Charlize Theron Talks Female Empowerment, Beauty Disasters, and the Product She Never Leaves Home Without

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La Mer The Cleansing Gel
Photo: Time Inc. Digital Studio

Oscar award? Supermodel looks? The ability to casually gain weight for a role and then shed it as if it were a fat suit? If Theron weren't so damn cool, it would be easy to hate her. Instead, we have a girl crush. We sat down with the actress to talk beauty disasters, messages of empowerment for young fans, and the scoop on her essential products.

For your new movie, Tully, you reportedly gained 35 pounds. You also underwent a dramatic transformation for your Oscar-winning turn as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. Tell us a little bit about the role that appearance plays in your acting.

I think the exterior says a lot about somebody's life. [It's like a mirror] for the way we live our lives. If you live a hard life, you drink a lot, it's going to show. For an actor, the physical appearance, and even the way you move and carry your body, is an important part of how you tell a story.

Speaking of telling a story, you are also the face of Dior J'Adore fragrance. What do you like about the scent?

Its subtlety. Some fragrances are so strong that when you hug someone, you can literally taste it in your mouth. This scent is complex without being overpowering. Whenever I wear it, my son says, "Mama smells nice!"

How has being a mom affected your beauty routine?

Honestly, I've never been one of those people who could spend hours in front of a mirror, so I've always gravitated toward products that can do a lot of things at once. I like my sleep—I'd rather keep it simple in the morning than wake up early and do a massive routine.

Have you ever had any beauty disasters?

The '90s! The pencil-thin eyebrows, the over-lined lips. And the amount of makeup that I wore in my 20s! Why wasn't anyone like, "You have enough lipstick on—stop"?

You look as fresh-faced at 41 as you did in your 20s. Have you been pounding some sort of Benjamin Button serum?

I don't go out of my house a day without sunblock. I stash it in my car. I put it on my hands when I'm driving. I am a sunblock fanatic. I will also say this: I look at my mother's skin—she'll kill me for saying this, but she's almost 64—and I get very excited because she has aged unbelievably well.

If you could give younger women one piece of beauty advice, what would it be?

Enjoy the moment you're actually living in. And don't worry about what you're going to look like when you're 60!

Charlize's Must-Haves

01 of 05

Dior J'Adore Eau Lumière Eau de Toilette

Dior J'Adore Eau Lumière Eau de Toilette
Time Inc. Digital Studio
02 of 05

La Mer Crème de la Mer

La Mer Crème de la Mer
Time Inc. Digital Studio
03 of 05

Dior Diorskin Nude Air Serum Foundation

Dior Diorskin Nude Air Serum Foundation
Time Inc. Digital Studio
04 of 05

La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum With Sunscreen

La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum With Sunscreen 
Time Inc. Digital Studio
05 of 05

La Mer The Cleansing Gel

La Mer The Cleansing Gel
Time Inc. Digital Studio
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