Known for her spine-chilling roles in classic horror films like Mulholland Drive, The Ring and most recently, Netflix’s haunting true crime thriller, The Watcher, Naomi Watts has never been one to shy away from a scary or taboo subject. And now, the 54-year-old Oscar nominated actress has turned her fearless eye to another topic that is often shrouded in secrecy: menopause.
Stripes, her new 11-piece menopausal beauty collection launched in collaboration with biotech company Amyris, was inspired by Watts own early experience of menopause, which opened her eyes to the stigma surrounding this once verboten topic. “I began my hormonal transition into perimenopause in my late thirties and menopause in my early forties. It was such a lonely and shameful experience. There was no community and no one to talk to.”
Spurred on by her experience at Onda, a clean beauty retailer she co-founded in 2014, the actress created Stripes not only to provide products that address the changing needs of menopausal skin, but also to provide a “home where women could find a sense of community and the information they need to help them make informed decisions about their wellbeing.”
Here, the actress speaks to CNN Underscored about her experience with menopause and skin care.
Can you tell us a little more about your menopause experience—and how it led you to create Stripes?
“During menopause, I began looking at ingredients more closely. I was able to wrap my head around my other symptoms, but the skin issues really drove me to that ‘aha’ moment. It was also clear to me that women my age weren’t being properly represented—in the marketplace, in storytelling or in the media. I learned so much from my experience at Onda and I thought, ‘I want to do this.’”
How did menopause affect your skin and how did you change your beauty routine as a result?
“My skin was a major problem during my hormonal shift, and I needed immediate solutions. I switched to clean products and saw results right away. My skin was drier and more sensitive, so I needed to eliminate certain routines, like over exfoliating and strong doses of vitamin C. I found success using mists, which enhanced the hydrating effects of my moisturizer.”
What is your beauty philosophy and how has it evolved over time?
“Enjoy it while it lasts!! Seriously— I can’t believe how critical I used to be of myself; it’s upsetting to think about. The upside of getting older is that you finally figure out who you are, inside and out. I see the most beauty in women who are at ease with themselves and not afraid to live life in their own way, on their own terms.”
How has your beauty routine changed since the pandemic began?
“During quarantine, we all learned how to do at home treatments and spent time watching all the videos about how to use certain tools and apply products in different ways. Beauty trends are like fashion; they move so quickly. I’m a curious person by nature and always looking to find out what’s next. Currently, I’m loving the Lyma laser system. It’s wildly expensive, but I’m seeing results.”
Here are few more products the actress can’t live without:
Watts uses this as her morning hydrating serum. “This is my favorite product in the line,” she says. “It contains five different kinds of hyaluronic acid, hydrating ectoine, plus squalene which mimics our skin’s natural oils. It gives a nice plumping effect to the skin and doubles as a moisturizer. It’s perfect for any time of day and works perfectly under your makeup.”
“If you need a little extra hydration, this works beautifully on top of the Power Move serum. It’s light, non-greasy and deeply hydrating. In addition to ectoine and squalene, two incredibly hydrating ingredients, it also contains a blend of antioxidant-rich vitamins.”
“I have very fair skin, so I try to wear sunscreen every day. This feels beautiful on the skin — it’s light and easy to wear under makeup and doesn’t leave a white cast.”
“I use this soothing cleanser at night to remove makeup and protect skin from environmental stressors. It’s milky and calming — not at all harsh. Personally, I’ve moved away from excessive exfoliants and prefer gentle cleansers that you can splash or dab off, rather than wipe.”
“This rich, nighttime moisturizer was created by a pioneer in stem cell research. It contains a complex made of amino acids and other regenerating ingredients. It’s fragrance-free, goes on silky smooth and leaves my skin soft and dewy.”
“Loaded with mineral peptides and hyaluronic acid, this makes my skin feel plump and hydrated. I also love the smell of Osea and its affordable price point.”
“I love subtle fragrance. I don’t want to smell someone else’s scent unless I’m super close — like kissing or hugging — so I want mine to be the same. I’ve become more sensitive to smell as I’ve gotten older. So, what I liked before doesn’t necessarily translate now. That said, rose has a nostalgia to it; it reminds me of my youth. Henry Rose Windows Down is gentle and surprising.”
“I’ve always had fine hair and it’s been exposed to a lot of damage over the years, so I need to protect what little I have left! I’m seeing terrific results using this leave-in conditioner on my colored hair.”
“Gucci Westman’s makeup brushes are super luxe. They’re handmade in Japan. The nylon bristles are unbelievably soft, distributing just the right amount of product without any streaking.”