The Oscar winner shares her makeup mantras and beauty faves.
Go to lip colours: My relationship with makeup is similar to my relationship with food. I like to experiment, and it depends on what I’m in the mood for. So I just listen to my mood and go from there. Generally, for every day, I opt for light pink and plum glosses. In terms of lipstick, I like burgundy and earthy tones. I also like to play with bright colors, like red, especially for the red carpet.
Beauty is: A state of being. It’s a result of developing compassion for yourself and others.
Your daily beauty routine is: Very low-maintenance. On a regular day, I wear lip gloss or balm because it’s easy to throw on. I’ll define my eyebrows, and depending on how much time I have, I’ll put on eyeliner and mascara.
Best beauty advice from your mother: She said to me early on that your outer shell will not sustain you as a person. You have to dig deeper in order for that outer shell to do its job. She also taught me that how I treat my body internally will eventually show up on my face.
Diet: Is the most important part of skin care. My mother went through some sort of renaissance before I turned 10 and became very health-conscious. She read a lot about nutrition and instilled those things in me. I wasn’t very happy with the change at the time. No more chips – instead I got carrots! I didn’t appreciate it then, but of course I do now.
Beauty regime: I wash my face religiously morning and evening, which goes a long way. If my skin is feeling greasy, I’ll use a foamy cleanser. If it’s drier, I’ll go with a creamier formula. After cleansing, I tone and hydrate with Lancome Genifique. I also tend to use natural oils because I like the way they feel on my skin.
Best skincare tip: Protect your skin from the sun. I stubbornly believed that the sun couldn’t harm me, until I was burned! For black women, because our skin is dark, it’s harder to detect a problem if one occurs. That’s why it’s so important to protect our skin. We’re not able to see the signs soon enough.
Biggest beauty faux pas: I used to wear really dark – straight-up black, lip liner and I thought it was cute. Maybe it will come back, who knows! I also used to wear berets. That was sad. My mother would say, “You know nobody wears berets?”
Beauty icon: Alek Wek is a major one. Seeing her in magazines at a young age, I recognised myself in a way that I never could before. She’s from South Sudan, and she has so many physical features that are like mine that it floored me when she came on the scene. I had never seen anyone who looked like us lauded as beautiful by the international media. And she was so unapologetic and sure of herself in a way that I dreamed of being.
One of your must have makeup items: I love lipstick. It’s a great way to bring a whole outfit together or quickly feel dressed up. My makeup artist, Nick, always says, “You have the clothes and they’re fabulous, but then you put on the lipstick and you’re major!” If I want to make less of a statement, I go with something soft and sheer, and if I’m feeling bold and don’t mind the extra attention, I brighten it up a little more and go with a matte texture. For the red carpet, I often play with bright colors, like Lancome L’Absolu Rouge in Rouge Rayonnant.