In case you couldn't already tell from her flat lays on Instagram or product reviews on Snapchat, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley knows her shit when it comes to beauty. It's not just in the makeup she creates (Rosie For Autograph) or the hair elixirs she swears by and gets paid to push (Moroccanoil), either. The proof is in the way her skin and hair always manages to look damn near flawless — despite the jam-packed schedule that comes with being a model-slash-actress-slash-new mum. Which, she'll tell you, takes a hell of a lot more work than it appears.
"My skin is, essentially, the canvas of what I do, so it's important for me to look after it the best way I can," she tells Refinery29. "I'm diligent. I take the time to learn about my skin and invest in the best products I can."
Her medicine cabinet sees no shortage of all-natural blends that are effective yet self-indulgent — which makes her partnership with French beauty brand Caudalíe picture-perfect. Ahead, Huntington-Whiteley shares the biggest skincare lessons she's learned, what it's really like to be backstage at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, and more.
Her Biggest Beauty Regret
"When I was 19, I remember going to the [tanning] salon in New York before a big shoot, and laying down on the bed and thinking, 'This is so warm and lovely.' Then I got home and started to move around and felt that my bum was really sore. My butt had never seen daylight before, so it was that milky, English, white skin, and now it was red and raw. It was sore for at least three days — I couldn't sit down — and it took weeks for the swelling to go down."
What Backstage Is Actually Like
There's a reason the phrase "The bigger the hair, the closer to Jesus" comes to mind when Huntington-Whiteley was asked to describe her time walking the Victoria's Secret runway. "We lived by two things: dry shampoo and hairspray," she says. "If I could sum up my career in one scent, it would be the L'Oréal [Elnett] Hairspray. Any time I smell it, it takes me right back to being 16 on my first shoot."
The first time she got a whiff of the Caudalíe Beauty Elixir was also at a fashion show. "It was one of those crazy moments where I was being pulled around backstage; someone was taking off my makeup, and after they were done, they sprayed it on my face. I remember being transported to another dimension almost [laughs]."
How She Made Her Big Career Jump
When Huntington-Whiteley transitioned from modelling to movies (she starred in back-to-back action films Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Mad Max: Fury Road), she noticed one major difference: "Beauty on a movie set is so different to how it is in fashion, because with movie makeup you're not learning how to use the products in real life," she says. "The makeup artists on set are trained completely differently."
Shooting was different, too. "Both were environmentally intense. With Mad Max, we were in the desert for six months. I had prosthetics put on my face every morning; I had scars applied with makeup, and I was [outside] with wind and dust, so it was havoc on my skin. You hair also gets really battered because you're in the hair and makeup chair every single day, five or six days a week, for six months. I think that the thing I've picked up on a movie set is a hair treatment."