ďI really think the less you do, the better it is. Sometimes I get a reaction on my face, and then I start acting immediately with extreme measures, and it makes it worse. Itís just a matter of letting it lie, and just leaving it alone, so I do very little with my skin. Definitely I use a cleanser, and then a toner: for a cleanser, Iíve always used Kiehlís, and then I use their Rosewater toner as well, or the Intral toner from Darphin. I started using Kiehlís at the beginning of my fashion career. I always had all this reaction on my forehead, and one makeup artist said, ĎKiehlís works, use it for a while, and youíll seeócleanser, toner and moisturizer.í Thatís the first time I even knew there were three parts to your morning routine. [Laughs] Then I did it, and it worked, so I stuck with it. I can see why toners work, especially for me, because I do have oily skinóbut itís combination skin too, so itís odd. If I put an oil-free thing on, it doesnít work, because my skin gets dried out, so itís always hard to find something thatís really working. But I feel like when I have a good toner, I can see it really cleans. For moisturizers, I go between LíOrťal Youth Code, and a couple from Nuxe: CrŤme Prodigieuse and Aroma-Vaillance. I also really like the Kiehlís shaving cream. [Laughs]
Iíve been in the industry for easily ten years. Iím an ambassador for LíOrťalóitís been about a year now. They appreciate beauty in a very individual way. The spokesmodels are always interesting womenódefinitely gorgeous womenóbut also women who are up to something, who are passionate, who are hardworking, who have an opinion about something. I like that they go for the fullness of the women. Iím from Ethiopia, and in addition to modeling and acting, I have a sustainable clothing line for women and kids called Lemlem, and now weíve branched out into home. Itís all hand-woven in Ethiopia. Ethiopians are known to be beautiful, within the world. Thereís this whole mythówell, itís not a mythóitís true: I have traveled and seen itís quite incredible. There is something about Ethiopian beauty. The thing about beauty is that everywhere you go, beauty means something else. And in a way, thatís great, because you donít want it to mean the same thing everywhere because beauty is not something fixed or solidóit shouldnít be, and itís not right now. But the more one the world becomes, the less and less that happens. Everyone starts having the same view of what beautiful is, and thatís not a good thing.
In Ethiopia, we have really great hair salons.You get washed and they put you in the rollers, and then theyíll either blow dry or flat iron it. Itís a thing on Sundays; everybodyís at the hair salon. I grew up always with my hair braided, and I love that. You can be creative with different kinds of braids: all up, all out, sideways. So we kind of play around with it. I actually do that with my daughter as well: we braid her hair, and sheís learned how to braid now, too. We put little shells in hers. And one thing that they do there is they put butter in your hairóreal butter. Itís different than butter here because itís not processed; you make the butter yourself at home, or you buy it, but itís so organic, and thereís nothing in it. They do it like a treatment, in salonsóitís incredible! Every time I go there, I do it. It really fortifies your hair and makes it really healthy. My hair goes through its phases. I do a lot of Kťrastase because I have very curly hair and itís very tangly. Untangling it is really hard, so I need a really good conditioner, and Kťrastase works for meóthe orange line, Nutritive. And Iíve been using the new LíOrťal oilóElseve, which isnít out yetóand thatís very good. I put that on before the shampoo, and leave it in, and then wash it. If I can, Iíll leave it on overnight; if not, then right before I shampoo. And I think it gives it shine and just a little bit of something.
I donít wear makeup during the day. If I go out at night, Iíve started wearing eyelineróitís a very new thing for me. I was intimidated by doing my own eyeliner because I think it gets really messy, so I never attempted it. Funnily enough, I think I was on a shoot somewhere, and someone put liquid eyeliner on me, and I really liked it. Then I thought, ĎThis is a really interesting look to go out in.í I had newly acquired LíOrťal eyeliner which is very very goodóIím really obsessed with it, actually. Itís called the Super Liner: thereís one thatís a thicker brush, but I like the one with the thinner brush. And for me itís the perfect size, it doesnít mess upóI donít know whyómaybe the liquid is very watery. Itís very light, and it dries really quickly. Itís sort of changed my night look: itís very easy but it makes you look done even though you havenít done anything else. And I love the Lash Architect 4D mascara: it makes you look like you have lots of lashes immediately. Sometimes I do red lipó itís easy and pretty, and sometimes I add a pencil on it to make it more intense, or sometimes Iíll do the Infallible eye shadow in silver. But thatís pretty much it. I donít go crazy. I like a fresh looking face. I have learned so much about beauty through fashion: itís incredible the amount of knowledge you get, and how you notice the little things that make all the difference. In a way, if you have the perfect makeup artist who can do the best skin on you, you donít need anything else. And I think thatís why I always leave my skin more freshóbecause I love that look of pure skin.Ē
Liya Kebede, wearing Carven (including shoes!), photographed by Emily Weiss at the Hotel Martinez in Cannes, France, May 25th 2012.