Naomi Watts on Self Care: “It’s Not Always Sunshine and Roses”

The ONDA Beauty co-owner is giving herself a routine and some space during quarantine—while her son is whipping up DIY face masks.

Naomi Watts selfie
Selfie by Naomi Watts for W magazine.

Adjusting to a new normal remains a work in progress—and Naomi Watts is well aware of this fact.

The philanthropist and double Oscar-nominated actress is also a longtime New Yorker who understands the importance of community for wellness and remaining positive, even during a pandemic. Along with her two partners Larissa Thomson and Sarah Bryden Brown, the mother of two created ONDA Beauty, a curation space that provides non-toxic, clean beauty products and treatments to their clients around the world.

Candidly and comically (refreshingly, she doesn’t seem to put on any airs), Watts recently spoke with W about her current self-care groove, going in-depth about her routines, staying centered, and being in the moment, despite living through a difficult time.

What does your current self-care routine look like these days, in light of the current pandemic?

So much of self-care is mood-driven, what you can manage and how much of it. Peace of mind come first. That means, for me, meditation and exercise are key. Eating the right food, as well. That said, I forgive myself for everything I need to eat. I have far less discipline with food than the other areas. We’re not being seen, except for the odd Zoom meeting, so it’s very easy to let things like sanity, beauty, and fashion fall by the wayside. However, it’s important to point out that with my skin, if I don’t stay regimented, the cracks begin to form. I don’t want to leave myself with an insurmountable amount of problems, once we’re out of lockdown. A little exfoliation, double cleansing and proper hydration are a must.

You wear many hats; for starters, you are a successful actor, a mother, and also a small business owner with ONDA, the non-toxic beauty storefronts you and your partners run. It’s an extremely difficult time in the world, especially for small businesses. How is your company ONDA staying on top of things in light of the economic downturn?

We’ve certainly had to pivot and refocus our online business efforts. Not only to sustain our community, but to also find ways to have a broader reach. It’s definitely a scary time for small businesses, but we feel fortunate to have such an amazing team of great thinkers and also great products that we feel good about. The overwhelming majority of what I use on my face and body we carry at the stores. I believe in the products’ effectiveness and quality.

What are your morning and evening skin routines?

In the morning, I moisturize with a cream, serum, and a face mist. I love Dr. Alkaitis Organic Day Cream mixed with Vintner’s Daughter’s Botanical Serum. First, I mist with Tammy Fender’s Bulgarian Rose Water to open up my skin. I love rose, and it’s very calming for the skin. It also preps my skin to receive the serum and cream more effectively. I place a few drops of the oil into my hand with the cream and combine them as a hydration boost.

In the evening, I like to double cleanse. First, I use De Mamiel’s Pure Calm Cleansing Dew, which is an oil cleanser. It removes all the makeup and impurities from the day. Then I use a cream cleanser. I love Tammy Fender’s Cleansing Milk. Then, I like to load on the serums at night to do their work while I’m sleeping. I start by using Saint Jane’s Vitamin C Drops with CBD, that helps calm my skin, and then Marie Veronique’s Gentle Retinol Night Serum. To seal all these actives in, I use a rich night cream like Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Face Cream Rich. It locks in everything and provides all the moisture I need, so I wake up with fresh, hydrated, and glowing skin.

Are you a bath person? What types of baths do you take?

Yes! I love the Vertly Botanical CBD bath salts; the scent is so unique and heavenly and totally relaxes me. Goop also has many different “salt soaks” that serve different purposes, which I like. Baths are great for when you’re sick, stressed, need help falling asleep, detoxing, and relieving sore muscles. Something for all the moments in life.

Were you a big facial person before social distancing and quarantine rules were set in place? If so, are there any particular facials that you are fond of?

Yes, I travel frequently, so that upsets the balance of my skin. I often run into hydration issues. I would make it a point to consistently get facials at ONDA for upkeep. I am a big fan of The Oxygen Facial; it just works incredibly well on my skin, hydrating it. Also, ONDA’s collagen-boosting, lifting, tightening and cell-renewing facials work significantly well on my skin, too. In addition to the fact that ONDA uses all non-toxic products, we also have a variety of fairly advanced tools and modalities: a Micro Current, LED light, Plasma Pen, and an Oxygen Machine. Science meets nature.

What is a beauty product you can’t live without these days?

A Gua Sha tool that you can use with any moisturizer, oil or serum. It is so effective for boosting circulation, getting your blood flowing, and creating lymphatic drainage to help reduce inflammation as well as fine lines and wrinkles. Also, of course, a great sunscreen. I really like Beautycounter’s Dew Skin because it adds a sheer and illuminating coverage to my skin and includes SPF—despite the fact that it’s snowing in spring today.

What other steps do you take to stay centered, generally?

Taryn Toomey’s class, The Class. Yoga, through Prema Yoga Brooklyn, and also, meditation. All in rotation, and all on repeat.

Are you reading or watching television more frequently? What have you read that you love lately?

I’m reading “Love Warrior” by Glennon Doyle Melton—love a memoir, good, easy reading. I haven’t done enough watching of TV. But I did get to watch Tiger King and Unorthodox. Loved both.

Have you been able to stay sane during this time, for the most part?

What’s sanity?! Just kidding. There are good days and bad days. It feels almost impossible to keep one’s marbles in place. I try to think small: small victories, and checking things off the list one by one, avoiding thinking too far ahead. Apart from all the self-care things, I try my best to keep in touch with friends and family. And as far as those conversations are concerned, I try to think big, with no small talk. We have deep, philosophical, meaningful conversations, to help me feel connected. Community is everything.

On a beauty note, obviously all of these self-care routines are about looking and feeling your best. Sometimes that means not taking it all too seriously. Routines and rituals have their place, but it’s most important to be yourself and have fun. Kai, my youngest, cooked up a homemade mask for me during quarantine. I don’t know all the ingredients that got slipped in there, but it didn’t smell great. There’s a video on my Instagram— it looks like a turd’s being flippantly pushed around my face. It was a pretty coarse recipe, so I, at least, got an exfoliation out of it. I suppose it’s not always going to be sunshine and roses, sometimes we break out, crack up, or dry out. We’re human. Sometimes the best you’re going to get is an exfoliating turd. That’s life.

Related: Does Marilyn Monroe’s 1959 Skincare Routine Hold Up Today?