Barbie Ferreira’s Beauty Icon Will Always Be Her Grandmother

Close up of Barbie Ferreira’s face
Photograph by Amy Troost for YSL Beauty

Barbie Ferreira has finally been afforded the opportunity to live out what she describes as her “full fragrance campaign fantasy.” Only this time, it’s not for a fragrance—it’s part of the Euphoria actress’s first partnership with YSL Beauty, for whom Ferreira is now a brand ambassador. Introducing her newfound ambassadorship comes with the release of YSL Beauty’s first major push into the eye category: the debut of its Lash Clash mascara. Just last week, Ferreira got the opportunity to test out the product—whose formulation has been under embargo for a few years, according to YSL Beauty reps—while shooting the Lash Clash campaign. “It was really sophisticated and super fun,” Ferreira says of the photo shoot from her hotel in New York City. (When we spoke, she was tending to a sore throat after a packed night of karaoke with friends. “I did a little Nick Minaj, we all did a little Cher,” she says. “We were there for, like, an hour and a half, and then they kicked us out.”) “Very sexy, hence the fragrance campaign vibes,” she adds. “I got to do my little red lipstick boss look.”

Although Ferreira admits she is makeup-obsessed, (much like her character in Euphoria, Kat, who tends to wear more daring, brightly colored makeup looks,) she insists her personal approach to beauty is fairly bare-bones. “The best tip I can give is just to keep it simple,” she says. In her Beauty Notes interview below, the actress and model discusses her love for John Galliano’s beauty looks, the products she cannot live without, and why her grandmother is still her beauty and style icon.

You’re a self-described “lash girl.” Have you always stuck to mascara or tried other eyelash treatments?

I never go for the same mascara. I’ve changed mascaras so much in my life. Lash Clash has been my favorite so far; I got a little sneak peek of it on set recently. Sometimes, I’ll get lash extensions or a lash perm, which has been really fun. But lash extensions were too long and I didn’t like that, and a lash perm gets all wonky after a second. So I’m back on my mascara wave now.

What’s one YSL beauty product that you could not live without?

I love the [Slim Velvet Radical Matte Lipstick] in 302. And honestly, I can’t live without the Nu Bare Look Tint, because I love a foundation—I don’t really wear a lot of stuff on my face on my own time. So it’s just perfect.

You character on Euphoria, Kat, has always partaken in a vibrant beauty look—this season is no different. Do you have a favorite look of hers thus far?

My favorite look has probably got to be the blue eyeshadow with the pink lip gloss. That’s very much what I’ve been wearing for years—a bold, matte color with a really beautiful, glossy-berry look. Those are my favorites for every day.

What do you think Kat’s makeup says about her story arc this season?

Kat was going through an identity crisis in season one. She started off learning how to do makeup and it was kind of messy—maybe not quite as good as it ends up being toward the end of the season. We wanted to make sure that she wasn’t just, like, bam, and one day she’s fully a makeup artist. Kat has softer makeup this time around, like everyone else. She’s going through her little identity crisis again, but it’s in a different kind of way. She doesn’t have this leather, dominatrix, cam girl alter ego that she’s trying to portray—it’s more internal.

How does your own approach to going-out makeup compare or contrast to Kat’s?

It’s similar. The thing is, when I’m in the chair with [Euphoria makeup director Doniella Davy], we collaborate on looks. A lot of our conversations are about what’s next, and what’s not gonna age terribly. We all put our two cents in; Doni’s amazing at picking out the colors for all the characters. And I really love to bring my little mood boards—I have thousands of them on my phone. The night before, if I’m reading the scene in advance, I’ll start thinking about it and then collaborate with [costume designer Heidi Bivens]. I got to bring in my favorite designers, and work on what I would wear in the Kat way a little bit more. Everything was extremely collaborative this season, even more than [for] season one.

You’ve spent a lot of time in the makeup chair. What tips have you picked up from the makeup artists you’ve worked with?

I’ve learned everything, bad or good. I’ve been modeling since I was 16—I’m 25, so it’s been almost 10 years. Some makeup artists in the early days were like, coconut oil, coconut oil! Then I broke out everywhere. That wasn’t great. But recently, I’ve learned how to really apply makeup—with my hands. Now, when I use foundation, I press it in with my fingers. It’s a very different technique than what’s on YouTube, which was where I first learned to do makeup.

What’s the first thing that you do when you wake up in the morning, beauty-wise?

I drink a glass of ice water. I don’t know if that’s technically beauty, but I have to—it wakes me up more than any coffee ever could. And then I brush my teeth. I don’t wash my face in the morning unless I wore makeup the night before. Then I use a little moisturizer; sometimes I’ll use frozen ice globes and eye patches, which I love. The lady who does my face massages, Joomee Song—shout out to Joomee—she put me onto it and it’s amazing. It’s changed my sensitive skin so much.

Do you have a favorite beauty moment from pop culture?

John Galliano, honestly. These photos [of makeup looks from Galliano’s spring 2011 ready-to-wear show at Paris Fashion Week] are always my inspiration. I do love Drew Barrymore in the Nineties. Her makeup is really cute. I love brown lipstick right now.

Are there any particular fragrances that you love?

I love Black Opium, obviously. My grandma, who is my style icon, really likes it. My mom is more of a muted person; she likes to wear all black and she’s more conservative with the way she dresses—even though, when she opens her mouth, ha’s not conservative. But my grandma has always been about being loud in every sense of the word: she wore really big earrings and would always put on so much perfume and, like, a giant outfit. To this day, she wears a see-through top with her bra showing. She always had a really vibrant smell to her, and I think Black Opium definitely reminds me of her. When I smell it, it reminds me of the glamour my grandma always portrayed.

What’s a major skincare investment you’ve made that was worth it?

Facials have got to be the biggest investment. Once a month, I’ll do an 80-minute face massage that has a facial built in. For someone who wears makeup a lot and travels a lot, I have to get facials. Especially when she’s trying to be in these YSL campaigns, you know what I mean?

What is one beauty treatment you are curious to try?

I tried microneedling a few days ago. It was very painful, but my skin looks great, and feels very soft and supple. But I’ve been trying to keep it clean because it’s still healing from the thousands of stabs. I also am curious about the blood facial, the vampire facial. I don’t know if I’ll do it, but I’m curious.

Is there a beauty trend that you participated in when you were younger that you look back on now and you’re like, oh my God, what was I thinking?

Yeah—baking? Nah. Baking powder is a no for me. It doesn’t work with my deep, sunken eyes because I have really fine lines, which aren’t good for baking. And also, making sure I clean my brushes. Life-changer.

What is your favorite form of self-care?

Not to be redundant, but massages. I also love going to the woods [and] seeing my family. Eating really good food, cooking really good food for a lot of people. I love doing that. My mom and aunt are chefs, so I grew up spoiled with food, but I didn’t learn how to cook until the pandemic. I have a natural knack for it. I’ve been cooking a little eggplant parmesan, or a salmon, curry, yummy stuff like that. I used to be my mom’s food taster [growing up]. I was her food critic! That’s what we have fun doing, trying out different cuisines.

You must have an incredible sense of smell.

I do, actually. I have a very keen sense of smell, ’cuz to be a good taster, you gotta smell it, baby!