Confession: For about six months after its launch, I had no idea The Outset was the brainchild of actress Scarlett Johansson... which is wild considering I've seen every single Marvel movie, exclusively listened to Anywhere I Lay My Head (Johansson's 2008 Tom Waits cover album) the first semester of my freshman year in college, and have definitely worn the pink Charlotte from Lost in Translation wig for multiple Halloweens. Also? I'm Well+Good's editorial commerce director, so, I should probably know these things.
But in a way, my ignorance makes sense. The Outset is very much Johansson's, but it's purposely un-flashy and un-tied to the celeb. You won't see the 38-year-old influencing you from her Instagram or TikTok (partially because she doesn't have either), and if you visit The Outset's website, the hero image shows skin tones and complexions that belong to a variety of different un-famous faces. That's because at its core, The Outset is a skin-care line designed to treat all skin types with thoughtful, minimalist ingredients. It just happens to also be a celebrity skin-care line that belongs to Johansson.
It's been exactly one year since The Outset launched, and to celebrate, the brand dropped its eighth product: the Purifying Blue Clay Mask ($46), a clarifying mask that uses potent—yet gentle—ingredients to minimize pores, combat hyper-oiliness, and even out your complexion. It's also The Outset's first treatment product, which Johansson was excited to introduce to customers.
"It's the first product we're introducing that's designed to give you a little 'me-time' while you use it," Johansson explains to W+G over email. "So while it's detoxifying my skin in the most gentle way possible, I also get a nice 10-minute reset moment to slow down and take a beat."
I tested it out myself this week, finding ten minutes to slather it on, re-watch an old episode of Modern Family, and lay back while the blue clay worked its magic on my stressed-out skin.
I love a masking moment because it really forces me to hit the "pause" button (it's hard to get a lot done with wet goo on your face), and I love how this one in particular gave me that moment while also helping to soothe my over-sensitized, broken out skin.
"We wanted to create something universal that would be an easy addition to anyone's skin-care routine," says Johansson. The product pulls this off with its all-star ingredient list, which includes Hyaluroset™ Complex (the brand's proprietary botanical version of hyaluronic acid that infuses skin with long-lasting hydration), blue clay (this gently dries skin and soaks up oils and dirt, which can help fight and prevent blemishes), niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3 that brightens skin), salicylic acid (an acid that reduces redness and inflammation and is often used in acne treatments), and pansy extract (another ingredient that calms down irritation).
And it delivers on its promises. The morning after sampling the mask, my skin was brighter, smoother, and more even, and the zits on my chin had considerably shrunk. Unlike most clay formulations—which can be pretty harsh, especially for sensitive and naturally dry skin—this one didn't leave my skin dry and tight afterward—instead, it felt and looked more plump and nourished.
"Huh, this actually worked," I found myself thinking—which is apparently a sentiment Johansson hears a lot from shoppers. "One of the most amazing things we’re seeing happen is that we’re getting 'ACTUALLY-ed' a lot. Once people try the product, they fall in love—we get a lot of 'it ACTUALLY works' and our consumers are saying their skin has never felt better," she explains.
If you're intrigued by The Outset but aren't sure where to start, then you're in luck: You only have six other products to choose from (the Firming Vegan Collagen Prep Serum, the Ultralight Moisture-Boosting Oil, the Nourishing Squalane Daily Moisturizer, the Restorative Niacinamide Night Cream, the Smoothing Vitamin C Eye + Expression Lines Cream, the Gentle Micellar Antioxidant Cleanser, and the Nourishing Squalane Daily Moisturizer). To minimize packaging (and save cash!), you can purchase earth-friendly refillable pouches of each product. The brand's entire ethos is simplicity—once you find what works for your skin, Johansson's theory is that you don't need to muss and fuss with dozens of bottles.
"A curated set of products that are easy to use and stick to will always work better for my skin than an overcomplicated routine with a lot of products that could irritate my skin," Johansson says.
Basically? What you see is what you get with The Outset, and the fact that it's Johansson (and her A-list skin) behind it is one of many things worth loving about the brand.
Purchase a jar of Purifying Blue Clay Mask online or ask for it during your next facial at Heyday.
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