When Ana de Armas hit the red carpet at last year's Golden Globes, we were blindsided. At the time, the Cuban-American actress was still fairly new to Hollywood, but her nomination for Best Actress for her role in Knives Out, and her debut look — a strapless sequined Ralph & Russo gown paired with a centre-parted low ponytail and a timeless red lip — proved that she was not only a fresh face, but one we wouldn't soon forget.
In her private life today, however, you likely wouldn't find de Armas wearing a strong lip. At home, she leans into a simple getting-ready routine, which she says, is a byproduct of her Cuban upbringing. "Cuba is a very special place with a different kind of lifestyle," de Armas explains during our recent phone interview. "Growing up, beauty was more about always being natural. Wash your face, brush your hair, stay out of the sun — those were the things I heard. The philosophy was about taking care of your skin, washing it, putting some cream on. We didn't have much anyways, so it was all about working with what you got."
At 26, de Armas moved to L.A. to pursue acting, and her philosophy on beauty evolved from there. "I started being more aware about the importance of taking care of your skin," she explained. "I had all of these choices that I had never had before; I had access to more things and a better understanding abut why it's important to have healthy skin, not because I need to look pretty, but just for my general health. Also it's L.A., the conversation about beauty is constant, so in a way, I don't think you can escape it."
Recently, de Armas entered into a partnership with La Mer, and uses the prestige label exclusively, saying it's made a "huge impact" in her skin's glow. "I usually do a three-step routine: The Treatment Lotion, The Concentrate, and The Moisturizing Soft Cream," she explains. "The Concentrate, that serum is the best one I've ever had; it's good for inflammation and it protects the skin barrier. Also, I've been using the La Mer SPF 50 and the other day I was sitting outside and I noticed that my skin was a little shimmery in the prettiest way — so that's lovely, too."
When it comes to makeup, de Armas says she doesn't use a lot. "I need mascara and blush," she says of her two must-haves. "I usually end up putting my blush on my lips, or the other way around. At night, if I were to go out, I might use a soft metallic eyeshadow that's very subtle, where you just see a little bit of shimmer. But for daily life, I like plain, simple makeup."
The minimalist approach to makeup complements de Armas's newest statement accessory: a French-girl bob. The actress chopped her hair short earlier this year after her public breakup from former boyfriend Ben Affleck. But it turns out, the haircut was strictly professional, a character transformation for her upcoming role in Netflix's The Grey Man. "I was talking to the producers about the character, and we started exchanging photos and ideas about the look," she explains. "The team really liked the idea of a short bob. I thought about wearing a wig, but I have a lot of action scenes, so that didn't seem to make sense. So I cut my hair — and I actually really like it."
For the styling, de Armas says she sticks with her less-is-more philosophy. "I'm lucky because my hair dries pretty straight, so I just let it air dry and I don't need to struggle too much with the bangs," she says. "If anything, if I want a little wave or something, I'll put a mousse in it. But I'm pretty easygoing, it's one of the things that's stuck with me from growing up."
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.