"When I was pregnant, I started doing research around safe and healthy products. Before that, I just lived with allergies. I took allergy medicine every single day. But when I got pregnant, I was like, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ So I had to clean up my environment—things like laundry detergents, surface sprays, perfumes, shampoos…anything that had a synthetic fragrance or harsh chemicals. That was when I realized, ‘Oh wait, I don’t have to have a sore throat every day.’
That's also when I discovered oils. I was looking into what other pregnant women did and found anti-stretch mark oil, so I started using body oil instead of lotion eight years ago. I apply while I’m still in the shower, so it absorbs into my skin and hydrates right away. I use lotions, too, but they’re heavier and get on my clothes sometimes. Especially in the summer, when I’m wearing dresses, lotions can cling and stain.
Most of my products aren't scented. Like my soap—I use . It’s gentle and cleans really well, which is good because I do cycling classes and hot yoga where I sweat like a beast. But if I'm going to use a perfume I'll use a roller or a solid. There’s a company called Joya out of Brooklyn that makes great solids. They have one called that’s supposed to smell like a New York City park. It has essences of florals and also tobacco—really interesting.
I love rice packets for my face. You can throw them in your bag for the gym, and nothing will explode. For a long time, I would always pick up rice cleansers whenever I was in Japan so I really wanted to make one for Honest Beauty. It foams up right away, and gives a squeaky clean feeling without drying your face. We also make a that I keep in my shower.
At night, I put the under my eyes and the on my face. Every other day, or every three days, I’ll also use . When I’m working on a movie, I use it every day because I’m wearing so much makeup. Then when I'm in New York, I'll see Tracie Martyn for facials. She uses this zappy electric current thing that makes my skin feel really tight after. It’s amazing. In LA, Shani Darden is great, too. She was the first facialist that actually made me look better right after my appointment. You usually look crazy after a facial, and need three days for your skin to calm down. That doesn’t happen with Shani.
Shani also orders this collagen under-eye mask for me that I keep in the fridge. And whenever I’m in Korea or China or Japan, I’ll stock up on those face masks that make you look like a serial killer. I’ll put them on during a flight, in the bath, or after a rough night, if I stayed up too late and had too many margaritas. Or I’ll put one on in the morning while I’m having coffee and scare the kids.
My shampoo is —you can use it as both a shampoo and a body wash. I also use . But when I want something more reconstructive, or if I just colored my hair, I use . I’ve been using John Masters forever...I found it ages ago when researching haircare lines that are intense, but don’t have petrochemicals.
The other thing I swear by is this from Bed, Bath & Beyond. It’s one of those ‘As Seen On TV’ products, but is the greatest thing in the world. It’s like a towel that you pull your hair up in after the shower. My girls won’t let me dry their hair—they literally scream—so I put their hair in a Turbie Twist. Five minutes later, it’s pretty much as wringed-out as hair could get. For me, I’ll do my Turbie Twist with . When I want volume, I’ll add to my roots…and his on the ends.
I always start with . It’s great because it has hyaluronic acid, and a little bit of mica. It gives that flawless, powderless look. Plus, I fragranced it with chamomile so it smells really good. Sometimes I’ll just do that and spot conceal. But I also have an that I really like. If I’m going to the beach and don’t want to have too much makeup on, I’ll apply that after primer. Or if I’m going to work, I’ll apply our foundation with a Kabuki brush. I apply foundation in a circular motion, using brushes to buff it out. No sponges. I’ve been around makeup and stuff for so long, learning from makeup artists, and that’s how I picked up the brush trick.
After foundation, I’ll usually conceal with in Smooth Sable. Then I use our on the cheeks to add definition. It gives a little bit of shimmer without making me look like a disco ball. But I don’t use powder usually. In my early days, they used to just powder the crap out of my face. I had no definition and looked like a pancake. And I never put powder under my eyes, because it always goes into your lines. That cakey powder underneath the eye is the first sign you’re wearing makeup.
I do a cheek with cream blush. There’s something about being able to see the skin, and it looking like a natural flush. Then I add in the smile lines, which sort of makes all those creases disappear. It also gives a little bit of a highlight, giving a dewy look without looking greasy. That’s a little beauty hack I like.
I use lip gloss every day. I love , which is a neutral. Sometimes I also use lip stains—like Innisfree, which I found in Korea. These are really great because the more you layer, the more of a lip that you get. I own in four different shades—a cherry-looking one, an orange one, a pink one and a fuschia one. I’ll apply Innisfree and then put a little bit of gloss over. For lipsticks, I like . They’re really good. I think the only lip color I’ve never tried is a black lip. And I don’t go very brown. But if I’m playing up my lips, I’ll go for a neutral eye.
I start eyes with a dark brown pencil liner in the lash line. Brown isn’t as harsh as black, and just looks so natural…but it still adds that little bit of oomph. I wiggle our in Cocoa between my top lashes, but none on the bottom.
For shadows, I usually just stick with neutral browns. We actually have at Honest. Sable is my favorite. I like going in with the lightest color first, and then, if I want more definition, I’ll put a darker shade into the crease and buff it out…so it’s a little lighter on the inside, and darker on the outside. That gives a highlight to make eyes look bigger. We have a little illustrated tutorial on how to apply eyeshadows right in the packaging. Last, I’ll apply the mascara.
Our is something I’m really proud that we made. It took months to formulate, and having the built-in primer is just incredible. I’m obsessed with lashes—always have been. So I curl my lashes first, using and . Then I’ll only put primer on the top lashes, and apply mascara to my bottom lashes while the top is drying.
Then I always do a brow—brows are major. And I always groom them myself, I never wax. When I was growing in my brows, I used Latisse. It irritated my eyes, though. I start filling them in with from the middle, moving to the end. I fill in the front last. And I always brush as I go. That’s a trick I learned from my friend, makeup artist .”
—as told to ITG
Jessica Alba photographed by Tom Newton in New York on September 11, 2015. Interview by Emily Siegel. Video edited by Hannah Hafey.