I make no bones about a certain affection I hold for Penny Lane, Kate Hudson’s character from Almost Famous (for the record, I have liked her very much in other, more recent films, but none had the same effect—Almost Famous may or may not be responsible for my ownership of, for example, a very shaggy Mongolian wool coat). Whether you enjoyed that movie or not, it was definitely a moment for girls of a certain generation (who had throughly and forever missed out on the whole romanticized rock 'n' roll groupie thing), and Kate herself has always seemed to represent a fresh, glowy, natural beauty that somehow manages to be simultaneously down-to-earth and and "happy." A California healthy thing, which might as well be a Never-Neverland thing, when you live in New York. So when Almay offered a meet-and-greet with the actress, my interest was piqued. (Are happy-seeming people all alike? Do I butcher Tolstoy in the name of beauty? Maybe.) At our sit-down yesterday in a suite at the NoMad hotel, the actress and Almay spokesmodel weighed in on the ritualistic aspects of makeup, her favorites from the line (eyeliner pencils, makeup-remover pads, liquid eyeshadows), Kate Moss fandom, and what products she packs in her carry-on. It must be said that she was also incredibly warm and nice, very forthcoming with details about her personal life and looked the same as when she starred in Almost Famous, despite that being twelve years, two babies, and who-knows-how-many-major-motion-pictures ago. She was also wearing a handful of very covetable silver second-knuckle rings, half of which she’d just “picked up in a pawn shop,” cementing her status as a girl after my own heart.
“My approach to beauty is pretty natural. I have my moments, like if I’m going out, I’ll just do a little more on the eye, just do a little bit more, but I’m not a big makeup person. If I want to go crazy, I love strip lashes. I love a thick, sort of ‘60s strip lash. It didn’t take me a long time to figure out how to apply them. Some people have to cut them down, it’s a whole thing... But a big heavy falsie lash is just so great. Sometimes, it’s fun to go for the full blue eye shadow, out-there-thing. It’s fun to just get a little weird.Makeup is so much fun. And it is a shared experience—it’s one of those things that you do with your mother; it’s just in our DNA. I don’t think my mom [Goldie Hawn] was really big on showing me how to use makeup, but I got to see her getting made up so many times in the makeup chair. I remember, it was always the mascara for my mom—she has such big eyes—and every time I’d see her put on the mascara, her whole face changed. And I’d just be like, ‘[gasps] Mascara...yes!’
And curling your eyelashes makes a hu-u-u-uge difference, obviously. I like to line the whole eye, inner rim, too. And the eyebrow! I think brows change the face. The right eyebrow—by which I mean shape—is so important. Shape is hard to figure out yourself; you should go to a professional for that, because if brows go wrong, it’s really wrong. But even just the color that you use on your eyebrows makes a difference—when I’m working I put stuff on my eyebrows; they’re naturally extremely light. They might as well not be there. [Laughs] So if I’m doing a heavy eye, I have to put something on my brows or else they’ll be lost. But if you can get the brow right, it lifts and opens everything up, you know. If you brush your eyebrows up, it changes your face. It opens your eyes up. Eyebrows, though, they’re a commitment. If you’re going with thin eyebrows, you’re committing to a look. If you’re going with the heavy eyebrow, you’re committing to that.
Also, highlighting your upper lip, your cupid’s bow—I love that. It’s like Kate Moss’ lips. Everyone wishes they could have that little, cupid-perfect upper lip. And since there are very few people who can actually look anything like Kate Moss—since she’s phenomenally gorgeous—maybe a little highlight might at least do something. But contouring is a difficult thing because you never want to look overly bronzed or obviously contoured, but I think it’s one of the best tricks to learn. Because if you do it well, you look really natural—your cheekbones! If I’m drinking a lot of water and I’m well rested, using powder to contour works fine, but if I’m feeling tired, I’d rather use a cream—powder can look cake-y. It just depends.
Your skin just changes all the time, especially with seasons. In the winter, I find that using a cream blush is actually better than using a powder unless you’re really well-moisturized, because your face gets dry and it just looks like you’re wearing a lot of makeup. But! If you’re going to a party and you’re going to be taking pictures—if there’s going to be cameras at all—powder blush is the best thing to wear because it shows up under flash or lights, whereas to the eye, in person, cream looks better. If you’re going to a party and you know that somebody’s going to be taking pictures, I would say, put a little powder blush on. [Laughs] Especially with everybody Instagraming now, it’s one of those things where you know your picture’s going to get taken. Everybody’s got to worry about that now!
As far as skin care, I used to use a muslin wash cloth, which feels amazing and great but again, you go back to the practical side of things and to wash them, they get lost and they end up as burp cloths in your son’s bathroom and you’re like, 'Wheeeere’s the muslin cloth?!' and after a while you go back to using whatever you can find, pretty much. As a routine, I use these [Almay Makeup Remover Pads] every time I wear makeup. Because that’s been my big thing, remembering to take off my eye makeup. I’m too lazy, and those are so great. I literally put those in my purse and travel with them. And then Egyptian Magic; I use it everywhere. If I’m on an airplane, I literally put it all over my face, and it never breaks me out. I’ll put it on my hair, on my skin, cuts, anything. I put it on my kids, I use it as baby diaper cream for Bing. That’s just like, a beauty staple for the whole family.”