Beauty

Actor Gabrielle Union Shares Prime Magnificence Favorites


Author, actor, and producer are just the start of a long list of titles on Gabrielle Union’s résumé. She also counts herself a beauty and lifestyle entrepreneur, having founded brands like Proudly (with NBA Hall-of-Famer husband Dwyane Wade) and her namesake hair care line Flawless by Gabrielle Union, which she created with friend and longtime hairstylist Larry Sims.

gabrielle union

Knix

Now, as Knix’s newly installed global brand ambassador, she’s only expanding her influence. “I wish Knix existed when I was 13 and having accidents all over the place. Suffering that teenage humiliation of the perpetual sweater or jean jacket tied around my waist,” Union tells Bazaar. “But as I’ve gotten older and started dealing with perimenopause and all the other fun things that happen as we age, at every stage, Knix is great, because it’s created legitimately for us as folks who might leak in a number of ways. Come to find out as you age, you’re like, ‘Oh, didn’t know that was gonna happen!’ But that’s the beauty of Knix.”

gabrielle union

Knix

Bazaar caught up with the star for a closer look at Union’s regular product rotation and a few of her inner thoughts on growing older. From playtime with her five-year-old daughter, Kaavia, to the underrated power of turmeric soap, read on for a breakdown of some of the key things helping the actor age gracefully.


If you don’t mind sharing, how old are you?

I’m 51.

What age do you feel you are in your head?

Oh. [Laughs.] I think when I’m with my husband, I feel like I’m 35. But when I’m with my children, when I’m with Kaav or [17-year-old daughter] Zaya, I feel 51. I feel like I’ve been 51 for a long-ass time; my references are old as hell. But I have energy, and I try to keep my finger on the pulse, and you know, I try to stay good in most hoods as long as I can, which I think helps you stay youthful in spirit.

Do you have a beloved beauty product that you’ve worn for most of your life?

Oh gosh, no. I did not have a budget for most of my life. But actually, you know what? I take that back. I have been very loyal to L’Oréal’s Voluminous Mascara in Black Noir for decades, at this point. It goes on thick without it looking spidery, and it’s black. Sometimes the fancier ones—the who’s who, what’s what, or whatever—that you’re supposed to love and pay $50 for are either too light or get clumpy. I’m one of those people that’s like, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and I get sent a lot of makeup, but I love this one by L’Oréal Paris.

L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Mascara

Voluminous Original Mascara

Now 27% Off

Credit: Amazon

What aspects of your physical appearance do you love more now, as you’ve gotten older?

Hmm. My teeth. I got braces when I was 12, and between my parents and me, I’ve always had good dental insurance, and I’ve been able to take care of my teeth. A lot can go wrong in your mouth, and I really appreciate that my teeth and gums have been working with me for all these years. It could’ve gone so south, so I am thankful for my teeth, and my gum health.

Which beauty products would you say have aged well?

You know what? Turmeric soap. I had a couple of aunts who used it, and I was like: Huh. But it would always leave white washcloths orange. And I was like, “Well, that’s another step. I don’t want to have to bleach my towels,” so I figured that was for the older ladies. And now that I am an older lady, I do like turmeric soap! And I think turmeric soap got a new publicist, because it’s everywhere—on TikTok, and now I’ve infected your algorithm, so you’re going to start seeing a lot of dental care and turmeric soap.

Dove Turmeric Milk & Lemon Drop Plant Milk Cleansing Bar Soap (Pack of 4)

Turmeric Milk & Lemon Drop Plant Milk Cleansing Bar Soap (Pack of 4)

Please give us a quick breakdown of your current beauty routine.

This would be for when I’m not working on camera, but as a producer and in the other parts of my life as a business owner. If I can avoid heat, that’s what I’m gonna do. So, Flawless has a glaze—it is a hero. A shero, if you will. It took the longest for us to develop—like, years to perfect it—and it is perfect. It is a perfect hair glaze, and I’m addicted to it. That is my hero; I use that every day. I throw my hair into a bun and keep it pushing.

If I’m not working, I don’t want to put on makeup. I recently bought Dr. Brandt’s Needles No More No More Baggage Eye De-Puffing Gel after seeing it on TikTok, and I’ll use that to bring down my allergy swelling. Then, I’ll add a little of my L’Oréal mascara, and of course, I start with a little turmeric soap.

Styling Glaze

Flawless by Gabrielle Union Styling Glaze
Credit: Amazon

Needles No More No More Baggage Eye De-Puffing Gel

Dr. Brandt Needles No More No More Baggage Eye De-Puffing Gel
Credit: Ulta

Banana Bright 15% Vitamin C Serum

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright 15% Vitamin C Serum
Credit: Sephora

On Sale

Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

CosRx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

Now 45% Off

Credit: Amazon

ReBalance Daily Moisturizer

PCA Skin ReBalance Daily Moisturizer
Credit: Bluemercury

On Sale

Regenerist Night Recovery Cream

Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Cream

Now 12% Off

Credit: Amazon

Sakura Eau de Parfum

Dior Sakura Eau de Parfum
Credit: Dior

Goddess Eau de Parfum

Burberry Goddess Eau de Parfum
Credit: Ulta

I’ve been using a lot of the skincare that I’ve been gifted—I don’t want to just give it away, I want to see if any of it works! So, I’ve been trying different serums and things, including one from Ole Henriksen. It’s pretty nice, I cannot lie. I’ve been trying to go for the glass skin of it all, so I’ve also been using CosRx’s snail mucin, and then I bought this turmeric oil that I layer on after my PCA Skin moisturizer. At night, I use Olay. And for fragrance, I love Sakura by Dior, as well as Burberry Goddess, which is neck and neck with Sakura right now.

A lot of conversations around aging seem to lead to injectables and plastic surgery. What are your thoughts on the topic?

I’m like, baby, what someone else does, does not impact the price of my bills. So, I think everyone should do what they want to do—if you like it, I love it. For myself, I’ve tried all kinds of shit. Some things don’t work—like, my body absorbs Botox like Skittles, so that’s not really an option for me, because it doesn’t last. What I love more than anything are PRP facials, when they extract your blood and then put it back into your skin. I’m open.

Today, I’m like, “What else do I need?” because it seems like every day there’s a new thing. But it really is each individual’s personal choice. I’ve seen some friends where I’m like, “Oooh, okay! You really went for it!” And then I have some friends where I’m like, “Have you thought about…?” But it’s such a personal thing—it’s your face. However you feel best, you should go for that. I’m trying to go for glass skin, which I didn’t even know was a thing until a couple of months ago. I may end up looking like an oil slick, I don’t know. But I’m going to try. Why not?

I’m the last person to be judging anybody for what they do for their bodies, and how they live their lives. Again, if you like it, I love it. I used to be more judgy, and then it’s like, Who gives a shit? I think it’s also about educating yourself more on finding people who have the aesthetic that you’re looking for. I used to want to look like other people when I was young, but now I want to look like myself.

What keeps you feeling vibrant and youthful?

You know how the kids say, “You outside?” I truly mean like out in nature. I love being outside, even if it’s just in my backyard, going hiking. Me and Kaav went horseback riding the other day—I really love being outside. Now, do pollen and I have a hate-hate relationship that kind of jacks that up a bit? Yes, but that doesn’t stop me. Also, traveling! I try to learn as much as I can; I am a student of history. Having a thirst for knowledge and an appreciation for different cultures, languages, and different parts of the world, it energizes me—I cannot get enough. I’m eager beaver on the plane. I’m eager beaver the whole time [we’re on a trip].

Many people fear growing older. In your opinion, what is the best part about it?

For me, I don’t give a shit—I just don’t! I don’t give a shit. It started in my 40s, where you have your basket of fucks and you slowly start to empty them. In your mind, it feels like the world is going to end if you don’t care deeply about what everyone thinks about every single thing. And then, you realize the world keeps on ticking.

You might be news for 2.5 seconds, but ultimately, no one cares. So do exactly what you want to do, and say no. Don’t say yes to be courteous if you don’t want to go. I say no, hell no, fuck no, never no, and I only say yes to the things I really want to do. And I’m gonna show up with a good attitude, and I’m not going to be looking for the exit. I just started living for myself, and it freed me. It really felt like a gorilla hopped off my back.

You’re carrying not only whatever pressure you put on yourself, but you’re also carrying the pressure of your family and community. At times, they want to put people in the spotlight, and you have to speak for a whole group of people, and it can feel like a lot of pressure. And the older I get, I’m like, I don’t care. As long as it doesn’t hurt me or my family, I’m gonna get these jokes off, and I’m going to do exactly what I want to do. And I’m going to wear the tiniest of bikinis literally until death. I will be face down in the casket in a thong bikini.

Lettermark

Tiffany Dodson is currently the associate beauty commerce editor at Harper’s Bazaar, where she specializes in trend forecasting, building relationships with major and emerging brands, and crafting shopping stories—from holiday gift guides to product road tests. Tiffany’s work has previously been featured in outlets like SELF, Bustle, and Teen Vogue, and she’s been quoted as a commerce and beauty expert in publications and platforms like The Business of Fashion and NPR’s Life Kit podcast.





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