As I sit on a cushioned bench in the penthouse suite of Manhattan's Bowery Hotel, I pull my phone out and get right into my interview with Zazie Beetz. The topic is her partnership with True Botanicals, an environmentally-conscious skin-care brand that formulates products with pure plant extracts. While it's an idyllic setting with the sunshine from the open balcony hitting us just right, the handful of people in the room are in lively conversation. "Is it too loud?" she asks, noticing my concerned face. Before I can even respond, she suggests we move to the suite's bedroom, where Beetz takes off her shoes and lays down. I take my place next to her (my shoes stay on), prop my back into the pillows, and take out my phone once more. Side by side on the embroidered sheets, we look more like a pair of girlfriends catching up after a long time apart than a journalist and a movie star. And during this particular gab session, Beetz is spilling on all her DIY skin recipes.
The actress, who you might recognize from her role as Domino in Marvel’s Deadpool 2, often shares homemade body butter recipes on her Instagram, and she's been whipping up her own beauty products for years. As a teen, she found most skin-care products were too expensive, so she made her own with whatever she could find — coconut oil, vitamin E, sugar, honey. But as her career took off, Beetz began to walk away from her DIY beauty recipes to explore mass market products. "I have greater access to different kinds of products now," she says. "I have realized a regimen really does make a difference."
But now she's back to focusing on natural ingredients, as she realized the impact her beauty choices make on the Earth. “The state of emergency that our environment has entered has really triggered me into seriously engaging more in products that are sustainable,” she tells Refinery29. So far, she has made simple lifestyle changes, like switching from liquid to bar soap and avoiding skin-care formulas with harsh chemicals.
Although she's committed to the regimen change, she's also being honest with herself — going clean isn't something that happens overnight. “I still use things with chemicals,” she says. “I’m in the process of transitioning and trying to make the best choices that I can make. I'm learning.” So, while you might catch her using the True Botanicals Renew Repair Serum day and night, don’t think she's let go of her holy grails like Palmer’s Cocoa Butter. "I wouldn’t be my mother’s child if I didn’t say I always have cocoa butter and lotion in my bag,” she says with a laugh. “That is the cornerstone of my beauty routine.”
It's all about finding a balance for the actress, who strongly believes that sometimes your skin just needs to breathe. “Your skin should also have room to handle and manage itself, so I sometimes just wake up, splash water on my face, [apply] a little oil, and leave the house,” she adds.
That minimal approach also applies to her hair routine. Beetz brings her love for at-home recipes into her hair-care routine with argan oil and cocoa butter, but she also has her go-to products from brands like SheaMoisture and Miss Jessie's.
Beetz's can be seen in her Afro in all of her recent roles, including the upcoming adaptation of DC Comics' Joker, in which she plays Sophie Dumond. While she's willing to change up her hair for a role ("I always put the character first"), Beetz knows that wearing her natural hair in blockbuster films and on the red carpet can influence the industry for the better. She remembers one impactful moment in 2015 when Maria Borges became the first model to wear her natural hair on the Victoria's Secret runway. "I saw an article and I immediately started crying," she recalls. "I didn't realize that I wanted this company to acknowledge that my hair texture was also sexy and desirable in a commercial sense."
Now that feeling has come full circle for the rising actress, who proudly tells me: "It is important for me to inspire other people to feel comfortable in their skin in the same way that it has been moving for me."
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