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OITNB Star Taylor Schilling: It's Liberating Playing a Character Who Doesn't Wear Makeup


Taylor Schilling may play a makeup-free Litchfield Penitentiary inmate on Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black, but according to the actress, it actually takes a whole lot of glam (and even more TV magic) to perfect Piper Chapman’s nearly naked face.

Taylor Schilling for Origins
John Shearer/Getty

“It does take time to get Piper [ready] — it takes far more makeup than you would imagine for me to look like I’m wearing absolutely no makeup,” Schilling, 31, tells PeopleStyle. “And Piper doesn’t have as much access to makeup, so she’s sort of the default setting — she doesn’t really have a choice — but for me, I prefer to be bare as much as possible.”

Schilling, 31, adds that playing the role of a barefaced prisoner in an all-women’s penitentiary is much more refreshing than you’d imagine, and adds a certain level of relatability to her character.

“I think it’s very liberating to [play a character who doesn’t wear makeup],” Schilling tells PeopleStyle. “It knocks away one level of artifice, and I think that is what I appreciate most about acting. It’s trying to drill down to the truth of a character, or situation or a circumstance and in some cases, lots of makeup helps with that. In this situation, in the story of Piper Chapman, it really illuminates interesting parts of her that she doesn’t wear any makeup.”

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And she’s serious about going barefaced in her off hours as well, as anyone who follows her Insta feed likely knows.

“My beauty routine is very simple, but what’s most important to me is keeping the products that are natural and simple,” she says. “I like having a really good natural cleanser because my face does have a lot of makeup on it when I’m working a lot. So it’s really important for me to have a very good cleanser and a SPF tinted moisturizer, but oftentimes I just go to a sunscreen. I just wash my face and put on moisturizer and sunscreen and I’m good to go.”

And there’s a reason for the star’s minimal makeup routine — after years of sitting in a makeup chair, she’s come to realize what works best (and what doesn’t) for her skin.

“I have learned, first of all, to wear sunscreen because nothing works when my skin is dry, sore or sensitive in any way,” she tells PeopleStyle. “Having skin that’s healthy is sort of a baseline. I’ve come to really, the time I’ve spent in the makeup chairs, I’ve come to really appreciate taking care of my skin in a way that I may not have had I not had my job.”

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Which is why she has teamed up with Origins in honor of Earth Month to encourage fans to go green with their beauty routines.

“It’s really exciting! I’m helping Origins right now to launch their Kiss the Planet campaign, which every time that hashtag is used they’re going to be planting a tree,” she tells PeopleStyle. “So, for me, as somebody who spends a lot of time outside — and that’s my preferred go-to whenever I have a break — I am pretty thrilled to be involved with this.”

To participate in the skincare brand’s #KissthePlanet and #DoGoodCampaign initiative in honor of the eco-conscious month, all you have to do is pucker up, take a selfie and use the above hashtags (and tag @OriginsUSA) on your social media channel of choice and the reforestation organization Global ReLeaf will plant one tree (up to 25,000). See, it really is that easy to be green.

Are you excited for Origins’ Earth Day initiative? Share below!

–Sarah Kinonen