If there's one celeb who inspires skin envy, it's Cate Blanchett.
Now 47 years old, the Australian actress is as well-known for her flawless, luminous complexion as she is for her Oscar-winning film roles.
Since 2004, she has been the global ambassador for SK-II, a luxury skincare line based around a vitamin- and mineral-rich strain of yeast called "Pitera." According to brand legend, Pitera was discovered in the 1970s when a Japanese monk visited a sake brewery and noticed the hands of the workers (which were in constant contact with the yeast fermentation process) were impossibly soft and youthful. A nutrient-rich liquid was extracted, and a cult skincare line was born.
Cate told Gritty Pretty: "Initially, when I signed on with SK-II, some people would ask me, 'But you don’t use it, do you?' and I would honestly respond, 'Yes, I do actually.' I understand that cynicism, but it's been a very organic relationship because the brand was only interested in talking to me because they knew I already used it."
Clearly, it WORKS. Here's what's involved in her routine:
Cate's Morning Skincare Routine
"If I've had a particularly late night and gone to bed with my makeup on, I wash my face in the morning, but otherwise I just tend to cleanse it at night."
Ingredients: Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Water, Sodium Benzoate, Methylparaben, Sorbic Acid.
"It has so many purposes. I use it over makeup and under makeup. It's a moisturizer, but the key ingredient, Pitera, also works on the clarity and the radiance and hydration of my skin. When I can only pack one thing, it'll be that. If I had the choice between spending a lot of money on a foundation or buying a bottle of Essence, I'd get the Essence because if you use it over time you need less foundation anyway."
Ingredients: Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Aqua (Water), Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Pentylene Glycol, Betaine, Centella Asiatica Extract, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Sodium Citrate, Triethyl Citrate, Sodium Benzoate, Sorbic Acid, Methylparaben.
"The LXP Ultimate Revival Essence has become my number one product, not only because the packaging is gorgeous but the quality is so remarkable that a little goes a long way. I use it every morning and night."
Ingredients: Aqua (Water/Eau), Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate**, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hexapeptide-3, Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Xanthan Gum, Diphenyl Dimethicone, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Methylparaben, Disodium Edta. *Pitera.
"My regime in the morning is so simple, I don’t even need to think about it. It’s literally the Essence and then the LXP Ultimate Revival Serum. I was quite freckly as a child from being out in the sun, but then I used the SK-II whitening products and all those freckles went away."
Ingredients: Water, Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate, Glycerin, Phytosteryl/Behenyl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Triethylhexanoin, Neopentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Sucrose Polycottonseedate, Myristyl Myristate, Pentylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Sorbitan Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Myristyl Alcohol, PEG-40 Stearate, Panthenol, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hexapeptide-3, Hexylhexapeptide-8, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Chrysanthellum Indicum Extract, Camella, Sinensis Leaf Extract, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Magnesium Aspartate, Zinc Gluconate, Copper Glucomate, Laureth-7, Polysorbate-65, Steareth-20, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Carbomer, Sodium Stearate, Polyacrylamide, Sodium Chloride, Benzoyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, Benzyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Ehtylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum, Citronellol.
"Then I put the LXP Ultimate Revival Cream on, every morning and night. You've got to really massage it into your skin and it stimulates your skin to receive the product; I've learned that from working with [makeup artist] Mary Greenwell."
5. Eye de-puffer
"I'm often discovering useful products through my kids, like Traumeel Ointment. It's meant to help bruises heal, but I dab it anywhere I want to decrease puffiness."
6. Lip balm and anti-redness treatment
Ingredients: Carica Papaya 39mg/g Fresh Fermented Fruit in Pharmaceutical Grade Petroleum Jelly and Wax Base, Gum Balsam Peru (Fragrance).
"I use [Papaw Ointment] on my lips, elbows and heels. During allergy season, it helps reduce redness around my nose and eyes."
Ingredients: Aqua, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol, (nano), Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Diethylhexyl Butamido, Triazone, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Dibutyl Adipate, Pentylene Glycol, Alcohol, Sorbitol, Dimethicone, Cetyl Phosphate, Cetyl Alcohol, Triethanolamine, Tocopherol, Decyl Glucoside, Lecithin, Acrylic Acid/VP Crosspolymer, Propylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder.
"I use a very strong sunscreen. There's a sunscreen called Daylong and I use that."
Ingredients: Water, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Homosalate, Niacinamide, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Glycerin, Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Pentylene Glycol, Octocrylene, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, Cyclopentasiloxane, Triethanolamine, Isopropyl Isostearate, Butylene Glycol, Nylon-6, Benzyl Alcohol, Panthenol, Behenyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Cetyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Laureth-7, PEG/PPG-20/20 Dimethicone, Carnosine, Ethylparaben, Polyacrylamide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Fragrance, Xanthan Gum, Propylparaben, C13-14 Isoparaffin, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Disodium EDTA, Stearic Acid, Menthol, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, CI 75130.
"If I'm in Australia I put on the UV protect essence. I was out for 15 minutes yesterday in the sun and it's just so intense. You really do have to put on 50 SPF and you have to walk in the shade."
8. Face mist
Ingredients: Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate, Butylene Glycol, Aqua/Water, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium PCA, Methylparaben, Sodium Benzoate, Glycereth-25 PCA Isostearate, Sorbic Acid.
"I use [the Mid-Day Essence] under makeup and over makeup to keep my skin hydrated during the day. It's the best way to stay hydrated because you don't want to slap moisturizer on over your makeup. For those of us who spend most of the day inside air-conditioned offices or air-conditioned artificial environments, it's an easy way of making your skin feel like it's been in the outdoors. Remember that stage in the '90s when people started spraying themselves with Evian? [The difference] is this actually penetrates the layers of your skin, and it's obviously great with makeup."
9. Face Mask
Ingredients: Water, Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate*, Butylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Salicylate, Methylparaben, Disodium EDTA. *Pitera.
"If I'm going out I'll put a mask on, a SK-II Facial Treatment Mask. That's my one stop facial."
Ingredients: Water, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate*, Butylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Inositol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hexapeptide-11, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium Edta, Benzyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol. *Pitera.
"Before a red carpet event, I'll use SK-II Brightening Source Derm Revival Masks instead. That's the thing that has been so amazing for me and I believe it to be quite unique to the brand. It just gives your skin that extra bit of radiance."
Cate's Evening Skincare Routine
Ingredients: Mineral Oil, Isopropyl Palmitate, Peg-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Aqua (Water), Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate*, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Pyrus Malus Seed Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Glycerin, Peg-8 Diisostearate, Sorbeth-30 Tetraoleate, Disodium Phosphate, Citric Acid, Butylene Glycol, Hexyldecanol, Phenethyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Sodium Benzoate, Methylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Bht.
"I wash with their Facial Treatment Cleansing Oil because it takes off makeup too. It's a lazy girl's cleanser."
"I started exfoliating. Look at men in their 40s and then look at women in their 40s—for men, their skin looks really good because they shave every day. So I exfoliate, and I have a Clarisonic brush, and it's great."
6. Eye cream
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Galactomyces Ferment Filtrate**, Niacinamide, Isohexadecane, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Isopropyl Isostearate, Petrolatum, Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Polyacrylamide, Phytosteryl/Behenyl/Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Behenyl Alcohol, Nylon-12, Panthenol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Tocopheryl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Dimethiconol, Methylparaben, Laureth-7, PEG-100 Stearate, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Disodium EDTA, Propylparaben, Sodium PEG-7 Olive Oil Carboxylate, Ethylparaben, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Sodium Hydroxide, Hydrolyzed Lupine Protein, Decyl Glucoside, Medicago Sativa Extract /Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract, Lactic Acid, Acanthopanax Senticosus Root Extract /Acanthopanax Senticosus (Eleuthero) Root Extract, Olea Europaea Fruit Oil /Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Polyquaternium-7, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Cynara Scolymus Leaf Extract /Cynara Scolymus (Artichoke) Leaf Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Carbomer, Ethylhexylglycerin, Palmitoyl Dipeptide-7, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Extract /Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Extract, Ammonium Polyacrylate, Methylsilanol Tri-PEG-8 Glyceryl Cocoate, Methicone, Tocopherol, DNA, BHT, Parfum (Fragrance), Limonene, Linalool, CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77019 (Mica), CI 77492 (Iron Oxides), CI 77491 (Iron Oxides). **Pitera
"I finish with Essential Power eye cream."
Cate's Skincare Treatments
"I am big on massage, when I can. Mary [Greenwell] is a great makeup artist, and before she does anything, she will massage your face to wake your muscles up."
Red light therapy
"My son was having some issues with his gut recently, so I took him to a naturopath. They used a red laser treatment on his stomach to get rid of any impurity and inflammation in his gut. I said, 'Oh, what other uses does this light have?' And the doctor told me that you can use it to treat acne or any impurities on the skin. So I had a red light treatment myself and it was quite amazing. It's really healing if you’ve got a bit of eczema, if your skin is inflamed, or you've been allergic to something."
"I occasionally have an oxygen facial. But I don't like people prodding and poking. One thing I do is steam my voice, so that my vocal chords [warm up]—and, inadvertently, I'm steaming my face."
"The biggest thing I took from [my mum] is putting spoons in the freezer for your eyes. If you haven't done that, you've got to try it! I flew into London and I was up with the children at 2am, so I got the hotel staff to put teaspoons in their freezer. I put them on before 'The Hobbit' premiere; it's so brutal, you totally wake up!"
Cate's Diet, Exercise and Lifestyle
"You can't turn back time but you can try and sleep longer."
"You know when someone has a migraine or a headache and they haven't done anything to their face, but their whole face constricts? I think that anything you can do to remove stress will give you a better glow."
"I've done a lymphatic cleanse a few times for liver, kidneys and gallbladder—there's a guy in Los Angles called Dr. Bo Wagner. It's not to lose weight, it's more of a detox but I felt fabulous after it. It's hardcore; it's a month long and all herbal and you detox, cleanse and then renew everything. You don't eat for a week but it really made me feel incredible."
"I think it's good every now and then to have a colonic. Yeah, not every day, but every now and again, because it's super hydrating. I know a couple of people who are much older than me who had big problems with their guts, and they'd had a series of colonics and taken probiotics. You have blockages. I notice it with my son—a lot of blockages have to do with what's going on in your gut. They call your gut your second brain."
"In the morning I've been taking chlorophyll, so that's been fantastic. Hot water and lemon as well."
Zooming in on Cate's skin, it's hard to believe that she is 47!
Sure, there are a few creases—but her tone is incredibly even, with not an age spot to be found. That's got to be from her careful avoidance of the sun and diligent use of high-SPF sunscreens. I like that she also mentioned staying in the shade, since you can still get pigmentation even when your skin is protected. It can happen just from heat alone!
As for her SK-II routine, all that Pitera she's applying must be helping with radiance, as she truly has a lit-from-within glow. If you only invest in one thing, the Essence is the "hero" product. I also love the original Masks. Although they're not cheap, both are packed with the active ingredient and are free of filler silicones, etc.
The other key thing here is hydration, hydration, hydration. Cate does three layers—essence, serum and moisturizer—to really pack in the moisture (plus sheet masks for special occasions). That's why her skin has never, ever looked dehydrated on the red carpet. If your skin is normal to dry, it's something I'd definitely advocate instead of relying on one moisturizer alone.
Finally, I love the treatments Cate is doing. (Well, except for the colonics. Never had one of those!) But red light therapy is amazing, as I recently attested to, and facial massage is fantastic for boosting circulation and releasing tension.
All in all, there's nothing to change about this routine, because Cate's skin is close to perfection already. However, this IS an expensive regimen, and I personally wouldn't pay that much for a mineral oil cleanser or a petroleum-silicone eye cream. I also prefer mineral sunscreens for these reasons.
What do you think of Cate Blanchett's skincare routine?
Have you tried any of the products or treatments she uses?