Regina King holds many titles—among them, Academy Award-winning actress and Golden Globe-nominated director—and recently she’s earned one more: skincare guru. From the red carpet to her intimate Instagram feed, her flawless complexion is always front and center.
Despite a demanding, decades-long career, the One Night in Miami director looks nearly the same now (at 50!) as she did three decades ago on 227. Her secret? A super-simple, wellness-forward skincare routine that’s gotten her through bouts of adult acne, a cascade of new projects, and the stresses of quarantine. Here’s how Regina King keeps her skin looking smooth, even, and glowing.
Moisturizing is the name of the game.
King’s skincare routine is low-maintenance—most days, she just cleanses and moisturizes. After washing her face, she loves to use Arcona skincare products because they’re “more natural” and “feel really light on your face,” she told InStyle. Because King has naturally oily skin, she opts for products that don’t feel too heavy or pore-clogging.
When her lips are feeling dry, she reaches for the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Lip Booster, a super-hydrating serum that both nourishes and plumps lips, King told Glamour last year. (It’s one of only three products she’d take to a desert island.)
“My mother emphasized the importance of moisturizing, all the way from our scalp to our toes,” she said. “That lesson was instilled in me while growing up. I think that’s common with Black women and Black families, like, bring your little ashy butt over here and moisturize!” She’s since passed the wisdom down to her son.
Sun protection is just as important.
After moisturizing, she applies plenty of SPF. “I swear by Peter Thomas Roth,” King told Glamour, “because it has titanium dioxide, which deflects UV rays that are damaging.”
“I used to think, ‘We have melanin—we don’t need sunblock,’” she said. “Now if the sun is out, sunblock is on my face. I can see how much my skin has changed, especially around my eyes. It’s as if there was some healing that needed to take place, and I didn’t even know it.”
She’s also a huge fan of drugstore staples.
To keep the rest of her skin hydrated, King turns to everyone’s skin savior: Vaseline. She particularly likes the $3 cocoa butter variety, but she uses the classic when she needs an extra boost of moisture. “I know I sound like an ad, but I’m really dead serious,” she told Glamour. (King is a spokesperson for the brand, but her praise is so high and the product is so universally loved by dermatologists that we’re inclined to believe her.)
And Vaseline is more than just a lotion in the King household: “If I’ve been wearing a matte or heavily pigmented lipstick, I make a lip scrub out of sugar and Vaseline,” she told InStyle. “And it’s the absolute best for dry heels.” King also told Viva that she carries Aquaphor, another drugstore favorite, to keep her lips moisturized her wherever she goes.
She sees her dermatologist regularly.
King checks in with her derm at least once a year to get her skin tags checked, the actress told Glamour. “I’m very lucky to have access to a dermatologist. And while there are a lot of people who do have access to one–either their derm isn’t Black nor are they familiar with the differences in our skin, because those differences do exist.”
She believes beauty starts from the inside out.
King first learned the importance of inside-out skincare during her 227 days. “My mother was very healthy, drinking lots of water and eating vegetables,” King told InStyle. “When I got to junior high, where you could buy your lunch, I began drinking soda. I broke out, and my mother said it was from soda. I stopped drinking it and never had breakouts again until I was 30 and got adult acne.”
Regular facials and lightweight products helped the director survive breakouts throughout her 30s—and now she commits to a wellness routine to keep her skin clear, too. She works out for at least 45 minutes each day, she told Viva, on top of eating a balanced diet, taking supplements, and drinking lots of tea. “I try to listen to my body more than anything,” King said. “I try to let my body be the captain of my personal health.”
And her advice for everyone else is just as poignant: “You should always be yourself,” King told InStyle. “You can look to things for inspiration, but you should be owning what you’re doing. It should be your own. You should never feel apologetic about it.”
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