Aja Naomi King on Using Beauty as a Tool of Self-Care
For Aja Naomi King, Beauty Means "Holding Space For Me"
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Image Source: Getty / Kristy Sparow / Stringer
If Aja Naomi King could give her 20-year-old self any advice, it would be to get more sleep. "Why are you staying up? You don't need to be awake right now," she tells POPSUGAR, laughing.
That is the first of many wellness-adjacent lessons King has learned throughout her decade-long career. As one of the faces of L'Oréal Paris, she has become keenly aware of the role that beauty can play in her life and is now embracing using it as a tool to take time for herself as she navigates her many roles. But as a child, a special person introduced her to the idea of using it as a form of self-care: her mother. "I would watch her transform in the mirror as if to say, 'This is who I am,'" King says. "Putting on her makeup was a part of that mantra. It was a key part in crafting that persona that was going to allow her to lead with confidence."
As an actor, King — who admits to never really having a skin-care routine — had a bit of a trial by fire and had to create one, quickly. "When I was first starting out, I didn't realize the massive amount of makeup that would be applied to my face while filming every day," she says. "I had to really learn how to combat that, and I did so by taking care of my skin and making it a priority." Her favorite product to use? The L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Hyaluronic Acid Serum ($16). "Drinking [water] is key, but using a product that also ensures moisture and hydration for my skin has been incredible," she says. "I have a whole Revitalift replumping routine to ensure that my skin's health is a top priority."
"My morning skin-care routine, and my beauty routine every evening before going to bed — that can be about me."
Motherhood has only further shown King the importance of having a dedicated beauty routine, and she has realized she doesn't have to give up those moments of self-care to be a good parent. "When I first had my child, I definitely felt like I had to sacrifice me — everything — for him," she says. "I realized with the help of my family that that wasn't healthy."
Instead, she leaned into what made her happy before motherhood: "The routines and the things that I found before had to be even more of a priority. It was so essential to carve out that time for myself. My morning skin-care routine, and my beauty routine every evening before going to bed — that can be about me. I can use those times to look at and check in with myself, take care of my skin, and make sure that I'm not just holding space for him, but that I'm also holding space for me."
The life of an actor can be uncertain, and while King has a few more projects in the works, the one thing she can count on is her "me" time. "When you figure out the thing that works for your skin, you just feel so good about yourself," she says. "No matter what, that's the thing you don't have to worry about. My skin is in check, and I did the damn thing." That, she did.