Posted in Skin on November 11, 2014 by

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.”