Lion Babe’s Jillian Hervey Talks Skincare & Makeup In the Time of Virtual Concerts

How she perfected a winged liner and why she’s paring back to the basics.

A live performance for R&B duo Lion Babe would typically be prefaced with a symphony of hair spray and glitter expertly applied by a glam team kept on speed dial. But with everyone relegated to their living rooms, the theatrics of a professionally produced live performance are stripped back to the basics. For Jillian Hervey, one-half of the cosmic duo, this means tapping into a skill set she developed in the early days of her musical career; experimenting with her beauty looks. “Thankfully, when we first started Lion Babe I was doing my own hair and makeup,” she says over Zoom.

Lion Babe is embarking on a virtual world tour, aptly titled Around the World at Home (you can catch their Canadian stop on BeatRoute’s Instagram on May 5 at 9pm EST), so we asked her just how she’s getting ready for her international performances from home.

What does the A.M of a performance day look like?
I pretty much start all my mornings with either a cup of coffee or tea, just to set my mind right. That’s my meditation quiet time. Usually, if I have a performance, I like to give myself a lot of time to wake up and be in the world before I’m rushed off to soundcheck in the throws of it all. Obviously, when you’re on a tour, you don’t get that luxury. But in general, if I could have my perfect way, I would definitely have a bunch of hours in the morning to just unwind and stretch, and listen to music, make a small breakfast and take my time to get into my day.

A song that sets the mood right?
It’s so funny, because as tech-savvy as I feel like all musicians should be, I’m still so old school, so I’m literally on YouTube. I just type in one song I like and I know it’s going to take me on a journey. I actually like that I don’t know exactly who I’m about to listen to and I can discover new artists all the time. Alice Coltrane, hands down—her song “Journey to Satchidananda” is so tranquil and meditative, and I literally wake up every morning and listen to it. It puts me in a peaceful trance.

How are you adjusting to your performance environment?
Ideally, I love a bigger space just because as a dancer, I love to be able to move and I interact with different props that can make the show really theatrical and take people on a journey. We just don’t have the luxury of having that kind of space, so it’s forcing me to think about how I can bring those same ideas and feelings [to virtual performances.] I love the challenge! It’s exciting to be reclaiming music that we just toured. Now we’re forced to perform it all in a way that [strips it back to] the music alone; just the sound of what we’re doing. That’s going to be the movement.

How’s it going to be taking glam into your own hands?
I’m like a drag queen on stage sometimes. [Laughs] Usually I have my [glam] team with me, who I love, and it takes a lot of pressure off me before performing. It’s interesting to be back in that position, like, oh my god, so I’m not going to wear a giant wig? Am I going for glitter? I don’t even know if that makes sense.

I’m all about connection. With the live stream, even though you’re connected, you feel distant, so I have to be more present and show other parts of myself so that people can connect with me in different ways. And that might be through how I choose to look. So I’m figuring that out.

What’s your skincare routine?
I’m currently giving myself a break. Everything is telling me to stop, to just to be still, pause and detox. If I’m feeling oily, I’ll wash my face with any type of cleanser, like Mario Badescu. That one is like a nice light one. And then if I’m stocked up on it, I love anything La Mer. Obviously my fantasy closet always has a lot of La Mer remedies. I even like an Olay face moisturizer, and a toner with rosewater and witch hazel. I keep it simple, really. Just keeping my lips hydrated.

What about your makeup look for an IG set?
The one thing that I can play up are my eyes. That’s the main communicator when you don’t even get to say anything. Your eyes say so much. And I probably will use some type of liner or shadow situation, just because I love the drama that you can create in your eyes. And obviously with Lion Babe, I’ve always loved the feline shape. Looking at inspirations like Brigitte Bardot and Marilyn Monroe. All these women that were super empowering and essential to me always had that [eyeliner] shaped.

It’s super fun because shows are a time to literally be artistic and let my face be a canvas for these amazing people I get to collaborate with. So gems and glitter is exciting—it reminds me of old school rock stars.

Your tried and true eyeliner?
I have a great one from Chanel that’s like a pot. I like to use the ones that feel like you are painting. I also like a very wet pen and I’ll get those at CVS—I literally just try out a different one and just see what I like. On tour I did love MAC Cosmetics—their liner, you know you’re not going to sweat that off.

What’s the vibe of your performance space?
I definitely get my full witch on. I’m always lighting candles and incense and burning sage. Things that clear the air just make me feel like it’s a sacred space. That stuff is very important to me. The mood and the vibe is really how I feel like I’m able to do the things I do. I really just want to make myself comfortable, so I’ll probably have a glass of wine, some tea. I really drink wine and tea at the same time [laughs].

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