It’s not every day that you put Cate Blanchett and yourself in the same sentence. But, in Shanghai recently, that’s exactly what happened.
As Australia’s SK-II Beauty Expert, I recently travelled to China where I had the good fortune of meeting my fellow brand ambassador, Cate Blanchett.
I have interviewed many a celebrity during my years as a beauty journalist, and rarely do they make me flinch – they are just people, after all. But, when it comes to meeting Cate, I’ll be the first to admit I was girl crushing like nothing else.
Here, you’ll see exactly how our conversation went…
Gritty Pretty (GP): You’ve been with SK-II as Global Ambassador since 2007. How would you describe your journey with the brand so far?
Cate Blanchett (CB): “It’s been revelatory, actually. I’ve been using SK-II for 13 years now. I discovered the brand through Mary Greenwell, who is a makeup artist and friend of mine. She introduced me to the whitening range when I was pregnant with my first son because I had developed pigmentation. At the time, I thought, “Oh well, that’s just what happens.” Mary then gave me some SK-II products and said, “Just try this. It will brighten your skin.” After that, to be completely honest, I was completely stunned by the results.
Shortly after, I discovered SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. I didn’t know what to do with it because it was written with Japanese all over the bottle. I also didn’t know anyone who knew how to use it so I just muddled along. I must’ve mentioned the brand somewhere and the people at SK-II found out. They were interested in finding an ambassador as they were launching the brand into Australia so that’s when they approached me. It was and has been a very organic relationship.
Nowadays, as the SK-II range has expanded exponentially, I find that I don’t really need to think about having facials or peels because I can tailor-make a facial myself.”
GP: You mentioned you had pigmentation while you were pregnant. How exactly did SK-II change your skin at the time?
CB: “I don’t know how to describe it but SK-II sort of turns a light on in your skin. It illuminates it. I noticed a decrease in my skin’s pigmentation probably after a month. Those things happen gradually over time gradually but what I didn’t expect was for it to improve the texture, tone and luminosity of my complexion. As an actress, I really started to notice the difference when I would have close ups on film. Using SK-II made me feel more confident at work. And, as soon as I felt more confident at work and I didn’t have to worry about breakouts, I was addicted.”
GP: What is it about SK-II that made you want to represent the brand?
CB: “I think there’s a sense of cynicism around people’s association with certain products. Initially, when I signed on with SK-II, some people would ask me, “But you don’t use it, do you?” and I would honestly respond, “Yes, I do actually”.
I understand that cynicism but if I’m honest, it’s been a very organic relationship because the brand was only interested in talking to me because they knew I already used it. I actually remembered they were quite befuddled and bewildered that I used whitening products because back then, having bright, white skin was very much an Asian skin concern. It wasn’t nearly as big as it is in Australia today.”
GP: You have to tell us – what are your top 3 SK-II products?
CB: “Since I discovered the SK-II LXP range, I’ve been using that. I use SK-II LXP Facial Treatment Essence every morning and night. When I’m on set, because there’s often no time to reapply foundation before a close up, my makeup artist Morag Ross – who is a very, very dear friend of mine – would put it into a spray bottle for me and spray it over the top of my makeup. It would refresh my makeup because it was refreshing my skin underneath and I still do that now day-to-day.
My other favourite SK-II products are the SK-II LXP Ultimate Perfecting Eye Cream and SK-II Facial Treatment Masks. The masks are so hydrating and perfect for travel. But, before a red carpet event, I’ll use SK-II Whitening Source Derm-Revival Masks instead. That’s the thing that has been so amazing for me and I believe it to be quite unique to the brand. It just gives your skin that extra bit of radiance.”
GP: Let’s talk about makeup. What are your go-to products for every day?
CB: “At home, I’m pretty minimal. I tend to resort to the lazy girl’s makeup that you could put on in the car. I like SK-II Stempower Cream Foundation but I usually only put it on on certain areas that I need it. I don’t like feeling like I’ve got a lot of makeup on my face. And, because the foundation has Pitera in it, I like that it’s actually caring for my skin. For lashes, I do like Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes 5 Star Mascara but I also get my lashes tinted to save the time. And, I always wear sunscreen. Ultraceuticals SunActive SPF 50+ Face Cream is great for every day.”
GP: What about hair – any products that you can’t live without?
CB: “I wash my hair with Philip Kingsley Shampoo – it’s a real treat. Whenever I’m in London or New York, I go into his salon because it’s not like any ordinary salon. It’s an experience. I also love their Elasticizer Extreme treatment, which I use once a month when I remember to.”
GP: Tell us, what is your first fragrance memory?
CB: “I remember my mum used to wear Rive Gauche by Yves Saint Laurent when I was growing up. But, I also remember that powdery smell of violets, which what my grandmother wore too.”
GP: Do you have a love for home fragrance and candles as well?
CB: “Definitely! I love Queen B candles. When I burn those, I know I’m not putting anything bad into the atmosphere. They also have a lovely subtle fragrance. Diptyque Figurer is another of my favourites – I love fig! I also love when my home smells of cooking. After all, you don’t want your house to smell of your soon-to-be teenage son’s sports bag (laughs).”
GP: You must always be reading film scripts and screen plays. Do you like to read books as well?
CB: “I recently read A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch for the first time. It was so dangerous and wild and captivating. A few months ago, I read Jonathon Franzen’s Freedom, which was astonishing. And right now, I’m reading The Gold Finch by Donna Tartt.”