For the past seven years, we’ve known Ashley Benson as the long, blonde-haired Hanna Marin on Pretty Little Liars — with a few off-camera brunette stints in between. But now that filming of the her hit show has wrapped, the star is experimenting in the hair department. She spontaneously dyed her hair pink a few weeks ago, and chopped her bleached locks even shorter earlier this week. So when we had the opportunity to speak to the star at the launch of the now-over-the-counter acne treatment, Differin, we were determined to find out all of the details, and then some.
“It was my birthday, and I was with my friend and we were going to Puerto Rico the next day to do a shoot,” she tells PeopleStyle of the decision to dye her hair pink. “We were always thinking about doing a pink wig. I was like, you know what, I’m going to come over to your house… get me semi-permanent hair dye and lets just do it.”
So after some back and forth with her friend Nico Guillis, who was in disbelief, the two tested the shade on a strand of Benson’s hair and then went all the way. “She was like, ‘If you do this you have to be fully committed.’ And I was like, ‘whatever’. So we did the whole thing and I ended up really liking it, it was fun.”
“It was so funny because everyone went to salons the next day and we all went to dinner and got tattoos, and we all came back with different hair,” Benson says. “It’s like getting out of college or high school and you’re like ‘Finally, freedom! what can we do?’ It was really funny.”
Not long after going pink, Benson bleached her hair back to blonde and then chopped it into a short bob. And now, she says, she wants to go brown — but first, she’s focusing on keeping it healthy, which she says she learned the importance of during her days on set.
“Because I have to color it, it puts so much stress on your hair, so I’d go home and put a hair mask on for like 3 days so my hair can chill for a minute. Even having to do your hair every day on set damages your hair and breaks your hair off. So I try not to do it as much as I can and just put it back in a bun with conditioner.”
That’s not the only thing she learned on the set of Pretty Little Liars. Benson shares that her friend and co-star Shay Mitchell has taught her a thing or two in the beauty department.
“Shay hasn’t learned anything from me because I don’t know how to do my makeup,” Benson laughs. “But she’s tried to teach me to put lashes on, which I’m so bad at. She’s put my lashes on before, and she taught me how to contour. My lashes would come out so crooked and upside down and she’d be like, ‘Ash its so easy!’ And I’m like, ‘Shay literally I can’t I don’t know whats going on but it doesn’t work.”
And as for her male co-stars, Benson says they’re into beauty as well. “They love a concealer and a good contour,” she reveals. “Don’t let that fool you. They all painted on their abs. It’s just so funny. The boys are more concerned about the way that they look than we are, and its hilarious.”
As for her skin, Benson swears by Differin gel, a new over-the-counter retinoid product, as well as routine cleansing and coconut oil for extra hydration, especially during winter in N.Y.C. And when she’s not filming, makeup is a no-go.
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“I’ve always been super open with posting pictures on Instagram or Snapchat with pimple cream everywhere, because I think its super cool to tell them, ‘Hey everybody goes through it.’ I don’t really wear makeup outside of work because my skin is super sensitive to it, so if I’m working 16 or 18 hours on the show or doing events or red carpets, it’s really harsh on my skin,” she says. “So every time I’m working a lot, I tend to break out more, but this product has helped a lot.”
But when a breakout does occur, Benson relies on the help of a makeup artist — and eye drops — to hide it on set.
“You just have to thank your makeup artists at that point. And it’s always the worst because when you’re on camera and you know that you have a pimple, you feel like everyone’s looking at it. I’ve learned to put eye drops on it and it takes the redness away.”
Which one of Benson’s beauty tips do you find the most useful? Share below!