Reese Witherspoon Talks to Gritty Pretty About Beauty and Female Empowerment

Just like all women, Reese Witherspoon is a wearer of many hats.

As a mother, an actress and business woman, Reese Witherspoon has little time to spend on an extensive makeup regimen, she laughs down the phone from Malibu, California, where she’s chatting to Gritty Pretty. “It’s definitely about balance. I try to make the time to take care of myself because I think those little things you do for yourself every day are so important. I have a five-, 10- and 30-minute makeup routine—although I usually only have time for the five-minute routine—which I have down to about seven products. The key being concealer, eyeliner, mascara, blush, as well as a bright lip colour.”

It’s a bright lip that forms part of the reasons why I was fortunate enough to chat with Reese—and let me tell you, I was desperate to tell her just how many times I’ve watched Legally Blonde and Big Little Lies, but don’t worry, I played it (somewhat) cool. As the Storyteller-in-Chief for Elizabeth Arden, Reese is at the forefront of championing initiatives like March On, where throughout the month of March, the brand donated 100% of proceeds of the sale of the Beautiful Color Moisturising Lipstick in Pink Punch globally to UN Women, to advance women’s issues worldwide. Each product has her signature stamped on the bullet, and it’s an initiative she is obviously proud to be a part of. “By creating products that benefit the UN Women’s programs, [Elizabeth Arden] are really telling the world how much they truly care for their customers and women’s rights around the world,” she explains. As we all know, empowerment comes in many forms but when it comes to beauty, there’s nothing like a slick of bright lipstick to give you a confidence boost. “I love powerful colours that bring positivity and spirit, and I have a bright lipstick in my purse all the time,” says Reese. “Pink Punch in particular is just so happy, and there’s something so optimistic about a bold lip that makes you feel ready for the world,” she says.

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Reese first felt a synergy with the brand when she heard the story of how Elizabeth Arden built her beauty empire. “I really saw a kinship between myself and her story, and what a fierce advocate she was for women, so it felt like a natural partnership [for me] to extend the messaging to her customers about what an incredible woman she was.” With her own burgeoning empire, professionally, female empowerment is also at the forefront of each and every project Reese takes on. As an actress but also a producer (she runs her own media company Hello Sunshine) she has made a name for herself creating content and producing television and film written by women, starring women and focusing on women’s narratives. “I think if you cannot see yourself on film, it’s hard to imagine a world that values you. The mission of Hello Sunshine is to put women at the centre of their stories, whether that’s them writing the story, they’re the photographer or director, but also just getting stories that are about women, by women, out into the world,” she says. “I think if we can see a broader range of the female experience, I think we’ll understand each other better as people, because we’re not seeing the same body type represented or the same skin colour represented or the same sexuality represented over and over again. It doesn’t progress society forward.”

With so much on her plate, I ask Reese how she carves out time for herself. And when she does, what does that look like? She answers honestly: “I think if you don’t take care of yourself, you start to forget who you are,” she says. Take something as simple as her skincare regimen, for example. “I wear a lot of makeup at work, so it’s important that I have clean, well-hydrated skin. I take off my makeup every night and use the Retinol Ceramide Capsules—they really help with my skin tone and texture, as well as the Ceramide Night Cream, which smells so good. In the morning I use the Advanced Ceramide Capsules just as a serum after I wash my face, followed by the Prevage City Smart sunscreen, and then I go to work and put makeup on top of that!” Life can get in the way, too. “We’re all so busy with work, friendships and family that we start to lose ourselves a little bit, and I think it’s important to take care of yourself with things that make you feel good and like your best self. Which also means investing your time well—who you spend time with, what books you read, what ideas do you put in your head that make you uniquely you—I think all of those things are really important to maintaining your individuality,” she says.

In a time when there has never been more pressure for women to do—and have it all—Reese says she feels optimistic about the future for her own daughter, Ava, age 19, and her peers. “I think we’re in a period where we’re more conscious of what we consume, we want brands to be more transparent about their ethics and what they really believe in,” she explains. “We want media and film that shows us proper representation of the world we really live in and the way we really look, think and feel, so I think it’s a progressive time. We’re learning a lot and I think there are a lot of great changes that are coming about.”

Leading by example, it’s clear that Reese has a wealth of advice and wisdom to pass onto her children, especially Ava. “I try to tell her to be positive every day,” says Reese. “People are more attracted to people who are positive and joyful, and to remember to always be additive to every community and in every interaction that you have. My mother taught me that and I think it’s great life advice.” Talk about girl power.


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