The connection between skin and mental health has never been clearer — and, in times of stress and uncertainty, a skincare routine can be as much of a daily grounding practice as exercise or meditation. In our Shelf Care series, we’re exploring how taking care of your skin and yourself is one and the same.
You know Naomi Watts from films like The Impossible and Mulholland Drive, but the actress spends her time offscreen as a clean beauty connoisseur. With locations in Sydney, London, Sag Harbour, and Tribeca, Onda Beauty — which Watts co-founded with two friends in 2016 — is a mini-empire that offers a selection of rigorously-tested products ranging from facial serums to pet care. Ahead, the star gives us a comprehensive look at her daily routine... and where Oreos fit into it. (It's all about balance.) The following interview was told to Rachel Krause and edited for length and clarity.
My beauty routine, just like everything in lockdown, has been inconsistent at best, and so hard to keep disciplined when the Zoom calls start before my alarm clock goes off. The same is true for my eating, which is absolutely linked to skin wellbeing. However, doing the bits I’ve been able to do is better than doing nothing at all. It’s a game of little wins right now, right?
I’ve always had an interest in skincare, but I’ve become much more attentive since my 40s. I’ve let go of things like following current trends and started focusing more on my health and well-being. My overall philosophy on beauty remains the same: I am mostly drawn to the more natural form of it. I like a dress-up as much as anyone else — I love to play around with makeup and my hair, which always needs a big fluffing up — but overall I’m a fan of less is more. The more I can see someone’s skin, the better, and the closer I feel to seeing someone’s soul. Eyes are everything: I read people’s eyes and know almost immediately if I will connect with that person or not.
I didn’t pay much attention to ingredients when I was younger. If something came with a good recommendation, I would be up for trying it. Just because a product has great efficacy doesn’t mean it’s good for you in the long run. That’s one tenet that’s definitely held true throughout quarantine — I’ve been just as cognisant of what I’m using to nourish my skin. Of course, I’m human and can’t say no to an Oreo or 15, but if my skin is feeling good I feel good about myself.
In the morning I only cleanse if I’ve exercised, usually with African Botanics Baobab Clay Oxygenating Cleanser in the shower; it’s gentle and moisturising. I wash my hair almost every day, which I wish I didn’t have to, but it's very fine and gets dirty easily. I use Rahua shampoos or Innersense. Once I’ve towelled off, I use a face mist, day cream, and a light serum. Right now I’m using Odacité Rose + Neroli Hydra-Vitalising Treatment Mist and Dr Alkaitis Organic Ageless Facial Elixir mixed with Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich. I also like a day cream with a sunscreen in it; Josh Rosebrook does a great one.
My evening routine includes a much richer cleanser — and if I've worn makeup, make it a double, please. I'll use a cleansing milk by Tammy Fender or an oil cleanse like De Mamiel Pure Calm Cleansing Dew, followed by a foam cleanser like VENN Moisture-Balance All-in-One Cleanser. Just like everyone else, I’m loving Marie Veronique retinol — it's a game changer. I then mist some more and finish off with a face oil like Vintner's Daughter or Saint Jane mixed with Dr Alkaitis Organic Night Cream.
A bath is my sanctuary. Growing up in the UK we only had baths, no showers. If I had my druthers I’d have one every night, maybe with a glass of red wine, but we don’t live in wonderland so I take one whenever I get the sneaky chance. I’ll listen to music, a podcast or even an audio book in there. Good bath soaks are fun, too: Herbivore Coconut Milk Bath Soak and goop are great, and Vertly CBD Botanical Bath Salts are heavenly. If I don’t get time for a bath, or if I’m in a rush in the morning, I’ll use ONDA’s Vetiver + Bergamot Coffee Body Scrub, which is an invigorating start to the day. (As much coffee as possible in the am, please!)
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After a bath, I use a little Sodashi Crystalus Body Oil and goē oil for the knees, elbows, and heels. A couple of good tools up your sleeve makes the experience more pamper-y. I recommend the Prana Ionic Body Brush before a bath, and Hayo'u tools for lymphatic drainage. After the bath I dab on a little AYU scented oil; Smoking Rose is my fave. The best beauty tip I've learned over the years is just how to care for your skin with products that have strong results but are not harmful to you or the environment. Also, I love an eyebrow pencil. I like to frame the eyes — windows to the soul.
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