The Glowdown: Sarah Jessica Parker Shares the Beauty Secrets We all Want to Know


Welcome to The Glowdown, the series where we dive into the beauty secrets of our favourite celebrities as they get real about their routines and non-negotiables exclusively with us. Join them as they sit in our beauty hot seat and we fire off a round of quick questions, giving you never-before-shared insight into the products they cannot live without, their secrets to getting red carpet–ready, beauty pet peeves, and the genius tips they have picked up along the way. This is no-holds-barred beauty at its finest.

This month, Who What Wear UK got to sit down with someone who requires no introduction. Actor and style icon Sarah Jessica Parker is perhaps best known for her role as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, but she continues to captivate with her style both on and off the screen. Now, as an ambassador for French heritage skincare brand RoC, we spoke with Parker about her refreshing beauty philosophies around 'anti-ageing', her hair secrets and the products you'll always find in her handbag. And just like that, she revealed all.


(Image credit: Getty, RoC)

1. How do you feel about the industry's fascination with anti-ageing? And how do you think it will move forward?

"I don't pay a huge amount of attention to a lot of stuff like that, but I see enough of the world by accident to know that it's been very profitable for people to say things like 'anti-ageing'. I think there is a kind of weariness and amusement that it's always about women. We think that a gentleman getting older has huge value and is sexy and we look with awe at them as like a species of virility. I think we're missing the point a little bit. But I have faith that if the consumer is becoming as weary of it as I am, they're going to start suggesting that it's 'anti-living' because that's what [it is] saying.

"Because a year is life—it's being alive and having more opportunities to exist, learn, teach and share; to love and be of service and generous, to be a good friend, mother, wife, girlfriend, partner—whatever. So I have a feeling that they will hit a threshold and we will start thinking more about what feels best when living. You know, how are we living versus how are we ageing?"

2. What part of your beauty routine makes you feel your most confident?

"I think feeling like myself has been something that I've recognised for a while is how I feel best. Even today, I'm wearing way more makeup than I would ever wear in my own life every day. It feels like you're in an altered state. Like if this were me and I were meeting you over Zoom, to be honest, I'd have my hair back in a bun with no base on and a messy eye. So it's not that I don't feel good today because I do, but I think it's when I feel most really like myself that I feel best. And I'm not assuming or there's not an artifice that isn't my choice, you know?"

3. Is there any beauty advice that you would give your past self?

"I mean, probably [to wear] sunscreen, that's it. I don't want to give myself advice as a younger person because whatever it was, it added up to today. And it's not like 'and look where I am'. It's more like I've had experiences and I've made mistakes and chose the wrong thing, or turned left when I maybe should have turned right. I don't want to have to try to make it easier. It's like, 'Yeah, wear sunscreen earlier, wear sunscreen earlier.' But other than that, not really. Wear the wrong lipstick, put the wrong eye shadow on, have long nails when you shouldn't have. I do it all. Figure it out, try it, experiment, get it out of your system."


(Image credit: RoC, Getty)

4. Is there one beauty step that you think is totally unnecessary?

"No. I mean, I would never do those nice 111Skin eye masks that makeup artist Neil Young puts on me. They're amazing! But I can't imagine doing that for real myself. You know, it's not that it's unnecessary, [but] I wouldn't take the time or indulge myself that way."

5. What makeup product gives you the biggest mood or confidence boost?

"I would say an eye pencil. I love the Charlotte Tilbury ones and Laura Mercier Caviar Sticks."


6. If you could steal someone else's makeup bag, whose would it be?

"Well, Bo Derek has been doing the best black charcoal eye for forever and I work with her husband and so she told me what she does. But, you know, it's the hand really that does it."

7. You've got a spot. Are you team pop it, or team leave it alone?

"Leave it well alone. Do not touch it! I tell my kids don't touch it, don't try to fix it. None of us should be fixing our own spots."

8. You can only use one product for the rest of your life. What is it?

"I guess if I had to use one product for the rest of my life from skincare, it'd probably be RoC Hydrate + Plump SPF 30 Daily Moisturiser (£36)."

7. What's the best piece of beauty advice that you've ever received?

"Somebody at one point told me to keep my face wet when I put moisturiser on because that's the whole point—you're sealing in moisture."

8. You're having a bad hair day, what do you do?

"I throw it in a bun. It’s all I know how to do!"

9. What's your signature scent?

"I have a bunch right now because I don't have one of my own. I mean, I have Lovely, but I don't have a new one of mine and we're working on one. Right now I'm wearing the old Guerlain Vétiver, which is great. It's a men's fragrance that has now been around for, what, 15-plus years? And Comme de Garcons Incense Avignon. I also wear Diptyque."

10. Do you prefer a strong lip or a strong eye?

 "Oh, a strong, strong eye."

11. What is your favourite lipstick colour?

"I don't wear lipstick. Do you know that I don't even own any? I wear glosses all the time. I always have at least two or three glosses in my bag. I have Pat McGrath and Dior today."

12. And what product is always in your handbag?

"I always have Neal's Yard Hand Sanitiser."

13. If you're having your nails done, what colour do you go for?

"I very, very rarely have my nails done. I did it at the ballet the other night. We did black, but I don't wear it mostly. I don't wear nail colour because when you're working [on set], it doesn't match from scene to scene. So you'd be taking it off and putting it back on, so I don't usually wear it. I buff my nails. I always say I try to have nails [like a] newborn baby."

14. What is your biggest beauty regret?

"I don't have one. I mean, I probably should, but I don't."

15. Candles, reed diffusers or nothing at all?

I would choose a candle. I also love the diffusers that mist, but I love candles. Cire Trudon’s are amazing. There is one that smells like the floors at Versailles and one called Manon, which smells like the laundry room at Versailles.

16. What beauty product do you recommend to everyone?

"I don't! I recommend things like Neal’s Yard Hand Rub because we all had one forever at work and we can't find it anymore. If you ever go to Turkey, they give the men [in the men's bathroom] a thing to wash their hands with, and it has orange blossom in it, which normally is very sweet orange blossom, but there was this hand sanitiser that was created by a makeup artist, and we can't find it anymore. And Neil Young had this one and I love it. So this will be the thing that I'm recommending to everybody."

17. What about a drugstore product that you recommend?

"I love RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Max Hydration Cream (£20)."

18. What hair product do you swear by? 

"Serge Normant Dream Big Volumizing Spray (£38). It’s unbelievable. I’ve been using it for years and years. And Tancho Lavender Pomade (£16)."

Shop Sarah Jessica Parker's Beauty Favourites:

Next Up: Millie Bobby Brown Shares the Beauty Secrets We All Want to Know

Eleanor Vousden
Beauty Editor, Who What Wear UK

Eleanor Vousden is the beauty editor for Who What Wear UK. She was previously deputy editor at Hairdressers Journal, health writer at Woman & Home and junior beauty editor at beauty website Powder. She has also contributed to Wallpaper and Elle Collections with written and styling work.Working as a beauty journalist since 2015 after graduating in fashion journalism at the London College of Fashion, she has been highly commended at the BSME Talent Awards for her work on Powder and also contributed to the title winning Website of the Year at the PPA Awards.Eleanor’s journalistic focus is to provide readers with honest and helpful beauty content. Through words, video and live broadcast, she has interviewed several celebrity makeup artists, hairstylists and top dermatologists throughout her career, as well as celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker and Scarlett Johansson. She has a particular interest in finding solutions for acne and eczema, which she has experienced firsthand. She has also amassed a large collection of fragrances and can never say no to a new candle.When she’s not writing or testing the latest beauty product or treatments, she’s on the seafront in her hometown of Brighton and Hove, where she lives with her partner and her miniature dachshund.