The CW's Dynasty is brimming with sprawling mansions, private jets, and plenty of drama. Immediately, we're introduced to Cristal Flores, the ambitious fiancée of billionaire Blake Carrington (with a secret past) and her arresting lineup of striking looks—sophisticated silk numbers, luxurious fur coats, wide-brimmed hats, lace trench coats, and a crisp white jumpsuit for her wedding day—plus the flawless beauty looks to match. She left the show after the first season, but the beauty and fashion looks will forever leave an impression on us.
Scroll through actress Nathalie Kelley's Instagram feed and you'll see that the woman who played Cristal has a much more laid-back approach to beauty. In a series of photos shot on film in a nostalgic palette, the Peru-born, Australia-raised actress radiates a glowing, natural beauty look among scenic landscapes. Channeling both approaches to beauty with perfection, Kelley could easily be Hollywood's next It girl. We caught up with Kelley to talk about her beauty routine, her go-to makeup look, and what she does to unwind when she takes a break from her busy schedule.
On her Dynasty character, Cristal Flores:
Cristal's beauty look is pure glamour—a slick side-swept 'do and a smoky eye. "As far as Cristal goes, I kind of consider it putting on war paint in the morning," Kelley explains of her character's makeup look. "She operates in a world I don't know much about. I like to see her in that way—she's not just vain."
Instead, Cristal's look is a way to present herself to the world. "She's a modern woman," Kelley continues. "She reads blogs and websites like Byrdie. Just because she's a boss in the corporate world doesn't mean she can't enjoy her femininity that way. She shows it's possible to be feminine and playful and be a real hardass." Though Kelley admits she takes a more relaxed approach to beauty, she says her character's style isn't exactly off the mark. "It's totally my taste," says Kelley. "Cristal is Nathalie with an unlimited budget."
On paring down her beauty routine:
For her own beauty look, Kelley explains that these days, she opts for minimal makeup and doesn't have a lot of time to look as glamorous as Cristal did. When she does her own makeup, she says, "it's a more realistic version of myself, more pared down. I want to look more natural in my off-time."
In addition to not having the time to devote to getting done up, Kelley describes a shift in perception that has come with age and a desire to strip down. "I used to go straight to the concealer," says Kelley. "These days I've been embracing the dark circles around my eyes. I've just been open to it and trying not to conceal anything."
And as she started paring down her approach to beauty, Kelley also ditched her long locks. "What happened was that I had very long hair, and I cultivated it for a long time," she shares. "It was kind of like my pride and joy." But she realized she wasn't really wearing it down a lot—it was always in a ponytail.
"I realized I had an attachment to my hair—like, If I don't have it, will I still be beautiful?" So parting with her long hair was a way to embrace a new valuation of beauty. "I feel like a lot of girls go through this in their late 20s—to challenge themselves—to follow the beat of their own drum," she adds.
Kelley says she likes how unfussy and functional her current cut is, and notes that it forces her to wear it down. In addition to the ease it allows her, Kelley says "part of cutting my hair was stripping down to the essence of myself—that essence is more confident than my 20-something self."
On her go-to makeup look:
"If I spend more than five minutes getting ready, I get over it," Kelley confesses. "I purposely don't do concealer or foundation on my off-time—I just want my skin to be at the forefront." That allows her skin to breathe a bit after she's been working all day in makeup, but it also has another benefit. "It's such a reflection of where you're at," she tells us. "Your skin is like a canvas. I don't want to be constantly covering up my canvas. I'm also terrible at application."
Skipping the concealer, she uses a cream blush by RMS to enhance her cheeks, a little Glossier highlighter on her cheekbones, and Urban Decay lip liner all over her lips. "I don't like anything glossy or fussy, just lips slightly bitten or rouged," she says. At night, Kelley says she amps it up with the one eye look she knows how to do—the cat eye. "I'm not very versatile," Kelley concedes. "I get super lazy."
On the beauty practices she picked up from her mom:
"I think the whole thing about not wearing makeup and being your truest self, that all comes from my mom," says Kelley. She goes on to explain how her mom grew up in an age of real beauties like Natalie Wood and Sophia Loren. "You could see who they were. They weren't so radically transformed," she adds.
Kelley explains that her mom always pushed her away from artificial versions of beauty. "She didn't even like me wearing a lot of makeup," the actress recounts. "From a young age, it was very important for me to look like me. My mom thinks that everyone is their most beautiful when they look like themselves."
Kelley shares that though her mom didn't grow up with a lot in Peru, she did pay attention to her beauty regimen. "She took a lot of pride in herself in a way that wasn't vain," she tells us, adding that her mother cared for herself and celebrated her femininity through practices that were about self-love and self-care.
"[She took] her time to push her cuticles down, make sure her nails were presentable, cream at night—the details," Kelley explains. "These were things that were accessible. She could rub olive oil into her skin every night. It was more about the attention to detail and the care you treat yourself and your body than the access to the most expensive creams."
On her wellness rituals:
"They aren't things where you see immediate visual results," says Kelley of the wellness practices she swears by, "but you have to trust that they're working on a deeper level of healing." Two things Kelley swears by? Dry brushing and oil pulling to stimulate her lymphatic system and flush out toxins.
"With oil pulling, I know good gut bacteria starts in your mouth," Kelley tells us, so she makes oral hygiene a priority. She makes her own toothpaste with baking soda and essential oils and makes her own creams as well. "I want to be in control of my health, not subscribing to some corporation's way of telling me I need to be healthy."
Her biggest beauty tip:
"The biggest tip I have on beauty is to really have a relationship with nature," says Kelley. "Watch that transform you, whether that's taking a morning walk in nature, a weekly hike, arranging some flowers, connecting through a plant, or drinking tea in the morning. If you spend time with nature—sitting with nature and taking in all her lessons, because she has so many—you'll be transformed from the inside out. I'm saying that as someone who is on that journey—a transformation in progress."