Drew Barrymore talks about makeup, business, her new book

Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

Drew Barrymore has always had a childlike sense of play when it comes to makeup, from the vampy dark red lipstick and pin-thin eyebrows she embraced in the 1990s, to the cat eyeliner and pastel shadows she sported in the early 2000s, to the cool-as-hell turquoise eyeliner I spotted her wearing a year or so ago as she was enjoying a free Saturday at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs.

“That was an amazing Shu Uemura blue crayon that’s been discontinued!” she said. “I still have it.”

So it makes sense that her latest role is beauty mogul. Barrymore launched her own line of cosmetics called Flower Beauty ($4.98 to $13.98) at Wal-Mart stores earlier this year, and recently threw a party at the Olive and June nail salon in Beverly Hills to celebrate the debut of a new range of nail polish hues, including a metallic green called “Evening Primrose” and a cool blue-gray called “Bluebell of the Ball.”


“We weren’t sure we were going to get to do nails until the last minute, even though we’d found this lab that does really amazing high-end formulas and built-in topcoats, and we’d already picked the bottles,” said Barrymore, who is expecting her second child next year, and was dressed in a J. Crew top, camouflage jacket and orange high-heels, with some killer striped and two-toned nail art.

“I was down in Bentonville [Ark.] at the Wal-Mart headquarters finalizing our plans, and I made the argument that nails really complete the picture. Not only did we get to do polish after all, but we got to do 16 colors.”

Barrymore, who was a creative director and spokeswoman for CoverGirl before launching Flower Beauty, can wax rhapsodic about cosmetics. “I grew up in a makeup chair,” she said. “And I love the emotionality of watching women transform themselves, and the chaos and empowerment of it.”

“When I was a teenager, I got into the fashion world, which made no sense because I had the legs of a Corgi dog. But the benefit of being there was getting to work with great makeup artists and learning so much from them -- what to use, how to do it, what products were great or being discontinued.” She counts makeup artists Pat McGrath, Dick Page and Gucci Westman among her mentors.

“I love business, I love it!” she said. “And this allows me to be in the boardrooms, the labs, to do marketing and be involved in every aspect of the formulas, pigments and colors.”

Barrymore likes to get her hands dirty too, conducting makeup tutorials on her website from her living room in Montecito, Calif., during which she transforms her own face from bare to made-up in front of our eyes.

She said she uses everything in the line, which includes 181 products, but named the Skincognito Stick Foundation as her must have. “It’s like an eraser,” she said.

Her favorite lipstick shade is “Get to the Poinsettia.” “It’s like this bright, happy, poppy neon sign that works on all ages, skin types and hair colors.”

Barrymore became part of one of the most powerful fashion families in the world last year when she married art consultant Will Kopelman, whose father Arie is the former chief executive of Chanel. Barrymore wore a Chanel wedding dress then, and was sporting a Chanel watch and handbag at the recent Flower Beauty event.

“Arie was such a pioneer with fragrance and beauty, so I have the most incredible person to go to for advice. I had no idea the auspiciousness of starting this business, which I did when I was dating my husband. That was not planned at all. But they are the most wonderful people, and I hit the jackpot.”

Besides her work on Flower Beauty, Barrymore just finished “Blended,” a new comedy with Adam Sandler that is scheduled for release in May.

And she has “Find It in Everything,” a book of photographs she has taken of heart shapes found in everyday situations. It’s scheduled to come out Jan. 14.

What’s the most unusual place she’s seen a heart? “In a ball of lint on the floor and a weird light storm in the sky,” she said. “Something that was barely there to begin with and won’t be there in a moment.”

She said she started taking the photographs more than 15 years ago “as a fun art project. I was so excited someone would consider publishing it.”

Barrymore said she plans to launch a contest on Instagram in which people can submit their own photos of hearts.

“I hope it brings people together and lets them share and show off what they’ve seen,” she said. “I think it can be much more about other people.”


Kerry Washington, up for fashion icon award

Kerry Washington addresses her red carpet highlights

Jewelry designer Robert Lee Morris inspires a new generation