Neelam Gill is all about a bespoke approach to beauty. The British model, who has worked with everyone from Burberry to Dior and Armani Beauty, is firmly of the belief that finding what suits you is the key to confidence.
From fragrance to make-up, Gill knows exactly what works for her – even if it involves mixing her own shades and scents – and her years of modelling experience have provided her with a valuable beauty education. "One of the best tips I’ve picked up on set is to learn about your undertones," she explains. "This is essential to figuring out which foundation shades and make-up colours complement your skin tone, and which wash you out."
When it comes to her signature beauty look, she often gravitates towards an exaggerated cat-eye with thick, brushed-up brows ("I'm Punjabi, so it's in the genes!") and a nude lip. "But it's my version of a nude," she tells Bazaar. "I find that a lot of typical nude lipsticks really wash my skin tone out, so my nude is normally more of a pinky brown or a mauve. Sometimes I mix two or three shades together to find one that suits me."
Below, the model tells us about her beauty favourites, what self-care means to her, and why true beauty comes from within...
"I suffered from cystic acne a few years ago and it really impacted my confidence. I know that may sound shallow, but anyone who has dealt with stubborn skin issues will understand – not only the way it makes you feel but also the mean or insensitive comments that people can make. The only thing that helped heal my skin was medication. Since then, I’m very careful about what I use on my face and my skincare routine is very simple and gentle. I find when I use too many products, it has an adverse effect."
"I think the first beauty product I ever fell in love with was probably a drugstore mascara. That was the first time I ever experimented with make-up, really. When I was growing up, I couldn't find find foundation in my shade, so I'd always just focus on my eyes. I was obsessed with having super long lashes. Because I also wasn't allowed to wear much make-up at the time. But I used to try all the drugstore brands, but I remember specifically using Rimmel and L'Oreal products and just layering different mascaras on top of each other – starting with one that's good for curling and then ending with one that's good for length. I basically had this whole routine for my lashes."
"[Giorgio Armani] Luminous Silk was the first foundation I tried that really matched my skin tone, and I also really like the finish that it has on my skin. It has great coverage but it still feels like your skin, whereas other foundations... I've tried so many in the past and I will always have to mix multiple shades together to get the perfect shade for me, which is difficult when you're travelling and you already have so many products in your toiletry bag. With Luminous Silk, I really like the feel of it on my skin and I like that it's not too heavy, but you can also build coverage if needs be. But it was the shade range for me that was a game-changer; that's what drew me to it. I would carry it in my own kit when I first started modelling and take it on set with me, just incase the make-up artist didn't have the right shade for me – sometimes they might have a shade that has a weird undertone on my skin. It's really been my go-to now for so many years.
"It's basically a universal brown girl product! I always love watching people's make-up routines on TikTok, especially from other brown girls, just to see what products are good for our skin. [Luminous Silk] is a go-to for so many."
"I love being glam, especially with work – I'm used to getting my make-up done – but what really makes me feel confident in myself is when my skin is really good and healthy and hydrated. When I've been travelling, what makes me feel better is getting a good facial. I love anything that has lymphatic drainage or anything that is good for snatching my face and giving me more definition. I love going to Face Gym in London; even if I don't have make-up on, I instantly feel better because my face just feels more glowing and defined. That, for me, is a real confidence boost."
"I know what works for my skin now that I'm older, and I'm also more open to experimenting now than when I first started modelling. I was scared to try certain colours; for example, a red lip was really intimidating to me, whereas now I know I just need to pick something with the right undertone."
"I would say my signature look is a really smoky, sexy pulled-out cat eye. I like my eyes to be really elongated. Then thick brows, brushed up, because I love a thick brow – I'm Punjabi, so it's in the genes! Then I would generally go for a nude lip, but it's my version of a nude. I find that a lot of typical nude lipsticks really wash my skintone out, so my nude is normally more of a pinky brown or a mauve shade. Sometimes I mix two or three shades together to find one that suits me. I also love playing with different colours and textures on my eyes – like a smudged-out messy black liner, or a glossy lid – especially when I put my hair up."
"I’ve had long hair my whole life so that's probably my signature. My hair is like a safety blanket and I like the versatility of being able to create different styles with it."
"I'm big on fragrance but interestingly enough – although I love perfume and I have a huge collection – for me, fragrance isn't only about perfumes. I'm really big into bodycare and I use a lot of natural oils on my body to moisturise, so that's part of my fragrance routine as well. I feel like layering all of those and then putting the perfume on top is just so much more unique."
"Fragrance is another extension of self expression. During the day I gravitate towards fresh, fruity or floral scents, and for the evening I love something with a more musky and sexy feel. My go-to is Fenty’s Eau De Parfum by Rihanna. I get so many compliments on it and I love how it smells different on every person."
"Getting my eyebrows threaded! I love the feeling of clean, freshly done brows and I think it looks cool to brush them up, pop on a bit of under-eye concealer and lipbalm and then you’re good to go. Your brow shape can change your whole face, so getting them done always makes me feel 'made up'."
"I’ve always loved getting my nails done, even since I was a kid. I remember saving up my first ever wages – before I started modelling, when I worked in retail at Hollister – to get a classic French mani. I felt so chic and cute! When I’m working, I usually have to keep my nails short, especially for shows and editorial jobs. But when I have time off I love to grow my nails out, especially over the summer. I used to do nail art, but now I prefer more neutral colours like a baby pink or ombré French style – that way it matches with everything, especially when you’re travelling and don’t have time to get them done again."
"It's taking the time to do something to nourish yourself – whether that’s related to beauty, sleep, nutrition, quiet time or exercise. It’s time set aside solely to replenish your own energy and pour into yourself."
"My biggest beauty indulgence is spa days. For me, it’s a form of self-care and I try to go midweek or on a quiet morning when it’s really peaceful. Because I work so much, I also love going there so I can get all my treatments done in a few hours – it saves time instead of scheduling multiple appointments. I love the sauna and steam room, especially after a long flight or when I feel myself getting sick – it’s good to sweat it out! I also swear by deep-tissue massages and I love hot stone massages, too. I also prioritise visits to the chiropractor because I injured my back a few years ago while working out."
"I’m a beauty girl and swear by regular visits to the dermatologist. I also love sculpting facials, mani/pedis, laser hair removal, eyebrow threading and the occasional lash lift – although I don’t do it too often as it can weaken your lashes."
"I’m big on hair masks and oiling treatments, especially being a Punjabi girl – I grew up with oil in my plait! I also love doing a full body scrub and exfoliation at home, and – this may sound strange – but foot masks. I use one from Margaret Dabbs and then sleep with socks on to seal in the moisture overnight. It’s a must-have if you’re on your feet all day and it’s also nice to do the night before a big event when you know you’re wearing heels."
"One of the best beauty tips I’ve picked up on set is to learn about your undertones. This is essential to figuring out which foundation shades and lipstick colours complement your skin tone, and which wash you out."
"My industry has taught me the joy of self expression and creativity. For example, if I’m feeling assertive and businesslike, I’ll keep my make-up natural and pull my hair into a slicked bun. When I want to feel more girly and ethereal, I love letting my hair down and playing with blush or highlight. My beauty look and outfit of the day is completely dependent on my mood and that’s one of the elements I love most about fashion because we are all multifaceted beings."
"Less is more."
"I feel the most beautiful in the sun and by the ocean. Even if I’m wearing no make-up and haven’t styled my hair, I feel my best after laying out reading in the sun all day and swimming in the sea. The sun and water are two of the most powerful sources of energy and inspiration."
"My personal beauty philosophy has always remained the same as it’s what I was raised on: that true beauty comes from within. It doesn’t matter how you look on the outside, you could be physically beautiful, but what matters is how you treat others and how you make them feel. That’s what leaves more of a lasting impression on someone, compared to your appearance; beauty is subjective and looks fade, but having a kind heart and generous soul will always go a long way."2023-09-27T08:14:55Z dg43tfdfdgfd