Skin Deep: Danai Gurira Doesn’t Do Contouring

Otherwise, I don’t wear a ton of makeup daily, but I do love to explore. The older I get, the more confident I am exploring.

My key things are eyeliner, some shadow and a gloss. Sometimes I put a base on over my Beauty Flash glow, but only if I need it. If I do, I use M.A.C. Matchmaster in Numbers 9 and 10. Eyeliner, I would say I have some good ones from M.A.C. M.A.C. also has some great eye shadow palettes I lean into. I have mascara by L’Oréal.

The one thing I don’t do is contour. I would never even attempt it. It’s partly because I leave that kind of stuff to the pros, but even when I’m working with makeup artists, I don’t like when they contour so much that I can’t see my face anymore. I want to see my face!


MAC Matchmaster makeup. Credit Harry Eelman for The New York Times


My hair is very short right now. I had a ’Fro until I started shooting “Black Panther.” For the movie, I went down to basically bald. In some way it’s been bald ever since. I love short hair. I think it can be a bold look. I like the user-friendliness of my hair now. There’s an ease to it.

But I think long hair can look beautiful as well. There is no one way. The beauty is in the variety. Actually, I’m trying to grow my hair out again, but then sometimes I have to cut it for a reshoot, so I’m back where I started.

I use a lot of Shea Moisture shampoos and conditioners. I have a variety. I travel so much that I have them in all of my travel things. I don’t use a ton of hair products, but if I do, I’m looking for something hydrating. I like the Moroccanoil sprays.


I don’t really wear fragrance. But sometimes I’ll use one that’s aromatic — I tend not to wear florals. I go for something like Le Labo Santal 33, which both men and women can use.

Other Services

I go for deep tissue massages. In L.A., I go to the Beverly Wilshire. They have fantastic services there, or sometimes I go to this Thai massage place in Echo Park.

Diet and Fitness

I don’t really think about it except that I try to eat as healthy as I can. I don’t do dairy, and I don’t do meat, but that’s about it. There’s a food delivery service I use when I’m on set. It’s called Brandi You’re a Fine Girl.

I work out regularly with a trainer — her name is AJ Fisher — and I love swimming. When I was in New York more, I would use the gym at N.Y.U., which was my alma mater. That’s where I had a good swim routine. I don’t find L.A. the easiest place to swim. I’m still looking for a great place there.

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On Beauty: Direct From Europe: High-Tech Holistic Skincare


Credit Mari Maeda and Yuji Oboshi

These days, plant-based beauty products are de rigueur Stateside. But the roots of many natural skin care solutions can be traced to Europe, where alternative medicine practitioners have been bottling botanical tinctures and homeopathic remedies for centuries. Take, for example, Rudolf Steiner — the Austrian scientist and philosopher launched his Weleda skin care range in the 1920s using flowers, herbs and other extracts cultivated on biodynamic farms. Or the Vienna-born chemist Rudolf Hauschka, who took inspiration from the rhythms of nature when co-creating his Dr. Hauschka line of essential-oil-spiked elixirs in 1967 — long before self-care Sundays were a thing.

Now, a new guard of European scientists and skin experts is combining an old-world respect for nature with the latest advancements in chemistry to perfect the skin. Newly arriving in the U.S. this month: The Cream and The Cream Rich ($265 each) from Augustinus Bader, a German university professor who has spent the last three decades working as a specialist in the field of regenerative medicine. In 2007, Bader developed a breakthrough hydrogel that eliminates the need for skin grafts in some burn patients (just one of the 200-plus patents he holds). Tapping into similar self-healing technology, his creams contain a complex of amino acids, vitamins and compounds that mimic those naturally found in the skin and help minimize everything from fine lines to redness to dark spots. “It takes skin care to the next level; it’s about achieving skin health through physiologic and innate ways,” Bader says. The collection is also boosted with evening primrose, avocado and argan oils — and it gives back. Part of the proceeds from the range will fund the Augustinus Bader Foundation, which provides free hydrogel treatments to clinics that treat burn victims.

German orthopedic surgeon Barbara Sturm, M.D., meanwhile, spent the early years of her medical training on the slopes, analyzing how professional skiers recover from injury and trauma. She discovered that quelling inflammation is the key to physical longevity, a theory that applies to the entire body — especially the skin. Inspired by this finding, she opened her first aesthetic clinic in Düsseldorf in 2004. Among her more experimental offerings is MC1, a bespoke anti-aging cream infused with patients’ own plasma (and for this, there is a lengthy waitlist). Next came a ready-made range of cleansers, creams and masks that aim to enhance youthfulness via fresh doses of purslane. The plant, says Dr. Sturm, has “potent anti-inflammatory, wound-healing and nutritive properties,” and also “extends cell life.” It’s pumped into all of her products, along with lab-derived actives like the hydrating long- and short-chain hyaluronic acids in her popular plumping serum Ampoules ($215), and the nontoxic UV filters in her Sun Drops ($145, currently sold out until spring). Her newest innovation: Anti-Pollution Drops, made with “an interesting new compound produced by marine microbes,” Dr. Sturm says. “It’s able to directly combat the effects of environmental pollution on the skin surface.”

Other complexion concerns — from stubborn acne to dullness — require looking beneath the surface, says Nigma Talib, a London-based naturopathic doctor. After suffering from eczema and digestive issues as a child, Dr. Talib eventually tried botanical supplements to balance her system rather than steroid creams and antacids. “In three to six months, I was 100 percent better,” she says. “I decided this was the type of doctor I wanted to be — one that looks at the root cause of illness.” Now, she’s leveraging her 18 years of experience to create holistic products that improve skin from the inside out: her Healthy Flora ($65) supplement contains probiotics and grapeseed oil to fight oxidative damage while her Hydrating and Plumping Serum No. 1 ($205) uses plant stem cells and light-water technology. “Most creams and serums are mainly made up of water,” Dr. Talib explains. “But we remove the heavy isotopes from the water molecule.” It’s a process that allows the ingredients to deeply penetrate the skin for more effective results, she says.

For most Europeans, the goal of skincare is natural-looking results, says Munich-based dermatologist Timm Golueke, M.D., who created his Royal Fern line to nurture skin by noninvasive means. Its star ingredient — Scottish fern — might be able to protect cellular DNA from the harmful effects of UV exposure, a detail Dr. Golueke uncovered in his reading of medical literature. He adds other botanicals to his products — including wild rose blossoms and sea buckthorn — to form an encapsulated complex that promises to deliver hydration, fight hyperpigmentation and soften fine lines gradually over time. In a nod to German efficiency, all of the formulas are multitasking: the Phytoactive Anti-Aging Serum ($295) and Phytoactive Anti-Aging Cream ($250), for example, are designed to firm, brighten and nourish. Such no-fuss solutions mesh well with the broader European perspective on aging, which hasn’t changed much over time. In Europe, says Dr. Golueke, aging “is really a term that implies taking care of oneself, eating well and exercising often.”

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Global Health: Petroleum Jelly May Reduce Risk of Eczema


Moisturizing babies’ skin everyday lowered their risk of developing the itchy, dry, scaly patches, above, that characterize eczema. Credit BSIP/UIG, via Getty Images

Applying inexpensive petroleum jelly to a new baby daily for the first six months of life may reduce the risk that the infant will develop eczema, which can be a lifelong torment, according to a new analysis.

Two studies done in newborns with relatives suffering from atopic dermatitis, the most common form of eczema, showed that rubbing moisturizer into their skin daily lowered their risk of developing the itchy, dry, scaly patches on their heads, arms and legs that characterize the disease.

Scientists at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine looked at seven common moisturizers and decided that petroleum jelly was the cheapest effective one; sunflower oil came in second.

Eczema affects over 10 percent of American children, and is more common in those with dark brown skin. Its prevalence in Africa is unknown, but anecdotally it is thought to be increasing there too.

The cause is also unknown, but it is often associated with allergies and with asthma, which is also more common among African-American children, and can be fatal. Itchiness often keeps children from sleeping, and scratching can lead to skin infections. Some poor families spend large sums on expensive creams to fight the disease. The study’s authors argued that health insurance should cover moisturizers.

The theory is that moisturizers “seal” a baby’s skin against some invader that triggers inflammation.

Bigger studies that last beyond infancy must be done to prove the concept, said Dr. Steve Xu, a dermatologist at the Feinberg School and lead author of the analysis published by JAMA Pediatrics last month. But, he said, the risk of moisturizing is minimal.

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