Thanks to insightful friends, mindfulness, and a beloved face oil, the actor has never looked or felt more radiant.
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Laura Dern
Credit: Francois G. Durand/WireImage/Getty

"Beauty is my favorite word,” says Laura Dern. “It’s what I call the women I love, the ones who make the room light up. My friends Reese Witherspoon and Greta Gerwig have this quality. They lead with light, and that’s what true beauty is to me.”

What enhances Dern’s light? “I turn to art,” she says. “I look at the ferocity of Nan Golden’s work, listen to Patti Smith, read—and reread—books like Little Women. It’s inspiring and incredibly healing to learn from women who are their true selves. And that’s not easy. I care a lot about what other people think.”

She also spritzes Happiness Abscissa Eau de Brooklyn (Buy It, $42, happinessabscissa.com). “My friend—a leading psychiatrist—created it to elevate your state of well-being,” she says. “And I’ve learned to stop apologizing so much and instead speak up as a consumer,” she says. “I was so embarrassed to make waves as a kid. But my mom taught me that when we buy something, we are investing in that company and we should want it to succeed and live up to our values.”

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Left: Credit: Eau de Brooklyn
Right: Credit: True Botanicals

That’s one of the reasons why, when she fell in love with an organic facial oil she used while filming Big Little Lies—True Botanicals Renew Pure Radiance Oil (Buy It, $110, truebotanicals.com)she wrote a love letter to its founder and then signed on to be one of the company’s ambassadors and Band of Activists. “The character I was playing didn’t wear makeup, so I thought, I should be transparent and not wear makeup in the scenes,” she says. “I don’t do anything to my skin but apply healthy products and get facials, and after six months of using this oil, I thought, 'Wow, there’s something to this.'”

She still works to keep her inner light from dimming. “That’s why I love a gratitude list,” she says, explaining that she and her daughter try to list five things they’re grateful for and five things they did well each day. “It helps me be kinder to myself,” she says. “There’s no greater beauty trick in the world than that.”

Shape Magazine, May 2020 issue