Celebrity Beauty

Lily Collins Reflects On Her Pixie Cut, Emily In Paris, & More

The Living Proof ambassador chats exclusively with Bustle.

Living Proof ambassador and 'Emily in Paris' star Lily Collins chats with Bustle about her 2015 pixi...
James Devaney/GC Images/Getty Images

The last time Lily Collins made a drastic change to her hair (who could forget the fabulous pixie cut that the actor debuted at the 2015 Vanity Fair Oscars Party) wasn’t because of a life-altering event or a new role she was bound to play. The haircut was something she solely did for herself.

“I needed to feel different,” Collins tells me on set for her new campaign shoot for hair care brand Living Proof. “I was in a new phase in my life and I feel like when I'm in a different place, I like to switch it up a little bit.”

Some may assume that a radical hair change means something bad or upsetting has happened. Take Collin’s character Emily Cooper from Netflix’s Emily in Paris, for instance. When Cooper was at a crossroads in her professional and romantic life, she did a very rash thing: she got bangs. Coined “trauma bangs” by Cooper’s best friend Mindy Chang (played by Ashley Park), the moment has many talking about how stress, heartbreak, and fear can be related to something as innocuous as bangs.

To Collins, a change in hairstyle could simply signify a rebirth — without anything negative attached. “It’s like, ‘This is fully representative of who I am now and I did this choice for me,’” she says. “Everyone asked [at the time I got my pixie cut], ‘Oh what role are you doing?’ I’m like, ‘No, this is for me.’”

Regardless of the meaning one attaches to a fresh hairstyle, there’s no denying that bangs come with a few new lessons. Below, Collins talks hair tips, the color she hopes to try next, and Emily in Paris.

How has your beauty routine changed since getting bangs?

I have to think twice before I put a face mask on; if you put a sheet mask on, it gets your bangs gloopy, so you have to pin them. If you have an eye patch on to sleep, it can crush them. I just let them air dry and then shake them out. I [also] carry a little brush with me everywhere I go now. When we were in Paris, we'd scooter everywhere and the wind-blow effect on your bangs is wild. I’d literally disappear into the bathroom, quickly fluff them, and then come back and they'd look styled. They take a little bit of maintenance, but I can't spend forever in front of the mirror styling them.

I love that you carry a little brush with you for bang maintenance. Did you start doing that on your own or is it a tip picked up from a hairstylist?

I learned that lesson on my own. I literally Googled “smallest brushes” so that it would be so tiny and fit in my tiniest purse. It’s the tiniest thing ever.

Everyone said, “Bangs are going to require a lot of styling and product and this and that.” I didn’t want to get them if it's going to require that. I'm such an easy person when it comes to makeup and hair by myself, so I just found ways to make [bangs] work for me, that didn't take up a lot of time and still had the same effect.

Three seasons in, how would you describe Emily’s beauty transformation?

She's definitely acquiring more of that “je ne sais quoi” feeling, but at first I didn't really know what that meant. But it's this ease and this quiet confidence I find to French beauty that is so alluring and so refreshing at the same time — like fresh skin and a red lip. It's minimal yet does so much; it packs a punch with little effort in a sense.

Emily is now inspired by the people she works with, her friends, and all of the people she's surrounded by in the streets. She's starting to be more inspired by French cinema, as opposed to the shows and the movies that she watched growing up in America. There's just this real embracing of the French culture in all ways this season, more so than the previous two. Specifically with beauty, she’s leaning more into the ’60s and ’70s French new wave cinema.

Since Emily went through her own radical hair transformation, has it got you thinking about what haircut or color you personally want to try next?

Gosh, I'd love to be blonde at some point. Whether it’s a wig [or a dye job]. I don't want to completely ruin my hair, but I would love to be blonde for something. I was blonde when I was younger and then it just naturally changed to this. I haven't colored my hair in years, but I would love to try that in my personal life.

Could you picture Emily going blonde as well?

I don't know. She did the bangs and maybe they become curtain bangs [later on]. I think maybe we could see an even shorter chop, like an Amelié-like hairstyle. [The next hair transformation] would have to make sense. There has to be a transition or another life shift where she’d switch it up again.

For Emily, we have to think of hairstyles that work on camera just as well as they do off. Having a shadow on my face when I'm filming isn't good, so the bangs have to also be strategically fluffed in order to not leave a shadow on my face. It’s a whole thing and [thinking of hairstyles that work] is different for real life versus film.