Kristen Bell Swears by Sunscreen for Youthful Skin at 40—and This $11 Pick Is Her Favorite

Nicol Natale
·7 min read
Kristen Bell Swears by Sunscreen for Youthful Skin at 40—and This $11 Pick Is Her Favorite

From Prevention

If you follow Kristen Bell on Instagram, you may have noticed that she loves to let her makeup-free skin breathe. The 40-year-old actress often gets glam for work, but prefers to go the natural route in her day-to-day life—and she’s constantly glowing.

It all starts with a solid skincare routine. “My skin is my biggest organ and it’s something that I and other people have to look at every day,” she told 29 Secrets. “I want my skin to be healthy because I care a lot about my body and how it functions.”

Bell explained that, even when her schedule gets a bit hectic, she never skips her skincare routine. That’s why she keeps it super simple. “I have worked to make it quick and easy so that nothing needs to be cut,” she said.

Here’s everything Bell has shared about her skincare routine, plus other healthy habits she prioritizes to keep her complexion looking its best.

1. She always removes her makeup before bed.

The first rule? “I never go to bed with makeup on,” Bell told Shape. She likes to double cleanse by first removing the day’s face with a wipe or coconut oil for particularly stubborn eye makeup. Then, she’ll use a more thorough cleanser.

She told W magazine in 2017 that “good skin starts with” double cleansing. “It’s just wiping off your makeup from your skin first and then using your cleanser so it can actually work to clean out your pores without any interference,” Bell explained.

As for her go-to cleanser, Bell has praised the Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser in the past. (Worth nothing: She is an ambassador for the brand.) “I’m not putting harsh chemicals, sulfates, parabens, petroleum, or dyes on my skin, but I’m getting the same results as everyone else,” she told ELLE.

2. But she skips her morning cleanse.

Since Bell goes to bed with squeaky-clean skin, she avoids another cleanse in the morning. “I believe in washing all of the grime off of your face at night, and I always like clean skin, but the oils that my skin produces during the night are vital to maintaining my moisture balance during the day,” she told ELLE.

“When I need to wake my face up, sometimes I’ll just put a hot towel on it for a minute or two. It just feels so, so nice,” she added. “It feels like you’re at a spa for a second. It pulls all the blood flow to my face and sort of wakes me up. I definitely do that before I put makeup on.”

3. Heavier moisturizers are key for her skin type.

“As I’m getting older, I’m realizing how important moisture is to my skin,” Bell told ELLE. She’s a huge fan of Neutrogena’s cult-favorite Hydro Boost Gel Cream, a rich-but-lightweight pick that’s packed with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid.

That said, sometimes she needs heavier picks. “I have such moisture issues,” she told HelloGiggles. “I’ve always used cold creams because I can’t use any twenty-something products. It doesn’t work.”

Bell’s makeup artist Simone Siegl told Refinery29 that she’ll go in with a moisturizing serum, like Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Hyaluronic Serum for a “bouncy glow,” before applying a richer cream. A favorite? The ever-popular (and pricey) La Mer Moisturizing Cream.

“She loves the thickness and the heavier texture of it, so we really slather it on, and it acts like a primer, if you will,” Siegl said. “Then, we start her makeup. But that base is the most important part, and honestly, it’s nothing different than what she does on her own. Kristen takes very good care of her skin.”

4. She applies a face oil if needed.

Because Bell has a dry complexion, her makeup artist said the actress will apply a face oil if needed (typically over her serum).

“I like the True Botanicals True Radiance Oil, which I found when Kristen told me she was trying to go more organic with her skincare routine,” Siegl told Refinery29. “It’s amazing because Kristen’s skin is dry and very light in tone, and I think adding this oil is the main key to keeping it dewy and youthful.”

The nourishing product is infused with various botanical oils, including rosehip, grapeseed, and hemp seed oils, squalane, vitamin E, and algae extract to keep skin hydrated.

5. She pampers her skin with face masks.

Bell told HelloGiggles she skips face peels because her skin is sensitive, and instead applies a face mask for a boost of hydration.

“We use Tata Harper’s Hydrating Floral one,” Siegl said. “As Kristen has gotten older, she has become a bit more ingredients-conscious and prefers clean products when she can. So, I use the Tata Harper on her and any other clients who want the most natural option.”

Bell also loves to apply a DIY face mask: a swipe of manuka honey, she told StyleCaster, which is known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. The actress leaves the honey on for about 10 minutes, and then simply rinses it off with water. Sometimes she adds in ingredients for a boost in exfoliation. “I throw a little sugar in,” she said, adding that the mask makes her skin feel smooth.

6. Sunscreen is a must.

“The most practical beauty ritual which gets me the best results is wearing sunscreen. I think that’s why I’ve been able to maintain a youthful appearance,” Bell told ELLE. “I love the sun, but it is not my friend, so applying sunscreen every morning is probably the most practical part of my beauty routine.”

The actress likes to have the Neutrogena UltraSheer Face & Body Stick SPF 70 on hand. “I keep them in my purse because I reapply them throughout the day, either under my eyes, or when I’m driving and the California sun is trying desperately to give me as many liver spots as possible on my hand, I’ll reapply all over my hand, and that’s very helpful,” she said.

Bell also told W that she likes Neutrogena’s Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 because “it has all the benefits of a mineral sunscreen, but doesn’t appear too white.” (Mineral sunscreens are known to be less irritating for sensitive complexions and safer for the oceans coral reefs.)

She can thank her mom for this tip: “My mom taught me really early on that [wearing sunscreen] was necessary because we were fair-skinned, and she also taught me that a full skincare regimen including sunscreen would do my skin favors later on in life.”

7. She prioritizes sleep.

Bell told R29 that a good night’s sleep makes a huge difference. “If I’m sleep-deprived, my skin looks terrible,” she said. To reduce her chances of fine lines or split ends, she prefers to snooze on a silk pillowcase.

“I always thought that sleeping on a silk pillowcase was just a bill of goods. It is not,” she told Shape. “I have fewer flyaways and split ends. It’s awesome. Sleep on a silk pillowcase, and I guarantee you’ll notice the difference.”

8. A veggie-rich diet and plenty of exercise keeps her whole body in balance.

After being vegan for five years, Bell switched to a vegetarian diet during her first pregnancy. Still, she praises the benefits of veganism. “I think being vegan is a wonderful way to live and it has great effects on the body,” she told Today. “I also think it has really good effects on the environment.”

Today, Bell eats intuitively, and her daily menu still includes plenty of fruits and veggies, egg whites, some dairy, and plant-based protein swaps, like pasta made from chickpeas.

She also finds a way to keep her body moving each day, often with her kids. Her biggest tip? “Just getting moving in any way, whether it’s taking a walk with them or running around on their bikes in the driveway with them,” she told Self. “So then my body just doesn’t feel stagnant.”

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