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It seems as though every day there’s a new ingredient that’s being touted as the most powerful when it comes to skincare. As a beauty director, my inbox is cluttered with pitches about products that boast lofty claims, such as “instantly brightens” or “eliminates wrinkles.” But whenever I find myself in the presence of my elders and we are talking about beauty, there are only a handful of products they’ve trusted on their bodies for years. And Vaseline has always been a staple, especially for many older black women, just like JoAni Johnson.
Johnson is a 67-year-old model and she fully embraces her “ageless” look. The gray-haired stunner walked her first runway at 65 and has since racked up fashion credits that include strutting in designer Ozwald Boateng’s show at the iconic Apollo Theater and appearing in Pyer Moss and Fenty fashion campaigns.
Standing confidently at 5’4-and-a-half inches (sans heels), I couldn’t help but be enamored by Johnson’s long silver locks, super-smooth skin and powerful aura. Even though she started her catwalk career later in life, she’s well aware of how the beauty industry can promote products that don’t work. Her advice to companies is simple: “Tell the truth.”
“Not everything is going to look great on you. Not every single product — except for Vaseline — will work. So many things are hyped, and especially, when you have a captive audience and you tell them this is going to make you look younger, and it won’t,” she adds.
One of Johnson’s earliest beauty memories involves watching her great-grandmothers do their beauty regimens in the mirror. They’d use Vaseline as a moisturizer and makeup remover, along with cold cream. So it makes perfect sense that she would partner with the brand for their new #ListenToYourMoms campaign.
Having witnessed how good ol’ Vaseline has worked for the women in her family for generations, Johnson still swears by it today. “I happen to use products, on both my skin and hair, that have shea butter. But then I coat my [skin] with Vaseline. Because shea butter gets absorbed into my skin. So I need something to put on top of that to hold the moisture in,” she explains.
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