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Actress, director, producer, and mother Mindy Kaling understands that self-care is easier said than done. Whether it comes from a place of necessity or pure boredom, the buzzword can sometimes feel selfish—but over the years, Kaling has completely shifted how she feels about the concept.
"Before I had kids, I had more free time, more disposable income, and my idea of self-care was going on a trip for a few nights or heading to the spa. I used to be very conscious of the term self-care, because I was worried it seemed self-indulgent," she says. "But in the last couple of years, I've started to really embrace it. It doesn't have to be a big thing, and it's really the simplest things that have such a unique power to elevate your mood."
Of course, this can look like different things for different people, but for Kaling, it really winds down to the power of aromatherapy—and a good bath. "Now more than ever, I appreciate the simplicity of soaking myself in a bubble bath at the end of a long day. All I have to do is give myself 20 minutes to relax where my kids can't interrupt me, and it feels like a mini vacation," she says.
Enter: The Happy Place, a limited-edition, fragrant bath and body collection she designed in collaboration with Unilever to represent, well, her happy place. (You can shop the collection now in Walmart stores and on Walmart.com until August.) In honor of the launch, we spoke with Kaling about everything from her favorite fragrances to the importance of de-stigmatizing mental health, plus some upcoming projects that she's most excited about.
How do the Find Your Happy Place scents reflect your lifestyle?
MK: All the Find Your Happy Place fragrances were designed to evoke the carefree and celebratory feelings of summer. The fragrances remind me of all the things I love most about the season, like escaping to Malibu for the weekend, fun summer night plans, and going to the beach with my kids.
What is the best beauty or self-care tip you learned from someone—and/or would like to pass on to someone?
Mindy Kaling: It sounds so obvious, but over the years I've learned the importance of taking off my makeup at the end of the day, including every single tiny bit of stubborn eyeliner and mascara. Even when it might feel like the last thing I want to do before climbing into bed, it's really the best thing you can do for your skin.
What does your body care routine look like?
MK: I never used to pay much attention to body exfoliation, but a good scrub is a staple in my body care routine now. Currently, I use the Find Your Happy Place Just Wanna Have Sun! Body Scrub a few times a week. After my bath or shower, I always moisturize—and obviously sunscreen is a must on any exposed parts of my body.
What kind of scents are you naturally drawn to?
MK: I guess it really depends on my mood and the moment. In the morning at home, I enjoy uplifting fragrances—anything citrus or fruity to wake me up. At night before bed, I love a calming floral scent like lavender or eucalyptus.
Do you have a particular scent that connects to a personal happy memory for you?
MK: The moment I smell fruity, citrus scents, it's like I'm transported to my Malibu house for a long weekend in the summer. Summertime really is my happy place. I have a June birthday, so it's always been such a carefree and celebratory time in my life—I've built up so many good memories associated with the summer. But I love spending time in Malibu specifically—it's somewhere me, my family, and friends have always gotten together and like to make new memories.
What kind of changes would you like to see happen in the mental health space?
MK: It's really important to me that seeking support for mental health is destigmatized, particularly within the Asian community, where it's typically frowned upon. In my Netflix show Never Have I Ever, we made the conscious decision to show an Indian-American teenager seeing a therapist to recover from the grief of losing her father, and that her immigrant mother is fully supportive of that.
What's an upcoming project that you're most excited about?
MK: I'm so excited for my new animated show Velma, which is coming soon to HBO Max. It's the origin story of Velma Dinkley from Scooby-Doo—she's smart, funny, confident, and a fabulous detective. I honestly loved voicing her character.