Eva Mendes is trying a new creative exercise, one I hadn't heard of before. It's not morning pages or transcendental meditation, and it's something you can practice tonight: She's embracing boredom. Minimal clicking, minimal scrolling, minimal passive consumption. After a go-go-go year of travel and activity, she's embracing the thick, slow-moving summer boredom of school years past—but to hear Mendes herself tell it, the concept takes on a sexy, enticing edge rather than anything bordering on...well, too boring. "I'm bringing boredom back!" she jokes through the wall of perfectly-formed waves that fall over one eye, illuminated by a creamy blonde money piece. "I really feel like when we're bored—not stimulated by a phone, or an iPad, or computer or television—that's when ideas come in. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's dangerous, and sometimes it's enlightening. I really want it to be the summer of boredom."
There's just one problem, though—can anything Eva Mendes ever does be considered boring? Warm, dynamic, and clearly smart as hell, every subject (bacteria, COVID) just sounds better, more interesting when she has the floor. Even returning from a near-decade acting hiatus, the multitalented Mendes remains one of the industry's most beloved stars for a reason, and her good-natured rambling only adds to the appeal. These days, her packed work schedule (including some as-of-yet-undisclosed projects) leaves little room for boredom, too, though the diversity of her businesses alone would ensure that. In our time together, Mendes spoke with casual candidness on everything from her time-perfected beauty routines, the icons that inspire her, and why she can do more in a pair of six-inch pumps than most can do in tennis shoes.
We're about halfway through it now but how is your summer so far?
"We just all came back from London. My man [Ryan Gosling] was filming there and so the family went—I think it was over four months. We just got back like a week and a half ago, and I am so happy. It's just so happy to be back in this summer vibe. It was beautiful there, but you know, the rain. It's really romantic for a weekend and then I'm like, "Okay, I need sun!" Having a six- and a seven-year-old right now, I'm trying not to jam too many activities in a day. When we were in London, we went from musical to musical taking advantage of being back in the theater, we went to all kinds of museums, we went to Windsor Castle—I had a ton of field trips planned for them, which we did. And now I feel like it's time to bring boredom back. I'm bringing boredom back, especially for kids, but for myself as well."
Speaking of boredom—I know you (like everyone) fell down some Instagram and TikTok rabbit holes in the pandemic. What are your internet obsessions like these days?
"I'm always into cleaning, always into for me—if you have anything for me, let me know. The pandemic definitely set me into like a more obsessive place with cleaning, but I've always been about cleaning. I posted something on Instagram Stories a couple of months ago, and it was me in one of my literal first photo shoots. It was this small magazine. I was like, 25 years old and I had an apartment because I've always loved design, and I had painted it myself. And I was like, 'You guys can shoot in my place! I'll do my own hair and makeup and everything!' And what's ironic is when I found an image [from that shoot], it's of me cleaning my house. It's actually really fun."
What does cleaning do for you?
"It's always been part of my thing because for me, a clean house equals mental wellness. I just knew growing up in a really tiny apartment with very little, when my mom would clean on the weekends, and she'd wake me up with Cuban music and the house smelled so good, I just felt happier. We all did. We all did, even though it was tiny. We were just all like, "Oh, this feels so nice." And then when it became a mess again, it reflected that things were hard. It was symbolic of how we were doing as a family visually. So for me, cleaning equals mental wellness."
Your partnership with Skura Style sponges sounds perfect then. How did that happen, what's the story?
"I'm just into the home, into all things home. And I even used to design plates, actually, like 15 years ago. I went from designing dishes to doing the dishes, but that's just to show my head's always been in the home space. A couple of years ago, around the pandemic, I heard that your average sponge is dirtier than your toilet. I was like, 'Is this true?!' I started reading about it, and I got kind of nerdy about it. The average sponge is made with cellulose, and that's basically why they harbor so much bacteria—it stays really wet, doesn't dry quickly, and a bunch of other reasons for it. So, I went on this sponge hunt, and I found Skura. I just loved it, like they had me at fade-to-change technology.
"What that means is when the S icon on the scrubby side starts to fade—that's when you know it's time to throw out your sponge and replace it. And I'm not a dishwasher person (only when I'm super overloaded because I find doing the dishes meditative), so I basically became an obsessed customer. I reached out to them, and was like, 'You guys are really onto something.' I really want to support small businesses, but especially female-owned businesses. I went from being an obsessed customer to a co-owner within a year. It was really a very organic collaboration."
Speaking of cleaning, what does your skincare routine look like?
"I can't do the many-step process type of routine—I just can't. I want to say it's motherhood, but even before, I'm just too high energy. I don't have the time; I don't have the patience for it. So, it's like, 'Please give me three products and that's it.' [Laughs] I'm true to my products until my face or my body or my hair tells me it's time to change. What's been really working for me for at least a year and a half is—and I have no affiliation with this company—the True Botanicals Pure Radiance Oil ($110). I love their face oil. It's botanically based, so it's very clean. And I really respond to an oil especially well right now, maybe I wouldn't have responded at a different age or whatever, but right now, I'm really loving the oil. And then I use the super clean cleanser from True Botanicals. It's just these two clean products that are working for me.
"And then I use a prescription retinol cream. That's only once a week, and that's if I'm not going to be in the sun because again, I have to be careful with hyperpigmentation with my skin coloring. That's all I do at home. Sometimes I'll crave a scrub and when I crave a facial scrub, I really like Lancer Skincare The Method: Polish ($80). It's an aggressive scrub that I respond to when I just feel like I need to know it's working. If I don't want to use that, I'll just use my True Botanicals face wash and an exfoliating pad. It's just not super harsh."
Has your relationship or approach to beauty changed over the years?
"I think it's been more of an inside job. When I was younger, I had no idea the importance of what went into my body and how that manifested and affected my skin. Like when I was 25, 26 when you should quote-unquote 'have the best skin' I had my worst skin because I was eating drive-thru. I wasn't hydrating. I was just eating so poorly, not taking any supplements, and then I got into my 20s and I started smoking, making the worst decisions for not only my health but my skin.
"So as you see me right now, I have yesterday's eye makeup on but I don't have anything on my face but a Charlotte Tilbury cream. I don't have any foundation or makeup on my skin and I would have never been able to do this at 20 years old because I had crazy dark circles and crazy pigmentation. I take care of my skin from the inside out by controlling what I eat, what supplements I take, my water intake, and then, of course, taking advantage of technology—because I wasn't going in for any kind of radiofrequency treatments and stuff like that when I was even in my 30s!"
Who are your beauty icons? Do you think they've changed over the years, too?
"This is like being asked what my favorite band is... there are so many. I'm gonna go with my tried and true, Sophia Loren. She's always looking so beautiful, but not like a victim of beauty, you know? She is so self-possessed. I just love her strength. I just love her, everything about her. I mean everything about that face! I tend to gravitate towards women who have stronger features and so there's Sophia. Pam Grier, too. Women who you can feel the power in their beauty and they're not victims of it. It's like Grace Jones, you know? The moment I became a young girl and wanted to look for people to be inspired by, I started looking at Grace Jones. I rediscovered her a few years ago—she was insanely ahead of her time. I just played her "La vie en rose" for my kids."
Speaking of your children, what's the biggest beauty lesson you hope you pass down to them?
"I think everything starts in the home—everything. So hopefully Ryan and I are doing the work by just loving them, completely loving them, and doing most of that work for them so that they grow up feeling like they're enough. That's the one thing that's really important to me. Because once they feel like they're enough, no matter what they do, no matter what they end up doing, that will feed into every area of your life. Especially into how attractive you feel, or any of that stuff. So besides that, I am trying to educate them about what we eat and what we put into our bodies, and how that manifests itself physically, whether it's how we look or how we feel. But that's a big one that I, coming from parents of immigrants, had no idea about really, until not that long ago.
"And then also, I tend to have a rule where I let them wear whatever they want. As long as it's appropriate, I let them wear whatever they want to the market or whatever. I say 'You can wear anything ,and you can wear those Princess Elena shoes if you want, but you need to wear stuff that if there's an emergency and we need to run, we can run.' I ordered these Casadei heels yesterday for press—they were so insane, they were like six inches, but I jumped a few times in them and I'm like, 'Yeah, I can run these'."
If you get a true responsibility-free day to yourself, how do you spend it?
"There are two things: I'd go see Mariana Vergara, she has somewhere called The Beauty Villa where she does all kinds of wonderful treatments, from RF treatments to PRP facials, to lymphatic drainage facials—and that to me is so incredibly relaxing, but also it falls under self-care. And if I could possibly before coming home, stop into any museum—it doesn't have to be some long day at the museum, but any museum where I can have an hour alone taking in something new. Then, a hot shower.
"I know most people are like, "Oh a bath." I used to love baths that like, I don't know. Now, I'm really into super hot showers and ending them with 15 seconds of freezing cold. [Podcaster Wim Hof] "the Iceman" and everybody talks about how good cold plunges are for you. I haven't been ready for a cold plunge yet, but I've heard him on some podcasts and he said to start getting yourself ready, just do it in the shower. I haven't been able to move on from my 15 seconds, but there's something about it that I really love."