By Zhang Weifang, TODAY
SINGAPORE - A woman’s charm shines through when she doesn’t take herself too seriously. And that’s most evident in Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett, whom we met at the delightfully chic Twelve At Hengshan hotel in Shanghai.
“When I was in school, it was cool to be brown, to be tan. It wasn’t cool to be pale and there was a big pressure on everyone to look (tan). So it was a good lesson when my mum just said, ‘This is your skin; this is what you look like. Don’t try to look like those other girls’,” said Blanchett, whose fair complexion has been one of her most recognisable features. “Beyond the obvious, it was great life advice — to be who I am.”
We presume that doesn’t pertain to her day job playing other people.
The Australian actress was in the Chinese city with fellow SK-II ambassadors Tang Wei, Kim Hee-ae and Ni Ni to celebrate the heritage of SK-II and mark the launch of the new SK-II Stempower Eye Cream (S$144).
(From left) SK-II ambassadors Kim Hee-ae, Tang Wei, Cate Blanchett and Ni Ni.
Using an eye cream is especially important to the 45-year-old due to the nature of her job. “For me, it’s great particularly because when I’m on stage or on set, I use make-up. The area under your eyes is very sensitive and very delicate so (you should do) anything to just look after it. In the same way that you look after your lungs or your heart, you know. Your skin is a really big organ, so what you put on your skin goes into your system.”
Blanchett, who constantly looks fresh as a daisy, attributed her ageless look to her consistent beauty regime. She has been an SK-II user for 13 years and said if there was one item she couldn’t do without, it would be the brand’s Facial Treatment Essence (S$99 for 75ml).
SK-II’s Stempower Eye Cream improves the under-eye area, the eyelid and the outer corners of the eye, diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and reversing the signs of damage from external aggressors such as UV rays.
“It’s always good to press it into your skin (and) massage. It’s all very old-fashioned, but if you stimulate the blood, it’s actually good for your skin,” she explained. “What I do is I decant it into a spray bottle and then I spray and pat it on because I’m doing all that stuff in the car or when I travel.”
And of course, the award-winning actress never fails to pamper her skin even on board an aeroplane, saying she has “lost all sense of public shame”.
“I don’t even wait for the lights to go down any more; I just pop (a mask) on. I usually fly Qantas and so they know me and when they ask what I would like for dinner, I just talk to them with the mask on. It doesn’t matter — I don’t care. The results are worth it!”
After wrapping up the interview, I requested for a shot together and later confessed: “You know, prior to the interview, I was, like, s**tting myself.”
“You see how disappointing it is? See how disappointing it is?” Blanchett responded with a hearty laugh.
But there’s more to Blanchett than her charm. Here, the award-winning actress offers four tips to get your look right.
1. STOP PILING IT ON
Lose that heavily made-up look and do what Blanchett does when it comes to dolling up. “In life, I don’t like feeling like I’ve got a lot of make-up on my face, so I’ll probably be more likely to tint my eyelashes. I don’t wear a lot of foundation or anything. I usually do a bit of make-up, a bit of a lip and maybe a bit of a stick blusher that you put on quickly. I also love a red lip.” Blanchett loves her scarlets from brands such as Tom Ford, NARS, Giorgio Armani Beauty and Edward Bess.
2. HIGHLIGHTING DOES WORK
“Having played a lot of different characters on film, you sit in the make-up chair for a long time in the morning,” said Blanchett. “You know, I’ve played men, I’ve played people who are older than me, younger than me ... And so you watch all these great make-up artists (work) — it’s the same canvas and they shape it and they can make it look different. So I suppose I have learnt how highlighting can change the shape of your face and the way some colours sit more naturally on your skin. (I’ve also learnt) how lighting can change all of that. I suppose it would be about highlighting.”
3. MINIMALISM IS THE WAY TO GO
Cate Blanchett didn’t bow to pressure to be tan. Photo: SK-II
Having a minimalist style doesn’t mean you can dress casually without a second thought. It requires careful thinking, from the primary colours to pair for your outfit to what you actually wear. It can be in the form of a simple slouchy T-shirt with a pair of cigarette-cut pants, or a tailor-made outfit, which Blanchett favours.
“I’m pretty minimalist, actually. It depends. I mean, I love couture and the details that go into it. And I’m very into great tailoring. I suppose in everyday life my go-to thing would be a pair of men’s shoes without socks and a great suit. I do love embellishment, though. I don’t like over-embellishing. I think it’s important to think: ‘The dress is speaking, so I’m going to keep my make-up and hair simple’ — or the opposite.”
4. CONSISTENCY IS KEY TO ANY BEAUTY REGIME
Get perfect skin with some of Blanchett’s favourite products.
“We all try to eat healthily, but you will have times when you don’t. And there will be times when your skin isn’t as good,” said Blanchett. “For me, it’s (about) consistency. It’s not chopping and changing products. It’s not saying, ‘This is working, but that person is using that and maybe I should try that.’ If it works for you, stick to it.” Some of Blanchett’s go-to SK-II products are the Facial Treatment Mask (box of six pieces for S$122); Whitening Source Derm-Revival Mask (box of six pieces for S$144); LXP Ultimate Perfecting Cream (S$484) and the Facial Treatment UV Protection (S$115).