Despite ushering in a major return to HBO as a series regular in The Flight Attendant this fall, Zosia Mamet spent the early days of quarantine doing nothing just like everyone else with the privilege to stay home. Nothing, however, wasn’t something Mamet felt comfortable to do.
When the world came to a halt in March, the actor’s industry, in particular, hit the brakes hard. She had to figure out how to fill the time on her own, and maybe even harder, how to resist filling the time altogether — learning to be OK with slowing down, listening to her body, and welcoming in the calm.
The downtime found Mamet outdoors often — hiking with her husband and dog, and riding Ten, her horse — and inside, perfecting a skin care routine so thorough and particular you’d think it was Shoshanna Shapiro’s. Her excitement around beauty led to the November announcement that she’d been appointed the latest ambassador for ISDIN, an innovative skin care brand introduced to her by her personal dermatologist, Dr. Melissa K. Levin.
“If I'm going to partner with a brand, I want it to be organic,” Mamet shared with NYLON over email. “I may be an actor, but I am a really bad liar, and I also think you can just tell when someone is promoting something that they don't actually use or love. When my team told me about this partnership idea, it seemed perfect.”
Below, NYLON caught up with Mamet to talk her first beauty partnership, her full skin care routine, and being a horse girl thick and thin. Read highlights from the conversation below.
What was your relationship with beauty growing up, and how did it change as you began to get deeper into your career, on the set of consistent projects?
I really knew nothing about beauty growing up. I was a total tomboy. I wore backwards baseball caps and my hair was cut basically like a boy's. I never learned how to use a blow dryer or a curling iron or how to put on makeup. It just wasn't something I was interested in. And even as my career began, it was something that was a part of my job but not something I took part in because other people did my hair and makeup. When I first met my husband in my mid-20s, I didn't even own a hairbrush! It was actually during our first year of press for GIRLS that I started to get rashes on my face, and that's how Dr. Levin and I found out I'm that allergic to titanium dioxide, which is in almost all makeup and a huge amount of skin care as well.
That forced me to really take a look at what I was putting on my face, and it was the first time I started to care and be interested in my skin care. I still don't know how to use a curling iron, and I can pretty much put on mascara (and that's about it). But to me, 'beauty' is so much more than hair and makeup. It's about creating healthy and happy skin from the inside out. That's what work has taught me. My skin goes through a lot at work, and so I've learned through the years how important it is for me to take care of it really, really well.
How would you say your relationship to beauty has evolved specifically in 2020? Have you pared back, become inspired to do more?
I wouldn't say that it's changed in 2020. If anything, I've made sure to keep it exactly the same. Stress is one of the worst things for our skin, and certainly the worst for mine. I'm so sensitive to it. Sometimes Dr. Levin and I will laugh if I get a big cystic pimple because I can pinpoint the stressful moment that happened maybe two days before, and I'll be like 'that's what caused this pimple!' And stressful doesn't even begin to describe 2020. So I knew that as I navigated this topsy-turvy, scary, tragic, roller coaster of a year, that my skin care routine had to be rock solid. Dr. Levin and I have worked really hard over the years to find a regimen that works for me, whether I'm working or not — stressed or not. It's like having a toolbox for my skin. So I just stick to that, and rarely vary from it.
You just took on the role of ISDIN’s newest ambassador. Why did the brand feel like the right fit to partner with, and not just to use?
Like I said before, I'm allergic to titanium, which is in almost all sunscreens. And often the zinc alternatives leave you looking like a ghost because they're so chalky. So when [Dr. Levin] showed me ISDIN's sunscreen it was like Christmas. I immediately fell in love with it and incorporated it into my routine every morning. Sunscreen people! Wear it! And then Dr. Levin started to add in more of their products and eventually I was basically using all ISDIN.
When I found out about my titanium allergy, it forced me to be super conscious about the products I put on my face and what's in them. It made me feel confident knowing that ISDIN has 45 years of good clean products under their belt. To me, it's about simplicity. Using quality products that have real, nourishing, protective, and preventative power packed within them. I genuinely love ISDIN's products and would recommend them to anybody.
Actually, I've turned a ton of my friends onto them. So the partnership felt like a no-brainer to me. Skin care is really important to me because it has to be. It's part of my job. And the better I treat my skin, the better it will treat me. You get out of it what you put into it. It’s like brushing your teeth — you take the time to take care of your pearly whites, you need to give the same daily care to your skin too.
Can you run us through your quarantine beauty routine?
- The first thing I do is wash my face. I use ISDIN’s Micellar Solution. Like I said, I like to keep things simple and clean, which is why I love this product. There's no alcohol or perfumes or soaps, so it's great for sensitive skin like mine.
- Next, I put on my serum. I'm a die-hard for Flavo-C Ultraglican ampoules. I've been using them for a couple of years now, and they're like a nourishing hug for your skin.
- Then I do my eye cream. When I get tired I get crazy dark circles under my eyes, and if I ever have to cry a ton at work — or cried a ton because I watched the end of Schitt's Creek the night before — I get super puffy eyes. Also, that skin is SO incredibly sensitive and gets a lot of wear and tear from me taking off makeup after work, so I make sure to take good care of it. I use K-Ox Eyes to fight those dark circles or puffiness, and keep the skin around my eyes healthy and strong. And, of course, I round it all out with sunscreeeeen! The most important part of my skin care routine. I put it on every morning, rain or shine. Dr. Levin taught me you're still getting a ton of UV rays even if it's cloudy outside! My favorite is ISDIN's Eryfotona Actinica. I even keep one in my car and one at the barn, just in case I need to reapply throughout the day.
- My nighttime routine starts the same way my morning does, by cleansing my face with the micellar.
- Then I add my K-Ox eye cream so that delicate skin can get all that yummy goodness while I sleep.
- Then I use the ISDIN Melatonik to round it all out. I like to give my skin some extra nourishment at night, so that it can soak it all up as I sleep.
Outside of your skin care routine, what are you using?
[For hair] Davines all day every day and forever. DS&Durga perfume, also all day every day and forever. I wear a ton of their scents, but a few notable favorites are White Peacock Lily, Rose Atlantic, Bowmakers, and Mississippi Medicine.
I'm not a big makeup girl so honestly it's [the] Palmer's cocoa butter stick that I have used for YEARS that is my favorite chap stick ever. It's the only thing that actually keeps my lips from getting chapped. I've used it since high school. Everyone always thinks it's a glue stick and when they ask if it is I always say yes. The one thing I'll do when I leave the house is make sure my brows are in place. I LOVE Glossier's Boy Brow. I have one in my bathroom and also always in my purse.
Favorite body wash ever is the Mario Badescu botanical one. And my skin is always getting dry so I use Cerave moisturizing lotion every night after I shower.
What have you clung to during 2020 to help keep you sane and moving forward?
I'm a horseback rider, and my horse — Ten — is the love of my life. Next to my dog Moose, and of course my husband. Riding has been the main thing that has kept me sane during this crazy year. Getting to be outside doing what I love, moving and challenging my body and my mind, has been a real saving grace during this incredibly trying time in our world. And just being active in general has helped a ton. My husband and I have hiked with our dog Moose pretty much every day. We take her for walks in the woods. Being in nature has really helped to keep me grounded during this time.
Despite everything 2020 has brought us, you've had a lot of big moments — from this partnership with ISDIN to The Flight Attendant. What's the biggest thing you think you've learned from this past year?
This year was a big lesson for me in the importance of slowing down. It was the first time my industry has ever shut down entirely. Well, the whole world shut down entirely. I think we're a society that moves incredibly fast. And my industry in particular is one that promotes a hustle. But when lockdown happened, and the entire world came to a halt, it forced me to do the same. The first two weeks I felt like I was going to crawl out of my own skin, but once I realized that this was going to be a while, I settled into the idea of truly slowing down.
There was nothing to hustle for, there was no work to be done. And after I stopped fighting that, I realized how calming that can be. I really embraced the idea of taking that time and relaxing into it. I let go. I learned to let go. And I think that created a calm inside of me that I didn't have before. I realigned my priorities a bit, in a really good way. In my industry, it is very easy to get caught up in the idea that work is everything, which just simply isn't true. And this year has really taught me to examine that. I feel like my inner rhythm started beating at a slower pace, not in a bad way, just in a more rhythmic and calm way. And I have really enjoyed that change. To use a cliché — it's allowed me to remember to stop and smell the roses.