VICTORIA BECKHAM BEAUTY $36
The dynamic do-it-all designer, mother, and entrepreneur on what it took to make a clean, sustainable beauty line that’s as beautiful on your vanity as it is on your face.
Photography By BEN HASSETT
Written By APRIL LONG
Hair By KEN PAVES
Makeup By HUNG VANNGO
Nails By ERI HANDA
Styled By CELIA AZOULAY
VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers because of their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit.
“I used to think that if things were clean, that meant they weren’t as good because the ingredients wouldn’t be as effective or as active,” says Victoria Beckham, someone who has been painted, shellacked, primped, and papped for more than 20 years, almost definitely sampling more products in the process than most women do in their lifetimes. “What I learned when creating my own line is that that’s not true at all.”
When she set out to create Victoria Beckham Beauty, the Spice Girl-turned-fashion-designer-turned-entrepreneur—who is also a mother of four and basically the living embodiment of Girl Power—was so determined to sleuth out what made certain products work that she haunted department store counters trying to learn everything she could about ingredients and formulations. What she ended up launching earlier this year was a one-two punch of smoky eye and nude lip essentials—an elevated riff on her own signature look. The third installation ventures into skin care. Specifically, a collaboration with cutting-edge German stem cell scientist Dr. Augustinus Bader on the Priming Moisturizer, a luminizing hybrid that smoothes, imparts an instant glow, and has the healing capabilities of Bader’s TFC8 technology. The collection thus far is not only the last word in chic, but also scrupulously clean and eco-friendly. “I think what we have achieved has proved that you don't have to compromise quality, or how effective something can be,” she says. “You can achieve the utmost in luxury but do it in a clean way.”
Beckham created the line with Sarah Creal, a beauty executive she met while working on makeup collaborations with Estée Lauder. Together, they fine-tuned her vision to create a streamlined, sleek selection in gorgeous, sustainable packaging, and devised a digitally focused marketing strategy to bring the consumer more closely into the conversation. “Going direct to consumer was key for me,” Beckham says. “I had an ecom site in fashion before I had a stand-alone store. And for me to achieve what I achieved, and do it at the price point that I did, I knew the best way was to go direct. Also, I am a control freak. I like to control how things look in front of the customer.” Partnering with VIOLET GREY was a no-brainer, too. “I always said if I was going a partner with anybody on this, it would be VIOLET GREY, because I have an enormous amount of respect for [founder] Cassandra [Grey],” Beckham says. “She has impeccable taste, and her mission with regards to clean is also aligned with mine. It just felt like the perfect match.”
20 questions for victoria beckham
Why beauty now?
I discovered makeup at a very early age. I used to sit and watch my mum getting ready, and I would borrow her makeup when she let me. I remember her giving me a little blush on my cheeks when I looked a bit peaky. I was never the most confident child. I was really bullied at school, mentally and physically, and I was an awkward teenager. I had bad skin, very lank looking hair. I was a skinny little thing. At that point, I was using makeup to cover up what I felt incredibly self-conscious about. Now, it’s the opposite—I use it to make the best of myself. That’s why [beauty] has been such a journey for me.
What makes you feel ready to face the world?
I've always been quite obsessed with a perfect nude lip. Even if I'm not wearing any other makeup, I always make sure that I have something on my lips. It might just be a pencil. My favorite color in my Lip Definer is No. 2 because that's what works best on my skin tone. But there really is a perfect nude for everybody. I also really love the Lip Tint because I can put a little bit of it on my cheeks, too. You can do so much with that one product.
Favorite beauty moments?
So many! But I never look back at anything and cringe. There was a lot of heavy makeup in the Spice Girls, but we were on stage, and it was the '90s. I look back and smile at those pictures. I think that sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don’t. You put a lot of trust in the makeup artist when you are being photographed or on a red carpet. You’re in their hands. And sometimes that turns out better than others.
I'm quite popular with the British tabloids, and it's not always been glowing. But that's fine. I think that you can look at pictures of yourself and you can learn from them. I've been looking at pictures of myself taken in public for so many years, and it’s taught me a lot. What works, what doesn't, and what I need in my products to really look great. The pigments in eyeshadows, for example, are really important. If the pigments are too thick on your face in a photograph, you're going to look like you have tired eyes.
Your vanity: more-is-more or Marie Kondo?
How many beauty products do you travel with?
A lot. I'd probably have a total of four wash bags full of products.
Three desert island products?
I would take my Bitten Lip Tint, because it's nourishing, moisturizing, and plumping. Some kind of sunblock—the best one is actually a sample of a new SPF from [facialist] Melanie Grant, and something really nourishing for my body. I use organic coconut oil quite a lot, so I would need that. Actually, I'd take four products with me, because I'd also need my Augustinus Bader [Body Cream].
Philosophy on aging?
I'm not trying to change anything. I'm just trying to look after what I've got. I want to look good for my age. I don't want to look like I'm 25, because I'm not. I'm proud of my age . I have no problem with that.
Hours of sleep?
I like to have a minimum of eight. But quite often that's not the case, just because of the time difference between the US and the UK, and the fact that I have businesses in both. As my kids get older, they don't want to go to bed too early. And I don't like to go to bed before them.
Your A.M. routine?
If I'm going to an event, I'll do a mask, and I'll get my hair and makeup done. That's obviously much more time consuming. But most days if I'm just going to the office, I don’t spend as much time as I would like. I’m always catching up with emails, getting the kids out of bed, giving kids breakfast, doing the school run, trying to get on the treadmill. I will shower, I will rub my hair dry, stick it in a low ponytail, and do very, very minimal makeup. And then I’ll put on a big pair of glasses.
Your go-to breakfast?
Sometimes I have fruit, sometimes I have egg whites and avocado, sometimes I have toast and mashed up avocado. I do drink coffee, and I also like herbal tea.
I think we shouldn't feel bad or guilty about taking a bit of time for ourselves. It's difficult when you've got children and you're busy. I don't feel guilty about going for a facial, going to the gym, getting my nails done, those kinds of things. And I think it's also important to support other women and make them feel good, and encourage other women to eat healthily and work out and look after themselves.
I do the treadmill every day—running, uphill, fast walk. And then I have a Tracy Anderson trainer. I've been doing Tracy Anderson work for nine years now. I do it six days a week. And on day seven, I just do a run. I go about 15 minutes, but I don't work out when I'm traveling. I have a routine when I'm at home, and I love it, but it's very difficult when you're away and working, and you're going on morning TV and then you have dinner meetings.
Cheap-but-chic beauty find?
Weleda Skin Food. It's very clean. It's at an accessible price point, and I love the fact that it's really thick and really nourishing. I find that my skin just eats up so many moisturizers, whereas that's the only one that really keeps my skin feeling hydrated and moisturized throughout the day. I just wish that they did it in a bigger tube.
Products you share with your husband?
He steals all my products. Everything! He’s already using the Priming Moisturizer, and some products that we have coming out next year that we haven’t announced yet. I'm not saying that David is going for a smoky eye, or anything like that. We also both use Augustinus Bader Cream so we can share.
Best career advice you've ever received?
Believe in yourself, dream big, work hard. Focus. When people say no, don't listen. Just keep going.
Highest point as an entrepreneur?
It was pretty cool when my kids and my husband started coming to my fashion shows, because they didn’t in the beginning. I wanted it to be all about the collection. And when my family started coming to the shows, they were really surprised at the scale and were like, wow, mummy really does have a proper job. Seeing the respect that the kids have for what I do, and for what I have built, and the work ethic that both David and I have. Hopefully they will follow in our footsteps, with regards to just working hard. It's not about luck. You've got to work incredibly hard to become successful, but then you've got to work even harder to maintain that success.
Scariest thing you’vve ever done?
I think the scariest thing is the fact that I spend a lot of time working, and as a parent you feel guilty about that. It's also that moment just before a show where you think, gosh, what if these ideas aren't good? What if people don't like it? You put an enormous amount of focus and work in, and you question yourself through a whole season, and then you have to show everyone. I would hate to ever kick myself and think, I spent all that time, and it didn't work. Thankfully, I haven't been in that position. But it’s certainly something that's constantly on my mind.
Last thing you do before bed?
I kiss my children good night, and my husband.
Your best hidden talent?
I'm a qualified teacher of all things dance: tap, ballet, modern, jazz. When I was younger and I wanted to be a dancer, I used to watch Fame all the time. I lived for it. I had a navy blue velour Fame tracksuit, and my sister had the same one in red. It was everything.
Victoria Beckham by Augustinus Bader $145
Victoria Beckham by Augustinus Bader $95