Regina King Is Fighting to End Racial Inequities in Skin Care
Regina King: Vaseline knows how passionate I am about young, Black girls being invisible and how I want to empower them. So our conversations started as a mutual desire for a philanthropic component. Then the pandemic hit, followed by the uprisings around Breonna Taylor’s, George Floyd’s, and Ahmaud Arbery’s killings, so together we decided it was important to shift the discussion toward topics that were pressing.
What we found was that the systemic issues that already existed in our country were being magnified as a result of the coronavirus—and the people protesting were risking their health to change the system. We wanted to do something that addresses these disparities, and that’s how our project evolved into equity in skin care.
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. We felt this was an opportunity to address something that has been neglected since the beginning of time. In the commercial we talk about women of color and address how skin and Black bodies have been denied and harmed throughout history. It might feel more female-related because it’s the voice of a mother talking to her child. But when you’re talking about skin, it’s not just a Black or brown woman thing. It’s an awareness we’re bringing to everyone in regards to Black and brown skin.
What’s one beauty rule you swear by?
My dermatologist has instilled the importance of going in yearly to have my skin tags checked—and always using sunscreen. I used to think, we have melanin, we don’t need sunblock. And 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.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What are the three products you’d bring with you?
Vaseline. I’d probably bring the Coco Butter one, because on a desert island, it’d be a little warmer. So I won’t need the straight up OG, but I will still need the moisture because I’ll probably be hitting that salt water and all of that.
The second product would be my Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Lip Booster. That would have to jump off. And then sunblock! I swear by Peter Thomas Roth because it has titanium dioxide, which deflects UV rays that are damaging.
What’s the best skin care advice you’ve ever been given?
My mother emphasized the importance of moisturizing, all the way from our scalp to our toes. We always oiled our scalps and were mindful of dryness—we were a family with humidifiers. Right after we’d get out of the shower, while our skin was still damp, we’d put on Vaseline or lotion. I know I sound like an ad, but I’m really dead serious. My grandmother seriously had the softest skin I ever felt in my life, and Vaseline was always in the house.
I don’t really think I would have skin in as good condition as it is without that. I’m a woman of a very wise age, and I have to believe I don’t have crepe-y skin because 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!
Michella Oré is an editorial assistant at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram at @michellaor. This interview has been edited and condensed.