I've been following Chiara Ferragni since 2014, both on Instagram and through her website, The Blonde Salad. Back then, five years ago, I was a college student who was interested in skincare, makeup, and hair, and I appreciated how she used her platform to post about both fashion and beauty. Sure, her emphasis was on fashion, but she would pair her outfits with different hairstyles (a breezy side braid here and a sleek high pony there), not to mention makeup looks (kohl-rimmed eyes and smoky shadow has always been her signature).
Back then, she had a large Instagram following, but it was nowhere near the 16.8 million followers she has today. Back then, her website was a blog. Now, it's much more than that; it's equal parts an e-commerce site and a digital magazine. Since then, she's walked some of the most prestigious international red carpets, she's attended what seems like hundreds of designer fashion shows, and she's partnered with multiple high-end brands for campaigns and collaborations.
Her most recent collaboration is with Lancôme. She is the brand's newest muse, joining women like Lupita Nyong'o, Lily Collins, Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz, and Julia Roberts, as a global brand ambassador. Not only that, but she's even collaborated with Lancôme to create a makeup collection: Lancôme x Chiara Ferragni. Keep scrolling to see the entire makeup collection, and read what Ferragni has to say about her daily makeup routine, collecting confidence in the age of social media, and how Italian and American beauty ideals differ.
"[Lancôme] was really interested in not only creating a capsule collection, but really working together on a 360 degrees sort of project," Ferragni tells me. "They wanted me to become one of the Lancôme muses—one of the Lancôme faces—, so starting to work on both digital campaigns and real campaigns. That was amazing, because I got to meet the other Lancôme muses. We’d shoot together for campaigns and stuff. At the same time we started with the idea of creating my own capsule collection for them."
The collection includes a palette, three lip lacquers, three hydrating lip tints, and special packaging of the brand's iconic Hypnôse Drama Mascara. "We started the process a year and a half ago. It has been a labor for quite some time. Now it’s finally out and I’m really excited because I got to choose my favorite colors and create my go-to palette."
Here's the palette. It houses all of her "everyday essentials," including four eyeshadows, three highlighters, four lipsticks, and one lipgloss, all in a single glittery pink casing. "I love this new palette...I say ‘palette’ like in the French way, she laughs. "It has a little bit of everything." If you put on foundation or BB cream or whatever you need, after that, you basically have everything you need to get ready. It's really easy to fit it in your bag or in your suitcase."
Being an international fashion and beauty influencer means you have to travel a lot, like almost constantly, so it makes sense that she'd create a palette that's compact and has a little bit of everything. "I think for me less is more, so it’s really about having a product that works 100%, but not having to bring 1000 products with you," she says. "I like to find my favorites and focus on them."
Ferragni tells me that she does her own makeup "almost every day," but hands it off to a professional for special events. "I’m very natural, so it’s about making my skin look glowy and beautiful and then maybe a little bit of eyeshadow (I’ve been using the one in the palette so much), and a little bit of gloss or lipstick on the lips," Ferragni explains. "I love mascara. Mascara and highlighters are my go-to products for beauty, but I try to always be very minimal, so we experiment more when I’m with my glam artists."
Her favorite hair and makeup look in recent memory is the one she wore on this year's Cannes Film Festival red carpet. "It’s not for everyday but I love the one we did for the Cannes red carpet. We used a wig, so I had a short, blonde-er bob. Everybody thought I cut my hair. The makeup was very natural—glowy skin, but more intense in the eyes, with a little bit of silver eyeshadow. I felt like I was the coolest version of myself."
Aside from glamorous events that call for equally glamorous hair and makeup, Ferragni keeps it simple. She always has, but after last year, when she married Italian rapper, singer, and songwriter, Federico Lucia, otherwise known as Fedez, and gave birth to their first child, Leone (you can see cute posts of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby on Instagram), she's particularly fond of a natural beauty approach. Not only does it allow her natural beauty to shine through, but it also saves her precious time. "I’ve always loved super natural beauty, so that hasn’t changed so much. I think after giving birth to a child you feel like an invincible woman. You understand how amazing we are, even more than before. Every woman you have ever met who has had a child, we’re capable of giving birth to something amazing."
"I know I’m very strict on time sometimes; I have a few minutes, maybe 10 minutes to do my makeup, so I need to be very focused on the products that really work. But the beauty look has always been the same—natural, but refined natural. The no-makeup makeup look."
In her opinion, natural makeup vs. dramatic makeup is a cultural difference between Italians and Americans. "People here are much more obsessed about beauty than people in Italy," she tells me. "I think in Italy women tend to be a little bit more natural with beauty. They always like to enhance their features more than just hiding too much. Here, it depends. I think there are different ways to do makeup."
"It’s whatever makes you feel most confident and more beautiful. For me, I see myself more beautiful when I’m not wearing tons of makeup, but some people really love it and love the results, and they love how it makes them feel, so that’s perfect. I think that’s the biggest difference, but of course there are American girls who love—like your makeup is super natural, you know? It really depends on the person. It’s always nice to experiment and understand what makes you feel like the best version of yourself."
If there's one product that Italian girls love, it's lip gloss. ""We love lip glosses," Ferragni says. "Lip gloss is a very Italian/European thing. It’s like from the ‘90s. I remember the first beauty product I would buy were lip glosses when I was like 13 or 14.." (That probably explains why Ferragni's Lancôme collection includes three different lacquers).
Italian, American, or otherwise, Ferragni counts many women as her personal beauty icons, including Maria Grazia Chiuri, who is the creative director for Dior (the two worked closely together when Chiuri designed Ferragni's wedding dress early last year). "I love the way she embraces her femininity, yet she has a very strong look with the bleached hair and most of the time a very dark eye..."
"Then it really depends," Ferragni continues. "There are so many people I’m inspired by," she says. "I can see a beautiful girl in the street or watch the way someone does their makeup, and I’m inspired by them. Most of my inspiration now comes from social media. I get to see so many beautiful girls who inspire me in so many ways, some for the way they do their makeup, some for the way they talk, some for the message they share. It’s really important to not only focus on what beauty represents to us, but it’s more about the way it makes us feel."
I thought it was interesting that she draws most of her beauty inspiration from social media. As an influencer herself, it's easy to forget that she can be (and is often) influenced by others, just like the rest of us. "Social media is great in the way that everyone can have a voice. Before, not everyone felt like they had a voice. That’s what’s so revolutionary. I mean, I’m doing what I’m doing thanks to social media, so I’m super grateful, but I think you have to set rules for how you use social media..."
"You always have to remember that almost everybody is posting the best version of their lives on social media. I think it’s really important to show people truthful things. I’m really trying to be as honest as possible. When I have a bad day or something happens I try to share it, not in a way for people to say ‘I’m sorry,’ but it’s to tell them that even I—I feel like most of my followers probably think I have the most perfect life...I honestly do, I’m super grateful, but still, I have rough days. I have days where I feel like shit. It’s important to share the concept that nobody is 100% confident. Nobody feels like they’re the most beautiful person on earth. Nobody feels powerful all the time. We all have insecurities."
The moral of the story, it seems, is that everyone, whether celebrity, mega-blogger, fashion icon, or not, is the same. Some days we feel great, and some days we don't, but embracing our uniqueness helps. While you don't need makeup to do so, it's a tool that helps many people (myself included) celebrate themselves.
The Lancôme x Chiara Ferragni collection is available for purchase now, at Nordstrom. In the meantime, check out 8 confidence-boosting tips Byrdie readers love.