Gemma Chan could practically melt you with her smize. She stood out as the icy foe in 2018's Crazy, Rich Asians, and is currently holding her own onscreen with Meryl Streep in Let Them All Talk. It's no wonder a beauty brand came running. And though she's booked (and busy) as a L'Oreal Paris spokesperson, Chan says she keeps it rather simple in the beauty department. Ahead, exactly how she looks that good.
How would you describe your regimen?
Creative, experimental, and low-maintenance. I find real calm and solace in my routine. There's so much in the outside world that we've been powerless about. Having time to go through my steps is very meditative. At the beginning of lockdown, I stopped wearing makeup or brushing my hair. Then I realized I had to start doing things to feel better. Even if I wasn't leaving the house, it really cheered me up to put on a bright lipstick or eyeliner. It made me understand that beauty lifts my mood. It's for me, not anyone else.
What are your favorite feel-good products?
There's a lipstick I love from L'Oréal called Devil's Matte-Vocate Red; it's a beautiful classic color. My Burberry perfume is warm and sensuous and reminds me of a late summer evening in England. For my skin, I use L'Oréal's Glycolic Acid Cleanser, which is a great exfoliator. When my eyes get puffy, I pull out my Foreo Iris massager — it mimics the tapping used in traditional Asian skin care. It looks like a vibrator, so I call it my 'eyebrator.' [laughs] I get funny looks when I use it in the back of a car or when I go through customs at the airport, but it's so soothing.
You turned down a job at one of London’s leading law firms to pursue acting. What motivated you to make that jump?
It's good to trust your instincts. Often, we know deep down inside what is right for us. Our gut tells us, but it takes a while for our brain to catch up or reconcile with it. If you have the privilege of doing something that speaks to your heart, take the risk, even if it doesn't work out. Disappointment is a temporary thing — regret lasts forever.
You’re outspoken about pushing for diversity. What are your thoughts on Asian representation in the beauty industry?
Growing up, I didn't see much representation in advertising. When I opened a magazine, it was quite Eurocentric. It was a challenge finding foundations and concealers for my skin tone, and I know this is also true for women with darker skin tones than mine. Great strides have definitely been made in the right direction with wider shade ranges and representation. It's long overdue, but I love that women of all skin tones and ages are being celebrated. There's such an obsession with youth, but it's no longer a crime to get older.
What are you looking forward to right now?
The new leadership in America. Hopefully, the world will take a turn for the better. Oh, and Zoom dance parties with friends are what got me through 2020. I can't wait to have sweaty dance parties with them in person.
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For more stories like this, pick up the February 2021 issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Jan. 15.
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