Fifteen minutes after Jessica Alba has arrived backstage at the Rebecca Minkoff S/S 18 fashion show, the entire room gasps. A man walking by has accidentally kicked the stool out from under her and she takes a slight stumble—a situation in and of itself that's cause for concern, but the business mogul is pregnant, heightening the panic of the room tenfold. I quickly scan her face to asses her reaction, but rather than looking distressed, she's smiling. She gets back up on the stool and returns to her interview as if nothing has happened.
Moments later, I'd have my own interview with Alba and learn why she was able to laugh off a potentially frightening mishap: She's an expert at staying calm. "I like to listen to meditations," she tells me. "I did TM [transcendental meditation] but I find it's kind of tough to meditate on your own—for me—so I like Headspace. And you can do five-minute meditations, 10-minute mediations … and you can go to whatever it is you're dealing with. It's pretty dope."
Staying zen is an innate ability of Alba's. In fact, she's got it down to a scheduled science. "I try to get massages wherever I am. I try to make sure that I eat a good dinner, and I get at least five or six hours of sleep—and drink tons of water. I find that there's nothing that replaces something just so basic."
Before we made our way through the bustling crowd to a quieter room to chat, Alba asks for eyedrops and a makeup touchup. Her rocker waves are perfectly undone, and her skin is glowing like she's a walking Instagram filter. I find myself studying every aspect of her look and calculating how to do it myself (luckily she posted her entire makeup step-by-step onto her Insta stories that same day), so of course, I had to press her for her daily routine.
"I cleanse and moisturize no matter what. I like to take a shower at night. I feel like taking a shower or taking a bath, it just kind of like—I wind down. And I don't even mind going to bed with my hair wet, I think it's fine. And then I wake up with lioness hair but—"
"Texture," I say with a laugh, knowing all too well the zany waves a wet head on a pillow produces.
"Yeah," she laughs. "It's fine. Especially if you spray some leave-in conditioner and a little sea salt spray before you go to bed; it gives you that extra volume and texture."
Alba's tight-lined navy liner, pink lips, and expertly placed highlighter are indicative of a long morning in the makeup chair, but her daily routine is surprisingly simple (though, on second thought, I swear Alba could leave the house without a stitch of product and no one would be the wiser).
"I'm a five, 10-minute max kind of person so I usually do facial oil and then I'll conceal, curl my lashes, Magic Balm on the high points of my face, a cream blush, and a lip, and that's my day-to-day, I've-got-to-get-out-the-door [look]. When I want to do a little bit more, I'll do a cream contour and I'll do primer and mascara. Oh yeah, and I like to fill in my brows."
It's clear Magic Balm is the hero product of Alba's Honest Beauty line and also her own personal favorite: "You can use it on your face, on your cuticles, your body, your hair—it's sort of this great thing that you can just have and use throughout the day," she tells me.
But interested to learn which other product she keeps glued to her side, I find that it's not your traditional beauty staple. "Hand sanitizer spray," she says pointedly. "I never leave home without it." She has two kids and one on the way, so it's easy to understand why.
My time with Alba is short, but I don't want to leave without snapping a Boomerang of the two of us. (She's got a jacket draped around her shoulders, I've got a jacket draped around my shoulders—the content was begging to be captured.) But before her assistant grabs the shot, Jessica takes my phone and starts playing with my apps. "Instagram pretty filter and flash on, always," she explains before handing it back. And with that, I leave the show, grab an Uber, and snap a few (okay, maybe 50) selfies with Alba's go-to trick in the back seat.
Want more Jessica Alba? Watch her play "this or that" with us while she contours her face.