The walls in Drew Barrymore’s NYC bathroom are covered with the happiest kind of art: family photos, plus drawings and love notes from her two daughters. And every square inch of the white-tiled countertop is covered with the happiest kind of chaos: hundreds of balms, creams, serums, and Flower Beauty lab samples, organized with military precision. Five minutes ago, the actor/producer/author/entrepreneur shot a short, sweet and spontaneous how-to video with her new mesmerizing Flower eye pigments. Yesterday, she put in a 17-hour day on the set of The Stand-In, a rom-com in which she plays dual roles: Candy, a discontented movie star, and her eager stand-in Paula. The production will wrap just as Santa Clarita Diet returns to Netflix for its third season this spring. But right now, at this moment, Barrymore has only thing on her mind: excavating a 10-gallon Ziploc bag of sheet masks from the top of her linen-turned-beauty closet.
NewBeauty: I’ve never seen so many sheet masks outside of a K-beauty boutique. How did you get so many?
Drew Barrymore: I made them! I discovered JayJun on my first research trip to Hong Kong for Flower Beauty. I had popped into a drugstore in a subway station underneath a weird mall and grabbed their Baby Pure Shining sheet mask. I tried it and was instantly impressed. Two days later in South Korea, I had already arranged a meeting with the company, and we collaborated to launch three masks [JayJun x Drew Barrymore] in Asia.
NB: When you’re in a foreign drugstore, jet-lagged and you don’t speak the language, how do you shop smart?
DB: It’s almost like going into a wine shop. You’ll see a product on the shelf and something about the label speaks to you, or maybe you’re in the mood for that varietal. If you’re in the mood for a sheet mask, that’s what you’ll focus on. I’m not crazy about trying tons of color cosmetics—you can get those anywhere. For me, it’s all about the skin-care formulas—what’s that latest innovation you don’t have access to because it’s all the way on the other side of the world.
NB: Congrats on winning a NewBeauty award for your lip duo! What inspired it?
DB: What made me fall in love with lipstick was this mid-’80s double-ended lipstick pencil from Shiseido. Both ends had the same shade, but one side was a buttery finish and the other was completely matte. If you love a shade, how brilliant to have it in two different formulas! And then later I would look at someone like J.Lo on TV and wonder why her lips could so prismatically capture the light. So I created a two-in-one, my Flower Mix N’ Matte Lip Duo ($10), with one very wearable color on one side and an illuminating lip gloss in the same tone on the other. It won’t change the shade at all, but will pick up the light. Actually, it’s three-in-one: this end, that end, and the two ends together!
NB: Have you always been a beauty obsessive?
DB: I grew up in a makeup trailer, so I knew what makeup was. All of it. But they don’t really do much makeup on kids. They put you in a chair and put a puff on your nose and make you feel a part of it. While we were making Firestarter, they would spray a lot of sticky, wet, viscous glycerin on my face to look like sweat. I was covered in fake blood before anyone ever put lipstick on me! And then in real life, at night, I was going out with a lot of adults who were certainly wearing makeup. There’s nothing like early ’80s rouge! Boy George and Adam Ant were the thing. At 10, I was at dance clubs wearing eye shadow in a straight line out to my temples. I was really into chartreuse and gold, glittery-fine sparkle, like olive-green snakeskin. I’ve always felt that getting ready for a date is the best part of an evening: It doesn’t even matter if the date isn’t great, you get to take a moment and be feminine. Put on some music and dance while you get ready and do your makeup. I was filming all day yesterday in prosthetics and color contacts, looking at all the glues and adhesives, and fake noses and eye bags, and eyebrow additives. I’m into the theatrics, the art, all the crazy stuff you can do to transform your face, age yourself, change your hair, look like a different person. When I would work with Kevyn Aucoin, he was really into that. He loved making women into other women. He made me into Myrna Loy.
NB:What other tricks have you learned on set?
DB: They used to re-powder women all day long, and after 15 hours of hot lights baking it into your skin, the makeup looked so cakey. High-definition stopped people from piling it on, and everyone got inspired by the rice-paper sheets. It became more about blotting and lifting up the oil rather than trying to matte it with more and more powder. Then there was this perfect storm where makeup in general just got a whole lot lighter. Everything became about tinted moisturizer, instead of heavy base makeup. And color correctors! Which was Ben Nye’s approach: he made up all the glamorous women in film in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, and then created his own line 50 years ago. His kids run it today. I love that legacy. Sometimes I like to think my girls will be involved in Flower Beauty one day. Olive would be a chemist and Frankie would come up with all the marketing.
NB:When did you start taking skin care seriously?
DB: When I was a teen, I washed my face with a bar of clear vitamin E soap. Nothing. Moisturizers always broke me out. They still do on my chin. My chin is like a completely different neighborhood on my face, and you don’t go there after dark. Any product that goes on my chin will screw it up. In my late 30s, I started taking my skin seriously. I like scrubs and all of that stuff, and acids and tingling, but I’m still a firm believer in the most gentle face washes. I always want to have a lot of moisturizer and serum, and that’s why I love the new Flower Beauty skin elixir ($16). The goal was to create a formula that makes your skin look like you’ve just left a workout class: pinky, plumped and dewy—like when you have your own body’s blush on your cheeks. My dear friend stole it from me recently, which is a sign she truly likes it. She called it a wake-up for your face and makeup. I love the freshest, dewiest face. I have a phobia of clogged-looking skin. It goes back to watching women’s skin get baked under hot lights.
NB:You’ve tested thousands of products: what’s the one every woman should buy?
DB: At one point in your life, you will need lip liner. That’s what I’ll tell my girls. You won’t think you’ll ever need it, and then one day you’ll see that lip liner isn’t just for fun. It’s a necessity.
NB: Beyond sheet masks, do you have any go-to skin fixes?
DB: I love the Clear + Brilliant laser. I do it once a year to slough away my sunspots. I also try to get a facial once a year, but I just don’t have the time to go more frequently. I’m obsessed with Augustinus Bader’s rich cream ($265) and Shani Darden’s Retinol Reform ($95)—it has a little tingle when you put it on. Dr. Dan’s CortiBalm ($7) is really good for hydrating dry lips. And my Clinique acne gel ($27). I just spot it on any arriving friend from out of town in the form of a zit and say, ‘Go back to where you came from!’”
NB: Do you have any healthy habits you swear by for feeling good?
DB: Just behaving. Being as nice as I can. Not being a total A-hole. Just being in a good mood at work, not losing my cool when my kids lose their cool. Not sweating the small stuff. I’ve realized that even when the little things aggravate you and seem really big and monumental, or even very public within your own circle and you just wish you could hide your problems, you just can’t lose your cool. Be nice through all of it. That’s always when I feel the best, no matter what. Go put it out in some private corner and then show up and just be good to everyone.
NB: Has becoming a mother changed your ideas about beauty?
DB: I do feel like I’m on an upswing. I just went through a couple of hard years, and I can see it wearing on my face. It’s not about aging, it’s about how I am on the inside. There’s also a very long period when you’re raising kids when it takes it out of you. When it depletes your ability to take care of yourself because your new job is doing nothing but taking care of someone else and you love it. I’m not all about working from the inside out—I’m not big on meditation—but I do think your outside cannot hide your inside. I’m now determined more than ever to show my daughters that aging is a luxury. If we’re lucky, we are all going to age. I just want them to be at peace with who they are and not what they look like. If they are good, cool people, that’s all I care about. That said, I feel like people— myself included—have a 2019 new-battery recharge. I’m one of many who are coming out of a semi-difficult hibernation. Like in the spring. And hope springs eternal!
NB: Do you have any advice for women out there who need to recharge their batteries?
DB: Would it be cheating if I said to face mask?