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Jennifer Garner Says This Is The Key To Reducing Neck Wrinkles

Beauty & Health Editor

By Jamie Schneider

Beauty & Health Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.

Image by Jennifer Garner / mbg Creative

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Welcome to On Aging, a series that highlights industry icons’ approach to beauty through the decades. They’ll share what makes them feel most beautiful, their biggest beauty experiments, and, of course, all of their skin and hair care tips. 

Journalists will often say this about celebrities to emphasize their openness, but talking to Jennifer Garner truly feels like I’m catching up with a friend.

First of all, I hop on the Zoom to find Garner in her glasses and workout gear, camera on (the 15-minute interview was scheduled as audio-only). “It just feels weird not to see you when we chat,” the actor and mom of three tells me. I agree before allowing my own makeup-free face to fill the screen. 

We then discuss her go-to workout, The Limit—a compilation of dance, HIIT, and tone workouts led by trained Broadway performers, professional dancers, and former Rockettes. I admit I haven’t tried it despite living in New York City, where they have an in-person studio. “Oh, Jamie, you have to,” Garner gushes before rattling off her favorite classes and officially influencing me to book a session. 

And like a true beauty-minded BFF, Garner of course has some wisdom to share in the skin department. At 51, her complexion is vibrant, practically radiating through the screen—a post-workout glow, considering her go-to morning routine (which you’ll find below). Ahead, discover the skin and hair care lessons she holds dear. 

Image by Jennifer Garner / mbg Creative

On her beauty philosophy

“I want to look like myself. And I think the best way to look like yourself is to take care of your skin, take care of your hair, and give yourself as much natural vibrancy as your age, skin, and hair will allow. I don’t think I really want to worry much more than that. 

“As I get older, I’ve noticed more and more that less is more. The more makeup I have on, the more I feel a little bit goofy. I want to always be comfortable with myself. I want my kids to see me this way. I want the world to see me this way. I don’t want to feel like I have to be hidden behind makeup in order to exist out in the world.” 

On her earliest beauty memory 

“My earliest beauty memory is probably learning to do my makeup backstage for ballet recitals. 

“One of the first times I ever thought I looked pretty, I was dancing Dorothy. I had little red pointe shoes in Wizard Of Oz. I was dancing with this photographer, Arnout Hyde. He was a celebrity photographer in West Virginia. He was known for photographing the waterfalls and the trees changing—he was our nature photographer. I danced with his daughter, so he took our pictures once. And when I was lit properly, I just remember seeing a picture of myself and thinking, ‘Well, that’s not awful.’ 

“I didn’t know someone could take a good picture of me. I had no idea I could take a good picture. And then I never thought about it again, but I remember just that one day… Isn’t it funny I remember that?” 

On the best beauty tip she ever heard 

​​”Nothing looks better in your 50s than sunscreen in your 20s.

“I use the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer with SPF 50. This is a no-brainer, because it repairs during the day. It protects from the sun. [And] hyaluronic acid is a humectant, so it [increases] moisture from the cellular level. 

“You have hyaluronic acid in your skin naturally, of course. As you age, it diminishes, and then your skin looks tired and old because it doesn’t have as much moisture on the surface. 

“This [sunscreen] is like a skin hack to bring moisture back to the surface of your skin, give you a dewy look, and to just really quench tired, thirsty skin.” 

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizer SPF 50$ 19.99Fragrance-free, non-greasy, and brimming with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid—this is a moisturizer-sunscreen hybrid you’ll want to have on-hand. Garner swears by it for juicy, bouncy-looking skin, and plenty of other sensitive-skinned reviewers agree; its simplicity is what makes it such a staple.

On her most memorable beauty experiment 

Adir [Abergel] cut my hair really short not that long ago. It’s been a few months because it’s growing back out, but that was big for me. He was just like, ‘I want to cut it.’ And I said, ‘Cut it, let’s do it.’ So he did. It felt great. It was really fun. I think it was time to just try something different. 

“I had blondish hair for this movie, Miracles From Heaven. It was as blonde as [colorist] Tracey Cunningham could make it, and she worked really, really hard. I’m not a blonde; that’s what I learned. She looked at me, and we were both like, ‘Nope, not a blonde.’ 

“Now, I would definitely use Virtue ColorKick Shampoo and Hair Mask. That is the very best thing to keep color fresh in your hair for as long as possible.” 

Virtue ColorKick Illuminating Mask$ 70Goodbye, dull, flat-looking color. This hue-enhancing hair mask increases the luminosity of your strands, helping you extend time between appointments. Special botanical extracts help protect hair from UV radiation (which fades color), and shea butter, moringa seed oil, and jojoba oil keep strands hydrated and smooth.

On her must-have retinol tips

“I probably didn’t start [retinol] until my mid to late 30s, but now knowing what I know, I would start earlier. I would start in my late 20s to early 30s, even if it’s only every couple of days. And you do not need to buy fancy stuff.

“You do not need to spend hundreds of dollars. The retinol in the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair [Collection] is gentle, there’s no fragrance, it’s clean, and it will get the job done.

“You always have to take care of your neck. If you only [treat] something, do your neck. Part of the beauty of having an affordable brand is that you can apply liberally. So, I’ll use the Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum every other night. I use the serum, I use the eye cream—which is excellent and great for sensitive skin—and then I will use the overnight cream

“And then the next day, you have to use sunscreen, especially when you’re using retinol. So I’ll use Hydro Boost with SPF, or I’ll spray on a little [extra]. Especially if I’m going to be outside, I’ll double up. And I’ll use it all over my neck. I’ll use it on my ears. I’ll put the extra on the back of my hands. I’ll do the back of my neck—you know, just really anywhere.” 

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum$ 21.99A retinol serum that’s gentle enough to slather on sensitive neck skin and pair with other retinol-infused formulas (like Garner’s other favorite Overnight Cream). It absorbs effortlessly into the skin to fill out fine lines (thank you, hyaluronic acid), and the $22 price tag can’t be beat.

On what she would tell her younger self 

“I had a fishing tackle box full of makeup that I carried from theater to theater when I was in college and working at summer stock theaters. It had pancake makeup from ballet, and I thought if I was going to make myself up, that’s what I should wear.

“So every picture of myself from college…it’s so bad! There’s not a single picture that I can look at and just be like, ‘Oh look! Cute, college Jen.’ No, it’s awful. Horrible! Why did I need makeup? I didn’t need anything! What was I doing?

“[Now] I don’t use a ton of makeup. The one fancy thing that I have in my kit—I don’t have a kit, but I’m around makeup people, and that’s what they say—would be the Westman Atelier Foundation Stick.” 

Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick$ 68This creamy, buildable formula gives your skin the most natural-looking finish. Feel free to apply all over, or use it to spot conceal areas of discoloration (most commonly the under-eyes and sides of the nose). The pigment instantly melts into the skin, appearing as if you had no makeup on at all—just like magic.

On what makes her feel most beautiful 

“A great workout first thing in the morning, because feeling strong makes you feel beautiful.

“[I love] The Limit Fit. The studio’s in Chelsea. You have to go. It’s super vibrant. It’s filled with professional ballet dancers, because it really does make you so strong. And it’s all straightforward, so you’re not going to get hurt. 

“It’s a great community, even over Zoom, which is how I do it. That makes me feel beautiful. And then just putting my kids to bed… just normal life.” 

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