Marsai Martin Swears by This $38 Cleansing Balm

Plus, the SPF she uses every day.

Marsai Martin with the text "What I Put on My Face" overlayed

Courtesy of Clinique

What I Put On My Face

All skin is good skin, which is why good skincare is more of a journey than a destination. We all love a one-off tip—but, at Byrdie, we’re more interested in how our skin evolves over time. The product we've used for a decade, the ingredient cocktail that made us glow, the step we never skip, and all the advice in between. This is the stuff that makes a real difference. With What I Put on My Face, we’re bringing you the rituals, recommendations, and failed experiments (we’ve all had them) straight from celebrities, founders, and influencers who’ve gone through it themselves.

It seems like there's nothing Marsai Martin can't do. Since her big break at just ten years old, as Diane Johnson in ABC's hit show Black-ish, she's blazed her own path through the industry, becoming the youngest person to ever executive produce a film at 13, with the comedy Little.

At 19, there aren't many who can say they've accomplished what Martin has at such a young age—including her latest role as Clinique’s first-ever Partner Producer, as well as their latest Brand Ambassador.

This new—might we add huge—role for Martin just made sense because, to her, Clinique is "all about beauty within yourself that also exudes out to the world." She says she appreciates that all the brand's products are "confirmed and approved by a dermatologist," which makes it easy for her to get behind them.

As the brand's first-ever Partner Producer, Martin says she's "mixing [her] entrepreneurial side into [her] creative side" by translating Clinique's "creative vision" through new original content and campaigns. She confesses she is "very excited" for the world to see all the finished results in the coming months.

In honor of the partnership, we caught up with Martin to chat about her skincare essentials, her latest beauty discovery, and the skincare mistake she'll never make again.

Marsai Martin selfie

@marsaimartin/Instagram

About Her Skin

I always was cautious about what I was putting on my skin. I grew up with eczema [and] I still have it. So I always wanted to [make] sure I had different products with me to just keep it at bay. 

I used to have these oatmeal formulas that I [would] put on my skin that actually helped a lot when it comes to balancing it. I mean, obviously, eczema is eczema. You're going to have it, especially if you're like me where it's very genetic. To this day, I don't like switching up a whole lot of products. So, when I'm dedicated to a product, I'm going to run it down until it's done and then probably restock up on it.

Marsai Martin in lime green dress standing next to large replicas of Clinique Mascara

Courtesy of Clinique

How She Got Into Skincare

It's important for me to always take care of myself, and that also includes how I take care of my skin. I grew up with a mostly all-women household—well aside from my dad. It was always my mom, my great-grandma, and my grandma in the house, and it was always filled with people who just knew how to have a skincare routine. 

My family were the first people who showed me what a real skincare routine really looks like. You know, I'm a girl—I like all the routines and spending time in the mirror, and doing my makeup, and washing my makeup [off] at the end of the day. It made me feel grown at a certain point. When I was younger, I was like, "this is giving grown adult."

Then, the more I grew up—being in an industry where it's filled with being on the go, and making sure you're taking care of yourself before you go out into the world of pictures and meeting new people—it started to become more apparent how important the skincare routine is. 

Her Morning Versus Nighttime Routines

The Moisture Surge with SPF ($43), I use that for day and night, but mainly for the day. Of course, along with a toner, a serum, my moisturizer, and a cleanser—that's the first thing you gotta do. 

At night, the first thing I do is the Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm ($38). It is amazing. I start with that and then I basically do the same thing, but like in reverse—the cleanser, the toner, and then I have a night serum to go to bed.

Marsai Martin selfie

@marsaimartin/Instagram

The Skincare Step She Never Skips

I take the day off, always, [with] the cleansing balm. I'm the type that's like, no street clothes on the bed. If I have carpet on the floor, don't walk in with your dirty shoes. I'm the same way when it comes to not going to sleep with makeup on! That is one thing I will never ever, ever do. I don't care if I'm super sleepy, I will always be able to find some time to take off my makeup. 

A Self-Care Mistake She Won’t Make Again

There's one mistake that I'll never forget. There's a cream that you [use] to get rid of hair. I'm a very hairy person. But I did that once, and I think I was 13 or 14. I was getting ready for a premiere, and I was like, "I have to take off this shadow of mustache." And then it just burned. It was so bad, and it hurt, and I just completely forgot to take it off at a certain time. That is one mistake that I will never do [again] because I was really in my bathroom crying like, "What am I supposed to do?" I was a G, so I pushed through it, but that is one thing I'll never do.

Marsai Martin wearing a brown jacket

@marsaimartin/Instagram

The Products That Changed the Game

Oatmeal formula creams. [Also] SPF, that definitely helped with my dark spots, it was able to rebalance my skin. 

SPF is something that you need, no matter what. You really need that. I was going through a whole bunch of stress and anxiety [and] at a certain point it was just showing up on my skin, and sunscreen completely helped out with that for some reason.

Her Most Used Products

My most used product is Take The Day Off. That's definitely one that I use a lot. And then [Clinique] has these beautiful lip liners. I'm a big lip person, especially with Black Honey ($24). Black Honey is amazing, especially when you are going out on the town. Also, Tracee Ellis Ross has a Pattern Blow Dryer ($189), which I use often. It's so nice and it's aesthetically the cleanest thing ever.

There's not a certain brand, but I'd probably just say a cleanser. That's the first thing I learned how to do is wash my face in a real way to make sure all the residue of my makeup and everything else is off. 

Her Newest Favorite Product

I just found out about setting spray, and I don't know why I just found out about this. To be able to actually spray something on your face and then it will last the whole entire day. It's insane to me. I was like, “Oh my gosh, I had no idea you could stay on for this long.”

Her "Everything Shower" Essential

That's me every day. I take long showers every day. I brush my teeth in the shower. People think that's weird, but I genuinely do everything in the shower. I even lotion myself in [there]. But yeah, I would say brushing my teeth—that's one thing that I always do in the shower.

Related Stories