Reese Witherspoon Explains Why She’s Proud of Her Gray Hair and Fine Lines
The Hollywood powerhouse serves up some big little truths — on aging, self-involvement, and the beauty ritual that changed her life.
Reese Witherspoon is one of those famous people who serves as a pop culture benchmark for anyone watching movies in the last 20-or-so years. Just like there’s a Spice Girl for everyone, there is a Reese Witherspoon for everyone (or at least for most relatable stages in your life) — naive heroine Annette in Cruel Intentions, the plucky and determined Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, a triumphant June Carter in Walk The Line, and of course, the indomitable Madeline Mackenzie in Big Little Lies. The Academy Award-winning actress has lived many lives, but in all of them her beauty journey has evolved to become the Reese Witherspoon who gave Allure’s beauty director this 15-minute interview, beginning here.
The best beauty tutorial
“My makeup artist, Molly R. Stern, taught me how to put on fake eyelashes. She hates that I put on a full strip, but I’m from the South — I love a good ol’-fashioned drugstore strip lash. I pop it on, put a little liquid liner over it, and I feel like my eyes look more open. I made a mess the first time, but then Molly showed me how to make it better. Always put liquid eyeliner over it.”
Her biggest beauty regret
“In the ’90s, we plucked our brows really thin. I said “we” — at least I did. And it just looked awful. Thank God, they grew back, but, I mean, who knows what they might look like now if I hadn’t plucked them into oblivion! ”
The never-again lipstick color
“Brown. Like, dark brown. It looked terrible, and it was immortalized on my driver’s license photo when I was 16 years old.”
And the ones she’ll never abandon
“A bright red, like Red Door Red from Elizabeth Arden, in winter; and in spring and summer, I like to wear Arden’s Pink Punch.” [Witherspoon is a spokesperson for Elizabeth Arden.]
Her secret for the perfect not-too-yellow, not-too-white blonde
“Her name’s Lorri Goddard. She’s been my colorist for 15 years and has taken me from blonde to red to brown, back to blonde. She’s meticulous about the balayage process and puts oil on the roots and tips so they don’t break. But it takes three hours to have my highlights done, no joke. I go every seven or eight weeks. I’m starting to get gray around the edges of my hairline. Lorri doesn’t like to call them grays, though. She says they’re ‘hyper-blondes.'”
Her vitamin regimen
“Prenatals. One of my girlfriends told me she takes them even though she’s not pregnant, so now I do, too. It makes my hair look better.”
The skin-care step she won’t skip
“I’m very regimented about washing my face at night. I wear a lot of makeup for work, so I have a tendency to break out around my chin and nose if I don’t get it all off. I use the Elizabeth Arden retinol capsules at night. I look more awake in the morning. They also even out the redness in my skin so I don’t have to wear as much foundation.”
Why she enjoys aging
“I have a point of view because I’ve been on this planet for 43 years, and I didn’t feel that same way when I was 25. I didn’t have the same things to say. I’m 43 and I’ve had a whole bunch of experiences, and I can speak with a thoughtfulness about the changes I’d like to see in the world, and…I just feel like I earned that gray hair and my fine lines. I like ’em. I so prefer 43 to 25.”
The last product she finished
“Probably bath salts. I mix the Goop ones with plain Epsom salts. I’ve been taking a bath every night for the past four years. It’s changed the way I sleep and the way I feel when I wake up — takes away all aches and pains. I also read so many books in the bath. They’re the antidote to self-involvement. Escaping to a different world and thinking about other people’s realities is really therapeutic for me.”
So, what to read next?
“Educated by Tara Westover. It’s about how you can overcome impossible things to become successful. Or become fulfilled, I should say. Westover’s childhood was just unreal, and I think so many people relate to that — having to get out of a really oppressive situation to find your own center and your own path.”