Jessica Chastain On Beauty, Ralph Lauren, And Femininity

Famous for working in movies with feminist undertones, Jessica Chastain has made a mark in Hollywood. Whether its TV shows or movies, she has worked in record-breaking projects.

Vogue spoke to Jessica Chastain about the things she considers important when it comes to beauty.

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Jessica Chastain



“Sunscreen is really important to me. I read a while ago that if you put vitamin C on before sunscreen it makes the sunscreen more effective, so I do that. I like Skinceuticals C E Ferulic. Jut a couple of drops every day before sunscreen. For me, drinking water is really important and also I’m vegan, and I think diet absolutely helps with your skin. Day to day I don’t wear foundation. Sissy Spacek told me that when I worked with her on The Help. She said, “honey with our skin, it’s best not to cover it up, it’s good to see our freckles”. She said she’d never worn foundation except when she was playing a part, and I thought that was really interesting. So day to day I just put some concealer on.”


“There’s a facialist I go to at Ling Spa near Union Square in New York, her name is Mary. She’s so thorough. The first time I went I thought I’d be there for an hour. I was in there for three hours! She does extractions but she doesn’t damage your skin. She’s very delicate and she does a lot of masks – I’m constantly under a layer of goop.”


“I’ve always talked about the YSL red – I’ve loved that red lip forever. I love a look that’s really bare-faced with a red lip, it’s so French and so cool. Barely any eye make-up and messy hair and you’re good to go. It feels so easy but it’s also so glamorous.”


“I don’t over shampoo it. I don’t like to strip the oils out of my hair. And maybe because I like to stay out of the sun I wear a hat a lot which probably protects it. Sometimes I go to sleep with a hair mask on, or coconut oil. I love coconut oil. I leave it on to really sink in. Would I dye it? I have these fantasies about maybe one day having this rad white hair. I just played a character in X-Men where I had very white hair and wear hardly any make-up. It really puts your focus on your face. Especially not wearing mascara. It’s a cool look, it’s very Tilda Swinton. I have the Tilda Swinton envy every once in a while, she’s so rad.”

Jessica Chastain


“We were just in New York celebrating Ralph Lauren’s 50th anniversary, it was so much fun. It was really emotional, actually. After the show when he started walking along the runway with all his designs from over the years I teared up a bit. It’s wonderful to be part of that brand. And then to be working on a perfume called Woman makes me really happy. I’ve always been someone who is a big supporter of gender equality and illuminating the pay gap and putting women in positions of power and leadership. It’s great to see that the campaign is partnering with organisations like Women In Film and creating initiatives like #LeadLikeAWoman, that will inspire young girls. And, I love the fragrance! I love the white florals, I love the sandalwood… it’s feminine but it feels strong and that’s important.”


“When I’m playing parts I choose a different scent for each part I play. So when I’m reading about something or studying a role I figure out, what would this person smell like? Because I find that fragrance is such a personal choice. It’s how you’re presenting yourself in the world. Day to day I’ll take Woman and spray it on a cotton ball in the morning and then put that in my bra. Throughout the day your body heat warms the oils in the scent, so it’s not overpowering and stays with you all day.”

Jessica Chastain


“I think it’s important not to wear much make-up on planes. Also the air is really dry so I’m someone that spritzes rosewater a lot. First of all I love the way it smells. It’s so relaxing and calming and really good for your skin. I also do a lot of masks on the plane but it’s weird if someone recognises me. I used to put a mask on my face and go to sleep. But I don’t want someone taking a picture of me asleep with a mask on my face. That feels somehow violating.”


“I love Mildred’s, I was there for lunch a couple of days ago. And I know this sounds so touristy but I love going to Portobello Road. The clothes there are so cool and weird and I like just walking around. Also the Electric movie theatre is really good. And I like Gray’s Antique Market. I like looking at antique jewellery.”


“I get a little shy on the red carpet. It’s a bit strange. But I do love fashion. So that’s what makes me so excited, wearing a dress I really love. I like wearing clothing that makes me feel I’m expressing something. Standing on the red carpet is a bit awkward. What people at home don’t realise is the photographers, they’re so sweet but they’re all yelling at you at the same time trying to get you to look at their lens. I get shy really easily – I get shy when people sing me happy birthday – so to be in a place where everyone’s like, “Jessica, Jessica, Jessica” feels overwhelming at times.”


“I look for things that inspire me. I ask myself, what am I putting out into the world? Am I contributing in a positive way or am I telling old stereotypes and old ideas of what women were or what women were thought to be? It’s really important for me to move the needle in some way and shock people and surprise them. So sometimes I’ll play characters that may not be the nicest or may not be the most relatable, I guess, but I really want to challenge people’s perceptions of what women are. In the past women have been presented as just something to look at, a physical ideal, instead of for what we had to say. I think it’s so interesting. I think we’re moving society forward in a really profound way. People are really holding each other accountable. Women are actually looking out for other women and saying, we aren’t going to allow society to work – or not work! – in the way it has in the past.”

Jessica Chastain

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“We’re in a really interesting time and the definition of what it means to be feminine is evolving. I think we used to see it as something that could be quite limiting, what a woman should be and how she should present herself. Now we’re learning that it’s less about how we present ourselves physically and more about what we have to say. And who we are and what we’re saying leads us to how we present ourselves physically. That to me is what femininity is, being comfortable in your own skin. Not limiting your voice when you have something to say. In my job, if I had something to say, I used to feel like: “I don’t want to be difficult”, or “I don’t want to rock the boat”, and now I understand that I’ve been hired to do a job and if I sit in the background and don’t say something that’s going to uplift the project that we’re working on, then I’m not doing my job and am actually doing myself and my company a disservice.”

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