Courteney Cox Is a Bona Fide Clean Freak

Like Monica Geller, Cox has a near-obsessive habit of tidying up, giving away old items, and organizing.

A portrait of Courtney wearing a white outfit, holding a mug in her hands, standing in a very clean ...
Photograph by Angi Welsch

It makes total sense that the actress Courteney Cox would start a home care line that consists of products like finely scented dish soap, counter spray, and antibacterial hand soap. During the height of the pandemic, Cox spent nearly every day wiping down surfaces and tidying up (if you’re wondering, yes, she was one of those people who sanitized bags of groceries before bringing them into her Los Angeles home). But she wasn’t convinced that everything needed to smell like Clorox to be considered spotless, nor did the uncomely bottles of all-purpose cleaner that clogged her house need to be such an eyesore. As a result, Cox created Homecourt, a collection that includes the aforementioned cleaning goods made in alluring scents of rose, neroli, and orange blossom, but also everyday necessities like hand cream, candles, and lotion. “It’s limitless, what you could do with Homecourt,” Cox tells me over Zoom, seated in her family room. (She ticks off potential body washes and an upcoming room spray.) Here, the actress discusses how her incredibly discerning sense of smell made Homecourt a success, and the one beauty trend she regrets participating in.

I didn’t realize how transformative it would be to not have a huge bottle of Dawn on my kitchen counter until I tried out some Homecourt products.

You’ve gotta hide that! [Laughs.] And you have to have hand cream alongside your dish soap and hand soap, at least at my age. Now, there’s no way to wash my hands without putting cream on afterward.

The hand soap has such an intriguing scent. How did you come up with it?

I came up with the Cece scent because that is the actual scent that I have been wearing for years—I still wear it, even though now, I smell like a counter spray. It’s a mixture of two oils and a perfume that’s a little smoky, a little spicy. It’s got enough sweetness, not too much. I find when I don’t wear it, it feels like something’s missing. And CC is my nickname; I wanted to call it after something that was personal. My mom’s name was Courteney Cox and so people would always call me Cece to distinguish me from her.

You’re a junior!

Well, I’m from Alabama, where everyone is a junior. My dad’s name was Richard Cox, my brother’s name is Richard Cox, and he was a junior. We had 21 first cousins, and every Christmas, my grandmother would write us each out a check for, like, $10, and mine always said “Courteney Cox, Jr.” I was like, I don’t know if you're supposed to do that for girls, but maybe. Hey, it’s 2022. Everything goes now.

Walk me through the process of going through these scents and deciding how each product was going to smell.

You can make a scent without turning it into some kind of chemical smell, and you can just as easily take a beautiful thing and really blow it. I love the smell of roses, but real roses—I dislike smelling powdery roses, or old-smelling rose products. We found this great perfumery, Robertet, and I gave them a sample of the idea of what I wanted Homecourt to smell like. When it came to the rose, they presented this smell with upcycled rosewater and leaves and stems; it’s really made from a true rose. When it comes to the other scents, Neroli has always been one of my favorites. I love orange blossoms. I just love a rich, layered scent that’s not antiseptic. I don’t want to say that all these scents are sexy, because it sounds kind of cheesy, but I find them to be really layered and sexy. We have a room spray coming out soon that not only smells good in the air, it’s actually a deodorizer. It’s like a Febreeze, but it obviously looks beautiful and it smells incredible, and really works.

You said you were cleaning a ton during the pandemic and that it makes sense for you to create a line that involves cleaning. Would you describe yourself as a germ freak?

I’m not a germ freak at all, but I am absolutely a clean freak. I love organization. It’s a good thing that this is my company because I spray the counter spray all the time at home. I’ve got this gorgeous black limestone—it’s honed, it’s not shiny, but I still see people’s greasy paw prints left on it, every time. This is the most busy kitchen, and I have people over all the time—so I always say, don’t be offended if you see me using the counter spray after you’ve eaten in my kitchen. I also suffer from what I call acute awareness; I notice things more than most. It’s a blessing and a curse, but I’m such a detailed person, I can’t help it. That's the way god made me.

Do you have a favorite room in your house?

It depends on what you’re wanting to do. The kitchen has a sitting room, so I can be cooking and have friends over at the same time—that is the most used room, for sure. At night, this is the most used room. There’s a piano over here, a pool table, and a bar back there. I like to have music nights on Sunday, so when I have gatherings all the time, I’ll host in here. But the sitting room right outside of my bedroom is definitely my partner’s favorite room. He loves to get away and have quiet time there. I’m the youngest in my family—I love being around people, and he’s the oldest; he had five younger brothers and sisters, so he always just wants quiet. We couldn’t be more different. That room is a really, really soothing place. I’ll light candles in there, and I have eucalyptus and a little paper lantern to set the mood.

Onto the Beauty Notes questions. What is your favorite form of self-care?

I would say something that’s good for my brain besides exercise and the obvious things, is organizing or cleaning things out that you don't need. I don’t like extra things, ever, and I give stuff away all the time. It clears my mind not to see a lot of extra clutter.

So you like to purge and get rid of stuff?

Oh god, yes. That girl—what’s her name? Marie Kondo? I mean, I’m not gonna lie: I didn’t read her book. I just picked it up, read the inside jacket and went, Well, that just makes sense. But I don’t do what she does, which is put everything out then sort through it, because I have too bad of ADHD. I would just get distracted and walk away. But I can take a drawer at a time. My favorite thing is to have a drawer with nothing in it—minimal heaven.

What is your ideal spa day and where?

I would say it would be with [daughter] Coco, getting massages next to each other. I like watching her enjoy something or doing something for herself that she wouldn’t normally do. We’ve gone to The Montage before, down in Laguna Beach, and really enjoyed that. She’s really a funny kid and we have fun doing things like that together.

What is the most important beauty tip or trick that you have learned throughout your career?

Something that I didn’t think about was how important it is to take care of your neck. When you’re washing your face, don’t stop there—wash your neck and then go all the way down to, as they call it, the décolleté. That, and hydration while caring for your body—it’s so important. I didn’t ever think about that, and then I woke up one day and went, Oh shit. So don’t forget to moisturize your body, even if you’re young.

Do you have a beauty icon?

That’s a tough one. Obviously Audrey Hepburn was a great beauty and I can name a ton from back then, but I don’t know if I have one now. Who’s yours?

Mine’s Pat McGrath.

She has great mascara. No mascara is that black, except for hers. I mean, I love certain products—I love to buy pencils by Tom Ford, but I don't know if he’d be my beauty icon. He is handsome, though.

Is there a beauty trend that you participated in when you were younger that you look back on now and you’re like, Oh my god, what was I thinking?

I would say getting a perm was one of the worst things I’ve ever done. It lightens your hair, makes it not the color that you were intending. Now, I don’t think it’s as bad—I’m sure the ingredients and chemicals have come a long way. But back in the day, whoa. I even remember that smell. You just knew your hair was burning and frying. It was not okay. Looking back, I can’t believe I thought it looked good!