Shay Mitchell on getting creative with makeup and being inspired by her mom

By Ally Dean

Shay Mitchell is one busy bee! After wrapping the final season of her hit series Pretty Little Liars late last year, the 29-year-old and self-professed “Type-A, workaholic” has shown no signs of slowing down. Her massively successful YouTube channelcontinues to flourish and she recently filmed the horror-thriller film Cadaver, which is set to hit theatres early next year. The Canadian actress is also set to star in her own reality series Shades of Shay.

Shay also adds beauty maven to her CV, partnering with beauty brand Smashbox to release seven new eyeshadow palettes in a range of finishes from matte to metallic. Here, Shay sits down with Hello! at the Smashbox studios in Los Angeles to dish on her beauty tips and the key to her success.

Photo: © Getty Images

You seem to have such a fun and experimental mantra when it comes to beauty.

Makeup should be something that’s fun and not taken too seriously. It should be used to accentuate your natural features but also to play around and experiment. I think it’s all about playing, and that’s why I was so excited to get to work with Smashbox because that is what they are known for. They are very creative, and now I get to be a part of the brand with these awesome palettes. I love that there are seven completely different looks, so depending on your mood or where you’re going, you can tap into these different personalities. It’s an idea that was a no-brainer for me because that’s how I use makeup.

Have you always loved experimenting with beauty?

Growing up I would watch my mom get ready by putting on her red lipstick or eyeshadows – it was the ’80s so she went full force [ Laughs] – but it was always fun to see how she changed her look. Then I got into modelling and acting so I got to work with amazing artists who could totally change my appearance. And I became fascinated by the transformative process.


Is there a pro tip you’ve picked up from being on set?

Hydration is key, applying makeup on dry, flaky skin is never a good look! Learning to use a primer and [setting] sprays were a life-changer, especially on days when I would be shooting really long hours and need my makeup to last. You really have to take care of yourself from the inside out. When I don’t get sleep or I haven’t been drinking water, it really shows on my skin and then it doesn’t matter what makeup you use, it won’t sit nicely. I also like doing at-home spa treatments to replenish my skin before an event. I do a [sheet] mask and even layer an eye mask underneath for double duty.

Smashbox Cover Shot: Eye Palettes in Smoky, Metallic and Matte, $35 each, at Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart,,

Can you share what it is like getting ready for an award show?

Honestly, I am such good friends with my glam squad and love creating looks so it’s a really fun time! Music is big for me because it sets the tone and gets you in the right headspace. I put on Spotify, choose a mood and I always like to be surprised. Currently I am all about ’90s hip-hop, so we are listening to a lot of Mase and old Ja Rule.

Other than music what inspires you?

I love travelling and really want to go to Tokyo. The style there is amazing and everybody is such an individual. I am sure they would all love these palettes! I love going to places I’ve never been and experiencing new culture.

Besides a trip to Japan, what’s next for you?

There are a lot of different things that I want to do, and I recently updated my vision board with so many things both professionally and personally. I’m constantly dreaming, and I really believe you manifest your own destiny and positive affirmations lead to success.

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