The actress Naomi Watts has been wearing several hats since the pandemic hit. She is a founder of Onda Beauty, an indie retail store with branches in TriBeCa and Sag Harbor, N.Y. She has also been filming, including a couple of movies that will be out this year: the thriller “Lakewood” and “Infinite Storm,” a tale of survival.
A mother of two living in Manhattan, Ms. Watts, 52, has, like the rest of us, been living through the ups and downs of this strange time. Find out the beauty rituals and regimens that keep her centered and how something as simple as a mani-pedi can be so restorative.
Discovering Skin Care
I’ve always had sensitive skin. Working on set, with multiple applications of makeup and under hot lights, I became really, really reactive to everything. My friend Larissa Thomson, who was a lifestyle and fashion editor at various publications, and Sarah Bryden-Brown had joined together to found Onda Beauty. Larissa had been telling me about products and brands she was interested in, and I had tried stuff out of her makeup bag. They instantly smelled right and felt right on. My skin said: “Yes.”
As Onda was kicking off, I got more involved. First, I was an ambassador and influencer, and later I got more interested in the business side of things. The pandemic was so tough on small businesses. We just closed our Notting Hill store. We had opened it right before the pandemic hit. We just couldn’t handle the third shutdown. Our TriBeCa store was closed for six months. All things considered, though, we’ve managed to stay afloat.
My morning routine moves around a lot because I’m often trying things. That’s one of the perks of the job. I don’t really cleanse in the morning unless I’m working out. Then I use African Botanics cleanser in the shower, or sometimes I use just water. Right now, I’m very excited about Furtuna skin-care products. I’m also very into the Answer by Symbiome. It’s a serum, and it feels good on.
I also mix things all the time. I love the hyaluronic acid from Dr. Barbara Sturm. I’m not someone who wants to put too many things on at once, but I’m at the point in my life where I’m invested in my skin. Before it was all about a pair of shoes or what jeans are trending. That’s for a 20-something.
Time for Yourself
Being a mom, I do love that moment at the end of the day when the kids are in bed, where I’m taking time for a ritual for me. I’d rather have a bath than a shower. I just love the feeling of being in really hot water. I love Vertly bath salts.
Then I make sure my skin is cleansed properly — sometimes a double cleanse. Maybe I’ll do a face mask. I love the Osea White Algae Mask. It’s a good price point. Then I mix an oil or serum with a moisturizing cream. I love the Beautycounter vitamin C serum — it’s a really strong product.
I’ve always been a five-minute kind of girl when it comes to getting ready. I don’t do a lot with hair and makeup when I know there won’t be cameras. When I see my friends, I’ll spruce up, but I don’t go far with it. I always love a lipstick, and the ones from Beautycounter aren’t too dry. Masks and lipsticks are a nightmare, though! Usually that’s when I do a lip balm. But if I’m going out, I bring it with me to put on at the restaurant and wipe it off before I put on the mask.
I love an eyebrow. I’ve been using the pencils from Beautycounter or RMS. I like Beautycounter if I need some coverage. They have this Dew Skin that comes in a silver tube. Every time I work on a movie, I introduce it to the makeup artist. It’s great for film when you just need a little makeup but you don’t want it to be readable.
My hair is a nightmare. I’ve always had fine hair, but I was told I had lots of it. Now that’s not the case. Reaching a certain age, I think hormones play a part as well as overusing hot tools. And there’s the color. I definitely color my hair. I’m naturally blond, but I’m very, very ashy. I definitely need a little brightening. There’s no way around the damage, though.
I go to Mark DeBolt for my color. Ryan, his partner in life and in business, has also done my hair for film and red carpets. They had just opened their salon before Covid struck. I went recently for the first time in a year. It felt really good. I couldn’t quite believe it when I stepped out of the salon.
I used to have a shelf of fragrances in my bathroom, but I don’t love them anymore. I do have this lovely little pocket-size scented oil by Ayu, this Australian brand. I love the Rose and the Ode.
What a Mani-Pedi Can Do
Recently I went to have a manicure and pedicure for the first time in ages. All of those things feel like such a treat now. You feel like a feral beast coming out of the woods with your ingrown toenails! I’m having a facial at Onda for the first time. We do treatments at the store.
I grew up in the ’70s, and my mom would make her own bread and make her own dresses. I’m super into food and a believer in not denying myself much as long it’s in moderation. I crave crunchy salads and fruits and vegetables. I think that’s mainly my comfort food because that’s how I was raised. I also love plenty of white foods. I’ll never deny myself a great pasta when I’m traveling.
Fitness is a big part of my life. It’s great for mood, isn’t it? I’m a physical person. I like to move my body. I bounce around because I can get bored easily. With the pandemic we got heavily into exercise and working out online with our friends, filming ourselves, and now what? It’s hard to sustain.
I exercise three times a week. I love a bit of strength training. I do Zoom classes with a guy called Keith Anthony. It’s all on the mat with some weights and some lunges and squats. I do yoga.
I also do the Class by Taryn Toomey. I like her approach to movement because it’s not just the body but the mind and spirit as well. I get a lot out of her energy and her ability to shake up the mood. She taps into our psyches.