Debra Messing is one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, but what is fame really worth if you don’t put it to good use? Starring on a new TV show, raising a 10-year-old son, helping the homeless—it’s all in a day’s work for Debra, who is partnering with Curél and Direct Relief USA to distribute hygiene and comfort necessities to 500 homeless women and their families throughout New York City. This new project comes at a particularly appropriate time of year: You would never be able to tell from “Miracle on 34th Street,” but New York winters are seriously brutal.
“It’s something that I didn’t even think of, because when you think of people who are homeless, you think it’s all about food and shelter, but really your basic hygiene and care products are the first to go, things that keep you clean and healthy,” says Debra, who refers to her latest project as “soul food.” “It feels wonderful,” she said when we spoke to her about her involvement with Direct Relief USA—and, of course, all things beauty.
As a busy working mom, Debra certainly has a lot on her plate, and aside from her own personal fix of Curél’s Rough Skin Rescue soothing lotion, you may not be surprised to learn that the actress keeps her beauty routine to the bare minimum. First of all, she says, “I don’t have a day off,” so when she’s not getting all made up to shoot “The Mysteries of Laura,” she’s going totally au natural. “I just use a gentle cleanser, and I wear no makeup unless I have to go out, then I’ll use a tinted moisturizer—I use Laura Mercier—with some spot concealer, mascara, and lip liner with some lip balm.” Sounds suspiciously like our weekend beauty routine.
Debra has been gracing our TV sets with her presence (and flawless skin) for decades and looks no worse for the wear, which is why we had to ask her about the best beauty secrets she’d learned on set. She gave us one priceless tip that will have us reaching for the ice tray every morning for years to come. “You put ice cubes in a bowl and fill it up with a little bit of water and a lot of witch hazel and let it sit there and get freezing cold. Then, you put a washcloth in it and wring it out and put it on your face. It’s so cold it’s painful, but the witch hazel and the ice water tighten up your pores and bring all the blood to your skin and totally wake you up. Half the makeup job is done!” Debra Messing’s secret to flawless makeup-free skin—revealed. You heard it here first.
We also recalled that Debra had recently made headlines for what she called an “accidental” 20-pound weight loss after she cut all the bad stuff out of her diet. In those same stories she also confessed to a love of junk food, so obviously we wanted to know her secret to sticking to her healthy habits. “It’s much easier when I’m working,” she admitted, “because I request the food that I want and that I know will keep my engine running for twelve hours straight.” But Debra struggles on the weekends and on vacation just like the rest of us—”I just went to a hockey game with my son and these kids were having French fries and hot dogs next to me and I thought I was going to die,” she said. The real secret? Well, there kind of is none. “When I start to have a craving, I try and remember how much more alert and more vibrant and more present I feel without the junk. So far, that’s worked for me.”
Read more: The Grossest Celebrity Beauty Secrets