Beauty Around the Clock: Vanessa Hudgens

The actress talks dealing with stress, the importance of beauty sleep, and her undying love for fake freckles.

vanessa hudgens beauty routine
(Image credit: Brittany Holloway-Brown/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.

Anytime Vanessa Hudgens walks a red carpet, we make sure to zoom in on her glam. Without fail, she shows up with some unexpected, wildly fun, to-be-recreated pop—be it sparkly blue eyeliner, rhinestone hair accents, or blindingly glowy highlighter. While she encourages the pros to pull out all the stops, her personal motto is way more low-key. She’s all about embracing her natural hair texture, keeping makeup to a minimum, and nailing the perfect scent by cocktailing essential oils and fragrances. 

Even though she loves products (she even formulated her own skincare line, KNOW, with Madison Beer), Hudgens’s main beauty secret is simple: A good night’s sleep. “I think people really undervalue sleep…and I really value my sleep,” she shared with Marie Claire. “I think that it's so important for me mentally, but also for the beauty rest, you know?” Of course, she also fills her day with good food, meditation, and just the right amount of me-time. Here, the actress and businesswoman is breaking down the rituals, habits, and beauty products that help her get through the day. 

Rise & Shine 

I try to avoid an alarm if I can. Once my eyes are open, the first thing that I do is give gratitude. I feel like that’s such an important thing to do and it really sets the tone for my day. I'm also a big advocate of hydrating, but I’m not a big water person. I’m terrible with water—I hope I’ll grow out of it. So for now, I just reach for Caliwater, my cactus water brand.

Morning Maintenance 

My skincare regimen needs to happen morning and night. I make sure to cleanse with my Know Beauty Purifying Cleanser. Then I have a whole routine beyond that, which involves rolling my skin out, putting my serums on, and making sure I put on sunscreen because that is extremely important.  

Power Start 

I love eating and I love breakfast. My breakfast normally consists of some form of eggs, avocado, and an oat milk latte. After I eat, I’ll take my supplements. Right now, I’m just using Ritual’s Synbiotic+. I travel so often, so it’s really important for me to do what I can to boost my immune system. It’s funny, but a huge portion of your immune system is actually in your GI tract, so the stronger the gut, the stronger the immune system. It’s also great that it doesn’t need to be refrigerated since I’m always on the go. 

Fitness Fix 

It’s honestly hard for me to have a daily or even weekly workout routine because I’m never in one place for long. But whenever I can, I love to get a pilates or yoga class in.

Signature Look

I feel like my signature look has evolved so much. I think that makeup used to give me a security net—almost like that mask to put on and show the world a different version of myself. But now I feel like I'm in a place where I'm just confident in who I am. I can go out without makeup and still feel ready to tackle the world. 

But when I want to put something on for the day, I'm all for fake freckles. I'm obsessed with freckles, so I’ll use The Freck Beauty Original Freckle Pen to add a few beauty marks. I have curly hair and I just think it's such a cute, undone summer look. I also love Selena Gomez’s Rare Beauty cream and liquid blushes because you can use them for a whole look. I use them on more than just my cheeks. They’re great for my eyes and lips too. 

Self-Care Ritual 

Nothing centers me more than being with nature. Whenever I’m feeling a bit chaotic, I’ll go for a walk outside or a hike. It always does the trick.

Hair Help

I’m a big fan of IGK for anything related to my hair—especially their Detox Charcoal Dry Shampoo. 


Honestly, I can’t live without Q-tips. I can’t do my makeup without them. 

Signature Scent 

Maison Margiela Replica By the Fireplace scent is just the best. I have the travel bottle to bring on the go. 

Beauty Icon 

There are so many. But last night I had Italian, so let’s pull from that. I’ll say Sophia Loren. She’s so classic, timeless, and beautiful. 

P.M. Routine 

At night, I always make time for my skincare routine. Sometimes that includes a face mask, like the Know Beauty Collagen Mask, and a bath. Other times, my skincare routine will start off with a good cleanse. I’ve had oily skin for as long as I remember, so I always make sure to cleanse, cleanse, cleanse. Then, I finish it off with a toner, serum, moisturizer, and eye cream. No matter what the routine is, I always think it’s nice to prioritize time for myself at the end of a long day. 

Lights Out 

When stress creeps in before bed, I try to just surrender and remind myself that there is no need to get worked up over things that are out of my control. I rely on breathing and releasing—almost like meditating.

Shop Vanessa's Favorite Beauty Products 

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 shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar,,,, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.