Dame Joan Collins On How To Look Good Forever

Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images
It’s said that Andy Warhol, perhaps the world’s most avid fan of fame and beauty, studied Joan Collins carefully, "wanting to pick up tips for himself on how to stay good-looking as you age". Of all the celebrities and great beauties in Warhol’s circle, he recalls being particularly starstruck by Joan, writing "…and next to my place was a place card that said 'Joan' and I asked, 'Joan who?' and I couldn't believe it when they said Joan Collins. And she arrived and was wearing a fake white Halston. She said she's known Halston for years. And she did not have a line or blemish on her face."
Adored by millennials, mothers, grandmothers and, perhaps most fervently, gay men, Dame Joan Collins is synonymous with glamour, glitz, wit and fabulosity. An unbelievably good-looking 84-year-old, her beauty is world-renowned. Indeed, her age must be one of the most shocking facts of modern Britain. Smashing every stereotype about women her age, she inspires her generation – and ours too – to really and truly see age as just a number instead of something to fear. As she put it in an interview with The Telegraph in 2004: "I know women in their eighties who have just got so much vivacity and energy and charm. And I know women in their forties who are dried-up old bags."
Photo by ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images
Aptly named Joan Collins Timeless Beauty, her luxury beauty range, which launched in 2014, is very popular. Although she had a big head start in the looks department, Joan is also queen of making the best of what she has. She wears a lot of makeup, and it looks great, highlighting every feature with plenty of eye makeup, skin products, bright lipstick, blusher and big hair. Joan has denied ever having plastic surgery ("You know what they say about plastic surgery? It's the plain woman's revenge"), which is shocking only because we’re really not accustomed to seeing women look like her in their 80s without it (or with it, for that matter). But it’s hard to know, because so few of the other women in her category of beauty – Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, for example – have reached the age she has, so maybe that is just what the world’s most beautiful women look like at 84? She’ll happily talk about her wigs, though, telling The Telegraph: "Honestly, for me every day is a bad hair day. That's why I wear hats all the time. It is. And wigs. My real hair simply will not do what I want. Besides, darling, I like big hair!"
Every JC fan will have a favourite moment, look or one-liner – from her formidable character Alexis on Dynasty, to any number of her 124-strong IMDb list of film and television roles. My personal favourite is her role in the 2012 Snickers advert, where Joan plays the inner diva of local footballer, Dan, which I must have watched 150 times since it came out.
Then there’s every interview she’s ever given. Find one on YouTube (we recommend the Ruby Wax series) and you’ll lose hours absorbing the megastar’s views on love and life. She’s effortlessly profound, Joan Collins, and also quite blunt by today’s standards of hyper vigilant celebrities. Never one to mince her words ("After a certain age, you get the face you deserve"), Joan’s 'diva' persona is legendary, but so is her charity work, grace and generosity, becoming a dame in 2015 for her work supporting many charities over the years, including, most recently, as patron of children’s hospice Shooting Star Chase.
Currently celebrating her latest acting comeback in the upcoming series of American Horror Story, and sprinkling glamour all over social media (follow her immediately), Joan is on top form for 2018. For a woman who needs no introduction, that was a long one, so without further ado, here’s the interview. Fabulousness incoming…
What do you think is your best feature and why?
I don’t think it’s about having a best feature; it’s more about how you choose to bring everything together.
Any tips on looking good in photos?
Never leave the house without makeup!
What beauty lesson would you pass on to your teenage self?
A lesson I would pass on would be to appreciate how good-looking you are – and know you will never look this good again!
What age did you feel most beautiful and why?
During Dynasty. I look at some of those shots and think, 'Wow, girl. You were good-looking'.
Where do you stand on contouring? Is it worth the effort?
I think a woman should do everything she can to make herself look as good as possible. If you want to have more defined cheekbones, then I think it’s good to contour.
You’ve always had incredible eyeliner, how do you do it?
I use the Eyeliner CONTOUR pencil from my own range and I make sure the eyebrow pencil is as sharp as a pin.
Any tips you can share to make eyes look bigger and brighter?
Well-applied makeup can totally enhance eyes. By choosing the right shades and blending properly, anyone can make their eyes look bigger and more dramatic.
Do you think lipstick suits everyone? Even if they don’t have full lips?
Lipstick is the most glamorous of cosmetics. Wearing a bright and bold lipstick will instantly make anyone feel glamorous and confident.
What does a lipstick shade say about a woman?
It can say lots – depending on the shade. I know from my own collection when I’m feeling dramatic I like Helene (deep red) a lot.
How do you feel when you’re not wearing makeup?
If I’m staying in I quite often go without makeup and just wear skincare products.
Young women love very thick, full eyebrows now. Do you like the thick eyebrow trend? Do you think it’s flattering?
It looks very flattering on my goddaughter Cara Delevingne, but then Ava Gardner had thin eyebrows and she was still beautiful.
If you were on a desert island, and could only take one makeup product and one skincare product, what would you bring?
Foundation, I like to use First Base from my own Timeless beauty range, and a cleanser. I’m scrupulous about cleansing.
What’s the magical ingredient when it comes to anti-ageing skincare? Is it SPF? Retinol? What do you think really helps?
A good SPF. I always keep my face out of the sun and I think it’s made a difference.
How have other women reacted to your beauty over the years? Has their envy ever bothered you?
No not at all. Looking good and feeling great is the right of every woman, no matter how old she is. Beauty is timeless.

More from Beauty

R29 Original Series