Friday Night Lights Ended 9 Years Ago, But Minka Kelly Hasn't Aged—Here's Why


(Image credit: Getty Images)

One of the most magical things about living in Los Angeles and working in West Hollywood, specifically, is that celebrity sightings are as common as a $9 latte (aka—the norm.) For instance, in the past two weeks alone, I've seen Jamie Lee Curtis, Jonah Hill, Tobey Maguire, Shawn Mendes, and Minka Kelly. The four former were shopping for organic groceries, lifting weights at the gym, and ordering the aforementioned expensive cup of joe, while the latter, Minka Kelly, was leaving a beauty hot spot just as I was entering. Of course, being the Friday Night Lights and Lyla Garrity lover I am, spotting Kelly out in the wild was pretty dang thrilling. Not all celebrity sightings are all that climactic, but seeing the actress's glowing skin and glossy brunette strands up close and personal almost felt like a lifetime goal finally fulfilled. (Dramatic but true.)

After I recovered from being starstruck, I began to fervently search the actress on Google and Instagram and truly couldn't believe what I discovered. The fresh-faced woman who had just walked past me (and who, FYI, was exceedingly nice, warm, and appreciative to the hot spot's staff), was 39 years old. Now, I'm not saying that 39 is by any means old, but the fact that Kelly looked as if she and I could share birthdays (I'm 26), was pretty astounding to me. 

The final episode of Friday Night Lights aired on February 9th, 2011 (so almost nine years ago to the day), but Kelly still looks like she could play Lyla Garrity circa Dillon High. Obviously, I had research to do and embarked on a quest to dig up every single piece of intel I could concerning Kelly's beauty and anti-aging routine. Intrigued? Keep scrolling for everything I found out along the way. 


(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. She's Team Natural Deodorant


(Image credit: @minkakelly)

Okay, so Kelly's preference for natural, aluminum-free deodorant might not be responsible for her wrinkle-free complexion and glowing skin, but if I've learned anything during my years as a beauty and wellness editor, it's that minor, holistic health tweaks can work together in the long term for health, happiness, and a complexion that looks like it's been sipping from the fountain of youth. 

"I've experimented for a while with aluminum-free deodorants and this one is hands—down my favorite," Kelly shares with her followers on Instagram. "I'm not paid for this, I've just had so many conversations over the last couple weeks about how hard (or stinky) the transition from antiperspirant to natural deodorant can be, and I just can't say enough about how much I love this stuff so I thought I'd share with all y'all! Get into it!"

2. She's a Fan of Micro-Needling


(Image credit: @minkakelly)

Okay, so Facile Dermatology + Boutique may or may not be the "hot spot" in question I spotted Kelly exiting the other week. And after some stealthy sleuthing on its Instagram, I found out that the actress credits its popular micro-needling in-office treatment for her glowing, gleaming skin. If you're interested in trying the trendy treatment for yourself, we've explained everything you need to know, here.

3. She's a Lip Balm Addict


(Image credit: @minkakelly)

Finding the perfect lip balm is so much more difficult than you'd think, but according to this interview we found on Brit + Co's website, Kelly has found two formulas she absolutely swears by for maintaining her perpetually plump and glossy pout—Glossier's fan-favorite Balm Dotcom and Lucas Papaw's Ointment—another cult-loved celebrity favorite. Shop them both, below.

4. Long, Fluttery Lashes Are Her Thing


(Image credit: @minkakelly)

According to this article that ran about a year ago in People, the actress and former model has majorly curbed her beauty routine compared to the all-out lengths she went to when she was younger. 

"I don’t like a lot of fuss,” she told the outlet. "And I’m not very precious when it comes to a lot of things… I’ll do a little concealer under the eyes and a little blush and chapstick and curl my eyelashes and mascara. That’s about it."

She favors the Armani Beauty Eyes to Kill Mascara and Shu Uemura's iconic Eyelash Curler—a piece of intel we gleaned from this interview on Byrdie

5. She Keeps Her Skincare Routine Low-Key


(Image credit: @minkakelly)

"I have had the same nighttime regimen since I was 19," she told People. "I wash, tone, use a serum and do face masks a couple of times a week. For me, less is more.” 

(In her highlight reels, we've even spotted affordably priced bottles of Cetaphil and Aveeno on her vanity.) 

6. She's Always (Faux) Bronzed


(Image credit: @minkakelly)

Glowing, sunkissed skin is kind of the actress's signature beauty look, but as we've found out through interviews and Instagram, said tan is usually fake and thanks to a slew of specific products Kelly loves. For face, she told Byrdie she likes Bobbi Brown's classic bronzing powder, and for body, she touts organic spray tans from Kati Herrera Alvarez. (To try a natural formula at home, I recommend these radiance-enhancing drops from Tan-Luxe.)

7. She Eats Healthy Fats for Glowy Skin


(Image credit: @minkakelly)

Fun fact: Minka Kelly is a culinary school graduate, and it definitely shows if you take a scroll through her IG. Thus, being a legit chef and all, it's no surprise she knows the perks that healthy, home-cooked meals or prepped, easy-to-pack snacks can have on our overall wellness and our skin. When she's on the go, she eats things like hard-boiled eggs for breakfast which are full of healthy fats and satiating protein. 

She captioned this shot: "Breakfast on the go soft boiled egg goo-dness for ya this mornin.'"

Of course, if eggs aren't your thing, strategic supplements like the below from Dr. Barbara Sturm have nutritious ingredient profiles specifically designed to fuel your skin's luminosity. The superstar ingredient in the below is purslane, which boasts anti-oxidative and nutritive properties that activate the "fountain of youth enzyme” telomerase, helping the skin to look clearer and brighter.

8. Working Out is Her "Happy Place"


(Image credit: @minkakelly)

From dancing to running to yoga to lifting to boxing, Kelly's Instagram reveals that the actress is passionate about regular exercise and switching up her routine. (A fact we're pretty positive has contributed to her perpetual youthfulness.)

That said, if you're going to be working up a sweat, make sure you clean your face before AND after your workout. Pack these wipes in your gym bag!

9. She Gets Her Brows Microfeathered

A photo posted by on

Kelly has some of the most enviable arches in Hollywood, and while we have a feeling she's just naturally blessed, she's also gone on record and said she used to overpluck. These days, she books microfeathering appointments with Kristie Streicher in West Hollywood. (You can read all about the treatment, here.)

Oh, and for the record, Kelly's brow expert, Streicher, loves the below two brow products. Therefore, we definitely wouldn't be surprised if we found them in Kelly's product stash too.

10. She's Not Really Into Foundation


(Image credit: @minkakelly)

Instead, she prefers something that's more lightweight, hydrating, and also boasts a helpful dose of skin-protecting SPF. According to Byrdie, Kelly cocktails both of the tinted moisturizers below for that signature flawless skin of hers.

11. Her Signature Scent is Ageless


(Image credit: @minkakelly)

Okay, okay perfume has nothing to do with appearance, but we've spotted Le Labo's most popular scent on the actress's Instagram, and she's even touted the scent during interviews. 

"I have a bunch of different perfumes, but I always find myself going back to this," she told Byrdie.

12. She Has a Thing for Nude-Colored Makeup Product


(Image credit: @minkakelly)

Just as Kelly seems to prioritize a more natural approach to her foundation and skin, she admits she's also more inclined to reach for pretty subtle tones for both her lips and nails. 

"Sometimes I try a red lip, but I always fail miserably,” she says to Byrdie. "A nude lip just suits me better. Tom Ford has this beautiful Lip Gloss called Rose Crush; it’s really gorgeous and natural.” And for her fingertips and toes, the source says the actress is a fan of particular nail polish from the brand called Toasted Sugar. 

13. She Uses Sun Protection


(Image credit: @minkakelly)

When outside under the beating sun, more often than not we've spotted Kelly (on IG, at least) keeping her complexion shaded from damaging rays via chic sunglasses and baseball hats. 

14. She Stays Loyal to Her Favorite Haircare Brands


(Image credit: @minkakelly)

We don't blame the actress for being obsessed with Ouai hair products. And honestly, we'll be buying up the entire line if it will land us strands as strong and glossy as Kelly's. (And for what it's worth, this is the brand's best-selling formula at Sephora right now.)

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.