CBD skin care has become ubiquitous at this point, but one brand stands out among the rest for its fun, playful packaging that perfectly mimics its name: Happy Dance. And of course the woman responsible for bringing this concept to life is none other than actress and former NewBeauty cover star Kristen Bell, who emits the most radiant, contagious energy, which I have witnessed firsthand on a few Zoom events with the brand. This week, we met again to preview Happy Dance’s expansion in facial skin care (as well as 900 Ulta Beauty stores) with the launch of Look Alive Face Moisturizer, available now. Here’s the scoop.
What inspired you to create Happy Dance?
“I became obsessed with CBD through Lord Jones a few years ago after my hairstylist Jenny Cho introduced me to it, and I soon realized I wanted to create CBD products for the multitasking person—if i had the time to put on 26 products, I would, but I just don’t—with my own little spin on it. Everything I do is a little cheeky because that’s fun, and life is too boring if you’re not a little cheeky,” says Bell. “The name Happy Dance comes from when you’ve misplaced your hydrated skin under eight bags of laundry and eight cups of coffee and you want to look alive.”
What should we know about the new Look Alive Moisturizer?
“I know we started with body products, but my skin is so finnicky—I’ve got eczema, I’ve got rosacea—and I’m very nerdy into ingredients, so I wanted to create CBD skin care that’s worry-free and accessible for people. I can’t use retinol, salicylic acid or glycolic acid—my skin will not have it, and I will look like a burn victim. This formula is so soothing with CBD, avocado oil and bisabolol derived from ginger to combat redness and environmental effects on the skin. Avocados are a big part of this launch: Fatty acids are really good for the skin, but we managed to use avocado oil in a way that it doesn’t sit on top of the skin, but actually penetrates. And the big kicker is that we used four different weights of hyaluronic acid—it’s like a big drink of water for your skin, and it has all these plumping mechanisms in it. There’s 150 milligrams of CBD per tub, which is sourced in the U.S., and we want to make sure everything is transparent so we have a number on the jar so you can check the COA [Certificate of Analysis] and we have third-party testing for everything including heavy metals and pesticides.”
What is the texture like?
“It has a whipped texture that absorbs really beautifully. The consistency of it is kind of like butter, but it doesn’t leave an oily residue. Here’s a little hack, too: I discovered that I can put it on over my makeup and all it does is reinvigorate everything; it doesn’t disrupt anything. I’ve never been able to do that with moisturizer before. I get really dry around my nose and my eyes with my eczema, and this helps.”
What does your “Happy Dance” look like?
“Sleeping in. A lot of people function at six or seven hours, but I need nine. Sounds like what a crazy person would say, but I function so differently with nine. It’s troubling because my husband is a night owl and my kids wake up early, and I’m caught between a rock and hard place because I want to spend time with all of them, but nine hours does it for me. I like going to bed at like 9 p.m. a couple nights a week, and the other nights I fall asleep when my husband does, around 11. But it can be tough because he falls asleep to audio books, and if he puts on a book that’s really interesting, I’m sitting up in bed so excited about the damn book. Right now we’re reading The Molecule of More by Daniel Lieberman and Michael E. Long, and it’s really good.”
Speaking of books, what are your top three favorites of the year so far?
“Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, which kind of rocked my world because I realized I have a nice little coddled mind. Chapter seven is all about social media and kids, and practical ways to help everyone be saner. If you have kids, read chapter seven. The Molecule of More, which is about dopamine in your brain and how you make decisions, and what kind of people have more dopamine in their body. And the last one hasn’t come out yet—I got an early manuscript—but my old boss Mike Schur wrote a book that comes out at the end of the year that is mandatory for every human being. It’s called How to Be Perfect.”
What was your biggest takeaway from being part of the Gossip Girl reboot?
“How I old I felt. When I first did the narration [for the original show that launched in 2007], I was 27, but I had no maternal instincts at that point. But when I was narrating this time, I was like, ’These are children.’ The show is very sassy and very cheeky, and I love the new swings they’re taking with it, but I’m watching some scenes and I’m like, ’These are children, we can do this?’”
Who do you look to for inspiration?
“Eleanor Roosevelt, because she lived in a time when a lot of things that are ‘kosher’ now weren’t kosher. She was able to be so succinct about an idea. I like people who give succinct ideas about how to solve problems or reframe things. One of her quotes is: ‘No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,’ Wow. I wrote this on my daughter’s wall with marker. Follow Adam Grant on social if you don’t already—he has great ideas about the workplace and he infuses your life with really quick snippets of greatness. He also writes great books; I love Glennon Doyle as well.”
What lip gloss are you wearing right now?
“Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk is awesome [she holds up the Hyaluronic Happikiss Lipstick Balm in Pillow Talk]. I also love using the Happy Dance Coconut Melt on my lips and I keep it next to my bed on my nightstand. I use it when my lips are feeling dry or on my cuticles. You can also put it on your feet and then put socks on and go to sleep.”
What is your favorite song currently?
“Almost every song from Leon Bridges‘ new album, but Motorbike is great.”
What was your favorite part of your interview with Oprah?
“She said, ‘You teach people how to treat you.’ That one burned. You can sit and talk to your therapist or your friend about, ‘Well they did this to me, etc.’ but then she says that quote and you’re like woah.”
What is your best nugget of relationship advice?
“If he has a point of view I don’t agree with, that doesn’t necessarily have to affect me if i don’t let it. We don’t have to agree on everything, and in fact, life would be so boring if we did. Differences are really important, and I think my husband [actor Dax Shepard] and I do a pretty good job of recognizing and respecting them. We need to stop being allergic to differences.”
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