The actress and L’Oréal’s longest-serving spokesperson is sharing the secrets behind her gorgeous gray curls, her thoughts on aging, and what she learned while working with her daughter Margaret on Maid.

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Andie MacDowell
Credit: Kate Green/Stringer

Andie MacDowell is ready for the world to start glamorizing women of every age. "I think it's badass to embrace where you are [in life] and be fearless," she tells InStyle. "That is exactly what I am doing. I am stepping right into where I am with no shame, and it feels good."

MacDowell recently caught the world's attention when she debuted her salt-and-pepper hair on the red carpet at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. "The wildest thing I've ever done on the red carpet was wear that [sparkly] Ralph Lauren dress with the 1920s hair for the [1993] Oscars. But I really liked my last look [at the Cannes Film Festival in July], when I debuted my silver hair. It was really important to me because my transformation helped me accept my authentic, true self." The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, which she recalls as heartwarming — especially the feedback from her daughters, Margaret and Rainey Qualley.

Of course, beauty isn't the only thing MacDowell shares with her daughters. Margaret is the star of the new Netflix series Maid, where they take their mother-daughter relationship onscreen.

To prepare for the role, MacDowell reflected on her own childhood. "My mother was a beautiful mixture of struggling and loving me in a way that made me feel good about myself. Paula, the character I play in Maid, does that for Alex [Margaret's character] too," she explains. "I did learn a lot about what it is like for a woman to struggle. And all though the characters are not the same, I drew on it a bit."

Ahead, she shares her thoughts on how the beauty industry has evolved, her wildest red carpet looks, and the products she stands by.

Her Parisian Power Lip

"I grew up in your average tiny Southern town [Gaffney, S.C.], so I didn't know anything about high fashion. I moved to Paris in 1979 and learned a lot about clothes and beauty while living there. For example, when applying lipstick, I was taught to cover your lips with a thin Kleenex and press powder on top to set it. Even when I was very young, I would put on a red lip and maybe a pinch of mascara. It was just a cool way to feel feminine. My favorite shade now is the L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Maison Marais."

L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Satin Lipstick in Maison Marais

Andie MacDowell
Credit: Courtesy L’Oréal Paris

Silver Belle

"When I first started wearing my hair gray, my daughters [Margaret and Rainey Qualley] kept saying I looked badass. It was heartwarming to see such a positive reaction because I had some resistance to the idea in the beginning. I think it's badass to embrace where you are [in life] and be fearless. That is exactly what I am doing. I am stepping right into where I am with no shame, and it feels good. [laughs]

"I dump buckets of conditioner on my hair. I don't even shampoo, which I would not suggest to anyone without curly hair. I use the L'Oréal Paris EverPure Brass Toning Purple Conditioner, because silver hair can get kind of yellow. It makes all the difference in the world."

L'Oréal Paris EverPure Brass Toning Purple Conditioner

Andie MacDowell
Credit: Courtesy L’Oréal Paris

Healthy Hobbies

Hobbies I am a sucker for trying new health and wellness products because I love anything that keeps me feeling my best. I drink [green] juices and smoothies, eat clean, and am constantly reading up on new material. I really enjoy the journey of keeping well.

DōTerra Peace

Andie MacDowell
Credit: Courtesy DōTerra

Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream

Andie MacDowell
Credit: Courtesy Egyptian Magic

$26/2 oz.; egyptianmagic.com.

Ageless Attitude

"Over the last two years, the idea of beauty has become much broader. The industry has evolved so that everybody has an opportunity to feel beautiful. It especially helps my generation, because I feel like we have always been left out."

"In the past, it has been normal and acceptable [for society] to cut women off at age 40. I think young people today are very supportive of glamorizing mature women. We do have something unique to offer. You can't be young forever, but you can always be considered beautiful, fashionable, and glamorous."

For more stories like this, pick up the November issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Oct. 22nd.