Country superstar Carrie Underwood knows a thing or two about putting on her “game face,” but in real life, foundation and hair extensions take a backseat to a more simple routine. Here, the onetime American Idol winner and recent newlywed talks about her beauty look for her big day, as well as what she’d be doing if she weren’t conquering the country-music charts.
This story first appeared in the December 10, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
How do you define beauty?
Beauty is a feeling, something we have an idea of, but each person knows what it takes to make herself feel conﬁdent and able to do anything. Whether the outﬁt is great or you’re having a good hair day or your makeup is great, it’s what makes you feel better to get out there and make you do better.
What is your beauty routine while on tour? How do you maintain your look with such a hectic schedule?
Everything for me has to be easy and accessible. I don’t have time to get massages and facials and hang out at the spa. Sleeping is important; I don’t take that for granted.
What are your diet rituals while on tour to keep slim yet also energetic?
I do not eat out hardly ever. Maybe if there’s a special occasion, or if my husband comes and visits while I’m on tour, we will go to a restaurant. But I don’t order room service when I’m on tour. My days off I spend at the grocery store making sure we have plenty of food we can make on the bus.
Who among your peers do you admire for their style, and why?
Well, I have always been a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon. Nothing with them is overdone, and I feel they dress comfortably in the clothes they wear.
Did you meet Gwyneth at the Country Music Awards?
I met her a while back at the Grand Ole Opry. She may have been rehearsing for her movie.
You won Americal Idol in 2005. What was it like to undergo a beauty transformation every week? Did you take away any tips?
I learned how things on TV look very different in person. How they make you up for TV—you leave the house thinking you look great, but then you see yourself and it’s, like, it’s very different. But it was nice to be made up—at the beginning.
You were reecently married. Waterproof mascara?
I did have waterproof mascara, but for that day I didn’t want to do anything out of the ordinary. I have done all sorts of different things with my hair and makeup. I wanted to keep it me, no hair extensions or anything. Mike was marrying me, not “Carrie Underwood,” but me, the person he has seen throughout the relationship who didn’t have gobs of fake hair and makeup.
How are you balancing being a newlywed with such a demanding career?
Having an understanding husband is the most important ingredient for that, but making an effort is how we make it work, too. If he has a day off, I can ﬂy to see him even if it’s just for a few hours. That’s what I will do more.
You have been tapped by Olay, a multibillion-dollar franchise, to help lure a younger consumer to their brand. What about you do you think appealed to the brand?
We are not luring [laughs]! I feel Olay is a reputable brand that women have trusted for a very long time, and for me, I think they want to make sure women don’t see it as all about wrinkle products. This is about how important it is to wear sunblock and take care of your skin earlier so you don’t have to worry so much about it when you get older.
You graduated from Northeastern with a mass communications degree with a major in journalism. How do you feel you have been covered by the press so far?
It’s amazing to me because one of the things we learned is to not misquote. And to be honest, that is something I see lacking a lot, because magazines and the Internet will say that “a source” said something or “a friend” said something. There’s no proof.
It sounds like something you might be interested in revisiting?
I would love to. I always loved being more involved in editing and the whole process of writing a story. I would like to do happy stories. I want to be the feel-good reporter, for sure.
How would you like to see your singing career evolve?
I try not to set goals. You can miss out on a lot. So I just wait for opportunities and see what comes and just go from there.
How do you prep for the red carpet?
It depends on the event. The CMA’s was a very hectic day because I was hosting. But we have fun with it and think of new things to do with hair and makeup.
What is your daily beauty routine when not in the public eye?
In the morning, I shower, I use a facial cleanser, an SPF and moisturizer. I like makeup, so I do wear makeup daily, but there is a big difference between a show day and an off day. Foundation is for a show day but not for a normal day.
Do you have a motto?
Not really. I just try to take everything as it comes.
High maintenance or low?
Somewhere in the middle. I’m deﬁnitely not high—but I’m not low. There is a time to dress up and put on the glitz.