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X-Men: Apocalypse and The Newsroom star Olivia Munn may be 36 years old, but she could easily pass for a decade younger. A self-proclaimed skincare nerd since a young age (it dovetails nicely with her tech obsession), Munn first learned the importance of cleansing and sun protection from her mother.
While she’s more minimal when it comes to makeup, Munn says her half-Chinese heritage means that her face can “change drastically” depending on which products she’s wearing and how they’re applied, so she’s also got that part down to — what else? — a science.
Below, the scoop on Munn’s tomboy past and beauty favorites.
Tell me about your relationship with makeup and beauty — is it something you’ve always been into?
Not at all. I didn’t really even know how to put on eyeshadow until I was, like, 16 years old! I remember the first time I bought makeup: I was 16, and I bought a CoverGirl eyeshadow. And I had to look on the back of the package just to see how to put it on — I had no idea.
Were you not allowed to wear makeup before then?
Oh, we were allowed to! I have two sisters, and for Christmas, they’d get a set of rollers and I would get a skateboard. I just didn’t care about any of that stuff. And then later in life, when I started getting into it — like, I still don’t know how to braid hair. My sisters do. It’s a skill they learned as little girls because they cared, and I just didn’t!
But I’ve always been into skin. Early on, my mom impressed on us how important it was to have a good skincare routine, to wear sunglasses so you don’t wind up squinting all the time, to wear sunscreen. So that’s always been something that’s very important to me. And it’s still something I believe in, that real beauty starts from within. It’s about health as much as it is about beauty; when you’re healthy, your skin reflects that.
What does your usual skincare routine look like?
It’s pretty simple! I’m a big believer in making things simple so you do them all the time. If it’s too complicated, I just won’t do it. Sometimes I get to try out new products, and I do think it’s great to go a little outside your routine and try new things, but a lot of them are so complicated I don’t even know how to use them!
So I wash my face every morning using Proactiv’s three-step system [Ed. note: Munn is a spokeswoman for the brand]. Then, I put on sunscreen — that’s very important — and I reapply it throughout the day. I think a lot of people don’t realize that your sunscreen wears off over the course of the day! I love Proactiv’s sunscreen, but I also have a mineral powder one that’s great to put on over your makeup during the day. Because, you know, you can’t take off your makeup and reapply sunscreen several times a day!
I also keep makeup wipes by my bed. It’s so important to wash your face before bed, but, you know, you get lazy! So as long as I have the wipes by my bed, I can just use five or six of those to get everything off. We all have our lazy days. And moisturizing every night, no matter what. And I exfoliate every day.
Yeah! Not always with a product, but with a face brush I use with my regular face wash. Someone told me this a while back, and it makes a lot of sense: If you look at men, they don’t ever get wrinkles around their lips — because they shave. So they’re basically constantly exfoliating.
I wouldn’t say you should shave your face or anything, but you can do the same thing with a brush. It’ll change your skin. Any by the way, when you exfoliate, you’re not only getting rid of that top layer of dead skin, but you’re also encouraging collagen growth.
So how about makeup? Do you tend to use the same products every day?
Because I’m Asian, my eyes are on the smaller side — so instead of wearing a lot of eye makeup, I’m big on a cheek and a lip. Chanel makes an amazing foundation that I love, and I’ll mix it with La Mer’s face oil. The oil makes a big difference; it makes the foundation more lightweight and smoother, and I think it lasts longer, too. Because no matter how beautiful a foundation is, it can get cake-y over the course of the day and settle into fine lines.
My face can change drastically with makeup. Being multi-ethnic, being Chinese-American, my bone structure is different. And with the wrong makeup, my eyes can completely disappear! Like, putting highlighter between the eyes looks really pretty on a lot of people, but it makes me look cross-eyed. And too much makeup on my cheekbones makes my cheeks look huge. It’s weird little things like that.