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Drew Barrymore's Surprising Fragrance Fixation: Whale Vomit (Yes, We're Serious)

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When we had the opportunity to sit down with Drew Barrymore, actress, PEOPLE guest beauty editor and founder of the successful beauty (and now fragrance!) brand, Flower Beauty, we found that the well-known star can still surprise us. See why she’s enamored of the scent of whale vomit (yes, you read that correctly), what beauty move she can do with her eyes closed and more. Find out more, below!

Drew Barrymore's Launch Party for her Cosmetics
Sara Jaye Weiss/Startraks Photo

Before Barrymore launched her three new fragrances — Cherished, Radiant and Sultry — she spent hours in the lab trying out different scents, which led to her falling in love with quite an unusual smell: whale vomit (also known as ambergris). “When a whale would eat squid, I believe they would digest [it] in the whale’s stomach, and the whale would throw it up out and everything that was in his stomach to break down the squid,” she says. “It has this most potent, amazing, knee-buckling scent to women. I became voracious, I was like, ‘I want it! I need more!’ I kept grabbing it and smelling it like a little piglet.”

In case you were wondering (slash panicking), there’s no whale vomit in Barrymore’s fragrances. “Now they’ve decided to do a molecular copy of [ambergris] because they don’t want to hurt whales and take from whales anymore, thank God for that,” she shared. “And it’s in some of the best perfumes out there. That was cool to learn. I loved me some ambergris.”

In addition to being able to identify the smell of nauseous whales, the beauty mogul has another hidden talent: applying lipstick with her eyes closed à la Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club. Well, maybe not quite like Ringwald in the iconic scene (you know, the one where she applies lipstick without her hands), but she’s close! “Didn’t we all try to attempt the lipstick between the … When she did that trick, you were like, ‘Oh, you’re so cool.'” she says. “Not that I do that, but I think I could do lipstick with my eyes closed or anywhere,” she tells PEOPLE.

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And to prove her point, she’s committed to the concept of “commuter beauty,” which she loves to share her Instagram. “I don’t remember the last time I sat down and did my makeup. It’s always on the go,” Barrymore says. “I want to see women putting their pictures out there of [their] on the go. That excites me. That would be my first thing, my #commuterbeauty hashtag that I am obsessed with, because it’s so true!”

#commuterbeauty @flowerbeauty #nailedit

A post shared by Drew Barrymore (@drewbarrymore) on

But even though Barrymore is a pro at doing all her makeup on the go and mirror-free, she doesn’t run her beauty empire alone. She often asks friends and family — even her husband, Will Kopelman — for input on the collection! “I ask my husband his thoughts because he comes from an amazing family — he’s so smart, so chic and he has amazing taste,” she tells PEOPLE. “And I ask his family and I ask my friends. I like to get people’s opinions on things. I think you always have to trust your gut, ’cause that’s all we have, but it’s really good and crucial to get opinions.”

What do you think of Drew’s favorite scent? Did you know that whale vomit was an ingredient in fragrances? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

–Sarah Kinonen, reporting by Jackie Fields

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