I’m A Drag Queen & This Is What My Beauty Routine Looks Like In A Week

Hailing from Chicago, Shea Couleé is an internationally-renowned drag queen, model, recording artist, and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars fifth season champion. She's the CEO of her own business and has been pushing her brand into new spaces, including recently launching a partnership with the Black woman-owned artisan soap brand, The Quiet Girl Shoppe. Together, they have developed shea butter-based skin-care and body products, including the $100,000 Bar soap, and the recently-released Slay Butter moisturizer, available now through next spring. The following interview was told to Amanda Mitchell and has been edited for length and clarity.
I usually do the most self care on Sundays because Friday and Saturday, I was likely in the club, working. Sunday is really important for me to recharge after a busy weekend of work and I use Sundays as a total reset and wash day
I probably soak in the bathtub anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour, if I really feel like I want to luxuriate. I use Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salts. Depending on my mood, I like both Eucalyptus and Lavender, but the Eucalyptus leaves the bathroom smelling so nice afterward… I can smell it right now actually! I also love throwing in a Lush Guardian of the Forest Bath Bomb. After soaking, I drain the tub and then shower. During my shower, if I'm not using my $100,000 Bar, I use Cremo Palo Santo body wash. Once I'm out of the shower, I pat dry, and put on my Slay Butter, and then I'll put on some washable silk pajamas.
What's beautiful about using the $100,000 Bar followed by Slay Butter is that when you're applying the soap, you feel the thick moisturizing of the shea butter — but then it rinses off so well, no residue left behind — so when you go with the Slay Butter afterwards, it marinates beautifully with the way your skin already feels and you get that extra layer of moisture.
It's obvious that I'm super passionate about beauty and skincare. Makeup is exuberant and fun, but it has to have a beautiful canvas behind it. The best way to get that is by taking care of your skin and using nourishing ingredients. Adrienne [Williams-Simmons] at The Quiet Girl Shoppe is very into that. The shop is Black female-owned and shares my values. I'm excited to be entering into the beauty industry in a very conscious and ethical way.
Now for hair: I love Tracee Ellis Ross's Pattern line. I use the shampoo and the heavy conditioner. The reason I love the heavy conditioner is because it's super-duper thick; you need some strong hand muscles just to get it out of the tube, and that’s the type of conditioner I live for. When I'm in the shower, I will rinse out the conditioner about 80%, still feeling a little bit of it in my hair, and then when I’m out of the shower, I'll pat dry and follow it up with Miss Jessie's Pillow Soft Curls cream. Depending on my mood, I may use a sponge brush and get my little coils going. Or, I'll just leave my hair alone and let her air dry.
After all of this, I really love putting on some Huda Beauty under eye patches and relaxing for the night. I love playing video games or watching any of the Real Housewives franchises, wearing my silk pajamas and my cute little fuzzy Ugg slippers. I got the entire pride collection: the trans flag fuzzy slides, a pair I like to call 'the Kool-Aid line,' the pink, red, and yellow ones. Then I also have the cool-watercolored ones, which are blue, green, and purple. 
During the week, it's skincare only, as I want my skin to breathe, regenerate, and repair from all of the craziness I do to it on the weekend. When I wake up, I drink a glass of water and then I take my Metamucil — it's important to get your fiber. I play with my little Baby Couleé because she's always cuddliest in the mornings. 

I always wake myself up in the morning by washing my face with Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser, followed by their Adaptogen Mist, and Mandelic Acid Superfood Exfoliant. After that, I’ll do their Dream Oil. Or, if I feel like I'm facing a breakout, I'll use Sunday Riley UFO Oil. Lastly, I'll follow that up with Fenty Beauty Hydra Vizor Sunscreen. Time to go about my day! 

Normally, Mondays and Tuesdays are a lot of meetings and errands — because it's kind of like my weekend — but I also balance that with work and the gym. If I do go to the gym, I’ll do my skincare before and then the same routine again after showering.
For my nighttime skincare routine, I’ll start with that same Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser and then Sunday Riley Pink Drink Mist. I'll follow that with Sunday Riley Luna Oil. Retinol is reactive under UV rays, so you don’t want to use it during the daytime, only at night. After the Luna Oil, I'll use Sunday Riley A+ Retinoid serum. To top it all off, I'll do Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate and Glow Dream Mask, and then lights out.
Wednesday really centers around 'Noodle Wednesday,' which is a tradition my friends and I started during the pandemic when we started to be able to hang out with six people again. We go back and forth between making an Italian pasta dish or an Asian-inspired dish, like ramen or pho. 
What started this, though, was my homemade ramen. I make really, really good ramen. Shout out to my Instant Pot: I love her, she really is the breakout star. I soft boil my eggs in the Instant Pot, then soak them in a salt and soy-sauce brine for six or more hours in the fridge. If we are going Italian, I'm obsessed with the Pasta Queen. People request I make her 'Devil's Kiss Pasta,' which is rigatoni with a pancetta chili vodka sauce. Since Noodle Wednesdays tend to go late, I do the regular nighttime skincare routine and go to bed. 
Knowing I'm probably going out of town for the weekend, Thursdays are typically my studio day. My art studio is just a mile away from my place. Studio days are for writing music, sketching, finessing wigs. If I need to adjust or make costumes, I can do that. I have a sewing machine and table if I need to get heavy-duty. While I'm working, I love to listen to podcasts. I usually record episodes of my podcast, Wanna Be On Top?, on Thursdays in my studio. If I'm not recording, I like to re-listen to episodes because it's fun to recount those conversations. Additionally, I listen to That’s Messed Up or My Favorite Murder, if I'm in the mood.
At my studio, I have a mini fridge and I don’t keep drinks in it — it's strictly for skincare. I like to store some Slay Butter to reapply throughout the day. It's cold in Chicago, and I want to add extra moisture to my skin. I also love keeping Touchland hand sanitizer on hand, in my bag, and at my studio; it's great because it come in such amazing scents. I love lavender, it's really calming. I'll also use Elta MD 50 SPF sunscreen. Sunscreen is so important and in the winter, people don’t think about it too much, but when it snows, the snow reflects the sun back at you. 
Friday and Saturdays are typically show days. I'm normally up around 3:45 or 4 a.m. because I'll have a very early flight. I’ll usually bribe my dog Baby with a treat so she doesn’t wake up my partner. She absolutely loves Grandma Lucy’s Organic Banana & Sweet Potato oven-baked treats.
I love to shower and use Lush Cup O' Coffee Mask. The coffee wakes you up and the coffee grounds are hella exfoliating. I'll use that alongside their Buffy Bar, which is a shea-butter bar with coffee grounds in it. Or, I'll use my $100,000 Bar, which is a shea-butter bar with a fragrant, aromatic essential-oil blend. You can sense the theme: I’m trying to wake up! I’ll do the same skin-care routine then with Youth to the People and Sunday Riley products.
In addition, I’ll do some Sunday Riley Good Genes and get some of that lactic acid in there because we're really trying to get this skin primed. Then I'll do the Youth to the People Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Creme and Fenty Beauty Hydra Vizor Sunscreen for the flight.
When I get into town, I’m going to start with the Youth to the People Yerba Mate Resurfacing Energy Facial, which is a super-duper fine exfoliant. I wash that off with my favorite Superfood Cleanser. I will shave with a Harry’s razor followed by generic witch-hazel toner. Then I'll go and wash my face again, super lightly. I like to do a double cleanse when I's just my process. After that, I spray Adaptogen Mist, apply Dream Oil, then apply the tiniest bit of the Air-Whip Moisture Creme and then Youth to the People Superberry Dream Eye Cream. 
To exfoliate my lips, I love to use Kim Chi’s Mint Lip Scrub and then lather on Aquaphor, because Aquaphor is the tea, mama. I’ve used a lot of chapsticks and lip balms in my life, but Aquaphor is the one for me. To prime my face, I love Patrick Starrr’s Makeup Primer
Though makeup is always different, I’ll give you a few of my consistent faves. I do Anastasia Beverly Hills Foundation for my overall foundation and Smashbox Studio FX foundation around my perimeter. For my highlight, I use all liquid-based makeup: Juvia’s Place as my medium highlight and Makeup Revolution for extreme highlight. Then I do a cream contour by Fenty Beauty.  After, I set my makeup using Laura Mercier’s translucent powder. For eyebrows, I draw them on using NYX cosmetics That's The Point liquid eyeliner. For my eyes, I like to use BPerfect X The Vivienne Sceptre Palette. 
For lip liner, I love to use Patrick Starr's; it's actually a black eyeliner and texture-wise, it's sharp. I love the outer edge of my lip to be as sharp as possible. Then I'll start adding in Pat McGrath after that because I love how blendable her lip liners are. My lips are super full and have a lot of texture, so having a beautiful creamy lip liner underneath lipstick will prevent the lips from looking chapped or dry. For lipstick, I’ve been obsessed with the nude color "Goode" from the Christian Audette, x Gigi Goode Collection
Scents are super important to me. Since I’m going to be interacting with people at my shows, I like the full fantasy to extend. I love Lazy Sunday Morning by Maison Margiela perfume. If I want to level up — and want you to really smell me coming — I’ll wear Bamboo by Gucci.
When it comes to taking my makeup off, I start with the Fresh Seaberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil to break up all this makeup. I do four pumps, even though a single pump would do it for most people. I need to get all that makeup lifted and broken up until my face looks like I’m wearing a mud mask. Then, I use Patrick Starrr’s makeup wipes because they’re big and juicy. I'll cleanse with my classic Superfood Cleanser. If I want some extra care, I'll put on a Lush Rosy Cheeks Mask; it's full of rose petals and when it dries and you touch your face, you have the texture of a literal rose petal.
After that, I'll wash the mask off with Superfood Cleanser. Then, I'll repeat my usual routine of Pink Drink Mist, Luna Oil, and A+ Retinoid Serum. I finish off the makeup-removal process with Youth to the People Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream. I get into my silk pajamas and it's lights out for me.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

More from Celebs & Influencers

R29 Original Series