GYPSY BEAUTY: 5 Secrets to Looking Grungy-Mystical, Exotic and Caravan-Glamorous (and Smelling Good, Too)

Yup, the gypsies in my head basically look like rock groupies from the sixties, which is really all I’m ever going for here.
Publish date:
July 12, 2011
shoppables, hair, perfume, beauty secrets, gypsies, feathers

What ARE gypsies, exactly? I read the UK papers a lot and they are always in them making trouble: tramping around in their caravans, leaving garbage everywhere.

Hmm. I remember being young and traveling to Europe alone for the first times, someone -- my mother? -- told me that if a gypsy tossed her baby at me, I shouldn’t catch it and instead should protect my pocketbook. So thanks for that tip, Mom. I guess.

My latest obsession is not only with the glamorous rich-gypsy style coffee table book above, GYPSET by Assouline -- gypsy + jetset = GYPSET, get it?! -- that I finally just got after wanting it forever, but with my idea of "gypsy beauty."

Are gypsies good-looking in such a way that they deserve an homage-beauty story? Dude, I’m not even sure if I’m supposed to USE the word “gypsies” -- it’s not entirely PC; I think we're supposed to say The Romani -- so I’m not going to answer that.

Let’s start with some legit gypsy beauty tips I found on the Internet:

To wash one's face with dew every morning is believed to keep the complection clear. Rain water also has been used, but these days of acid rain give one pause for thought.

Some Romani women will take a lock of their hair and bury it at the foot of a willow tree. This is said to promote luxuriant growth, making the hair glossy and attractive.

If you cut your hair at the New Moon it will grow rapidly and richly. If you cut your hair in the waning cycle, it will grow very slowly.

Many a Romani woman will never brush her hair in artificial light. She will either do it in the daylight or will sit outside and do it in the light of the Moon.

Uhh, okay. So the IDEA of gypsy beauty is probably a lot better-looking (and smelling) than the reality, obviously. All I know is that when I think gypsy beauty I think grungy, mystical, long hair, aromatic incense, kohl liner. Cool, right?

Because I’m always here to teach you all the beauty shiz that REALLY matters, I’ve dug up some products and accessories to make you incredibly good-looking in that … grungy, mystical, caravan-y way...


OK, I know we’re all a little sick of the feathers-for-hair trend, but can I just say that I love gypsy-esque, boho hair styled with weird accents if you’re really going to go there. These Sultra Feather Hair Accents are subtle clip-ins that let you play around with a little gypsy hair look, and I say hide the extension in the back of your hair and let people notice it organically. Don’t make your look ABOUT the feathers. No.

And look, this product costs $25 and when you're over it you're over it. You save it for Halloween or a Stevie Nicks moment or something and then you throw it out. Whatever.


I LOVE this product. Does the eyeliner game GET any more glamorous than this? I've seen it all, kids, and the answer is simple: NOPE. This Guerlain Terracotta Khol Kajal liner is like a super-pigmented, dark, greasy (but not TOO messy) crayon that you can rim your eyes with for that sexy grifter-who-does-her-makeup-with-campfire-charcoal effect. HOT.

Gypsies, tramps and theives is the look! This thing is high drama and not THE easiest thing to use, but when you nail it you nail it. Cleopatra steez, I'm telling you. Worth the $36 (especially since one lasts forever).


I lovvvve Byredo Parfums, and this, their Gypsy Water Eau de Parfum, is the brand's signature scent (well, I'm declaring it so, that is). I discovered this scent when I was a beauty editor at Lucky and the very chic fragrance buyer for Barneys New York -- a woman on whom I was writing a story -- put me on to the company, which is small and I think Italian and niche-glam and awesome.

Isn't this decription from the brand's site awesome?:

He imagines her nights, this young Romany woman; though it’s by day he sees her. She washes in the river, bright colored tunics and embroidered raiments floating like dancers around her, the forest dust and campfire ash rinsing clean of her hands, but the smoky essence of those evenings always lingering no matter how strong the current. In those moments time seems to stop, or at least, perhaps, he simply gets lost in it.

The fragrance itself is everything you dream it is: ultra-light (the "Water" part of the name is not for nothing) and dewy-smelling, like florals and tea and clean hair (not a gypsy staple, I imagine, but whatever), and it's too too lovely.

Yes, it's a $210 perfume but sometimes you pay that much for exquisite niche fragrances, honey bunnies. Here, if you only have $45, just buy the $45 soap bar (nope, not a typo). Problem solved!


I am not exactly SUPER into wearing, like, yarn on your head, OK, but I thought these hand-crocheted gypsy headband-scarf things (which are available in a bunch of colors, P.S.) were crafted particularly masterfully and exhibited a lot of flair.

GYPSY HAIR is cool! It is! This thing is like $10. Since I always imagine poor girls with Etsy accounts getting deluged by orders they can't keep up with and then having mental breakdowns, I both do and do not hope you purchase one for yourself.


There are three things you need to know about this home fragrance company Altru:

#1: Their products are better than anything comparable out there and worth spending the money on over the junk you get at the health food store that smells like middle school.

#2: You get 40 sticks of their amazing, fill-your-whole-apartment-up Unity Aromatic Incense for $15 which is a decent deal so whatever, and

#3: The founder of this company is Prince's EX-WIFE. Yes, that Prince! The Artist Formerly Known As! The ... Symbol. What do we all call Prince now? I'm too lazy to Google. But isn't that some chic trivia? Yes, thought so.

SOO there you have it: GYPSY beauty. What do you think? Corny or glam? Can't you get into it, a little? I mean, I'm not telling you to wear all this stuff at once or anything. Discuss.

ALSO: Thoughts on gypsies in general? Baby-throwing stories? We all have at least one ...