Learn Princess Diana’s Simple And Classic Makeup Look From Her Makeup Artist

By Nicole Andre··  6 min read
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Princess Diana was known for being a generous person just as much as for her great style and classic makeup look. Her makeup artist Mary Greenwell shared exactly how to get the famous look.

As the Princess of Wales, she was a beloved member of the British royal family after she married Prince Charles. Known as the “People’s Princess,” Diana was a force to be reckoned with.

But one thing people might not know about Princess Diana is how much she loved makeup. In the words of her makeup artist, Mary Greenwell, “Princess Diana loved product,” adding that she would even go to Princess Diana’s house just to talk about makeup products with her. Thankfully, her look is classic and just as wearable today as it was then.

The Inspiration Behind the Makeup

World-renowned makeup artist Mary Greenwell, who has also worked with the likes of Cindy Crawford and Cate Blanchett, worked with Princess Diana solidly for about three years.

For Diana, “it wasn’t about looking overly made up. It was about looking gorgeous and glamorous and sweet.” Who doesn’t want that? Their partnership was the beginning of changing Princess Diana’s makeup look. (Bye-bye, blue eyeliner.)

Preparing the Skin

Greenwell starts off with a lip balm because you want to avoid having the mouth be dry by the time you do the lips at the end. She uses one from By Terry, but you can really get away with using pretty much any brand of lip balm. 

Next, something that a lot of Youtube tutorials done by beauty gurus skip, use a moisturizer before applying foundation or even primer. Greenwell prefers a three-step layering set called “Rejuvenate” from Intraceuticals. 

Don’t Skip the Base

You won’t be too surprised by her next step: a primer. Greenwell touts the Laura Mercier primer as being perfect because it contains SPF and creates a perfect base for the rest of the makeup. The princess definitely wore SPF regularly, as she maintained “pure” skin her whole life, meaning it stayed pretty pale because she kept it from being damaged by the sun.

It might surprise you, but this is actually where Greenwell would normally do the brows! This is a step a lot of people do as one of the last steps, but Greenwell likes to brush them in an upward direction with a Japanese baby toothbrush so she can use the eyebrows as a guide when she’s doing makeup.

For foundation, Greenwell likes to use the YSL Fusion Ink Cushion Foundation and pair it with a liquid foundation from Guerlain. She uses the first to add all-over coverage and then uses the liquid foundation in the places where she still needs it. 

(One interesting thing Greenwell has explained is that two layers of foundation are actually much more makeup than she would have ever put on the Princess. But, because of the age of the Internet, people have come to expect the skin to look perfect. If you want it to be closer to what she would have done on Princess Diana and a more natural look on the skin, you can most certainly stop with the first thin cushion layer.)

Eye Makeup Fit for a Princess

Greenwell used the Bourjois Smoky Stories eyeshadow palette in “Over Rose.” Any palette that has pink and purple toned colors will do! Take a cream shade and put it beneath the brow bone before continuing on to the lid. Avoid making the highlight too white! You want this look to be very natural overall. On the lid, use a purple shade and blend well, so the makeup looks “like it’s part of you.”

Line your eyes with the Hourglass Gel Eyeliner in the brown shade, “Canyon.” Greenwell found the blue eyeliner to be aging on the princess and had her switch to brown. Make sure it’s brown and not black as black will have a much more dramatic effect. You don’t want it to look like you have eyeliner on. 

Greenwell kept the liner right at the roots! She advised doing this part “very slowly.” Before it sets, make the q-tip your best friend and use it to blend (read: not smudge) the liner. She follows up with the brown shadow from the palette to blend just slightly above the line of the liner so that the eyeliner seems to almost disappear within it. When you open your eyes, you’ll find it helps to prevent the eyeliner from looking so obvious. 

Making the Most of Your Eyelashes

Princess Diana had really great eyelashes, but Greenwell’s tips will help you to make the best of what you have. She starts with the Sensai Eyelash Base 38℃. This white base may sound strange, but it will help to thicken the lashes in a way that two coats of black mascara won’t. She uses the Sensai again, but this time the actual mascara (38℃). Follow up with Lancôme’s Hypnose Mascara to help your lashes go up and out. 

If you put added focus on the outer corners at the end, you’ll get the added glamor almost as if you had a couple of individual lashes hiding in there somewhere. Turn the wand so that you can coat the bottom lashes ever so finely.

Does a Princess Fill in Her Brows?

You may remember from before that the brows had already been brushed out. Greenwell doesn’t use a pencil or anything to fill them in but just uses a brow gel by Tom Ford to help them stay in place. It’s a refreshingly simple approach to the circus that was eyebrow makeup trends for a while.

Highlighter, Blush, and Bronzer

The highlighter Greenwell used was incredibly subtle. Place it right on the top of the cheekbone and don't take it any higher or lower than that. Her favorite color was a Chanel blush in “Rose Initial,” only dusting it onto the apples of the cheek. This look isn’t super blush heavy.

She used her Hourglass palette for bronzer as Princess Diana never wanted to look pale. By taking it around the hairline and outer edges of the face, you can look suntanned while leaving the center of the face paler.

How To Get a Princess Pout

Greenwell used Mac’s Subculture lip liner around the outer line of the lips that often don’t have the same pigment as the rest of your lip. Then follow up with Lancôme lipstick in “Nuit et Jour.” You’ll want to rub your lips back and forth like crazy. Seriously, do it for a lot longer than you think. It’s a really easy way to make your lips look their fullest.

Setting the Face

Finally, to set the places where she put concealer to keep it from creasing, Greenwell used a powder from Charlotte Tilbury. You can also apply it to your t-zone to take away the shine.

Closing Thoughts

Princess Diana’s makeup was really natural, doable makeup that would work for pretty much any occasion you might have. As for where it falls on the makeup trend spectrum, I’d say somewhere in between the Instagram makeup and the no-makeup trends of today. So if you’d like a classic makeup look from a time when teen magazines still explained the difference between daytime and nighttime makeup, this is it.

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