Jennifer Aniston needs no introduction. When she enters the "Melrose room" at the 1 Hotel in West Hollywood on Thursday afternoon, the crowd is a mix of squeals and applause, but mostly awe — you can't hear awe, obviously, but you can feel it and certainly see it on the faces of the beauty editors and influencers who were invited to the event. It's pretty rare that Jennifer Aniston makes public appearances, so to see her — Rachel Green, in the flesh, comfortable and California-cool as ever in an ivory silk slip dress — is a moment for us all.
But as the Global Ambassador for Aveeno, it was her duty (if not just by contract) to help educate us about the healthy bacteria (aka our microbiome) that's living in our skin. Along with her co-moderator Kirbie Johnson, Aniston posed questions to dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu, MD and Johnson & Johnson Research & Development scientist Dr. Kim Capone, PhD about skin health and why keeping our microbiome strong is so important to having healthy and radiant skin. She even went into the crowd with her microphone (like The Phil Donahue Show, she said to the audience) to take questions.
A self-proclaimed beauty lover, Aniston shared during the panel that once she discovered the chemistry behind products and how it affected her skin, she began using less of the "fancy" stuff that's often filled with potentially harmful ingredients and started to go back to the simple, yet effective (and "affordable") products she has always used and loved, like Aveeno.
"I'm so excited to be here with Aveeno, my best friend since I was a teenager. And I'm so excited because my favorite things are scientists and dermatologists," Aniston quips, never ceasing to make her fans laugh with her still adept comedic timing.
Of course, there's more to Aniston's beauty routine than just using Aveeno products. I spoke to Aniston about how she likes to practice self-care, what she really thinks about Rachel Green's resurgence in popularity, and the stolen pieces she still wears from the Friends closet.
As someone who has been in the spotlight for so long, you've somehow managed to maintain the same natural beauty aesthetic for years and not give into gimmicky beauty trends. But has your philosophy on beauty changed at all as you've gotten older?
I used to think a really good tan showed healthy glowing California skin and that sadly is not the case. I had to sort of switch that up a little bit. I think I just started to learn more about skin and skin health, that it's not just about what to put onto it but what is inside the product and what’s going on inside of our body.
Do you have a pretty intensive beauty routine? Or is it pretty simple?
Simple. Simple is best. The more complicated, the more problems. That’s why when I always go back to the old school, the old faithfuls, that calms everything down.
Besides amazing skin care products and treatments, what have you learned is the secret to having beautiful, healthy skin?
I do have genetics on my side. I think drinking a lot of water, getting sleep, and putting proper foods in your stomach. It’s all a combination of everything.
So, you’re a big believer in beauty from the inside out?
Yeah, but I had to learn that. When we're younger, we’re so carefree and take our skin for granted and just think it’s going to be there forever and then one day, [you're like], whoa, what’s that? What’s that?! Our prior generations really didn’t know [that beauty came from the inside] and I think that’s why people are looking so good longer. It’s not so much, Oh my God, you look so good for your age, we’re just taking better care of ourselves. I think people used to look really crappy by 50, because they didn’t take care of themselves from the inside out.
You’re big into fitness. Would you say that also affects your skin?
It’s everything. It’s all mind, body, soul. All of it.
Are you a morning workout person?
No, no. I am not a morning person. Anybody can tell you that. I’m a nighttime putter. And I don’t know if that’s because I was born at night, but it’s also when the house is super quiet. There’s no more phone calls. The city goes to sleep. So I like my night time. And I can catch up on emails and television and me time.
What’s your ultimate self-care routine? What do you like to do to wind down?
Well there’s different kinds. Like working out and going into the infrared sauna is one form of that. And then putting on a mask and putting on my favorite TV show is another great one.
That’s usually what I do, watching Friends.
Speaking of, Rachel Green is a style and beauty icon and has always been, but she's sort of experiencing a resurgence in popularity right now among Gen Z and millennials. Ralph Lauren has the Rachel Green collection.
I know! <laughs>
The Rachel haircut is still relevant.
Is it really?
I think so, I’ve seen it on Instagram!
Is that surprising to you? That she’s popular again?
I think all of it’s surprising that it’s kind of had this life to it. The legs on [the show] are amazing.
Did you have any idea the show and Rachel's style would be so popular for so long?
No idea! No idea. Not at all. I wish we had known more to predict the future, we probably would’ve negotiated a little differently. <laughs> I’ve been trying to really figure out why there is such a fascination for it and I always come back to the same theory: We didn’t have phones. I find it interesting that people are connecting to a show about people connecting. And communicating. And talking. And friendships. And taking care of each other. And mothering and fathering and sistering and brothering each other. I think that was such a period of time. And some shows just don’t have that hold up. But I’m not going to question it. I really think it’s fun.
Did you get to influence any of the style or beauty choices on the show for Rachel?
Oh, we picked all of our wardrobe. We’d go on a Thursday, go for our fitting, we’d go to the dressing room and they’d have our rack of clothes and we would just go through them and put outfits together and just dress ourselves. Except Phoebe. Phoebe had to be very eccentric. So [Friends costume designer] Debra McGuire would basically say, this is what you’re wearing. But me and Court would pretty much dress ourselves. And sometimes she would try to steal a pair of pants and put it in hers and I’d be like, no, no, no, no, no, no. I still have a dress that I still wear to this day that I stole from Monica’s closet.
Is there an outfit that you remember that you loved and would still wear today?
Yes. It’s this dress. It’s darker with yellow mini, teeny flowers. It’s got a little lace here and lace here <points to her waist> and a cap sleeve, cut on the bias to here <points to her legs>. I wore it two weeks ago. I love it.
And it was Monica’s?
Uh huh. And I also have a wonderful pair of square-toed loafers from Joan and David that I took from my closet.
Are there any other pieces you wish you would’ve kept, especially since ‘90s fashion is so in again?
The main thing I really wish I kept were my Maharishi pants. Remember those pants that had the embroidery of the dragons on the back? I kept one pair, a red pair. A friend of mine had a ton that he didn’t get rid of and he just gave them to me, so I’m going to have them altered.
Last question: What’s one makeup product you have used forever and still love to this day?
Victoria Jackson concealer. Since literally high school.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity