REDBOOK: You often wear wigs, but we love seeing you with your gorgeous natural hair. How do you care for it?
VIOLA DAVIS: In between shampoos, I apply a co-wash, which is a conditioning cream. My favorite is the As I Am Coconut one, because it seals in moisture. I leave the cream in my hair for 30 minutes, then rinse it out. I use it on my daughter, too.
RB: Tell us about your skin-care regimen.
VD: I'm addicted to skin care-I can't even tell you how many products I own! I used to think there was no difference between day cream and night cream; now I use both, plus an eye cream. After I finish a day of filming, I clean my skin on set with a hot towel and L'Oréal Paris Eye Makeup Remover. Then when I get home, I wash my face again. I love SheaMoisture African Black Soap.
RB: What's your best makeup skill?
VD: I'm an expert at putting on false lashes. And when I was at Juilliard, I took a makeup class on how to contour. When I make the effort to do it, I'm pretty good at it, but sometimes the only effort I can drum up is to make a cocktail.
RB: When you have time off, how do you like to relax?
VD: I remove all signs of work-no makeup, no wig- and I do what people do every day. I love going to the grocery store, or to Target or the mall. I'll just walk around, but I never shop. I can't spend $2,000 on a bag-to me, that's like spending $25 on a chocolate bar.
RB: How did you get involved in the Vaseline Healing Project, which works with the Direct Relief organization to provide medical care to people in need worldwide?
VD: I come from poverty, so I was amazed to learn that one of the biggest issues for people living in extreme poverty is skin infections, and how much petroleum jelly can help with that. I think what stops people from participating in charity service is that they think they have to do something big. My husband taught me, "You do what is at your hand to do." You can go online to vaseline.us/thehealingproject and, in two minutes, donate a relief kit to this cause.
RB: It's a nice reminder that skin care isn't all cosmetic.
VD: Exactly. This movement is about treating the skin health of people living in vulnerable conditions so they can get well again. Personally, I've used Vaseline all my life-when you have dark skin, it really helps with ashy knees. I slather it on my lips, feet, even under my eyes, and I rub it on my daughter's skin after her bath. It's funny because as a child, the first word I learned to spell was Vaseline, because it was always around our house.
Above from left:
L'Oréal Paris Eye Makeup Remover, $6.99.
As I Am Coconut CoWash, $8.99.
Vaseline Jelly Original, $1.69 for 1.75 oz.
Tom Ford Lip Color Matte in Velvet Cherry, $52. "I love Tom Ford lipsticks, especially their deep shades."-Viola