“These are my beauty secrets, or handsome secrets, or beautiful boy secrets,” Janaya Future Khan tells Vogue on a recent fall afternoon. Today, the the Canadian-born, Los Angeles–based Black Lives Matter activist is pulling back the curtain on their self-care hacks, from how they maintain a fresh complexion to their top tips for taking care of their natural hair—all peppered with some very sage advice.
The most important step in their routine also happens to be the first: Upon waking, after doing 100 push-ups, Khan reaches for an oversized jug of water—or, as they call it, “God’s juice.” “Get that in; get that in as much as you can,” they advise before washing their face with Glossier’s gentle milky cleanser. “My skin is very sensitive,” they explain as they rub a slab of solid aloe vera over their cheeks. “The thick skin that it takes to do activist work is really a metaphor.”
Such a mindful approach to skin care, however, has not always been top of mind for Khan. “I really struggled with how to do it at first,” they recall. “But then I thought…Why? Why was skin care hard? And I realized I had sort of internalized this thing where it was really feminine to do, and somewhere along the line, as I got older, I had sort of de-prioritized it as something unnecessary, and how boring is that?” Khan continues. “Imagine that there are billions of people on the planet and that the story we’re told is that there are two genders and two sexes and one sexuality. How boring!” With this realization came a newfound appreciation for complexion-saving cosmetics, such as retinol cream, ultra-nourishing moisturizer, marula oil, and, importantly, a sunscreen found at Whole Foods.
“So I had bad hair growing up—that’s what people called my hair…and I really internalized that,” they share as they pick up a tub of Shea Moisture’s castor oil–based leave-in conditioner, a must (along with a protective do-rag) for keeping their lengths healthy and moisturized. When Alicia Keys, with her two face-framing braids, burst onto the scene, Khan, then a teenager, felt liberated. “It was really a game changer for me,” they add, running their fingers through their twists until their curls are loose and on full display. “We love frizz; we love body,” they say proudly. “No more limiting ourselves and making us small to fit into the limited colonial imagination. Nonbinary is beautiful. Black hair is beautiful.” Their hair journey is not quite done—“It will continue to rise throughout the day, like a beautiful loaf of bread,” they note—but Khan is ready to be on their way. “As we say in the movement, ‘Stay safe; stay dangerous.’”
Below, shop Janaya Future Khan’s Beauty Secrets.