The actress, who fronts L’Oréal Paris’ Age Perfect Makeup campaign, opens up about using makeup to feel like her best self.
Some of Helen Mirren‘s best memories are centered around makeup. But the actress, 74, doesn’t think women should get hung up on how cosmetic products make you look — it should be rooted in how they can make you feel. “My happiest times were spent at my makeup table mucking around with makeup,” Mirren tells PEOPLE in L.A. at the launch of L’Oréal Paris’ new Age Perfect Makeup collection. “It’s wonderful what it can do and how it can really make you feel.” Because of this mindset, she’s even redefined her beauty mantra as what she calls her own “swagger philosophy.” “It is to do with feeling good and looking as good as you can on a particular day in this particular time in your life and feeling okay with the world. There are a tiny minority of people in the world who are absolutely beautiful. David Beckham, my God, you are so beautiful,” Mirren laughs. “The rest of us are in a different category. So I don’t think we should try to look beautiful. We should try to look like ourselves and present that in the best way possible.”
Mirren hasn’t been shy about discussing what it’s like getting older in the public eye, so teaming with L’Oréal Paris as the face of the brand’s first-ever makeup collection designed specifically for women over 50 was a dream-come-true for the star. “It’s been a long time coming, hasn’t it?” she says of the Age Perfect Makeup collection. “Women over 50 want makeup that is easy to apply but deals with issues that one’s skin has as you get older. Also, I think Age Perfect is sort of a great name because it’s not insulting. We want to be as good as we can at any stage of our lives,” Mirren says.
Stefanie Keenan/Getty Like fellow brand ambassador Viola Davis, Mirren swears by the Age Perfect Radiant Serum Foundation with SPF 50 because it provides good, hydrating coverage while looking like “you’re wearing less makeup.” She says: “In a weird way, as you get older, you want to wear less. The makeup has to have subtlety built into it. When you’re younger you can wear an enormous amount of makeup and look spectacular. But as you get older, it’s not so great.” Besides battling dry, flaky skin that requires a luminous base, mature women frequently complain about lipstick feathering into the fine lines around their mouth. But Mirren relies on the Age Perfect Luminous Hydrating Lipstick + Nourishing Serum to give her pout a hint of color that won’t bleed.
“If I don’t have a mirror I can just put it on lightly and it’s going to look great because it has a balm within it,” she says. Her go-to shade? A classic red. “It makes you feel great the moment you put it on,” Mirren says. “A red lip, a pair of sunglasses and earrings does the trick. Just throw that on and go!”