"My kids know two versions of me," Jennifer Garner tells PEOPLE

By Jen Juneau and Jackie Fields
March 27, 2019 02:20 PM
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Jennifer Garner has learned some important lessons about beauty over the course of her career, and she hopes to pass the “skin deep” mantra on to her three kids.

“I think it’s probably extra complicated when you literally were nursed in the makeup chair as an infant, and have grown up sitting in your mom’s lap while she got her makeup done your whole life,” the actress and Neutrogena brand ambassador tells PEOPLE.

“My kids know two versions of me: They know the version that I see in the mirror right now that looks crazy, and it’s what they see 90 percent of the time,” Garner reveals of son Samuel Garner, 7, plus daughters Seraphina Rose Elizabeth, 10, and Violet Anne, 13.

“Other times, they see a version of me that I never saw with my mom or anything, where I’m done up, my hair’s done, my makeup is done, so I wonder what that puts in [Violet’s] mind,” she shares. “Not to put words in her mouth, but I do wonder what it does to an adolescent brain.”

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Jennifer Garner
| Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Garner hopes that her three children — who commonly wear Neutrogena Beach Defense SPF 70 sunscreen while their mom goes for the Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 100+ — “see that I’m the happiest and most comfortable when I just look like myself,” she tells PEOPLE.

Credit: JB Lacroix/WireImage

“I think whatever version of growing up they need to do around that, if they can come back to this in the end, we’re good to go,” Garner explains of the example she strives to set.

Jennifer Garner on son Samuel’s birthday
| Credit: Jennifer Garner/Facebook

Garner’s kids are growing up fast — which, for Violet, means she’s starting to “explore and play with makeup” more as she becomes accustomed to her newly entered teenage years.

However, “She’s really smart about, ‘Okay, now I’m leaving the house, now I need to check with my mom because chances are she’s gonna make me take this lip off,’ ” says Garner. “Which, I do.”

“That’s kind of where we are with it,” adds the Alias alum of her oldest child. “It’s a process. Growing up is a process.”