Friday, June 14, 2024

Elizabeth Banks Talks Adult Acne and Turning 50

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When you meet someone who wears as many hats as Elizabeth Banks—actress, producer, filmmaker, mother, dog-lover—you might expect them to be stiff or hard to talk to, but the moment the 49-year-old Pitch Perfect star entered the green room at the No7 Reversal Lounge, I knew she was two things above all else: humble and real.

After asking me to sit on the couch with her so we could chat—”we’re just two girlies talking,” she said—Elizabeth proceeded to ask me all about my tattoos, which subsequently prompted a conversation about our mutual love for Taylor Swift, and I immediately felt like I was talking with a friend rather than interviewing an iconic celebrity.

Banks recently partnered up with the UK’s #1 skin-care brand, No7, as their latest brand ambassador, and to celebrate the brand’s new Future Renew line and Banks’ partnership, the brand brought influencers, dermatologists and industry experts to their No7 Reversal Lounge in NYC for a fireside chat with Elizabeth herself. Before the event, I had the pleasure of speaking with Elizabeth one on one and—in addition to our love of the Eras Tour—we talked all things skin care, mental health, aging, and more.

There are so many skin-care brands out there right now, what drew you to No.7 and Future Renew amidst such a saturated market?

I actually think the saturation of the market is what drew me to No7, since I’d never really found a brand as accessible as they are. No7, you have to remember, is one of the biggest brands in the UK, so to be able to be associated with something that I know has such a deep history behind it is huge. Being able to bring that massive UK fan-base to American consumers was what was most exciting to me. I just love that No7 feels like it’s for everyone. It’s entering the US market, of course, where it feels like there’s already a product for everything, but I just know that No7 is going to do it right, and that’s why I wanted to get involved. I was really honored to be involved with this brand because of that reason—this isn’t some small thing that you’re buying off of TikTok shop. No7, they’re doing it right.

Your 50th birthday is coming up in a few months. What are you most looking forward to in this new chapter?

I just I just went to a 50th birthday for my friend and I wrote this for her in the card and I really believe this: All of my best days are ahead of me. Everything to this moment was learning. Now, I have a knowledge base that’s undeniable, and I wish I could yell back to my younger self and tell her that the path is going to lead me to a place where I feel fully in my power. Impostor syndrome is gone now, and I really can do what I want. And, I mean, I’m gonna live 50 more years! I’m only halfway there. I get a whole other life now! That’s how I’m thinking about it.

How has your self-care routine changed as you’re approaching this new “milestone” decade?

For me, it’s really about paying more attention now. I think that we all feel invincible when we’re young, and we’re not thinking about things in the same way that we do when we’re older. If I can impart any of my current knowledge to younger women—and I know that this is all over Instagram and TikTok anyway—it’s that confidence is everything. You will feel better and more confident in your skin if you start taking care of it and get a routine going now that you can follow through with for a really long time, and that’s what I love about No7’s products. They have a product for every kind of skin and they’re really forward thinking. For example, there’s SPF in the day creams because everyone should be wearing SPF and moisturizing. No one is gonna get to my age and say, “I wish I hadn’t worn as much moisturizer or SPF.”

With a job like yours, I’m assuming you’re quite used to traveling. What skin-care and beauty products are you never without even when you’re on the road?

Well, the most important thing I’ve realized when traveling is that airplanes are not your friend, especially not to your skin. So now, I’m that person on the plane with the sack of beauty stuff in it. I gotta have lip balms, I gotta have the creams, I got have moisturizer but, most importantly, water, water, water. I’m very lucky that I can admit this; I fly in first class, and they offer free cocktails, right? You’ve got to ignore them. I literally never drink on airplanes anymore because it’s so dehydrating. I’m all about water. I try not to have a lot of caffeine on planes anymore, too, and to me, that really is self care. It’s a level I got to where are I recognized all of the things that—I don’t want to say I “did wrong” because we’re all just learning—but once you know better, you do better. I know better now, so I do better.

You’ve played some characters throughout your career who dawned a whole lot of makeup. Were there any skin-care secrets you learned while filming these roles for keeping your skin under control while wearing that much makeup consistently?

I struggled with acne when I was young. And to be honest, I think I overthought that as I got older. Here’s something they don’t tell you: acne can be lifelong. I didn’t know that, so when I would have a breakout on set I would just really freak out, and honestly, I always ended up over-drying my skin. I would go too crazy on it. I’ve also learned not pick at my face. I mean, it’s nearly impossible, but it’s really so bad for your skin. When I would break out I would immediately think to lather on salicylic acid or something like that, but I realized over time that what I needed to do was help my skin calm down. It needs no exfoliation when it’s in that state—don’t go crazy on it. Just really give it the love and care that it deserves. I also love a hot cloth. Does anybody actually still use a wash cloth in the shower? I don’t know, but I love to get in the shower and just wrap a warm cloth around my face and let it steam.

What are some of your self-care or wellness rituals for staying grounded in such hectic times? 

Walking my dog. I have a I have a Schnoodle—a poodle schnauzer—his name is Saucer, and when I need some alone time I just grab the leash and take him out. It really helps to just turn it all off. It’s one of those times where I feel like I don’t have to be responsible for everybody else, so I love walking the dog because it’s really great alone time where I can listen to a podcast and just be outdoors and be physical. It is so important, whether you have a pup or not, to get outside every day. That is my real, self-care happy place. If the day is going sideways, even if the dogs already had a walk, they can always have another. And then the other thing about walking my dog is that, in the evenings, it’s a great way for me to connect with my kids. It’s like “Hey, we’re gonna go walk the dog,” and it makes us all get out in the neighborhood and in our community. There’s really no better way to check all of my self-care boxes.

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