The 10 Holiday Beauty Secrets We Learned from Sophia Bush

Alle Connell
sophia bush 2015

Photo: Dimitrios Kambourous/Getty

‘Tis the season for red lips, glittery eyes…and some major beauty stress. And Sophia BushOne Tree Hill alum, current Chicago PD superstar—is here to save you. We sat down to talk about beauty and she told us everything: how to get her go-to holiday party look (it takes ten minutes!), her self-care tips and her powerful thoughts on feminism and beauty. She is, in a word, incredible; we want her to be our best friend and call to inspire us daily. Here are the 10 best beauty secrets that we learned from her.

1. Her holiday party look is totally attainable.
Sophia, it turns out, is holiday-crazy. “I love holiday parties! They’re my favorite thing about this time of year,” she told us. “I can honestly get ready to go to a party in ten minutes. I put my hair up in a bun or back into a low ponytail, throw on a dress that I love, throw on a red lip, and I’m out the door.” And her red lips of choice? “Oh my god, I have so many!” Sophia laughed. “One that’s always in my rotation is MAC’s Ruby Woo ($17, MAC Cosmetics), it’s such a good color. NARS has one called Dragon Girl ($26, Sephora) that I love.”

2. She embraces the dark side.
But it’s not all bright reds—if you’re feeling a little moodier this season, Sophia understands. “I also have a lot of fun with darker colors. I love plums and purples,” she tells us. “I’ve got some by NARS and Tom Ford that are great—they make the best dark colors.”

3. She’s all about playing with makeup.
Sophia’s cardinal beauty rule? Find out what works for YOU. “I think it’s really fun to experiment and figure out what works for you, color-wise—because anyone can wear a great lip if you have the right color,” she says. “If you don’t have that right, not only does it not flatter your skin, they can make your teeth look a funny color.” And with the number of holiday photos we end up in? Yeah, we’ll pass on a dull complexion and yellowed teeth.

4. Her post-party routine is just like ours.
Though she’s worked with some of the best hair and makeup squads in the world, Sophia knows that what really makes or breaks a beauty look is what you do when the night is done. “It’s all about the routine,” she tells us. “When you get home, you need to take steps to make sure that you take care of you. When I get home, I’m like okay, gotta wash my face really well—I am NOT just gonna use a makeup remover wipe—and I’m going to take two full minutes with my Philips Sonicare ($189, Because I probably drank some red wine or had a late-night espresso, and the last thing I wanna do is mess up the quality of my skin or the quality of my teeth because it’s late.”

5. She knows that seeing is believing.
And while it’s great having those healthy beauty habits in your repertoire, our girl knows that the best thing about stepping up your beauty routine is actually seeing the results. “When I got serious about washing my face really regularly, I saw my skin brighten up and I wanted to keep doing it,” she says. “And when I first started using my Philips Sonicare, I knew it would improve my gum health in a week, and then I saw results in two weeks! That matters to me. So when I get home from something fun, like a holiday party, or it’s 4am and I’m just home from set after being there for 16 hours, I WANT to brush my teeth properly because I see results!”

sophia bush skincare

Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

6. She understands holiday stress…
Even when you’re a celebrated actress on a hit TV show, you’re not immune to holiday stress. “December snuck up on me!” she said. “There’s always this moment where that slow panic hits me and I’m like ‘I don’t know what i’m going to get anyone!’

7. …But also how to deal with it.
Sophia’s stress-busting advice is all about the importance of self-care. “This is the time of year, with parties and events ramping up, that we start cutting corners where we shouldn’t,” she says. “This is when everyone gets a little lax about working out, or eating well, or caring for your skin, or doing the quick travel-brush of your teeth. But it’s really important to take a little bit of time out of every day to take care of yourself. If that means going to an extra yoga class, or going out with your best friend and having that soul-filling time—you need to ensure that you’re getting what you need and what you deserve.”

8. She doesn’t keep secrets.
If there’s one thing Sophia understands, it’s the power of female friendships to influence our beauty routines for the better. “Girls recommend their beauty tricks to the other women in their life, and you spread the love!” she tells us. “I was talking to Jenna Lyons, who is one of my favorite people in New York, and she was like, your skin looks so perfect! So I sent her the link to The Beauty Chef Dream Repair Serum ($69.95, The Beauty Chef) and the Erno Laszo moisturizer ($95, Erno Laszlo) that I use, and she was like, Oh my god, my kind of girl! You don’t keep secrets!”

9. She’s a beauty optimist.
Talking to Sophia is like talking to a really close friend who happens to be super-knowledgeable—and super excited—about beauty. “I love the fact that we have this great wealth of products at our fingertips—organic beauty lines, for example—that make the best of us inside and out,” she tells us. “And I love that before the holidays get too crazy, I can jump to the dentist for a cleaning and do the Philips Zoom Whitening treatment in 45 minutes, so that they’re white and clean and I LOVE how I look in all the photos I take! Because the first thing that happens when you walk into a party is you see a bunch of people you adore, and you smile. You wanna know that you’ve got your best foot forward in that respect.”

10. She is all about beauty and feminism.
Sophia, an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and The Girl Project, doesn’t see her feminism and her love of beauty as mutually exclusive. “Here’s the thing: I think that when something feels like self-love, rather than masking onesself, it’s great,” she says. “I go out with no makeup on quite frequently, and I also go out fully done—winged eyeliner and red lips, all of it. I obviously consider myself a proud feminist, but I don’t feel any more or less of a feminist whether I have makeup on or not. For me, it’s how I feel—it’s self-expression and taking care of myself. And that’s reflected in everything—skincare, taking care of your smile, your yoga practice. And I think the difference is that if you’re doing it to look like someone else’s ideal, you’re missing the mark. If we’re doing something that makes girls feel not good enough, that’s missing the mark. But beauty has become one of the things that I love, and that love doesn’t make me feel like I care about myself any less, or like I’m less of a feminist. That makes me feel like I’m taking care of myself the way that I want to.”

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