celebrity shopping

What Catherine Zeta-Jones Can’t Live Without

Photo: John Russo

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hairspray and the electric toothbrush. We asked actress Catherine Zeta-Jones — whose lifestyle brand Casa Zeta-Jones just released a line of ballet flats in partnership with Butterfly Twists shoes — about the candle, eye drops, and gardening kit she can’t live without.

When I first became sort of known as an actor in Britain, I was invited to a party for Elton John’s AIDS foundation. In the gift bag, he gave one of his scented candles that I probably couldn’t afford at the time. It was the most beautiful thing that I had ever smelled in my life. I cherished it. That was my introduction to scented candles. Now, I really push the boat out when it comes to candles. I’m very specific with them. Jo Malone is such a beautiful brand. After I left London for the States, I would come back to visit or for work, and I used to stay at Claridge’s, which is just off Bond Street. The Jo Malone flagship store was two doors down from the hotel. I was like a kid in a candy store. When I had any time off, I would go in and smell every candle they had. My all-time favorite is this lime and basil and mandarin one. I have one in almost every room in my house. It’s quite an exotic smell.

Years and years and years ago, I had this housekeeper that was like another mother to me. She used this Fabuloso cleaner. Every time I walked into my house, I’d go, “Ugh, it smells so fresh,” and she’d go, in this singsong kind of voice, “Fabuloso! Fabuloso!” My house doesn’t feel clean unless I can smell Fabuloso. I’m a bit of a clean fanatic, I have to say, and I do clean a lot myself now, especially in this lockdown. I’m constantly disinfecting and cleaning everything with my Fabuloso. I use it on the floors. I use it on my counters. I use it on my walls. I use it on my doors. When I smell it, I know my house is clean.

My mother had a Mason Pearson brush. She had this policy that if I wanted to have long hair, I had to brush it 100 times a night with a Mason Pearson brush — something I still do. They were expensive for my family, but it’s something we always had. Actually, they weren’t as expensive in the old days as they are now. That was before the world really knew about Mason Pearson brushes — way before Americans knew about them. It’s another British thing. Now, my daughter brushes her hair every night with one, and my son has one, too. If I’m going to buy them hairbrushes, it’s going to be a Mason Pearson. Even my husband, Michael, has a mini one. I like the mini one because it fits in my bag, but I have the big one too. My hair doesn’t feel brushed unless it’s been brushed with a Mason Pearson.

Let me tell you something about me and bags: The bigger one is, the more I’ll put in it. There’s never extra space — I fill the bag with crap I probably don’t need, but could need, so I fit it in. This one from Madewell fits everything. It’s one of the only ones that seems to be able to hold a whole bunch of stuff without hurting my shoulder. I call it my “throw everything in” bag. I throw in dog toys, dog treats, the dog’s leash, a smaller purse, my iPad, my computer, and whatever else I can fit. I don’t think I’ve ever packed light. My husband and kids just don’t get it. But then when they ask if I have bug spray, I can say yes. Or if I have any Neosporin for a scratch, or a bandage, or this or that — yes, yes, yes, because I carry everything with me. I’ve got it all.

I wore this when I got married. Though I think I actually started wearing it before I got married. I’ve used it forever. I don’t have any false nails or anything like that — I do a simple home manicure with this polish and I’m good to go. I’m from Wales, so I wasn’t brought up buying fancy Chanel nail polishes. Every time I buy my daughter fancy things, I ask her, “Do you know how lucky you are?” But if I’m going to invest money in something that I could probably find a similar, cheaper version of, it has to be for a reason. This polish has been tried and tested, and it’s a classic. You can wear the color with everything, and it’s a good formula. Nail polish always chips, but you get a bit more life out of this one. Also the packaging is pretty, and it looks lovely on your counter.

When my eyes are bright, I feel perkier. A makeup artist in New York told me about these. I use them every morning to freshen up my eyes. They really work — they do exactly what they say they will without being super chemical. They’re not something I put in and go, Wow, this really stings. I’m not sacrificing looks for comfort — though I would totally use them if they did sting, because they seriously lighten and brighten my eyes.

I always, always have a shawl with me, especially in the summertime. I am also somebody who gets bitten by mosquitoes all the time. The invention of this shawl that can repel mosquitoes is just unbelievable to me. It really, really repels. It’s the finest invention. I have one in every color. I’m obsessed. It’s handwoven in Ethiopia, and it feels really nice on. It also doesn’t have any kind of smell — unlike bug spray or even other pashminas, this is odorless. And for every one purchased, the company donates mosquito nets and malaria treatments to communities that need them across the world. It’s really amazing.

I’m a big reader. My dear friend, Heather, is the owner of all these wonderful bookstores in Canada called Indigo. She is my book curator — my Oprah. Every now and again she’ll call me and say, “Cat, this new book is a must.” She put me on to some cracking books way before they became New York Times best sellers, and some really diverse choices, too, not just things everyone else is reading. The Book of Longings was her latest must-read. The writing in it is intellectually complex, but it’s not difficult. It’s a fabulous summer read. I love books that don’t make me feel inferior when I read them. Some books are wonderful, but I read them and they’re just too precious. This is the right amount of sophistication, but it also touches your emotions. It’s a truly great saga.

My garden is my haven. I absolutely love it. Just watering plants gives me great solace. My father always said I had a green thumb — I think I got it from my grandmother, who had even more of a green thumb than I do. I grow vegetables: everything from zucchini to carrots to lettuce to cabbage to tomatoes. But at my house in New York, I’m focusing on my rose garden. It’s the most beautiful garden that is tended by me only — no one else is allowed to touch it. This gardening set has everything I need to keep my roses in perfect shape. It was actually given to me as a gift. I use the little seat, too, especially when I’m potting plants. It saves my back.

Editor’s note: This is available for preorder and will ship July 27.

I started my brand Casa Zeta-Jones because of my love of interior design. It’s a passion that I would be doing for myself and my friends even without a business. I love my brand, and my goal has always been to make it an umbrella company that does all my tried and true must-haves. So I teamed up with British brand Butterfly Twists for a collection of ballet flats. I wanted to create a line that is very chic, very practical, and extremely comfortable that any woman who’s on the move can wear. I look fabulous in a killer pair of heels, but I don’t wear them every day. But the flats I wear as slippers around the house, and they can also fold up and be thrown in a bag. They have a cushioned sole, so they’re super comfortable, but they don’t look old — they’re still very stylish. The woven textile is an important element; it gives them a bit more detail.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

What Catherine Zeta-Jones Can’t Live Without