Emily Ratajkowski is one of the most famous models in the world, but she’s never had only one job. Just on Monday, Jan. 29, she walked in the Jacquemus Spring/Summer 2024 fashion show in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France. But on the day-to-day, she’s an actress, the host of her own podcast, High Low with EmRata, and runs her Inamorata swimwear line. That’s all on top of being a New York Times Bestselling author and mother to a two-year-old son. She’s one of those girls that really seems to be good at everything — and she always looks flawless doing it. (Of course, we know this because she’s also a constant obsession of the paparazzi on the streets of New York City.)
Her latest gig is being the face of Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Tiger Lily — the newest iteration of the cult favorite Flowerbomb fragrance. It’s a fitting role, as Ratajkowski is a true beauty lover. She has tried out (almost) every hair color, can rattle off her regular makeup routine, products and all, in seconds, and is always scouring TikTok for the best beauty tips and tricks.
Below, Ratajkowski talks with NYLON about her must-have products, her biggest beauty regrets, and the one look she’s still waiting to try.
What is your first beauty memory? Do you remember the first beauty product you ever loved?
I have a lot of different, both traumatic and really good beauty memories. I loved glitter. I grew up in the early aughts and glitter seemed so important. I definitely remember having little globby jars of glitter and smearing them all over my face. There’s an elementary school picture of me with a star right here [on my cheek] and I was like seven.
What’s are you most excited about in beauty now?
Still makeup. I’m getting more into skincare, but it’s always been makeup.
Is there a look you’ve worn recently that you were particularly obsessed with?
I kind of always do the same variation of what I’m doing right now — which is a brown, smokey eye with some liner, freckles, a lot of blush, and a lip liner moment. It’s like, my look.
How much time do you think you spend on beauty in a week?
Oh, that’s a good question. I can do my makeup really fast now because I have the 12 products I always want now in a compact little thing. So it’s like, boop, boop, boop, boop — I can do my makeup practically in my sleep. But I like doing my makeup. Ideally, when I’m going out, if I can, I try to take my time — there’s nothing more enjoyable than that. It just doesn’t always happen for me. I have a son, he goes down at seven and usually I’ll make dinner reservations for eight, so I got to get with it. And usually have to walk the dog or something, too. So, I’ve gotten pretty quick.
What’s the biggest thing in your beauty routine that’s changed since you’ve become a mom?
I mean, there’s just no time. Like If I take a bath, it’s with my son. So yes, it’s a little relaxing for me, but mostly because I’m like, cool we’re both in the bathtub hanging out.
What are some of those 12 products you always use?
Right now I’m using an Hourglass concealer that I really like. I have a freckle pen I got on TikTok, Charlotte Tilbury bronzer — it’s a contour stick, but I basically use it as bronzer — and highlighter. A Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow palette, Pat McGrath stick for blush, Make Up For Ever lip liner, Pat McGrath gloss. Kylie lash.
What’s the weirdest thing about your beauty routine?
My friend was making fun of me the other day. I sent her a picture to show her how good my skin looked. It was in the morning and I still had eyeliner on from the night. She was like, “why do you ride so hard for not taking off your eye makeup?” But I don’t mind having a little residue from the day before. When you do eyeliner on the inner eye, that takes a lot of time to get it off and sometimes I just don’t have the energy. I always take off my skin makeup, but I’ll leave my eye.
What’s you’re favorite hair color you’ve ever had? You’ve tried all of them now.
It’s such a funny thing because when I first dye my hair, I feel amazing. You leave with the blow dry and think, I’ve never looked better in my life. Then, a week later I have a nervous breakdown and I don’t know who that person is. With red hair, it was really hard for me to get dressed. I felt like I couldn’t wear certain colors in a way that was weird. I remember I had this dress I’d been so excited to wear — it was green — and then I put it on, and I thought, I’m Poison Ivy. I can’t wear this. So I think brunette is my favorite, but I’ve actually never done black, so I don’t know yet.
Maybe that’s next. What’s a look you haven’t tried yet that you would still want to?
I’d love to try short hair at some point. That’s a big risk, but I just think it’s so cool when I see a woman with a pixie cut. I’m like, you look really good. It’s cool.
Where do you you get your beauty information and inspiration from now?
TikTok definitely. I feel like the algorithm serves me whatever I want or need. I think it’s so meditative to watch people do their makeup. It’s really feels good for me. I love just sitting and zoning out and blending out the eye. I just enjoy watching other people’s techniques.
What else is on your algorithm in general?
Oh my god. It’s a wild place. A friend who doesn’t have TikTok asked to see what was on my For You Page, and it was like, crazy war stuff and then a makeup video, and then the Roman Empire, or whatever. My friend thought it was insane. That’s just who I am, sorry.
What’s the best makeup tip you’ve learned from TikTok?
The freckle application is the one thing that I can’t believe I have lived my life so long without knowing. People would ask me, “do you have blackhead on your face?” Because my freckles would be so dark sometimes. I’ve learned how to blend and really soften it from watching TikTok videos. I use the waterproof one that I believe only sells on TikTok Shop. I dot it on my finger, the put it on this other finger and then press [onto my face].
What’s the worst beauty advice you’ve ever received?
I think skincare stuff you really have to figure out for yourself. There’s been products that I’ve recommended to people and they don’t work for them and vice versa. So it really depends and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all.
Are there any makeup or hair trends you’ve tried that you regret?
There is one — it was almost 10 years ago — but it was so bad. I knew it was bad when it happened, but then I was so young and it was a professional makeup artist that did it. But I had really, really dark eyebrows, no eyeshadow, and then a purple lip. It looked really bad. I have very specific features and I feel like it made me look like a scary clown vampire.
Where were you going?
Just a dinner in Malibu. But I remember I was wearing a really pretty white dress and I wanted to look pretty, obviously. I remember my manager picking me up and looking at me funny.
Talk to me a little bit about your relationship with fragrance.
The only fragrances I have are [Viktor & Rolf] Flowerbomb and Tiger Lily. I don’t wear perfume every day. I wear it on special occasions, if I’m going out and I want to have that something extra and feel special. The Tiger Lily one gives such a summery, tropical feeling. I’ve been wearing it recently because I just got back from a trip and it was so nice to still have a little bit of a tan and pretend it’s not the dead of winter. So, I guess I do switch a little bit, but not that much.
How do you like to wear it?
Pulse points. I do wrists and neck, how my mom showed me. And if I have a dirty shirt and I’m thinking, “I have to wear this shirt, it goes with my outfit,” I’ll spray a cloud and walk into it. I’m guilty of that.
What’s your beauty philosophy?
For so long beauty and fashion were so intimidating for me, and it felt stressful getting ready. The trick for me has been figuring out what works for me and what makes me feel good. I take a second whenever I’m getting ready to ask, “what kind of woman do I want to feel like tonight?” It all should be fun and it all should be an expression of who you are. And I think it’s so important to figure out what works for you and stick to that.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.