Talking Skincare (and a Little Surfing), With Newly Named SK-II Face Kate Bosworth
It’s been a big couple of months for Kate Bosworth. The onetime Calvin Klein model, who is engaged to director Michael Polish, celebrated the debut of his film Big Sur at Sundance in January, a movie that she also stars in, while earning top billing in the big-budget Hollywood picture Homefront, also due out this year. But her biggest news, aside from that Topshop Christmas “movie” she and Polish collaborated on back in December, just might be SK-II’s announcement that the blonde beauty has been named the newest member of its spokesperson stable. Why, after what I imagine has been a steady stream of offers from cosmetics companies, did Bosworth go with SK-II? “I love the brand, so it really wasn’t a difficult decision,” she says genuinely—and Bosworth doesn’t enter into these things lightly. After an intimate interview, she proved herself to not only be a genuine practitioner of what she will be preaching but an incredibly informed beauty consumer as well. While we missed her in the front row at the shows this week (as previously mentioned, she’s been busy), Style.com managed to catch up with the actress, model, and would-be designer to talk the fundamentals of the dermis and epidermis—at her urging, no less—the science behind her red-carpet dressing, and makeup must-haves for the low-maintenance girl.—Celia Ellenberg
In today’s world of celebrity beauty deals, I’ve gotta believe that you’ve been approached with a cosmetics contract before. What was it about SK-II that made you bite?
It was a very organic natural process. Truly, the brand called and asked if I use their products, which I think is a great sign of integrity for a brand, rather than just sending an offer for someone to be the face without knowing if they care or even like their product—which happens a dime a dozen now. And I responded and said yes, I love the product, this is how long I’ve been using it, this is who introduced me to it, and this is why I started using the brand and the results I have seen. Based off of that dialogue, I think everyone felt like it was a good fit.
What specific products were you using at the time? I know everyone has their favorites.
I was introduced to the brand through the masks. It’s such a quick fix. I mean, you see results instantly. I think anyone who has that experience is like, “What is this brand?” It was during a press junket and, you know, the wear and tear during a press junket is pretty extreme. So my makeup artist recommended the mask, and I usually put it on for about forty-five minutes, and I also put them in the fridge. I have them here with me! I keep them in the minibar. It was from that that I really started to investigate the brand. My regimen is cleansing, then using the Essence, which is amazing. You really see results, because it has the highest concentration of [the fermented rice derivative] Pitera.
You seem like a fairly knowledgeable consumer. Previous to this partnership, was skincare always an important part of your beauty routine?
I’m a very low-maintenance person when it comes to makeup and hair. But in terms of skincare, I’ve always been passionate about it. I struggled with acne when I was in high school, so when you struggle with something, or are aware of something, you need to understand the workings of it. I took anatomy as an elective when I was in high school. I guess that gives you an insight into me—and it was my senior year, by the way, when everyone else was taking, like, woodworking. But I learned a lot about the fundamentals of the dermis and epidermis, and it’s the largest organ that we have, and it gets the most environmental abuse, and for some reason we don’t even really see it as that. Or value it in that way. And so I’ve always been relatively passionate and knowledgeable. I was also searching for a brand that you could mix the products and get the benefits you need and tailor it to you. This brand really does have a great umbrella for all of your needs.
Even being a “low-maintenance” kind of girl, are there staples that you still have?
I’ll always have a concealer stick. I really like this one from YSL, although I really am always on the hunt for the perfect foundation. I truly like anything that’s easy and multifunctional. I like the Nars Multiple—I think the color that I use a lot is Malibu. I also like the YSL blush pots. They look kind of neon. Anything that you can raise and lower the volume with easily is up my alley.
I’ve always been impressed with the caliber of beauty you bring to the red carpet, often taking full looks—clothes, hair, and makeup—right off the runway. When you and your stylist, Cher Coulter, plan a look, do you often pull references?
I don’t pull reference so much with beauty. It’s more of an instinctual thing. It’s also a mood-based thing. It really does depend on how I’m feeling in a moment. Sometimes I feel a little more ladylike. It just depends on where I am in my life and what’s been happening. I love fashion, and so I’ll know. I take a look at all the runway shows as they come out and make notes of things I would like to wear if I’m blessed to have the opportunity. So if there’s a certain event coming up that I think is appropriate, I’ll say to Cher, “I’d love to ask Proenza if this is available,” and I’ll send her ten different looks, and I’ll see what comes back.
You were a front-row fixture at the shows last Spring. Is there anything specific that you saw that got you really excited?
All of it. I’m excited about American fashion. I’m excited about the amount of young talent that we have, and this season I wanted to support them in any way that I could, and observe. There’s so much work that’s put into these five minutes, and it’s really important to think about that. You know how it is! You rush to the next, you do this, you write notes, but they’re artists. And ultimately they put so much passion and work into their collections. I was really happy to be able to sit and observe what they’ve done. I’ve known a lot of [the designers] for a while, and it’s really interesting for me to be able to see their journey—where they are now and where they might go next. Obviously, with Proenza opening their store, it was a really big year for them. They’re incredibly detailed, and the integrity of the brand will remain intact because of their passion for every single detail.
Will you play favorites for me, just for a second?
“Obviously, I love Proenza. Their Spring collection was masterful. It’s just incredible, their ability to mix the textures that they do and manipulate how they do, and, of course, adding the print was stunning. I love Olivier [Theyskens], and he is such a kind person. He’s an artist in every sense of the word. You sit with him and you hear it. I live-streamed his show with Derek Blasberg. We commented on the show. So the day before, we went to the studio and he talked us through the whole collection for a couple of hours, and it was fascinating to hear his thought process, and it was kind of a cerebral connection, what was in his mind wasn’t a literal translation to what you saw. Sometimes you’ll see something and be like, “That’s obviously a literal translation of what they’ve been inspired by,” but this was definitely more cerebral, and so it’s interesting to hear what he was inspired by. And he’s taking a big stride now by overseeing all of Theory. It’s interesting. It’s great to see where he’s going.
There were reports that surfaced last season that you’re working on your own fashion line. Is that still happening?
It’s a dialogue, and it will come together at the right time, with the right pieces. It’s not something I’m rushing into, but it’s something I would like to do. I would like to do it, but I’m also so careful about talking about it, because I have a real respect for this industry and the work that goes into it, so if I tackle this, it would be with that mind-set.
Aside from fashion superstardom, what else are you working on right now? I know that you just played a meth addict in the upcoming Homefront…
It’s the only job in the world where I can go from looking so bad, as a meth addict, to being an official ambassador for a beauty brand. It’s an interesting life that we lead. So, yes, I just finished Homefront with James Franco and Jason Statham and Winona Ryder. It’s a good ol’ American movie, in the sense that there’s action in it, and it’s exciting in the sense that it’s mostly character driven, so I think there will be something for everyone in the film. And then Big Sur, which is where I met my [fiancée] Michael [Polish]. We were just at Sundance with that movie, and it’s just masterful and beautiful. I mean, to translate Kerouac from literature to cinema is near to an impossible task, and I’m so proud of him, because it’s really beautifully done. So I’m excited for everyone to be able to see that.
One more question for you, as I am a die-hard Blue Crush fan. Do you still surf?
No…I took that one on sort of fast and furious, because I had never touched a surfboard, and it was quite a feat. I loved it, just immersed myself, truly. You know, everyone asks me what was the most difficult role I’ve ever done, and they think I’m joking when I say Blue Crush! I mean, my body changed—it completely morphed. I think actors are kind of athletic anyways, in their mind-set, but this was me changing my whole being to the point that I was not even an actor anymore. I was an athlete, and I was training for something because it was just overwhelming, the amount of physicality. A lot of people ask me if I still surf, though! You know, I think if I went back to Hawaii…I don’t like to be cold, and I was a bit spoiled in that situation.
Photo: Courtesy of SK-II