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Cate Blanchett's beauty secrets

Red lips, movie makeup and the scent she shuns

By Shantila Lee | Published: 8 Oct 2015

Cate on beauty
Photo: TPG Images

Cate Blanchett is known for many things: her acting, being a mum, being an environmentalist, that haunting (read: LOTR) voice. But the one thing that never fleets or fades is her beauty, a status cemented by her being an SK-II ambassador and that amazing, flawless complexion she always flashes. At an interview with ELLE during the launch of her SK-II #ChangeDestiny campaign, Cate chatted about her dos, don'ts and nevers.

1. She channels the red lip she wore in Carol.
"I do like a red lip. When I do it myself, it never looks like that. Whoever was doing the makeup is a genius. Also, it's how you're lit. There was a really strong sense of subjectivity the way Therese, played by Rooney [Mara], views Carol. You see Carol through the prism of her desire for her. So, she was filmed often as this object of desire, gradually throughout the film."

2. It's about the right shade of red.
"I love the hard to find '50s reds, they're really quite orange. You have to wear quite a lot of other makeup to make them work―so it becomes this whole set look. I would probably go for a more bluey red. Tom Ford has some great reds, but also Edward Bess does some really great reds. I love his lipsticks."

3. She loves natural, gourmand scents.
"The wrong fragrance will give me a headache. I love the smell of lavender but from cooking, if someone's got garlic and onions or baking bread. The smell of fresh bread, I really love. I love the smell of firewood. I do like more woody scents. But I do also like citrus scents, like mandarin and lemon."

4. Her top fragrance picks.
"I flip between a few and they're always ones that people have given me. A friend of mine, she's discontinued the line, but she gave me this one called 'Fire.' And one called 'Lemon' which was really beautiful. I like the Armani Intense Sí."

5. Scents that make her go 'eww'!
"It's usually those mass-produced fragrances, which smell basically of bubble gum and metal. They lose all the baseness super quick and you're left with the sweetness. Also, body odour. My son is moving into the teenage years and going into his room is quite the challenge."

Related: Suki Waterhouse's beauty rules
Related: Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara flirt in 'Carol' teaser


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