When you think of celebrities who evoke glamour, Dita Von Teese inevitably comes to mind. The 43-year-old burlesque dancer and model practically defines the word. And her commitment to her iconic pinup look (coiffed, jet-black hair, a liquid-liner cat eye, and a bold red lip) is now immortalized in her first book, Your Beauty Mark. She breaks down her routine, from her waxing schedule to her exercise regime. And it’s phenomenal. Allure got a chance to chat with Von Teese about developing a signature beauty look, eating with lipstick on, and the truth about wearing corsets.
Allure: Let’s start with your red lip. You must have amazing hacks for keeping lipstick on all day. What are they?
Dita Von Teese: Using an ultra-matte formula is great for novices. I always line the entire surface of the lips with a red lip liner because it really gives a great base and offers more depth and richness to red lips, which I love.”
A: What about eating with red lipstick on? I’ve personally struggled.
DVT: The most difficult things to eat are sandwiches, cheeseburgers, tacos, and greasy salads. So I always order things that you eat with a fork but [that] aren’t too greasy or messy. You have to be willing to check up on your lipstick. There’s a little discipline involved, which I personally like. I know that I can eat a cheeseburger with red lipstick on if I want to, but I have decades of practice.
A: What’s the one part of your daily beauty routine you would never skip?
DVT: Taking off makeup at the end of the day is essential. I can’t remember a time ever in my adult history that I’ve ever went to bed with makeup on my face. And you know, I’ve had some wild nights, believe me. But I still get that makeup off.
A: You’ve appeared on HuffPost Live before, where you talked about the corset obsession that’s consuming America. You said that some of the big celebrities endorsing corsets feels like “the blind leading the blind.” Since you’re a true expert on corsetry, what should people really know about them?
DVT: There are a lot of people just jumping on the bandwagon. Yes, it can be a form of body modification. You can shape your waist with corsetry and it creates a feminine silhouette. It’s not meant to be comfortable. It’s a little bit like high-heel wearing: It’s not necessarily easy. Your whole demeanor changes and your stance changes. Wearing corsets can be very useful for some people — for their posture and for their back. I always advise having a corset custom-made, instead of buying them off the rack, because our bodies are all shaped differently and the places where we want to be compressed can change. Anyone who’s interested in it should go seek out a company that has been making them for decades and decades.”
A: What about the claims that some celebrities make on Instagram that corset training helps them get their pre-baby bodies back?
DVT: It can shape the waist, but you won’t lose weight. The flesh goes somewhere. It’s a little bit like Chinese foot binding. If you wear it for a length of time, and you live in it, and you’re doing serious corset training, it can maybe modify your body, but only if you have a body that responds to it. Still, it’s no substitute for exercising and eating well. And it’s definitely not the fast track to losing weight; it’s the slow way.
A: It’s admirable how committed you’ve been your entire life to your signature look. Why do you think it’s important for people to find their own signature look?
DVT: If you choose a signature look, you have the opportunity to perfect it and do it quickly in a pinch. You can become as good as any world-class makeup artist if you set your mind to it and you’re practicing and learning all the time. I love when I meet people and they have a real signature, and they become known for it, and they are really great at it. They don’t have to think about it; its like second nature. I love when somebody has a signature scent that you recognize and that you associate with them. (Von Teese’s is Quelques Fleurs, by the way.)
A: Have you ever been tempted to deviate from your signature look?
DVT: I mean, I’ve tried other things, and I’ve been photographed before without much makeup on and with a beige lip and I just feel drained of my confidence. Why would I do that to myself? Really, what’s the point of it? It’s something that I really love that makes me feel good, so why would I fight it? I feel that it’s a real childhood obsession. It’s almost a fetish. It’s so ingrained in me ever since I was little and all I ever wanted to be. I can’t imagine being any other way.
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