The last time we caught up with Pretty Little Liars star Troian Bellisario, she was preparing to surprise and terrify us. And, as anyone who's seen her on Martyrs will tell you, she's kept her word. But even more surprising was Bellisario's reprisal of character Spencer Hastings on season six and seven of PLL, which has sparked a new fan following of colossal proportions not seen since the show first premiered in 2010. Following a five-year time jump in PLL, we were met with a new Spencer. Gone were the loose hair curls and the natural makeup of the old Spencer; instead there were envy-inducing killer bangs (that even sparked major controversy), strong winged eyeliner, and bow-down brows.
In real life, the 31-year-old actress reveals that her beauty routine couldn't be further from Spencer's—in fact, Bellisario admits to not even owning makeup brushes at home, something that's hard to believe given her ever-radiant complexion and downright flawless features. She instead attributes her healthy skin to water, sleep, and facial masks. With PLL filming officially wrapped up (season 7 will resume in April), we caught up with Bellisario during the opening of Origins' new store in Disney Springs, Florida, yesterday to chat about all things beauty, the very special tattoo that commemorated the end of the show's run, and the one thing that makes her feel most confident.
What is your beauty routine like when you’re not filming?
Because I have to generally wear a lot of makeup for many hours, my daily beauty routine is pretty minimal. Skin care is so important to me, so on my off days, I like doing facial masks. Origins has this really great Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay—I would say that would probably be my favorite beauty product right now—and then the GinZing Moisturizer. As long as my face feels clean and moisturized, I kind of feel like I don't need a lot of makeup. Every once in a while, if I'm going to go out, it might be a little bit of blush and some mascara, but other than that I try to keep it pretty clean.
How do you restore your skin after long days on set?
Just because I get very few days off, the last thing I want is [for my routine to] take up a lot of time. I mean, I love going to the spa, but there isn't always time to work that in, so that's why I like a lot of the Origins products—because I can kind of create a mini spa for me. They have a whole new line that's based on tea ceremonies, called RitualiTea, where you can kind of make your own face masks at home and bring the spa to you, and that's what I really love doing: being at home, pretty much in my pajamas, watching Netflix, but also being really nice to my skin.
What's the best beauty secret that you've learned on set?
Trying to balance every cup of coffee I drink with a cup of water. Because I will go through days where I'm like, “Wait a minute, why am I on my third coffee, but I haven't had a sip of water?” and then you really feel it, and it shows up in your skin, and it shows up in dark circles under your eyes, and your digestion is all messed up, so I think water is the big secret and making sure that you remain hydrated throughout the day.
What would you say are the biggest differences between how you approach your beauty and how Spencer does?
I don't understand how Spencer always wakes up with a full face of makeup. I don't know when she has the time between being blackmailed and running for her life to do such incredible makeup when I have the time and can't even manage to put on one eyebrow right. But, probably, the secret between Spencer and me is that Spencer has a professional makeup team and I have my fingers; I don't even own a set of brushes. My makeup artist is laughing at me right now. But I do the best I can and try to keep it super minimal and super light so that I can give my skin a break when I'm living off set.
I saw that after the show you and the cast got matching tattoos on your birthday. Can you tell me about that?
I think it started off as a joke, like, “We should all get a tattoo,” but then it became very serious. For all of us, it was seven years of our life—it was all of my 20s, and for a lot of the other girls, they didn't get to finish high school with a regular high school class, and they didn't get to go to college—and it was a really life-changing experience, and these people felt like your sisters and your best friends and your classmates, and we were all going to be away from each other, so we all wanted to come together. Right after the show wrapped, we decided we would get tattoos, and we ended up getting them very late at night. The very special thing about it is that I randomly decided to go third. The second the needle touched my skin, Lucy [Hale] looked down on her phone, and she started singing “Happy Birthday,” and all of the other girls joined in, and it just happened to work out perfectly that I was getting my tattoo at midnight and it was my birthday. It was a very special experience.
What makes you feel the most confident?
Getting a full night's sleep. We all have these sort of voices in our heads, whether they're judgmental or harsh on us, and I think that, for me, the voices get really loud whenever I'm running on a small amount of sleep. I can't quite combat them with a lot of confidence in the way that I usually would, so I think a really good thing is when you get a full night's sleep. When you take care of yourself, you feel well-rested, and you have the energy to actually go out and achieve things you want to achieve and that, in turn, it's sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy; you will get the confidence as you continue to go out into the world in a way that you want to be in the world. My secret is just a very good amount of sleep, which is tough to get, but really important.
What’s your best holiday beauty hack?
My god, it's so lazy, red lipstick. You can't go wrong. It's a classic trick, anybody can pull it off; you just have to find the red that makes you feel good and confident. And make sure it's not on your teeth.