From heart to hair
Bangkok Post, December 2012.
'I'm shy,"Liv Tyler confided with a timid smile, even as she struck a pose for the hundreds of photographers who were hungrily snapping pictures of her in Bangkok recently at the P&G Beauty Vision House event.
It's hard to imagine how an individual who's been working as a model since the age of 14 and has been an internationally recognised actress for over a decade now could be a shrinking violet. But during the brief time I spent talking with Tyler that bashfulness came across very clearly. It was endearing, though, making her girl-next-door persona even more charming.
Liv, as many media types address her to distinguish her from the other celebrity in her family, her father Steven Tyler, frontman of rock bank Aerosmith, has dark, glossy locks and a free-spirited beauty which seems to make her a natural fit for haircare giant Pantene. She first starred in a Pantene television commercial back in 1990, and was appointed a brand ambassador for the firm six years later.
The "Pantene Goddess" certainly seems to love her hair, and not just because she's endorsing products made by Pantene.
"I've always been a really big believer in only endorsing things that I love and believe in," she said. "When I was 19, I was modelling more and they would ask me to represent products all the time. I would just say no. It's more common now for celebrities to endorse things whether they like them or don't like them, but I always represent things that I actually love."
And she does have a surprisingly healthy-looking head of hair for someone whose tresses must go through a lot; it must be very difficult to keep them in good condition given the demands of all those photo shoots, modelling and acting jobs she takes on. Tyler explains this by saying that she lives according to a principle she learned from her grandmother, that one should always take good care of oneself, and adds, perhaps only half jokingly, that her long-haired dad has always been something of an icon for her in this respect, when she was a girl she got very used to seeing the rock star in the family getting his hair and make-up done prior to public appearances.
Her grandmother (etiquette expert Dorothea Johnson) and her mother (ex-model Beverle Lorence "Bebe" Buell) have been her main inspirations in terms of maintaining her health and looks. Her grandmother, in particular, she says, is a living example of how to lead a healthy life.
"They are the women that I have learned the most from and look up to. My grandmother, still to this day, will teach me some new little tricks or make a suggestion on something that I should do. She looks incredible so I always take her advice," Tyler said, adding that her grandma is now 83, very active for her age and still exercises on a regular basis.
"She is just so young, but that's because she works really hard to take care of herself. I've learned a lot from watching that and seeing that if you take care of yourself on every level you will have a much happier, better life as you get older." The beauty tips her grandmother gave her are mostly simple pieces of advice which are incredibly easy to follow, she said, but which many people tend to neglect.
Drinking lots of water, for example, and avoiding salty foods because salt is bad both for the skin and the hair. "She teaches me a lot. Basically, just to take the extra time to take care of yourself because it makes you look good, feel good and feel strong."
Tyler's personal haircare routine is also very simple. She shampoos every other day and always leave the conditioner on for at least 10 minutes or as long as she possibly can. She rinses the ends of her hair with cold water because she has been told that this helps close the cuticles, making the hair shinier and stronger. When she knows she'll be in front of hot movie cameras the following morning, filming causes the most trauma to her hair, she says, she often won't wash the conditioner out of her hair before going to sleep that night. Hairstylists just love her because she makes their job so much easier, she adds.
"I try to take very good care of my hair. I love my job as an actress and a model because I get to play different kinds of characters. But in my everyday life, I just try to maintain my hair to make sure that it's healthy for the people who will be styling it for me," said Tyler, who has just finished filming her part in a new movie called Space Station 76.
She was actually "a bit of a tomboy" when she was younger, she confessed, but despite being a bit wild and boyish, she always loved experimenting with make-up, she said, often trying different looks out on friends of hers. And she was always passionate about looking good, perhaps, she suggested, because she grew up seeing both her mother and her grandmother taking such good care of their appearances.
For some, skincare and beauty routines are a burden, but Tyler regards them as an indulgence. Even when she's exhausted, she will still make time to pamper herself.
"I guess I kind of enjoy it. A lot of time I'm tired and I have to go get some sleep and I find that 45 minutes have passed and I'm still in the bathroom!"
Her attitude towards personal grooming is amazing, and the way she talks about it makes it sound like a fun activity. Sometimes she and her agent will apply facial cleansing masks, she said, and then sit down and have a meal together leaving the masks on; they'll have a good time, she said, with lots of laughter.
Her approach to beauty is all about being genuine: she really loves what she is doing, and want to keep things as natural as possible. She said she'd much prefer to let her hair dry naturally than to blow-dry it. She likes the natural colour of her hair, she said, so feels no need to change it. Before taking her eight-year-old son, Milo, to school, all she does is apply some lipstick and throw on a good coat and a good pair of sunglasses. "Every now and then" she will go to a salon for a treatment.
"There's no better feeling than getting your hair done. I always joke that it makes you feel lighter, the way you walk down the street when you leave the salon. It definitely makes you feel more put-together and it does make you feel more beautiful."