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Kristin Cavallari talks beauty, baking and 'cringe-worthy' early 2000s fashion

We spoke with the entrepreneur and reality star about her home and skin care must-haves.
Courtesy Dennis Leupold

If you had a TV and were coming of age in the early aughts, Kristin Cavallari likely graced your screen at some point. As a teenager, she rose to fame on the reality show "Laguna Beach" and later joined its spin-off series "The Hills." Then in 2018, the seasoned reality TV star had her own show "Very Cavallari" with now ex-husband former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler.

But the 35-year-old has come a long way from her reality show days. She has built an empire with multiple New York Times bestselling books. She also founded the jewelry brand Uncommon James and, more recently, skin care company Uncommon Beauty, both focused on elevating everyday staples.

Though, like many of us these days, Cavallari is taking a walk down the Y2K memory lane. This summer she launched a new podcast “Back to the Beach” with former co-star, and ex-boyfriend, Stephen Colletti, and has been rewatching all the drama, characters, and most importantly, the fashions.

"It's interesting timing for me because I have this 'Back to the Beach' podcast right now and I just recently went back and watched the first few seasons of Laguna Beach," Cavallari told Shop TODAY. "And it's so funny to me that as I'm going through all of that and reliving those experiences, that fashion era is also in."

But, despite the recent early 2000s trends popping up on TikTok and New York Fashion Week, Cavallari told us everything she wore during that era was a little "cringe-worthy.” Though, that doesn't necessarily mean she has regrets.

"That was just the time and I was also in high school, so I don't look at it and think, 'oh God, what was I thinking?' I was a kid. But it was a lot of the flare jeans, super low-cut — which now you couldn't pay me to wear those jeans that are so low, I'm all about a jean that goes above the belly button — and the jean skirts and the Ugg boots. That whole vibe is pretty hilarious to me."

After working with different stylists and trying to figure out what her style was (which involved some "trial and error," she said) she learned that ultimately she's drawn to simplicity.

"For me, it's about great basics and having killer accessories and that's really all you need," she said. "And that's kind of why I wanted to start Uncommon James as well. I think less is more, I really do. And that's actually for my whole life, even in how I decorate my home. My overall aesthetic for my life is minimalistic, I would say, but yet still elevated and chic."

As a part of our Shopping Diaries series, we asked Cavallari to share some of her favorite products, from a simple, yet elegant chain necklace to the mascara she uses to complete her "day-to-day" look.

Kristin Cavallari's must-haves

Uncommon Beauty Pineapple Peptide Nectar

"My beauty routine is not as complicated as people may think it is," Cavallari said. "I have my go-tos and I don't stray very far from them. It takes a lot for me to try a new face product, because what I'm doing is working and I'm prone to breakouts, so I always get a little nervous to try a new product."

One of her staples from her own brand Uncommon Beauty is this Pineapple Peptide Nectar Serum. "It's essentially two-in-one," she said. "It's peptides and vitamin C. So it's really everything that you would want from a serum, it's brightening, it's hydrating, it's anti-aging. If you could only get one product, that would be what I would go for — I wear it every single day and I just absolutely love it."

Uncommon James Love Life Necklace

This bestselling chain necklace, which is one of Cavallari's favorites from Uncommon James, comes inscribed with the message "j’aime la vie," which translates to "I love life" in French. "I'm at a place of feeling really peaceful, really content and really happy, and so [this] necklace just made sense," she said. "For me, it reflects where I'm currently at in my life. I, over the last couple of years, have gotten to a place of wanting to experience the journey. My whole life, pretty much, I always just wanted to get from point A to point B, and I didn't realize that the beauty in life is really about the in-between. And so it's really about being present for me personally, and just experiencing everything life has to offer."

Molly's Suds Original Laundry Detergent

"I'm all about clean everything in my house, and just minimizing the toxins that are in my house," Cavallari said. "And [Molly's Suds] is my favorite laundry detergent ... it's clean, it gets the job done and I've just been using it for a long time."

Intelligent Change The Five Minute Journal

"I've been using [the journal] for a couple of years now," Cavallari said. "And I don't do it every day — I go through phases. I do love it because it does set the tone for the day. And it's a nice reminder to focus on gratitude. I actually have these little three-minute journals that I got for my kids, and they enjoy doing it too. I'm sure sometimes it's probably a little over their head. But I feel like as long as I'm laying that foundation, hopefully, they can continue to come back to it their whole life."

Since using it, she said that she has noticed a difference in her life. "I think that even these small things that we can do of just shifting your perspective and just focusing on gratitude, I think makes a huge difference in your overall well-being," she said.

Caraway Baking Sheet

It's no secret that Cavallari is a big cook (she's authored two bestselling cookbooks), but she said it's also something that her kids have started to enjoy as well. "They like to bake more than anything, but they do enjoy being in the kitchen with me," she said. "Actually, Jaxon, out of all three of them, he's my middle kid and he is the one who enjoys it the most. And so it's easy for me to get him in the kitchen, which is nice. I love when they're in here with me."

These Caraway sheets are her favorite, which are non-toxic and nonstick, according to the brand.

"I roast vegetables on those baking sheets almost every single day," Cavallari said. "And what I love about those is that they're non-toxic, but they also are so easy to clean, and they're pretty, honestly. I think that they're a great gift for people who love to cook."

Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara

Cavallari said her typical "day-to-day" makeup look involves simply filling in her brows and swiping on a little mascara. And this is the one that she turns to. It's designed to be buildable and go on flake-free. It also features ingredients like arginine, and organic bee and carnauba waxes, which help to condition and nourish lashes, according to the brand.

Ilia Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40

"If I'm going into the office, then I will put more [makeup] on," she said. And for her base, she said she loves this skin tint from Ilia. Not only does it feature SPF, but it's designed to provide light coverage while smoothing and hydrating skin, thanks to ingredients like squalane, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide.

Roen Eye Shadow Palette

Roen is another clean makeup brand that she's a fan of that has creamy palettes. She said that she follows the skin tint with bronzer and eye shadow. "I love cream shadows because they're so easy to put on — I just use my finger," Cavallari said. According to the brand, this one was tested by both artists and real women and is practically fool-proof, "even for those that have the fear of eye shadow."