Singer-Songwriter Tami Neilson's Beauty Routine
The sassy star of Viva’s upcoming Long Lunch, musician Tami Neilson, shares her beauty secrets
For her new album, out early next year, Tami Neilson is sealing the deal with another fierce beauty look — and this time she's really wigging out.
The multi-award-winning Canadian New Zealand musician has drawn on the expertise of a drag queen from California, notably of RuPaul's Drag Race fame, to make her a custom, larger than life, wig. And we can't help but love her for it.
Whether Tami is decked out in full rhinestones or rocking winged eyeliner and rockabilly Bettie bangs, day or night, there's no shortage of oomph factor in the beauty department — a suitable match for her powerhouse vocals.
She says she's drawn to performers with bold style who exude confidence such as Iris Apfel and American drag queen Trixie Mattel. She also gravitates towards 60s style, which informs her own evolving retro style.
Check out Viva's interview with Tami for details on her new album, and upcoming New Zealand tour, and keep reading to learn the sassy star's beauty wisdom.
Plus don't miss Tami's exclusive appearance at the Viva Long Lunch with Dilmah on Thursday, September 26. The afternoon includes a Dilmah tea-inspired three-course lunch with beautiful wines, plus a gift bag worth over $400. Tickets are $135 with bundle deals available. Limited tickets remaining - book now to avoid disappointment Iticket.co.nz
As an artist, I’ve always viewed my appearance as another way to express myself creatively. I guess that hasn’t changed since I was 5 years old, putting on my mum’s heels and lipstick. It brings me a lot of joy to create a look with makeup or a hairstyle.
Real life v on stage
It might be a bit less flashy. I try to refrain from wearing full rhinestones and sequins to the supermarket! But, I do wear skirts and dresses daily (I think I own one pair of pants, which I rarely wear) and you’ll still find me in winged eyeliner and rockabilly Bettie bangs, day or night. That said, the minute I am home for the night, I change into my big fluffy robe and try to stay in it as much as I can on weekends when I’m not on tour.
One of my favourite things to do was to sit and watch my mom put on her makeup in the mornings, waiting for the day that I was allowed to wear makeup (which wasn’t until I was 13, oh happy day!).
I am drawn to people who exude confidence and have a bold style. Iris Apfel, Tank Ball (of Tank and the Bangas), Prince, Trixie Mattel, Orville Peck. People who embrace themselves fully and bring so much joy and colour to the world.
I tend to gravitate to 60s style more than any other era, but, it can swing from 40s all the way to 80s, depending on my mood on the day. I love having a specific look with each album. Dynamite! was very 50s/rockabilly, Don’t Be Afraid was 60s beehive, Sassafrass! I wanted something fresh and different, so did a sleek bob (also to give my hair a year off from teasing/backcombing and product). My upcoming album has a very bold look in all the artwork and video clips... I had a custom wig created by an amazing drag queen from the States who creates many of the wigs for RuPaul’s Drag Race. It is glorious!
Tricks of the trade
I’ve started to incorporate hairpieces and extensions into my day looks as well, after discovering the ease of using them on stage. It saves so much time (as a mum of two little boys, that is a huge bonus) and is also far more gentle on my real hair. I wear my real hair in a ponytail constantly.
Morning: When I’m not on tour it's usually a rush out the door to drop my kids off at school with a messy mum-bun and no makeup, then I go the gym and head back home to shower, then do hair and makeup. I always blowdry my hair, then smooth it with a straightener. It’s naturally straight, so doesn’t take long, especially since getting an undercut to take out some of the thickness. Then, the only difference between my day and stage makeup is false eyelashes and a bit of a lighter touch with foundation and eyeshadow.
Night: I wash my face with Neutrogena Foaming Face Wash when I’m home and their make-up remover face wipes when I’m on tour.
I try to hold out and wash my hair every second or third day with up-dos on day two and three to give it a break from the hairdryer/straightener, using dry shampoo in between. I still wash my fringe every day to feel fresh, though. I love Redken’s shampoo and conditioners.
Adding a brighter colour eyeshadow, a bolder, darker lipstick and big statement earrings.
Liquid liner tips
Practice makes perfect. I use Stila waterproof liquid liner because it is a pen and has a very flexible but firm tip, which helps me control application, as liquid liner can be really tricky.
Five favourite products
1. The Aromatherapy Co. pulse point essential oils roller. I roll this on my wrists and behind my ears when I land to start a tour overseas and when I return home.
2. My little WAHL Bella electric razor. A trick of the trade for maintaining rockabilly Bettie Bangs. Way faster, more precise and easier than scissors.
3. My real-hair ponytail from Superior Hair on Symonds St in Auckland.
4. I’ve worn Angel by Thierry Mugler for 20 years, I’ve tried other fragrances but always come back to it.
5. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Intense Black. I go through one every couple weeks and should really own shares in the company by now.
A beauty practice you swear by
My monthly indulgence is a gel manicure or pedicure.
Beauty to you is...
A face that radiates joy.
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