It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since Jessica Alba nudged her acting career to the side to launch The Honest Company, which started as a subscription service for baby products and has since expanded into dozens of new categories, including beauty. “We have in-house labs, which is how we can really choose not to use over 2,500 ingredients and still have super high efficacy standards,” Alba tells me on a recent Zoom interview. “It allows me the flexibility to fulfill my dream of building a company that can stand for such high standards while never compromising on trust and safety, and thinking about people’s health and wellness, as well as the planet.” Here, the A-lister and mom of three dishes on her latest makeup launches, her favorite skin-care tools and the big change she’s experienced since turning 40.
You recently launched Fresh Flex Concealer, which is getting rave reviews. What makes it so good?
“After four years of development with my team, we were able to formulate a really amazing product and have it perform on any level of a conventional product—it even outperforms a lot of them, in luxury beauty and mass. You can use it as a spot-treatment, you can use it on your whole face or you can use it to contour. It gives you the flexibility, hence the name, to do that. Our Clean Power Technology and the addition of skin-care ingredients like hyaluronic acid and niacinamide give it long-wear properties, whereas most makeup products use chemicals to make them long-wearing.”
Which shade do you use?
“I did a video with Sir John recently that’s gonna come out soon, and he said most people should use three colors. And I pretty much flex between three colors myself depending on the season and area of my face: Tawny, Nutmeg [pictured below] and Fawn. I like to spot-conceal under my eyes and on any sort of pigmentation issue I have, like dark spots, light spots and redness. And then I like to use a little bit of a deeper color around my hairline, under my jawline, in the hollows of my cheeks and down the bridge of my nose to bring the shape back into my face. If you have too much of all one color, it flattens out all the angles of your face. I’ve learned that you can contour in a really subtle way.”
Now that Honor is a teenager, does she help you test any new products or give you feedback?
“I try to coax my kids a lot, but they’re more so in their own little worlds. I like to solicit feedback from them and their friends, but I try to be chill about it. Actually my 10-year-old daughter Haven likes our lash serum. You can wear it during the day for a treatment with a little bit of color. I made a clear one, but also brown and black, and she likes the brown one because she has white lashes—she has red hair. It’s not really ‘makeup,’ but she likes the way it makes her feel.”
Speaking of lashes, I heard you have a new volumizing mascara, too. Tell me more!
“I’m really excited about this one. We’re known for having one of the best—a lot of people think it’s the best—mascaras for sensitive eyes, or ‘clean mascara,’ because it really does perform at the level of conventional mascara. It has a primer on one end and a lengthening mascara on the other. We were looking more closely at the category and other things we could do, and there were a lot of requests for a volumizing formula. The thing that makes it so special is that it offers the blackest black you can get because we actually put cobalt blue coloring in the primer, which makes the black look richer. There are three different lengths of fibers in the mascara so it gives you a lot of fullness—really fat lashes—for a beautiful ‘clean’ experience.
You really don’t see anything at this level with our same standards. There’s a lot of ‘clean-washing’ out there because some people think if a product is vegan and free of one or two ingredients, it’s clean, but our ingredient list exceeds a lot of the clean mascaras out there. We adhere to very strict standards that exceed many beauty retailers’ standards for clean beauty.”
Let’s talk about skin care. Has your skin changed in your 40s?
“I have to say I’m really on top on my skin care, so not really, but my body is more the thing where I’m like, ‘What the hell is going on? This is different.’ [laughs] I guess it’s because your metabolism changes. Things are just sort of settling differently and that’s a little bit weird to get used to.
But back to skin care, we created super effective skin care for people with sensitive skin because I was looking for highly moisturizing products that wouldn’t break me out—when I was an actress, I had various levels of acne complications and eczema—and the Calm + Heal Melting Balm has been a life-changer for me. I use it every night—I apply our Resurfacing Serum, then The Daily Calm Lightweight Moisturizer, and the Balm on top. During the day, I just use the Moisturizer under our sunscreen, which has a matte finish and is super lightweight. Just give it a good shake—it’s freaking awesome. We also have a new skin-care collection coming soon, so stay tuned.”
What about tools?
“I love Shani’s new LED Mask, and actually Honor uses it as well. I also love her vibrating face tool. Nurse Jamie has a great vibrating eye tool called EYEONIX, which is super gentle yet powerful. I also love those cold globes you put on your face.”
Are there any other products in your everyday arsenal that you can’t live without?
“I also use our Honestly Bright Eyes, which is something that really flexes between a makeup product and a skin-care product, and it’s actually life-changing. Every beauty and fashion influencer friend of mine who uses it is like, ‘What the heck is this?’ I even got my manager to use it and now he can’t live without it. He’s like, ‘I look too good.’ [laughs] The more kindness you put into your skin care at any age, the more it will love you back. If you do nothing and expect it to look as dope as it did back in the day, that’s just not going to happen.”