A PSA from Emilia Clarke: Stop Thinking So Much About Looking Beautiful


Say hello to Unfiltered, a fresh, new beauty series where you’ll get an exclusive glimpse into the dressed-down beauty routines of our favorite celebrities. They’ll reveal their guilty-pleasure beauty practices, the five-minute routine product lineup they can’t live without, the one good-skin tip they’ll be forever thankful for, and so much more. To bring every conversation full circle, we ask each celebrity to send us a selection of self-shot, filter-free photos of their choosing to capture the essence of their Unfiltered beauty philosophy. 

Up next, we’re getting to know actor and Clinique Brand Ambassador Emilia ClarkeAs a fellow skincare enthusiast and product junkie, she’s answering all of our rapid-fire questions and sharing her best-kept beauty secrets below. Enjoy!


(Image credit: Courtesy of Clinique / @emilia_clarke)

If you had to leave the house in five minutes, what are a few staple beauty products you’d apply or bring with you?

So, if I’ve only got 5 minutes, I would do… I’m assuming I’ve already washed my face?

Yes, face is washed!

Then I would do the Clinique's Smart Clinical Repair Wrinkle Correcting Serum ($69), I would whack on some Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator ($56), then I would do my mascara and a red lip. I could do that in five minutes.

Well, now I’m obligated to ask which red lip because you’re wearing a red right now, and it’s amazing. 

It’s good, right?! It’s—wait, let me just triple check—Clinique Pop Reds in Red-Handed ($20)! But what Clinique does, which is just so smart, is they match your lip color to your foundation so that it is the perfect red for your skin tone. Because that’s the hardest thing! A red can look amazing on someone else, and then you try it on, and it doesn’t work.

Totally. Okay, I wanted to jump back to your skin prep for a second, can you walk me through your skincare routine, both morning and night?

So my morning and night routine are actually exactly the same thing. I like to double cleanse, so I start with Clinique's Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm ($34), which is an oil cleanser that dissolves all the makeup and just gets everything off. I’ll remove that, and move on to the All About Clean All-in-One Cleansing Micellar Milk + Makeup Remover ($25) which really nourishes and cleanses my skin. Next, I’ll use my Clarifying Lotion ($29) which I use like a toner to make sure everything is off and everything is really clean and then the Smart Clinical Repair Wrinkle Correcting Serum ($69) which—whisper it—is an anti-wrinkle cream [laughs]. So, I put that serum on, which has been transformative for my mid-thirties skin and top it off with the Moisture Surge 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator ($56). And that’s my morning and night!

Clinique is such an iconic brand. Do you remember the first product you ever used or do you have any other nostalgic memories associated with the brand?

Well, a nostalgic memory would be that it was just always so present in my life. I mean, my mum taught me Clinique's three-step routine when I was so little. But the product I first got hooked on was the High Impact Mascara ($21). It’s what I’ve consistently used throughout my life, and it’s always sold out because it’s what everyone else is using. It’s genius. Mascara is a big deal for me, so I just use it to whack on a lot of coats.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Clinique / @emilia_clarke)

Do you have any other secret lash tips? Do you curl them before you do mascara?

Yeah, I always curl my lashes. I have one of those mirrors that you can put flat on a surface in front of you—so it’s facing the ceiling—and I actually look down at it as I apply my mascara, really thinking about getting it to the end of my lashes. l apply it underneath my lashes as most people do, but then I add a coat on top of my lashes, as well. 

Okay, I'm trying it the Emilia way next time I do my makeup! It's interesting because I think a lot of people have begun to think of their makeup or skincare regimens as self-care, especially in the past year and a half or so. Do you have any other wellness or self-care practices you rely on to de-stress or stay centered?

Yes, so I sound really virtuous when I say this, but I really do it. Every morning I meditate for 10 minutes and then I do about 15 minutes of yoga. It’s just from my memory, and it’s a routine I put together that really works for me. I’m not doing it to get a sweat on, I’m literally doing it to awaken my body, make sure I’m breathing properly, get out all of my crooks or tweaks I might have from sleeping awkwardly. And the meditation… I just need it to reset my brain and to start the day in the calmest way possible.

Completely, especially these days when the first thing we typically look at when we wake up is a screen or social media.

Yes, exactly.

Okay, switching gears here a bit! As an actor, you’ve been able to experiment with so many different beauty looks via the characters you’ve portrayed—what’s been the most fun?

I mean, Daenerys! She’s the most consistent one I think. [Laughs] I mean, getting to wear that wig and having all that glorious hair. Getting to have dragons! And getting to be so very far away from me was just a joy from start to finish.

I think every single person would love to be Daenerys for a day [laughs]. But also, I don’t think there is a person on this planet who doesn’t have serious eyebrow envy when it comes to your brows—do you have any top grooming tips? Were you like the rest of us and did you ever completely over-pluck?

No, so my mum brought me up with very strict brow regimens in that I wasn’t allowed to touch them at all. I didn’t tweeze them, I didn’t do anything with them. I now thread them to, you know, make sure I don’t have a unibrow or start looking like Elmo and to just get the little strays or whatever. But I just brush them and that’s it.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Clinique / @emilia_clarke)

So you don’t fill them in or use any type of makeup product on them.

Well, Clinique does have a really beautiful brow brush that has some color on it—the Just Browsing Brush-On Styling Mousse ($20). But I don’t need much. Like, if I do a lot, it’s way too much. So if I’m going out in the evening or getting dressed up for something, then I will do that and it does make a difference on my face, but I’m not doing that every day. I keep that for special occasions [laughs].

Is there anything about your beauty routine that would surprise people?

Umm, that it is so long?! Oh! No, I’ll tell you what. In my bathroom, I actually bought a mini-fridge, like a baby, baby fridge—you can get them real cheap—and that sits underneath my sink and I put my sheet masks and eye creams in there. Or, if I know I have something big the next day, I’ll even put my Moisture Surge in there. You just put it on, and it’s like Whewwww!

It wakes you up! It’s such a good trick. And it definitely helps with puff and all that nice stuff as well. 

Yes, yes exactly

Closing question! What’s your Unfiltered beauty philosophy in seven words or less?

I’m going to struggle with seven words, I already know.

[Laughs] You can go over, it’s okay! Or you can go with seven words but provide some context.

Well, I believe that true beauty lies in your individuality. It isn’t about comparing and contrasting yourself with what society deems beautiful in whatever month or whatever year it is. The most beautiful people… the most beautiful moments you find in people are when they're in the middle of laughing out loud, spitting food out of their mouth because they find something so funny, or when they're doing the thing that sets them alight. When they are with their friends. You notice the energy people give off when they’re happy and when they’re not thinking about being beautiful. That’s absolutely it. The people who think about being beautiful all the time are not beautiful—it’s just that weird paradox.

Shop Emilia's Unfiltered Beauty Edit

Beauty Director

Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.