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Personal Best: Q&A With Archie Panjabi

The British actress talks about beauty, food, and her laid-back exercise regimen.
By Elizabeth B. Krieger
WebMD Magazine - Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

With her British upbringing, a degree in management, years of ballet training, and her Emmy-award-winning portrayal of the tough-as-nails investigator Kalinda on CBS' The Good Wife, one might assume Archie Panjabi's approach to health, fitness, and beauty walks a similarly ambitious line. On the contrary, this is a case where Panjabi, 40, plays against type. She opened up to us on a much-needed day off from filming the hit drama's fourth season (she's also appeared in films like Bend it Like Beckham and The Constant Gardener), and made no mention of punishing boot camps, gimmicky cleanses, or other quick fixes. She embraces a decidedly peaceful, balanced lifestyle, refreshingly un-Hollywood, totally sane, and obviously effective. Her secrets include regular indulgences, DIY beauty treatments, and plenty of ZZZs.

How do you care for your skin?

Coming from India, my parents have a huge connection with herbs and spices -- in both cooking and in skin care. So like my mom, I make a lot of my own skin care concoctions, like face packs -- thick masks. I mix turmeric with chickpea flour with yogurt and lemon. It's fantastic in warmer weather for freshening your face. Honestly, it's better than anything I've found in stores. My mom is in her 70s but she has barely any lines; in fact, all of my family looks at least 20 years younger. And, touch wood, my skin hasn't really changed that much since I was in my 20s!

What about all the makeup you wear during filming -- how do you keep your skin glowing?

I am very good about taking my makeup off after work. It can take a while, but I light a candle and just go to it patiently. It's sort of a ritual. I also use a muslin cloth instead of a washcloth to remove it -- I find it's gentler on my skin than a normal washcloth and the next day your skin will be so smooth. I also recently started using baby shampoo to take off eye makeup -- it's amazing.

What three beauty items are always with you?

I always have lip gloss, and I love this one from Le Metier de Beaute -- it never gets sticky and it doesn't dry out my lips. It took me a long time to find one like that, but when I get something I love, I stick with it. Also: Epicuren zinc oxide, for daily sun protection on my face and neck. Finally, I never leave home without Chanel mascara.

What kinds of things are always in your pantry or fridge?

I always have a few spices like turmeric and whole peppercorns, as well as fresh ginger, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil. With just those few things you can add flavor and kick to everything from Italian food to curries, or just perk up a basic like eggs. Fresh ground pepper on eggs can make all the difference.

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