A mother, Oscar-winning actress, activist and Dior ambassador, Charlize Theron already has plenty on her plate – so how does somebody with such a hectic schedule fit in a comprehensive beauty regime? As she stars in a new campaign as part of her long-term role as the face of Dior’s J’Adore fragrance, Charlize Theron talks all things beauty with Vogue.
J’Adore is just a fragrance that I love. It’s complex and has a duality but it also has a simplicity to it. I love that about it. I have two young kids and the idea of wearing something that is super overwhelming and overpowering is not something I would want to do. This lives and breathes around you – it’s not something that hits you in the face. It’s subtle and beautiful. In the morning I spray perfume and walk into it, then at night I apply it directly to the skin.
On her Dior campaigns
For me it was always important for Dior to know that I’m not a model. I’m a terrible model and they always kept saying to me: “We’re hiring you because you’re a great actress and we want to celebrate that”. So they’ve allowed me to express that a bit through these campaigns. In a weird way it gives you a little bit of ownership. They first called to offer me the job in 2004, and every two or three years I think I’m done but then they call again and I’m like “wow this is amazing!” But I think they value the idea of family, and really building something with someone. To think of this as a long-term evolution of a woman. (The latest J’adore campaign, shot by Jean-Baptiste Mondino, has been released this week.)
I have a baby and a toddler, so the mornings are rough. I have really learned to take care of my skin at night, so the mornings really are often just a hot washcloth, brushing my teeth and putting sunblock on. I mean literally, that’s it. I can do a little more at night – it’s usually when the kids are asleep and I have a bit more time to myself. The idea of not washing or exfoliating at least two times a week is just – I can’t imagine that. I really like the La Mer Cleansing Gel. Then Dior has a really gentle exfoliator – Instant Gentle Exfoliant – that I really love. I never used to use elixirs or anything like that, but Dior’s Prestige line has this Le Nectar De Nuit serum which is amazing, it has this incredible rose scent. My skin just loves that. Then I’ll end with a really great moisturiser. I like Dior’s L’Or De Vie La Crème moisturiser, or the Prestige La Crème. Then if it’s winter and really, really cold, I’ll use Crème De La Mer.
On her beauty indulgences
I’m not a big mask person, but I am somebody who makes sure I get a good facial every few weeks. I go to this place called the Mila Moursi Skin Care Institute in West Hollywood. I only recently started going – a friend recommended it to me – but it’s really one of my favourite treats right now. I’m hooking all my girlfriends up, or my mum if she looks after my kids for me. It’s really great.
On beauty sins
I do go to bed with my make-up on sometimes. Doesn’t everybody? You’re tired, you hit the sack, you wake up forgetting you didn’t wash your face the night before… Then you open your door when somebody comes over the next morning, look in the mirror and you’re like: “oh my god!” I think we all do that once in a while. That’s good. If we were perfect it would be boring.
On beauty essentials
Lip balm and sunblock, always. I wear sunblock every single day. I like the La Mer lip balm and the La Roche-Posay sunblock. It’s in my bag, it’s in the car… I’m always slathering myself and my kids in it – we’re big sunblock people.
I don’t think I’m crazy brave with fashion – I like classic things. With hair for some reason I’m not so fearful. I have no attachment to my hair – I’m excited about changing it and I always think that if I hate it, it’s going to grow back. Most of the time it’s the work I’m doing at that moment that is influencing it. I don’t do a ton of glamorous things, so usually my hair is all roots grown out and natural. In terms of products I’ve definitely noticed the difference between sulfate and non-sulfate formulas, so that’s my one thing I won’t change – my hair products have to have no sulfates in.
On beauty advice
My mom always told me to just be happy. Be happy with your life and the way you want to live it. I think it was empowering for me to grow up with a mother who told me that, and still tells me that today. When I’m struggling with something she’s like: what is it that you want? What will make you happy? That’s the most important thing. When you’re happy and you’re content and you’re at peace, I think there’s something in your eyes that can’t be manufactured – and a cream can’t give it to you. It has to come from your heart and soul.
On beauty inspirations
I’m a huge Kate Moss fan. There’s something about her that is just… there’s a real person there and I love that. Then when I was growing up I loved actresses like Susan Sarandon, Jessica Lange and I think Frances McDormand is one of the sexiest people. There are people where with them it’s an essence, it’s the way they carry themselves. It’s through their talent and their work and how they value themselves. I find that incredibly beautiful, it’s so inspiring.
I first got into acting because I love storytelling. It took me a while to figure it out. I was a ballerina for a long, long time and when that career kind of disappeared it took me some real soul searching to realise why I was so absolutely in love with ballet. And I realised it wasn’t necessarily the technique of dancing, it was being able to get on a stage and embody something and tell that story. So I had to find a different way of telling stories. I’ve had a very, very fortunate career and I feel very blessed. All the opportunities that I have been able to get… I’ve had people believe in me, and I think that’s the greatest gift. I think every time a director has banked on me fully and looked at me and said “you’re the one I want to do this with”, those are my favourite moments. There’s something about somebody jumping off a cliff with you. I still remember when Patty Jenkins came to me and brought me Monster, and I was just like “you are so crazy, are you insane?” I am always flabbergasted that people can believe in each other like that.