You know those skin-care and beauty products that you use until the very last drop? The ones that you’ve spent entire brunches/text threads/email chains, telling your friends about? They’re the best of the best…so amazing that you’d never risk putting them in a piece of checked luggage. At Well+Good, we call those our Beauty VIPs (you know, Very Important Products). In this series, we ask women in wellness and the public eye what beauty products they use every single day and why—with an entire Internet of options to choose from—these items stand out.
Just listen to one episode of the New York Times’ Still Processing podcast, which Jenna Wortham co-hosts with Wesley Morris, or read one of her features in the New York Times Magazine, and you’ll wish the endlessly cool, super-smart journalist could join you at your next dinner party. No doubt, she’d arrive wearing her effortless-looking beauty uniform: a bold red lip and seriously chic frames.
The style icon’s other beauty musts, you ask? She swears that self-care in the form of a solid night’s sleep is where the magic starts—but before hitting the pillow she likes to wash her face with a celebrity-approved sudser she picked up from Pharrell. Here, all the products in her regimen that she absolutely can’t live without.
Keep reading to see the beauty products Jenna Wortham uses every day.
“Red is one of my signature colors. It’s powerful, attention-getting, and confidence-boosting. I love a powerful lip. It’s a subtle red, but one that says—’I’m here to do business’, ‘Cut this deal’, ‘Get to the bottom of a situation’,” she tells me. “It pops at night and also looks cute at an 8 a.m. meeting. I keep an extra at my desk at work for when I need a little confidence boost.”
“My skin is acne-prone, so I always keep a little vial of this essential oil in my makeup bag and Dopp kit so I can add a little to my face moisturizer in the mornings and after workouts. It works better than most acne treatments and the scent relaxes me.”
“The tiniest amount goes the longest way. Gold is another one of my power colors, and it makes me feel indestructible,” she says. “It also suits every moment where you need a little shimmer, whether an important breakfast meeting or a late-night turn-up.”
“I bought this because Pharrell listed it as a secret to his youthful looks,” she tells me. “It doubles as a light face wash and a mask, and will clear up your complexion in a pinch.”
“I like to buff my body once a week, regardless of the season. The feeling is just so cathartic—literally scrubbing off the residue of the day in order to start anew,” Wortham says.
“I travel a lot for work, and my skin likes to freak out when I change states or countries. This gel is cooling and smells medicinal in a lovely way,” she says. “It keeps my skin hydrated and clear no matter how much I’m on the road.”
“This is a miracle worker. No matter how my hair looks when I wake up, this coaxes it into a cute curl pattern and shape. It smells delicious—like burnt sugar and vanilla,” Wortham tells me. “I also love this company, which is black-owned and based in Baltimore. I like supporting women-of-color businesses whenever I can.”