The actress reveals her beauty secrets, and says most nights she'd rather be at home with her boys than on the red carpet

By Kate Hogan
Updated January 20, 2012 02:00 PM

Courtesy Almay

Everything about Kate Hudson‘s look is enviable: her pretty eyes, her flawless figure, that shiny hair. But as it turns out, much of her beauty routine is based around a $37 jar of cream.

“I try to use natural products,” Hudson, the latest face of Almay (seen here in a behind-the-scenes shot from her Smart Shade Perfect & Correct Primer campaign), tells PEOPLE. “Sometimes I’ll just put Egyptian Magic on my face. I use it for everything.” In fact, the gentle cream — made of olive oil, beeswax, honey, bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis extract — is the key to her ocean-kissed locks, too.

“This is going to sound crazy,” she says, “but I literally put Egyptian Magic in my hair. When it’s damp, I’ll scrunch some of it in my hair and let it dry.”

Growing up with mom Goldie Hawn in charge, Hudson says she had lots of freedom with her hair, makeup and clothing choices. “I came out pretty much putting on whatever I wanted,” she shares. “I think I was more vocal than my mom about style than she was with me about style.”

That freedom of expression led her to her signature boho aesthetic — “I get it if somebody calls me bohemian,” she says — and likely helped her develop her red carpet style, too. “I don’t think I ever feel red carpet ready,” she jokes. “You’re always wondering if something’s hanging out or if your eyelash is falling off.”

Not that she doesn’t enjoy wearing the designer gowns — “I love dressing up,” she says — but sometimes, the couch can be more appealing. “I think you feel red carpet ready when the red carpet’s over,” she jokes. “I’d rather be at home with the kids.” For more with Hudson, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

–Kate Hogan, with reporting by Jackie Fields