Marsai Martin’s outlook on beauty was shaped “tremendously” by the women in her life.
“I always followed their routines when it comes to their own beauty inside and out,” the producer-actress tells PEOPLE exclusively while speaking about her new Clinique partnership.
While she was picking up the beauty cues in her household, she was also observing the best in the business on the set of ABC’s sitcom Black-ish, which kicked off her career at just eight years old.
“I was lucky enough to be around amazing and empowering women who cared about their skin and who exuded nothing but confidence,” says Martin, who played Diane Johnson for the show’s eight-season run.
Before the age of 10, Martin was getting to witness firsthand what having a beauty routine looked like — and it came with a bit of a shock.
“It was hilarious because I would see everybody have their makeup and skincare done, and I was the only one with Chapstick and eyebrow gel. Being able to watch them for so long, I already knew what I wanted when it was finally my time to be able to express myself creatively in that way,” she says.
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Thinking back, Martin remembers her television mom Tracee Ellis Ross having a “really dope” routine involving gua sha tools and infrared light. Jenifer Lewis, who played Martin’s on-screen grandmother Ruby, was all about “crazy” rituals too, Martin remembers. “Every time I was in the hair and makeup trailer, they had some type of scientific tools.”
Now that she’s older, the Little actress has a specific regimen herself. In the morning she makes sure she’s “lathered in some type of fragrance,” or “smell good” as she calls it (”I think that’s the southerner me,” she kids). At night, she’s adamant about removing her makeup before bedtime with Clinique’s Take the Day Off charcoal cleansing balm.
But, the most important, from Ross and Lewis she learned “how to protect our skin in the best way we can,” Martin tells PEOPLE.
Now, Martin is that figure for other young girls looking to find themselves within the beauty landscape.
As Clinique’s brand ambassador and first-ever partner producer, she’s excited to create content that encourages people’s fearlessness. “Nothing is more of a priority than your voice and the way that you look at life, meaning nobody can take away your point of view,” she says.
And it’s in moments of discouragement when she wants them to recall their worth.
“Always remember what you want first — just like we talk about skincare and our beauty routines. Using our voices, speaking our minds and being able to find our confidence aligns with all of that. I think as young girls grow up in this world of social media and having so many other voices consuming our own mind to where it kind of blurs the lines of what we really want, it is truly important to remember what you want first and where you come from.”