Cate Blanchett’s Clear Cause
Splashing fresh, clean water on your face might not seem like a luxury, but it actually is for many women in Asian communities without access to safe, uncontaminated water. This disturbing situation spurred SK-II—the Japanese skincare brand—to launch Clear for Life, a global project that aims to donate 30 million liters of clean, purified water to areas most in need this year. The initiative’s passionate supporter: Australian actress and SK-II global ambassador Cate Blanchett, who’s donated three million liters already and isn’t done spreading the word. The actress appears in a short video just released on the SK-II Web site, prompting visitors to “Share the Word” via Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. (For every click, SK-II will donate one liter of water). Here, Blanchett filled us in on her connection to this cause, her sun protection advice, and a five-minute beauty trick from Dame Judi Dench that she’s never forgotten.
Tell us about how you got involved with Clear for Life.
Growing up in Australia, I’ve always lived in drought areas, so dealing with a lack of water has been a concern of mine for a long time. Also, SK-II is a Japanese brand and with all that’s going on in Japan right now, it’s encouraging to lend support since it’s so easy to feel despondent and hopeless in the face of a natural disaster.
Do you spend a lot of time in Asia?
I consider Australia part of Oceania and I’ve lived in Saigon, Singapore, and other places in Asia over the years. It’s a constant reference point for me culturally.
Have you picked up any Asian beauty secrets?
Well, I share an obsession with being pale! I was a bit of a freak growing up. It was cool to be tanned and only Irish tourists stayed out of the sun. When I started working with SK-II, they thought it was interesting that I was already using the whitening range. At one point, I did go so far as to carry a parasol; I was filming a movie, Oscar and Lucinda, and I had to keep my skin very pale.
What other sun-shielding secrets do you have for protecting your complexion?
I moisturize with SK-II’s Facial Treatment UV Protection SPF 25 and apply the Cellumination Cream every day. If I’m going out in the sun, I’ll use mineral sunscreen from ColorScience on top. I also love Invisible Zinc sunblock; it comes in a stick and I can put it on a key ring. It does what it says—it’s completely invisible on your skin.
Have you learned any innovative tricks with a makeup brush?
I’ve gotten better at applying makeup. I used to look like I got punched in the face when I did it myself! Now, I manage to look good. I never leave the house without MAC liquid eyeliner and lipstick. NARS has some great lip colors and I love the range from Edward Bess. It’s hard-to-wear red lipstick sometimes but he makes these blue-based reds that look beautiful on.
What’s the best beauty tip you’ve discovered on set?
It’s very specific and odd. But Judi Dench taught me this amazing trick. She told me that if your hands get hot and vein-y, you should hold them up in the air for five minutes. It gets the blood flowing out of your hands, and it really works. I’ve tried it!
What’s been the toughest role on your skin?
I would say Benjamin Button because of all the prosthetic makeup I had to wear for so many long hours. For the deathbed scene, my character had to look 86 years old, so it required a lot of makeup and we only had ten days to shoot. It was a brutal time. I remember using a lot of SK-II Facial Treatment Masks. They’re very gentle, almost medicinal, and very soothing if your skin is raw or really reactive.
What roles are you tackling next?
My partner and I run a theater company so we’ll be doing a number of productions through the end of the year. I’m also going to pop in and out of The Hobbit. I’ll be back in Middle Earth to film a few scenes, hi-ho!—Kari Molvar