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Adria Arjona Tells Us the French Skincare Routine That's Perfect for Tomboys

Welcome to our series, Beauty Test, where we invite the freshest faces to the Byrdie studio to test-drive the most buzzed-about beauty trends—or to be honest, just some rad makeup looks we’ve been dying to see in real life. This month, get to know up-and-coming actress Adria Arjona.

At 9 a.m. on a Friday in Los Angeles, after a week as jam-packed and demanding as Adria Arjona’s, it doesn’t matter how famous you are: Nothing can happen—not makeup, not hairstyling, not productive conversation—until you’re caffeinated. When the 25-year-old arrives at her neighborhood coffee shop (West Hollywood’s industrial-chic Coffee Commissary) in a ponytail, sunglasses, and just a light coat of Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer, it’s immediately clear that she and I are on the same page. By the time she walks through the door, I’ve already half-finished an iced black tea the size of a watermelon. “I’m gonna go grab a macchiato” is one of the first sentences out of her mouth. “Go caffeinate, girl,” I respond in solidarity.

Arjona is no stranger to early mornings and long days. The Mexico City-born daughter of a Puerto Rican beauty queen and a Guatemalan musician spent most of her bohemian childhood traveling the world to see music and art, until she landed in New York City at the age of 19 to pursue a performing career of her own. She scored her stateside breakout role as Emily on the HBO series True Detective in 2015 and has been steadily growing her résumé ever since. It’s all led up to her badass turn as Jules Reyes in the sci-fi action film Pacific Rim Uprising, which hits theaters nationwide tomorrow, though she almost has no time to enjoy the event in real time. The physical training for her next film project—involving a rigorous workout schedule—and a robust social life currently consume her calendar. (“I try to eat as healthy as I can so I can enjoy my drinks,” she tells me later. “I work so hard. I’m 25 years old. I need to have fun.”) 

Right away, Arjona’s personality feels familiar: Like me, she’s in her mid-20s (and loving it) with a glorious potty mouth, a lot of energy, and little patience for small talk or formalities. “I cannot sit still,” she tells me of her MO. I also relate to her role as the black sheep of her family: She opens up about her tomboyish childhood, which clashed with the vision her glamorous pageant girl mother held of a daughter. “If anyone wants to know [beauty] secrets, they should go to her,” Arjona tells me frankly.

But that’s the whole point: It’s Arjona’s unconventional, artistic attitude toward beauty that I want to know all about. So, with uppers coursing through our systems, we spend the next 30 minutes talking all things beauty and wellness, from the Puerto Rican skincare tricks her mother taught her (or at least tried to) to her minimalist makeup aesthetic to her thoughts on the 21st century’s most toxic beauty trends. Keep scrolling to get inside the perpetually moving mind of Adria Arjona.