As I write this, South London artist RAYE is in the US touring her debut album My 21st Century Blues. After almost a decade in the music industry waiting on tenterhooks to cut a record with her first label, she made it happen of her own volition and you can bet she's going to relish it. The song titles read like diary entry headings – which sounds like a lazy way to describe a young woman's art, but it's true. Each song is RAYE at her most vulnerable, confessional and the artist has described the process as "medicinal". More than anything, the album is a celebration of womanhood, an exorcism of all the fucked up experiences so that she can finally bask in the joy.
In the heat of her first tour, RAYE caught up with RUSSH to discuss self-care at a time when she undoubtedly needs it most. Below, she talks her first beauty-related memories, the power of a good blush and what she does to recover on tour.
What time do you wake up?
On average at the moment, 1pm, but we’re on tour!
Describe your approach to beauty in three words…
Clean off your makeup. That’s three words haha. You’ve got to start with a blank canvas and sometimes it's hard to clean your makeup off so it's a good place to start when it comes to beauty.
Can you walk me through your morning beauty routine?
Clean your skin; cleanse it, tone it. Then I have a cream that I love called Embryolisse and I just put layers of that on. Then I’ll do a light, thin foundation that’s like a BB cream from Dolce and Gabbana in the shade Amber.
Then I’ll put on some concealer, a little bit of the Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer and then I’ll put some Benefit eyeliner on which I love so much. Then I’ll use a mascara – the one I really like is Isamaya French Rubberlash.
I say morning beauty routine but this is my 'if I need to look presentable’ beauty routine. Sometimes I go through phases of feeling comfortable with less makeup and sometimes I like to wear more. At the moment I’m in my wearing lots of makeup phase. Blush is really important – I wear a Pat McGrath Skin Fetish Blush in Divine Rose.
What does your skincare regimen look like at night?
The best thing I use is the Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser in the shower and I’ll use that to clean off all of my makeup. Then I’ll use micellar water to clean off any excess around my eyes. Then I'll use a toner to clean off all the dirt, then my Embryolisse cream. I put lots of this cream on and use it as a mask because my skin needs lots of hydration.
What's your earliest beauty-related memory?
I remember when I was about 12, we’d pile so much Dream Matte Mousse, which you could get from Boots, and just slather it on. Then I’d do eyeliner in the water line and my parents used to tell me I couldn't wear makeup so I used to clean it all off on my way home from school.
What's your favourite drug store beauty product?
Probably the Revlon lip gloss – it’s really smooth and shiny but it's very moisturising as well. It’s a really great product.
Do you exercise?
Yes I do but currently not right now. I’m an all or nothing person so I’m either training really hard or doing nothing and right now I’m doing nothing. I do really like exercise and I love boxing and HIIT training on a good day
When on tour, what do you do when your body needs to recover?
I sleep as much as possible. I think my show is quite a draining show and I’m using my voice a lot and giving a lot of energy on stage so I’ve been trying to sleep as much as possible.
What is the one non-negotiable in your beauty routine?
My face cream Embryolisse – I swear by it, it’s brilliant.
Do you have a beauty icon? Who are they and why?
Zoe Kravitz and Zendaya are both so beautiful and both have amazing makeup and hair. I love what Zendaya has been doing recently with the Hollywood blowout and beautiful makeup. She’s always pushing herself out of the comfort zone and her outfits fit amazingly.
What is the best advice on beauty you’ve received?
Lymphatic drainage – when you use your face cream and you give yourself a face massage to drain everything from your face and down into your neck and collarbones. I had a makeup artist that used to do it to me all the time and you notice a difference in how your skin feels and appears as well.
What is the one product you can’t live without?
My Benefit eyeliner.