Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Some Intel on the Origins of Grace Coddington’s Famous Beauty Look

Grace Coddington at Proenza Schouler's spring 2016 show. Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images
Grace Coddington at Proenza Schouler's spring 2016 show. Photo: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Contrary to popular belief, Grace Coddington's signature beauty look — minimal eye makeup, a touch of lipstick, that fiery mane — is not the result of some practical witchcraft that allows her to wake up looking the same every day. Alas. She, like all of us, achieves her look through constant maintenance and the careful application of various products.

On this, the #FirstMondayinMay, the good people over at Into the Gloss interviewed Coddington for their Top Shelf franchise. What did we learn? That her beauty routine is about as low-key as her history in the fashion industry is epic. On that front, a few key takeaways:

As a model in the '50s and '60s, she was way ahead of the curve.

The things we did were all those little painted spikes around the eyes... 'Twiglets,' whatever they're called, that Twiggy did. But we did them fist because we came before her.

She once owned a mascara for longer than Chris Evans has been on this earth.

I think I had one mascara that lasted me 35 years, and I preferred it in the end because it dried up!

Her hair is indestructible.

You can't destroy it, it doesn't matter how much you put color on it, however many years... And I've done everything to it.

... but it may not be red forever.

It's Louis Licari [who colors my hair]. He's been taking care of me since I came to America. Now, I have to go every two weeks because I've got white hair now. I've thought about letting it go white, but the process of growing it out is kind of torturous. I'd have to hide for a year. Or I guess I could wear a hat again.

Grace, if you're reading this, yes. Please. Seriously, that would be a beauty power move of the highest order.

Check out the full interview at Into the Gloss.