Beloved Scandal actress—and skincare aficionado—Kerry Washington is a wearer of many hats, and being a Neutrogena brand ambassador is only one of them. And we’re grateful for that—since it means we had the opportunity to catch up with her about her skincare secrets, including her most coveted tips and tricks. Washington gives Prevention the lowdown on how she keeps her complexion glowing thanks to her favorite products—including the one she loves so much that she just had to share it with strangers while on a recent vacation (more on that later).
With summer skincare top of mind, Washington sat down with Prevention to discuss all things healthy skin and suncare, her passion for activism in the skincare space—and some funny personal stories along the way.
“SPF is part of my daily ritual,” Washington says of her skincare routine. “It’s just really, really important to start to fold it into your routine and not think of SPF as the cherry on the sundae but the sundae itself, right?” Right! The (sun)screen queen has long been open about her passion for sun protection and is eager to help people understand that skin cancer is preventable. After all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and recommends sunscreen use as a preventative measure.
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Her interest in suncare education is just one reason why Washington is proud to work with the brand. “In the last couple of years, I’ve gotten to do some really fun things like In The Sun, our award-winning documentary,” Washington highlights. The Emmy award-winning actress produced the documentary-style film to help dispel the belief that people, particularly in communities of color, don’t need sun protection—which can be extremely harmful. The film creates awareness around skin and sun health through first person and expert accounts, to inspire people toward better suncare habits.
She adds, “We want everybody to look beautiful—It’s a beauty company,” she says. “But that really is coming from somewhere much deeper. It’s coming from this place of health and wellness.”
So, what’s the star’s favorite SPF at the moment? “I’m a little torn,” she admits, but ultimately ends up gushing about the entire Invisible Daily Defense Line. “I love that this line is actually called Invisible Daily Defense, because SPF is not just for the beach,” Washington explains. “Our Beach Defense is amazing for that time when you know you’re gonna be extra exposed, but we really have to be incorporating SPF into our daily routine: The serum on your face, the lotion on your hands, having a stick in your purse, in the car.”
It’s true: Washington loves the Invisible Daily Defense sunscreen lotion so much that she even shares it with strangers! “I actually was on vacation last summer and there was a couple next to me that didn’t have SPF with them,” she recalls. “I was like: ‘Oh I have one!’ and I shared my Invisible Daily Defense with them.” She even let them keep it. “I felt like I had to say, ‘just ya know, I work for the company!’ I didn’t want them to feel like they had been harangued into something, but I’m really proud of the line,” the star notes.
“It is truly invisible on any skin tone, which is such a huge feat,” she says. “That it’s water resistant is incredible.” The entire line is expertly formulated with antioxidants like vitamin E to further fight free radicals, pollution, cold, and ozone. The products also help lend a radiant, glowy finish to the skin—much like Washington’s—while leaving it super soft and smooth, too.
While sun protection is one of the most important aspects of her skincare routine, Washington also revealed some personal tips to account for her signature healthy glow.
Step one? Hydration. Drinking water is really important,” the self-proclaimed moisture aficionado emphasizes. “It’s about hydration, hydration, hydration!”
Double cleansing is also a staple in the skincare guru’s routine. “It’s all about cleansing…so I love to use the wipes and then I love to use a cleanser.” Washington explains that she switches up her cleansers depending on the time of day, and right now she leans toward the Hydroboost Cleanser in the morning and a deeper cleanse at night with the Ultra Gentle Hydrating (Creamy) Cleanser. “And then I’m all about a serum,” she continues. “I mean the right serum can multitask in so many ways: hydration, primer, SPF. So that for me is important.”
While the actress is passionate about the basics, Washington offered a few more skincare secrets (and we were captivated). Enter: skincare superstars retinol and vitamin C. The retinol (see: Rapid Wrinkle Repair) is “super accessible, easy to use—it’s a great entry product for people who haven’t done a lot of retinol but want to try it out,” she explains. She also loves the vitamin C capsules that are “fantastic for renewing and refreshing the skin.”
Washington leaves us with one final tip: facial massage. “For me, facial massage is really big and important,” the star mentions. “Because it really is a way to kind of stimulate the cells in the face and wake up your facial muscles, and get the blood moving.”
We sure hope you’re taking notes on all these amazing skincare tips, tricks, and recommendations, because we sure are. Below, easily find the skincare superstar’s most-loved products, so we can all get that Kerry Washington glow.
Shannen Zitz is a Freelance Editorial Assistant at Prevention who recently graduated from the State University of New York at Cortland with an English degree. She loves all things fashion, beauty, and wellness. If she’s not reading or writing, you can probably find her frequenting the skincare and makeup forums on Reddit.