Ava Phillippe's "Feel Good" Approach to Beauty Is Thanks to Reese Witherspoon

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Many little girls get their introduction to beauty from their moms. It's a common shared experience to watch your mother slather on skin care and makeup, eagerly picking up tips — and begging to test products — along the way. But when your name is Ava Phillippe and your mom is Reese Witherspoon, that introduction happens on a whole other level.

"As a little kid, I was always lurking in the background watching my mom get glammed up," Phillippe tells PS. "Sometimes they'd put a little bit of blush on me, and I would think it was so fancy."

This early access to pro-grade glam gave Phillippe all the tips and tricks she'd need to become a beauty superstar by the time she was a teen. "I've had the privilege of getting the best advice from the best professionals in the industry, and I'm constantly sharing it with my friends," she says. But in the Witherspoon household, that simply wasn't going to fly.

"I'm lucky my mom put boundaries around what was allowed with beauty at such a young age — I'm glad she had [rules] like, 'You can't wear too much makeup until you're this old,'" Phillippe says. "At the time, I didn't like it. But now, I get it, because it allowed me to have a childhood and grow up being OK with how I looked from the get-go."

Even with such a healthy baseline, though, Phillippe wasn't immune to the appearance-based pressures that many people (and especially those in the spotlight) face as they grow up. "When I was younger, I got into beauty based on wanting to hide or change something about myself," she says. "There was a point when I lost that carefree, whimsical nature that I had as a kid — which happens over and over again to young women — and I struggled with wanting to fit in and follow trends. I realized I needed to start experimenting again, because what does it matter if someone else is happy with my appearance if I'm not? So, as I've gotten older and done more self-reflection, it's my beauty routine has become more about embracing different sides of myself and my creativity."

It was this philosophy that inspired her first major beauty ambassadorship with Vince Camuto's new scent, Wonderbloom ($98). "My routine has become so much more about highlighting and embracing the things that make me feel good, and fragrance is a big part of that," says Phillippe. "Wonderbloom really resonated with me, in part because it's a light, happy floral and that's what I tend to gravitate toward, but also because the messaging in the campaign felt really important to me. It's all about embracing femininity, individuality, and womanhood."

These days, Phillippe's approach to beauty is simple: "Anything that makes me feel good on the inside usually translates to the outside," she says, and Wonderbloom does just that. "It's a little mood-booster throughout the day. It sets the scene for a positive and joyful time, and I can carry that with me when I'm wearing it." Her trick for getting a nice whiff of happiness throughout the day is to spritzing the scent on her hairbrush before combing it through her hair. "It stays best that way, and I can really smell it on myself," she says.

At 24 years old, Phillippe seems to have cultivated the type of relationship with beauty that any mom would be happy to impart on her daughter, but navigating what that looks like in the public eye continues to be a journey. "I've had my picture taken my entire life and have had to make peace with the fact that not every day is a good hair day and sometimes you make the wrong outfit choice," says Phillippe. "But beauty isn't static, and that's something I'm really trying to take to heart. Sometimes, you see a photo that makes you feel so insecure, but that one photo is not emblematic of who you are. There is so much a picture just can't capture, like how smart and funny you are, and that one moment isn't everything."

For Phillippe, "Beauty on the outside is only as good as I feel on the inside," and that's a lesson we can all take to heart.

Zoë Weiner is a freelance beauty and wellness writer. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Byrdie, Cosmopolitan, POPSUGAR, GQ, Glamour, Marie Claire, Allure, Self, Brides, and Teen Vogue, among others, and she was the senior beauty editor at Well+Good.