Elizabeth Banks Talks Skin Care, Aging, and Brow Bleaching (Before It Was Cool)

Say hello to Unfiltered, a new beauty series where you’ll get an exclusive look at the stylish beauty routines of our favorite celebrities and content creators. They’ll reveal their guilty pleasure beauty practices, the lineup of five-minute routine products they can’t live without, the one good-skin tip they’ll be forever grateful for, and much more. To end all conversations, we asked each celebrity to send us a selection of Self-shot, unfiltered photos of your choice to capture the essence of your unfiltered beauty philosophy.

Next, let’s meet actress and filmmaker Elizabeth Banks. Below, she’s answering all of our quick questions and sharing her favorite products, best kept beauty secrets, and more. To enjoy!

No7 is such a beloved brand. It has been a destination for so many people for so many years. Can you talk about when you were introduced to it and how it fits into your beauty routine?

I’m a new convert to be honest, but I’m newly in love. I’m getting older. I’m finally paying a lot more attention to everything and I was really blown away by, frankly, how much retinol is in No7. This is something your dermatologist always says, “Maybe it’s time,” and I’m like, “Wait a minute. There are these amazing products that already contain a lot of retinol.” I was really excited for an overnight retinol ritual that doesn’t dry me out because that’s always been my fear of retinol. That’s why I dodged it. None of these products do this to me. My skin is smoother and I feel like I’m really working towards… I don’t like to say anti-aging. I’m not anti-aging. I’m pro-aging, folks. It is always better than the alternative. For me, it’s about managing my skin to feel its best as I age – that’s what I feel No7 Pure Retinol does.

If you could only use one No7 product for the rest of your life, which one would it be and why?

Okay, I’m debating. One is Night Repair Cream ($40), because it’s delicious. But here’s the thing: you need to have FPS. They have so many great unscented and sunscreen day creams, so I guess I should say the SPF 30 day cream ($28). You have to protect. This is protection number one. Everything after that, the hydration and the lifting and the brightening, none of that matters if you haven’t protected your skin first.

Yes, 100%! Sunscreen is so important and it’s great that it’s a one-time thing.

Yes, it’s all in it. You are lifting, you are illuminating, you are protecting, [and] you are toning – all of it. I love that.

I love a simplistic routine. Speaking of which, what’s your daily skincare routine like? Are you more of a minimalist or a maximalist when it comes to skincare?

I’m pretty minimalist. In fact, I even started not washing my face in the morning if I wash it at night. I feel like it’s just a little extra moisture before I put my makeup on. I’m finding I don’t want to over-clean. Do you know what I mean? For me, I don’t feel the need to clean my face more than once every 24 hours unless it’s covered in makeup.

I also really like the No7 Exfoliating Cleanser ($10). I think it can be used every day. I just love the feeling. It’s what I use when I feel like I need to get rid of buildup. So sometimes I will do this. And just to remind you, anything you do to your face, you should do to your neck. I’ve known this for a while, but I love to be reminded and I love to remind people.

So I’m going to use Radiance Serum ($25), which is Vitamin C. Throw that in, toss in your day cream/SPF cream, and you’re race-ready and you can apply makeup with no issues.

That’s my biggest problem with skin care. Do you know when it bubbles or do you feel that residue? I can’t stand it.

Yes, or if it gets too white when you apply it and you’re worried about his reaction to your foundation. I have no problem with that with these products.

How has being an actor, being on set, and spending time in the makeup chair affected your skincare and makeup routines?

Beauty starts from within, like internally. Are you eating well? Are you hydrating enough? Are you getting enough sleep? All of this takes a toll on your skin, especially as you age and especially when you work long days on set like I do. That became my number one. That’s why vitamin C serums look like health care, but for your outer layer. I have come to understand that my outside is really a reflection of my inside. I have to take care of this first. So hydration and sleep are my number one.

Definitely. What’s your post-selection routine like to remove makeup and redefine your skin?

No7 has a great daily cleanser. I keep one in my shower and one in my sink. Again, keep it simple. It’s a wash, a serum, and a cream. They also have an eye cream that I put under and over my eyes. I use the cream I use on my face on my neck. They even have an amazing hydrating body serum that I will be using as well. I will be honest. I take long showers, which is bad on every level, but I’ll admit it to you. Don’t judge me too much, but I love a long, hot shower. It’s not good for your skin.

It’s not, but I think everyone does. I make.

Same. I think you just have to have the products to handle it.

Totally. Could you explain to me your daily makeup routine if you have one? What is your makeup aesthetic? Has it changed over time, like your skin care routine?

I call this the “morning quit” look, so it’s just getting me out the door. It’s super simple. It’s just foundation, some pink lipstick on my lips and cheeks to make my cheeks stand out, and some mascara. It’s like, how do I make my routine as simple as possible while feeling like I’ve cheered up? Pink tends to bring out my blue eyes, so again, I’m just trying to bring out some natural features without going overboard. I don’t like to wear a lot of makeup when I’m not at work because I have to wear a lot of makeup when I’m at work.

Understandable. Do you know the name of the pink lipstick and foundation?

Oh God, I couldn’t tell you. I can say that my mascara is the old school bright pink tube.

With the green top?

Yes, Maybelline Great Lash ($6)! I’ve been using it for 30 years. It never lets me down. And it’s affordable; that’s the other thing. I’m a high-low person. I don’t care about the drugstore bits. It’s okay with me.

Absolutely. This is a classic. You’ve played so many iconic characters over the years. What was the most fun for you as far as beauty and fashion go?

Of course, Effie Trinket in Hunger Games. That was all. I had to paint my eyebrows. It was four hours in the make-up chair and then came the nails. Everything we’ve done for this has been incredible. We used a lot of products that you wouldn’t even get in America, like these amazing lashes that were just beyond that. We could do whatever we wanted – there were no restrictions. I loved playing Effie Trinket. I loved her clothes, and she definitely influenced my fashion a little bit after the fact. I thought, “I can be a little more daring and use different shapes and colors.”

the other is Seabiscuit. Acting in that movie, at that time, I just loved it. Judianna Makovsky, who is an amazing costume designer, custom made these amazing costumes for me. It was the 1930s and it looked amazing. I absolutely loved the beauty in Seabiscuit.

Wait, how long have you dyed your eyebrows?

Girl I had this on and off for two years. The worst part was the growing up. It looked like I had blonde tips on my brows.

This is so funny because bleached brow is a trend right now, so really, you were ahead of the game.

Yeah, but you really can’t get away with it unless you have, like, the face of Kate Moss. You have to really lean into it if you’re going to do this. I looked like I was sick. I didn’t look good.

Oh yes, me too. This is a trend I will never touch, but I love it on other people.

To agree. It wasn’t good for real life – I can say that.

Have you ever used an eyebrow pencil or something, or just rolled with it?

Oh no, I covered those babies every day. But even that felt weird because I’m not a person who likes to fill in my brows. I’m very fair, you know? I don’t have a big brow anyway, but all of a sudden, I had a big brow because I was covering up these discolored brows. It was a lot.

Do you have a product to fill in your brows?

I don’t know if it’s been discontinued, but… please ask them to send me some if they aren’t — it’s called Vanity Mark. It was my favorite eyebrow collection. They had pencils and a custom powder brush that I loved. I still have some, but it’s hard to get and may be discontinued.

It’s always so scary when you have to hoard your product because you don’t know if it’s still out there. Finally, what is your unfiltered beauty philosophy in seven words or less?

Here we go. Grow old gracefully, whatever that means to you. Each one has its own relationship with the skin, the face, the routine. There’s a lot of judgment about how everyone ages, and I would love it if we were encouraging people to age gracefully, whatever that means to them.






Up next: Alexa Chung on Style Regrets, “Indie Sleaze” and her iconic cat eye.

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