Gemma Arterton: ‘As You Get Older You Learn To Appreciate Yourself’

From Bond Girl to beauty ambassador

gemma arterton

by Katie Rosseinsky |

She charmed us as the titular ingénue in the BBC’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles; held her own opposite 007 in Quantum Of Solace and jump-started a million girl crushes in Tamara Drewe. Now, Brit actress Gemma Arterton has added beauty spokesmodel to her already impressive CV as the new face of Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost range.

An effervescent presence who’d be a firm fixture in our imaginary A-list girl squad, Gemma sees the new role as ‘a natural fit’ for her. ‘My father was a welder with proper welder’s hands so when I was growing up, there were always tubes of Neutrogena hand cream lying around,’ she explains.

We caught up with Gemma to find out the secret to that flawless complexion, look back on her earliest beauty memories and find out why she really hates brushing her teeth (yes, really)…

Beauty wise, would you describe yourself as high or low maintenance?

I’m naturally quite low maintenance - I don’t like anything that takes too long. If I’m getting ready to go out, I give myself about half an hour maximum so anything quick that ticks the boxes is good for me – I’ve got too many other things to do with my life!

What's your skincare routine like?

I really have to make myself take off my make-up. I really hate doing that, and and brushing my teeth! At the end of the day, when you decide you're ready to go to bed, it's yet another thing to do... I'm really religious about it now, though, because I have had bad skin in the past, and for my job I have to look alright. Cleansing in the morning is something that I’ve recently started doing - I thought you just had to leave the natural oil, but it's actually good for your skin, so I'm quite vigilant about that now.

Which are your favourite products from the Hydro Boost range?

I'm a big fan of the Water Gel moisturiser (£12.99); it just melts into your skin. The cleanser (£7.99) is really easy to use as well. Before I started using the range, I'd have one product for removing eye make-up, one for cleansing the skin, then a serum, an eye cream... Now I can just use a couple of products, so my routine's more streamlined.

neutrogena hydro boost moisturiser
Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Water Gel moisturiser ©Handout

Which beauty product always lifts your mood?

I know it doesn’t sound very glamorous but I can’t really go without under eye concealer – that’s the one thing that’s always in my bag. I can go without anything else but that, and a little bit of lip balm. A touch of bronzer is always good, too, especially if you’re feeling tired and your skin is looking a bit dull. Brand wise, I really like Nars, Tom Ford and Bobbi Brown.

What’s your earliest beauty memory?

Back in the '80s, my mum used to use so much hairspray; she'd have an afro comb and backcomb her roots, then spray it and go - that would be her style! She always had a metallic purple lipstick - I remember taking it and putting it on my cheeks, thinking that was how you wore blusher. I'd take the same lipstick to school and put it on in the hallway before I went into lessons. My teacher told me to take it off but I said, "No, I've just been drinking hot Ribena!" because that was what you drunk at school, of course. He was like, "Shut up, go and take it off now!"

Have you had any beauty nightmares along the way?

There's been many a make-up disaster! I look back on some of the photos even since I’ve been an actor and I think "Oh God no! What was I thinking there?" For me, the 'less is more' adage is so true. I can’t carry off the whole done up look in a conventional way; I look better when I don’t try as hard.

When you travel, what are your beauty essentials?

I travel really light; I usually end up not taking much at all. Because I don't wear make-up on holiday, I just tend to bring a face wash and a moisturiser, and I'll always wear an SPF. When I'm on holiday, I love putting on loads of oils and creams, so when I comeback my skin's all soft. Neutrogena's Deep Moisture Oil-in-Lotion (£4.99) is one of my favourites - it's a cream that turns to oil on your skin, and leaves a sheen. It's good for the red carpet, too, if you want a little bit of a glow.

What appealed to you about working with Neutrogena?

I really love the women that they work with. With beauty campaigns, they can sometimes feel quite unobtainable, and it gives the wrong message to young women. If I was going to do anything in this area, it had to be with the right ethics and to me, Neutrogena represents so much more than just cosmetics. All of their marketing, too, is so natural - it's not posed, it's not sucking in the cheeks and pouting.

What's been your favourite red carpet beauty look so far?

It was for the Tamara Drewe premiere (in 2010). I'd just got back from a holiday, so I had a bit of a tan and my skin was really good. I had hardly any make-up on, just some mascara. For events since then, I've thought "Why don't I just do it like that?"

gemma arterton red carpet premiere tamara drewe
At the Tamara Drewe premiere ©Getty Images

How do you feel about Instagram-led beauty trends like contouring?

These kind of trends have always been around - just look back at all the awful make-up and hair in the '80s. We'll look back on the contouring days and say 'What were we doing?,' and then we'll think 'Yeah, but Kim Kardashian, she was really famous and she did it!' To be honest, I think when you get older, you learn what suits you and younger women are just finding out. I did the same: when I was younger, I had lovely skin but I coated it in too dark foundation. In a weird way, it's part of growing up, then as you get older you start learning to appreciate yourself and owning your own skin. It's just sad, in a way, that these sort of things get more coverage than they would have done back in the day.

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