Say hello to Unfiltered, a fresh, new beauty series where you’ll get an exclusive glimpse into the dressed-down beauty routines of our favorite celebrities. They’ll reveal their guilty-pleasure beauty practices, the five-minute routine product lineup they can’t live without, the one good-skin tip they’ll be forever thankful for, and so much more. To bring every conversation full circle, we ask each celebrity to send us a selection of self-shot, filter-free photos of their choosing to capture the essence of their Unfiltered beauty philosophy.
Up next, we’re getting to know Queer Eye star Tan France, who's recently partnered with Starbucks to help kick off the brand's Stir It Up campaign. As a fellow beauty enthusiast, he’s answering all of our rapid-fire questions and sharing his favorite products as well as his best-kept self-confidence secrets below. Enjoy!
If you had to leave the house in five minutes, what are a few staple grooming products you’d either apply or bring with you?
Easy. Lip balm, always. I’d take an eyelash curler because I can’t live without curling my lashes. I don’t wear makeup, so no makeup, but I do have a concealer with me in case I have a zit. I take a hair spray pen because it fits in my little makeup bag and then pomade.
Do you have certain brands you stay loyal to?
Oh my gosh, yes. Lip balm, Carmex. For the pomade, I love this brand called Firsthand. The hair spray is Tresemmé’s hair spray pen. And this is so not glam, but Covergirl for concealer. It’s so good! It’s really fantastic. There are all of these fancy beauty brands that try to send me expensive stuff, and I’m like no, no. No one’s is better than Covergirl’s.
You have amazing skin. What do your morning and evening skincare routines look like?
I do one longer nighttime routine once a week, so I’ll tell you that one first. The big treatment I do is Drunk Elephant's T.L.C. Sukari Baby Facial AHA + BHA Mask ($80)—obsessed. It's so, so good, but I only do it once a week because I have pretty sensitive skin. Then, after I wash that off, I will use Biologique Recherche's Lotion P50. It stinks, but it’s amazing. I’ll use that a couple of times a week, and then I will go in with the Victoria Beckham by Augustinus Bader Cell Rejuvenating Power Serum ($210)—love—and then I use Tata Harper’s lip balm, BeautyBio's Lifting Eye + Lid Cream ($65), and Dr. Barbara Sturm's Face Cream ($215).
In the morning, I shower, and then I use Tata Harper’s Regenerating Exfoliating Cleanser ($42). It’s gorgeous. And then after I’m done with that, I use BeautyBio’s The Quench Facial Moisturizer ($125) on my forehead because I’m starting to get wrinkles, and it’s nice and thick. Then, it's Dr. Barbara Sturm's Face Cream on the rest of my face, and I also love her Glow Drops ($145).
How about sunscreen?
Oh! I pop a little bit of BeautyBio’s The Perfector 4-in-1 Silk SPF 30 ($75) sunscreen into my moisturizer before I put it on to my face because it’s one of the only ones I’ve tried that’s not greasy. And their nude isn’t a white person’s nude; it’s an ethnically ambiguous nude, so it goes really well with my skin tone.
It’s so hard to find a great sunscreen that isn’t ashy or greasy, so I’m just always asking people what they like. So many of them are terrible!
Oh, you need to try this one. It really is fantastic, and it doesn’t make you break out. A lot of sunscreens make me break out.
That’s another thing! I break out so easily so that’s a whole other layer of dicey-ness.
I think this one you might actually really like!
Okay. I will try it. I trust you! [Laughs]
Actually, wait. I also want to add this: The reason I don’t wear makeup is that I take such good care of my skin. Every day. I mean, I drink a lot of water, and I also try to eat well, but I take such great care of my skin so I don’t need to wear a lot of makeup. Sun protection is a huge part of that.
Oh, definitely. We also have to talk about your hair because it’s immaculate. I’m sure you’re asked this a lot, but I need styling tips, products you love, everything.
[Laughs] Well, thank you. So easy. I will say, the number of men who seem shocked that I use a blow-dryer. Like, what the eff is wrong with you?! Get a blow-dryer and use it! I don’t understand how men think that this just happens naturally. ANYWAY, blow-dryer, round brush, blow-dry it into place. Before I blow-dry, I put a tiny bit of mousse in to help the style keep its shape. Tresemmé does one that’s great. Then, I simply put argan oil in my hair. I have incredibly coarse, dry hair, so after I blow-dry, it just helps replenish the moisture. Next is that Firsthand pomade I mentioned, and that’s all I use. Every now and then, between scenes, I’ll use hair spray if it’s starting to fall, but other than that, it’s very rare that I actually need it.
Love it. And okay, I know that Jonathan [Van Ness] is technically the grooming expert on the show, but is there anything you’ve taught him about beauty or grooming? And vice versa, what’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from him about beauty?
Um [laughs], I taught him something a while ago, and it’s so vulgar, but I am going to tell you anyway.
Oh, I want to hear everything.
So, this is gross. I am so sorry. So—agh—it’s so weird to tell you. He actually talked about it in an interview recently, so you might have heard it already. But he was going to go for anal bleaching. It’s a thing, people do it, and so I was like, you don’t have to do that. I don’t understand why you need that. And he was like, “Well, it’s a thing. Everyone is doing it.” And I was like, no, no. If you take care of things down below, you don’t need it. And he was like, “What do you mean?” [sighs] If you, um, exfoliate down below…
If you exfoliate down below with every shower, you shouldn’t need it. And after one goes, if one uses a bidet or showers and then exfoliates down there, you actually don’t need to do any kind anal bleaching. So he was like, “I don’t believe it, but I’m going to try it.” Three months later, he was talking about it in every interview: “Tan taught me something that I never knew, and I really didn’t even think it was possible, but you don’t have to get anal bleaching done. There is a way of correcting it yourself.”
[Laughs] I love it. I did not see this one coming!
Was that way too vulgar?! Sorry!
No, no—this is what I want when I ask these questions! I want something that I’ve never heard before or our readers aren’t expecting!
I’m going to give you an example. I’m Muslim. And Muslim people, we must use water after we’ve gone to the bathroom. It must be done; it’s part of our religion. So I was honestly confused as to why all of these people felt like they had to bleach down there! Like, what’s wrong down there?! So he very vulgarly googled it and was like, “This is what white people’s look like!” and I was like OH MY GOD, how do you let it get so bad?! So that’s how I figured it out. There’s just a difference! [Laughs]
Photo:Scott McDermott for Starbucks, @tanfrance
Oh my god, I love that he googled it. Alright, so on the other hand, what’s the best tip you’ve learned from him then?
The green stick! I’d never heard of a green stick for color-correcting before. But he used it on the very first episode of Queer Eye, and it did such a good job. I don’t have rosacea, but every now and then, if we’re shooting somewhere where it’s extremely hot, sometimes I will get a little bit of pink on my cheeks. So I pop a little bit of that on, and it corrects it for me.
I remember that episode! So good. Okay, I also know that you’re working with Starbucks as part of its Stir It Up campaign. Can you tell me a little bit about the campaign and why it’s important to you?
Yes! So they asked me if I would help them launch Starbucks Premium Instant Coffee ($10). They already knew that I love Starbucks. I mean, whenever you see a picture of me on the street, I have a cup of Starbucks in my hand. And you know, I did an interview a while ago where I talked about my morning routine, and I explained that it takes me about 15 minutes to make my coffee because I put it in a percolator, a French press, and it takes 15 minutes to really get it going. So they came to me and told me they have a version, Premium Instant, that you can make within a minute, and you can get 15 minutes back of your life. I’m having a baby this year, and I was like, I’ll take all of the extra minutes I can get! So this helps me do that, and it tastes just as good as my regular percolated medium roast coffee, but it’s so much more convenient. It’s really perfect for me. In the past year, I’ve changed so many things about how I live my life now compared to how I lived it a year and a half ago, so this is an example of how I can stir up my morning routine.
Completely. So many things have changed, and self-care has really become paramount. And you know, health and beauty are so intertwined. Do you have any self-care practices that give you a boost both mentally and physically?
Yeah, in the morning, I do this one thing that I started doing just after Queer Eye came out. When you are in the public eye, people have a lot of opinions about who you are, how you live your life, and how you look. And those people always want to share those opinions with you even though you’ve never asked. I was really having a hard time with all of the internet trolls, so I started to do this thing in the morning where I brush my teeth in my underwear, and I give myself positive affirmations. It felt really cheesy and American the first few times that I did it. However, I completely swear by it now. I tell myself all of the things I like about my personality or things I like about myself physically. I don’t focus on anything negative, and it’s not to big yourself up; it’s just to arm yourself for the rest of the day. Those trolls are always out there, and they always want to tell you how disgusting they find you. Now, every time I see one of those mean comments, I just think, That’s what you think, but I reminded myself this morning that I’m worthy of love for these reasons, so go screw yourself.
Amen. We don’t have power over what people think of us, but we do have power over how we internalize that negative energy. We’re in this reopening phase where I think a lot of people have some anxiety about going back out into the world and presenting themselves again. What are your biggest tips for regaining a sense of self-confidence?
Yeah, actually this one isn’t so much about feeling good in your skin necessarily, but it’s more about confidence. And I talk about this every now and then on Queer Eye, but it’s to rid yourself of the negativity in your life. Don’t surround yourself with the people who are always coming at you for some reason. Every one of us has had a friend who doesn’t make us feel good about ourselves. They’re competitive, they’ll comment on your appearance, their negativity toward you makes them feel more powerful. Get rid of those people in your life. Have people surround you who are positive and uplifting. If you’ve come to the realization that you haven't been loving your friendships, now’s your time to change that. Let’s have a complete reawakening as to who we are and what we expect from our lives.
You’re so right, and I think everyone can relate to that on some level. The past year has really shed light on who we do and don’t need in our lives. Okay, I know we’re in our final minutes here, so last question: What’s your Unfiltered beauty philosophy in seven words or fewer?
Considered and consistent skincare is key!
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