Actor, comedian, producer, writer and mom of two, Mindy Kaling wears a lot hats. Now, she can add beauty ambassador to the list. Getting candid about her struggles with hyperpigmentation, Mindy Kaling shares the product she loved so much she invested in, the main goal of her evening skin-care and the two sunscreens she’s obsessed with.
Mindy Kaling’s Melasma Solution
Like countless women, Kaling started struggling with melasma during pregnancy. This rise in hyperpigmentation usually occurs in the face and is caused by hormonal changes, which is why a lot of women encounter it for the first time when they’re pregnant.
Because of Kaling’s deep skin tone, she wasn’t able to take the traditional route for treating melasma: lasers.
“Well, if you have melanated skin, you have to be so careful about lasers,” Kaling explains. “But a lot of times people who have melasma after pregnancy [for example] can do a simple laser and be fine with it. But I can’t do that because I keloid, which is another thing that happens to people who have darker skin. I’ve had to go to doctors and explain my keloiding issues to them because it’s so specific to people with darker skin. I loved that when I talked to Nisha [Phatak] and Madhu [Punjabi], they already knew about all these issues.”
The founders of the one-product skincare line, Nisha Phatak and Madhu Punjabi, developed Lion Pose with a focus on darker skin tones (3-6 on the Fitzpatrick scale). And to say Kaling was impressed is putting it lightly.
“I love this product so much I’m investing my own money in it,” Kaling says.
Lion Pose Unspotted 4x Acid Jelly Night Serum ($79) contains a blend of azelaic, glycolic, lactic, and tranexamic acids to treat hyperpigmentation without harming melanated skin.
“I’ve always struggled with hyperpigmentation,” Kaling explains. “And I’m always trying to find products that help with my acne scars and dark spots, but that don’t also change my skin tone. I feel incredibly lucky that I’m someone who’s celebrated for my dark brown skin. And I did not want to change that. And so this is something that just really works for me. So that’s why I came on as an investor, not just as an ambassador or whatever. And I just selfishly wanted in on their success and I was lucky that they found room for me.”
Now a busy mom, Kaling has refined her routine to a science.
“I don’t know whether it is just because I have less time, but I have really gotten the pattern of my evening ritual and my morning ritual down,” Kaling says. I don’t spend a lot of time doing it, even if I have seven steps.”
At night, her routine starts simple.
“So what I always do when I take off my makeup is I use a hot washcloth, so I’m not using my expensive products to take stuff off that could have just been taken off with a cloth,” Kaling explains. “Then I’ll do some kind of an oil-based makeup removing balm. Or if it’s not oil-based, it has that smooth, creamy feeling to take off most of my makeup. The one that I’ve been using these days is the Drunk Elephant Slaai. I also really like the Augustinus Bader cleansing balm. That one’s pricier so that’ll be like, if someone gives that to me for a gift for Christmas, my birthday, I’ll use that one.”
Kaling admits that getting all of her makeup off is a big concern for her.
“Then I follow that up with an exfoliating powder scrub, so every stitch of makeup is off my skin,” Kaling says. “I don’t know whether this is some phobia I have, but the idea of going to bed with even a drop of makeup on is gross to me. So I do a double cleanse and then I’ll tone my skin and that’s when I put the [Unspotted 4X] serum on. I’ll wait a couple of minutes, send a couple emails, go do something with my kids, come back and put on a really moisturizing moisturizer, a little eye cream sometimes. I often forget eye cream and then go to bed.”
Like anyone seeking great skin, Kaling is a devotee to a few excellent sunscreens.
“There are two different sunscreens that I’m obsessed with,” Kaling explains “Senté is great because it’s a tinted moisturizer that is actually tinted enough for my skin. Normally a tinted moisturizer is very chalky on my skin and it looks absurd. But with Senté, they have two different shades and the darker one blends in beautifully.”
Her second choice is a well-known favorite.
“And then the other one I love, it’s becoming a classic right now, is the Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen,” Kaling says. “It’s a super primer for makeup too.”
According to her, sunscreen was a major factor in prepping her skin ahead of this year’s Met Gala, along with the Unspotted 4x serum.
“Before the Met Gala this year, I had a crazy hormonal breakout along my chin, and had lots of little hyperpigmentation marks from old pimple scars,” Kaling says. “So I was using the serum in the morning as well and then using a ton of sunscreen.”