This year is shaping up nicely for Jennifer Hudson. First a hit Oscar’s performance, and more recently an appearance on FOX’s Empire. The star is also the brand ambassador for JOHNSON’s where she works on the So Much More campaign that promotes healthy baby development. Here, the star dishes on how she manages her beauty routine while caring for her son.
ESSENCE.com: Let’s dive in into your role in JOHNSON’s global campaign. What can we expect?
Jennifer Hudson: I’m a mom so I completely relate to this campaign and creating a better environment and a happy, healthy life for babies. I do this everyday with my son so I love showing parents how important it is to have bath time with your baby. It helps with healthy development.
ESSENCE.com: For a lot of kids bath time is play time. Let’s talk about that bonding moment.
Jennifer Hudson: I was just telling my son the other day how I used to wash him inside a sink. And he said, ‘Mommy used to wash me inside of the sink?’ And those are some of the best memories as a parent. And now he tries to swim in the tub, he’s a shark in the tub, he’s spelling words now. He’s like ‘I know words, let me spell them all.’ Bathtime allows that one-on-one time that you don’t get when you’re on your cell phone, they’re on their iPad, or they’re watching television. There are no distractions. It’s just you.
ESSENCE.com: How has your regimen changed now that your son is older?
Jennifer Hudson: He’s definitely far more independent. Weekdays, he has to get in the shower on his own. I’m like, ‘I expect you to know how much time you have. Use your time wisely, wash-up good too.’ He’s doing all of those things on his own now and I like him to dress himself because I feel like that helps him be creative. He’s picking out his own shirts—no one’s allowed to touch his hair. It’s different now. As a parent, you do everything for them. But now, he’s slowly coming into his own.
ESSENCE.com: How do you have time to manage your own beauty and hair routine while being a mom?
Jennifer Hudson: Just because you have a child doesn’t mean you should completely let yourself go. The child always comes first, but don’t forget about yourself at the same time. [David Jr.] will sit and watch Mommy get her hair done or he’ll be like, ‘Mommy, what’s that you’re putting on your face?’ ‘Well it’s lipstick. I’m a girl so girls wear lipstick.’ My closet is huge so while Mommy’s in the closet, he runs around and plays. Or he plays in the jewelry and turns it into swords and toys and weapons and stuff like that. You kind of find a way to intertwine the things. I have two boys in the house—big David and little David. Mommy’s a girl so it takes a little longer for her to get ready. And he’s used to it now. He’s like, ‘Oh, Mommy’s getting ready!’
ESSENCE.com: Do you think it’s easier with boys or girls in just maintaining their beauty and making sure their hair is washed and bath time…
Jennifer Hudson: My son has a lot of hair, it’s kind of like, almost the same thing. I was just washing his hair the other day. He always fusses about getting his hair washed but once we saw his hair thicken up with the shampoo in it he was like, ‘I love this!’
ESSENCE.com: Do you have any hair secrets that you use when maintaining his hair?
Jennifer Hudson: We wash it out when it needs to be washed. He swims a lot so we have to make sure we wash it and use a conditioner. For the most part we use Pink Lotion. Good old Pink Lotion! He’s like, ‘Mommy, but it’s pink.’ And his dad does the same thing, he puts a durag on his hair when it’s freshly done. He’s like, ‘Do I have to wear the same thing? I’ll look like a ninja.’ He wears his little durag at night.
ESSENCE.com: Do you have any tips for new moms when it comes to their child’s hair?
Jennifer Hudson: I’m definitely not a beautician. Just make sure you take care of it. Wash it good and be gentle with it. Don’t put the adult products in it. Make sure you put the baby products in it, cause you want them to keep their good grade of hair. Keep it delicate.
ESSENCE.com: Last fall you were spotted with gray and purple hair. Anything new this year hair wise?
Jennifer Hudson: I’m not a color girl, I just did that for the video. I keep my hair dark. I just don’t like color. Never did.
ESSENCE.com: Any other beauty new regimens we should know about?
Jennifer Hudson: I like to keep it basic. You know, cocoa butter on the face and my skin. The more simple, the better. When you’ve got on make up, wipe it off as soon as possible so you don’t mess up your skin. I want to be able to wear it when I want to, not because I need it. I like to keep skin fresh and breathing where it’s not always clogged up. I also get [regular] facials.
ESSENCE.com: How are you maintaining your weight these days?
Jennifer Hudson: I watch what I eat. Being in between all these different timezones, it’s a lot. But I just try to be conscious of what I’m eating and try to be active. And take the steps instead of the elevator. I also like being outdoors. I’m a Chicago girl and the snow is up to my car so I can’t really get out there. In the cold season, you stay inside so this gives me a little fresh air and a little exercise I like to keep it fun. I don’t like to be closed in. I like to keep it fun!
The interview has been edited and condensed.