Per popular request, I regularly write posts specifying which makeup brands and cosmetic products royal ladies wear. Previous posts include Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge, Pippa Middleton (although technically not royal), Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Grace of Monaco. This post dedicated to the favorite products of Diana, Princess of Wales is one that I have wanted to write for a long time. However, it has been a little bit difficult to put it together. Since I usually like to tell my readers exactly which products royals use and most importantly, where they can find them, Diana’s post has been challenging because many of her products have been discontinued since the 80s and 90s. So this post will feature some of the same exact products that Diana used (mostly her perfumes which are still in production to this day) as well as products that are very similar (so lipstick and eye shadow colors that she wore herself may have been discontinued since the 80s but the same makeup company may have a very similar product with a slightly different name). All of this information comes from a variety of sources including books, biographies, magazines/online articles, and online forums. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
While Diana had a variety of perfumes that she would use interchangeably, here are a few that stand out as her favorites.
First, Diana’s wedding perfume. There is a cute little story that goes with this particular perfume that has become somewhat famous among royal watchers. Diana’s makeup artist, Barbara Daly, has told the story that on Diana’s wedding day she tried to put some perfume on her wrists AFTER she put her wedding dress on. Unfortunately, she managed to spill a bit on her dress and she panicked. Her quick thinking makeup artist told her to simple hold that spot on her dress as she was walking to make it seem like she was lifting the front of her dress so she didn’t step on it. You can clearly see Diana holding her hand over the front of her dress at the alter in an awkward way, that’s because she is trying to cover the wet spot from when the perfume spilled. Her wedding perfume was “Quelques Fleurs.” As you would expect, this is a very fancy perfume. If you have never heard of it before it is one of the most highly acclaimed perfumes in the world, comparable to Chanel no 5. The exact notes that are used in this scent have never been divulged but it is best described as a floral perfume, very appropriate for a wedding. Here is the official description:
“One of the most renowned and admired fragrances of all time, Quelques Fleurs L’Original forever changed floral fragrances when it became the first true multi-floral bouquet 90 years ago. A classic that has endured the test of time, the fragrance is wrapped in a theme of sculptured petals in a frosted French glass.
The true Quelques Fleurs formula has never been published. An ancient formula still kept in the family archives, this fragrance will never be duplicated. This blend of soft, sensual florals uses over 250 different raw materials and more than 15,000 flowers to create just one ounce of Quelques Fleurs eau de parfum. To this day it is still produced in Grasse, France, where Jean Francois Houbigant first created his perfumes in 1775.”
It comes in a really elegant package. This is a luxury perfume, even more so than Chanel no 5, so not many people have it and it cannot be found in many stores.
But you can get it here via the Neiman Marcus website:
Diana married in 1981, so after that point she did experiment with different perfumes. Her former butler, Paul Burrell, wrote in his book, “A Royal Duty,” that her favorite perfume towards the end of her life became “Hermes 24 Faubourg” another luxury perfume albeit significantly less expensive compared to her wedding perfume. Diana had amazing taste in perfume. She especially liked white florals and sometimes peach as a heart note in the perfumes she chose. Always sweet and ladylike. Here is the official description of her favorite perfume:
“Perfume in the absolute. An explosion of white flowers, enveloping warmth, captivating sensuality.” Jean-Claude Ellena
A novel composed by Maurice Roucel in 1995, 24, Faubourg is an invitation to travel, with the sun as its destination. A sparkle of white flowers in the top notes, the radiance of a floral heart enveloped in irises, woods and mystery, while vanilla and ambergris set the tone for the sillage.
If a perfume is described as ‘absolute’ it is more concentrated and will last longer on your skin. The “sillage” refers to when a woman leaves the room and her perfume lingers in the air. So people will associate you with your signature scent. I like to consider myself a bit of a perfume aficionado. 🙂 The best perfumes in the world have ambergris in it so I am not surprised that Diana wore this.
You can find it here at Saks 5th Avenue:
Another favorite perfume was Diorissimo by Christian Dior. As a matter of fact, Diana loved Dior so much that they made an iconic bag for her after her divorce called the “Lady Dior” bag which you can see on the floor in the picture above. Diana loved the bag and had it in a few colors. “Diorissimo” is well known perfume among royal ladies. The more research I do on this topic, the more I realize that there are certain perfumes that royal women from around the world tend to gravitate to. Diorissimo is one of those perfumes. Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece is also a fan as was Princess Grace and her daughter, Princess Caroline. Princess Diana admired Grace very much. Grace attended the first function that Diana went to after she became engaged to the Prince of Wales. Diana became overwhelmed and started to cry in the bathroom and Grace comforted her. When Grace died in a car accident shortly after this Diana personally asked the Queen if she could be the one to attend Grace’s funeral as a representative of the British royal family to pay her respects.
Lady Diana and Princess Grace
Here is Diorissimo’s official description:
“First introduced in 1956 and inspired by Monsieur Dior’s favorite flower, the lily of the valley, Diorissimo is the definition of a true, timeless classic. Discover the fragrance now available as an elegant eau de parfum.
This delicate, romantic fragrance features top notes of bergamot and calyx, middle notes of lily of the valley, jasmine, ylang ylang and lilac and a base of sandalwood.”
I absolutely love lily of the valley as well as jasmine. And it seems Diana did as well.
You can find it here at Saks 5th Avenue at a pretty reasonable price:
Diana and Queen Sofia of Spain
Another perfume that Diana liked was “L’air du Temps” by Nina Ricci for women. Again, this is a perfume that many royal women love, especially queens. This is Queen Sofia of Spain’s favorite perfume (her husband said so in her official biography) and is also worn by Queen Elizabeth II among others. How fitting that the “Queen of People’s Hearts” liked to wear a queenly perfume like L’air du Temps. It was created in the 1940s after the end of World War II as a way to celebrate the end of the war. That’s why it has its famous white dove topper, it is meant to symbolize peace. Here is a detailed description:
“The floral-spicy note of the carnation is in centre of its composition. Bergamot and rosewood support the development of the carnation theme, refined with the notes of rose and jasmine. Violet and iris give a powdery nuance, and create a harmony with the woodsy notes of cedar and sandal, while sensual musk and amber add the final feminine accord to the composition.”
This fragrance is a warm, spicy floral. I think it would be great for winter time, evening wear, or for the holidays especially since carnation is one of the most prominent notes. It is a little bit sexy but powdery, too so it smells clean. It is also one of the most reasonably priced perfumes that Diana wore, since she had expensive taste in perfumes.
You can find it here for $55, the best price I have every found:
Diana wearing a Kimono in Japan, 1986
Lastly, another perfume that Diana has been said to enjoy is Mitsouko for women by Guerlain, another well known and respected perfume house. This is perhaps the oldest scent that Diana used as it dates back to 1919 with the recipe staying pretty much the same throughout the 20th century. This scent is oriental and comes in a cool 1940s style bottle. Anytime that I have smelled a Guerlain fragrance I notice that the first spray seem pretty strong but then it mellows after the dry down period. Guerlain specializes in niche perfumes so they are pretty unique. The brand has been around for a really long time (like Creed, Chanel, Nina Ricci, etc). As a matter of fact, I have a little bottle of Shalimar by Guerlain that was my great-grandmother’s.
Here is the official description of the scent:
“In 1919, Europe was fascinated by Japan and the culture of the Far East. This was the moment when Jacques Guerlain named his new fragrance Mitsouko. Mitsouko means “mystery” in Japanese and symbolises passionate and mysterious femininity.
Its top notes include bergamot, its middle notes include peach, rose, iris, clove, and jasmine, and its base notes include vetiver, oakmoss, and labdanum.”
Diana was a big fan of Guerlain products in general as I will discuss later in the post. She was known to wear their makeup and moisturizer as well.
You can get the scent here:
While finding Diana’s favorite perfumes was not too difficult, tracking down her favorite makeup products has proven to be more of a challenge. The brands themselves are well known (she liked Elizabeth Arden, Clarins, Max Factor,etc.) but most of the colors or products she used have been discontinued so I have found the closest colors and products by the same brands as a substitute. Makeup artist Clayton Howard worked with Diana for her first major photo shoot when her engagement to the Prince of Wales was announced. He created this face chart to show exactly what Diana used that day and I will show you how to find very similar, modern equivalents to what Diana used in the 80s.
The foundation that Diana used for her engagement pictures was from Max Factor. Diana used sheer foundation when she was in her 20s and then used something with more coverage in the 90s when she was a bit older.
I would recommend Max Factor Miracle Touch Illusion Foundation because it has a natural finish that isn’t cakey and it is easy to blend. It is hard to find in stores (especially where I live) so I would look for it on Amazon.
You can find it here for about $12 depending on which shade you choose and where you live.
While her engagement day face chart mentions that Diana used a blush stick, it fails to mention that she also loved a good Max Factor foundation stick. Max Factor’s current “Pan Stik” is cheap and loved by many frugal women. You use this when you are going to have your picture taken or are going on a date and know that they will be looking at you close-up. Basically, it offers a bit more coverage. You can use it alone or in addition to the liquid foundation. If you have any uneven areas or acne scaring it covers that area in an easy to use stick. And since it’s only 8 dollars you really can’t lose. Again, I can’t seem to find this particular product in stores so I am glad that online shopping has become so popular in the past ten years or so. Here is what it looks like:
Find it here:
The face chart states that Diana finished her foundation with some translucent setting powder. I would recommend something like this Laura Mercier sheer loose setting powder. Right now it’s 10% off.
You can get it here:
Since Diana was a fan of Elizabeth Arden I would also look into this ceramide skin smoothing loose powder.
Find it here:
For her engagement photos Diana used a Max Factor blusher stick that is no longer available but if you want to use the same brand Max Factor has a cream blush that will help achieve a similar English Rose glow to your cheeks.
Find it here:
Or, if you want to try a blush stick, I would recommend this one from Estee Lauder, another brand that Diana liked. It is currently 10% off.
Get it here:
The Max Factor lipstick called “Tint of Pink” that Diana wore is no longer available. However, Elizabeth Arden has moisturizing lipstick shades that are almost exactly the same as what Diana liked to wear her whole life. Try “Barely There,” “Pale Petal,” or “Sweet Pink” via the link below.
See the lipstick here:
On her engagement day and in the early days of her life as a princess Diana loved Elizabeth Arden eye shadow duos. Her chart names “Timberland/Rice” as one of her favorites but that has since been discontinued. So I would recommend checking out “Cafe Au Leit” or “Tempting Taupe” instead. These are neutral eye shadow colors that Diana preferred.
Find it here:
The face chart also mentions that Diana wore an eye shadow called “Platinum Frost” as a highlighter (you use this under your eyebrow or in the corner of your eyes as a brightener). But nowadays Elizabeth Arden makes a single shaow called “Sugar Cube” that is the most similar to what Diana would use.
Find it here:
Lastly, Diana was well known for her love of eyeliner. And whileshe normally wore neutral eye shadow she did experiment with heavier eyeliner. During the early days of her public life she would wear Elizabeth Arden’s “Navy” eye liner but today the brand calls it “Sapphire” since it sounds more glamorous.
Find it here:
And when she was first engaged and throughout the 80s Diana would use Navy mascara to match her Navy eye liner to accentuate her blue eyes. Now Elizbaeth Arden calls their blue mascara “Ocean Blue” instead of “Navy.” Again, I suspect they made the change to make the color sound more glamorous.
Find it here:
By the 1990s Diana’s makeup had changed and modernized a bit. She especially favored Guerlain foundation, neutral eye shadow, pink-brown lipstick, and brown or black eye liner. Here are some examples.
Guerlain “Tenue de Perfection” foundation:
Guerlain’s Foundation powder:
A beautiful eye shadow quad in neutral colors like Diana wore:
A pretty eye shadow and blush compact gift set:
Guerlain’s black eye liner. Diana loved lining her eyes:
Diana also loved Clarins lipstick, which is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite.
Find it here:
I was particularly interested to discover what Diana did to keep her skin looking so fantastic. If you search for videos of Diana on Youtube you will find many people who met her in person who say that they were blown away by how beautiful her skin was. Well, it turns out that Diana worked really hard to keep her skin glowing. She had a rigorous skincare regime which included her mixing her own masks at home with avocado and egg whites among other things. By looking at pictures of Diana and hearing these anecdotes of how beautiful her skin was it may be difficult to believe that Diana actually suffered from Rosacea. It causes a lot of redness on the cheeks and nose and sometimes acne. Rosacea also has a tendency to flare up in really hot or really cold environments. It appears that Prince Harry has inherited the condition from his mother and maybe Prince William as well.
One of Diana’s secrets that she swore by was using rose oil on her skin in the morning before applying her moisturizer. This rose oil by Estee Lauder is a good one.
Find it here:
Diana loved Guerlain moisturizer. Recently Guerlain has created some new moisturizers that are highly recommended and they are similar to what Diana used. Here is the “day gel.”
Find it here:
And a night balm because Diana would never go to sleep without taking her makeup off and washing and moisturizing her face.
See it here:
The very last thing that I will talk about may seem random since I don’t normally write about kitchen appliances in my blog, but hear me out, please. 🙂 I read in a few places that Diana was a great fan of juicing vegetables and fruits and would drink her concoctions every day. I didn’t believe that at first since juicing seems to have become popular after the millennium, but it seems that Diana was indeed ahead of her time in this respect. In a documentary film I watched recently on Diana’s life some of Diana’s friends (like Rosa Monkton) talked about her and reminisced about conversations they had had with her. A friend asked her “if you had to go to a desert island and could only bring one thing, what would you take?” and Diana replied her juicer because she could put twelve cucumbers in it and drink it with fruit juice and it would do wonders for her skin. So, this is apparently Diana’s big secret for keeping her skin healthy. This particular juicer is one of the most reasonably priced I have found online and is currently almost 50% off so I thought I would share this info with you guys in case you would like to try this. It makes sense to me since the health of your skin does come from what you eat and Diana was very knowledgeable about this.
So I decided to buy myself a juicer and try it. I mix cucumbers (which is what Diana loved) or kale, or spinach, with fruits like apples, oranges, pineapples, peaches, etc. I have found a bunch of free recipes online here. My skin is looking awesome and I am not getting as much hormonal acne around my chin, which normally would happen once a month. It looks clearer and brighter and I also have much more energy. I highly recommend it! I don’t do the diet juicing that some people do where they will only drink juice and not eat anything in order to lose weight so I haven’t really changed the rest of my eating habits. I strictly do it to improve my complexion and I have found that it also helps my digestion and gives me energy. I just drink a juice in the more for breakfast and continue to use a three step program on my skin with a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. I have been using the three step program by Clinique for a few months. So far so good! 🙂
Find it here:
I hope that you have enjoyed this post on Diana’s favorite beauty products. I have more info that I can share so I may add on to this post in the future. I would also recommend reading another blog post I wrote called “Christmas Gift Ideas Part 1” because I wrote about a beautiful vanity set that Diana used and where to find it. You can find it under the tag for “British Royal Family” or “Princess Diana” on this site.
The Frugal Lady