Andie MacDowell on Embracing Her Gray Hair, Curls: 'I Like Me! That's Where You Get to [When] You're My Age'

The longtime L'Oréal Paris ambassador tells PEOPLE she feels "a responsibility to be a positive reflection of women as they age"

The Cannes Film Festival is always a hot ticket, but that's more literal than ever now that the chic French Riviera-side event is happening in July (rather than May).

But Andie MacDowell — who's attending the 74th season in support of L'Oréal Paris and its new Lights on Women initiative — isn't concerned about keeping her famous curls in check. She's got a plan.

"I'm not worried about keeping it under control," MacDowell, 63, tells PEOPLE of her locks. "We've emphasized the wildness. We've gone with that."

MacDowell's secret to maintaining her voluminous curls: "Lots of conditioners," the longtime L'Oréal spokeswoman reveals. "I just put conditioner in and leave it in there. If I'm not working, that's all I do. I just sleep in it sometimes."

Andie MacDowell
Daniele Venturelli/WireImage

The mom of three not only embraces her hair's texture, but its natural color as well. "Because of the silver, it gets even a little drier. The texture becomes even more wiry, but I'm embracing all of it," she says. "I'm comfortable. I like me. That's where you get to by the time you're my age."

MacDowell taught her daughters, actresses Margaret, 26, and Rainey Qualley, 31, to love themselves, too — and they took the message to heart. "They remind me quite often not to say anything derogatory about myself," MacDowell says. "They're actually better than I am in a lot of ways because I taught them well. They listened."

RELATED VIDEO: Andie MacDowell Can't Imagine Life 'Being Any Richer' After Revealing She Loves Being Alone

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the actress says she found herself browsing clothes and makeup looks online, just "dreaming of the time then I could actually go out and experience the world again." Now as coronavirus restrictions ease around the world, "I am excited about dressing up just a pinch and going to restaurants," MacDowell shares. "And not worrying. I think we shouldn't be stupid, but relaxing just a little bit. What a strange thing that we've been through."

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MacDowell even found herself dressing up for her plane ride to Cannes. "I like to look decent on the plane," she admits. "I'm a little bit old-school, so I try to dress a little bit nice. I did wear jeans, but I wore nice jeans with cute boots and something kind of warm because I always get cold on airplanes."

Rainey Qualley, Andie MacDowell, and Margaret Qualley
Emma McIntyre/Getty

Once she arrived at the film festival — where she'll join L'Oréal Paris in its partnership with Cannes' Short Films competition to honor one rising female filmmaker with the Lights on Women Award — MacDowell reflected on her 35 years as a L'Oréal spokeswoman.

"It is what I'm most proud of, outside of my children," the Maid star says. "It's the biggest part of my life, for sure. And I do feel a responsibility to be a positive reflection of women as they age. I hope that I'm doing that."

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