If there’s one thing Debra Messing is famous for (aside from her days as the beloved Grace Adler), it’s her gorgeous head of red hair. So it’s no surprise the actress, who now stars as Laura Diamond on NBC’s The Mysteries of Laura, has quite a few beauty tricks up her sleeve. Eager to pick her brain, we sat down with Messing where we discovered everything from her daily skin ritual to the one beauty trend she’ll never try again. Plus, she revealed the makeup tips you’ll need to make it through flu season, and the unexpected way she keeps her fragrance allergies at bay (hint: she borrows from the boys!)
What inspired you to team up with Curél’s Direct Relief program (which distributes medical supplies to those in need)?
I just think it’s a wonderful initiative. Any way that I can get involved in supporting the New York community, I want to and I love to. And I was thrilled when Curél came to me and asked me to participate. You can’t live in New York, especially in the wintertime, without being confronted with the homeless problem and how devastating it is. I’m a mom and I love the idea that Direct Relief gives out personal care packages with all the things we take for granted just to keep healthy and clean, like soap and toothpaste.
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You recently tweeted that you had a case of the flu. What are your secrets to looking good when you’re feeling under the weather?
Nothing is more important than blush, especially when you have the flu and all the blood drains out of your face. So use concealer to help with the dark circles you get under your eyes when you’re sick, and bronzer to add some color. Again, it’s all about bringing color back to your face—your skin is the first thing that tells people when you’re really not feeling well.
The character you play on The Mysteries of Laura is a detective and a busy mom on-the-go. Is there any beauty advice you’d steal from her in your real life?
Laura is a multitasker and a problem-solver and she has her bag of tricks, is what I call it. She has a big, oversized tote bag and carries everything known to man in there. If I didn’t have back problems, I would probably follow Laura’s lead and just have everything I could conceivably think of needing in the bag. I also like the fact that she wears braids. It’s easy, quick—and still cute.
I can’t live without my Stila Convertible blushes ($25 each; sephora.com). I just started using Chanel matte foundation ($54; nordstrom.com) and I’m loving that. On The Mysteries of Laura, I use a Maybelline tinted lip balm ($3; target.com) that is the perfect peach color—obsessed. I also really love MAC Professional’s setting powder ($32; maccosmetics.com).
Any new fragrances you love?
I’m allergic to most fragrances but I do love Chergui by Serge Lutens ($290; sergelutens.com). It’s a French line. I usually go for men’s colognes. Anything with floral notes, I can’t wear. So I go for earthy and oriental—things that have musk or vanilla notes in them. I also use a drugstore musk oil that I mix in with everything.
You spend long hours on set with loads of makeup. How do you maintain your glowing complexion?
I can’t live without my Clarisonic brush. I wear so much makeup every day, all day and I have super sensitive skin. So I start every day with a bowl full of ice water and witch hazel, and it’s freezing, but I soak it and put it on my face and it tightens my pores and wakes up my skin. At the end of the day, I wash my face three times; twice with a Clarisonic. I use a super gentle cleanser and put it all over my face, but I don’t wet my face first. Then I get a hot towel, put it on and it dissolves all my makeup and then I just wipe it off.
While we think you’ve always looked great over the years, are there any beauty trends you’d never try again?
I certainly wouldn’t do the bi-level haircut that I had in high school, coupled with a perm. I just looked like a poodle.