Scarlett Johansson Follows a Very Relaxed Skincare Regimen

Celebrities, influencers, and Bustle readers share their personal skin journeys—the good, the bad, and everything in between—in Bustle’s Pore Decisions. Scarlett Johansson reflects on the numerous acne treatments she’s tried in this passage.

Scarlett Johansson answers without hesitation when I ask her about her earliest skin-care memory. When she was 12 years old and filming The Horse Whisperer, the makeup artist commented, “Whoa, you’ve got Mount Vesuvius on your forehead,” she recalls. “I remember I started to get pre-teen acne at that time.” He gave her the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, which she used on her pimples for the first time, saying, “It was so devastating and made me feel so bad about myself.” Johansson observes, “That actually works pretty well.

In an effort to control her acneic skin, the actor and entrepreneur has practically tried every purported breakout-busting remedy known to man 25 years later. Johansson discovered a crucial lesson during that time: Contrary to popular belief, treating your skin with acids and scrubs will not effectively treat acne. It’s all about using barrier-fortifying formulas to gently nourish your skin back to its healthy, thriving state.

Johansson wanted to develop a line of essential skin care products that would keep your face happy and moisturized, and that’s exactly how her skin care line The Outset came to be. There isn’t a particular beauty ideal that we’re trying to push, she says, and it’s not intended to make you look like someone else. “Really, it’s so that you can have the best possible skin,”

Johansson talks exclusively with Bustle ahead of time about her skin care regimen, her opinion of eye cream, and the reason she dislikes facials.

On Her Approach To Skin Care

“I definitely adopt a ‘less is more’ philosophy. I believe I’ve learned to be kinder to my skin because I have acne-prone skin and have had acne for a very long time. I’ve definitely stopped examining every pore in the magnifying mirror. I used to be incredibly judgmental of what was happening. Since I was spending less time staring at my face and prodding it, as well as generally feeling happier with what I have, my skin actually improved.

On The Best Beauty Advice She’s Ever Received

“My mother used to tell me not to go to bed with makeup on because I would wear so much for work. I know it’s a no-brainer, but I still have friends who don’t wash their skin before bed. I always wash my face — it’s just a part of my daily care, no matter how late it is, how late the party went, or whatever.

On Her Acne Journey

I began taking care of my face with whatever was in style when I was a teenager. There was that purple toner I used, and Clinique was a really big brand. Probably the St. Ives Apricot Scrub was possibly the worst acne treatment I’ve ever used.

I’ve experimented with a lot. I’ve tried applying pure tea tree oil directly to my skin and taking charcoal tablets in the past. That was the pits. It only causes skin burns. Later, I used a lot of harsh, stripping chemicals simultaneously for a long time without realizing it. I would apply vitamin C first, then glycolic acid on top of that, then retinol. I believe the excessively complicated skin care regimen I followed greatly unbalanced my skin. I was also a pimple popper, of course — with my own, other people’s, and family members’ pimples — and I’m excellent at extractions. Are there any chairs in the adjacent space? [Laughs.]

Currently, whenever I break out, I usually exfoliate with the newest Micro-Polish [by The Outset], clean the affected area, and apply something salicylic acid-containing.

On Eye Cream

“You’ve got to use an eye cream,’ enough people said in my life because I had never found an eye cream that I thought was worthwhile. Since both my husband, Colin Jost, and Kate Foster, co-founder of The Outset, were using one, I suppose I developed FOMO. Then, when we began working on the [Outset] eye cream’s product development, I decided it was worthwhile to dedicate myself to. I adore Colin’s statement that “Now I’m known as this eye cream guy.

On Beauty Treatments

“My skin care regimen is very simple. Although I never used any of those high-tech devices, I did own a Clarisonic for a while. I avoid getting facials because I’m afraid of them. I just worry that something terrible will happen.

On Body Care

I use an exfoliating wash and moisturize my skin after I take a shower, treating my body in a manner very similar to how I treat my face. I probably break a major rule by taking a scorching hot shower, for which I receive a reprimand rather than a burn. Every time, Colin asks, “What’s wrong with you? How are you able to feel anything?

I adore oil, and I enjoy applying coconut oil to my skin. By my bed, I keep a hand cream. I did purchase a dry brush, but I don’t believe it is working. It makes my skin look so dry, but I have one if you want it. I was duped into buying it because it was one of those purchases where I was like, “Oh, that’s cute.” There won’t be a dry brush introduction from The Outset.

Shop Scarlett Johansson’s Skin Care Picks

Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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