When Marcus Scribner began his role on ABC’s Black-ish in 2014, he had no idea it would change the course of his career, and his life. Now he’s working with Tom’s of Maine to support both the planet and the BIPOC community, and in the midst of his busy schedule, he found some time to chat with me via Zoom. Not only did we dive into his skin-care routine, but he also shared “the most satisfying part of his day,” and let me just say, he was full of surprises and had me laughing the whole time.
Being in the spotlight on TV where HD screens let viewers see every little pore, what do you do to keep your skin in check?
“I started on Black-ish at a very young age—I was 14—and you go through those awkward years when your hormones are changing and pimples are popping up, but I’m very thankful to have pretty solid genetics. I use a cleanser in the shower, then I use a toner and whatever moisturizer I’m trying out at that time. I also always apply Chapstick—I’ve got pretty large lips and I don’t want these babies to get dry.”
You use a toner!
“Yes! You know I gotta get that little salicylic acid. I think there’s still a stigma where men think it’s very feminine to take care of your skin, but you’re stuck with this skin for your entire life. From a very young age, my dad was always like, ‘Did you put moisturizer on, did you put moisturizer on?’ That has a lot to do with growing up black—you have to be moisturizing all the time—and that’s transpired to me taking skin care very seriously.”
Do you gravitate toward natural skin-care brands?
“I’m not loyal to any one brand, but I do like things that are natural, nontoxic, environmentally friendly, not tested on animals, and good for the skin.”
Is that how your partnership with Tom’s of Maine came to be?
“Yes sort of. Right now I’m working with Tom’s of Maine, which has a lot of dope personal hygiene products, and they’ve been a lot of good for the planet since their founding. I’ve been trying out their toothpaste and deodorant, and really enjoying it. Dental hygiene is a big thing for me.”
“I brush twice a day; I floss twice a day.”
You floss twice a day?!
“Yeah, come on, what do you mean! [laughs] You have to because after every meal, you have food stuck in your teeth. It’s honestly one of the most satisfying parts of my day. If you can get on the floss-twice-a-day train, it hits. There’s something relaxing and therapeutic for me about cleaning my teeth. I put in the elbow work with my bamboo toothbrush [laughs]. And every time I go to the dentist, they tell me my gums are invincible. I sound like a nerd, but I love going to the dentist.”
You’re also working to spread the word about Tom’s of Maine’s Incubator Program right? Tell me more.
“The Tom’s of Maine Incubator Program, which I’m thankful to be partnered with, is helping to uplift the voices of future BIPOC leaders. If you are a young environmental leader, you can apply for the chance to win $20,000 in funding. Five people will be chosen—it closes October 19, so act quick—and they will get guidance from environmental leaders and a platform from Tom’s of Maine to do good.”
How is it working with the beautiful and talented Yara Shahidi?
“Yara is my day-one homie; she’s like my sister at this point. She handed the baton off to me with Grown-ish, and I’m very happy for that opportunity and that evolution of Junior’s character—me—as an individual. She taught me a lot about leading the show. Yara is mad cool and a beauty connoisseur and fashionista in her own right. She’s also an environmental activist and social activist—she does it all and I’m super proud of her.”
What about your own personal fashion sense?
“I like to dress very classically I would say, so if you look back in 50 years, hopefully it will hold up. I come from a place of timeless fashion: I grew up from a place of self-expression where my parents were always like, ‘Do what you think is right, and do what you think would make you the happiest.’ Also, thrifting is one of my favorite things to do, which I know is very trendy right now, but fast fashion is an industry that is kind of destroying the world, and secondhand clothes are a solution to that.”