Emilia Clarke on why being bougie and listening to your mum is good for your skin and hair

Emilia Clarke sat down with Senior Beauty Editor, Katie Thomas

Emilia Clarke arriving at the Baftas 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Emilia Clarke sat down with Senior Beauty Editor, Katie Thomas

When we asked what the first thing she did when restrictions lifted earlier this year, Emilia Clarke replied: 'Went for dinner with five friends and got very, very drunk.'

It was clear from the off, that this was a woman after our own hearts. We fell in love with her as the strong and independent ruler, Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones, she made us feel all jolly insider in the festive Last Christmas and we only wish we had been lucky enough to catch her on the West End in Chekhov's The Seagull. However, the dreaded Covid-restrictions put a stop to that - the play was put on hold after only five days. However, as Clinique's Ambassador, we got to sit down and have a proper chat with the British beauty.

Why is skincare so important?

'I feel like skincare is the first step to finding the aesthetic side of confidence. When you have bad skin it fucks with your confidence and makes you feel 13 again. You go through that stage of thinking I should put more make-up on - that will help. But it looks worse and you're hiding from the world. But if you have good skin, you walk around more confidently.'

You’re in your 30s now, has your skincare routine changed compared to that of your 20s?

'It has and it hasn't. It hasn't with the whole cleanse, tone, moisturise thing. I've been doing that forever, since day dot, because my mum told me to. My mother taught me well. She used to work at Revlon, so she knew what was up. She taught me to cleanse, tone and moisturise morning and night. And because I've been doing that now for 21 years, I could be black out drunk and I would still cleanse, tone and moisturise. It happens without me realising it. But what I have added in the Smart Clinical Repair (whisper it) Wrinkle Correcting Serum. It is absolutely brilliant. My mum always said it's all about prevention. She said if you start thinking about wrinkles and lines in your 30s, it's going to be much less of an issue when you get older. You know when you bump into a friend you haven't seen in ages, and they just look amazing. That's what this serum does. It has retinoid in it, which I've always been petrified of putting on my skin, because it's really sensitive. But it's totally fine. What it does is it stops your skin looking sallow at the end of the day and prevents any make-up from getting lodged in creases. It's smoother and replumps.'

Clinique Smart Clinical Repair Wrinkle Correcting Serum, £55 | clinique.co.uk

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What are your go-to beauty treatments?

'Manis. I love a Shellac manicure. During lockdown, it started to chip and no one was around to take it off for me. So I had a forced break and my nails felt stronger. But as soon as salons opened I was back. Shellac all day, every day.'

Is there anything beauty-wise that you would never try?

'Bleaching my brows. I don't care if it's really cool at the time and everyone and their wife is doing it - nah. It's the scariest thing I've ever seen on anyone.'

Best beauty tip you've ever been given, that you would like to pass on?

'It sounds very bougie, but sleeping on a silk pillowcase. I only have one! But it helps with creasing and lines, and it stops frizz. Oh also, my mum taught me how to put eyeliner on so that it doesn't look like you're wearing any. You apply it to the upper water line. I've been doing that forever and ever.'

Slip Silk Pillowcase, £85 | Cult Beauty 

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How do you take care of yourself when you're working away from home?

'By sticking to my rituals that I do at home. Same routine in the morning, same routine in the evening. I'm going to sound like a tosser now, but I do yoga and meditation. I do ten minutes of meditation in the morning and ten at night. In the mornings, I do my yoga routine that I've been doing forever, which isn't particularly technical - I'm not doing the Crow or anything like that - but I have to stretch. It's to help me breathe, not get a sweat on. It keeps me calm. I'm also hypermobile, so I have to stretch. I sleep in a tight foetal position, so when I wake up I have to stretch my arms, my neck and my hips. Then in the evening I have to have my bath with epsom salts.'

What was the first thing you did when restrictions lifted?

'I was that arsehole that booked loads of table reservations in advance. I was happy to sit outside in the rain - I didn't care.'

Providing there are no restrictions next year, what would you like to achieve?

'I want to do the jobs that I had planned. We're meant to be finishing The Seagull next summer. And also the two films that were postponed. I also just want to travel - wherever and whenever. Living in London, we could just pop on a train and go to Paris. But I never did that. I don't know anyone who ever did that. Now I want to do that more than anything. I want to call someone and say, 'Are you free this weekend? Shall we just book a fucking £10 flight to Croatia?' It's about seizing the moment, that that right now feels impossible. Why didn't we do that more before?!'

Katie Thomas

Katie Thomas is the Senior Beauty Editor at Marie Claire UK. With over 10 years of experience on women's luxury lifestyle titles, she covers everything from the best beauty looks from the red carpet and stand out trends from the catwalk, to colonic irrigation and to the best mascaras on the market. She started her career on fashion desks across the industry - from The Telegraph to Brides - but found her calling in the Tatler beauty department. From there she moved to Instyle, before joining the Marie Claire digital team in 2018. She’s made it her own personal mission to find the best concealer in the world to cover her tenacious dark circles. She’s obsessed with skincare that makes her skin bouncy and glowy, low-maintenance hair that doesn’t require brushing and a cracking good manicure. Oh and she wears more jewellery than the Queen.