Eva Mendes Swears By This $4 Face Mask

Photo: Angela Weiss/Getty Images.
Sitting down with Eva Mendes is a lesson in exemplary manners. She offers you a cup of coffee before she helps herself — "I'm so tired, I feel like I've been pregnant for three years!" she tells me mid-sip — and pours you water when she notices the tickle in your throat. She's also the kind of celebrity who finishes each interview question with, "And what about you?"

The latter behavior, however, isn't just politesse. In her role as creative director and face of Circa Beauty, a line of drugstore cosmetics she helped create and launch a year ago, she's endlessly craving more than coffee. "I am always looking for feedback for what can be improved upon," she says. From our perspective, the line doesn't need much help — especially at price points well below $20 a pop.

As for her personal beauty routine? Mendes says she's put just about everything on hold since she and Ryan Gosling welcomed baby no. 2 in April. (Baby girl Amada joins her big sister, Esmeralda, who will turn two in September.) Luckily, she was more than game to take a trip down beauty memory lane. From her biggest faux pas (delightful spoiler alert: bad foundation plus a late-'90s rap video) to her unexpected secret single behavior, she talked to us about all things beauty.
We ask all celebs for their secret single beauty behavior. What's yours?
"I find that tweezing my eyebrows is a very private thing — I like to be alone for that. Also, applying lipstick; I don’t like to apply lipstick in public.”

Really? That's a new one!
"Really! I’m not the girl who's going to put lipstick on in public. I think it’s beautiful to watch another woman apply lipstick, but for some reason I find it...private. I think there's an art to getting ready, and it's nice to have some me time."

Did you inherit any beauty tricks from your mom?
"My mom was really good at doing her brows — and I am not so good at that, so I am hoping to inherit that still. Do you do a good brow?"

I’m okay, as long as I don’t rush. You really have to commit to drawing tiny little hair-like strokes to make it look good.
"Yeah, I don’t have that down. [laughs] My mom doesn’t do her brows anymore — she’s like, 'Oh, please' — but back then she did. I always thought her getting ready was so beautiful; she always had her hair set in curlers when she was working around the house. [She used] hot rollers and old-school pink plastic ones, and the spongy pink ones... I have such beautiful memories of her doing everything in curlers — it was just normal."

How did your Cuban-American upbringing influence your perception of beauty?
"Let me put it this way: Anytime I see my mom, and I see her almost every day, she just talks about how skinny I am, how she wants to feed me. [That helps me have] a really healthy relationship with food. I would say that really kind of contributed to having a healthy self-image."

What challenges did you face being a Cuban-American in Hollywood?
"Finding the right foundation shade! Absolutely. Even with higher end lines, I could never find something that matched my skin tone. Even in my really early work, [when] I did a video with Will Smith back in [the late '90s] for that song [that goes] 'welcome to Miami.' I was this girl in a car lip-syncing."

No way! I didn't know that...
"You can even see the color is really off. It certainly didn't match. It was always a big challenge, and one of the reasons why I push for Circa to offer so many shades. I still don't think most makeup lines have enough today. Don't you think?"

I totally agree. Do you have any advice to give to your younger self?
"I would say: Embrace the things that make you unique. In junior high, I wanted braces to be like everyone else — all the cool kids had braces!"
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Well, I've heard they’re coming back...
"Braces are back?! Man, when I was in seventh grade that was it — it was almost a status symbol. We couldn’t afford braces, and I really wanted them because I was 13 and I wanted to do what the other girls were doing. I remember the really cool girls used to do the colored bands... I wanted my teeth straightened because I wanted to be like everyone else, but you end up embracing those things that make you different. Were they cool when you were in school?"

Yes, and I wanted them bad — but by the time I got them, it wasn't cool anymore. I had braces as a freshman in high school!
"No! So cute!"

Do you have any beauty regrets?
"There are so many, let’s see... I mean, they’re not real regrets, because [it's] so fun to see them again. I love that you can look at a photograph and tell the time period based on how you were doing your hair and makeup. I went blond for a role once and, wow, I am not a blonde. It did not look good and it kind of kept going orange, so I had to keep getting it [toned] back. It was a lot of work for very little payoff."
Do you have any beauty tricks you swear by?
"I use baby powder in my hair; it soaks up oil and gives you this very dry texture, and makes my hair manageable if I want to put it up. So if I leave it down it gives me a good texture, and if I put it up it just kind of, I don't know, works. That's something else I got from my mom."

Do you have any favorite cheap beauty buys (besides Circa)?
"You know Queen Helene — those face masks? Those are amazing drugstore buys! You know, when I am shooting in the middle of nowhere you can always find a drugstore, and usually you find a Walgreens, and those are great to get. I love Pantene; I worked with them for a few years and I just love the product. I no longer work with them but I do think it’s amazing, and again, you can pick it up anywhere."
Top three Circa products everyone should own — go!
"The cream blush in Portofino, for sure; I just do that with my fingers, and you can use it on your lips, too. I love it so much. We have a really amazing bronzing powder — the color is Amalfi [Coast] — and I love it because it's super-matte and you can use it for light contour, too. The Magic illuminator, again it's multipurpose, you can use on your Cupid’s bow, under the eyes, on the browbone, and as highlighter on your cheekbones — and it helps wake me up when I haven't gotten any sleep."

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