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’s an understatement to say that Naomi Osaka excels at pretty much everything she does. She's a star on and off the court—I mean, did you see her at the Met Gala? The tennis pro has quickly become a multi-hyphenate, adding a number of collabs and magazine covers to her list of accolades. And she's also not shy about standing up for what she believes in from mental health to racial injustice. Her latest cause: raising awareness about the importance of sunscreen for people of color.
Her skincare journey is what led to her interest in skin health—and the launch of her skincare brand KINLO Skin. Partnering with skincare expert Dr. Naana Boakye, the brand—with a name that nods to her Haitian and Japanese heritage—offers skincare essentials for all skin tones. When she learned (the hard way) how essential sunscreen was to her routine, even with melanin-rich skin, she set out to spread the word. Beyond spreading the word about the shocking stats surrounding skin cancer mortality in people of color, she also found a gap in the market: sunscreens sans white cast. Keep reading to learn more about her favorite skincare products, her new line, and the best skincare advice she's ever gotten.
About Her Skin
For me, I've always felt like my skin was a little on the oily side. It probably doesn't help that I'm also sweating a lot while I train, so I tend to get shiny. I try to keep my routine pretty simple: cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen are my must-haves.
How She Got Into Skincare
I was shocked when I initially heard the stats around the skin cancer mortality rate within the POC community. We've all been led to believe that darker skin doesn't need sunscreen, but that's actually not true. I realized how important it is for us to protect our skin. Our natural melanin isn't enough. So when I started KINLO, we partnered with Dr. Naana Boakye as our resident skincare expert. She's really been the one guiding me and teaching me everything I've learned so far.
Her Night Vs. Morning Routine
I mostly do the same thing for morning and night, with the exception of my eyes. They tend to get puffy, so I like to apply KINLO's Hydrating Eye Cream ($15) as part of my nighttime routine. Every now and then, I'll do a face masque at night if I'm relaxing and need an extra skin boost. But otherwise, I stick to my cleanser and moisturizer, and sunscreen for the daytime.
The Step She Never Skips
Washing my face. From a young age, my mom always taught my sister and me the importance of washing your face. So I never skip that, especially since I'm so active.
How Her Routine Has Changed Over Time
My biggest mistake and regret is not understanding the importance of sunscreen earlier. I really didn't think I needed it until my first trip to Australia. The sun is so much stronger there, so I actually got burned. That was the first time I realized that my natural melanin wasn't enough to protect me, and I'm still susceptible to damage. So after that, I started wearing sunscreen every day. The worst part about that trip was that the sunscreen available made me look white and pasty and was so hard to blend in. That's a huge reason behind the tint in the KINLO sunscreen—it blends in completely, which is really important to me.
The Ingredient That Made the Biggest Difference
I think it's likely Niacinamide. It's in our Golden Rays Sunscreen ($20) and is also in a couple of other products I use, and I could tell the difference in my skin the moment I started using it.
The Best Skincare Advice She Ever Received
It was my mom teaching us at a young age to wash our faces. I don't usually wear a lot of makeup, so there's not necessarily a bunch of stuff to wash off other than natural dirt and sweat, but washing daily in the morning and at night does keep my skin clear.
Her Skincare Pet Peeve
Now that I know what I know, it's probably the idea of people thinking their melanin is enough to protect them. It's scary to think how long it took me to realize and understand that. But that's part of KINLO's mission—to educate and inform the POC community and hopefully save some lives.
The Product She Uses the Most
Honestly, probably our Hydrating Golden Mist ($15). I use it so many times a day. In the morning, when I wake up, I use it, then again after practice as a refresher. I also use it at night as a room spray. It's this sweet orange coconut scent, and it smells so good.
The Product That She's Been Using the Longest
I like to try new things and switch it up, so I'm really not sure. I'm on the road a lot for tennis, so traveling kind of forces me to try new brands and products when I'm in new places.
The Product She Loves Right Now
It's actually a KINLO product that's not out yet LOL—so I can't tell you much! But keep an eye out...