Viola Davis Talks Favorite Skin Boosters and How Beauty in Hollywood Is Changing

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“At the end of the day, life is about significance, not just success or money,” actress Viola Davis tells me as we sit together at the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills. As a leading lady in Hollywood, it’s surreal how deeply passionate Davis is about issues concerning poverty and sexual assault—matters very far from the fluff surrounding a lifestyle in Hollywood.

However, while Davis is an obvious activist, she also has another passion: skin care. So, after discussing her partnership with Vaseline for the launch of their new Cocoa Radiant Body Butter ($11), Davis broke down a few of her favorite beauty tips and tricks she swears by, as well as the issues she’s most concerned about at the moment. Read on!

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Why did you decide to partner with Vaseline?
“I love Vaseline. I used to have a big tub of just pure shea butter and then cocoa butter under my cabinet, but now there’s the Vaseline with 100-percent cocoa butter—the Vaseline Coco Radiant Body Butter. Actually, [Vaseline] was the first word I learned how to spell—isn’t that something? I use it on my knees, the bottom of my feet, in between my toes and underneath my eyes.”

Even though beauty products are clearly a great way to improve skin health, there’s plenty of other ways to keep your skin glowing as well. What wellness tricks do you use to give your skin a little boost?
“Besides Alkaline water—which I try to drink all the time—I love steam. I have a shower that is a steam shower and then I’ll do an acid peel. Kinara has a red-carpet facial kit that includes an acid peel and it completely smooths out my skin.”

Wellness and health are so important within the beauty space. What tips do you have for staying healthy and maintaining overall mental wellness?
“Meditation and prayer are good. The moment you go to bed and the moment you wake up in the morning, do not have that inner dialogue that is about self-depreciation. You know, saying things like, “How am I going to…,” or “I have that extra 10 pounds on me.” It’s a constant shaming and scourging that women do to themselves. Also, we always feel like our value is in how pretty we look, but men don’t do that. Your value is much deeper than that and it’s unhealthy to think that way.”

Are there any beauty trends you’d never try?
“Yes, a facelift.”

How do you think the definition of beauty is changing in Hollywood?
“First of all, television has changed. We now have over 400 shows on TV, and because you have all these shows competing with each other, they all have to be different. I think they are finally embracing other images. Now we have Lena Dunham on Girls and Issa Rae on Insecure. So, you have different images and you have different age ranges of women who are leading the charge. I think people want to be seen and I think people are fighting for their space.”

What issues are you passionate about right now? 
“Everything—sexual assault, rape, hunger in children, and poverty. More than 46 million people in the country are living on or below the poverty line. I care about children living in poverty and all of the side effects that that comes with. I care about women and sexual assault and rape because I know the aftermath of that too—the body dysmorphic issues, the addiction, the depression and even the suicides. I know that it’s a life of being re-victimized, and it’s a death, in a way. At the end of the day, I care about people.”

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