Exclusive: Shay Mitchell on the One Haircut She Could Never Try
Shay Mitchell glides into the room at The London West Hollywood hotel barefoot, clad in a strappy white tank top and beach-worthy linen pants. “Sorry!” she laughs, gesturing to her shoeless feet. As she settles into the couch for our interview, I can’t help but marvel at her, well, everything. Her hair is styled artfully into loose waves, her skin is bronzed, and her eyelids are gleaming with what appears to be gold fairy dust (but is actually just Tom Ford’s Eye Palette, $125, in Cognac Sable—I know this because I stalked asked makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic after the interview). We’re here to discuss her partnership with Bioré, and also to learn all of her beauty secrets. It turns out Mitchell is a girl after our own hearts, with a penchant for deep-cleansing and exfoliating, as well as a harrowing beauty experience or two in her history (tears were involved). But unlike her character Emily Fields on Pretty Little Liars, Mitchell isn’t one to shy from a confidently contoured makeup look—you can look to her aesthetically pleasing, selfie-filled Instagram feed for proof (and don't worry, we asked her for her tips).
From how to curate the perfect Instagram feed to the one haircut she’d never try, keep scrolling to find out all of Shay Mitchell’s beauty secrets.
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BYRDIE: What does it mean to be a brand ambassador for such a well-known brand like Bioré?
SHAY MITCHELL: Honestly, it was a really natural fit. My skin is really important, being on camera and photos and all of that. I think it’s really important to take good care of your skin and find products that you really believe in. For me, I’ve always been a fan of the Bioré products, and specifically the charcoal line. When they asked me to launch their baking soda line, I was like, “Absolutely.” Now after using it, it’s my favourite one.
BYRDIE: Can you describe your own relationship with your skin? Have you always had such a glowing visage?
SM: I think growing up, it was just hormones. It really affects your skin, along with different climates, traveling, and all of that. I think it’s really important to get into a good routine with your skin early on. So for me, now I’ve found that; I always wash my face before I go to bed and wash my face in the morning when I wake up.
BYRDIE: What’s the best skincare advice you’ve ever gotten?
SM: Cleanse your skin. I also think that exfoliating is important, too, which is why I love the Baking Soda Scrub ($11). It’s really great. You can use it two or three times. It’s a gentle exfoliant, which is nice because other scrubs can really take out all the moisture and really be abrasive. Also, having a beauty spa day once a week at your house, whether you do your nails or do a face mask—I think it’s just taking that moment for yourself.
BYRDIE: Describe your five-minute makeup routine.
SM: Yeah, it’s kind of like clean skin; the less I can put on myself when I’m doing it is always better. If I can get away with just mascara, an eyelash curler, and lip balm, I will. And if I don’t have lip balm, coconut oil, for me, goes a long way. I put it in my hair, too.
BYRDIE: You always look like you have a post-beach glow—can you tell us your secret?
SM: For me, like I said, the skin on my face and my body are very important. I don’t know if you’ve tried it, but I’m such a big fan of the Jergens Wet Lotion, because I leave it in my shower. So before I get out, when my skin is still damp, I’ll put it on, and it’s so great because you don’t forget to do that afterward. Most people don’t want to put on lotion after the shower—they just want to put on clothes. But for me, growing up, that was always something my mum would say. She was like, “Put it on when you get out of the shower!” It’s made a big difference.
BYRDIE: What about your current favourite hair product?
SM: I love John Frieda Daily Nourishment ($17); it’s like a leave-in treatment. It’s weightless; it doesn’t leave my hair greasy, and I put that in and just let it air-dry for the rest of the day. I don’t want to use heating tools when I don’t have to.
BYRDIE: Being on set for PLL, you’re bound to have picked up a life-changing makeup tip or two. Do tell.
SM: I think with all the makeup artists that I’ve worked with, it is really about blending, blending, blending. It’s more important than any product that they’re using, more than any tool. I’s just about really blending in your makeup so you don’t get those harsh lines, especially with all the contouring these days.
BYRDIE: So you’re Team Contour?
SM: I am, sure! Contouring never hurt anybody. I’d be a big liar if I said that I didn’t; I’m a huge fan. You can go overboard sometimes, but I don’t think that hurts. You’re enhancing your features.
BYRDIE: If you could share one piece of beauty advice to your fans, what would you tell them?
SM: I would say to always wash off all your makeup before you go to sleep. I hate that feeling of waking up with makeup on, because I can just feel it seeping into my pores. I really can.
BYRDIE: If you could invent any beauty product in the world, what would you create?
SM: Well, there’s a filter on Snapchat…If I could make that be a filter in everybody’s eyes when they saw me, that would be great.
BYRDIE: Like rose-coloured glasses.
SM: Yes. If you had rose coloured lenses that turn everything into that filter colour, I would be very happy.
BYRDIE: Your hair has always been long and luscious. The lob is still trending, and some of your co-stars have gone for the chop. Would you ever consider doing it?
SM: I would consider a short lob wig. That’s a real big commitment, and I’m not so good with commitments. Yeah, no. I think I have fun with wigs; I think that’s what wigs are for, and I support wigs. I’m Team Wig, and I use my hair as a security blanket… but I mean, never say never. Hair is hair, at the end of the day [pause]. I say that, but I don’t mean it. I can’t cut it. [Laughs]
BYRDIE: Your Instagram feed is filled with beauty inspiration. Care to share a tip or two?
SM: For me, it’s honestly looking at it as a whole. When people give me their Instagram page, I don’t just look at one photo—I scroll, so when I’m scrolling, I like to see some sort of flow. I always find that the Instagram accounts I love the most have a really good flow to them, whether it’s one colour or one filter that they use, or it’s all black and white. Just having a different twist is really interesting to me, because you can see it as a sort of art gallery wall. So, I’m kind of specific with the kinds of photos I put out.
BYRDIE: So you edit and post all your own Instagram photos?
SM: My Instagram is 100% me. I may have help with my comments, but no, it freaks me out when someone else uploads a photo.
BYRDIE: What’s the last beauty question you texted your friend?
SM: I think it’s when I travel to different places… I ask them what kind of spa they recommend. I’m a big fan of Korean spas, so that’s kind of what I ask them the most. It’s more about the location than any specific product. I have my products down pat to what I love.
BYRDIE: Lastly—your brows are glorious. Who's your girl?
SM: Thank you. I see Kelly Baker brows. So does Zendaya. Kelly is my girl, and she’s pretty much the only person I trust. I have some bad stories with my brows and getting them done before events. They were very thin once—a lot of crying and a lot of tears were involved.
BYRDIE: They grew back in full force. How did you manage that?
Keep scrolling to shop some of Mitchell’s favourites.