Christina Hendricks on Lipstick and Not Washing Your Hair

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Hair chameleon Christina Hendricks.
Hair chameleon Christina Hendricks.Photo: Jason Merritt

Name the world’s ten greatest redheads, and Christina Hendricks will probably make the cut. And for blondes? She might make that list, too, as she’s actually a natural blonde. You could call the Mad Men star a hair chameleon, which makes her partnership with Clairol all the more fitting. The Cut talked with Hendricks about her most fruitful beauty lessons, including her favorite drugstore conditioner and her oily-hair trick.

You change your hair color relatively often. What’s the most useful trick you’ve learned in preserving hair color?
If my hair is looking pretty good, I’ll try to keep it for a day or two before I wash it again. I’m not super-picky about the shampoos that I use. I’ve discovered that my red hair can stain, so I try to use something that’s really gentle. Also, I actually really like the conditioner that comes with hair-dye kits. I save them for as long as I can after I color my hair because they are the best and really nourishing.

Most people don’t realize that changing their hair color affects how makeup appears on their skin. How do you adjust your makeup whenever you color?
I find that when I go lighter I want to wear a bit more eye makeup. I’m so fair as it is and with my hair being lighter, I feel that I want to make my features pop a little more. I still wear the pinks and the corals on my lips because they work really well, but I also wear bolder eyeliners.

Tell me about your makeup and skin-care routine.
I’m a product junkie. I love trying all new things. My basic day-to-day would be a Bobbi Brown foundation and I use Make Up For Ever cream blush. I love cream blushes because I have drier skin and it feels better. I’m a sucker for liquid eyeliner. I have been using more pencils recently but I sort of always go back to liquid eyeliner for an evening look, to be more dramatic. I also love lipstick. I wear lots of pinks and corals and I also have tons of reds.

I really try to wash my face every single night because I can see the difference when I don’t and I’ll wake up with a blemish. I also try to listen to my skin so I might do something quite different each night to treat it, like a different kind of serum or a heavier moisturizer if my skin is particularly dry. If I have time I’ll try to treat myself to a face mask and an eye mask.

What’s a favorite beauty look you’ve worn during awards season?
I always think that I’m doing something so different each year and then I look at pictures and I’m the same. I tend to stick to what I like. There’s a look I feel is more me. Every once and awhile I’ve gone out of the box and done a really dark smoky eye, and that’s fun, but when I look at the picture it doesn’t feel as much [like] me. I stick with a more heightened version of my everyday look.

Last year was the year of contouring. What’s your take on the makeup trend?
I think if you’re going to do it well and subtly then it can be really beautiful. I think if it was like [Hood by Air], then I don’t like it. I think that’s sort of makeup in general to a certain extent. You never really want to see the secrets too much. It’s fun to do a statement or something, but contouring should be a bit subtler.

What’s the most useful beauty tip you’ve ever learned?
I think one thing I learned a million years ago was if my hair felt a little oily or something, I would throw a little powder in it. This was before dry shampoo. I still do that to this day if I need to. It’s similar to dry shampoo, it’s just that often you have powder nearby more than you have the dry shampoo, so it’s like a quick fix.

This interview has been edited and condensed.