Exclusive: Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen Spill Their Makeup Secrets

Updated 07/09/19
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Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen need no introduction. They’ve proven themselves as legitimate fashion designers in every circle imaginable, their risk-taking fashion sense has been well-documented by relentless paparazzi photos, and we all know they landed roles on Full House long before they could walk. But in spite of all that, their beauty routine has been kept...relatively quiet?
We had the opportunity to sit down with Mary-Kate and Ashley to talk about all things beauty, from their fragrances to their best beauty moments.

How does one prepare for an interview with the Olsens? After geeking out for longer than we’d like to admit, a few of our editors gathered and came up with our most burning beauty questions for the pair. These queries were, of course, mostly about their perfectly textured hair, beauty inspirations, and favorite cosmetics.

mary kate and ashley olsen makeup
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“We know exactly what we like,” Ashley told us about their signature dewy skin, beige lips, and smudged eyeliner. “We’re very specific, detailed people. Hair and makeup just sort of bring everything together. The right hair and makeup can make the outfit go any which way.”

Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil $20
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When asked about that beige matte lip, the twins smile at each other. “It’s not a lipstick—it’s a waterproof lip liner!” Ashley says about Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil ($20) in 3C. “Our makeup artist [Erik Soto] sends them to us.”

Brave Solider Solar Shield SPF 30 Sunscreen $15
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“On a day off, we don’t really wear much makeup,” Ashley says. The one product they don’t leave home without? Brave Soldier Lip Defender ($9). “It’s more like skincare for your lips than a lip balm,” Mary-Kate says.

Anastasia Beverly HIlls Brow Gel $22
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Before the return of the bold brow, Mary-Kate and Ashley were already brushing their full arches up and out to make them look even more dramatic. What keeps them in place? “First, you need a flat toothbrush,” explains Ashley. “It’s bigger than a brow brush, so it works better, then we just use Anastasia Clear Brow Gel ($22).”

Lorac Pro Matte Eyeshadow Palette $28
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The trick to Mary-Kate and Ashley’s signature smoky eye? It’s done with a matte brown shadow, instead of shimmery black.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black $85
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Mary-Kate and Ashley are no strangers to the world of perfume—they put their name on scents as tweens—but it’s the launch of their scents for Elizabeth and James that's been recent cause for celebration.


“It all started with our desire to bring together sandalwood and vanilla, to create a very sensual, and almost masculine scent,” explains Mary-Kate referring to Nirvana Black ($85). “The two scents are a play on duality,” Ashley adds, describing it as lived-in and androgynous.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana White $85
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After the year-and-half venture to create Black, the twins moved on to create what would be Nirvana White ($85), a lighter, more feminine floral.

Which scent do they prefer? “It just depends on just how you’re feeling,” Ashley says. “They also smell really nice together. I’ll put one on during the day, and then add the other one later.” Mary-Kate adds, “They’re both sensual in different ways—we want to give women options.”

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The trick to the Olsen’s complexion? They keep their skin dewy and their eyes and lips matte. “That’s what they like,” Soto told us. That dewy skin often comes courtesy of Benefit’s Boi-ing Concealer ($22) in Medium and Make Up For Ever’s Water Blend Face & Body Foundation ($43).

Stila Convertible Color $25
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Then, for contour, Mary-Kate and Ashley keep the dewy texture going with Bobbi Brown’s Skin Foundation Stick ($46) and Stila’s Convertible Color ($25) in Lillium. “Just a touch,” Soto tells us.

Sephora Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner $12
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Of course, we had to ask Mary-Kate and Ashley about their signature smudged eyeliner. “The trick is to use brown,” Ashley says. That brown liner, it turns out, is also matte, providing a contrast to their always radiant skin. Soto uses Sephora Collection Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner ($12) in Matte Brown Black along both of their lash lines and smudges it with a small brush. “The oil in your skin will break down a matte shade and make it look more lived-in,” he tells us.

Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara
YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara $29
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When asked about their favorite mascara, Mary-Kate was quick to reply “YSL!” referring to Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara ($29). Then, on the red carpet, they amp it up with Guerlain’s Maxi Lash Volumizing and Curling Mascara ($33). “It gives that full lash that they love,” Soto explains.

This post was originally published on April 30, 2013.

Check out the other two stories in our exclusive Mary-Kate and Ashley series where they share their hair secrets and favorite beauty icons.

Opening Image: Getty/Dave Kotinsky

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