'I used to watch my mom put her makeup on for the stage and it was one of the most special moments. I would sit quietly on the dressing room floor and watch her put her face on. I think she looks most beautiful in the morning when she wakes up with no makeup on…it’s my favorite look on women. I personally like the way skin looks without makeup. People cover up the imperfections, but I think they're beautiful. I also love that when you have a feeling, you see it in your skin.
On Black-ish, I like my makeup to be really natural—so much that I can do it myself. My character is a mother of four, and a doctor, and a wife, who would not have time to be putting on eyeshadow or curling her lashes. When I’m in bed, I do not have mascara on—that’s a pet peeve of mine in television, when people wake up in bed and have glossy lips. It’s confusing to me.
I’m not afraid of a cheek. It was the first makeup I was introduced to as a child. Makiage was the blush that my mom allowed me to play with. I now use Fleur Power from MAC, which I l love. Bobbi Brown is my foundation, I use the Long-Wear Even Finish Foundation in Golden #6, and in the summer when I’m tan, I add a little bit of Warm Walnut #7.5 into it. I have a few rules on lipstick...I don’t wear gloss because I can’t talk properly. I like matte lipsticks, I like an opaque shade that you can’t see my lip color through at all. My lips have a natural lip line, which I do not like. [Laughs] I’ve been wearing MAC Ruby Woo since college, for the gym and life—you think it’s a joke, but if you look up hashtag #redlipfit, it’s mine and I started it because I work out in it. [Laughs] I love looking in the mirror and seeing a little pop of somethin’. I also love Calliope—it’s a Velvet Matte Lip Pencil that they stopped making and I have one left and it is the best. It’s a matte version of Blonde Venus, their lipstick. I need you to print this because I want Nars to make it again. Right now my favorite mascara—because I love a spiky mascara—is They’re Real! by Benefit. It’s fantastic.
To remove my makeup, I use Shiseido Facial Cotton, the little squares. They don’t have any edges on them so nothing hurts the skin around my eyes. I use two with Bioderma Créaline to take my mascara off and I usually hold it on my eyes until the makeup dissolves, and then I really rub to get it all the way off. Then I use two other cotton squares to take off all of the makeup and I wash with a product called Benefit Clean Gentle Cleanser by Cosmedix. I use a Clarisonic, night and morning, and I use the gentle brush on it.
When I’m working, I usually get facials every other week to keep my skin really clean. I’ve been going to Terri Lawton since 2000...it’s been a really long time. I kind of follow what she’s doing—I mean, I’ve been seeing her for so long and my skin seems to be working out pretty well. She makes me a serum that I usually put on first, or I will alternate and use Julisis Liquid Gold Drink. Cosmedix Phytoharmony is my favorite moisturizer because it dries matte, or I’ll use Julisis Facial Oil and mix it with Rescue Balm & Mask, which is also from Cosmedix and is a very thick balm, and I mix that in for night or if I’m feeling really dry, I’ll do that. I’m literally like a chemist, I have tons of things.
I don’t know how to do anything to my brows—I just get them waxed. It is the hardest makeup thing, in my opinion. Growing up, I had the teeniest little brows. They were really thin for a while. I’m loving this, when they're straight...I like when they're straight as opposed to arched. I feel like your eyebrows really frame your face.
Lately I’ve been obsessed with Jo Malone’s Red Rose Bath Oil—I wear it as perfume. Haley Alexander van Oosten makes my oils—we have a Tracee scent—or I’ll tell her the mood I’m in and she’ll choose an oil and send it to me. For candles, I’m a Diptyque girl. I do Feu de Bois and Roses and I mix them in my house. I’m obsessed with those two scents. I have been for many years.
I’m a big sweater—like they know that on every set I work on, I sweat a lot. We have blow dryers and I put dress shields in all of my shirts, but I don’t smell. You use deodorant for the smell but you don’t stop your body from sweating. Whole Foods or Erewhon Market in LA is where I buy my products, but I’m paraben-free and I use an all-natural deodorant, which I get at the Farmers Market. It’s called No Tox Life.I also combine two lotions for my body— ShiKai Borage Natural Therapy and Kiss My Face Honey Calendula. I mix the two and it leaves my skin totally matte because I don’t like the sheen. Sometimes I feel like it just sits and it gets on my clothes, but my skin is moisturized.
I think my biggest tip–and I consider it a part of my beauty routine–is getting my sleep, without a doubt. I do a true eight hours. I try to go to bed before midnight. When I’m working I often have to get up at 4 AM, which makes it really hard to get my eight hours, and it starts to dwindle, and I start to see it in my skin—I see it around my mouth, like where my laugh lines are and sort of down by my chin—I just feel like the skin gets looser in here. The other thing I do is drink water—I’m known for carrying a green glass water bottle everywhere with me. I’m a Mountain Valley Water girl… it’s my favorite water. It feels like I’m drinking from a waterfall.”
—as told to ITG
Tracee Ellis Ross photographed by Tom Newton.
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