She may be an A-list celebrity well-versed in the art of getting ready for big events, but Scarlett Johansson looks forward to pampering and preparing herself for winter’s string of parties just as much as the rest of us.
“There’s kind of a therapy to it – get in the shower, shave your legs, put on your lotion and so on. I hate to rush. Luckily my partner [French journalist Romain Dauriac] is really into getting ready also, so he’s good at giving me time. I’ll lock myself away to get ready and he knows to give me my 45 minutes,” Johansson told us. “I like to listen to music and I have a really nice dressing area, with a vanity and everything. For work it’s a different thing as you’ve got whole hair and make-up teams there, but by myself the whole process can be quite relaxing.”
We’re talking to Johansson on the phone in New York, where she’s celebrating her thirtieth birthday with friends this weekend. According to the actress, the plan is to “drink a bunch of champagne, eat a cupcake, dance and pass out by 11pm,” though, as a new mother to two-month-old Rose, she says her goal is “keeping my eyes open until 1am”. Christmas itself will be an altogether more relaxed affair, spent with her family “in pyjamas all day” playing games and eating Christmas dinner together followed by a lunch the following day. Holiday parties she plans to attend range from friends’ ugly sweater parties to more formal affairs hosted by what Johansson sweetly describes as “work colleagues” but the rest of us might refer to as “Hollywood stars”. Refreshingly though, she has a very practical attitude as to what to wear – albeit with a little more Dolce & Gabbana on tap than the rest of us thanks to her role as an ambassador for the fragrance and make-up lines.
“It’s so freezing in New York that I usually wear trousers for formal parties, though this year I want to wear more dresses with tights. I’m going to make some serious investments at Wolford. I don’t know why New Yorkers don’t wear tights as much as British people, I guess it’s a cultural thing? But why wouldn’t you when it’s so cold?” she mused. “Then a red lipstick always makes me feel good. Dolce & Gabbana’s holiday make-up collection is just the kind of make-up I’d wear for Christmas – it’s very glamorous and festive. And I wear But the Classic Cream Lipstick in Devil is my favourite, it’s the perfect red – not too blue and not too orange. I wore it in my first campaign for Dolce & Gabbana but it’s still the one I wear most. Dolce’s reds are all great, I think that’s Pat’s influence.”
The “Pat” she casually refers to is of course Pat McGrath, make-up artist extraordinaire and creative design director of Procter & Gamble Beauty, which licences Dolce & Gabbana’s fragrance portfolio and make-up.
“Pat is great at very bold looks – she’s taught me that you don’t have to do an eye or a lip exclusively, if you wear both together in the right way then it doesn’t have to be too much. It’s one thing if you apply it all really heavy-handedly, but if your skin looks really fresh then why not?” she said. “I’m so fortunate to work with such amazing people. They teach you these clever techniques but when you go to try it out yourself it never looks quite the same! I love make-up though, I have done since I was a little girl. My mom had this beautiful make-up collection and I’d sit and watch her get ready. I do enjoy it. Unlike hair, which I’m useless at.”
Something tells us that she is better at it than she lets on, but Johansson does seem to have a refreshingly laid-back and dare we say normal approach to how she looks for someone constantly in the spotlight, and lacks the barrier that some of her fellow celebrities have against revealing any information which could make them appear less than perfect.
“I’ve always liked a glamorous look for both clothes and make-up but in everyday life I’m much less va va voom and much more androgynous. More functional. I see girls who have that whole rockabilly thing going on with the hair and the make-up and I really admire that, but wow it’s like a full-time job,” she confided. “I don’t wear full foundation on my days off either. I can have problematic skin – I have to wear so much make-up for work, so it gets tired. My worst habit is probably looking at my skin too closely in a magnifying mirror – I’m awful, I can turn something really small into a massive lesion, I just can’t stop picking at it. The thing I try to do is to cleanse religiously – I generally use Cetaphil or something else really gentle and non-comodegenic. For moisturiser I really like Shu Uemura or Shiseido.”
Just hours after our conversation ends, Johansson is back on the red carpet in New York, hosting a Hurricane Sandy benefit with her brother Hunter. She wears a slim band alongside her enormous Art Deco engagement ring, sparking rumours that she and Dauriac have married in secret. The news makes headlines all over the world. She herself may have a relaxed approach to how she appears, but we’re all just as fascinated as ever.