Fans know her best as the fashion-savy co-host of The Real, but beauty expert Jeannie Mai is hoping some of her followers begin paying attention to a cause very close to her heart -- Unilever's "Rinse, Recycle, Reimagine" campaign.
You're working with Unilever on their 'Rinse, Recycle, Reimagine' Campaign. How did you get involved with it and how can others join in?
Well, Unilever is such an awesome company. I don't know any other company out there that says, 'Hey, we love that you support our products, we love that you purchase them, but did you know how much good you could do if you actually recycled those things?' I don't know any other company that is spending as much time as they are to educate about recycling, as they are telling you about how great their gel products are, or their Caress, or their Suave. It's equally important to them that their consumer understands the power of recycling as it is that they have the best products out there. That's magnificent to me. The second thing I love, is that they're rewarding people for doing what they should be doing...they're actually saying, 'Hey, if you show us how you're recycling, if you take a picture of how you recycle in your bathroom and you put it up in Instagram or Twitter with #ReimagineThat and #Sweeps, we're actually going to give you a prize for doing your part.' I mean, that's incredible to me, and it makes me so happy to see everybody doing their part.
What items should a woman always have on her to keep her look fresh and flawless throughout the day?
One is a highlighter...a highlighter is so important for a woman's skin, and life is way too short to be living in bad lighting. If you have just a little bit of highlighter on your nose and your cheeks, it just gives you this glow that's so rejuvenating and it just looks so fresh, no matter where you are. You could be at the DMV -- and we all know the lighting at the DMV is the worst -- but a great highlighting powder would work best there.
The second item, that I actually carry with me, is essential oils. I use all of my leftover containers, like the small shampoo bottles and mouthwash that hotels give you, and I put lavender essence in the bottles and I carry it with me in my bag. You can put it on your pulse points, like behind your ears and on your neck, and it allows you to smell fresh and clean.
If you could pick one item -- be it a beauty product, accessory, piece of jewelry or article of clothing -- and say it gives you an extra dose of confidence when you use or wear it, what would you choose?
That's a really good question. You're going to be surprised by what I say I think, but my no. 1 must have is my...cleansing water from Simple...I'm obsessed with it, and here's why. The no. 1 thing that never goes out of style...is skin. As much makeup as we wear, and as much pollution as there is in the air, you've got to take care of your skin, and I don't think women realize enough how important it is to remove the make up, remove the crap that's out in the air that's been touching our face every day, and then actually moisturize it and bring it back to that rejuvenated feel. That would be my one [thing], like if I was on a deserted island, that's what I would have.
What are some of the hottest beauty trends women should keep their eye on for Summer 2015, and what would be your ultimate tip for ensuring a healthy and beautiful look all season?
My no. 1 would be my cleansing water from Simple, so at least you start off with fresh skin every morning, there's no other way to do it. It's a must, you really need to make sure that you cleanse and moisturize it. The second thing would be that highlighting trick that I was telling you about...and the third thing that I really love is using 3/4 lashes to add what I call angel wings onto your eyes. Like when you look at a woman's eye and she always has a beautiful shape, whether they're almond, or round, but when you put a tiny bit more emphasis using a dark mascara, or if you want to go there, a 3/4 lash, on the outside of your eyes, I promise you, the power that you have, it pretty much tells every man out there, that you're woman of his dreams. It works with these lashes! It worked for me. It's why I'm married eight years today.
Today? Like today's your actual anniversary?
No, not today! [Laughs]. But I know for a fact [I'm still married] because I bat my eyelashes at this man and he can't resist me.
How much fashion and beauty advice have you had to give your husband over the years?
You know what's funny, I don't actually touch his fashion at all! He's a country boy, so he loves his rustic belt buckles, and he loves a good pair of denim. If anything, I'd maybe tailor...like I showed him how a flair leg on him made him look a little bit shorter, and I wasn't really living that life. And a cowboy hat is perfect at like the beach, or if it's a fun party with our friends, but it doesn't have to be worn to Trader Joe's, or when we're riding with the top down in Los Angeles. Like, there's a time and a place. But that's the only thing, after that I'm done! Everything else is him.
What nail trends are you absolutely loving right now?
For me, the trend that I like right now, would have to be invisible space on nails. I really love that, when women can feel compelled to just paint part of their nails, and not do the entire nail, and I think it just looks really cool...it's flashy, it's catchy, and it's easy to do. I really like that.
What about trends you wouldn't mind seeing fade away?
...[It] would be chunky highlights, like those chunky skunky ones where you take like a handful of a patch of your head and you just decide to go like 12 octaves lighter with like blonde, or bleached or orange, and it just kind of looks like somebody Fruit Rollup'd your hair. That I can do without.
Obviously your style is amazing -- but looking back, was there any phase or trend you tried that now makes you sit back and go 'Oh My God, WHAT Was I Thinking?'
How could you say that? Hello, I'm Jeannie Mai, I never have a fashion faux pas! [Laughs] No, I'm just kidding! Here's what I'll say hands down, if you've never had a fashion mishap in your life, then you're not living fashion to the fullest extent. Fashion is about having fun, it's about experimenting and taking that risk and going, 'Well, that was fun while it lasted!'. It's not about staying safe...some of the biggest fashion trends now happened from somebody's mistake, from somebody going outside of the box.
So, with that, yes, I have absolutely broken into some fashion trends that I wouldn't try again. One that I would say that I did it and I had fun with it in the moment would have to be, back when I was younger...remember, Cross-Colours pants? I was this little hip hop junkie, and I decided to wear my pants backward to school for like three years, because I thought it was hot, and um...that's it, we can leave that there [Laughs]. But I will say, if they come on trend again, and somebody makes them in a cute size, I will be the first to try it again. You never know.