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Sarah Jessica Parker On Aging, Optimism And Good Old-Fashioned Skincare

Photo: Getty

On starting her day

Well, I will say this: I do not start my day with washing my face and putting on moisturizer. At some point it just happens, but I have young-ish kids at home so I tend to get up and get them out in the morning and that’s before anything begins for me. My routine is pretty boring! I cannot abide a long process. No “step one through to nine”. I’ll pretty much wash my face old-school style with whatever’s at hand. I don’t even buy cleansers. Most days I just wash my face with a bar of soap. I would really use anything!

On the non-negotiable elements of her routine

I’ll always put on the news, first thing. I’ll have a cup of coffee, too, but just one cup. Oh, and Wordle! And I use this old jade roller that someone gave me about 15 years ago. I like to stick it in the fridge while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil and then glide it over my face. In terms of skincare, I keep my face wet and use either the RoC Hydrate and Plump Moisturizer or the Max Hydration Moisturizer. They’re really my favorite products.

On remaining optimistic

I would say world events shape how I think about mine and my children’s circumstances the most. Being spirited when things are going smoothly is a far easier place to find promise. The hardest time to summon a feeling of hope is when you’ve experienced a relationship fracture. But I think I’ve learned that I don’t find it productive to be angry, bitter, sad. These days, I just allow it. And I tell my children this: please feel comfortable to have feelings. Especially young girls! Please recognize anger. Feel it, be it. But think: what’s going to be the thing that helps you to resurface? Where does your resilience come from? You’re sad and that might be disappointing. And trust me, my heart breaks for you. But now what? If you don’t make an effort to pull yourself up and through and out, then it’s easy to have that become your nature. I look for optimism when it’s hardest to.

On her differing relationship with beauty and fashion

I think beauty is something everyone participates in. It’s about how you’re born and what you look like. But fashion is so much more under our control. It’s about the choices we make everyday and it’s what makes you feel like you. I think you become more courageous in those choices with age. We spend a huge amount of time just wanting to be like everyone else because we just want to make connections. But it takes such a long time to learn that you can be your unique self and still have a community of people to count on. One day you’ll do something that just sticks, like mismatched heels. It’s a small gesture that will make everyone think, “Yep, that’s her”. The streets are the most inspiring place for that reason. You see all these people and you might just want to take something from what they’re wearing.

On seeing photos of her younger self in the media

I don’t spend huge amounts of time looking at myself online. Some people do! But I also don’t look at anything I’ve done in the past. Not even dailies. If I do happen upon photos of myself from 20 or 30 years ago, it feels a little abstract. It’s more likely to strike a memory of a different time and place than it is a difference in mirror image. I’m not opposed to it as much as I think I am, though, because it’s an opportunity to think about other people. The other night someone was talking about George Michael and I was trying to remember the last time I saw him play at Madison Square Garden. Time has just collapsed in on itself. And then, the next morning, my friend sent me a photo of me leaving the concert. It was 2008. I didn’t look at it and think, “Oh gosh, look at my skin and my face!” It just made me wish I could be at that concert again. Like, did I tell him how much he meant to me? Did I tell him how brilliant he was? Was I nice enough to him?

Photo: Getty

On her secret to a life well-lived

I like the smaller things, I don’t know if the big things are as important. But I do want the people I love to experience the big things. I want them to have victories. I want people to feel seen and rewarded. Accomplished. I really mean that. Sometimes, I’ll walk down the street and see something in someone that just kills me. So I want big things for people because that’s how the rest of the world sees you. I tell my kids: it’s the small victories that add up, it’s like scar tissue. How do you feel when you walk out the door or leave a situation? That can feel triumphant. And so it’s the small, whimsical things that are often the most nurturing.

On celebrities opening up about their cosmetic procedures

I can’t speak for other people, but I’m not opposed to anyone doing anything. I hold no opinion or judgements. I just think people’s faces have changed and it’s hard to deny certain things when everyone else is so educated. I don’t do Botox because I need my eyebrows to function as an actor. Also, my husband would be like, “Huh?” But I’ll admit it’s a trade-off. I talk about the things I do, which is Sofwave. It’s great, but it hurts. I used to do glycolic peels at the dermatologist, too. And sometimes, in the rare emergencies when I have a zit, my dermatologist will give me a cortisone shot, which is cheaper than removing it in post-production. I think people are more comfortable with listing the work they’ve had done now because it’s a choice. It’s like dyeing my hair blonde or something. And I like that people feel good about being honest. RoC has a no retouching policy, but they must do something? I mean, look at the campaign image! Although, we did have my hair in such a tight, tight ponytail with really good lighting on that shoot. So maybe that was it.

On how she ends the day

If I’ve been working on set for 18 hours it’s more of a process, but really it’s just a case of washing my face. Maybe there’s a couple of other pieces that sneak in from wearing makeup all day, too. Like a cleansing balm… is that what it’s called? But that’s only because someone will have sent it to me. Plus, I like the thought of using linen on my face. And sometimes, if there’s a collagen serum, I’ll use that. I like the idea of collagen, but it has to be thin and move around the face. I don’t like anything with a silicone base because I like my skin to feel like my skin. I’d rather go out with a blemish than be all covered up.

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