24 Hours With Sabrina Carpenter

The singer and actress on the importance of being yourself, in beauty as in life.

Sabrina Carpenter
(Image credit: Future)

Welcome to Beauty Around the Clock, Marie Claire's weekly peek into the daily lives of some of the most game-changing women in their industries. Ever wonder how they get it all done in a day? Here's your answer.

These are “fast times” for Sabrina Carpenter. The 23-year-old is set to star in, and produce, the upcoming movie Alice in Wonderland, a musical reimagining of the classic fairytale. “Actress” is just one of the many hats she wears, though: Carpenter has just announced her first perfume, for instance, and she's working on her fifth album—her first with Island Records—something she's been pursuing since the start of the pandemic. The album will be released on July 15, but impatient fans can currently stream Carpenter’s new single, “Vicious.“ If it sounds like this album has been a long time coming, it’s because the star wanted it to be the best it could be. “I can be a perfectionist in that sense, but I've also tried to learn over the last year to let things go before you're ready to let them go,” she tells Marie Claire.

As Carpenter shares her (minimalist, subject-to-change) beauty routine with us, she emphasizes that we all need to do what works for us in beauty as in life—whether that’s accentuating our natural features or borrowing a friend’s face cream in a pinch. “Every time I’ve ever met someone that really was just so genuinely, authentically themselves, it’s such a beautiful thing, and you can kind of feel that radiating off of them,” she says. So, here’s what works for her, and her only, day to day.

Rise and Shine

If I'm working on music, it's a little bit of a more graceful wake-up call, so sometimes  9 or 10, but I usually wake up much earlier. My internal alarm clock kind of gets me up really early. If it's a day on-set, it's usually before the sun is up—and before my brain is up as well. This is very corny, but I do try to list things that I'm grateful for first thing in the morning, just so I can start off my day hopefully in an attempt to make it more positive, before anything else kind of gets into my head. It actually has [benefited] my days a lot, just by taking those couple seconds to do that, because I think otherwise it's very easy to read something that is either good or bad news, but it just affects you in a weird way.

Morning Maintenance

Skincare is my time to myself every day that I feel is really important, and definitely enhances my mood. I've been doing the same thing for a long time, but it's just like a normal skincare routine: cleanser and toner and sunscreen. Every time I do it, I automatically feel a lot better, and it makes me feel a little bit more centered. I usually try to find really good vitamin C products as well. I just started using this vitamin C serum from 111SKIN, and it's really, really lovely. I would say all the rollers and the sculptors—I try sometimes (if I have more time), but most of the time I'm lucky that I get my initial skincare in.

Signature Look

I started doing dance recitals when I was a little girl, like three or four. My mom was a dancer, and I have three older sisters, so makeup and dress-up has always been a huge part of my life, which probably crossed over into me wanting to sing and act. I definitely love doing makeup, love playing with makeup, but I don’t wear it every day. I like to give my skin a break when I’m on set a lot. It can be very easy to sweat in makeup and have super long days when you’re wearing it, so I try not to wear it all the time.

[My makeup look] does vary. I’ve figured out a way that I really like to do my own makeup, and it’s definitely inspired by... you know, I always loved Brigitte Bardot as a beauty reference. I think there were a lot of really incredible actresses in the ‘60s that I’ve loved taking inspiration from. But, when I’m just doing my own makeup and I keep it light, I have things that work for me and things that I feel like enhance my natural features. I have freckles, which is something that a lot of people don’t know until they meet me, because they’re very easily covered, so I try to not cover them [up] so much. I’m also at the age right now when I’m figuring out what I like, and that means I get to be playful and not take everything so seriously. 

Shop Sabrina’s Favorite Beauty Products

I’m a huge Charlotte Tilbury fan. I love to enhance my lips, and I just have always, always loved her lip liners, her lipsticks. I also started using this brand ILIA, which is cruelty-free and has just the most beautiful products. Their mascara, I really love. I also love perfume. I love smelling good. I didn’t realize how much I loved that and how underrated smelling good is.

For haircare, I don’t do a whole lot, to be honest. I try to not use heat on my hair as often as possible. I have textured hair, so on days when I am not working, I usually just use sea salt spray, and that’s about it—which is nice, again, there’s always tools being used on your hair, and I think everything in life is about balance. Truly, that is like my rule no matter what: It’s all a balance. You can have the days when you’re dressing up a lot and playing and having a lot of fun, and then to balance it out those days when you literally just look like a really, really humbled human being who’s just taking a break and not so focused on [their] outward appearance.

Daily Playlist

In my mind, everybody listens to music 24/7, all the time. I have speakers built into my closet, because I just love listening to music all the time, and having it in the background. Or, I love listening with headphones in. A lot of times people will try to get my attention and I usually have headphones in, which is like a weird bubble to live in at times, but it’s just something that I love to consume and that’s constantly inspiring me. I listen to a lot of vinyl, because I’ve collected vinyl for seven or eight years. My mom gave me a lot of her old ones, and then I just started going to stores all over the world. Whenever I travel to different countries, I go to different record stores, and I now just have like a bunch. Most recently, I’m listening to Rosalía’s new album. That’s been my bread and butter. I’m also listening to quite a bit of Dolly Parton. I have so many favorite artists.

Fitness Fix

I’m a little [casual] with exercise. It’s not an every day thing by any means, but I try to balance it out however I can, and at least once or twice a week do something a little bit more disciplined. I will take a class of some sort, or do a workout at home. I’ll go to Pilates sometimes with friends of mine. I love working out with friends, because it makes me feel like I’m not working out.

Self-Care Ritual

I do love a bath. I think baths have been a life-saver to me, and again, music. Writing music has been my self-care. If I’m alone and I’m really stressed, I will be at my piano for hours on end.

Signature Scent

I have a few favorites. I have my perfume that I have been working on for the last year (available in sample size at Scent Beauty). Aside from that, I love Margiela perfumes—pretty much all of them. I think they’re all incredibly different. I love sweet scents, not over the top, but definitely [sweet].

Beauty Icon

I would say Brigitte Bardot and Jane Fonda. Those are [two] of my favorites, definitely.

Sabrina Carpenter 2022

(Image credit: Courtesy of Sabrina Carpenter)

P.M. Routine

I usually just use an oil-based cleanser to wipe [makeup] off, and then moisturize and go to sleep. I’ve actually been better in the last few years about minimizing my routine a little bit, so that I don’t have as many products, because when I’m on the road, it’s hard to travel with so much. I’ve tried to consolidate down to a few products.

[The moisturizer I use] changes a lot. My friends will just be like, ‘Here, you can use my moisturizer for the night,’ and I just take it. [Laughs.] But the Chanel moisturizer I’ve been using recently has been really nice.

Lights Out

I love to pass out without distractions. I can’t remember the last time I watched a TV show. By the end of the day, I feel like I’ve used up everything I have, so I just love sleep and getting to sleep as quickly as I can. [My bedtime] definitely changes. I’m in an unpredictable era right now. It can be 9 p.m.; it can be 2 in the morning. [My body] definitely gravitates to, like, grandma. I get tired early, but now I have ways and tricks and coffee that will keep me up if I need to be up. I’m at this age where I’m… I definitely am disciplined, but I am trying to also remind myself that if there’s a time in my life when I’m probably not going to sleep as much, it’s probably now.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.