There’s something great about real life,” says Drew Barrymore. “You know, what you see is what you get.” Although in her case, you’re never really sure what that’s going to be. “Some days I feel preppy,” she says. “Some days I feel rock ‘n’ roll. Some days I feel hippie. Some days I feel glamorous. Some days I feel like a rebellious 13-year-old boy. And I think all are acceptable.”
We’re not the only ones in love with this cultural chameleon. Barrymore was recently named CoverGirl’s newest model for her “fresh natural beauty” and “energetic yet authentic spirit.” That kind of compliment lights up her face—and more. Being named PEOPLE’s cover girl “made my peacock feathers shine in the golden-hour light and extend to the heavens,” she says, giggling. The 32-year-old actress, whose drama Lucky You opens on May 4, got comfortable with PEOPLE’s Alexis Chiu, plopping down on a hotel bed and revealing her loves (yellow eye shadow), hates (zits!) and other secrets to her low-key beauty philosophy.
When do you feel most beautiful?
Right after I’ve worked out and I’m sweating all over the place and my face is two different colors of white and red and my hair is half wet, half dry and I look like I’m about to have a heart attack. I feel like I’ve changed the shape of my body temporarily into something more flexible and strong.
When do you feel least beautiful?
When someone makes a really snap judgment. It just feels below the belt…. You just feel kind of corroded and gross inside. I think that ends up reflecting on the way your face looks.
You love the natural look, but do you also love getting glam?
We as girls have that Cinderella fantasy of dress-up. So whenever you get the opportunity to have people make your face up and do your hair and put you in an outfit, it’s a fantasy. And it’s just so much fun and such a luxury.
How did your relationship with your looks change when you turned 30?
For some reason, since I turned 30 this little crew comes in the middle of the night and they sew little sausages under my eyes! I found some great new eye patches that are so awesome. They’re by Talika. They just take away the puffiness. You put them on for 20 minutes and they’re genius.
What about skin care?
I’m trying to be better about sunblock. Whenever I get a tan, a mustache comes out! It’s not sexy.
I wear a lot more eyeliner now. I used to be more about red lips and pale skin. Now I’m sort of more about nude lips and eyeliner.
What’s your basic beauty routine?
I always wash my face at night. I’m a face-washing obsessive-compulsive. I’m of a one-track mind to have clear skin. It makes me feel good.
Any home beauty remedies?
No. If I get a zit, I pretty much just have to cry.
How does being happy contribute to looking good?
I just think happiness is what makes you pretty. Period. Happy people are beautiful. They become like a mirror and they reflect that happiness. If somebody walks in the room and they’re drop-dead gorgeous and sexy, it’s really fun to look at. But if someone is giving of their spirit and they make you laugh and feel good, that’s a whole other level of beauty.
What gets you through the times when being happy is a challenge?
I talk to my friends a lot. I go to therapy. It’s about working through it, because if you don’t, it’ll rear its ugly head at some point.
Any beauty rules for dating?
The only fundamental rule for me is to just be yourself. Let your freak-flag fly, and if someone doesn’t get you, move on. [Recently, Barrymore has been spending time with director Spike Jonze, but she declines to talk about the relationship].
Have you picked up any beauty tips from your girlfriends?
White eyeliner is something my girlfriend just turned me onto, which I’ve kind of known about but hadn’t really practiced. My girlfriends will teach me how to bronze properly so that I don’t look like I’m in the sixth grade with, like, the chin line.
What about Cameron Diaz? Do you two share makeup or accessories?
We share lots of things. We get ready together and stuff—that’s one of the best parts of being a girl.
How does your diet affect your looks?
If I eat healthy, I feel healthy. If I eat a bunch of crap, I feel like crap. But I can’t be disciplined all the time. I love those days where I just pig out and have the biggest breakfast on the planet with all my girlfriends and we talk about the night before.
What are you insecure about?
I always wished I were taller [she’s 5’4]. Especially going to concerts—I really can’t see! But I am what I am. I’m grateful. I’m not gonna complain.
BARE IS BEAUTIFUL
“I love being natural,” says Barrymore, keeping it real in Hollywood. “For a lot of photo shoots you’ve had hair and makeup, not to mention airbrushing. I’m not into those zoom-in tabloid ‘look at her zit or her cellulite’ pictures—that’s so messed up. But I’m always happy to be photographed without makeup.”