'I was born in New Hampshire, but I grew up in Orlando, Florida, randomly. I got a record deal when I was 14—I'm 29 now. It’s a ridiculous story that sounds like a made-for-TV movie: I started by doing musical theater as a kid and I used to sing the National Anthem all the time around Orlando. That was my weird thing; I loved it. I sent an audition tape in to the Orlando Magic in which I was wearing an American flag hair bow—I was really patriotic back in the day. [Laughs] The team picked me to sing, and then it was sort of a domino effect: every other local sports team asked me sing, too. I sang for the arena football team, roller hockey, ice hockey—I did everything. At one of the events, two guys approached my parents and me to ask if I had any desire to record in a studio and cut a demo. I'd never really thought of it before. I was like, ‘Sure. OK...’ It was the summer before 9th grade, and I used some of the money I had made from doing local commercials and went into the studio for a week. And a guy who works for FedEx was delivering boxes and heard me singing in the studio, and it turned out the delivery guy had a friend of a friend of a friend who was the head of Urban A&R at Epic Records. It was the weirdest chain. I had no idea at the time, but he talked to the studio managers and they all decided to send this unfinished demo off. I can’t imagine how terrible it must have been, because I had never been in a recording studio before.
So anyway, I got a call to meet with a big fancy A&R guy who had flown down from New York. The meeting was the same day as my high school homecoming football game, and I was more concerned about making sure this meeting was done in time so I could hang out with my friends! [Laughs] It was so beyond my comprehension that this could actually lead to a career. I was 14! But, I ended up signing a record deal—this was the time of the Britney/Christina pop explosion. I guess I was my record label’s answer to those girls.
By the time I was 15, I made an album and was touring with 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. We barely got to interact, though—I’m sure they wouldn’t remember who I was. I actually live down the street from one of the Backstreet Boys now, and whenever we pass each other we say ‘Hi.’ But at the time, they couldn’t have cared less. I mean, they were on arena tours where everyone in the audience had glow sticks. They barely knew who their opening act was.
I did my makeup on tour myself. It wasn't glamorous! There was a lot of MAC Lipglass. But really, I’d wear anything that resembled bubblegum—the pinker and the glossier the better. I loved pearlescent everything. I was blessed with good skin, so I don’t think I wore base. I just wore blush, lipgloss, and eye shadow. It was the same for my first music video, 'Candy' [below]. That was a lipgloss-centric video. I was 15 and I was like, 'Yeah, I’ll do and wear whatever!' It’s so 1999—that spiky hair! That was not my idea. [Laughs] I was just emulating what I had seen in music videos—it was the era of TRL. As I got older, I had more to say about my style.
Being a teen star really lead me to where I am today. It gave me access to doing movies, which is something I always wanted to do. I had a small part in the movie The Princess Diaries when I was 16. And then I did A Walk to Remember and Saved. It sort of kept rolling. I got married four-and-a-half years ago to my husband [Ryan Adams] and we decided to take a conscious step back from the spotlight. We just kind of nested for the first couple of years. Now that I’m 29, I’m in this new phase of my life where I’m trying to be picky and find the projects that really resonate with me. I don’t want to do something for the sake of doing it. I’m waiting it out right now and finding the right way to navigate the waters.
I was lucky to get to work with a lot of makeup artists over the years, but I wish I could say I learned more! When it comes to foundation, I don’t like heavy coverage, mostly because I don’t know what I’m doing, so I’m best left with products that are functional and that I really can’t mess up. I don’t want to look cakey or overdone, so I just apply light foundation with my hands, to even out my skin if I’m going to be out and about. My favorite is L’Oréal Magic Nude Liquid Powder, because it’s super light and it not too dewy—it’s the perfect texture. I’m wearing it right now. I found it when I went to Ulta for the first time on a trip to North Carolina. It has the best of the best of drugstore brands, and nothing is picked-over. My other go-to is Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Ultra Light Skin Perfecting Sunscreen makeup. After I apply those, I blend them with the giant Kevyn Aucoin Foundation Brush. Then, for concealer, a girlfriend of mine recommended Clé de Peau, and it’s the best. I put it on with this frayed Laura Mercier brush under my eyes, to cover a pimple, whatever. A little goes a long way, and it lasts forever. If I’m going to go all-out with my makeup I will sometimes use a primer, but I’m not really sure what it does. [Laughs] I have my little routine, but I’m always down to add new things to the mix.
For highlighting, I've been putting RMS Living Luminizer on my brow bones and cheek bones forever. That’s an everyday staple, too. I found my blush on Into The Gloss! It’s MAC Matte Powder Blush in Prism. I’m also digging Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Dollface lately. It’s a very pretty pink, but it’s matte. I dust on powder blushes with the MAC 286 brush, and for cream blushes, I use a MAC 130 brush. I like the MAC 150 brush for Nars Laguna Bronzer, and the MAC 138 brush for finishing powder— RMS Unpowder—if I need it. I have a lot of brushes, I know. I actually cleaned them all last night!
I prefer my eyelashes curled, and I found a really great on-the-go eyelash curler— Japonesque Go Curler—on Amazon. I like it because it isn’t a whole metal contraption; it’s easier to travel with. For mascara, Armani Eyes to Killis my favorite. I like the texture and the brush—it doesn’t feel too clumpy, but again, I’ll try anything, any new drugstore mascara that’s being advertised, anything from a ‘Best of’ Beauty list, and anything my friends recommend.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Waterproof Eyeliners are also really good. I especially like the green one, Vert, because my eyes are hazel. I just put it on my inner waterline, or outside, along the lashes, and I’ll smudge it a little bit. After that, it doesn’t move. I also love all of the Anastasia eyebrow stuff. I think you’re supposed to put the Anastasia Brow Fixon first, over the whole brow to help the powder stick, but I don't really know how to do my brows that well. My favorite pencil is the Anastasia Brow Wiz in Ash Blonde, because it’s so thin and tiny that it’s easy to apply subtly and then build up. If I ever forget my eyebrow pencil, I can use this Nars eyeshadow in Blondie. It’s a great shadow—I’m wearing it right now—because it’s a neutral shade that gives a little definition, but it’s also feasible for me to use every day.
For my lips, I’ve graduated from pink MAC Lipglass to something a little bit more subtle, but it’s still a throwback. [Laughs] I love Homeoplasmine, and I’m obsessed with Maybelline Baby Lips. They are so good. Strike a Rose is a little pink and a little red, and Peach Kiss is a good neutral. Really, all of the colors are great, the texture is great, and they smell good. I don’t wear a lot of lipstick- lipstick because I don’t really know how to do it myself. For someone like me, Josie Maran Argan Love Your Lips Hydrating Lipstickis really cool—they’re tubes of lipstick with clear, Argan-oil exteriors and a strip of color in the center that goes on really well and doesn’t feel heavy.
When I want to take off my makeup, I like Bioderma Créaline. My skin has always been relatively pretty good, though I had a period when I was about 24 when it flipped out and I had adult acne. I tried everything, I went to every dermatologist, and I swear the only thing that actually got my skin under control was Proactiv. So I used that for a few years and it really helped. I don’t need it anymore, though. Now I wash my face in the morning with Routine Clean Cleanser from BeautyCounter, which my friend Gregg started. All of their products are really safe and clean. At night, I use the same cleanser with my Clarisonic, which I’m in love with. Then, I use Biologique Recherche P50. It smells intense, but it’s supposed to tighten your pores. You can feel it tingle when you dab it on—you’re not supposed to wipe it on. I went to this facialist in the Valley for a few years and she exclusively used Biologique Recherche products. I loved going there because part of her routine was to use these pulsating sponges to help you better absorb the product and to tighten your skin—it makes you look like you’ve had an instant facelift. I stopped using Biologique Recherche for a while, but my skin felt like it was out of balance, so now I’m back on.
To moisturize, I use Sanítas Hyaluronic Concentrate. I guess hyaluronic acid holds a thousand times its weight in water, so it’s super hydrating for your skin. I go back to BeautyCounter for my day and night creams. I have no idea what the difference is between them, but I follow instructions. [Laughs] Then, I use Ayur-Medic Eye and Lip Line Cream around my eyes—I got it from my new facialist, Frankie Paige. She’s awesome. I’m at the age where I have to start thinking about the under-eye lines and stuff. I don’t necessarily care about aging—I think aging is beautiful—but I also want to try and maintain things for as long as possible.
When I want to be more dewy, I spray Biologique Recherche Fluid VIP O2on my hand and then pat it on my face to look extra glowy. It’s apparently supposed to protect your skin from environmental damage. You’re also not supposed to use sunscreen when you use it, but I do anyway— Kinesys Alcohol Free Performance Sunscreen. It goes on greasy but it doesn’t dry greasy, and it’s very water-resistant.
For acne, End-Zit by Abbe is the best thing in the world. It is kind of like the Mario Badescu acne lotion, but it’s got a little neutral color so you can dab it on your spot and it becomes a treatment and concealer all in one. I love it. The active ingredient is sulfur. It really works.
When I want to do a fun mask, Biologique Recherche Masque VIP O2 is a super yummy, ultra hydrating treatment that’s especially good for under my eyes. I put it on for 10 minutes. None of their products really smell great, but I feel like that's why they work? [Laughs] Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant smells like yeast. It’s awful. What you're supposed to do is mix a little bit of it with baking soda to make this weird foam, and then put the foam all over your face for 15 minutes. It makes you feel so clean; it's like my pores have been excavated. Frankie told me about the baking soda part. The mask is super emollient and thick, so when you add the baking soda it foams up and becomes light and frothy. Whenever my husband catches me with the mask on, he makes fun of me, like, ‘Oh, I didn't know you were in [the band] KISS today.’ [Laughs]
To take care of my body, I’m an organic coconut oil girl. I put it on right after the shower. It’s good, it’s healthy, and it's only occasionally confusing: when I cook with it and have it on my hands I’ll go to wash to wash them off but then I’m like, ‘Wait a second, I should just rub it on myself.’ But usually, I moisturize my hands with Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Intensive Hand Cream.
I can’t really do my own hair. It’s very fine, so the only products I use are things that will give it a little life, like Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. It’s not sticky and doesn’t weight my hair down. On most days I just let it air dry and then use a little bit of the Oribe spray, and I’m pretty OK. I’m always on the hunt for good shampoo and conditioner, because I color my hair and it’s already so fine, so I need products that are color-safe, but not heavy. I just started getting my hair colored by Tracey Cunningham. She’s awesome. I’ve been brunette since I was 17, when they dyed it for A Walk To Remember. Naturally, my color is like dirty dishwater—that’s how I describe it. I feel more myself with dark brown hair—I never really related to being a blonde.
I’m a total perfume junky. Generally, I go for masculine, spicy scents. I love Byredo— 1996 is my favorite, but I also love Gypsy Water, Accord Oud, and, for the summer, Bal D’Afrique because it’s fruity and sweet. From Le Labo, Santal 33 is the best. And I’m also into Rodin Olio Lusso Perfume. I’m one of those people who is always terrified when people are like, ‘Oh, is that you who smells?’ And I’m like, ‘Uh, yeah…’ I’m really sheepish about the idea of my scent completely overwhelming people. But every day I still pick up a couple of perfumes and just spray them on to create my own concoction. It's so fun.”
—as told to ITG
Mandy Moore photographed by Emily Weiss in Los Angeles, CA on October 14, 2013.