When drag queen, artist, and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner Shea Couleé thinks of skin goals, her mind immediately goes to texture—being able to heal scarring from past breakouts in order to achieve a smoother appearance. She describes her combo/oily skin as being “problematic” when she was a teenager, but it wasn’t until she began touring five years ago that she built a solid routine of her own, recommended to her by a friend.
“She was like, ‘Hey, you know, we need to start getting you into a skincare routine—something that will help you,’” Couleé recalls. “She started me on a little bit of lactic acid to help create a smoother surface, to get rid of dead skin and a whole bunch of buildup from being on tour.”
Couleé met her first Youth To The People product on her partner’s side of the medicine cabinet, and, in search of a routine that’d be both gentle yet effective, began using the line more exclusively when she started Accutane.
“For my skin journey, this is gentle enough, it is powerful enough, it is moisturizing enough,” Couleé explains. “One side effect [of Accutane] is that it really dries your skin out, but I’ve been able to get the moisture that I need with products that are really, really gentle that my skin has been responding to.”
Below, shop Shea Couleé’s full skincare routine:
IN THE MORNING:
When Couleé wakes up feeling like her skin wants a little extra exfoliation, she starts off her routine with the Yerba Mate Resurfacing Energy Facial—preferably in the shower to easily rinse away the formula—before moving onto the Superfood Cleanser.
“I just love that cleanser because I feel like it has such an amazing lather to it. My face always feels so clean but it does not feel overly stripped when I’m done,” Couleé says.
After hydrating and prepping their skin for the rest of their routine using the Adaptogen Soothe + Hydrate Activated Mist, she goes in with a few drops of the Mandelic Acid + Superfood Unity Exfoliant then the Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Oil. When she first started Accutane, it was the Dream Oil that helped give her skin what it needed.
“It brought luster back to my skin, lasted for a long time, and was gentle enough not to irritate the skin,” Couleé says of Dream Oil. “That is my saving grace. Like, if I’m in a rush and I can’t do anything else in this routine, it will be that.” After moisturizing with the Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream, Couleé’s skin is ready for the day—whether it involves high-coverage makeup, SPF, or a fresh face.
IN THE EVENING:
The most recent addition to Couleé’s routine is the Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm, YTTP’s newly launched cleanser that gently and quickly breaks down makeup and SPF while continuing to hydrate skin long after rinsing. When it comes to really heavy drag makeup, there’s often a tendency to over-strip skin, Couleé explains—but where she’s at now, she needs products that are both gentle and powerful.
“Sometimes after a show, we’re removing our makeup and it’s a process before you want to go back upstairs and let people see you. People strip away their makeup and their skin’s looking all red and kind of blotchy and then girls are trying to put on a little bit of cover-up to cover up what they just stripped away ‘cause their face is all mad at them,” Couleé says. “You can literally put on [the Dream Balm], wipe off with a clean face, and walk right up to the club or bar looking glorious, dewy, golden, and feel okay about it.”
For more on how to use the Dream Balm, click here.
Because drag makeup is so high-coverage, Couleé finds that she needs a shower to fully remove her makeup. She uses the Dream Balm everywhere her makeup goes—her face, behind her ears, in her ears, on the back of her neck, and on her chest—then follows with the Superfood Cleanser. As needed, Couleé exfoliates with the Energy Facial between cleansing steps and hydrates skin with Adaptogen Mist and the Dream Oil.
“I normally will do the Superberry Dream Eye Cream ‘cause I always like to put on a little eye cream before bed,” Couleé says, “And I do a light bit of the Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask—my boyfriend got me into that as a little nighttime oomph.”
SHEA’S SKINCARE SECRETS
There are a few secrets Couleé swears by when it comes to her Youth To The People routine, including using the Superfood Cleanser in place of a shaving cream and, if you have oily skin, including a good oil in your routine.
“I know you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Why in the world would I put oil on my oily skin?’ That is going to change the chemistry of the type of oils that your skin is producing and/or absorbing and it will go from looking greasy to looking dewy. Trust the process of a good oil,” she says.
And if you have oily skin, Couleé’s final tip is to embrace it.
“Let me tell you—you’re going to be looking moisturized, you’re going to be looking young, your skin is producing those natural oils,” she explains. “You will be looking supple for a while, so don’t be mad at it. It’s a gift. It can be frustrating [and] can produce breakouts, but if you treat it properly, you’ll be good.”
Shop Shea Coulee’s YTTP favorites here, and use code SHEA15 at checkout for 15% off your order.