Some celebrities set a new beauty trend every time they step outside their front door. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley insists she’s not one of them.
“I don’t think I’m renowned for doing anything too trend focused when it comes to beauty,” she says. “I mean this is my signature look: glowy skin. For me, the most luxurious thing is to have healthy-looking skin – and that comes from somebody who doesn’t always have it. I can have not a scrap of makeup on, but I just want my complexion to look hydrated, radiant and rosy, sculpted with some bronzer and some blush. I would say I’m probably known for having some kind of look on my lips, but again, subtle, always neutral, easy-to-wear colours. It’s like, OK, what’s going to make me pull my look together really quickly and take me from day to night.”
With two children under the age of seven (Rosie has a six-year-old son Jack and 21-month-old daughter Isabella with her partner of 14 years, actor Jason Statham) that may be true. But Rosie is no novice when it comes to beauty and her glossy aesthetic is like catnip for her 20 million Instagram followers.
She left school at just 17 to pursue a modelling career that went stratospheric with campaigns for Victoria’s Secret and Burberry. After nearly 20 years sitting in the makeup artist chair, the model and entrepreneur is an authority on the skincare that works for her and which makeup textures truly mesh with the skin. It’s no wonder then that Rose Inc beauty products launched in September 2021 as an expansion of the editorial platform she founded in 2018.
Reeling off the laundry list of products on her bathroom shelf, Rosie knows every active ingredient and even the days of the week she uses them. But working out what products suit her skin has taken years of practice as she still battles with breakouts today.
She pauses before saying, “From the age of about 14, I’ve had acne-prone skin and I still have it. I get really congested skin. I’ve always got a spot. There’s not a day that goes by when I don’t have some kind of pimple on my complexion. I like to look at things with a silver lining. I suppose my problematic skin has set me on this lifelong journey of exploration and education when it comes to leaning into the experts and understanding what works and what doesn’t.”
When Rosie Huntington-Whiteley appears on our Zoom call from her LA home (she relocated from London with her family during the pandemic) she is every inch the off-duty supermodel. Her skin may have the odd pimple but it still looks as though it is permanently bathed in a ring light and her strands are so perfectly blown out, she could easily be the poster girl for the liquid hair trend.
Here she opens up to GLAMOUR about her battle with acne and her approach to skincare; why her new Rose Inc foundation was a personal labour of love and her insider hacks for applying makeup seamlessly.
“I’ve stopped washing my face in the morning”
I just felt like I didn’t really want to be using cleanser in the morning anymore. I want to wake my skin up so I use a reusable cotton round and I sweep rose water all over my face and then I go straight into all my serums and cream. I keep it really simple in the morning with the Rose Inc Brightening Serum, which is probably one of my holy grails, and then the Solar Power Luminous SPF 30 Serum. SPF is a must – I think you just realise when you hit your thirties, you cannot skip that at all .”
“Our new soft matte foundation creates that luminous lit-from-within candlelit glow”
I always find myself leaning towards some kind of coverage day to day. Depending on what I’ve got going on will determine whether I’m going to use our new Softlight Skin-Smoothing Foundation or our Tinted Serum, which gives sheer, lightweight coverage. Normally when you use matte foundations they end up making you feel a bit dull. I want to have really dewy, hydrated looking skin, but I also don’t want to look oily in different lights. Creating a soft matte finish is ultimately what I want for my skin but it’s important to create that in a way that doesn’t make you look lifeless. And that is very much what I love about the finish of our Skin-Smoothing Foundation, which I apply when I want more of a polished look – perhaps for an evening event. A liquid foundation does require a bit more time and effort when it comes to the application process. It’s not such a throw-on product, but having said that, it blends seamlessly and beautifully. Our Tinted serum is my go-to everyday super quick and easy option that gets me out the door. When applying foundation, always start in the areas where you want more coverage. For me, it’s always under my eyes, around my nose, centre of my chin and then blend it up and just keep building it.
“The best beauty hack I’ve learnt on set is to apply blusher to your eyelids”
When you’ve finished applying your blush to your cheeks, just pop that last bit from the brush into your eye socket. I learnt that on my first movie set [Transformers: Dark of The Moon] and swear it’s one of my favourite tricks. I mean, it should look very subtle. You don’t want to look like you’ve got pink eyeshadow by any means. It just kind of opens up the eyes and pops your bone structure really beautifully and it makes all the colours on your face look really cohesive.
“If I’m wearing highlighter, there’s one application tip I always use”
I love highlighter but when I’m applying it I will always apply it in direct daylight to make sure it’s blended. It’s the one product that really changes in different lights and if you apply it in a dark room, it can easily look stripy in natural light.
“I’ve had some makeup looks that I’m hoping will never see the light of day”
I’ve had some disastrous beauty looks in my time. I started very much at the bottom of the industry and worked my way up, so at the beginning I was doing some pretty questionable shoots with very bold beauty looks. Luckily, it was before Instagram and the internet so hopefully they’ll never see the light of day! Let’s just say, I’ve seen so much bad makeup being done on myself that I know what not to do when applying it.
“I require more from my skincare these days”
Now that I’m in my mid to late thirties, my relationship with my skin is changing because my skin has changed. It has become slightly drier over the years. I’m now experiencing fine lines and hyperpigmentation since my children. So I require more from my skincare products than perhaps I did in my twenties when I’d be quite happy to just throw anything on. Even though I keep my routine simple, it definitely gets more sophisticated and there’s a greater need for me to have special treatments outside of my own bathroom. So I’m very diligent with seeing all the experts and having the lasers and the peels and the sculpting and all of the lifting and the microcurrent.
“When you have had problematic skin, it sends you on this journey where you don’t take your skin for granted”
In the evening, that’s when I’ll start to play around with different things. I get in the shower and double cleanse with something that is really foaming to remove my makeup. My favourite all-time cleanser is the IS Clinical Cleansing Complex because it grabs impurities off your face really quickly. I try and do some form of exfoliation every day so I then use our face polish to lift away any dead skin cells. After I get out the shower, I use rose water again to just make sure I’ve got rid of everything, then I like to use our AHA Clarifying Toner. Then I’m using something like a retinol or an active serum, again packed full of those AHA toners because I find acne-prone skin has sluggish skin cell turnover. And then it’s all about hydration using SkinCeuticals’ Silymarin CF serum, followed by moisturiser.
“I’ve worn the same OPI nail colour for 10 years”
I grew up on a farm and it was very rustic and rural, but my mom would always go and get her nails done. She had long nails and would always have a coral pink nail colour on but I’ll leave that to her! I’m pretty boring with my nails. I mean, I have literally worn Bubble Bath from OPI for 10 years.
“I’m nervous that skinny brows are making a comeback”
I’m really nervous because I feel like it might be coming back … the skinny eyebrow. When I started modelling back in the early 00s, Natalia Vodianova was the girl of the moment and it was all about the full brow. I’ve noticed lately with the whole ’90s fashion trends that are back in full force, the next natural extension of that would be the skinny brow and I’m nervous about it. I think it looks great but I also think that everyone who over-plucked their eyebrows back in the day now regrets it and struggled to grow them back.
At the moment, I don’t even pluck my brows. I’ve gone and had them plucked before, I’ve had them shaved in half, I’ve had so many eyebrow disasters over my career that now I’m like, nobody gets to touch these brows. Literally, no one. Well, there’s one makeup artist I let touch them and that’s Kate Lee. She’s like an eyebrow queen and she’ll just really subtly trim the edges.
“I swear by the classic Nivea Body Cream”
Every time I use it, I’m like ‘why would anyone use any other body cream?’. It smells good, it gives the most beautiful sheen and it is so moisturising. I have all these amazing, expensive, gorgeous-smelling creams and I love them but I always come back to the Nivea.
“I’m a big a fan of skin icing”
I’m in LA now and I really feel like in the mornings I’m waking up quite puffy just because of the air conditioning. But different climates, being dehydrated, whether you’ve had a drink the night before, whether you are jet lagged – all those things can cause puffiness. So I really love icing. We’ve got beautiful Cooling Spheres that you can put in the fridge. But just rolling a simple ice cube across you face can really bring down so much inflammation, especially after some treatments.
“After my first pregnancy, my hair got really damaged”
My hair is healthier now than it has been in years. I was looking just recently at some pictures from a few years ago when I was living in LA permanently and I was very blonde and I didn’t realise how damaged my hair was at the time. After my first pregnancy I lost a lot of hair, too – it snapped and broke. My secret has been to go a little darker and back to my natural colour a bit more. Also keeping it all one length and not going in for any kind of complicated cut or too much layers. Just keeping my hair really hydrated, washing it less, styling it with hot air over hot tools. I’m a big, big, big fan of Olaplex hair products, which have really brought my hair back to life. I’m also a big Dyson fan. This morning I used the Airstrait for the first time, which is amazing – it took five minutes!
“I feel most empowered when I’m in mom mode”
The other day I had both of them [her children Jack and Isabella ] in the back of the car. It’s the first time my daughter has been in LA and I turned around and I was like, shit, I have two children! I’m driving my car with two babies in the back! I think I feel my happiest and my fullest self when I’m with them. Children make you feel a range of different emotions. But yes, on a good day you can have those winning moments. It’s very empowering.
For more from Fiona Embleton, GLAMOUR’s Acting Associate Beauty Director, follow her on @fiembleton.
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