Because we had to know the secrets behind the Lion Babe singer's signature curls.
We'll be upfront here: we are big fans of Lion Babe's music. If you haven't listened to "Begin" yet, we have nothing more to say than go do that now. But if you're fans in the way we are, chances are you are just as transfixed by lead singer Jillian Hervey's beauty look as you are by her music. As in, you have a million questions you want to ask: hair, skin, eyeliner—she's not short on statements. So us being us, we rang the Lion Babe singer up and asked if we could pop by The Edition to sit in on her daily getting-ready situation and, as expected, it did not disappoint.
But are you really surprised? When you’re the daughter of actress and former Miss America Vanessa Williams, it’s safe to say you've spent a lot of your life behind the scenes soaking it all up—tack onto that years spent as a dancer and her current nine-to-five as one half of the Lion Babe duo. So the tips and tricks she’s learned along the way—from stylists, makeup artists, hairdressers and, most importantly, Mom—are plenty. Like, say, the importance of body moisturizer, always taking off your makeup at night and how to contour your angles like a true pro.
The self-described diehard Tumblr girl adds to all of that with beauty inspiration from the past (everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Naomi Campbell and Veruschka) and somehow combines it all to create something that's just so very her. And we've got the whole breakdown here, including her signature cat-eye flick coated in gold glitter. Go ahead and add these pictures to your own Tumblr queue.
Her step-by-step morning routine
“Growing up, I used Proactiv Cleansing Wash; recently, Glossier sent me their Milky Jelly Cleanser, and I’m really loving that because it’s not too harsh. When it comes to moisturizer, I have one from Wen's skincare line—it’s an ultra-moisturizing day cream. I also like to rotate between a couple of different skin oils, Emma Hardie and Liz Earle. When I travel, my skin can get very dry, so that always keeps it nice and healthy and still glow-y.
On a regular day, I’m not a huge makeup wearer just because I’m always wearing makeup for events. So I like to keep my skin as clean as possible without that. Rosewater is one of my favorite go-tos that I always have in my bag—it’s always refreshing, it smells good and it makes my skin feel really nice and relaxed.
For makeup, I mostly use MAC products; I have the Mineralize Foundation, you don’t have to use much at all. I like to blend that in the skin if there are any dark spots, and I’ll just follow up with a light powder from MAC. My blush is a Stila one that I actually got from a makeup artist—it’s very peachy so it doesn’t really look like blush, and I put on such a little amount of it. I love this and stains because they look more authentic. If I’m feeling like it, I’ll use a lip liner; I have tons of colors from MAC, lots of maroons, browns—I love a deep red. If not that, I’ll just use regular lip balm: I like Glossier, and Burt’s Bees is always a good go-to. One thing that if I do play up, I do it big, are my eyes. I have my own eyeliner coming out with MAC next month, so I’ve been testing that out, which is amazing. I actually used it through this shoot—it’s a gold-bronze liner, and you can kind of use it as a clean line or smudge it and make it more of a lid sheen. I also like Alexa Chung’s Eyeko liquid black liner; it’s really precise and comes off easily so you can just draw a nice cat-eye. For mascara, I like Urban Decay. Those are my go-to products in my everyday bag.”
The best skin-saving treatments
“I always have makeup remover wipes. I’d rather start over because I don’t like to put more makeup on. Natura Bissé has two masks that I use twice a month—an Oxygen Finishing Mask and Shock Mask, which is really good if you have any breakouts or if your skin just needs a reboot. I put it on before I go into the shower, and it’s a lifesaver if I’ve done a bunch of shows or am just coming back from being on the road and know my skin needs to be top-notch. My mom was a spokesperson for Proactiv, so we always have their products. If I need something super-intense, I’ll resort to their Dark Spot Corrector or their quick overnight masks. They can be really intense, so I don’t like to go to there unless I really need it—like if there’s a giant pimple in the center of my forehead. Which no one likes."
The beauty advice her mom passed on
“Definitely lotion, in general. She always told me, ‘When you get out of the shower, put lotion on because your skin can get dry and you want to make sure it’s not.’ And obviously, like any issues, if you don’t do it for a while, then eventually if it gets dry, it can get discolored. You want to make sure your kneecaps and elbows and everything are all good. She definitely always said to make sure your face is washed before you go to sleep, even if you’re super-tired, because that’s the thing that can cause spots or infections and pimples. That’s really number one. She taught me how to comb my hair in sections and blowdry. I feel like in the movies, they just blowdry their hair for two seconds and it’s done. Does that happen to me? No! Those are probably the main things that I’ve taken from her.”
"Before you go to sleep, even if you’re super tired, make sure your face is washed because that’s the thing that can cause spots."
Everything she does to get *that* hair
“For show days, I like to add volume. My hair's naturally curly, so the base of what I do is just embellish that. Everything has to be set in high curls, or I use a curling wand and wrap the hair—each individual strand—into a really small little ringlet, like Shirley Temple's. It gets super-small and tight, and then from there you have the option of playing it up: teasing it out with a big comb, back-combing it so it adds more of a frizz and volume, or manually taking each curl and separating it, which gives it that kind of snake-y texture, which I love. I like how it looks all intricate and cool when it’s wrapped around each other. It really depends on what the look is. I definitely like all different ways of doing big hair. I like when it’s super-frizzed-out—I’ve done stuff that’s kind of Jerry Hall-inspired, where I’ll start with a really big loose wave and then add some more hairspray—I use Pantene or Chi—so it’s a little bit bigger and more crazy.
I also love braids. Because I’m curling the front of my head a lot and sweating and adding a lot of hairspray, I just need to make sure that it's healthy. So whenever I feel like I need to give it a break and not have too much heat on my hair, I’ll braid the front in a set of cornrows, connect extra pieces of hair to the back of my braid and then with the rest of my hair I’ll just curl it and let it go bigger. So that way it’s nice because it doesn’t actually add any heat, and when I’m onstage it’s comfortable because I don’t have to worry about it whipping me in the face.”
How she keeps everything healthy (even with all that styling)
“I love Keratin treatment; I've been using it for the past couple of years. It’s just about making sure your hair is strong and not going to break off. You might have to deal with it being kind of straight for a little bit, but once you wash it, it’s back to it’s normal state, which is amazing for me. I do color my hair—it’s naturally a dark brown—so it’s really good to have some type of process for keeping it healthy while I dye it. I try not to do it too much—maybe once every couple of months. It’s not one bold color, so it can go a little browner or a little blonder, and obviously in the summer it just gets naturally lighter anyways.
I love deep conditioners, especially Pantene's three-minute miracle mask. You put it on while you’re in the shower, and it makes it silky and strong. I don’t like to put too much stuff in it; I’ll use coconut oil as a last little remedy. I heard about it through my older sister, who has always been a good hair-care person. Just make sure your hair is clean, and you literally put it all in your hair, comb through it with your hands, put a shower cap on and let it sit for as long as you can. Then I just wash it out and I don’t really need any conditioner. It gets a little softer and it definitely helps with dead ends.
I also use Avanti Silicon Mix Hair. It’s from a Dominican company—the woman who did my Keratin treatment recommended it. It’s a great deep-conditioning treatment if you’re having breakage. When braiding, I’ll use a tiny bit of SheaMoisture Leave-In Conditioner so my scalp doesn’t get dry."
All the makeup tips she’s learned backstage
“It’s always fun to watch the makeup artists—everyone has their different processes. My mom’s one really long-time friend, Sam Fine, is amazing, but he will literally take an hour or something just to blend the skin right because that’s, like, his thing. Some people go straight to the eyes before they even touch the skin, so it’s interesting to see what people focus on. I personally think that the most I’ve taken from it is just getting the concept of contouring. I don’t like to do crazy contouring, but I do like making those natural features of your face stand out. On-set was definitely where I learned about highlighting your T-zone, where to apply your blush and when to make that sucky face for your cheeks—all those little moves that if I was alone I would be a little like, what is going on?
"People always say that the eyes are the doorway to your soul, so I love to make them look very exciting.”
Growing up as a dancer, I had the most experience with really theatrical makeup, so it was nice to go on-set and see how subtle you can make something, but it actually is a whole process. If someone’s face was completely beat, you wouldn’t know because it looks so natural and effortless. The main things I’ve learned are blending the skin, getting to know your highlights and bringing out your natural features.”
How she ups her look for nighttime
“I definitely like to play up the eyes. I’m not going to be wearing lashes on a normal day, but if I go out or on a date, I just love lashes. I think they make everything feel more glamorous. For the lips, it depends. If I know I’m going to be somewhere where I’ll have drinks or eat and I’ll have to upkeep that and worry about it, that frustrates me. If I know I’m somewhere where I don’t really have to worry about it, I’ll do it. I like lip liner because it just lasts longer than if you wear lipstick. Playing up the eyes, the cat-eye has become something I really love. References to eyes like Brigitte Bardot's and Cleopatra's is pretty much what I’m trying to go for when I go out. So I’ll definitely focus more on eyes; for shows, I’ll do a glitter lid or something. Obviously, as an artist, that’s the main way to really connect, and people always say that the eyes are the doorway to the soul, so I love to make them look very exciting.”
"I’ve always loved Naomi Campbell and everything she’s worn ever."
Where she sources inspiration (she may have a Tumblr addiction)
“My inspiration sources are definitely in a big range, similar to our music—we’re very eclectic. I think part of it is living in New York City and always being surrounded by all these different amazing references. I had a lot of strong women references in my house growing up. My mom had several photos and images of Josephine Baker—I just really loved her, she was so free, would take risks and was always extremely chic, theatrical and exciting. I loved looking at her—I thought she was one of the most beautiful, entrancing people. I definitely like to play that up when I’m doing shows because you can do it in a place like New York, but a lot of times people are like ‘Oh, if you dress too crazy on your day-to-day people will judge you,’ so I prefer to be more casual on my day-to-day and then have that switch and become this other person when I’m on stage.
I’m a diehard Tumblr girl. I ended up creating a bit of a mood-board collage of all these people that I love. I’ve always loved Naomi Campbell and everything she’s worn ever. Veruschka is one of my favorite models, and I just love looking at her old photos; she’s like a creature-female-goddess thing, so I’ve always been drawn to that. And just classics, like Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot, they always feel, not understated but they have their look and they always rock it. So it’s kind of like finding your staples and just making those things work. Sometimes it’s nice to know you have a couple of things that really work for you, and you just ride that out. And then all of the ’70s glam queens too—it’s all a mix. It really depends on where I am and what I’m feeling that day.”