Emmy Rossum on Her Ethereal Glow, Strange Skin Obsession, and Designer Wish List
Emmy Rossum’s complexion is comparable to a Vermeer in that her alabaster skin seems to glow like the subjects in one of the Flemish master’s portraits. She attributes this flawless facade to Restorsea, for which she is now an ambassador. Here, the brazen Shameless actress shares her skin secrets—along with her YouTube obsession, what’s on her Pinterest board, and the designers she’s desperate to track down.
Let’s start with the obvious: What does your skincare regimen entail?
It’s kind of evolved! In my late twenties, acne isn’t as much of a concern anymore and I want to start hydrating. It’s more [about] preventing aging and keeping my skin really [moisturized] and glow-y, especially because so many TVs are HD now. With the Internet, people can blow up your face to the size of their screen and see all of your pores. I had to throw all of my magnifying mirrors out of my house. Actually, my makeup artist from Shameless took them from me because I would just get in there and destroy my face. I’ve learned to not pick, and just let products do what they do. I cleanse with the Restorsea cleanser, which I really like because it gets rid of dead skin cells [without] exfoliating the healthy ones. And then I love its day cream. Sometimes if I’m extra dry, I’ll add in a drop of oil from Beautycounter. And if I use my day cream, I always make sure to apply it all the way down to my neck in the event that my face gets dry—your face will always pull moisture up from your neck.
After you’re done filming or doing a photo shoot, how do you keep your complexion in check? Is there anything that you do differently?
I love to use a Clarisonic together with whatever cleanser I’m using, because it really just gets in there and takes out the extra dirt and oil from your pores. It makes the products that you use afterward work better, I think. I love to go for facials, too.
Not to blow up your spot, but who is your facialist?
I go to Tony [Silla], at Face Place. They put that very strange mask on you. You look like Hannibal Lecter, and it has electric stimulation currents that pulse on your face. It’s not glamorous at all, but it’s very basic and really cleansing. Sometimes I’ll also do a light peel there around Christmastime if no one’s going to see me.
Being a native New Yorker, how do you survive the blustery weather—you know, on days it’s not 60 degrees in the middle of December—and keep your skin soft?
I like to keep eye cream with me at all times, because I find that it’s small and it can hydrate under your eyes and double as lip moisture, cuticle moisture, and elbow moisture—everything gets so awfully dry during the winter. Sometimes by midafternoon, [my foundation gets] kind of congealed, especially in the cold weather, which can dry your face out and make the makeup look like it’s sitting on top rather than being a part of the skin. I find that adding a bit of eye cream under your eye and on your cheek area can refresh everything and kind of bring [your complexion] back to life. Almost like what you would do in the summer with an Evian spray or rose water.
What about your go-to foundation?
Any other makeup must-haves?
I always have Kiehl’s lip balm with me. The original one, not tinted—we use it on Shameless instead of lipstick. I also really like the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour blushers. I don’t like blushers that have any iridescence to them, because I find that whatever the particle [is that makes them shiny] makes my cheeks break out. And I don’t usually like cream blushers for the same reason.
Have you always embraced being fair?
I would definitely say that I went through a time when all of my friends were blond and really into bronzer. I was probably 14, and I would go to Sephora and just put bronzer on my collarbone and cheekbones, down my nose, and under my chin, and I probably, for a summer, looked a bit crazy. But I got over that really quickly, because I found that what you’re born with is actually the best color for you, which is the same reason why I don’t really color my hair.
I read that you watch pimple-popping videos on YouTube. I’m curious, how exactly did you get into that…because I can’t even get through one.
I can even watch the ones where they’re like, “It’s been growing for ten years!” And [the person is] in a doctor’s office and they get a scalpel out. There’s some kind of serotonin that’s released in my brain when I watch them. It’s definitely not normal, but I find it outrageously funny—I have a strange sense of humor. I think that I was on set and somebody had a pimple, so we were trying to figure out the best way to get rid of it, and this led us to a bunch of pimple-popping videos that were disgusting. This also led us to this realization that if you ever have a very tiny whitehead, instead of squeezing it as you would, you can actually take a little fine-nosed tweezer and just take the whitehead out without cutting the surface.
Interesting. Moving on, I heard the fish pedicure is one thing you can’t get into. You can watch pimple-popping videos, but this grosses you out?
Yes. I mean, that’s what pumice stones are for. I don’t want to subject fish to that—no.
Is there a beauty look you’d never try?
No, in fact, I would even do cornrows—I’m really into the idea of doing that for the Met Ball one year. I don’t know why, but I think that would be really cool.
You and Cara Delevingne. Anything else you’re dying to debut?
I love Vaseline on eyelids, like a really shiny eye. I think that’s really fun. Or that Eight Hour Cream, you can put it on over eye shadow and create a really glossy texture. It’s probably more for photo shoots and editorial, but it could be kind of fun…as long as you don’t plan on wiping your eyes.
I heard that you use Style.com as a tool for choosing what you’re going to wear on the red carpet, and that you’ll often pin images. What’s on your Pinterest board at the moment?
Hold on, I’m going to go to it right now. I have so many different Pinterest boards, but the one that I use Style.com for is just called “clothes.” I have one for hair, and one for makeup as well. I also have one for nails, like nail art that I love or nail colors that I love. [Sometimes] I’ll get so bummed out because I’ll go on Style.com and I’ll see that somebody amazing wore the Valentino gown, and then I have to go on Pinterest and delete it. It’s like, Oh God, how did they get to it before I did? I had this really cute dress by Michael Kors that’s Pre-Fall 2013, it’s strapless in a kind of black-and-yellow print. For Valentino, I have the dress that was red velvet on the top with the kind of printed bottom—it has dragonflies on it…oh, and then I have this Andrew Gn dress that I want to wear that’s from the Spring 2014 collection that he did with the gold birds on everything. The dresses are gorgeous. And then I have designers that I still need to get their e-mails—they’re on my “to-find” list!
Who’s on that “to-find” list exactly?
I just met Juan Carlos Obando, so I’m happy I have his contact now. I met him at the CFDA thing. I still need David Koma. I need someone from David Koma to e-mail me back! And then I love Bibhu Mohapatra—he’s one of my favorite [under-the-radar] designers that I’d really love to wear.
We’ll put the word out.—Amber Kallor
Photo: Getty Images