A Minute With: Debra Messing

The 46-year-old star of The Mysteries of Laura, Debra Messing, dishes on the big beauty problem she conquered, why her red hair isn’t her favorite feature to play up and what happened when she started a water club at work.

On her big beauty problem:
“I’ve been a lifelong allergy sufferer. So, once allergy season hit, all bets were off. It was dread—a sort of emergency-intervention situation at all times in terms of beauty. Before I found Zyrtec [Messing is a spokesperson for the brand], nothing worked for me. My eyes were constantly running, red and teary; my nose was red and my face puffed out. I used to pile on the makeup to try to make myself feel better, and everyone knows that never really works. When I tried Zyrtec a couple of years ago, I finally found something that worked for me. I just take it in the morning, it’s 24 hours, and I don’t think about it again. I do still carry saline drops with me and I use waterproof mascara, just to be safe, and a really strong under-eye concealer. But, besides that, I don’t really have to think about it anymore, which is the greatest gift.”

On how her allergies affect filming:
“I am allergic to all perfumes, flowers, mold, grass, mildew—I mean highly allergic. There are two flowers I am not allergic to: orchids and tulips, and everyone in my life knows that. I had to shoot The Mysteries of Laura in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and I was nervous because I’ve had disastrous reactions around a lot of flowers. But, I went in, I did not have a reaction, I was able to shoot, and I did not hold up production. When I filmed The Wedding Date, we shot in the English countryside and there was one day I had an allergic reaction and everyone had to sit around for four hours waiting for it to go down. That didn’t happen this time, which I felt like was a victory.”

On the two things she looks for in makeup:
“Everything I use is fragrance-free and for sensitive skin. I like YSL Waterproof Mascara; NARS has a long-lasting foundation that’s really good; and Clé de Peau Beauté has my favorite concealer for under eyes. I really love Make Up For Ever’s lip liners for lipstick and their eyeliners are amazing. Besides that, I like simple, simple face powders like Chanel’s translucent powder to tie everything together. And I throw Stila’s Convertible Colors in my purse all the time. Those are always there.”

On the beauty ritual she isn’t so good at:
“I haven’t been that great about wearing sunscreen, but I do know how important it is. I use a line called Meaningful Beauty and they have a Day Cream that has SPF in it. That way I know I am covered and I don’t need to do double-duty. That works best for me. I have a son, and I get up at 5 a.m. for work in the morning, so if I start using too many things, it’s just too much and I get distracted.”

 Debra Messing

On that signature red hair:
“My hair is definitely something that stands out, so I like to keep it in good shape. But, I think my eyes are the feature on my face that I really love to play up. For hair, Kerastase has this deep, deep, deep, intense conditioner that comes in a tub and is magic. I try and do that every few weeks. I alternate between that and Goldwell, and I also like Davines leave-in spray conditioners; they are light, but have a powerful punch. I also like Rusk Thermal Shine Spray—it’s the best one I have found on the market.”

On what the massage therapist always tells her:
“I am a spa person in my DNA. It’s something I love and wish I could do more often. Whenever I have the opportunity, I do, and, inevitably, the massage therapist says, ‘Oh boy, you should probably do this every week.’ In a perfect world, I would!”

On the big wellness thing she does at work:
“It’s a cliché to drink as much water as you humanly can, but during the show we have this little thing that’s like a reading group, but it’s a water group. We try to get each other to drink eight full bottles of water every day. Then we check in on each other: ‘Where are you? You’re only on three! You have to catch up!’ But you definitely see a difference when you drink it, there is no question.”

On her nighttime relaxation ritual:
“I have a bunch of different Kneipp bath oils. I love them all.”

On the best beauty advice she’s ever received:
“Take your makeup off at night before you go to sleep! Especially your eye makeup. It really does a number on the sensitive skin around your eyes. And get sleep. It’s called beauty sleep for a reason.”