“I’m so sorry that I’m wearing [this much] base!” exclaims Sarah Jessica Parker, immediately after introducing herself. “I
don’t normally have this much makeup on, but I was just doing this late night thing and...” she trails off. It's 7:00 p.m. and we’re catching her at the Ulta Beauty store in Los Angeles — just minutes after she finished a talk show circuit for her new TV show Divorce and right before a fan event for her new perfume, Stash. “You look amazing!” I reply — and it’s true. Her skin is glowing and chiseled; her eye makeup dark and smudgy, yet just shimmery enough to look fresh; and her hair is the most beautiful, balayaged mix of hues, including a spattering of IDGAF (nor do I have time to give AF) grays. For an A-lister with years of red carpet and media training under her belt, Parker is refreshingly (and somewhat disarmingly) down to earth in person. And when you get her talking about beauty? At one point, I almost forgot I was talking to one of Hollywood's biggest stars and not my best friend. Ahead, Parker dishes about her go-to drugstore buys, why she's never bothered to learn how to use a blow dryer, and a major hair revelation that honestly changes everything. Check it out ahead.
Outside of fragrance, what else could you see yourself creating in the beauty world?"The things that I use are the things that I am most interested in, which is eye color. Or, maybe a natural lip liner, which for me has been difficult to find. I use a color on my lips that is meant for eyebrows because the color around my mouth is a bit lavender — it’s tawny, more brown than it is rust or pink... I wear it with just gloss and it has a really nice look. "So I would probably try to do that because that doesn’t really exist in the market as it should. And I would probably do interesting eye colors."
When it comes to beauty, what did you love about Carrie, and what did you hate? "I barely wore makeup in SATC, I wore a lot of pale glosses and black on my eye a lot. I didn’t not love anything... It’s funny, because I have never really considered Carrie’s beauty look in any way, because I didn’t separate it, which was something we talked about from the beginning — that it all had to be connected. The head had to tell the same story as the clothes, as the shoes, as the words; it felt like her, always." You played Carrie for a long time — did anything drive you crazy about her? "I loved playing her, whether she was making good choices or lousy choices, which is the same reason why I love playing Frances [on Divorce]; there is so much that is real and honest about the way Frances lives. Even if you’ve never committed the same infractions and errors, you can understand why a person might find themselves there, and that was always the case with Carrie — even if people worried if she was going to be likable — they wondered, 'should she have an affair?' — but that is a choice that she made."
We have a regular section called secret single beauty behavior that was inspired by SATC. What is yours?
"I do everything in front of my husband, so I have forgotten what it’s like! [Laughs] I guess I wouldn’t walk around in zit cream, but even that doesn’t sound so bad. Even a retainer is fine.
Oh! I would never pop anything in front of him, but you shouldn’t do that anyway!"
What are your go-to drugstore beauty buys?
Neutrogena’s Sesame Body Lotion
— not the oil, but the actual lotion; that is our family moisturizer, as is their Rainbath Shower Gel. I also wear
which I buy at the drugstore, and the
Neutrogena anti-clogged pores sunscreen
. Also, La Roche-Posay is the
moisturizer I use; I use
—it’s like water, it’s
What is your skin-care routine like?
"I don’t really have one. I wear that [La Roche-Posay] fluid. I wash my face, I try to
wash my face, even if I am really tired and I don’t want to wash my face. [Laughs] So it’s really just a huge amount of the fluid. I don’t wear eye cream or anything because everybody told me it’s basically a bunch of malarkey. I wear lip balm every night, but that’s kind of it…"
What have been your favorite hair looks through the years? "There have been so many! Working with Serge [Normant] through the years, I have always thought, 'This is my favorite!' or 'No, this is my favorite!' Or, 'Can we do what we did the other night?' And he’s like ' What did we do the other night?’ I am super fickle, and his hands are so good. I love when he does crazy amazing things on top of my head — but I also love what is seemingly easy and simple." "I don’t have curly hair; I actually have very wavy hair. I think that people spend a lot of time trying to make it curly, but it’s actually very wavy. I don’t know how to blow my hair out, never have, didn’t care to learn, don’t have the time or the temperament. For me, I accept my hair as it is. I spend so much time getting my hair done for work that I often just wear my hair in a bun. I just wash my hair at night and sleep on it, and whatever it is [in the morning], it is." A lot of women with curly hair struggle with learning to style their texture — did you have a similar experience?
Have you ever done any elaborate beauty treatments?"I have facials; I go to Mario Badescu in New York maybe once a year just to clean my face. I don’t really do crazy stuff, because I don’t really know what it does, I don’t have time, I can’t figure it out... I guess I could carve out time, but I don’t understand what the reward is?" "People on the subway that I think look amazing. So many images have been influential to me that there isn’t just one person. It could be a [store] window or fabrics I see put together, some young girl on the subway who is doing something different and really looks like herself, my mom, or someone I saw on screen..." Who are your style and beauty influences?
If Stash perfume were an outfit what would it be? "I think it would be a true, classic Yves Saint Laurent black dinner jacket — like from 1981!" I heard that you're a pro at layering perfumes.. "That’s how we made [Stash]! For the longest time we couldn’t get the proportions right; we had them separated in three different bottles, and I was layering them myself, and it took a really long time to get the randomness of that layering in a bottle." What mood are you in when you wear Stash? "I just wear this every day, I have had it since late spring, right before we left for summer, and I wouldn’t even consider picking up another fragrance — I have almost never been this wholly devoted to a fragrance. I am very sentimental, and it’s almost a romantic relationship...it’s everything I wanted it to be."
Do you remember your first, and favorite, fragrances?
"The first fragrance I bought was
, a fragrance from Estée Lauder. I loved it — it was amazing. Then I would make my own fragrance. There was a store here in Los Angeles called
and I would mix things like musks and patchouli. I wore
Bonne Bell Skin Musk
for years. Then
, then some of the other stuff —
, some of the
Santa Maria Novella fragrances
, Daphne Guinness had a fragrance that I thought was fantastic — and then Stash."
What are your favorite scents that aren’t perfumes?
"Food cooking, bacon, wooden floors,
on wooden floors — when the sun is shining on wooden floors or the radiators have been on. The smell when water first hits the street on a warm day. When it’s been hot for a while and then the rain hits it, or if you walk by a bagel shop and smell the exhaust coming out of the bagel place; any rotisserie that’s doing chickens. You know how you can tell when someone has just come out of the shower and the door opens and all that humidity with fragrance in the air? That."
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the
Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page
. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!