Show me a person who says they don’t like Jennifer Garner, and I’ll show you a liar. The impossibly affable star has been a fixture in our collective consciousness for decades now—and yet we still can’t seem to get enough. Perhaps it’s her refreshing willingness to show us the unglamorous parts of her life. Maybe it’s the devotion on display whenever we see her with her family. Or maybe it’s because Jennifer Garner—Jen, you feel like you can call her—just seems so down-to-earth. The country girl from Charleston, West Virginia, who became a star. Jen’s someone you want to root for.
Garner’s latest film, Netflix’s The Adam Project, tells the story of a time traveler who reunites with his younger self to save the world from ruthless opportunistic villains. Garner plays the protagonist’s mother, a role she’s settled into quite nicely in her personal life, co-parenting three children with ex Ben Affleck. Another long-standing role is that of Neutrogena spokesperson—a position she’s held for 14 years. What has she absorbed from the experience? “The two things I’ve learned in all my years as a Neutrogena ambassador are to wash my face every night before bedtime and to wear sunscreen every day,” Garner tells Oprah Daily.
Of course, we wanted more. So we chatted with the star about how she presses reset when life gets crazy, what “peak hysterical happiness” means to her, and the big world problem she’d fix if time travel was a possibility.
Brian Underwood: What is your skincare routine like?
Jennifer Garner: I always have moisturizer on. I may skip the eye cream or serum occasionally, but there's always something on my skin. And what I've really learned is you want your skin to feel a little dewy—and at night you want it even a little dewier. You want to feel the moisture in your skin.
Is there one piece of beauty advice that’s stuck with you over the years?
Well, there are two things I’ve learned from the scientists at Neutrogena that will absolutely change your skin for the better. One is to use retinol, and the other is to use hyaluronic acid. I didn’t even know what hyaluronic acid was at first, but it’s so good for your skin because it’s purely reparative. It kind of just brings moisture to the surface of your skin to instantly plump. It’s crazy what a difference it makes.
It’s a crazy season for my skin, with the shifting weather. Does your skin go crazy this time of year, too?
Absolutely. At the end of the winter, even here in California, your skin’s exhausted. It’s over it. It’s overheating. It’s overcooling. It’s over being outside in the elements.
Congratulations on The Adam Project. If you could travel back in time, what big problem would you fix?
There's a lot. Gosh, I don’t want to get political, but I feel like we would try to get in front of the overuse of plastics or thinking about trash earlier and with more concern or thinking about conserving water earlier.
We’re going to be talking at Oprah Daily about forming a personal advisory committee. Who would be on yours?
The first person I always call is [close friend and manager] Nicole King. But I really have a coven of women who support me. That’s the way I work through a problem, by talking it out with my girlfriends. I might have the same conversation several times, but it’s just me evolving in the process of talking things through.
It’s like peak hysterical happiness when I’m with my parents, my sisters, my niece and nephews, and my children.
Where’s your happy place?
I’m happy whenever I’m with my family. It’s like peak hysterical happiness when I’m with my parents, my sisters, my niece and nephews, and my kids. That’s as good as it gets.
Speaking of family, you posted an adorable childhood photograph of yourself with a fish on Instagram recently. Were you a bit of a tomboy growing up?
I remember that fish: I was on my family farm in Oklahoma and my uncle Robert helped me get the worm on the hook. He still does when I go to visit the farm. That pretty much represents me in a nutshell. The Garner girls all wore dresses that our mom sewed, so we weren’t in jeans all the time. But that was more my vibe—the up-in-a-tree kind of thing.
When life gets stressful, how do you sort of reset?
I work out every day; that’s how I start the day. It’s so important to starting my day off right, and I’ve done it forever.
Is there a particular workout you prefer lately?
I’m all about The Limit right now.
Is there a style rule you live by?
Honestly, I feel there’s nothing more important than starting with your best skin. There’s nothing like having naturally bright, moisturized, full, happy, healthy skin. And believe me, you will really feel the difference if you use these Hydro Boost products by Neutrogena.
I’ve loved Hydro Boost since it first came out because I have oily skin and it has a gel texture. It feels very lightweight.
Me too. It’s not too much; it’s light. And what I love about this, the cleansing gel, is that it doesn’t strip your skin. It respects your natural moisture barrier, but it does take everything off.