Jessica Pimentel Reveals Surprising Beauty Secrets From the Set of OITNB

Work can be stressful. A long day can leave you feeling like someone spit you out. In her role as Maria Ruiz on Netflix’s hugely popular Orange Is the New Black, Jessica Pimentel experiences that a lot. It may be a show that’s technically a comedy-drama, but her character undeniably has some very dark, heavy scenes as she describes as “grueling” to shoot. [Season 5 of the show returns summer 2017; they are currently in production.] The Brooklyn-born actress chatted with us and shared how she deals with that stress, the makeup methods that go into the characters’ “make-unders” and the semi-crazy beauty-related thing she does every hour.

The way she deals with post-set stress:
“I try to make sure I leave my character in the trailer before I go home. This season is extremely heavy, extremely dark and really violent—it’s going to make Season 4 look like a ride in Disneyland. It’s very grueling to shoot. I just had off two episodes and I really felt like, for the first time, I needed that break. It’s also very physical to shoot. My costars and I have a hash tag, #OrangeIstheNewBlackandBlue, and we started posting our black-and-blue we got on set. Every day we were coming out bruised. But once the day is over, I have to leave it there. I find whatever is the exact opposite music we were playing on-set that day and I crank it up in my trailer. I take Maria’s clothes and put them away and I leave the character there. I also try to make some nice plans after—whether it’s meeting up with friends for coffee, or seeing my mom or just watching a movie. You need to have something else after. You have to let go of that stuff or else it builds up on you.”

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The skin care routine she credits for “glowing” skin:
“I keep it pretty simple. I try to find really good skin care products. It’s where things begin and end. I know a lot of people focus on lines, wrinkles and sagginess and I think a lot of that can be curtailed with a solid skin care routine. I take off my makeup with straight-up coconut oil or Garnier oil cleanser or their makeup-removing pads. I think it’s very important to take that crud off at the end of the day. For the daytime, I use a very simple sulfur soap with a brush tool to get at the pores. Then, I have my special occasion products: a cleanser from LiftLab or the Grand Central Beauty S.M.A.R.T Skin Perfecting Polisher ($38). I think it’s good to have good-quality products, but not everything has to be expensive.”

The on-set steps for her makeup make-under:
“The same goes for makeup. I like Laura Mercier primer, and then I use a good foundation. But you don't need a lot of makeup for a good glow if you have good skin care. We usually have to be made-under on set, so most of us go to work with a clean face. The makeup artists use a lot of CoverFX and Giorgio Armani—things like that—and they do their thing. It is kind of fun to be made-under.”

The beauty trend she thinks is getting out of hand:
“I think these prominent eyebrows are getting a little out of hand. I have strong eyebrows, but they don’t work for everyone. And people are throwing a new face on their face, when it should be about just accentuating what you have. It’s a little too much. A lot of people don’t have a good eye—it’s kind of a collective, dimorphic disorder. We’re going to look back on this makeup trend one day and say, ‘What were we doing?’ We’re losing a lot of our natural beauty. People put on more makeup to go to the store than I put on to go on the red carpet! And for what? It all washes down the drain.”

The Brooklyn beauty stop she’ll never skip:
“I have my stash of Dominican hair ladies. That will never ever go away. People think because I’m on TV, I go somewhere fancy. No. I need my Dominican blowout with my hot rollers and gossip.”

The one product she always uses before a photo shoot:
Grand Central Beauty S.M.A.R.T. Skin-Perfecting Mask ($75). It almost turns to rubber. It’s really, really amazing. If I have a photo shoot, I’ll do it the night before. It takes out the dirt, smooths out the pores. You get an airbrushed effect from it.”

The beauty-related thing she does every hour:
“Water, water, water. I try to drink a pint of water an hour. I don’t always succeed, but I try.”