Celebrity beauty brands are a dime a dozen, but for Jessica Alba, Honest Beauty is much more than a side hustle: it’s her love letter to clean beauty. “Since I was 18, I have been the face of many different beauty brands. I learned so much about the consumer and marketing and how women want to be spoken to, but I didn’t really understand the innovation, the ingredients, and what that side of it was,” she tells us via Zoom from her L.A. home. “Women are putting so much money into their skincare, yet every day, even the most high-end brands use petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances, and so many different things that potentially dry out and dehydrate your skin. I thought, ‘what if we could create cosmetics that actually make your skin healthier over time?’ That was really the foundation of the brand.” Founded in 2015, Honest Beauty is finally available in Canada exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Ahead, the actor-turned-entrepreneur talks healthy habits, skincare routine and the ever-changing world of wellness.
How do you typically start off your day?
I wake up, I go to the gym or do something physical for an hour in the morning. Then I drink a collagen matcha and usually take a shower and eat breakfast. I have back-to-back meetings all day on Zoom until about five. I actually have this macramé [hobby]. I’m not good at macramé or wall hangings, but it just gives me something to do while I’m on these meetings all day.
What are some other quarantine hobbies you’ve developed this year?
I picked up watercolour painting. I’m not good at all, but it’s calming. I’ve definitely done more self-care. I do a lot of face masks with my daughters, at least two or three times a week. I like to use the detox mask to combat congestion. My daughter Honor who’s a tween has more of that hormonal kind of skin right now, so she does really well with the detox mask too.
I also love cooking. I wasn’t eating breakfast, and that was one of the healthy habits that I wanted to pick up. Usually, when I eat breakfast with the kids, I’m eating something that’s indulgent and delicious for them. It was like every day was the weekend, but you just can’t live your life like that. It’s not very productive – going to bed late and then having chocolate milk with marshmallows and chocolate chip pancakes the next morning – and I was constantly sugarcoating life to make it more pleasurable, which is not the move. I learned that lesson. My kids were more rotten and I was feeling really exhausted myself. My clothes weren’t fitting, and I was just like, what the hell is going on? So yeah, I had to cut that habit, but it was a good four months of that.
Do you think there’s a correlation between diet and skin?
100 percent. My husband had terrible acne growing up. When he cut out sugary cereals and dairy, his skin instantly cleared up. A lot of people have food aversions, their bodies don’t metabolize dairy and sugar, things that are overly processed or that have a bunch of additives. Your body reacts to what you put into it, and your skin is a huge part of your body. It is your body. Everything is connected.
You launched The Honest Company back in 2015. How has the concept of wellness shifted from when you first started out to now?
I felt like a lone wolf when I first founded the company. My friends always thought I was so extreme. But now, everybody has the same language and people know what I’m talking about. I don’t feel I’m talking to a wall anymore and getting blank stares. People are more educated and aware of the fact that they can actually make healthier choices. Honest is a modern brand for the people. By making Honest so accessible to so many, we’re at the forefront of the healthy movement in a lot of ways.
Why was it so important to you to keep the Honest Beauty line affordable?
I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. And when I did have a little bit of money, you’d better believe I spent it on amazing beauty products that I thought were worth it. My mom was like “honey, you’ve only got one face, make sure you invest in that one thing, it’s your canvas. Invest in your skin and invest in your makeup and don’t put garbage on your face.” That’s the one thing I always have done and it’s worth the investment, just like your health and wellness. Our formulas perform at the high level you would expect from a luxury brand, but at a more accessible price point and without using questionable ingredients.
You mentioned in a previous interview that the magic beauty balm is one of your go-to products because it’s so versatile. What’s the most interesting way you use it?
I like it on the tops of my cheekbones, or on my eyelids for a glossy eye look. I like it down the bridge of my nose, on my lips, my cuticles, on my split ends, my elbows. I rub it all over my kids’ faces when I’m dropping them off at school. It’s great, you can use it everywhere.
What’s your biggest skin concern and what do you do to combat it?
I have two. One of them is my dry, flaky skin. I can get quite rashy and I have pretty sensitive skin. So I try to avoid anything that will give me that eczema-type rash. And then the other thing is congestion – having underground clogged pores and blackheads. To combat these I cleanse with the Gentle Gel Cleanser and I use the Vitamin C Radiance Serum. I really like it because it’s a brightening formula, but it doesn’t overly dry out your skin. It contains two types of hyaluronic acid. When we were formulating it, that was the most important thing. It can’t dry your skin out and make it feel tight. Then, I use the Hydrogel Cream during the day. At night, I like to combine the Organic Facial Oil and the Hydrogel Cream.
What do you do to switch up your routine for colder weather? Does your routine change with seasons?
Yeah, I definitely. I’ll add the organic facial oil for my daytime routine as well, not just at night.
What’s next for Honest Beauty?
I’m excited to come out with more innovation that’s relevant for where people are today. And I think there are a lot of opportunities for expanding, especially in countries like Canada, where the consumer seems more knowledgeable when it comes to using natural ingredients. I’m excited to see how the Canadian consumers [react] and what they want us to make. Because we have a lab, we can think on our feet, we can create stuff in-house. We aren’t copying, or even taking formulas off the shelf that other people are making. We truly are one of a kind.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's daily newsletter.