Yara Shahidi Talks Beauty, “Black-ish,” and the $3 Curl Product She Swears By

Yara Shahidi Talks Beauty, “Black-ish,” and the $3 Curl Product She Swears By

To call Yara Shahidi a rising star would be an understatement, because at just 17 years old, Shahidi, who stars in ABC’s “Black-ish” and soon, her very own spinoff show “College-ish,” is already being heralded as the Next Big Thing in entertainment, as well as a burgeoning symbol of beauty for the Gen Z community.

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Take, for example, Shahidi’s latest gig as the face of Gap’s super-positive and ultra-inclusive new campaign called “Bridging The Gap,” which features celebs of all different ages, races, and cultural backgrounds. Since launching this week, the project has exploded across the internet in a viral celebration of diversity in America. It makes sense then that Shahidi—who is a vocal champion of diversity in beauty, fashion, and entertainment—was tapped for the initiative. “It’s this diversity that lets little girls like me see someone like them on billboards,” Shahidi exclusively tells StyleCaster.

yara shahidi gap Yara Shahidi Talks Beauty, Black ish, and the $3 Curl Product She Swears By

Photo: Gap

Talking with us about the new campaign, Shahidi divulged that her parents are to thank for helping her feel comfortable in her own skin—both as a teen and as an actress: “Having my parents emphasize how important it is to be true to who I am, and having them love how much I love my natural curls, means a lot,” she says. This self-assuredness translates to her beauty approach, too. Growing up on the red carpet, Shahidi has already mastered the art of minimalist hair and makeup and sticks with simple, natural-looking cosmetics, paired with bouncy curls, side-swept chignons, and box braids. Basically, all of our favorite things and more.

So when we got the chance to chat with Shahidi about the campaign, we couldn’t help pressing for some beauty details, too. And thankfully, the actress was full of tips and tricks that she was eager to divulge, like the exact beauty products she swears by (including a $3 hair-styling hero), the natural trick she follows to bust stress, and more.

yara shahidi red eyeshadow

Photo: Getty Images

On developing her own beauty look…

Shahidi grew up on TV—she nabbed her first commercials at the age of six and made her cinematic debut at the age of nine opposite Eddie Murphy in “Imagine That”—and bouncing between makeup chairs and different on-screen characters as a kid made her eager to carve out her own pared-back beauty aesthetic. “As fabulous as it felt to be a young girl on set with a face full of makeup, I realized that spending ten-and-a-half hours a day in foundation and lashes made it important for me to develop my own sense of style,” says Shahidi, whose “style” consists of pretty minimal makeup. “My go-to face is honestly a tad bit of concealer on a bad day,” she says to the envy of acne-prone people everywhere. “I love waking up my eyebrows a little bit, putting some lip gloss on, and maybe some mascara if I’m feeling it.”

On her favorite, must-have beauty products…

There are really only three makeup products that Shahidi uses daily, the first being the cult-favorite (for good reason) Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer (“It allows me to cover whatever dot is being rebellious that day”), with her second being Glossier’s Boy Brow. “I like light products,” she says, adding, “There’s nothing wrong with a full brow, but I love that Boy Brow keeps your brows in place, adds a little color to them, and you can do it in seconds.” And she always has a lip gloss on hand, whether it’s from Burt’s Bees, Vaseline or “a high-end brand.”

On the hair products she swears by…

In case you haven’t noticed, Shahidi’s curls are awesome, partly due to genetics, and partly due to the combination of curl products she uses. “I love Mielle Mint Almond Oil,” she says. “It’s perfect for hydrating curls, and it’s nice to use after a long day of wearing tons of hair product on set—it feels like I’m taking a break and just caring for my hair.” And when she’d not using almond oil, Shahidi swears by the very cheap, yet very effective Eco Styling Gel. “You don’t need to spend a lot on hair products,” she says. “Eco Styler is a $3 gel you can use to put your hair up, and it never flakes.”

yara shahidi curly hair

Photo: Getty Images

On how she deals with breakouts and stress…

Not only are essential oils hailed as a natural way to relieve stress, curb acne breakouts, and energize your mood, but they’re also something Shahidi learned to appreciate growing up with her parents in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “I come from a family that loves essential oil. I love to have towels scented with relaxing lavender and rosemary essential oils,” she says, noting it’s a trick she picked up to boost her mood.

Through her work on-camera, the 17-year-old has also learned that her acne is usually reflective of her diet or stress levels: “I wear HD makeup on set, and it takes a toll,” she says. “It’s really emphasized the importance of self-care, whether that’s using a great cleanser or face wash, or just not wearing makeup for a few days, or making me mindful of how much water I’m drinking. It’s not about just having a pimple on my face, it’s about what that signifies,” she says.

On her ultimate beauty inspiration…

“My mama, we’ve been through this journey together,” Shahidi says of her beauty inspiration, noting that the support from both of her parents has helped her to feel confident in her skin: “Especially in a day and age in which certain hair types are favored all over the media, [it’s important] to be able to receive that kind of love and recognize my reality: You won’t see people who look like you on billboards.”