Festival season is officially in full gear. You know that, we know that, and your glitter-saturated Instagram feed knows that. And while the season is technically supposed to be about the musical performances—which to be honest, feel borderline minutia these days—we'd argue it's become more about making an appearance. And, for better or for worse, how many rhinestones, hair colors, and bold makeup looks one can possibly wear during said appearance.
For most, the looks are temporary, and weekends à la Coachella and Stagecoach mark the one (and likely only) time the average festival frolicker whips out their sparkling tube of SPF or secret stash of temporary neon hair dye during the earth's 365-day orbit. However, if you're Vanessa Hudgens, crystal-encrusted eyes, metallic ombré nails, and a platinum blonde wig are all in a day's work—any day or weekend of the year. Sure, Hudgens's whimsical beauty aesthetic has become practically synonymous with festival beauty over the years (and this year will, indeed, mark her "ninth or tenth" year of attending), but in reality, the actress has a feisty and inherent knack for freestyling her beauty routine however and whenever she desires—whether she's mingling in the hot desert dancing to Queen Bey or not.
After all, it's one thing to test-drive a gutsy beauty look when you know roughly 125,000 other festivalgoers will experiment with a similar look in near proximity (and yes, that is actually about how many people attended Coachella last year), but it's quite another to debut a Coachella-esque look on a purely independent, self-fulfilling whim—something Hudgens unabashedly excels at. Thus it came as no surprise when SinfulColors announced a celebrity partnership with the singer and actress late last year and then, most recently, launched an appropriately coined Festival collection. (Think 12 eye-catching nail colors reminiscent of unicorns, aliens, and desert goddesses plus an equally tantalizing eye shadow palette boasting a similarly outspoken shade range.)
In celebration, we had the chance to sit down with Hudgens (in a rooftop cabana, no less) to get all the deets regarding her latest beauty collaboration and everything and anything she could possibly share regarding her festival and yearlong beauty prowess. From the "ultimate cool chick" who completely inspires her to the one foundation she's gotten many a makeup artist obsessed with, here is Vanessa Hudgens's best freestyling beauty wisdom.
How does your new collection with SinfulColors reflect your personal approach to beauty? Are there any specific colors we should have on our radar?
I've always thought beauty is a place where you should be able to freely express yourself. For me, that means trying different things and kind of being fearless. Beauty is a safe place. I've always been taught to have fun with it.
And yes! I'm actually obsessed with this one nail polish called Mystical. It's like a bronzy, goddess-y color. It's a really a good neutral but still really summery.
Festival beauty fatigue seems to set in pretty fast. How do you continue to keep things fresh?
I honestly just do what I like. Festivals are the ultimate opportunity to truly live your best life, which you might not necessarily be able to do in your everyday life. It's a place where you can be a fairy if you want to be a fairy or a goddess if that's what you want to be. It's about staying true to whatever unique vision you have for yourself.
What are your must-have products to have on hand?
Definitely a powder compact because things get sweaty out there; rosewater spray so you can feel refreshed; and your favorite essential oil. And honestly, I wear a lot of things. For festivals and life in general, highlighter is key. With SinfulColors, I created this allover highlighter stick called Face Forward ($7), which is just so easy to throw on. But I pack a lot of products.
There are so many "trends" associated with festival season. But as we move toward more individualized beauty, do you think trends will continue to have influence?
I mean, I think as a society we tend to gravitate toward certain things in a communal sense, and there's something inclusive about that. It makes you feel like you are a part of something. So I feel like trends are really great for that reason. But anything goes nowadays. It's like, anything that you love, just do it.
How have your perceptions of beauty changed since you first started out in the music industry? Are there certain things you would try now you wouldn't have a couple of years ago?
I feel like people are just having more fun with beauty. I mean, I think we're finally in the process of accepting the fact that we are all different and our individuality is what makes us beautiful. The more that we can all embrace and embody that process, the better the world will be. I feel like if I've ever loved something, I've tried it. It's beauty. You can take it off.
What about industry standards? What would you like to see more of and what would you like to see less of?
I'm such an extremist. And my favorite movies are films like Moulin Rouge and those dramatic platforms where the look is very artistic and outside the box. So I love seeing projects like that when things are taken to whole new heights and a brand-new level. Like Black Panther! I loved what they did with that.
What's the most fun way you experiment?
I love to experiment with everything, Like some nights when I have an idea for a look—right before I take my makeup off and normally after I've had a glass of wine—I'll sloppily throw something on and see how it looks. And with hair, I do the same thing. If I'm thinking about color, I'll try on a wig, and the same goes if I'm contemplating a new cut. It's really important to be able to stand behind your decision and not go back and forth. So once you make the decision, stand by it—do it!
Is there anything that intimidates you that you would like to try in the future?
I'm not going to lie—the one thing I'm scared of is dyeing my full head a vibrant color. I love the idea of it, but the reality of it has always intimidated me. So we'll see.
Is there anyone in the entertainment industry—past or present—who inspires you?
I mean, I love Bianca Jagger. I just feel like I'm such a '70s baby at heart, and she's just like the epitome of the feminine mixed with the masculine. She is just the ultimate cool chick.
Switching gears, what does your makeup routine look like on a day-to-day basis if you're not going anywhere or don't have an event?
Honestly, it's quite minimal. I mean, if I have some spots I want to cover up, I'll use just a little bit of cover-up and concealer. Then I'll use a little bit of bronzer, my highlighter stick, mascara, and always a lip.
Okay, give us more details. Specifically, what are a few of your most beloved products? Besides the highlighter stick.
Besides the highlighter? Well, I don't know if they're still available [Ed. note: Sadly they are not], but there's this one product I love called the Everything Stick, which is this concealer-type stick I'm obsessed with. You can just color it right onto your skin, which I love because it's there and it doesn't move. So there's that, and then what else? Oh! I've actually turned so many makeup artists onto the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick ($46). With almost every makeup artist I've ever worked with, I'm just like, 'Hey, you should use this.' It's just beautiful, and the coverage is amazing.
That's amazing! Okay, and then last but not least, what about self-care? How do you treat yourself?
Knowing how to take time for yourself is so important. For me, that's really staying on top of my fitness because it makes me feel great—yoga, Pilates, spinning. Indoor cycling is my version of the club. I love it. Indulging every now and again. Treating myself to something like a pizza—and I feel like I drink a decent amount of wine! I love decadence in life. And you only live once.