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Cate Blanchett's Beauty Routine: Fancy Skincare, Emu Oil and Oxygen Facials

By Wendy Rodewald-Sulz / March 1, 2012

When someone like Cate Blanchett talks to you about skincare, you listen. And not just because her complexion, at 42, is as perfect and luminous in person as it is on film (don’t get me wrong; it is). No, there’s also an intelligence that informs the way she speaks - you get the sense that this is not the type of celebrity who’d endorse any old thing for a big enough paycheck.

So it makes sense that the actress has been the face of luxury skincare brand SK-II since 2004 - and actually uses the products. To mark the debut of SK-II’s newly reformulated LXP range (the new versions featuring 8x Pitera concentrate and rose absolute are available starting this month), I joined a group of editors for a chat with Cate about the products, her routine and her beauty philosophy. Let me just say - I’ll have what she’s having. 

On her long-term relationship with SK-II:

"I’ve been using [SK-II] for a long time; I think it’s about 10 years now, and I’ve been with them [as a spokesperson] for about eight. A friend of mine from London who’s a makeup artist put me onto it.

"I’ve always used the [Facial Treatment] Essence, which is I suppose the most mysterious thing in the line. And then I got into the LXP, which is great because they’ve just relaunched it. I mean, the wonderful thing about working with them is you get the products in advance, so I’ve actually been using the new serum for a couple of months, and I don’t know whether it’s because of the rose absolute - I’m not a scientist - but it’s stronger, so it’s even more hydrating than it was before.

"Having used it for a decade now, I think I’ve definitely seen the difference. I mean, time will really tell. But I think with the sun being as harsh as it is... We were away on a Christmas holiday for a week in the tropics, and I didn’t take anything with me, and I came back and I really noticed that I hadn’t been using it." 

She’s a fan of simple beauty secrets that have stood the test of time:

"The only other thing I use is essential oils. There’s an oil called emu oil, which in indigenous Australian culture. That’s the first oil they put onto a baby, because it’s so hydrating. And if you’ve got sunburn, or you’ve had a scar or anything, it’s incredible. So I’ll use that on my kids, and you know, on [my] elbows, so that’s the only other thing I’ll use. And pawpaw ointment. It’s all pretty basic.

"I’m very old-fashioned. I think that the old glass of lemon juice and water in the morning is a good thing. I think it keeps your system going."

On cosmetic enhancement in Hollywood:

"There’s been a decade or probably more of people really doing interventionist stuff to their faces and their bodies. And I think now we’re emerging from that - people are seeing that in fact, long term, it’s not so great. Look, I’m not sitting on a soap box telling women what they should and shouldn’t do, I just know what works for me. And I’d just be too frightened about what it means long-term. In the end, if you have all that stuff done, you know, maybe it’s different when you get to 60, but I think looking at women in their 20s doing that kind of stuff - in the end, you only see the work. And it doesn’t fill me with admiration, it fills me with pity, because you see the anxiety. But whatever works for people. I don’t think it’s just women who work in the film industry, I think it’s women everywhere. And men."

On her minimalist pre-red carpet routine:

"Usually I just fly in and fly out. Because my skin has been really balanced, since I’ve been using SK-II, I don’t really do anything else. When it gets dark on the plane, I’ll put on a whitening mask. And they’ve got great eye masks. The only other thing that I’d occasionally do if I’m just flying in is have an oxygen facial. Because at least it’s just pure oxygen, but anything else I just I’d be nervous that I’d break out. Vodka and tonic usually helps.

The best beauty advice she’s gotten:

"Usually it’s 'don’t do this.' And it’s usually from women who have done it. Which is not particularly revolutionary, but it’s don’t curl your eyelashes all the time - because they end up growing straight. Don’t overpluck your eyebrows because they won’t grow back. It’s that kind of stuff. But best beauty advice? Well, there’s certain things I won’t do. I think blue eyeshadow should only be applied by professionals. But it’s usually what not to do. Because I think we do so much to ourselves out of boredom, it’s like, do less. Read a book, have a walk."

The new SK-II LXP Ultimate Perfecting Cream ($350) and LXP Ultimate Perfecting Serum ($200) are available now at shop.sk-ii.com and saksfifthavenue.com.