All it takes is a quick glance at Gabrielle Union and the first thing you're sure to notice is her flawless, glowy skin. Despite splitting her time between Los Angeles, where she maintains a successful acting career, and Miami, where she spends time with her baller beau Dwayne Wade, Union never lets jet lag or the stress of her packed schedule show up on her face.
Fresh off the heels of her Think Like a Man success, the stunning actress has partnered with Neutrogena as an ambassador for the brand's Choose Skin Health campaign which seeks to raise sun protection awareness. We caught up with Union to find out how she protects her skin from LA and Miami's blazing heat and what's her number one beauty secret.
ESSENCE.com: Why did you choose to get involved in the Choose Skin Health campaign?
Union: What I love about the campaign is that the Choose Skin Health website helps you find a dermatologist in your area who is a part of the program and will give you a free skin cancer screening. I’m all about free. [Laughs] So many people can’t afford a dermatologist. It’s like a luxury. Neutrogena has made it affordable to be healthy and that’s a huge reason why I push the Choose Skin Health website. The website also gives a lot of skin cancer prevention and SPF tips.
ESSENCE.com: What advice would you share with ESSENCE readers about the importance of sun protection?
Union: A lot of women of color do not think that we are at risk. We believe that our melanin is built-in protection and we are good to go from birth. That’s not the case. Our moles can change shape and be cancerous as well. We have to stay on top of our sun protection. We burn as well. Everyone says, “Black people don’t burn,” but yes, we burn as well, so do Latinas, Asians and everyone else. No one is exempt from sun damage. If I have to be worried about it, everyone needs to be worried about it.
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ESSENCE.com: Your skin is amazing! Describe your skin care routine for us.
Union: It’s funny because I have all of my cleansers in my shower but it really depends on what I feel like using that day. If I want an extra boost, I use the Neutrogena Oil Free Pink Grapefruit Scrub because it’s so pungent. If I wake up with a huge blemish on my face, I’ve got to attack it so I might use an acne-specific cleanser. When I take off my makeup I love the Pink Grapefruit cleanser because when I’m working, they really pack on the makeup so I have to use a deep cleanser. I always use the Clear Poer Toner after I cleanse just to make sure I’ve removed all the makeup.
ESSENCE.com: Do you have any beauty secrets that keep your skin glowing?
Union: I try to drink a gallon of water a day and it’s made a huge difference in my hair, skin and nails. I generally don’t have major skin flare-ups because I’m so hydrated. Substitute soda, juice, and any sort of sugary drink out of your diet. That’s been the best and easiest secret.
ESSENCE.com: Who are your beauty icons?
Union: Growing up, I was obsessed with Janet Jackson. I still am. I love Diana Ross. Kerry Washington and Sanaa Lathan have great skin. But I’m more about inner beauty so most of my beauty icons are people that I know and have met and I can confirm that they are nice and also happen to be beautiful.