Kristen Bell on Teaching Her Kids About Confidence: "Beauty Is a Rainbow, Not a Standard"

Courtesy of Kristen Bell | Getty / Illustration by Becky Jiras
Courtesy of Kristen Bell | Getty / Illustration by Becky Jiras
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Welcome to Big Break, where some of the most influential figures in the beauty industry reflect on the beauty moments that made them — from the good to the bad and everything in between. Here, award-winning actress Kristen Bell shares how she went from product novice to burgeoning body-care brand founder of a new line called Happy Dance.

Remember when Kristen Bell met a sloth on her 31st birthday? (If "no," please see yourself to the nearest YouTube.) Now, picture that same unadulterated joy when, a mere two and a half decades ago — before the awards, fame, and subsequent glam squads — she got her kicks from free beauty swag.

"Just wait until you hear this," Bell told POPSUGAR via Zoom video call, excitement saturating her face in the way only revealing a juicy secret can. It was about her first experience with beauty.

"I was 14 and standing in line with my mom at Hudson's, a Midwestern department store that may or may not still be in business, waiting for the Clinique Bonus. They did this thing where, if you buy $40 worth of products, two months of the year you get a bonus, and the packaging was this mint-green color with a coil around it. People waited in huge lines for it — it was major. My mom said she'd give me her Clinique Bonus, and I freaked out, obviously. It was the first time I received adult makeup and got to play with it and put it in my overnight bag or medicine kit or whatever you want to call it. And I remember it was so invigorating. I fell in love and begged for that bonus every chance I could get."

These days, however, Bell finds her thrills in the little things . . . and it's nary dependent on products for products' sake. Rather: "Beauty to me is a feeling," she said. It's an inside-out approach she's also sprinkled into her CBD brand, Happy Dance, which she cocreated with leader in the space Lord Jones. Take the Stress Away Bath Bomb ($15), for example.

"The bath bomb was really important to create because, for me, a bath is the only time where I can justifiably lock the door as a mom," she said, laughing. "I know that sounds weird, but you can't lock the door if you're peeing or even just using the bathroom during the day because they need you. But when I'm in the bathtub, those are the 15 minutes that are totally mine. I wanted to create something that could bring that same experience of feeling light to everyone else."

Courtesy of Kristen Bell | Getty / Illustration by Becky Jiras

Now, as a mom herself, Bell wants to impart some of her own lessons to her kids — not just around beauty itself but also around beauty standards, self-esteem, and building confidence. (Because there's definitely no standing in line at Hudson's in their future.)

"I want to teach them that number one, beauty is a rainbow," she said. "It's all different colors. It's all different shapes. It's all different sizes. It's all different styles. Beauty is subjective. It's not a standard. So let's start with the correct definitions."

She continued, "Beauty is also a feeling; it's not a visual. And that you will feel attractive if you are happy, you will be happy if you have self-esteem, you will have self-esteem if you are doing esteemable acts, whether that's helping someone because you can, maintaining joy and trying to spread it, actively trying to reduce someone else's suffering, or taking some time for yourself. Anything that makes you feel happy, you will feel attractive."

That's right, everyone: Clinique Bonus or not.

Courtesy of Kristen Bell | Getty / Illustration by Becky Jiras