Billy Porter knows how to put on a show—see his Emmy-winning performance as Pray Tell in FX’s Pose or literally any of his red-carpet appearances as proof. But when the stage (or red-carpet) makeup comes off, the actor and singer is equally committed to his skin-care routine. “I really take care of my skin,” he tells Glamour. “Your skin is the way that you treat it. So I treat my skin well, and it treats me well in return.”
He started early. After getting his first pimple at 14, he marched into Kaufmann’s department store in downtown Pittsburgh and headed straight to the Clinique counter. “I was like, I’m not trying to have acne like I see these other kids have,’ he says. “I went to the counter, and I said, ‘What do I need to stop this from happening?’ And I pointed to the big pimple on my face. And she was like, ‘Well, you’re a child, there’s not much you can do, but here’s the regime that will help you.’ It was the basic Clinique regime, and I’ve been taking care of my skin ever since.”
A cornerstone of Porter’s routine is moisturizing, as he always wants to look hydrated and dewy. “I grew up with moisturizing, because Black people moisturize,” he says. “A lot of my white friends ask me, ‘Oh, my God, how do you get your skin this way?’ And then I show them how I get it this way, and then they complain that their face feels too greasy!”
Since he graduated from Clinique, Porter has kept a steady rotation of Kiehl’s products that make up the core of his routine. “I’ve been a Kiehl’s person for at least 30 years, because believe it or not, I’m not a big shopper,” he says, adding that once he finds something that works, he tends to stick to it. However, one of the perks of the job is that he’s constantly being sent new products, so recently he’s been enjoying mixing it up. ”In the last four years, I’ve been introduced to a lot of new stuff, and I don’t really have to buy it anymore,” he says. “When something runs out, I look at my closet and see what’s there, and I just try it. That’s been fun!”
Ahead of the Pose series finale on Sunday, June 6, Porter drops his skin-care routine. Read on for the moisturizer he always has on hand and the skin-tightening CBD oil he can’t live without.
My Face Wash
First of all, I have good genetics from my mom, but my main concern is to keep it hydrated and dewy and fresh. I’ve been using some La Prairie and Shiseido, but Kiehl’s with SPF is always there. It’s always the most present, and then the other ones come in and out. It was there 30 years ago, it was affordable 30 years ago for me, and it did the trick. I became loyal, but I do like some of this other stuff.
My Oil Serums
I’ve gotten into serums recently, especially Herbivore Botanical’s Lapis oil and the CBD Emerald oil. The CBD oil is one of my favorites—she tightens up the skin, henny! You know, Herbivore is on the top of the list right now; that’s what they use on Pose. I fell in love with that line; they’re great. They smell good, and the packaging is classy.
I’ve gotten into these Wander Beauty eye patches—I love those. I’ve gotten into face masks too; I think those are cool. I used to do regular masks more often, but now I have to remember to do them when I feel it. I think about the masks when I have to do like a red carpet or something. I don’t have favorites; I just like to use whatever I have at home.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty writer at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.