Selma Blair on the Beauty Routine that Makes Her "Come Alive"

Selma Blair on the Beauty Routine That Makes Her "Come Alive"

She may be able to do a smoky eye without looking, but as Guide Beauty’s new CCO, she’s all about products that make makeup easier for everyone.

"I've never thought of fashion, makeup — really, any of our ways of self-care and presenting ourselves — as frivolous." This sentiment, while relatable to anyone who's ever felt intense calm from a simple body scrub or bolder than usual while wearing a bright red lip, rings especially true coming from Selma Blair, who, just four years after receiving an MS diagnosis, can't stop extolling the power of makeup.

Blair says the years since her 2018 diagnosis have acted as an unofficial crash course in adaptive design, as she's learned to navigate the daily challenges and victories of living with multiple sclerosis, a chronic autoimmune condition that causes fatigue, neurological symptoms, and mobility issues. As a self-proclaimed "fashion girl," Blair's had to rethink her entire wardrobe ("you find the things that don't have the buckles or the bells and whistles in the same way"), embrace the cane-as-fashion-accessory ("I was so happy, because it meant I could wear my heels"), and explore new expressions of her personal style.

Most of all, the 50-year-old star of cult classics like Cruel Intentions, The Sweetest Thing, and, of course, Legally Blonde, seems to gravitate toward the personal, rather than the strictly professional, at this stage in her career. Since announcing her MS remission after a stem-cell transplant late last year, Blair has launched a slew of intimate, truly special projects between her activism work and family time with her 10-year-old son. Her memoir, Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up, debuted in May to critical acclaim, and in June, she announced a new project in adaptive beauty as CCO of the makeup brand that played a pivotal role in the mental rehabilitation that inevitably followed her life-changing physical one.

Selma Blair on the Beauty Routine that Makes Her "Come Alive"
Getty Images

Her approach to life, in general, has changed, but makeup, fashion, and wellness — the little luxuries we can often take for granted — remain powerful tools in her self-care kit. But it wasn't always that way. "After I had treatment, I'd honestly, like, stopped looking in the mirror," she says. "My hair was short, I was bloated, I had alopecia on my lashes and my face. And it was all so much effort — I sometimes don't see well — so I just stopped, and I didn't think I missed it," she tells InStyle surrounded by makeup brushes in a New York City high-rise, looking every bit the fashion darling in a cream silk blouse, billowy wide-leg pants, and her forever-changing spunky haircut.

The joy of getting ready and her life-long love of personal aesthetics did return eventually — thanks, in large part, to moments that made her feel included rather than adapted to. Finding Guide Beauty, her favorite line of accessible, easy-to-use (not to mention chic) makeup essentials, was crucial. "It was a real turning point for me," says Blair of discovering the brand. "It was like, 'OK, let's start waking up again.'"

By design, Guide's collection looks like no other makeup packaging, tool, or delivery system on the market today. Instead, founder Terri Bryant and her team of industry pros started from scratch, creating inclusive designs that "invite everybody to the table," rather than adapting to old models. And, after launching the brand in 2020, there's still plenty of reinvention to do. "You're not designing for an 'us' or a 'them,'" she explains. "You're just looking to design for that beautiful 'we' moment: When we all get to play in the same world together with makeup."

Selma Blair on the Beauty Routine that Makes Her "Come Alive"
Courtesy Guide Beauty

Guide Easy on the Eyes Brow Eyeliner Duo, $50

That mission is visible in every aspect, from the brand's easy-grip makeup brushes that help with stability to their Guide Wand ($50) for applying eyeliner. Small, almost imperceptible innovations permeate the collection, too: how a tool curves with your brow bone (so you can rest it against your cheek), the inclusion of a small keyhole so you can see with both eyes while shadowing (great for applying in the mirror and a personal fave of Blair's). All this and more prove Guide's point: makeup is for everyone — it just needs to be built that way.

Selma Blair on the Beauty Routine that Makes Her "Come Alive"
Courtesy Guide Beauty

Easy on the Eyes Shadow Palette & Brush Collection, $79

Selma Blair on the Beauty Routine that Makes Her "Come Alive"
Courtesy Guide Beauty

Brow Moment, $26

That hyperfocus on performance and accessibility — born from both Bryant's personal experience living with Parkinson's and her background in makeup artistry — spoke to Blair while she was relearning and rethinking her way of living with MS. "It could let me dip my toe back in the water of caring for myself in a way and feeling supported," she explains.

The brand's ingenious tools and luxe formulas (think: smudge-free powders, versatile shades like the perfect shimmery Champagne, and longwear liner with serious color payoff) make application easier for everyone, not just a select few. Plus, unlike most adaptive products, they're beautiful. Like, "inspired by jewelry design" beautiful. This is the kind of thoughtful detail that first drew Blair to the brand amid other options at her local department store beauty counter. When most products made with you in mind are more function than form, it's easy to see how beautiful packaging could feel radically inclusive. After all, everyone deserves a little vanity eye candy as a treat.

"You'll make do with [adapted] designs that may not be ideal," says Blair. "But, when something like this comes along, you're like, 'Oh, actually, this is easier.'" Guide Beauty's mission is universal, not specific. And while that's a subtle distinction, it's an important one: Both Blair and Bryant are emphatic about inclusion from the get-go. "As much as we appreciate adaption, you don't long for it, right?" explains Bryant. "We appreciate it, but what we long for is to be included."

As such, Blair's position as Guide Beauty's CCO is almost a foregone conclusion. Is there any better collaborator than someone whose life changed after using your product? Probably not, and Blair herself admits that when beauty opened back up for her, she felt a seismic shift in not just her appearance, but her mindset. She rediscovered a part of herself that was temporarily lost after her MS diagnosis. "I started really coming alive, and that's what we love about makeup."

And when it comes to personal taste, some things don't change. As always, Blair is a die-hard eyebrow aficionado and swears by a smoky eye. "That is something I can literally put on without looking," she says with an animated smile. "It's really kind of a saving grace for me, because I feel much better — and my face just comes alive."

Lead Image: Paul Romo

For more stories like this, check out EveryBODY In, our celebration — and send-up — of summer bodies, available for digital download now.

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