Health & beauty

The Same 5 Q's We Ask Everyone: Giada De Laurentiis

Our favorite Food Network star dishes on her dirty little habit and tells us how 9/11 changed her life

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Total Beauty: What's one bad beauty habit you can't seem to quit?
Giada De Laurentiis: Picking my skin around my nails. I used to be a nail biter when I was a young girl and my mom would try and put pepper and stuff on my fingernails when I was sleeping so I wouldn't bit them, but it didn't work. When I grew older I would try and get manicures so I wouldn't want to bite them, but still sometimes from washing my hands a lot I tend to pick my cuticles and get little bloody pieces. I mean you can see there are certain areas that are a little ... [points at her nails, which actually look just fine to me].

I'm trying desperately to break that, it is a bad, ugly habit. And plus you get infected, and my hands are always in food, and ... it's not right. It's just not right. But, we all have our vices, and I'm trying.

TB: What's one beauty splurge you make on a regular basis?
De Laurentiis: I use Chantecaille foundation and it is a little more expensive than a lot of other ones out there. And my moisturizing creams. But you know, the thing is, I've gotta live with this face and this skin for the rest of my life, so I'd rather spend my money on that and not on a pair of shoes or a bag. Because this [points at her face] is for a lifetime and that [points at her shoes] is not. So that's how I kind of explain it to myself.

TB: What one product do you swear by?
De Laurentiis: One product that I would never give up using is sunscreen. My brother died eight years ago from melanoma so it's the one thing I swear by, rain or shine, every single day, I wear sunscreen.

I also love coconut oil. I use it on my fingernails and my cuticles, especially when I'm shooting and travelling because it keeps everything really moisturized. I use it on my toes, for any calluses on my feet. At night I'll use it on my lips, to keep them really nice and moisturized. Especially as a woman, you know your skin just dries out as you get older. So I exfoliate my face and if I feel like I'm getting super dry I'll put just a little bit of coconut oil on my face and allow it to absorb in there.

Coconut oil is also in the conditioner that comes with Clairol Natural Instincts hair color, which I love [De Laurentiis is a spokeswoman for Clairol]. The best thing about that Natural Instincts color box is the conditioner in it. That to me is like the key and I always ask them why they don't sell it separately because I know a lot of women buy the box, and they use the hair color, but they really love the conditioner.

TB: If you look back, what's one moment that changed your life?
De Laurentiis: "Everyday Italian" [Giada's show on the Food Network]. Well, actually, let's see, let's back it up a bit. The day I was asked by "Food & Wine Magazine" to do a feature after 9/11 ... really it would be 9/11, because I always say I wouldn't be here if it weren't for 9/11, as crazy as that sounds.

When 9/11 happened, people's perception of staying home and cooking changed. We went from a society that went out for everything to a society that spent more time at home. We started to realize that the most important thing in our lives is our family and our friends and what better place to entertain them than at home and cooking for them? And so I think that sort of changed the landscape and brought cooking to the forefront. And for me I would say the day I was offered to do an article on food and my family and to style it in "Food & Wine Magazine," that changed my life. That came out and then Food Network called, and then "Everyday Italian" was born, and the rest snowballed.

TB: If you were a nail polish, what color would you be, and what would you be called?
De Laurentiis: Oh! I would be ... well let's see ... I'm known for a pale pink with more white in it than anything else. So I guess the name would be "Halo" or "Heavenly." That color is like a white-y/pinky color and it reminds me of the halo around an angel.

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