If you’ve watched The United States vs. Billie Holiday, it’s easy to laser in on the retro influence—stylistically, musically, and aesthetically—Holiday has had on our April cover star, Andra Day. For our first-ever beauty cover, the singer provides an intimate glimpse into her longtime love for Holiday (the jazz icon has been a source of inspiration, Day says, since she was a preteen), but Day is also quick to point out her admiration of other “fierce, strong” women from decades’ past—Pearl Bailey, Diana Ross, and Dorothy Dandridge, to name just a few. A self-proclaimed “vintage little squirrel,” Day’s style and beauty MO have always skewed toward Old Hollywood glamour. She tells me two of her favorite red carpet beauty moments to date have involved dramatic beehive hairstyles, and her love for history has even informed her at-home beauty rituals. For instance, her trade secret for baby-soft skin—donkey’s milk—is a ritual she adopted after reading up on Cleopatra’s ancient Egyptian beauty dogma.
Of course, not all of Day’s beauty essentials are derived from what she laughingly calls “an ass’s ass.” Dreamy pots of La Mer hold a special place in Day’s heart, and for makeup, it’s all about the Chanel lip and brow, plus a handful of various discontinued products from names like Givenchy and Marc Jacobs. Gentle daily exfoliation is nonnegotiable for Day, and certain ingredients like turmeric, saffron, shea butter, sea buckthorn, and coconut oil make regular appearances in her daily skin and hair routines.