, it’s all about highlighting. It’s a splash of lightness here, less about the shadows. I look at my 7-year old’s face, it’s all about light. The beginning of makeup is light.” She draws the line at contouring, however: “I respect it, but it’s not me.”

Her current look puts color front and center. “I love to put pink blush really really high, right up under the eyes, and then all the way down, it’s sort of a Japanese look, also kind of hangover makeup. It’s quite punk. I like Nars blush in Gaiety—it’s a great pink—and I brush it on with a brush from Artis, which I love. When I use one of those brushes on someone, they’re always like, ‘This just feels so good.’”

Focusing on one key item is a habit she highly recommends: “Simplify—invest in one good thing that makes you feel special. Like Vivienne Westwood says, people buying crap after crap is just no good. Victorian women had two or three dresses, and I love that idea: Their clothing became much more a part of them them. They’d take care of those few dresses, wash them, cherish them.”

Lane’s stunning, curly red hair is currently being grown back out (see Alice shaving off all her hair here).”I take this amazing hair vitamin Nutrafol,” she says. “My hair’s sort of halfway grown out, so I have this Annie kind of afro at the moment.” Beyond that, she supplements with cod liver oil for energy and health; diet-wise, she eats lots of almonds: “Nuts just make a huge difference, I think.” For exercise, she’s started riding. “I’ve been learning to ride Western from this horse whisperer,” she says. “A horse doesn’t care what you look like, what your race is, it cares about how you make it feel. It’s only what’s on the inside that they care about. You have to be a good person on a horse’s back.”

Don’t look for it all on social media, however: Much as she loves the #nomakeup movement, she’s wary of other forces at work inside our phones. “The whole Instagram, robot-culture, “Look at my fantastic life!” thing, I think it’s dangerous. It’s damaging to the person doing it, and damaging to the rest of the society, looking at it and believing it’s the truth,” she says. “It’s a lie. Why can’t you say, ‘I’m a hot mess having a shitty day’ every once in awhile? Why isn’t that acceptable?”