Sitting in traffic right before a celebrity interview is stressful. I know because that was me, in the middle of Los Angeles, 15 minutes before I was scheduled to interview Lili Reinhart, who is otherwise known as Betty Cooper, the complex, sweet yet sly blonde-haired high schooler we all know and love from CW's massive hit show Riverdale. When she isn't proving her acting chops on one of today's most popular TV series, she's opening up a dialogue about historically hushed topics—like body positivity, anxiety, and acne—on her social media. Lately, she's been the face of Dermalogica's two new Clear Start skincare products while helping to develop a professional skin treatment called the Clearly Glowing Face Fit. That's why I was there (or, more accurately, almost there, bursting forth from the back seat of an Uber with my interview questions in tow).
It wasn't just an interview, though. Reinhart was to demonstrate the new products by actually giving me the full Dermalogica facial. As weird as that sounds, it only made sense, considering she worked hand-in-hand with the brand to develop it. So there I was, slightly out of breath and a little flushed from my post-Uber rush, while Reinhart applied and removed the new Dermalogica products with the grace and aptitude of a skilled esthetician. Throughout the treatment, we talked all things beauty—including her passion for skincare, her struggles with acne, and her five favorite products of all time. Keep scrolling to see everything she had to say and learn why she's relatable AF.
Lili Reinhart on Acne
She started the conversation by asking where I bought my shoes (humble brag), after which I explained that I had bought them from a random thrift store back home. I already felt a kinship with her, seeing as we're both from the midwest. (She's from Ohio, and I'm from Michigan). Maybe it's that somewhat anonymous out-of-the-limelight origin, or maybe it's simply her refreshing personality, but she speaks with real candor about her struggle with acne, which is why her partnership with the skincare brand is so organic.
Dermalogica developed two new products, the Breakout Clearing Booster ($21) and Blackhead Clearing Fizz Mask ($21), both of which are formulated to fight blemishes and bring glow back to the complexion. Both products are used in the brand's new Clearly Glowing FaceFit, which is the buzzy name for the 10-minute $10 professional skin service that's now being offered at Ulta stores for a limited time. Throughout the treatment, both products are used, along with other existing Dermalogica Clear Start products, to clear congestion, prevent future breakouts, and calm the skin.
"It's so weird to say 'I'm the creative consultant,'" she laughs, after I ask her what it was like to partner with the skincare brand. "I think the most important thing for me was accessibility and affordability. I know when I was just starting to break out, I was in middle school and I was 13. I didn't have any money. I had whatever money I got from my parents, you know? I remember going to an Ulta all the time, at a shopping center, and if they would have had this back then… For me, I would have done it. It would have been like a milestone for me to take off my makeup in store—that would have been ballsy—but I think it's worth it."
The beauty of this new treatment goes beyond Reinhart's goal of accessibility and affordability. It's a chance to test out a whole host of professional skincare products before buying them. "I'm really scared to buy new products without having tested them first, so this is such a cool way to make sure you're not going to break out… You can test it out, go home, wait a day or two, see if you break out, and come back and buy it," Reinhart says.
As for her own acne struggles, she's not done with them yet. In fact, she's open about being someone "who has acne and severe breakouts sometimes." She's also open about how unnerving they can be to her confidence (like I said, she's relatable), but she also has some confidence-boosting tips. "I noticed this recently. I didn't want to go out, because I had a huge pimple on my forehead. As I was getting ready I was trying to cover my zit, and I was like ‘God I don't even know why I'm going out. I feel very uncomfortable. I feel like everyone's looking at me. But I went out anyway, and while I was at dinner with my friend, I got myself into a nice, deep, fun conversation, and I totally forgot about my skin."
Here's where her wisdom really flowed forth like the water from the Trevi Fountain. "I kept telling myself My breakout isn't negatively affecting anyone except for me. If you see someone with a pimple on their face, you don't go 'Man, that puts me in a shit mood,' you know? It’s only affecting you, and that's what I kept telling myself. It's just a matter of telling myself that the only person who's bothered by this is me. Once you can embrace that and accept that, it's easier to just let go of it. I also obsess and can't stop looking in the mirror at my breakout, so when I convince myself to put my phone away, stop looking at my reflection, stop looking at a mirror, you forget about it."
This photo was taken soon after Reinhart completed my treatment. My skin felt smooth, calm, and generally happy (despite going in with a slight sunburn from the day before). So yes, I can attest to the fact that the "Clearly Glowing" skin treatment is aptly named.
Lili Reinhart on Anxiety
Just like how she's been open about her struggles with acne, Reinhart is equally as transparent when it comes to issues of mental well-being. Since she's someone who struggles with (sometimes crippling) anxiety, I was curious to know if Reinhart had any tips or tricks for quelling unwanted worry and panic. Spoiler alert: She did.
"I know I immediately text my mom," Reinhart says. "I always tell her and for some reason the second I tell her about my problems it feels like it's gotten off my chest a little bit. Not that it makes it go away, but—" Here's where I interjected with a high-pitched "Yes, me too!" See? I knew we were kindred spirits. I'm a staunch believer that no matter how old you get, there's something about venting that lessens an emotional burden.
"I had anxiety this morning about something. I almost felt like I was going to have a panic attack. I was lying in bed, and I took a moment for myself. I put my phone down, I just kind of thought There’s nothing I can do in this moment to fix this problem, so I just need to breathe it out.' You forget to breathe sometimes in these anxious moments, but you really have to take a moment to center and breathe. It sounds so cliché, but we forget to breathe. You don't wake up and take a bunch of deep breaths. We're constantly talking and constantly moving. You have to really be aware of inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. It’s simple, but you need to take a moment to do that." (On that note: check out three of the best breathing techniques for anxiety. They might just have the power to quiet your racing thoughts and slow your pounding heart.)
Lili Reinhart on Beauty
In a past Byrdie interview, Reinhart revealed that her personal beauty style isn't too far off her from her character, Betty Cooper's. Like any Riverdale fan, I was curious to know more about that, namely which products she uses daily for her own skin, hair, and makeup.
Aside from the aforementioned Dermalogica products, Reinhart swears by the brand's Pre-Cleanse Balm ($45), which she calls "magic" for dissolving away makeup post-filming." I have that in my shower. When I go home I immediately want to take all my makeup off and rinse off the day. I put it right on my face and rub it in. It’s the best makeup remover. Ever. I also use Vaseline as eye makeup remover because my eyes are so sensitive." After her makeup remover, she reaches for Renee Rouleau's Moisture Infusion Toner ($43). "Toner kind of changed my life," she says. "I use Renee Rouleau. It's so good. My skin just drinks it. I have super-dry skin, so that's really great)."
As for her haircare routine, it's all about the cult-classic hair bonding treatment, Olaplex. "I have highlighted hair, and my hair’s super damaged, so I use Olaplex. I sleep in it whenever I can." Olaplex just launched a new shampoo and conditioner, which she'll be trying out soon. "I'm bringing it home in my carry-on," she says.
The other products you can expect to find in her bag are drugstore mascara (namely L'Oréal's Voluminous Mascara $9), Glossier's Haloscope Highlighter ($22), a Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge ($6), and rosewater to wet it with. "I really love organic rosewater," she says. "You can get it from WholeFoods. I spray that on my [makeup sponge], because my makeup artist for Riverdale Season 1 told me that the formula for rosewater is very active, like the ingredients are very active, so it makes your skin look like it's more alive. I don't know, maybe that's bullshit, but I dampen my sponges with rosewater, for sure."
Before I made my way back into Los Angeles traffic, away from Reinhart's friendly aura of transparency and humor, I had one last question. What Riverdale character's beauty look would you want to wear if you didn't already wear Betty's? "I feel like probably Veronica cause I love a simple cat eye. She has winged liner every day. Throughout the first season she wore darker lips every day, but now her look has evolved to a dark cat eye and not as dark of a lip, which I really like. If I could pull off a cat-eye every day, or I had the patience to do that every day, that would be great. Nothing makes you feel cooler than a sharp cat eye. And then just go bare-faced—simple foundation, not even really any blush, light lip (they use a tinted Burt’s Bees for her)—and then a black cat eye. That would be bomb."
I agreed, rather enthusiastically. After all, cat eyeliner remains to be one of my favorite makeup looks of all-time. After insisting she wear a cat eye more often, Reinhart responded, "Maybe I'll do that. No, it's too hard. I can do a smoky eye. I just can't do a cat eye. I haven't done a cat eye on myself in so long. I'm gonna try. Next time I go out, I'll try a cat eye and I'll let you know how it goes." Lili, I'm holding you to that.
Catch Lili Reinhart on seasons one and two of Riverdale, which are out now. As we anxiously await for season three to premiere, may we suggest reading our exclusive interview with Reinhart's co-star, Madelaine Petsch, where you'll see her as you've never seen her before.