Beauty Around the Clock: Sarah Jessica Parker

The '…And Just Like That' star on walking 10,000 steps a day, beautiful people on the subway, and why she keeps her skincare routine to three simple steps.

sarah jessica parker beauty routine
(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 men and women in their industries. Ever wonder how they get it all done in a day? Here's your answer.

Sarah Jessica Parker has some pretty strong convictions about beauty—but not in the way you might think. The Sex in the City actress is adamant about not giving peace of mind to the societal construct. “I don’t feel like I really have a relationship with beauty. It’s not something I spend a lot of time thinking about,” she exclusively tells Marie Claire. “In my life, I naturally have a decent amount of vanity—and ego—attached to that vanity, but I don’t have a huge amount of interest in devoting a lot of time to an exterior reflection. I don’t care enough to make big changes. I don’t care enough to invest a huge amount of my time.” 

You won’t find her getting Botox or spending hours in the bathroom layering on creams and serums that claim to be fountains of youth in a bottle. She’s standing at her vanity for as little time humanly possible—enough to layer on three products. Not four, not five, and certainly not 12. She’d rather dedicate her time to reading a book (when time allows), catching up on the news, or enjoying a solitary subway ride. To get the full break down on SJP’s day-to-day, and her partnership with RoC, an affordable, effective skincare brand, read ahead. 

Rise & Shine

My morning depends on whether I'm shooting or on stage or doing a movie or a television series or working in the theater. If I'm working on a television series, for instance, I'm up at like 3:30 in the morning every single day—and I don't go home until 7:30 at night. Those are really long days. If I'm required to be on set, I get up, I shower, I wash my hair, shave my legs if I have to. I use the Gillette men’s razor and the Gillette Men’s Foaming Shaving Cream. I order in bulk because everyone in the house uses it. 

Then I’ll go downstairs and grab my jade roller that I’ve had for a hundred years. I keep it in the fridge. I’ll get some coffee with full milk and sugar. That’s right. You heard it: Full milk and sugar. 

Morning Maintenance

I pop my jade roller back in the fridge, head back upstairs, get my face wet, and do my skincare. I’m not somebody who is going to do five steps, seven steps, or nine steps. I’m not doing it. I’m somebody who is going to give you three steps—that’s it. Over a year ago RoC sent me so many products I didn’t even know where to begin. Luckily, they sent really smart, clear, concise, efficient breakdowns of each product. I found my little trifecta that works really well for me daytime and nighttime. 

I love the brand because of its science and its messaging to women. I think it’s not only smart, but it’s meaningful and it’s real. I also love  I think, think is not only smart, I think it's meaningful and it's real. I also love that its price point is so democratic and that it's accessible to everybody. It can compete with anything that’s triple the cost.  

Signature Look 

I don’t wear foundation—I don’t even own it. I might have some concealers somewhere, but I typically don’t use them during the day. I prefer not to have anything on except for an eye. I have some old Laura Mercier Caviar eye pencils that I’ve had forever. I have some old Perscriptives eye pencils that I stocked up on before the company shuttered. I also have some Guerlain mascara—I bought like 40 before it got discontinued. I also have some really beautiful Charlotte Tilbury shades that work really with the Laura Mercier pencils. I also love lip gloss. I have an Hourglass one; I have a Pat McGrath one that’s sparkly and almost translucent. I always have it in every bag. 

Fitness Fix 

I live in New York and I walk everywhere. I'm always running around the set and working. We live in a house with a bunch of stairs so it’s up and down, up and down all day long. It's not unusual to hit 10,000 steps by one or two just from living. Over spring break though I found this machine called the TechnoGym. It’s unbelievable and I really love it. 

Self-Care Ritual 

If anything, I’m reading a book for 15 minutes. Even 15 minutes is a big deal for most working mothers in this country who are sometimes working two and three jobs with absolutely no familial support, no community support, perhaps not even a partner. Even 15 minutes reading a book is such a privilege to even carve that out. If I find that time, it’s a wonderful miracle, but I’m in a position to find it. I don’t like to talk about self care days because I don’t think they’re fair to the millions and millions of women who are working in this country and globally. I think the concept of self-care makes people feel terrible and lousy and isolated that they can’t afford access or even dream of self care. Nobody wants to hear that some well to do, well-paid actress is having a self care day. I find it tone deaf. So if

I'm not loading a dishwasher or unloading it or trying to get a stain out of somebody's outfit, I’ll read. I think that's a real privilege to have that kind of time. I've only recently had it since my kids are independent of me. 


I go into family-owned businesses and pharmacies. What’s really great about some of these smaller businesses is—and this is the way they’ve been running forever—if they don’t have something, you can ask them for it. It’s their goal to meet their consumer’s needs, especially the locals who have patronizing them for 25/30 years. At my local pharmacy there’s this really amazing thing called Black Currant Castiles and everyone in my family loves it. When I bring them home, it’s a big deal for everyone. 

Beauty Icon

I see beautiful people on the subway and they blow my mind. I'm inspired by them. My mom, who was beautiful and industrious and smart and made our clothes and made her clothes, inspired me. I see women walking down the street all the time that I think are incredible. I'm not inclined to call people icons because I'm not sure I understand the meaning anymore—it’s a word we toss around a lot. But,  I do think that there are a lot of women and people on the streets that are pretty spectacular.

Backup Career 

I've been working since I was eight, so it's sort of really hard to know any other skills I have. I always dreamed of being a conductor because I grew up going to the symphony. When I was really little, I lived in Cincinnati and we had this incredible symphony orchestra called the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The conductor was this man named Thomas Shippers, and he was incredible. I was always interested in that because it seemed like such an unusual career. And then there's this gorgeous chaos that accompanies it, you know? There's been a lot of conductors I've really admired. 

P.M. Routine 

Nighttime for us typically goes like this: I walk in, I turn the air conditioning on, which I know is a real luxury. But I try to get the room cool. Then I start the diffuser every single night and I go take off my jewelry. I put my hair up in a clip like everybody else across the globe. I put a headband in —and all my headbands are from sweatshirts that I cut off. They’re all over the house. I wash my face with whatever I have around—hand soap, shampoo, anything. Then I use my RoC products. 

Lights Out 

Before bed is normally when I’ll catch up. I’ll listen to a podcast or some global news. Then I’ll read or watch TV or learn my lines. 

Samantha Holender
Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar,,, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.