An Inside Look At The Beauty Routine of YYZ Frontwoman Ali McNally

How not to get pink eye and other hot beauty tips from a bombshell lead singer/model.
Publish date:
November 14, 2013
skin, music, Ali McNally, interviews, makeup, travel

I don't mean to brag or anything, but my friends are pretty beautiful, inside and out. I like to keep good company--doesn't everyone?

One in particular is a hyper-breed of lead singer/supermodel, and if I didn't know her, I'd be way jealous. Who am I kidding? I'm still jealous, but in an "Oh my goodness, what kind of witchery is this? Please share" kind of way, rather than an "I hope her cat chokes on a biscuit and vomits all over her face" one.

I mean, she doesn't even have a cat.

I met Ali in London. We're both Torontonian transplants, but her transatlantic life is way more glamourous than mine. She started out as a model--you may have seen her on a billboard or two--then became lead singer of Ghostcat.

While she's still jetsetting around the world (calling both Toronto and New Orleans home for now), she's also the frontwoman of YYZ, described by Pop Justice as "gratifyingly berserk." The Guardian calls them "a budget Britney cooing over tacky/trashy beats."

Not too shabby, right? I'd add "hot" somewhere in there too. Seriously, the track "Dirty Talk" is giving me some major Britney vibes and y'all know how much I love Ms. Spears.

Anyway, back to beauty. When I say Ali is perfection, I'm not kidding, so of course you're going to want to know all her secrets. I aim to deliver, so she spills all of them to me right here.

You've toured with your band, and have worked as a model all around the world. Do you notice a difference in the preferred makeup/skincare routines depending on the country you're in?

Well, it's hard to generalize, but I'm in the US right now, and it seems to be more about skincare. America has great drugstore brands and great sunscreens. I love Cetaphil, CeraVe, Neutrogena... they do great, affordable things.

Living in London, English girls always seemed to like to paint; they would be doing neat, experimental fun things with their makeup. It was really inspiring.

And travelling throughout Asia, there was always a large emphasis on whitening products and incredibly hi-tech skincare. Some of the best sun protection in the world comes out of Korea and Japan, I think.

What are some of the tips you've picked up from being abroad?

For me, it's less about tips than it is about finding new products. Nothing excites me more than going to a drugstore in a foreign country to check out the cosmetics. I've always been obsessed.

You have amazing skin! How do you keep it so fresh and babe like?

I drink a lot of water--at least two litres a day. I think hydration is pretty important. I sleep as much as I can. I stay out of the sun, wear Obagi Professional-C Serum 10% under a high SPF every day, and have a pretty rigid evening skincare regime in the evenings.

I remove my makeup, then cleanse/exfoliate using my Clarisonic Mia. At the moment, I'm using Radical Skincare Eye Revive Creme and a dermatologist-prescribed retinoid pad before applying CeraVe PM moisturizer.

Any modeling industry beauty tips you've picked up along the way?

The importance of prepping your skin and taking care of it in general. Little things like applying lip liner all over the lip, then applying your lipstick with a brush, to make it last. And to blot with a tissue between coats.

Also, less is more: pick ONE feature to emphasize, not all of them!

Favourite piece of beauty advice?

Wear sunscreen every day, even on the cloudy ones. Boring, but so important.

Also: exercise! I seriously think I look my prettiest after a long run. I've got colour in my cheeks, and my skin glows. And I think it's the same for all girls.

Beauty nightmare?

Bad lighting, lol. It can make or break my day in terms of how I feel about myself. Can they just outlaw fluorescent lighting already?

Beauty look you've regretted?

I plucked my eyebrows within an inch of their poor lives as a teenager, and I have to live with the photographic evidence of my transgression. My eyebrows are much bushier and happier now. Tweezerman only takes the stragglers.

What products can't you live without?

Bioderma's Crealine H2O. I can't be without it. Nothing is gentler at removing makeup, even around the eye. I used to buy it in bulk at pharmacies in Paris when it was less readily available in other countries.

A high-SPF, mineral-based sunscreen. Shiseido's Ultra Protection Cream For Face SPF 50 has been my go-to for the last few years.

Lip balm. I can't even leave the house without lip balm. I like drugstore brands like Carmex, Savex and Blistex as I'm forever losing them. With SPF for day, without for night.

Do you have a signature stage look?

I do! Without fail I always wear a matte red lip. At the moment it's usually MAC's Lady Danger over top of MAC's Lip Pencil in Redd for extra staying power.

Is your stage look a lot different than what you prefer for everyday?

A lot of days I don't wear any makeup at all, except for maybe defining my brows with Anastasia's Brow Wiz in Brunette and applying a slick of mascara after curling my lashes.

I like drugstore mascara like CoverGirl's Lashblast Fusion because who can afford to buy expensive mascara every three months?

It's important to replace your mascara pretty regularly--take it from someone who got conjunctivitis on a lot of modeling shoots! There are some naughty makeup artists there who don't always keep things as hygienic as you'd hope. Oh, and I prefer blotting tissues to powder, it looks way more natural.

If I have a meeting or don't want to look deathly, I will use some Make Up For Ever Full Cover concealer on my dark circles, Dior's Rosy Glow blush, and Smashbox's O-Plump on my lips. The only difference for stage is that I do a red lip instead of a natural one.

What's in store for YYZ?

The single, "Lost In The Mix," is available on iTunes now (at least in Canada). You can watch the lyric video anywhere in the world, and the official video is dropping any minute. The album is set for release next year. I'm really excited!

And there you have it: beauty tips from a seasoned pro. Ali is super-sweet and talented to boot, so follow her on Twitter and Instagram and show her your love. She'll love you back, promise.