Lili Reinhart is really f*cking good at makeup — and not because she's surrounded by some of the most talented beauty professionals in the business. Reinhart's interest in beauty started when and where it does for pretty much every single millennial or Gen Zer: as a teenager and on YouTube. "I moved across the country when I was 16 and ended up finishing my high school online, so ... after I was done with my schoolwork and just trying to fill my time, I started watching YouTube tutorials," she tells me over the phone.
Reinhart's watchlist included the likes of BeauTuber OGs Michelle Phan and NikkieTutorials (classic). Eventually, tutorial after tutorial brought her to the world of special effects makeup. "I’d save my money to buy some special effects makeup off of Amazon," she says. Turns out, Reinhart has talent for it. In 2014, she posted numerous costume makeup looks on Instagram, transforming from a skeleton to a pop-art zombie and everything in between. By 2015, she upped the ante with sliced-up body parts, blistering frostbite, and exposed jaw makeup, to name a few, all of which looked out of the most convincing horror film. Fans even got a live demo of Reinhart's skills when she gave Riverdale co-star Madelaine Petsch, a bloody shark bite in a YouTube video.
Of course, Reinhart wasn't born unto the world an Evolved Beauty Obsessee, skipping the CVS aisles and glitter explosions of awkward tween years past and going straight into special effects artistry. Her intro to beauty started like yours and mine — at the drugstore. (So, yes, there's hope for the rest of us yet.) "I remember my first makeup bag full of my first drugstore makeup," she says. "I used one of those dirty, white sponges that everyone always had in their makeup bag and would use to re-apply their foundation over and over again."
The relatability doesn't stop there. "I had a very sparkly silver glitter eyeshadow that I would dab on my eyes on Fridays when I went to school," she says of the products that sparked her interest in makeup. "That was my Friday makeup look. And then I would have glitter in my eyebrows for days afterward."
As talented a special effects makeup artist as Reinhart is, her usual makeup is pronouncedly less, well, intensive. But her natural everyday approach to beauty, coupled with her own beauty expertise, makes her recent unveiling as the new face of COVERGIRL's Clean Fresh Collection, the brand's newest good-for-your-skin, 100% vegan line, a perfect move.
"It was never even a question ... especially knowing all the women who came before me and all the women who are representatives of the brand today," she says of the partnership. "It’s very humbling to have been asked to be the face of this Clean Fresh Collection specifically, which goes along with my makeup philosophy, which is very natural and healthy-looking skin. That’s what I try to do on red carpets and events ... so it made sense to be the face of a line that emphasizes that sort of makeup look."
COVERGIRL's Clean Fresh Skin Milk Foundation ($12, Ulta), in particular, is Reinhart's favorite product from the four-piece line, a high praise coming from someone who's admittedly a bit cautious about what hits her face. "I’m always very paranoid about what I put on my face, especially foundation-wise," she says. "I love ... the fact that [Skin Milk is] super light and really easy to blend."
Don't let the fancy makeup partnership fool you, though. Just because Reinhart has access to some of the best, most exclusive brands in the beauty biz, you might just run into her stocking up on mascara at your local CVS. "I’m usually a sucker for a deal."