If you want to know the best beauty tips for redheads, you should ask Felicia Milewicz, the beloved redhead beauty editor who spent nearly 41 years at Condé Nast. She left her position as Glamour‘s beauty director almost one year ago.
Milewicz began her career in 1971 at Mademoiselle as Andrea Robinson‘s assistant, who was then senior fashion editor at the magazine. “She hired me and loved my hair,” Milewicz said. ” But, back then, I was so embarrassed of my hair and hid it with scarves. I would walk around the Condé Nast offices with two or three scarves wrapped around my head to cover my hair. I got pretty good at it! Later on, I learned to love it because of the attention I received — heads would turn when I would go to events and fashion shows.”
Milewicz was (and still is) one of the biggest inspirations for women with red hair because she rocks it with ultimate confidence. She also knows a thing or two about redhead beauty tips since she has tested and tried some of the best products in the world. She sat down with How to be a Redhead to talk about her life as a natural redhead, her top beauty secrets and some highlights from her 41-year career at the publishing giant, Condé Nast.
How was it growing up as a redhead?
FM: I was born in Austria and grew up in Poland. Growing up as a redhead wasn’t easy. I was bullied by girls growing up and was spit on in the street because of my hair color. It’s funny because my brother was a strawberry-blonde redhead and we use to walk on opposite sides of the street because I was embarrassed of his red hair– and I was the one with the most vibrant red hair [Milewicz laughs]. When I moved to America years later, people loved my red hair.
“I love being a redhead. I am distinctive and I love the idea that I am a little bit different. Being a redhead explains a lot of things that I didn’t know before..”
While being at Conde Nast for many years, what was your favorite experience?
FM: Every single day brought something different. Every day was a great experience and I mean that from the bottom of my heart! My job as a beauty director was amazing. I saw the execution of great ideas through photo shoots and met some of the most talented people in the world.
Who were some of the most influential people you have met?
FM: There have been so many! I loved working with up-and-comers like Stephanie Seymour, Cindy Crawford, Christie Brinkley, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Paulina Porizkova. I brought Paulina to America after I found a little picture of her in a magazine. I waited in St. Barths for her to step off the plane. I thought, ‘What if she’s a dog? What am I going to do with her?’ But she was to die for. She was the ultimate beauty! I took a chance on her and it worked. When I saw her work, I thought, “She’s the most beautiful woman in the world.” And, that’s what I loved so much about my job, I worked with so people many who became stars.
I also love Laura Mercier because she creates amazing skin and Bobbi Brown is great.
What did you do when your natural red hair began to fade?
FM: Oh, I hated it! I am just now getting gray and the secret is finding find a great colorist. I am fortunate because my colorist is a long-time friend who knows what my natural color looked like and knows how to match it. His name is Gad Cohen of Gad Cohen Studio. Red hair requires the most upkeep and it doesn’t absorb color very well, therefore I have to get it colored often to get rid of the gray. Once a natural redhead starts coloring and correcting gray, it is more maintenance than any other hair color.
What are you favorite beauty products to enhance your red hair?
FM: Kerastase has great hair masks and L’Oreal Paris has great hair oils.
Do you have any beauty secrets?
FM: You know what I do, which is crazy, I put my face cream on the ends of my hair. And, I put real conditioner on my ends and leave it on for quite a while.
What is your favorite color lipstick?
FM: There are so many do’s and don’t for redheads, but red lipstick is a must. Red lipstick is my staple. I love it. Mrs. Lauder herself put red lipstick on me years ago and she was so damn right. I love red lipstick from Estee Lauder (of course), Chanel, Christian Dior and Tom Ford.
What foundation do you love?
FM: I use liquid because I am older and powder isn’t so great on older skin. Giorgio Armani has great foundation and Revlon too. I absolutely love Laura Mercier because she is a skin queen.
What is your number one tip for keeping your skin hydrated, especially during the colder months?
FM: Oils! You don’t need much. Use a little bit, let it absorb and apply moisturizer. There are so many creams out in the beauty market that there is no reason why you should have dry skin. Make sure your oils and creams are hydrating.
We heard that you can’t go anywhere without a fragrance. What is your go-to perfume these days?
FM: They say that redheads smell differently! Can you believe that?! When I’m home, I wear a fragrance. It lifts me up and makes me feel so good. I love to smell good things. Redheads usually have drier skin, so use a bit more perfume so it stays on longer.
One of my favorite perfumes is Guerlain Vol de Nuit Parfum.
“My job as a beauty director was amazing. I saw the execution of great ideas through photo shoots and met some of the most talented people in the world.”
What is your favorite beauty trend?
FM: Trends are great, but you need to translate what works for you. I love smokey eyes and bright lips. It’s dramatic. It’s sexy! I don’t go for colorful eyeshadows like green and blue.
Why do you love being a redhead?
FM: Great question. I LOVE being a redhead. I am distinctive and I love the idea that I am a little bit different. Being a redhead explains a lot of things that I didn’t know before. For instance, I always thought I was sensitive to pain and it is true that redheads are more sensitive to pain. I also noticed that my sense of smell is overactive — all my senses are! We [redheads] are distinctive human beings and are so different! You know what I can’t believe?! How the sperm banks are turning away redheads. We are diminishing and I can’t believe it is happening in this day-in-time.
What advice do you have for women who are striving for a successful career like yours?
FM: Be passionate! Don’t go for money only. It’s the biggest mistake. You need to be in a space where you love your job beecause you will show your passion and creativity, which will give you great success. You have to be able to listen to people and learn from your mentors. You have to learn how to listen and talk less. Everyone starts from the bottom, but enjoy the journey. Don’t try to be the boss immediately, because you’ll have a lot of troubles and pressure.
Now that you’ve said bye to Glamour and the beauty scene, what’s next for you?
FM: I am starting to work on my new book that is a momentum of my life. I don’t want to get involved or jump on anything yet because I have to really love it. I have to say to myself, “WOW! I have to be involved.” I want to be involved with something that is in my heart. This is the time in my life that I have to listen to my soul and heart, not my head.
View photos of Felicia Milewicz throughout her years at Condé Nast below: