Jennifer Garner on the Not So Sexy Skin-Care Hack She Loves and the $46 Retinol She Swears By

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Jennifer Garner on the Not So Sexy Skin-Care Hack She Loves and the $46 Retinol She Swears By featured image
Getty Images / Shane Anthony Sinclair / Stringer

Many of us are guilty of fluffing our hair or applying lip gloss in the few moments it takes for a Zoom call to load, but not Jennifer Garner. When she pops up on my screen, she’s elbow-deep in her bag, wholly invested in her hunt for candy. She’s satiated for a moment when she finds Breath Savers but soon continues the search until she exclaims a few minutes in, “I found peanut M&Ms’ by the way, which is a total victory.” One of America’s sweethearts has a sweet tooth—go figure.

During our chat, I tell Garner she was my first celebrity interview a couple of years back. She tells me she remembers and—whether that’s true or not—the sentiment perfectly crystalizes who she is at her core. “I’m glad that I was your first. What an honor,” she says. As they say, you never forget your first, and I’ve seldom let our first chat together slip my mind when recalling my favorite celebrity interactions. It’s a treat to catch up with her again, this time on skin care, turning 50, Pamela Anderson going without makeup and TikTok trends.

Last time we spoke, you hadn’t hit 50 yet. I’d love to hear what the best thing about being in your 50s has been so far.

“I’m super into being in my 50s because there’s such a thing about turning 30. Women really feel a clock over their heads at 30, and that goes all the way through your 30s, and at 40, you feel like ‘that’s the end of my youth.’ At 50, there’s a whole new thing where I don’t care about any of that stuff. And instead, I’m just owning how powerful my friends are. My girlfriends rule the world. My girlfriends absolutely run the town of Los Angeles. They show up in DC, they are powerful, they are business owners, they are bosses, they are mentors, and love it. I love just watching my girlfriends thrive.”

Celebrities like Pamela Anderson are leaning into the no-makeup look while at big events. What are your thoughts on this? Is it something you’re interested in doing?

“Pretty much every day is a photoshoot with me, so I cannot say that this is a new idea for me. This morning, when I took my son to school, I was photographed and had no makeup on. I think it’s super important to always be comfortable in looking exactly like how you look, and that doesn’t mean that you look picture-perfect. It doesn’t mean that you’re camera-ready. It just means you are comfortable. Like right now—I worked out, and I still have my sports bra on. I didn’t shower, obviously, and I just was like, ‘Well, I want the camera on because I want to connect with you.’ It feels so weird being camera off. I didn’t have time to do more, and I said, ‘That’s okay, you get it, I get it,’ you know, and I want to look like myself—I don’t think there’s a problem in that.

That being said, if I’m going to an event, to me, that’s work, and part of work for me is synonymous with a level of a professional look and at least trying, so on a red carpet, you will probably see me still made up.”

What’s the latest beauty or wellness thing you’ve treated yourself to?

“Well, I know what I’m due for. I’m due for a day with Nerida [Joy], who’s been my facialist since, I don’t know, ’99, I think? I’m due to see her.”

“I haven’t seen any. I don’t think I’ve been fed that stuff. If, when you get a zit, icing it is one of the trends, then that is one that I like. I don’t know if that shows up on TikTok. It’s not that sexy. But I think it takes the inflammation down without picking.”

What are the skin-care products that have made the biggest difference in your skin?

“Well, I’m legitimately a Neutrogena aficionado. I would say probably the key Neutrogena user among my peer group. There are two things that I am a huge believer in because the people in the white lab coats who talk to me tell me—these are the two ingredients that change skin—retinol and hyaluronic acid. I like for my skin to work for me at night—I want it to be either regenerating or doing skin cell turnover, and that is where the Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol ($46) comes in. I use that every other night. Then I’ll use this serum, the eye cream, I’ll use the cream itself, and then during the day or every other night, I will switch to hyaluronic acid because it’s regenerative, it’s repairing, it’s just filling your skin back up with all this excellent moisture. 

Hyaluronic acid is something that you have a ton of in your skin [when you’re young]—you’re just bursting with hyaluronic acid, but as you age, it diminishes, and it’s why your skin looks drier because the skin barrier doesn’t hold on to moisture in the same way. So you just kind of start to look cracked. This is a way to just replenish [moisture]. It’s like a hack. It just gives you back what you are starting to miss, and it just makes you have a whole dewy situation.

So, I’d say the combination of the Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Water Cream ($28) and the Rapid Wrinkle Repair and, actually, I have to include the Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream ($22) because it’s excellent, and it stays put, and it’s safe for eyes. You don’t have to worry. It’s great, great, great.”

I feel like you’ve been traveling a lot. Are there any must-have skin-care and makeup products when you’re traveling?

“I really have been traveling a lot lately. It’s really silly how much I’ve been traveling. I take it all with me. I don’t want whatever shows up in a hotel—I don’t want to use a hotel cleanser on my face or hotel soap of any kind. So I just put it in a little guy, and I take it. If I’m checking a bag, I chuck it all in, and because it’s a drugstore brand, it’s easy to find if I forget something, and it’s easy to replace if I forget it in a hotel shower. It’s not stressful, so I take it.”

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