Operation Recharge: Hilary Duff on Self-Care and the Ultimate Day Off

Operation Recharge: Hilary Duff on Self-Care and the Ultimate Day Off
Photo: Getty Images/Allison Kahler

In our new series, “Operation Recharge,” we task celebrities and influencers with sharing what self-care means to them, as well as the activities, products, and treatments they indulge in for downtime done right.

Hilary Duff isn’t new to this; she’s true to this. The 30-year-old has been in the spotlight since her preteens (aka, the “Lizzie McGuire” years) and managed to escape what many deem a “child star curse.” Today, she is a bona fide jack of all trades. When she’s not starring on what I believe to be the severely underrated show “Younger,” she’s also clocking time in the occasional film, designing eyewear, and raising a 5-year-old.

So it comes as no surprise that self-care is something she needs to stay sane in the midst of a crazy schedule. Ahead in her own words, Duff delves into what self-care means to her and what a dream day off would look like. Spoiler alert: It includes soup, plenty of masking, and of course, Netflix.

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On Taking Care of Herself

Self-care to me equals self-love: Taking time to do things that make you feel good about yourself—like exercise, personal hygiene, and beauty regimens, all of which can boost your confidence. It’s important to take the time to take care of yourself. By being good to your body, mind, and soul, you can help create positive habits and form healthy relationships with your family, friends, and partners.

I really believe that when you are comfortable in your own skin and proud of who you are, you can focus on what’s important in your life—like your family, career, and health. Women work so hard, and sometimes it’s easy for us to forget to take care of ourselves. It’s something I thought a lot about in creating Muse x Hilary Duff, my line of glasses and sunglasses for GlassesUSA.com. I never leave the house without a pair of sunglasses or glasses, so creating my own line felt really natural to me. But beyond that, it was important to me to build a collection that every woman—no matter her face shape or skin tone—could feel comfortable in and empowered by.

Part of doing my best to care for myself both physically and mentally is making a conscious effort—drinking lots of water, having a beauty routine I rely on, spending time with my family and friends.… When I feel good and take care of myself, it reflects in everything I do. And I’ve learned that it’s OK to break the rules and indulge—life is too short to not let yourself have fun or worry about every little thing. I do my best to not be super hard on myself.

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On Her Favorite Refueling Activities

The time I spend on myself varies day to day, depending on my schedule—hey, I’ve got a 5-year old! After years of being forced to build extreme LEGO sets, I have finally accepted it as a relaxing experience—ha! I love to hike, skip rope, and do high-intensity interval training. And I take occasional yoga classes.

Spending time with people I love is the best trick I’ve learned to recharge. I try to take a little bit of time each day for things like a workout, a mani/pedi with a friend, lunch with my mom—even organizing my closet feels like something cleansing to do for myself.

STYLECASTER | Operation Recharge: Hilary Duff | Aesop Redemption Body Scrub


I am also a huge fan of taking baths. It is a great way for me to relax and have some alone time. I exfoliate my skin every day—lately I’ve been using Aesop Redemption Body Scrub. I also love Neutrogena Light Sesame Body Oil. I put it on after a shower when my skin is still wet.

Another thing: I love to cook—it’s very therapeutic for me. I love the process of making a vegetable purée soup and keeping it in my fridge to heat up. It’s easy but therapeutic and super healthy and filling! I stole the recipe from my neighbor (sorry, Gina!). Here’s how you make it: Combine yellow onion, garlic, a little bit of grapeseed oil, broccoli, asparagus, red and green bell pepper, and low-sodium chicken broth (or veggie broth) in a pot and cook until soft. Then purée the mixture until smooth. Add salt, pepper, white pepper, crushed red pepper, and a dash of cayenne. Done! I try to drink lots of water and eat as healthy as I can, but I love to break the rules sometimes, so I allow myself to do it here and there.

I like to treat myself with an evening facial at my house in front of the TV, watching whatever I want to watch after my son goes to sleep. I love Netflix and Hulu—and am obsessed with “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Crown.” The show I’m into right now is called “The End of the Fucking World.”

STYLECASTER | Operation Recharge: Hilary Duff | This Works Cleanse & Glow

This Works

On Her Top Rejuvenating Products

For my at-home facial, I use Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment Mask, which is great for hydration, and This Works Light Time Cleanse & Glow is a new obsession. I also use Lancer the Method: Polish three times a week for extra brightness. If I have any breakouts or blemishes, I’ll hit ’em with Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel. Next, I’ll apply the Baume by Emilie and the Stars All-Round Moisturizer—it’s an essential-oil balm for dry skin. Now that I’m 30, I’m a two-time-eye-cream gal: I use Dr. Sebagh Instant Fix Eye Lift Gel, then layer on Tata Harper Illuminating Eye Creme.

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STYLECASTER | Operation Recharge: Hilary Duff | Clinique Clinical Clearing Gel


I take Nutrafol vitamins for my hair every day and apply Saje Gutzy Soothing Belly Massage Blend roller oil to aid with digestion and Saje Moon Cycle Women’s Soothing Oil Blend for balancing hormones during my cycle. Before I hit the pillow, I’ll have a Good Day Chocolate Sleep Supplement—I can’t sleep without them—and I spray This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray on my pillow every night. I’ve been using it for years. It’s the best!

Sometimes self-care is really hard, and I’m not always successful. But even stealing away just a few minutes for yourself—like grabbing a coffee with a partner or a friend—can change your mind-set about what you have in front of you for the rest of the day. Playing a fun, mind-challenging game is always a good way for me to escape for a few minutes. I love to play Rummikub with whoever I can force to play with me! Otherwise, I try to keep a fun game going on my phone—I love to play Words with Friends. I also take Nurse Jamie UpLift Facial Massaging Beauty Roller in my car and use it when I’m at a stoplight for a quick self-care fix.