Ashley Benson probably sounds like your best friend. She loves Korean BBQ. She watches random videos on YouTube. She's still trying to figure out how to do her makeup, unlike her glam-loving Pretty Little Liars character Hanna who seems to know exactly what to do. And really, she just wishes she could she could dye her hair a bunch of times without it falling out. From Benson's dream hair transformation to her learning how to do her makeup, she's just like you and me — figuring it all out along the way.
From playing girlie, glammed up Hanna Marin on Pretty Little Liars to college criminal Brit in Spring Breakers and edgy musician Roxie Rotten in Her Smell, Benson's acting abilities have serious range — and so does her hair. While many could instantly recognize Benson's iconic blonde hair, she threw the world for a bit of a loop recently when she debuted a super-short, chocolate-brown dye job, which she says was for an upcoming role.
As much of a surprise as it was for her fans, the change didn't faze Benson too much — most of her hair changes don't. "I wasn't going to cut it, but I mean, I'm always crazy with my hair," she tells me. "I'll go pink, I'll go blonde, I'll go short, I'll go long the next day."
Of course, coloring your hair all the time comes with a price — one Benson paid, thanks to her PLL role. In a 2018 interview with Elle, Benson discussed how bleaching her hair was her "biggest regret," because having to do it so much for her role caused it to fall out. However, if damage weren't a concern, she has a wild idea up her sleeve for an edgy new hair transformation that would likely be her wildest one yet. Think: Black Widow from Avengers.
"My hair would definitely fall out if I had to go blonde again, but I would die to be a redhead," she says, unsure of the exact shade of red she'd want to go, but knows it would be pretty damn red. "I just think it'd be so cool ... It reminds me of Scarlett Johansson in the Marvel movie."
Although Benson's time in the PLL universe has come to an end, that doesn't mean her love and appreciation for Hanna has ended. In fact, Benson says she envies her former character a little bit when it comes to Hanna's beauty prowess. "Most of my roles actually don't wear a lot of makeup, which I prefer, but Hanna was very glamorous." Still, Benson says, if she could transform Hanna in any way, she would give her "a little bit more of an edge."
Ironically, what Benson personally prefers when it comes to her makeup routine is a bit of a departure from super edgy and bright-red hair. "For my red carpets, I'll do a smokey eye or that kind of thing, but I really like ... a fresh face," she says. "I love more of a natural look, and in my everyday [routine], I don't really wear a lot of makeup ... I always think that less is more, for me at least." She says that people like Elizabeth Olsen, Margot Robbie and — wait for it — Scarlett Johansson have that fresh-faced beauty style she likes to mimic.
Benson's dichotomy of loving the subdued and the edgy when it comes to beauty seems to carry over into her perfume preferences as well. The new face of fragrance brand Eau de Juice, Benson says that, if she were to bottle up any scents to wear forever, she'd choose either a rose or a musky tobacco scent. "[They're] very different, but very much what I wear."
Funny enough, Eau de Juice's most recent perfume, Extra Concentrated ($55, Ulta), which Benson took some hilarious photos with, seems to be a perfect balance between the soft and musky scents she loves. Sweet notes of apple and champagne and more sultry notes of white patchouli and golden amber combine for an ultra-sexy scent — not to mention, the gold bottle is f*cking adorable. I can only assume Benson also wants to keep this scent bottled forever. At the very least, she'll be decorating her home with the bottles. "I have them on my coffee table as art," she says.
Beauty transformations, beauty inspirations, and perfumes aside, Benson is, like all of us, still figuring out what she wants and what she likes at the end of the day. And she's doing what a majority of us do to figure that out — using social media. Pulling inspo from people she sees on Instagram and YouTube (Tanya Burr's channel is a frequent stop for Benson), watching makeup tutorials for hours — you name it, Benson has probably done it in the quest to learn new styles, techniques, and preferences when it comes to beauty.
"I'm not that good at [doing my makeup] ... When I get hair and makeup done for red carpets and events and stuff, I try to pay attention to what they're doing to my face. I can't do my hair still really at all, but I'm getting a little bit better at makeup," she says. "I also watch a ton of YouTube videos ... when I'm bored. And I do makeup tutorials, and it never turns out the way that it should."
When she tells me this, I understand it all too well. Does any makeup tutorial you try to copy ever really go as planned? Rarely. I then tell Benson the fact that she's trying at all is really all that matters. "It really is," she says back with a laugh. And in that moment, it felt great to know that even the celebrities who seemingly have it all on lock are just trying their best like the rest of us.