With her signature brunette waves and killer smile, Sophia Bush knows a thing or two about beauty.

By Lisa DeSantis
November 24, 2015
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With her signature brunette waves and killer smile, former Health cover star Sophia Bush knows a thing or two about beauty and confidence. In addition to being an advocate and supporter of a number of worthy causes—from animal rights to education for girls—the actress is now partnering with Philips Sonicare to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. Bush recently spoke with Health and told us about her daily beauty routine (including her fave mascara brand), her advice for feeling confident, how she focuses on finding happiness, and more. Bonus: She even took us on a walk down memory lane (yeah, we're talking about a Brooke Davis throwback).

Do you have a go-to lip color that complements your smile?

Yeah, I think strong color always does that. I love colorful lipstick, whether it's a really bright fuchsia, a classic red, or even a coral that has some orange in it. I'm a big fan of a pop of color!

Are there any beauty tricks that you learned on set and have adapted into your routine?

I really like to keep my routine simple. But years ago, a great makeup artist I worked with always applied foundation with her hands—she didn't use a brush like so many makeup artists do. That stuck with me, and even now I don't bother with sponges and makeup brushes and all of that, I just use my fingers.

What’s one thing—for your makeup or hair—that you can’t leave the house without doing?

I always put mascara on. Even if I'm wearing absolutely no makeup and just walking out the door with only sunscreen, I'll put on one coat of dark brown mascara. It makes me feel ready for the day.

Do you have a favorite mascara?

It's a really sad story. Urban Decay discontinued my favorite mascara ever and it broke my heart. I wore it everyday. For events or if I'm going out at night, I'm Diorshow ($28; sephora.com) all the way—I think it's amazing. But this sort of perfect mascara is now gone and I'm on the search for another. I'll let you know when I find it.

Do you have any favorite drugstore beauty products?

I always find when I'm running to CVS or Walgreens to pick something up, I come out with a bunch of crazy nail polishes or eyeshadows that I want to try the color out before buying an expensive brand. The drugstore to me is a little bit like Costco, I go for one thing and leave with a cart full of stuff.

Short hair has kind of become your signature style. How do you get it so perfect?

It's funny, I've been cutting my hair shorter and shorter for the last six months and I really like it. There's something about having really long hair that I like, and if it's not really long, it's gotta be short. I'll shower and blow dry it upside down for a few minutes and use a flat iron to put three or four bends in it and I'm done. It's a lot less work.

When do you feel most confident?

When I’m happy and really taking care of myself. So if I'm getting the appropriate amount of sleep, if I'm able to spend time with friends, if I'm being active and know that I'm taking care of my body physically and emotionally. I always know when I’m my happiest because I notice how often I'm often I'm smiling. When you know that your smile is such a significant part of how you include others in your happiness, of course you want to take care of it.

Any tips for young girls who aspire to be as confident as you are?

I think it's so important to be aware of how you're cultivating your sense of self. Really give yourself some love and some time because you deserve it. Get to know who you are and what you're passionate about—have a connection to yourself, because that's the kind of thing that lets you know what's right for you and you can go after that.

Are there any beauty moments of Brooke Davis’ that standout in your memory? I can’t believe that your smokey eye always made it through a crying scene.

Shout out to the makeup artists for knowing to never put us in something that wasn't waterproof because we were crying all the time. But, that role was fun for me. I love fashion and I love makeup. I do my own makeup for events and I love doing makeup for my friends. There's something about it that's so fun and I love that if I want to try something I just saw on a runway, I can do that. That was one thing that was really fun for me playing Brooke, just the fact that I got to experiment with so many different looks and so many different styles.

The difference in makeup in playing Erin Lindsay?

It's very nice that I don't have to go into work as early because IÂ don't have to do nearly as much to get ready.

Note: This interview has been edited and condensed.