What I Put on My Face
All skin is good skin, which is why good skincare is more of a journey than a destination. We all love a one-off tip—but, at Byrdie, we’re more interested in how our skin evolves over time. The product we've used for a decade, the ingredient cocktail that made us glow, the step we never skip, and all the advice in between. This is the stuff that makes a real difference. With What I Put on My Face, we’re bringing you the rituals, recommendations, and failed experiments (we’ve all had them) straight from celebrities, founders, and influencers who’ve gone through it themselves.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's Instagram feed is a bonafide vision board. The supermodel, actress, brand-founder... (the list goes on) basically pioneered the multi-outfit scroll before "photo dumps" were a thing. Swipe through and you'll find a peppering of minimalist neutral style, Scandinavian décor, and screenshot-worthy beauty looks—just the right mix of aspirational and inspirational to draw people in and keep them coming back for more. It's that exact elevated yet attainable style that's served as the mood board for her beauty brand, Rose Inc., a skin-first line that aims to deliver fresh, effortless results while being kind to the complexion (and the planet). It's a smart move for the beauty maven who's worked with some of the most notable professionals in the business since she was a teenager and who's clearly got a keen eye for style.
One of her most recent launches, a duo of pearlescent eye cream to instantly brighten the under-eye area and cooling spheres to encourage lymphatic drainage is evidently the brainchild of an aesthetic queen; pop the globes in the fridge before rolling them on your face for a truly sensorial experience. It's a beloved trick of Huntington-Whiteley's, though husband Jason Statham isn't quite a fan. "The other day I had them in the fridge and Jason came in and he said, 'What is—why I've got a box in the fridge and what the F— [laughs]," she jokes with me over Zoom. "It's stuff in the fridge that really winds him up."
I recently caught up with the multi-hyphenate (and soon-to-be mom of two!) to discuss all things skin, from the product she's trusted the longest to how she learned to care for her acne-prone skin. Read our chat below.
About Her Skin
I'm always managing my skin. And it's funny because most people don't associate me with acne. But if you were to see me in person, you would see what I have is a type of acne where it's kind of textured to the skin and it sits underneath the skin. From afar, you don't see it, but close up, I have oftentimes a sort of congestive, bumpy-like texture to my skin. It's really frustrating, because it basically requires constant facials and using a really, really diligent skincare routine, so that's what I'm tackling mostly. And now that I'm in my 30s, I'm starting to sort of see fine lines cropping up. So that's really where I wanted to create an eye cream that was going to help support that and of course skincare products that were going to be supporting my acne-prone skin. Everything across the Rose Inc. line is noncomedogenic, including the color products, and then for my [newest] launch, we have the AHA toner, which is really essential for me because it's gentle daily exfoliation coming through this liquid toner. It's not a manual exfoliator—we've also got that coming—so those are things that I feel like I'm combating and trying to target and manage all the time.
Her AM and PM Routines
I have to quickly get out of bed, brush my teeth, and wash my face and deal with, you know, getting my son going to school and I've got no scrap of makeup on. So usually with that it's literally—brush my teeth, brush my hair back, and I wash my face with a cleanser. And then I whack on some moisturizer or my brightening serum and I'm good to go for that hour while I'm dropping him off from school. Then I usually come back and I shower and I get ready for my day, whatever it might be, whether I'm at home or whether I'm going out for meetings, appointments... you know, work etcetera, etcetera. So usually then my routine will be a little bit more intensive. I might do an exfoliation in the shower, but I usually will cleanse again. Then I will use my AHA toner either in the morning or in the evening depending on how I'm feeling and what I have going on. And then my brightening serum goes on, an SPF if I'm going to be outside. And then I move into my makeup routine using my favorite Rose Inc. products and some of my hero favorite beauty products that I've loved over the years. So my concealer is a bit of a does-it-all which I love to apply on top of a new launch that we've got coming in January (which I probably shouldn't speak too much of right now!). But we have a new launch in January that I usually apply first and then I use the concealer on top and then bronzer, contour, Blush Divine cream blush, brow, a little bit of lip, and that usually sets me off for the day.
So evening: Rinse all my makeup off, usually in the shower. I love to use a cleansing balm actually to remove makeup. We also have some products that I'm trying out for for Rose Inc... But I'll remove my makeup, particularly my eye makeup—I'm really diligent about that. I always do a double cleanse in the evening and usually one of those cleanses will be a manual scrub. Then I like to use—if I've really been at work—I probably use my Clarisonic brush or a kind of brush like that just to really make sure—it always amazes me when I do a double cleanse how the second time around, I'm still removing more makeup... you get [some] stuck behind your ears and around your jawline... So really a double cleanse is essential. And then coming out the shower, I usually then pat my face dry with a towel. I use the Resoré towels because they're antibacterial. They're amazing and they're always hanging in my bathroom. And then after that I sort of take a good look at my skin—there's usually something to squeeze [laughs]. And then my actives go on and my eye creams and all of that, and I have more of a thicker cream that I use in the evening before bed. And I really try and let that settle in before I just go and put my head on the pillow and wipe it all off. So I give myself at least 10 minutes to relax whether I get in bed and I read or what have you, but just letting that all absorb into the skin is really nice.
How She Got Into Skincare
I think it was probably when I first started modeling and a model agent told me that I needed to sort my skin out [laughs]. [It gave me] like a complete complex about my skin. So it started way back when I was 16 years old—the first time I think I went for a facial. It's been interesting to look between the UK and America over the years and how both countries have a very different approach to beauty and what's available. It was always so amazing to me when I moved to New York about how beauty services were just so much more readily available without needing to book. You could just walk in and every block has a place you can get your nails done, and there's tons of places to get facials, and there's so many more techniques and things that are readily available to you. So when I moved to New York, it was just something that I think became part of a routine for me as a model that was on camera. Not only did I have to make sure I stayed in shape and [felt] good through exercise, but my approach to having a facial is a little bit like that—it's maintenance. It's important for me to turn up to work with the best sort of skin that I can. And then just managing the acne-prone skin. So interestingly, I suppose one of the silver linings to having acne-prone skin is just the amount of experts that I've been able to pick their brains over the years. I suppose if you had like, perfect, flawless skin, which I do see for some people, and they tell me they've never even had a facial—it blows my mind, like the idea of never having had a facial. But if you've got great skin, why would you need to go see a dermatologist? Why would you need to go see a facialist? So for me, that's really where I suppose my research and my learning began on skincare and my love for it began. And I've just been able to, over the years, be really fortunate and able to see some of the best people in the industry—in the world, really—and pick their brains and use their products and things.
The One Product That's Made the Biggest Difference in Her Skin
I would say actives, so your AHAs, all of them combined, which is why we developed my exfoliating toner. What I've learned with acne-prone skin is that it's often a skin type. For me, it's a skin type—it's a bit like having, you know, someone that has dry skin or oily skin, I have acne-prone skin. And so it's something I feel, I suppose, somewhat defeated by, or at least I've come to accept, perhaps, that it's just the way my skin is. And instead of trying to completely fix it, it's about managing it. What I've learned is that my cell turnover is kind of sluggish. So in a pore, the cell turnover is frequent, and it's happening all the time that when you have acne-prone skin, that cell turnover is slower and more sluggish. That's where you get buildup, and then a pimple is created. So what you really want to do, and certainly in my experience what's helped that, is gentle daily exfoliation through a manual kind of actual scrub that you might use in the evening, and then through acids as well. So those AHAs and the glycolics and lactics are really essential—the niacinamides, the salicylic acid... and so I'm always looking for skincare products with those in [them], but this toner that we created is really gentle, because I know that acids can be a turnoff for people. I wanted to create something that was gentle enough for daily use but also really powerful—that was something we spent a lot of time creating. And then you'll see as well in the bottle, it has the pink clay that settles at the bottom of the bottle, which has this lovely calming-like effect as well to it. It's a really beautiful product. I'm really proud of that one [and it] seems to be getting a lot of great feedback as well.
The Best Piece of Skincare Advice She's Ever Received
Anytime you go to see a facialist or a skin expert, they'll all tell you that you need to wear SPF, that's essential. There's never one that doesn't tell you that and really kind of hone in on that. But I think for me, the best piece of advice I ever received was... actually what I just said [which is] the reassurance of just understanding that when you have acne-prone skin, you're oftentimes led to believe it's something that you're doing wrong. And in many cases it is—you've eaten something then you've had a reaction to, you've used a product and you've reacted to [it]. But I think for somebody that's had it ongoing for a long, long time, it can often be something that's just an internal thing that may or may not shift over time. For me, it's been since the age of 16. So nearly 20 years I have dealt with acne-prone skin, and sometimes it's more managed than others and sometimes it's been really, really bad and I've had to go see a doctor, and other times it just requires a frequent kind of facial and it's managed. But I think just accepting that that's the skin type I have—my mother had acne-prone skin as well, and in her 60s, still now I'll see her and she'll have a pimple—and just kind of accepting it instead of feeling bad about it. It's just trying to figure out how to manage it, trying to figure out the best products, the best brands to use. So when I stumbled across the sort of realization of noncomedogenic products, it was a real game-changer for me and one that I love to talk about. That really changed the game for me and really, really helped me.
The Product She's Used the Longest
There's probably a few that I discovered in my teens that I can think of that are really nostalgic to me like Eight Hour Cream... if somebody asked me to capture the smell of my career, it would be Elnett and Eight Hour Cream. But I think I would say the longest standing product that I have been using [for] years now is Active Serum by iS Clinical, and it's one that I always have and I will use and I don't teeter away from it. It's just one that I truly, truly recommend, truly love, [and] truly see results with.