'For How To Get Away With Murder, we'll start at like 5 or 5:30 in the morning for makeup and hair. Viola [Davis] and I are the longest in the chair—I think we both do two hours. We put on so much makeup each day...and, for continuity purposes, they have to keep touching it up and putting on more powder and more this and more that and your pores get clogged so easily. I was having huge breakouts and it was horribly embarrassing. They can only do so much editing or lighting or makeup, but if it's in HD, you're gonna see it. That pimple is gonna be there for everyone to comment on. So I don’t want to wear too much makeup when I'm not on set.
I'll apply foundation on certain spots, like under the eye. You think that you have to smear it all over but no, just use it where you need it—plus a little bit of powder, lots of eyeliner, and call it a day. The makeup artists for the show used this Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen on me—it's gorgeous. They also introduced me to MAC Ruby Woo, even though my character doesn’t get to wear it. I’ve tried to get them to let me wear red lipstick—it's an uphill battle, but one day I will be victorious. [Laughs] For now, we use a Clinique Chubby Stick. It’s very translucent and moisturizing and gives just a tinge of color.
I’m obsessed with eyeliner—the darker and kohl-ier, the better. When I was younger, it was harder for me to find a black eyeliner that would actually show up on my skin. Being a dark-skinned woman, when you find something that actually shows up on your face, you love it even more. I go between random drugstore ones, like L’Oréal Silkissime...that's so affordable. But right now I’m also using a Marc Jacobs Gel Eye Crayon. Sometimes I'll put a little bit of white liner on the inside lower crease of the water line and then a black right outside of that—it makes the whites of my eyes really pop.
So most people on set will take off their makeup with a hot towel, but I go home right after work and hop in the shower and wash the day off of me. I use cleanser from Dr. Ablon in Manhattan Beach in the shower and I'll also go over my face again with Neutrogena Face Wipes afterwards. Sometimes I'll use Cetaphil instead, because I've found that my skin sometimes gets used to products and they stop working, so I have to switch it up. I use a moisturizer from my dermatologist, but in the past I've loved using Neutrogena. I also love Bobbi Brown's face scrub, which I got from on set—that's great.
As far as beauty tips, I've been told to freeze black tea bags overnight and then put them under the eyes, but that gets a little messy because they drip. Also, a friend of mine once told me that you’re not supposed to rub perfume in, you’re supposed to just spray it on and let it sit so that it'll bond to your skin and last longer. I really love perfume, especially Chanel No. 5 and Coco Mademoiselle, and Diptyque Eau Mohéli, which I have it at my hotel in a little roller ball. Also, Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin is really good.
My hair routine is to let someone else do it. [Laughs] So much heat is being put on my hair, so I need to leave it alone when I can. It's challenging, though, because I have to wash my hair after I work out—and sometimes I work out every day. I use Pureology Shampoo and Conditioner, and after shampooing I'll put the conditioner on, go watch a movie, and wash it out later. When you have black girl hair, once we wash, we’ve gotta do the whole press and get in the edges and everything. That's a lot of heat to go back to straight on a daily basis.
To relax, I love sitting back and turning my brain off and watching TV. Peaky Blinders, is so good—if you're not watching, what are you doing with your life?! I've been trying to eat healthier, but sometimes it doesn’t work out when you're sitting in front of the TV drinking wine and you realize you really need ice cream to go along with it. [Laughs] I love Haagen Daaz Caramel Cone, or the Ben and Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake. Pairs well with anything.”
—as told to ITG
Aja King photographed by Tom Newton in New York on November 13, 2015.