Peyton List On Wearing Makeup As “A Social Experiment”

Photo: Courtesy of Pley Beauty.
Makeup plays an integral part in many young people's lives, especially when it comes to developing their sense of self. Some people like to wear a lot, others wear none at all. Though most of us fall somewhere in the middle of the two polarities.
For Peyton List, the 23-year-old actress you know from Netflix's Cobra Kai and former Disney stardom, makeup has always been a powerful tool. Though working in front of a TV camera, List became acutely aware of the way that wearing makeup (and not wearing it), changed the way she was treated. Mastering makeup helped List to better understand herself, the characters she played, and the world around her. Ahead, the actress and new Gen-Z beauty entrepreneur, talks about her newest project: Pley Beauty.
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Refinery29: Let's start at the beginning: What was your first experience with makeup growing up?
Peyton List: I started wearing makeup a lot earlier than most people, because I'm an actress. That's where I learned the power of it. I had these professionals applying makeup to my face and all of a sudden I was a different person. It was almost like a social experiment: I would leave set and I would see how people treated me with makeup versus when I wasn't wearing it. Going to auditions, you have to kind of dress the part or create a character with the look. So, that's how I really started to get obsessed with beauty.
Refinery29: That's interesting. So you had this kind of early understanding of the sociological impact that makeup has on how we're perceived?
Peyton List: I would say so. I would see myself through people, too, which was interesting. It was like, 'You only like me when I look like this.' I was obsessed with learning about makeup because I could use it to build confidence. Makeup was a huge tool for creating a feeling. I loved how I could use makeup to influence others perceptions of me.
Refinery29: Was there one specific feature that you enhanced with makeup that changed your look?
Peyton List: Makeup artists would always tell me that I have the best eyelids for eyeshadow. I have big eyes; I always thought that they were kind of weird. Sometimes you have a feature that you get made fun of for — and that ends up being the one that you get to play around with the most. Having such big eyes ended up being good because I have so much room to play with eyeshadow.
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"Sometimes you have a feature that you get made fun of for — and that ends up being the one that you get to play around with the most."

Peyton List
Refinery29: What about your personal style off-set, how does makeup play into that?
Peyton List: Well, I'm so terrible at hair; also, fashion took me a long time to get. Really, makeup was was where I wanted to play and take more chances. When I'm going out or to an event, I usually focus way more on my makeup than I do my outfit. 
Refinery29: What does your daily skincare routine look like?
Peyton List: I keep my everyday skin-care routine pretty minimal. I try to wake up in the morning and splash cold water on my face. I need to get an ice roller, because I've been using just cubes of eye from a tray and rubbing them on my face. I'll put on some SPF moisturizer. I've been using the Ole Henriksen Eye Cream and the Tatcha Lip Jelly; I love that stuff.
I've also been taking a lot of supplements. I was playing around for a little bit, trying to figure it out on my own. Then I went to a doctor and figured out my imbalances. They were telling me about how my acne was communicating with me about what's going on internally. I always knew that, but I went to lots of dermatologists to figure out my skin. But even prescription topicals weren't working for me. I realized I had to focus on the inside first. Everyone is on their own journey with that.
Refinery29: You're right, skincare and wellness are so personal. What does makeup look like?
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Peyton List: I use the Shiseido Synchro Skin Foundation, it's so light and glowy. Then I do eyes. Just a clean face and then a fun swipe of color. I have four different eye palettes, so I'll pick a color out of one of those. Then I love soapbox brows; I've grown to love full brows. Then our One Stop Pop Blush is so pigmented — and I'm very picky about blush. I use one of our Pley Date sticks for highlighter, in the inner corner of my eye and then on my cheeks.
Refinery29: What part of your routine makes you feel the most confident?
Honestly, it's about how I feel. I mean that's probably why my TikTok page is full of psychology and people lifting each other up. That's what puts me in the best headspace. I've had professionals work on me and create beautiful looks, but if I'm not feeling great internally, that speaks so much louder. I think the way you carry yourself can take you from a six to a ten. I'm trying to do so much self care, listen to a lot of podcasts, and spend my time with good people.
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