“There’s something about looking into someone else’s makeup bag—it’s such an intimate glimpse into their personality somehow. When I was a kid and working on Harry Potter, I would always ask the makeup artists, or just anyone, ‘Can I see your makeup bag?’ I loved exploring that way. And my other favorite thing was, while I was having my hair and makeup done, to clean and organize people’s makeup bags. So I would sit there and clean every product and put it all back together again. Anyway, it’s been a passion of mine for a long time. Recently I’ve become super interested in sustainability and transparency and understanding what I’m putting on my face and on my body. It’s been a fun little mission to see how far I can go with it… Can I create a completely sustainable wardrobe? Can I dress sustainably on the red carpet? Can I put together a hair and makeup look with completely organic products? I needed to figure out if it was achievable or not. You can't talk the talk if you don't walk the walk. So that’s what I’ve been discovering over the past couple of years.
At first, I didn’t really know the answer. I was doing all this research and came across Content, a cute little shop on the Marylebone High Street. Every week, I would go back and try something different, until one of the girls who works there asked if I wanted to meet Imelda Burke, who runs the store. So I went for lunch with Imelda and we became really close friends. Now I’m lucky enough to be able to text her and ask about any product I find—if she knows if it’s organic or natural or clean and all that. She actually just came out with her own book, which is amazing because she’s just done an insane amount of research. The other way I find out about a lot of my products is on Instagram. I just keep a beady eye out really… I’m like a magpie running around trying out new products. Most of my routine keeps to an 80/20 philosophy because it’s very difficult to be a complete purist, especially when working in the film industry. You can end up driving yourself a bit mad and make it more stressful than it should be. Sometimes you just need a mascara to be waterproof and that’s OK.
The object for me when applying makeup is you should be able to see as much skin as possible. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve embraced my freckles much more and I want to be able to see them. When we were filming Beauty and the Beast, I insisted on keeping my freckles as a part of the movie. There are so many young girls who are going through puberty who really hate having them, so I felt the need to say that I have them and that I think the look of natural skin is beautiful. I didn’t want to get blanked out!
On a daily basis, I’ll always use the Red Pomegranate Cheek and Lip Stain from The Body Shop. It’s not certified organic or anything, but they do a ton of awesome work for the environment and fair trade. It’s something I always wear because A) it doesn’t really look like makeup and B) I tend to get very pale. I’m not someone who has a ton of pink in her skin, so I get washed out without a bit of color added to my face. It makes me look healthy and less exhausted. And I like that you can kiss someone while you’re wearing it and it’s not going to come off. Other than that, everyday makeup is my RMS 'Un' Cover-Up Concealer and Powder. That’s an amazing brand—I’m pretty obsessed with RMS.
If I’m doing my makeup myself, I do quite a clean eye and a matte red lip. The red lip always comes out if something important is happening. I did it on graduation day, and I did it for the Women’s March! There’s a brand called Lily Lolo, they do really nice red. Inika is another brand that does beautiful colors. And Marion Cotillard’s makeup artist has a line called Absolution Cosmetics and he makes an amazing collection of matte lipstick shades. They’re incredible.
With the lip, I tend to do a soft line on the top of my eye in brown, and what I call the banana—but that’s probably not the technical term for the contour above your eye. [Laughs] Finding a good, natural eyeliner took me like, six months, but I found one! Jane Iredale does an amazing liquid eyeliner and she has one in a dark brown, which I prefer to black on my skintone. The Jane Iredale Clear Brow Gel is also very good. For contour, I have a couple of things. Tata Harper does a Bronzing Cheek Tint that I’ll use to define or as bronzer that’s not too orangey. You know, it’s hard to find a bronzer that’s a good color and not glittery. Four or five years ago, my makeup artist Dotti introduced me to the line Vita Liberata—they do a self-tanning bronzing powder that actually tans you slightly while you’re wearing it. It sounds like a lot, but it’s actually super, super natural.
The only mascara I use is from DHC. The thing is, I really, really hate using harsh makeup removers, especially around my eyes. They sting and make my eyes water and don’t feel good to me. But the DHC mascara only comes off in warm water. So I use it on films because if I’m in a tank or it’s raining, then the mascara doesn’t run because it won’t move in cold water. And the brush is really nice. I swear by it.
For color products, I like Ilia and this amazing brand called Elde. The founder is this guy who started making his own products in his kitchen when he was 14 and none of the traditional products he had worked for him. Now he’s in his early 20s and makes the prettiest cream blushes and eye shadows. Great colors of all sorts. Those are things you can apply with your fingers, but I have brushes, too. Most of mine come from Caroline James, but there’s also this other company called Artis that I like to use when I’m wearing more makeup. I really use it to work the makeup into my skin, and when I’m done, everything looks airbrushed. And I always clean out my candles and keep my brushes in the empty glass.
No matter what, I always wash my face at night. I could get back from a shoot at 4 AM and still cleanse, tone, and moisturize before going to bed. People are amazed by this, but it’s just one of those self-care practices that I really enjoy. I think it’s because, when I was going through puberty—particularly around ages 14 and 15—I had really bad skin. So when you get in a good place with you skin, you really appreciate it and try to take care of it.
Now my skin tends to run pretty dry so I use the Évolué Gentle Cleanser and Firming Toner because it doesn’t have tons of alcohol in it or make your skin sting, but it really does the job. And then I switch up my moisturizers depending on what issue I’m trying to address. I use the MV Organics Rose Plus Booster a lot and also their Rose Soothing and Protective Moisturiser. If my skin is feeling a bit sun-damaged or congested, I like their 9 Oil Cleansing Tonic, but I’ve never been big on masks! I guess I don’t totally buy into it… I do exfoliate with the Évolué Resurfacing Grains once a week because I think exfoliating is important. But masks? Meh. Maybe I’ll do one when I’m getting ready for an event or something like that, but only because it feels like it’s something special and luxurious as opposed to because it actually does something.
I have a bath every single day of my life. And if I can have two or three—amazing. Nothing terrible is going to happen in the bath, so I always find time for that. I’ll take phone conversations in the bath, anything. Sometimes I’ll use Epsom salts and oils, but my favorite is the C.O Bigelow Apothecary Cold and Flu Soak. Oh my God, it’s amazing! It has like eucalyptus and peppermint and bark and Echinacea and ginger… If you’re sick, it’s the ultimate. It clears out my sinuses and makes me feel really clean. Another brand I use a lot of is called Lola’s Apothecary. They do this incredible milk bath with rose petals that’s inspired by Cleopatra. Amazing. Then there’s a brand called French Girl Organics that has this great Sea Polish which exfoliates and leaves you moisturized afterwards. I like that because it eliminates a step after the bath.
It took me a while, but I finally found some good natural deodorant. It’s not an easy search! The best one I’ve found is Agent Nateur—I use the No. 3. I also love the Weleda Sage Deodorant for the smell. Soapwalla’s Deodorant Cream works too, but you have to scoop it out with your hands, so I always end up getting it on my clothes. But that one really works. If you need a 100% natural deodorant that you can rely on, it really does the job. You might just get it all over yourself.
Sister and Co. Skin Food makes this whitening toothpaste that I like to use. Whether or not it actually whitens is irrelevant to me because it just makes my mouth feel really clean. I’ve done oil pulling before and that’s fine, but it takes so long and who has the time? I certainly don’t, but I do like using this toothpaste that gives me the same clean-mouth feeling.
Hair is the hardest thing! My grandmother was a redhead, so I have quite a lot of warmth in my hair color. But for whatever reason, when it gets dyed, it tends to go a bit brassy or orange. To get rid of that tone, I use the Maria Nila Sheer Silver Shampoo and Conditioner. The brand is amazing—vegan, no parabens, and their packaging is carbon neutral. Then occasionally I use the Masque in my hair for 20 minutes. That really gets the brassiness out. Then for styling, I really like the John Masters Organics Hairspray. It doesn’t come in an aerosol, but it actually holds my hair. Rahua does a good Voluminous Dry Shampoo that I swear by. And I’ve been using more oils, too. I like the Alchemy Grapefruit Hair Remedy, or I’ll use the Acure Argan Oil. Or even just coconut oil on the ends.
It’s funny—I was just talking to my friend before this about how in the Instagram era it’s so easy to edit your life so that it looks perfect. But I bleach my top lip and tweeze my eyebrows and you’d never get to see that, even though it’s a part of my routine. There’s still so much shame around the things you do to get ready while you've got a towel wrapped around your head. It’s important to me not to edit that out. I’ve been bleaching my top lip since I was nine. I don’t do it very often, but I do it! There’s that, and I use Fur Oil. I’ll use that anywhere from the ends of my hair to my eyebrows to my pubic hair. It’s an amazing all-purpose product.
Weirdly, I often don’t wear nail polish on my hands in my day-to-day life. It doesn’t seem like a useful way to spend my time when it will be destroyed within minutes. But I love, love, love having my toenails crazy colors. I use the brand Kure Bazaar, which is one of the first brands that excludes things like toluene, formaldehyde, synthetic camphor, but it does actually provide trend colors so it’s pretty cool. And I also use a brand called Floss Gloss. They have the prettiest blue color called El Capitan, which is probably my go-to shade.
My favorite bottle can’t be found anywhere. It was the first perfume my dad bought me when I was 11 or 12. We went to Provence in France and he took me to a perfume making factory and saw how it was made and everything. We bought it there, and I don’t know where else you can get it. I’ve tried to find it but I can’t, so I just keep it with me as a good luck charm now. If someone knows what it is, that would be amazing! I would love if someone could figure it out for me. That would make my life.”
—as told to ITG
Emma Watson photographed by Olivia Richardson in London on December 16, 2016.