Jennifer Garner: 'My Friends Used to Call Me Casper!'

The star dishes on why she was so pale in her adolescence -- and why she's glad to have awards season behind her

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When it comes to skincare, who better to trust than Jennifer Garner? At 40, she’s a safe sun fanatic, and it shows: her skin is amazing.

“The more that I’ve worked with Neutrogena, the more I’ve learned about skin cancer,” the brand’s ambassador told PEOPLE at Wednesday’s Neutrogena Sun Summit. “It’s our most common… and most preventable form of cancer.”

Garner admits that in the past, she wasn’t as cautious about it. “When I was really young, no one thought of the sun as being a problem,” Garner says. “We would put on baby oil and lay in the sun to try to get brown.”

As it turns out, however, being a theater kid “saved” her complexion. While her friends spent afternoons tanning, “I was inside in the theater geeking out. My friends called me Casper!”

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These days, Garner’s daily makeup routine isn’t complete without SPF. “Right after brushing my teeth and washing my face, I put on sunscreen immediately,” she says. “It has to be in my moisturizer, in my makeup.”

And speaking of her beauty regimen, she shares that she’s happy to have a break from super-glam awards season. Though she says she loved having “such great reasons to get dressed up” (see: husband Ben Affleck’s Oscar win), the late nights out took a toll on her skin.

“There would be nights where we would get home so late for me, like 3:30, 4 in the morning,” she says, “When you’ve been wearing that much makeup for that long, you absolutely have to get it off your skin. There were a couple of nights where I used the Neutrogena makeup remover wipes … Worst case scenario, that’s the way to go!”

Now that it’s all over, Garner has happily returned to her low-maintenance look. “I had a blast,” she says, “but I was certainly fine with just going back to washing my face, a little sunscreen in my moisturizer and putting my hair in a ponytail.”

To learn more about skin health, including how to get free skin cancer screenings, visit and tell us: How do you practice safe sun?
–Catherine Kast

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