From the Foundation She Loves to a $4 Lip—Alex Cooper Is a Low-Key Beauty Savant


Say hello to Unfiltered, a fresh beauty series where you’ll get an exclusive glimpse into the dressed-down beauty routines of our favorite celebrities and content creators. They’ll reveal their guilty-pleasure beauty practices, the five-minute-routine product lineup they can’t live without, the one good-skin tip they’ll be forever thankful for, and so much more. To bring every conversation full circle, we ask each celebrity to send us a selection of self-shot, filter-free photos of their choosing to capture the essence of their Unfiltered beauty philosophy. 

Up next, we’re getting to know the host of the Call Her Daddy podcast, Alex Cooper. Below, she’s answering all of our rapid-fire questions (including a fun, beauty-centric version of Fuck, Marry, Kill) and sharing her favorite products, best-kept self-confidence tips, and more. Enjoy!

I—like many—am a huge fan of Call Her Daddy. But let’s start by talking about the video episodes because I’m the beauty nerd staring at your face being like, “What blush is she wearing?! What mascara is she wearing?!” So can you take me through your daily get-ready routine?

Absolutely. I start with my skincare routine, which is pretty simple in the morning. I’m going to do a cleanser. I’m going to do a toner, a hyaluronic acid serum, and maybe a sunscreen. I keep it very minimal and prioritize anything that’s going to hydrate my skin so it looks as glowy as possible once I put makeup on. 

For makeup, I’ll do a primer. [It’s] probably Laura Mercier’s Hydrating Pure Canvas Primer ($42), which I love—it’s all about hydration! I then use Laura Mercier’s Silk Crème Moisturizing Foundation ($49), which I’ve been using for forever. Every single time I wear it, people say my skin looks photoshopped. I’m like, “Yes, that’s the goal. Here we go.” I’ll do a blush stick—the Nars one in Orgasm ($39)—so I feel like I’m a little sun-kissed. I’ll do bronzer, probably the Hoola Bronzer ($32) by Benefit, just lightly on the cheeks and the forehead, and then a ChapStick! I try to just keep it as simple as possible on a day-to-day basis. If I’m really lucky, I’ll just do a little concealer under my eyes, a tiny bit of bronzer, and that’s it.

Do you have a favorite under-eye concealer? So many under-eye ones crease, which I hate.

You know what’s crazy? I have always used the classic Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer ($31). I use the lightest, lightest shade, but I just bought… Let me see if I can find it. Do we have time for this? [Laughs]

[Laughs] Yes.

I just bought this. What brand is this? It’s the Smashbox x Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector ($33). So I’ve been putting a tiny dab of this on first, and then I’ll put my Nars on top and mix them together. The combination works really well, and you still look fresh. I’ve also learned I need to stop putting concealer so close to my waterline. That’s when it creases. Going lower with it is really the move.

Your lashes are also amazing, and I’m a lash and mascara fiend. Do you wear mascara, or do you just naturally have great lashes?

Okay… The worst news is that I am blessed with nice lashes. When I was younger, I was always so frustrated because my left lash is naturally light blonde, and my right is brown, so it always looked like my one eye was smaller and more closed. But then I finally figured out that I could put on mascara or dye them. So every month or so, I dye my eyelashes black, so it just looks like I always have mascara on. I actually don’t have a good mascara, though! I’m on the market for one because I’ve been using the same mascara from the drugstore. It’s this orange tube that I’ve literally had—I’m not kidding you—since high school or college. And I’m saying the exact same tube. I don’t put a lot on. I only do the tips of my lashes, which just pulls them up a little. I don’t like to overdo it. Since I’m super fair and blonde, it can just look like a little too much at times. If I really want to enhance my eyes, I’ll just add a little bronzy eye shadow instead of layering on more mascara.

This is perfect because I was just about to ask you if there are any products that you’ve used since high school or college…

I could use the shittiest mascara at the drugstore or the most expensive one at the department store. It just doesn’t really matter to me because I don’t wear it much. My eyes always want to start watering, so I’m just trying to prevent anything from getting irritated.

Okay, I’m kind of leaping all over here, but while we’re talking about drugstore, let’s do a little high/low. What’s the most expensive product you swear by, and what’s the cheapest? Maybe it’s your mascara [laughs] but the most affordable beauty product that you love.

Let me think. I would say that my cheapest is my go-to ChapStick, which is Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm ($4). I have it on hand for every single interview I do. I have it on every single day. I love the color that it gives me with my complexion—a little pinky red—and I don’t have to wear a lip liner with it. I would say my most expensive product is probably my skincare. I don’t really go crazy with makeup, but I would definitely say some of the serums I have from Dr. Barbara Sturm are quite expensive, but they are pieces that I have invested in that I really love to have in my routine.

Totally. Okay, so on to hair. We both have extremely light hair—are you naturally super blonde?

My hair is naturally strawberry blonde, and when I was a child, it was literally white. 

That makes sense. I was going to ask you what you do to keep it so, so blonde and pristine because it’s so easy for super-light hair to get brassy or discolored or just really damaged, and yours is so long and healthy.

Because I never get a dark root, I don’t really have to do a typical routine for blonde hair. Every three weeks or so, I pop in to see my colorist, and we do a toner to get that icy color I like. So I will literally go into my hair salon. He will put the toner in and put it up in a bun. I walk out, and I go right back to my studio, which is three blocks away, and I just keep editing. I’ll sit with it for an hour and a half, and if I’m really feeling crazy—even though my colorist tells me not to—I’ll keep it in for two hours and then wash it out. So basically, my maintenance is just every three weeks I’m going and getting that toner put in. And then every three to four months, I’m going to get highlights. 

Do you use purple shampoo or anything like that when you’re in between?

I do use purple shampoo, but I’ve found that I can go overboard with the purple, so instead, I just stick with my hairdresser [laughs], and I’m fortunate that he’s so close to me. Instead of messing up my hair and going the purple-shampoo route, I can just go see him. He actually let me know that purple, because I have the strawberry undertones, is really not what I should be using. Something that’s blue/black is better. I was like, “What?!” I guess it’s just a specific thing that helps it not get as brassy. So yeah, not using the purple as much.

My colorist has actually told me the same thing. Purple isn’t it!! But it’s just not what the industry wants us to think. [Laughs] 

See?! Of course!

We are very, very obsessed with fragrance at WWW. What do you smell like? Creepiest question of the interview I promise!

[Laughs] It’s fine! So I will be honest. I have never been a fragrance girly. I’m usually just wearing my boyfriend’s deodorant. But about a year ago, I was sent the Fenty Eau de Parfum ($140), and I haven’t stopped buying it since! I walked into Jon & Vinny’s the other week in L.A., and a man who was cooking stopped me and was like, “Oh my god, you smell phenomenal.” And I was just like, “You know what? I’m going to keep going with this! “Every time, I get a compliment wearing it, and my boyfriend was like, “Oh my god, this is the best smell I’ve ever smelled.” It’s amazing—I highly recommend. 

I feel like when you get compliments … you know it’s a keeper for sure.

Yes. Totally. Rihanna knows what she’s doing.

We all just want to smell like Rihanna! Yeah, it’s so good. It’s sweet, but not too sweet… magic. 

Yes.

What’s your best beauty tip of all time that I may not have heard before? [Laughs]

Oh my god. Okay. This is kind of a weird one…

I love weird.

Don’t put makeup on your cheeks and put very minimal on your nose. Or do it with a Beautyblender ($20) at the very end as the very last step. If you’re going for a no-makeup makeup look, what makes you look like you’re wearing the most makeup is on that center part of your face. So most of the time, I will lightly wipe it off with a tissue, which sounds so problematic, but … if you basically strip it off, you’re going to look 10 times more natural—not as much makeup going on. 

I’ve interviewed like 10,000 people and have never heard that before, so that was perfect. Thank you. [Laughs] But yes, that makes so much sense because those are the areas that always start to crack and look weird.

Totally. I always used to get insecure if I was going to a day party or going for lunch and just being like, “Does it look like I’m wearing too much makeup?” Just take it off of your cheeks and do everything else that you need, and you will be good to go. 

I love it. Um, okay let’s seeee. What would you say is the most life-changing product discovery you’ve had this year? 

It wasn’t this year, but it’s been my go-to. I think every single one of my friends who has ever done their makeup with me goes and buys this immediately. Like, every single girl has gotten it, and it’s the Laura Mercier Silk Crème Moisturizing Foundation ($49). I’m not kidding you—I almost had a panic attack because they took it out of the stores, so now, I can only buy it online. I’m going to bulk up and buy 500 and store them in my house. It’s truly one of the most amazing products I have ever used, and I don’t know where I would be without it. It is phenomenal. Phenomenal! It’s changed my life.

Okay, I am influenced.

And if you put it on with a Beautyblender and you have a primer right underneath it, you can literally go out with just that.

And it lasts?!

Oh my god, oh my god. It’s truly the best thing. I’m not sponsored by them.

But they should sponsor you!

Yes, yes! But also I’m nervous now because I’m like, “Oh my god, is it going to sell out?” I need to go buy it before this comes out. 

One of my questions was to name a product that you would never be the same without if it were sold out, and I think we just hit it. [Laughs]

That! I promise you—ladies, gentlemen—it will change your life. Just don’t get the same color as me. [Laughs]

That’s going to be the headline: “Alex Cooper Shares Her Favorite Product of All Time, But You Can’t Buy It.” 

That’s literally the one that I will gatekeep until the end. Absolutely not. Once I stock up, then you guys can go get it. 

Perfect. Deal. So this is a little bit of a fun one. w’re going to play Fuck, Marry, Kill.

Love.

Self-tanner, hair extensions, concealer.

Woooowwww. Okay, I would fuck concealer. Marry self-tanner. Kill hair extensions.

I think I would do the same. But now, I need to know what self-tanner you’re marrying.

I’ve always used the St. Tropez self-tanner ($42). I know people are like, “There are so many other ones. You should try this and this.” Listen. If something is working, don’t pivot. For me, it’s always looked so natural. It has that green undertone, so it doesn’t make you look orange. It works for me and my skin tone. I’m very naturally pale, so it makes me look very naturally tan, and I don’t know how it does it! I know there are others out there, but it’s always just been my go-to.

It’s their normal Classic one?

I alternate between the Dark and then the Classic one in the white bottle, which is more of a natural color. It depends on where I’m going. If I’m going to the beach, I can prep three days prior and do the super-dark one, and then by the time I’ve showered, it’s going to be a good color. But if I know the next day I’m going to have some big thing, I’ll do the white bottle. But also, let me be so clear. In college, I was always doing the darkest color so that it would look like I had just gotten back from wherever. Now, I’ve kind of let up on it.

I mean, I don’t think I went my entire high school career without applying self-tanner every single day. [Laughs]

Oh, completely! Completely!

Switching gears a little bit, how has your approach to beauty and your appearance shifted as you’ve gotten older? And looking back, what’s something you wish you could have told yourself when you were in your teens or early 20s?

I think I would have said, “You don’t need to wear so much makeup.” I really used to overdo it, but I also know that it was coming from a place of insecurity. I wish I could have given that younger self a hug because in high school I was just pounding on the makeup, but it was because I was really struggling with breaking out. I was so insecure, and I was on Accutane, and then the makeup would be peeling off, and it was just an absolute recipe for disaster.

When I look back at my college photos or even my early 20s, I think I was really trying to look a specific way that wasn’t naturally how I was born. As I’ve gotten more confident with myself and who I am, I’ve allowed myself to kind of pull back. It’s also just easier to look like your natural self instead of constantly trying to look a certain way. Really, trying to be somebody that you’re not is only going to make you feel more insecure. 

Yes, totally. I’ve been there as well. And then it’s like… Well, what happens when you stop doing all of the things. It’s exhausting. And we have all these things now—Facetune and all these crazy editing apps. Social media has just exploded, and there’s so much pressure to look a certain way, to project a certain kind of life. It’s so unattainable. What would you say to anyone who just struggles to feel good in their own skin?

Completely. At the end of the day, all you have is yourself. Don’t spend your life chasing validation from others by changing who you are. Learn to love what you were given and allow yourself to enjoy life and be more comfortable. It’s exhausting and hurtful to ourselves when we keep trying to change things to please others. You are good enough as you are, and when you try to force yourself to see that—which I know is so hard—it changes the quality of your life and the way that you live.

Again, take it from me. I was the number one offender of trying to look a certain way and project a certain image, and I think we see people on the internet who look like they have it all together, but because I’ve done that in the past, I also know that’s when I was the most miserable. When I wanted to have the blondest hair, the tannest skin, the fakest eyelashes, overline my lips… It was all just to appeal to some beauty standard. It’s so much better to lean into your natural self because no one can replicate how you were born and what you naturally look like. We can always look like Sim versions of ourselves and all look the same, but who wants to look the same? It’s difficult, and it takes time for every single person to lean into loving and accepting themselves, but I think the faster you can do that, the happier you’re going to be with your life. 

Easier said than done, but you’re so spot-on. It’s hard!!! Second to last question [laughs] and we’re taking another turn. You get a full day for self-care and nothing else. Work of any kind is not allowed. What would your day look like?

Whew! I would lay in bed until about 11 a.m. I would wake up. I would have my boyfriend cook me a yummy breakfast, bring me some coffee. Keep laying in bed with my dog, Henry. I would then take him on a walk, and I would probably take him to the farmers market. No idea what to buy … but the vibe feels relaxing because I’m not going to cook! [Laughs] 

[Laughs] I’m going to buy a bunch of vegetables that are going to go bad in my fridge and I’ll probably have to throw away.

Right, yes, exactly. Then I would probably head to the grocery store and buy some type of something that I would try to eat during the day. I don’t know actually what it would be. [Laughs] I’m not the best at the grocery store. It’s going to be premade, always. I would come home. I would watch TV. I would do a face mask. I would go in the hot tub—I have this really great hot tub in my new house that’s just by itself in the middle of palm trees. It feels like I’m at a resort, and it really lowers my blood pressure. I love to sit outside in California and just read and relax. Probably have family and friends over for a drink, a glass of wine, have dinner, go take a bath, shave, moisturize my entire body, get into bed, watch TV, take an edible, good night.

The perfect day from start to finish. What’s the preferred body moisturizer?

I use CeraVe! I have the big tub. I put it all over my body. I get into bed—my boyfriend is mortified. I’m this sticky seal, and I’m so happy. I just feel like it’s soaking in, and there will never be a wrinkle on my body.

Yeah [laughs] your boyfriend will be thankful for that later. 

Exactly!

What’s your Unfiltered beauty philosophy in seven words or less?

It’s hard to do seven words or less! … Okay, this is 10: You don’t have imperfections. You’re beautiful just as you are.

Up next, “I’m Like Inspector Gadget”: Paris Hilton on Beauty Tools, Anti-Aging, and Health


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