Pharrell Williams's Recipe for a "Good-Ass Day" Starts with a Great Skincare Routine

The musician and creative mastermind opens up about his new skincare line, redefining masculinity, and the one song you should play while getting ready.

Pharrell Williams
Photo: Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott/Art Partner

It’s no secret that Grammy-winning songwriter and producer Pharrell Williams is a hit-maker. But what’s always been a hush-hush subject is how he gets his skin so good. Williams, 47, has an ever-youthful radiance that’s been a source of speculation and amazement for years. A scroll through the star’s Instagram comments reveals just how in-demand this skincare routine really is. Now, the mystery behind the multihyphenate’s complexion can be found in his very own line, Humanrace.

That’s right, the artist has officially stepped into the world of skincare launching a trio of products created to use together. The line, which launches Nov. 25, includes a Rice Powder Cleanser ($32), Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator ($46), and Humidifying Cream ($48), which Pharrell tells InStyle is a “three-minute facial in three steps.” With clean ingredients at the core of his collection, Williams is spreading the message of sustainability with refillable packaging free of virgin plastic, and inclusivity, as he hopes to normalize gender-neutrality in the skincare industry.

Ahead, the entrepreneur gets real about the stigma around skincare for Black men, his insecurities, and the defining moment that drove him to create Humanrace.

InStyle: Everyone’s convinced that your skin ages in reverse. I know you’re a proponent of drinking lots of water, but what are your other secrets?

Pharrell Williams: Skincare is work. I have an amazing dermatologist [Elena Jones] and get regular facials. Sleep is my other secret. It’s good for your overall homeostasis. Skincare is a perspective. Your face is one of your most valuable assets. Behind your face is your spirit. That conduit between your skin and spirit is something you should take care of.

What’s your skincare routine?

It’s a three-minute facial in three steps. I use the [Humanrace] Rice Powder Cleanser. Then I exfoliate like a madman with the Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator to get rid of dead skin cells. I always rinse with cold water, which my sister Naomi [Campbell] taught me. My third step is the Humidifying Cream. I’m obsessed with how humidity affects my skin. In tropical climates with lots of humidity, you see people with really good skin who look younger. This cream will give you the same effect of being in Jamaica without the hot sun.

Do you have any insecurities?

I hate the tattoos on my arms. The ones on my neck and leg are cool, meaning they’re just all right. I’ve gotten laser treatments to get rid of the ones on my arms. I wouldn’t call it an insecurity; I’m just a perfectionist and not into them.

What’s your perspective on the stigma around skincare for men, especially Black men?

Skincare doesn’t need conventional boundaries, because who is to say that convention is right? It’s up to us to realize our destinies and define masculinity however we want. As a Black man, and as a part of the African diaspora, I have to teach my children that. It’s a crazy divisive time, and we have to offset these systemic disadvantages. Skincare is for everyone—men, women, gender-neutral and nonbinary people—it’s for human beings.

Pharrell Williams
Courtesy Pharrell Williams

Was there a defining moment that drove you to create Humanrace?

I have a skincare belief system. You need to cleanse not only your face and body but also your mind and soul. It’s the same for exfoliation. When you hold on to negative energy, you have to shed that. When it comes to moisturizing, who doesn’t need their whole spirit to be humidified? This ethos went into creating Humanrace. I view ingredients as intentions because they’re there for a reason. I wanted the products to be strictly clean, and we didn’t test on animals or use virgin plastic.

Who are your beauty muses?

Issa Rae has beautiful skin. Angela Bassett is an amazing example because her youthful skin isn’t a miracle; it’s a result of her practice and who she is as a person. I love Zendaya’s energy. Their spirits are just something else.

Which songs should be on the ultimate getting-ready playlist?

There’s a song called “Mama Used to Say,” by Junior. As soon as you start your skin-care routine in the morning, play this song and you’ll feel like you’re going to have a good-ass day. If you use [Humanrace], you’ll have that fucking straight-out-of-the-beautiful-heat glow. [laughs]

Pharrell's Must-Haves

Humanrace Humidifying Cream, Rice Powder Cleanser, and Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator

Pharrell Williams
Courtesy Humanrace

To shop: Cream, $48; Cleanser, $32; Exfoliator, $46;

Eidon Ionic Minerals Liquid Zinc

Pharrell Williams
Courtesy Eidon

To shop: $20;

DoTerra Peppermint Beadlet and On Guard Beadlet

Pharrell Williams
Courtesy DoTerra

To shop: Peppermint Beadlet, $17; On Guard Beadlet, $21;

Isdin Eryfotona Ageless Ultralight Tinted Emulsion SPF 50

Pharrell Williams
Courtesy Isdin

To shop: $66;

For more stories like this, pick up the December issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Nov. 20th.

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