Pore Decisions

Emilia Clarke On Her Skin Care Routine, Playing Khaleesi, & More

The mother of dragons has it all figured out.

Game of Thrones actor Emilia Clarke chats with Bustle about skin care, meditation, social media trol...
Pore Decisions
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In Bustle’s Pore Decisions, celebrities, influencers, and Bustle’s own readers recount their personal skin journeys: the good, the bad, and everything in between. Here, actor and Clinique global brand ambassador Emilia Clarke shares her skin care routine, favorite products, and more.

When fans think of Emilia Clarke, they likely remember her long-standing role on Game Of Thrones as Daenerys Targaryen, flying across our screens and conquering Westeros atop fire-breathing dragons. In real life, she’s arguably just as powerful as her beloved character (albeit in different ways), as she’s been outspoken about suffering from two aneurysms, and in turn, has dedicated much of her time to ending stigmas around brain injury.

Clarke seems to walk through life with so much appreciation for the moment, and even throughout our Zoom conversation, she radiates a joyful energy.

Ahead, Clarke chats exclusively with Bustle about her earliest beauty memory and what her skin care routine looks like now. What’s more, she shares how she finds strength amid struggle.

On Her First Skin Care Memory (& The Routine She Still Lives By)

“Well it’s just watching our moms, isn’t it? I used to watch my mom getting ready for a dinner or for going out in the evening, and I was always mesmerized and amazed [at] this beautiful woman. She was always the person that advised me when I was younger. She taught me how to cleanse, tone, and moisturize every day, twice a day — and I have genuinely done that every day since I was thirteen. I keep it really simple.

As for the things I like to add to my cleansing, toning, and moisturizing — in the morning, I like to do a sheet mask. I find that really helps. I keep them in the fridge, so it’s quite a good ‘zing, you’re awake.’ I also do a face roller in the morning. Those are two things I sure as hell was not doing when I was thirteen.”

On Her Skin Care Hero

“I’m going to sound like a broken record, but as someone with dry, sensitive skin, Clinique’s Moisture Surge has done absolute wonders. It is a gel that melts into your skin. And the Moisture Surge with SPF is amazing — because even if you forget to put your SPF on, you’ve got a little on your skin. It makes a huge difference.”

On Her Recent Skin Care Blunder

“I went through a phase recently where I was putting a lot of stuff on my skin. I was working for 18 months non-stop, so that’s a lot of other people putting makeup on my skin. My skin had a bit of a reaction to it, so I’ve since just stripped everything back.

If I’ve been on set, then I’ll double cleanse. Set makeup is different because they never take it off to reapply, they’re just adding it on.”

On The One Thing She’ll Never, Ever Do

“I get nightmares if I sleep with my makeup on. [Even] drunk, it literally doesn’t stop me.”

On The Character’s Beauty Routine She Relates To The Most

“With Khaleesi, they didn’t put very much makeup on me. I wear more in life than she did on screen. The thing that counteracted [having no makeup on screen] was the wig. Before I put the wig on, I felt I needed more makeup on my face — and then I’d put the wig on and be like, ‘oh, I’m fine.’ That’s why you always need a good hair day.”

I had fun on Me Before You because she was kind of silly, so it sort of fun [wearing] the kind of makeup I wouldn’t normally wear on myself.

And the latest movie that I’ve just done which is this indie that comes out in the summer [called The Pod Generation], that was the most ‘me’ makeup because it was minimal, but it was definitely there.”

On The Product She Can’t Live Without

“I wear more mascara than any character I’ve ever played. Nothing can be wrong when you’ve got enough mascara on.”

On The Beauty Of Meditation

“I meditate in the morning and meditate in the evening. I do yoga in the morning and I write in my journal at night. I’ve always done yoga, so I’ve always been in that kind of headspace, and being an actor I’m always doing breathing techniques. But proper meditation I’ve been doing probably for about three years.

I can have some very strong feelings. They can feel a bit overwhelming and they can almost feel like your identity, which can be really difficult to work your way out of. Meditation reminds me that if you just try to not fight the feelings, but allow that feeling to be there, [you] watch it go away.

You are not your feelings. Meditation allows you to not be scared of what you’re feeling, but just to accept them and approach them and be like, ‘okay, bye bye.’”

On Finding Strength To Let Things Go

“When you’re in the depths of despair and you’re feeling terrible about yourself, the thing that I say to myself which genuinely helps is ‘it doesn’t matter.’

If someone gives you some bad energy, if someone bumps you in the street, if you get a bit of road rage, there’s a troll on your social media, or whatever it is — they’re probably having a really hard time. I always like to assume the best of people, and [I strive] to show them some empathy. It allows you remove it from yourself [because] you don’t need it.

Protect yourself, your choices, your life.”

On How She Refills Her Cup

“The single thing that improves my quality of life, the single thing that makes me feel good, makes me feel happy — like my cup is overflowing — is my friends. I’m so lucky that I have friends that I’ve had for twenty years, and they remind me of who I am, they make me feel good, they make me laugh, they support me, and I would be completely lost without them. My family are massively important to me as well. It’s realizing what’s important to you.”