“I was born in a small town in Georgia—my dad worked for General Motors, and my mom was a mom. I had no idea that getting paid to be an actor was even an option—it was just something I did for fun. I started dancing when I was four, and got into musical theater when I was around 10. When I was 17 I got a role as a chorus girl with the first national tour of The Will Rogers Follies, so I spent my last year of high school traveling around the country. I was too young—kind of naive, virginal, innocent. And all of a sudden I was surrounded by sequins and assless chaps and hair curlers. It was eye-opening. I went to college at Carnegie Mellon but dropped out after a year because I was uncertain about what I wanted to do. Then I visited my brother in New York City, and on a whim I went to an open call for another national tour and ended up booking it. At 19 I was on the road again. I spent most of my 20s traveling all around the country doing shows. Then in my late 30s I transitioned to television. It’s under the same umbrella as theater, but it’s really different. It’s been kind of cool to learn a new skill in my 30s and 40s.
My first big job was Bunheads, with Amy Sherman. I was such a Gilmore fan, and I loved TV—I loved TV. I got really lucky, because that first experience was in this amazing environment. Amy taught me so much. And then, being on Younger for six seasons, I have learned so much about being on a TV set and how to act in front of a camera. We film [Younger] about four months out of the year—it’s a crazy schedule. We work Monday through Friday, and my hours are usually 12 to 15 hours a day. And I’m in almost every scene, so I work almost every day. I think this season I had one day off. So it’s hard, but it’s been really exciting.
I’m on a show where I’m trying to convince people I’m 15 years younger than I really am. It’s a bit of a mind fuck, you know? Every season I go through it, and then the other eight months of the year I don’t think about it at all. I obviously want to age gracefully—that’s always the goal—but I have no desire to hold on to how I looked in my 20s. I’m definitely getting older, but I’m hoping that there’s a reality to that. In many ways, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. I remember doing an interview where I went on and on about beauty from the inside, and all they published was a quote saying that I get on the treadmill on 4AM. Like… [Groans] Yes, that’s part of it, but it’s not my whole story. I’m raising a daughter, and she’s always watching me get makeup put on, which is why I think it’s so important for her to also see me in a coffee-stained t-shirt with a bun on my head and zero makeup. Or for us to be in cut off shorts with no shoes on and dirt all over our hands. I want all of it. I want the Ritz Carlton and I want Target. That’s what life is.
I exfoliate once a week, either with Lancer’s The Method Polish or Goop’s Instant Facial. I’m a big fan of that one—I always have it on hand. Those two are my most aggressive products—the rest are very simple and easy. I have the Youth Serum from Clark’s Botanicals, and I like the Vitamin C Serum from Mario Badescu. I also started using these serums from this brand called Oumere. Have you heard of it? Debi Mazar found an article in the New York Times about it and whatever she uses I just follow. She has the most incredible skin. The idea with Oumere is that you only need five products, and I love that—when you go in my bathroom, there’s a hundred. So maybe five would be a nice thing. I started with their UV correcting serum because I’m a product of sun damage, and their eye serum because I’ve always had puffy undereyes. I just ordered the other three products, because I figured I’d try all of them. And at night I use this oil from Olìe Biologique. It’s called the Calming Oil, and it smells so delicious, like chamomile.
When I have to be up for hair and makeup at 5AM, I have a routine. My makeup artist gave me these clear Chantecaille eye patches, and I use those every morning. I keep the Chantecaille in the fridge, and a rose quartz roller in the freezer—I put the eye patches on, and roll my face out in the car. I have to try to get the puff down, so by the time I sit in the makeup chair I’m ready for makeup. Skyn Iceland also has this product called The Antidote that’s basically like an Altoid for your face. It has peppermint in it, and it totally wakes you up. I really like that. And of course I’ve got the coffee ready. But the first scene we’ll shoot is always hard. It’s a weird thing to have to stare at yourself at 5 in the morning and have makeup put on. It’s weird!
I don’t really do facials. I don’t have a lot of time, so I try to do stuff at home. I have a couple Mario Badescu masks that I like, and I occasionally get a Triad Facial at Dr. Colbert’s office—occasionally meaning like, three times ever.
I want all of it. I want the Ritz Carlton and I want Target.
I only wear makeup when I’m forced to, and there are certain products I like. I swear by Blinc Mascara Amplified because it’s a tubing one. I have a very expressive face, and this is the only mascara that doesn’t smear—otherwise I’ll be out and about with total raccoon eyes. There’s a Dior lipstick called City Lights, but I think they changed the name. [Ed note: It’s called Sideral now.] That’s my favorite—it’s the perfect color. It’s a sheer plum with shimmer, but it kind of looks brown and weird in the tube. I gasped the first time I put it on. I have two different foundations that I like, the Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation and the Dior Forever Skin Glow. If I’m left to my own devices, I’ll use the Benefit Boi-ing Hydrating Concealer—no one uses it on me, actually. I use it on myself. I like my little Marc Jacobs The Lover eyeshadow [Ed note: discontinued, but Glambition is similar], a little Chanel blush, and that’s all I do. Blinc makes a clear brow mascara, and sometimes I use that, but I can’t really get into the brows. They get filled in for the show, but brows lately have gotten a little crazy. I just want to make sure all the hairs are going in the right direction. There’s a Chanel bronzer I really like, Soleil Tan, but bronzer can get crazy too. For me, less is more. Then my makeup artists can go crazy.
I’ve always had pin straight, thick hair. To get it to curl I need to pump it full of product, and I’m a big fan of anything that gives it texture. I swear by the Fekkai mousse. I put that in when it’s wet, and then when I dry it it’s not so slick. I also like any type of dry shampoo texturizing spray. Serge Normant has one in a blue bottle, and then there’s another one from Living Proof that I’m a fan of. I don’t like salt sprays, because I find that they weigh my hair down, or make it frizzy. I can never style it right. I thought I’d like those, but no.
I don’t have oily hair, and if anything, it gets dry. I wash my hair like twice a week, and it’s actually the best on day three. I don’t want my shampoo and conditioner to be too moisturizing, because then [my hair] won’t curl, but I don’t want them to be too drying either. The yellow Fekkai shampoo and conditioner is perfectly down the middle. If I have time, I’ll let it air dry. My daughter is adopted, but I did some fertility treatments as we were trying to get pregnant, and they made my hair grow in curly. If I let it air dry, the weird curl comes in. But if I don’t have time, I’ll blow dry it with the Sheila Stotts brush. A hairdresser on Bunheads gave it to me—I’m pretty sure at the time I was using a Goody brush, or something else from the drugstore that was ripping my hair out. It’s been the only brush I’ve used since. It detangles, you can use it on wet hair, and they say it’s great for extensions. Now people on Younger use it—it’s become the go-to brush, and they have it in a couple of different sizes. It’s a good one.
I did some fertility treatments as we were trying to get pregnant, and they made my hair grow in curly.
My hair is naturally dark brown, but I get it hair colored once a year, for the show. If it were up to me I wouldn’t color it. I get it done right before I film, and then I let it grow out for the rest of the year. I only get it cut once a year, too. DJ at Serge Normant cuts my hair, and he’s normally the person who does my hair for press stuff, too. And Tim Nolan, who also works at Serge Normant, colored my hair this last time. It turned out great. When I’m not working, I try to let it rest, and really limit coloring and curling. I feel like that’s what’s kept my hair healthy. I’ve also been using Latisse on my hairline. For Broadway shows you wear microphones in your hair, and you always have to bobby pin them in the same spot. I have a little bald spot because of that. I guess it took three months or so with the Latisse before I saw any difference, but now I have all these tiny baby hairs that are growing back. It worked.
BODY + FRAGRANCE
I don’t really like showers, so I take a bath every day. I’ve been known to take a bath at 3PM or 4AM, after we wrap. Bath time is my time. Sometimes they’ll be 10 minutes long, sometimes they’ll be 30 minutes—it just depends. I light candles, and the first thing I’ll do is take off my makeup. I keep a stack of white washcloths by my bathtub for that, or Skyn Iceland has wipes that I love. I also wash my face in the bathtub—I have a couple different cleansers that I’ll use, but right now I like the one from Clark’s Botanicals. My number one favorite bath product is the Sake Bath from Fresh. It’s the best. I also really love the Ginger Float from Origins, but that’s more for the winter when you’re really cold. Clarins has a bath product, and they don’t sell it everywhere, but it’s amazing. It smells like herbs and it gives you so many bubbles. I love it. Baths are the only luxury thing I really do, so I get excited to try new things. It’s fun.
For body lotion, I usually use one that’s not scented, and in a pump. I think right now the lotion I’m using is from Trader Joe’s—nothing too fancy. My favorite fragrance right now is Armani Sì. It’s the best. The best. I was gifted it, and now it’s the only perfume that I continue to buy. They got me! It just smells fresh and noninvasive. There’s nothing worse than walking into a room where someone has too much perfume on. This is just nice and clean.”
—as told to ITG
Sutton Foster photographed by Kelsey Wagner in New York on June 26, 2019.