'My mom was a model. We moved to Canada from Sweden when I was two years old, and I think at a certain point she would bring me to work and they would throw me in one of the catalogues. So I started doing some modeling here and there, which turned into TV commercials, which turned into guest roles on Canadian TV shows... It was great and I got to get out of school every now and then for a day. Eventually I went to college to study psychology, but I was getting more and more TV roles, so I thought, ‘You know? It’s kind of like psychology, but a little more selfish.’ I took a break from school, moved to LA, and never went back. I actually moved Brooklyn with my son while filming Billions and it was amazing. New York reminds me a little bit of Canada and my upbringing. Los Angeles is like living in a vacation and you have to pinch yourself every once and a while.
Growing up going to photoshoots, sometimes the makeup artists were nice enough to let me play with their makeup. I was such a little princess back then, so that was exciting. Now, a regular makeup day is probably wearing nothing on my skin. When I need a little something, I do have this really light BB cream called Diorskin Nude. I just put it on the areas that need it with a Beautyblender. Then I’ll do Chanel Le Crayon Yeux—they do such great liners—in Brun-Cuivré. It has a little bit of a shine to it and it’s really lovely. My mascaras fluctuate, but I like Revlon’s DoubleTwist Mascara. It’ll be that and maybe I’ll do eyeshadow, but it depends on the day. My favorite is Kevyn Aucoin’s Eyeshadow Duo in Storm Cloud/Malbec. I’ll do a little bit of bronzer depending on the time of the year and Benefit’s Hoola is really great.
For something that's a little more dressed up, I’ll use the Kevyn Aucoin eyeshadow duo and just load it on. I might add a little Chanel Les 4 Ombre in Tissé Smoky—I'll use the black on the edges of my eye for a bit of a cat eye and then a black liner inside the eye and on top. Lots of mascara. That’s a big thing in Sweden—lots of mascara—because of the blond lashes. I’ll sometimes add a lipstick, too. My favorite one that makes me feel kind of sassy is this really cool Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense in Satin Bright Orange... If it’s not that, then there’s another one that I really love, which is the complete opposite, from Charlotte Tilbury called Nude Kate. Then I like to do a fun added touch with By Terry Ombre Blackstar Pen in Frozen Quartz. I put it on the insides of my eyes to give them a little pop.
Oh, and brows! I’m a big brow person. I’ve got this Kelley Baker Brow Powder that's a little darker then you would expect. I like blondes with statement brows. I actually tint my brows and lashes alone because they never get dark enough. I always tell makeup artists or aestheticians, ‘Don’t be afraid to go dark,’ but they never go quite as dark, so I just got the products to do it myself. If I go somewhere to get them done, it’s an hour that I don’t have with my son, so it feels better to do them myself. It takes like two seconds and you’re done.
It's the same with my skincare—when you have a two-and-a-half-year-old, everything has to be quick. In the morning, I rinse my face with water, wash off with a face cloth and then put on Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré. It has been amazing for my skin and not too heavy. When I’m in LA I need sunscreen, so there’s the Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47. It’s all-natural and argan oil-based. Nighttime is a little bit more of a process...I start with Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil to get makeup off. I like oil-based products because they get down into your pores. Same with the Dermalogica Precleanse—I’ll use that and then Cleansing Spa Water by Koh Gen Do. They have wipes as well that I take with me when I travel. It’s great for taking off the residual makeup and it’s kind of a toner at the same time. My night cream is Crème de la Mer, which was given to me. I only use it when I feel I need it because it can be a bit much. It's a special treatment, maybe three or four times a week.
My shower isn't daily—it’s called a European shower. You kind of just do all the parts that need it as quickly as possible. I use my son’s California Baby Bodywash. I will go to a Korean spa every once and a while—that’s my favorite. A hundred bucks, you’re in, you get a body scrub, and you can spend the whole afternoon. There’s one called Olympic Spa with all these different baths and a Himalayan salt sauna that’s not too hot. I won’t do the scrubs that often, maybe once or twice a year. I like the massages. And the food!
When I wash my hair, I'll use a Kérastase Shampoo and Conditioner. Right now I’ve got Living Proof Prime Style Extender and I put that through to protect it from the heat, and I use a little bit of thickening hairspray on the roots before I blowdry it. I try to not wash my hair daily. I kind of like messy hair—Day three is the best day, but it’s also the last day. After a blowdry, the Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray is amazing and it smells really great, too—it’s like wearing perfume. And then there's good ol' Elnett, which has been around forever. My hair is naturally blond and thin, so I like to give it some texture. Sexy, dirty bedhead is good for blonds.
I probably wouldn’t leave the house without getting ready before I had my child just because I felt more comfortable—even if it was a little bit of mascara. Now, I'll leave the house in my pajamas without an ounce of makeup. I have all these nice clothes that I’ve bought over the years and I never wear anything because when you have a toddler everything gets spilled and they wipe their boogers on you, whatever. You end up shifting a little bit and your values shift a bit too. I don’t care about that as much as I used to. You get so into motherhood and I’m a single mom, so it’s a lot. Now it's just a nice thing I do for myself—make myself presentable.”
—as told to ITG
Malin Åkerman photographed by Rick Rodney at her home in Los Angeles on January 4, 2016. Interview by Jane Helpern.