While you might still picture 11-year-old Alex from Modern Family when you think of Ariel Winter, outside of the show, she’s clearly grown into her own. From shutting down body shamers to killing rumors about her relationship, the 21-year-old actor can take care of herself. “I’ve been on my own self-empowerment, self-confidence journey in my life,” she tells Glamour.
While most of this confidence comes from within, having killer waves and skin she feels great in certainly doesn’t hurt. We caught up with Winter in L.A. at Ulta Beauty (which is rolling out new blowout bars in its salons this month) to chat all things hair, getting-ready music (yes, she’s a Lizzo stan), and the products she wouldn’t be caught without. Read on for her answers to our Big Beauty Questions.
Are you a do-your-own-hair girl, or do you prefer to get it done?
I’m not good at doing my own hair. It’s really thin, and I have a good amount of it—and if I let it dry on its own, it’s pin straight. So I like to go somewhere to get it done, because I don’t know all of the perfect products to use. Everyone has their own expertise, and hairstylists are killing it and know what to do. If I’m going somewhere and someone is doing my hair, I usually like it tousled with texture. It’s chill, looks nice, and goes with a lot of different looks. But I also like vintage curls.
What’s one beauty trend you wish you’d never tried?
The seriously white under the eyes—the really, really light concealer and lots of highlighter. That was not my prime. Or making my face way too matte. When I did my own makeup in high school, I had no idea how to do it, so I put foundation on and powdered my face six times. It looked so caked on.
What’s one beauty rule you swear by?
Always do your eyebrows. I used to think brows weren’t important and didn’t get them done for a while, and then I did them and realized they really do change your face. I don’t wear a ton of makeup daily, but I do like to fill in my brows if I’m just hanging out.
What beauty rule do you think is B.S.?
I mean, in general I don’t believe in doing all the rules. I think the rules should come from you trying it—not other people saying that’s the rule. You have to see what works for you.
You travel a ton. What city or country gives you the greatest beauty inspiration?
Oh wow, that’s really difficult. I feel like L.A. has really great hair and makeup. I’ve lived here my whole life, but…L.A. and New York. In New York I’ve seen a lot of the high-fashion things, and it’s so cool. I could never runway it, but the inspiration and style is really cool.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What three products do you bring with you?
I just got into sunscreen, so I would bring that for sure. And then probably mascara, and either a lip conditioner or eyebrow pencil.
What made you just get into sunscreen?
I’d never worn sunscreen until I was 19. I just didn’t wear it. I was like, Whatever, don’t need it, not important. People put too much on, it’s sticky, it’s gross. And then I got a horrific sunburn a couple years ago. It was an embarrassing summer. I was wearing a crisscross bathing suit, and I fell asleep in the sun for four hours in the middle of the day. And I had the crisscross tan line for nine months.
Yeah, I burned pretty bad. I hadn’t ever really burned before. So I realized sunscreen is very important for my skin. It’s just not one of those things that’s a fad. You have to wear sunscreen. It’s protection.
What color are you loving on your nails right now?
I always love to paint my nails black. I just do. But I’ve really been into doing the mauve nudes more. I had a peachy nude recently, and I thought it was really cool because I don’t often do peachy shades. But I actually really liked it. I have very small hands and it looked nice.
What is your getting-ready music?
Right now it’s Lizzo. She’s killing it. She just puts me in a good mood. I put her songs on repeat. Also Billie Eilish. And my queen is Cardi B. She’ll always be my queen. Always, always, always.
How much time do you spend getting ready?
If it’s just in my regular daily life, probably like 30 minutes. If I’m going to an event, it can take an hour, an hour and a half, two hours, depending on how much we’re chatting and whatever we’re doing. The most time it would take is two hours.
What hair products do you swear by?
Definitely argan oil or coconut oil. I used to bleach my hair all the time and do weird colors. I was trying things. My hair was unhealthy because of it, so I had to cut it pretty short, and I was not happy about that. I was like, Oh, my God, it’s not going to grow back, I want my long hair again. But I was like, Okay, I need to take a break from dyeing it and let it get healthy. So I started getting into oils. If I add oils to my hair and moisturize, it makes it a lot easier to dye and go back to those colors. I don’t have to cut it so short and be so sad because my inches of hair are on the ground.
I can sense the passion behind this.
It’s so devastating! I saw my hair on the floor and was like, “My hair!”
Screw, marry, or kill: mascara, lipstick, highlighter?
Marry mascara, kill highlighter, and screw lipstick.
You have $20 and free roam of a drugstore or Ulta, what do you buy?
If it’s a drugstore, candy for sure. Candy, candy, candy. At Ulta I’d probably want a few different tinted lip balms. I could probably get a couple of those for $20.
What’s the last Instagram rabbit hole you went down?
I’m always going down dog Instagram holes. I will look on somebody’s page and go, Oh, that person! And then I’ll see someone’s friend, and click on their friend, and if they have a dog in a photo, I’ll click on that friend. That’s probably the most specific hole I go down, unless I’m looking for a specific meme. My friend always sends me the best memes. I’ll even look at memes from five years ago.
What’s your favorite emoji?
I just got into the GIFs in text messages. I like the Twerkin’ Tina from Bob’s Burgers. She’s so awkward. I love it.
What’s your favorite way to take a moment for yourself?
I have a hard time finding hobbies that are relaxing for me. I actually like doing office work. It relaxes me—it’s kind of sad! I also like volunteering at the animal shelter. I’m not the biggest fan of exercise—I do it, of course—but I’d much rather hang out with dogs. I’m not thinking about anything other than giving them love and attention. I also love playing poker, but I can’t do that by myself. [Laughs.]
If you could change one thing about beauty perceptions on social media or in Hollywood, what would that be?
I think things are changing already, but it takes a long time for things to change. Everybody’s not doing the same thing anymore. You’re not looking at one person and thinking, “All right, that’s what I have to look like to make it.” I’m hoping the competition between people will go down. Women compete all the time because we’re made to think we need to, and that’s really difficult. Everyone suffers from that. You can say, “I don’t feel like I need to compete,” and yeah, maybe you don’t, but subconsciously, we all look at something and think, Oh crap, are we supposed to look like that? Is that what we’re supposed to be? I don’t know if that’s going to go away. But I do think there are way more role models to look up to now. Even though I don’t really like that term, I like that [new types of women are showing] you don’t have to be skinny and tall to be attractive. You can be short, you can be curvy, you can be voluptuous—everyone’s different.
What women are inspiring you the most right now?
Like I said, my queen is Cardi B. She doesn’t care, she’ll say anything, she’ll do anything, she’s real about it. I love that.