I was exactly 5 years old the first time I laid eyes on Katie Holmes, and it was exactly then that she became my ultimate hero. My older sister watched Dawson's Creek religiously, and not only did I think the show was the best thing since sliced bread, but I also thought Joey Potter, Holmes's iconic character, was the coolest person alive. (I may have even told my sister at one point that I wished I could trade her in for Joey—sorry, Lorena!) Alas, I'm veering off topic.
My first Dawson's Creek viewing may have been over 20 years ago, but my admiration for Katie Holmes, and her incredible fashion and beauty aesthetic, has yet to wane. (I'm not alone here, right?!) In fact, if I ever lived in an alternative universe where Holmes had access to my camera roll or IG saves, she would, no doubt, be completely unnerved by how many street style and red carpet shots I have of her stored in my phone. Always relaxed but somehow perfectly polished and put-together, Holmes is most definitely one of my all-time biggest fashion heroes. But being the beauty editor I am, I'm also extraordinarily interested in her beauty regimen.
Enchanted by the luster of Holmes's signature chocolate brown strands and dewy glow, I decided to do some detective work, meaning I pulled a Sherlock Holmes on Katie Holmes by reaching out to her longtime glam team—hairstylist DJ Quintero and makeup artist Genevieve Herr—to get the 411 on all things Katie, beauty edition. And trust me. Their top tips and secrets did not disappoint.
"Katie is one of the sweetest, most generous, most beautiful, and most fun human beings to be around," Herr reveals. "DJ always brings music, and it sets the energy for our glam sessions. She is always open to our suggestions and artistic visions for hair and makeup, and the three of us work in harmony to achieve the look for the day."
Curious for all the juicy details? Both Quintero and Herr are sharing their must-know Katie Holmes–centric beauty tricks and secrets below—hairstyling, makeup application, and product recommendations included. Keep scrolling!
Secret #1: She Prioritizes Hair Health
According to Quintero, Holmes knows that healthy hair is synonymous with glossy, glamorous hair. First and foremost, she prioritizes her health and nutrition to maintain her strands' signature luster.
"I think part of the reason Katie’s hair looks so amazing is that it is extremely healthy!" he tells us. "Taking care of your health and nutrition really does show in your hair, and I don’t like to use a lot of products when I'm working with Katie. The goal is for her hair to look and feel touchable—like you could run your hand through it."
Secret #2: She Has a Trusting, Low-Maintenance Hair Aesthetic
Quintero says that above all else, Holmes's biggest hair secret is how much she trusts (and how little she fusses over) her hair.
"We both value each other as artists, and our collaboration is always so much fun," he explains. "Katie is very low-maintenance about her hair in the best way possible. We have worked together for many years and been through many different lengths and styles. She trusts me completely and almost always lets me do whatever feels right for the specific look or moment. We love to be creative and have as much fun as possible. After all, it's just hair!"
Secret #3: She Loves to Enhance Her Natural Texture
Considering all of the above, it doesn't come as any surprise when Quintero reveals that the products he most commonly uses on Katie all cater to her natural wavy texture. Below, he's sharing the must-have hair essentials he swears by for enhancing her strands with thickness, body, and shine.
"I love this super-versatile tool. It has a marcel iron, which is what I prefer in curling irons, but it also converts to a wand and now has a spring attachment."
"I literally will use this texturizing spray on Katie every single time we work together."
"Katie’s hair is a bit wavy, so this product is great to tame, control, or enhance her wave. It's also great for super-smooth and straight blowouts."
"I love this balm for multiple reasons. It's great for flyaways, and it gives the hair cuticles some extra piecey-ness. Plus, you're getting 99% natural ingredients."
"This shine spray is perfect for adding a lived-in feel to the hair. 'Tomorrow's hair today,' if you will. And it's light, so you can keep layering as you go."
Secret #4: She Always Exfoliates and Masks Before Wearing Makeup
"Katie is always very responsible with her skincare," Herr shares right off the bat. "She always preps her skin by exfoliating and doing a nice mask just before I arrive so that her skin is radiant, moist, and ready for makeup application."
"I also love to apply an eye cream and moisturizer from Pestle & Mortar. Both of these products are light and natural, and I follow it all up with a primer from Laura Mercier, as it helps fill in the pores, blur any imperfections, and smooth out the skin so the makeup lasts longer."
Secret #5: Tinted Moisturizer Gives a More Youthful Finish Than Foundation
"I always have the right color foundation for Katie's skin tone on hand, and I prefer tinted moisturizers over heavy foundations," Herr reveals. "These types of products are super hydrating and usually have enough pigment to even out skin tone but with a more natural finish."
When it comes to the best tinted moisturizers, Herr specifically loves to use formulas from Laura Mercier and Armani Beauty on Katie. Pro tip: Follow Herr's lead and use one of these damp sponges to apply your product so that it goes on smoothly sans streaks.
Secret #6: Liquid Contour Reigns Supreme for Soft and Smooth Sculpting
"I love to softly sculpt Katie's face to subtly enhance her cheekbones and eyes," says Herr. She chooses Charlotte Tilbury's best-selling contour wand due to its lightweight feel and how easily it blends into the skin. Oh, and Herr tells us she uses her fingers, not a brush or sponge, to blend the contour in for a super-supreme finish.
Secret #7: Lip Liner Gives Her a Plump and Defined Pout
"Lip liners are essential for defining, correcting, and ensuring the longevity of Katie's lipstick," says Herr. "I use a lip liner in a shade that matches her natural lip color. Kevyn Aucoin's in Divine, Laura Mercier's in Plumberry, and MAC in Whirl are our favorites."
Secret #8: Cream Blushes Give the Best Warm and Healthy Flush
To channel Holmes's signature dewy complexion, Herr tells us it's best to reach for cream blush formulas versus powders. (Another tip? Use your fingers for the best natural blend!)
"I love how cream blushes like the ones below from Chantecaille, Laura Mercier, and Nudestix just melt into the complexion and become part of the skin. The soft, hydrating texture delivers a warm and healthy result."
Secret #9: When It Comes to Falsies, Go With Knot-Free Individual Lashes
There may be thousands of different models of falsies on the market, but when she's working with Katie, Herr only uses knot-free individual lashes, which, she says, give the most natural-looking finish.
"These ones from Ardell look believable and fill in the spaces between your lashes, so they look fuller and longer. They're great for anything—special events, trying a new look, photoshoots…"
Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.
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