Naomi Watts Gets Candid on Nontoxic Beauty and "Riding the Wave" of Aging


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 a legendary actress and the co-founder of Onda Beauty, Naomi Watts. As a fellow product junkie and natural-beauty enthusiast, she's answering all of our rapid-fire questions and sharing her best-kept beauty secrets below. Enjoy!


(Image credit: @naomiwatts)

If you had to leave the house in five minutes, what products would you use?

My five-minute routine is pretty much my routine all of the time. I don't do too much, and if I’m not in front of cameras, I like to give my skin a break. I love lipstick, and Beautycounter makes one called Orchid that I also like to use on my cheeks. Sunscreen, sunscreen, always. Josh Rosebrook's Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30 ($50) is a great all-in-one. If I want a little bit of coverage, l love Beautycounter's Dew Skin Moisturizing Coverage ($45). I cannot tell you how highly I recommend this product. Every time I work on a new movie, I introduce it to the makeup artist, and they all go absolutely nuts for it. It has just the right amount of coverage, but it also leaves the skin with life. So lipstick, blush, coverage if I want it, and the only other thing I do is an eyebrow.

On days when you’re not working or you’re just staying in, what does your skin routine look like both morning and night?

You know, I change it up, and that’s one of the perks I get from working with Onda Beauty. Since the products we carry at Onda don't have any chemicals, I can easily shift from one to another, but I do have very reactive and sensitive skin. I’ll know right away if something isn’t going to work for me. For daytime, I actually use Dr. Alkaitis's Organic Night Cream ($72) and then I might mix it with a lightweight serum like Tammy Fender’s Plant Milk ($125). It’s very good for sensitive skin, and it is almost like an emulsion. It has tons of botanical extracts that are naturally very soothing.

If I’ve worn makeup that day, at nighttime I always do a deep double cleanse—I’ll start with an oil cleanse and then I’ll do a foam or milk cleanse. De Mamiel’s Pure Calm Cleansing Dew ($98) is a great oil cleanser, and I love Tammy Fender’s Cleansing Milk ($55). I might exfoliate once a week. I don’t want to do it more than that really because of my sensitive skin, and I love Goop's GoopGlow Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator ($125). Using a mist helps open the pores, and your serums or moisturizers sink in much easier. Hannes Dottir Mineral Mist ($45) is a great one, and Odacite’s Rose + Neroli Hydra-Vitalizing Treatment Mist ($42) has a really lovely smell. At night, I also like to use an oil and a moisturizer together—I'll just mix them up in the palm of my hand. Right now, I’m using Dr. Alkaitis's Organic Night Cream ($72). And the serums shift around a lot. There are just so many wonderful, great serums. You have Vintner’s Daughter's Active Botanical Serum ($185), The C-Drops ($90) from Saint Jane Beauty, Tammy Fender's Quintessential Serum ($175)… Oh, and Marie Veronique's Gentle Retinol Night Serum ($110) is fantastic.


(Image credit: @naomiwatts)

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received that’s made the biggest difference in your skin?

I can tell right away if I’ve had a good night’s sleep and if I drank the right amount of water the day before. If I don’t do well on both of those things, it absolutely manifests in my skin. And you know, facials are really great! I haven’t had one for seven months now, but if you can get a really great facial once every few months, it can be so beneficial for your skin. And then, obviously, sunscreen!

What’s one thing about your beauty routine that would surprise people?

I actually color my eyebrows. As you get older, you start to shed hair a little bit, and even with coloring them, I still have to touch them up with a bit of pencil. I’m so drawn to people’s eyes. I find that I bore into someone’s eyes the moment I meet them. I’m like, do I need to know more about this person or not? Eyes are the window to one’s soul. They should be framed well, and that’s why I like a strong eyebrow.

Do you have any "guilty pleasure” beauty practices or products?

I love a bath soak—I love the Lord Jones High CBD Formula Bath Salts ($65), Vertly's Botanical Bath Salts ($29)… Yeah, if I had it my way, I would absolutely love to have a bath every single night after a long day. I like to light a nice candle, and I love to use a beautiful shampoo—Rahua and Innersense have really nice ones. I might do a hair mask or a face mask. For the face, I just used one from Osea, its White Algae Mask ($48), and the Exfoliating Mask ($75) from Joanna Vargas is wonderful. And then for hair, I love the Innersense Hydrating Hair Masque ($30).


(Image credit: @naomiwatts)

You co-founded Onda Beauty, a beautiful shopping space for clean-beauty products—was there a certain moment when clean beauty just clicked for you?

Well, my two friends and fellow co-founders of Onda, Larissa Thomson and Sarah Bryden-Brown, had been there before me, and they invited me to join. Larissa had been working on this for a while and was introducing me to some of the products that she had found that she believed in. I was upstate staying with her one day, and I had forgotten my moisturizer, so she showed me her medicine cabinet—all of these beautiful bottles with fabulous ingredients that were ethically sourced and responsibly packaged—and I just kind of slowly found my way in! My skin was having reactions from a TV show I was working on at the time—there were long hours with hot lights melting makeup into my skin—and my complexion just wasn’t doing well. So that’s when I switched, slowly bit by bit, and I saw immediate results. I had these irritations, and I knew I had to eliminate some things, and I haven’t looked back since.

What kind of advice would you give someone who wants to convert to a more natural beauty routine but feels intimidated or doesn’t know where to start?

I would say to start small because it can definitely be overwhelming. I mean, the great thing about Onda is everything is really carefully curated, and there are ways to start big or small. You can start with things like deodorant, toothpaste, fragrance, bath soap, shampoo… and then I recommend making your way into skincare. But education is key, and doing your own research is so important. Read up on different products and just Google "clean beauty." Find out what it really means and where you want to begin. 

What’s the most shocking thing you’ve learned about the industry since entering the beauty space as an entrepreneur versus a consumer?

I’ve really realized that people don’t want to be pushed onto products. We want so much more information before we buy—how and why things work and real efficacy. Products need real-life stories to back them up, and I think that’s something that's changed significantly over the years, especially this year with COVID.


(Image credit: @naomiwatts)

Health and beauty are so intertwined—do you have any wellness practices or favorite supplements that help give you a boost both mentally and physically?

I've always loved Taryn Toomey’s classes. It’s a movement class, but I find it’s very much about the mind and spirit as well. It just flows in such an incredible way, and I'm usually able to take something away from the experience that’s pretty uplifting. Or it helps me feel what I need to feel at that given time. 

As far as supplements, I've been really into products from The Beauty Chef. I love adding the Hydration ($50) or Collagen Boosts ($50) to my water. Its Glow Inner Beauty Powder ($40) is also really great for the skin. 

You've recently entered your 50s—what's your approach to aging, and what about this decade is most exciting to you?

Just being so in my body is exciting to me. I finished a film recently that required huge amounts of physical exertion, so I’m pretty proud of myself and quite willing to give myself a pat on the back for that! There were times where I thought, "Wow, this is really hard," and I wasn’t sure I could do it. And I just think you have to embrace the aging process. There are going to be good days, and there are going to be bad days. You just have to know that it’s a constant wave we need to ride and navigate. And hey, if you feel shitty about yourself once in a while, that’s normal and par for the course. But there are also going to be times when you feel good and like you’re managing it okay. Yes, I sometimes wish I didn’t have these lines around my mouth or chin, but my mind feels so much sturdier than it did in my 20s.

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

Oh god, haha, I don’t know if I can do it in seven words! I just feel like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and therefore, it's subjective. I also think it is something to be discovered. Beauty has to have a lasting effect in order to be meaningful. Authenticity is so powerful. When you see a beautiful picture on the page of a magazine, you do connect with it, but then if you meet that person and they’re not living up to that picture, that original connection goes away instantly. Beauty has to be something you can discover beyond the surface.

Shop Naomi'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.