Vanessa Hudgens is one of those actors who have catalogs of memorable roles to reference. There's Spring Breakers, there's Tick, Tick… Boom!, and yes, High School Musical (shout-out to everyone who watched it religiously when they were younger and tried their best to emulate Gabriella Montez, because same). While these iconic roles are nothing new, her re-entry into the beauty industry is. Hudgens's brainchild, Know Beauty, just relaunched with a single product: a clay mask that's meant to provide luxury results at an affordable price.
Hudgens said she created the product out of personal necessity. "As someone who has extremely oily skin and problematic skin, I've dealt with acne my whole life, and I thought as an adult it would go away, and it hasn't. Clay masks have always been something that I’ve leaned on," she says. "But they've always been a little too drying for my skin, so I wanted to put my head together with my formulator to create a clay mask that is going to rid your skin of impurities and can also be hydrating to the dermis, have active ingredients, and help with fine lines… because that's something that I'm dealing with as well!" Keep scrolling to learn more about Hudgens's brand-new skincare product, plus see her other go-to skin-clearing products.
Here's the product: the Glacial Bay Clay Mask, which is housed in a heavy, luxurious purple jar (that also happens to be fully recyclable). Hudgens says it took months to create along with the help of her formulator, Mary Berry. "I wanted to start by looking for an active ingredient, something that is really nutrient-rich," she tells me. "I'm a big nature girl. I love the holistic approach, and I feel like we can always turn to Mother Nature for remedies. We found this Glacial Bay Clay. It’s from an active glacier, so it’s packed with vitamins and minerals. I was like, great, let’s start there and then build on it with the things that make clay masks clay like kaolin clay and bentonite clay."
The other star ingredient Hudgens wanted to incorporate was lactic acid since it's something she's seen improve her own acne-prone skin. "I feel like it’s such an underused ingredient and works wonders for people with problematic skin, so we made sure we threw that in there," she says. "Then, I was like, I'm aging and fine lines are definitely a thing, so it'd be great if we could find a natural ingredient that would help with that issue." That ingredient? Giant sea kelp, which is known for being antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory.
Hudgens is a firm believer in skincare being self-care. "I loved the idea of your mask time being 'me" time, almost like a moment at the spa for yourself," she says. In fact, that's where the idea for this product originated. "I wanted to create a luxury product at an affordable price. I got to look back into my own childhood memories, and I remember the first time I was like, 'Oh that looks luxurious!' I was probably 8 years old when Calvin Klein came out with the fragrance Euphoria, and it was purple. Purple was my favorite color, and I just always thought of that color as royalty. I was like, 'I want to give that experience to my consumer; you put it on and you feel like a king or a queen.' You’re taking care of yourself and treating yourself like the royalty you are."
When I ask Hudgens about her personal skincare routine, it's surprisingly minimal. "Well, I can just take you through what I did this morning, I guess. I literally wake up and the first thing I do is throw the mask on while I’m waking up. I don’t even give myself time to think about it; I just toss it on. The scent feels like a nice, relaxing, awakening start to my day. Then I’ll check my phone and brush my teeth. Then I hop in the shower and rinse it off."
From there, it's time for cleanser, a toner-serum hybrid, tinted moisturizer, and sunscreen. "I've been using whatever cleanser is in my shower," she laughs. "I move around so much, so consistency for me is a challenging thing."
Hudgens tells me she's been using a salicylic acid toner spray in the mornings to help keep pores clear and prevent breakouts. While this isn't the exact one Hudgens uses, it contains a salicylic acid complex, along with tea tree oil and lactic acid to reduce acne-causing bacteria and gently exfoliate the skin.
After the salicylic acid spray, Hudgens applies sunscreen and this product from Ilia, which happens to be a beauty-editor favorite for its lightweight, natural-looking coverage. "Today I just threw on my tinted moisturizer. I fell in love with this one by Ilia. It has hyaluronic acid and sunscreen. Sunscreen is such a big, important thing to me. I love that product because it’s all-in-one."
However, because celebs are really just like us, Hudgens has to contend with a slight white cast from her go-to SPF, which is why she follows it up with this tinted Ilia product. "I always have sunscreen on my face, so the skin on my face is so much lighter than the skin on my body," she says. This product fixes that issue, which is why she calls it her "little hack."
Since she's grown up in the spotlight, I was curious how Hudgens's beauty philosophy and aesthetic have been affected, if at all. "I feel like the way beauty is approached in film and the way I approach my personal beauty is so different," she says. "On camera, it’s really important to cover things up and take away shine, like powder and powder and powder! But in my everyday life, I’m like, 'I want to shine. I want to show skin. I want to glow.'"
That explains why she says her beauty routine has veered away from maximalist and into minimalist territory. "My perspective on beauty in the past few years has really shifted. It used to be 'put on a full face and I feel like I’m ready to conquer the world,' and now my perspective is 'skin is in.' I think there’s nothing more empowering than when you can step foot outside, be in your skin, and feel confident. To me that is beautiful and sexy, embracing your own individuality and not trying to push yourself into the confines of what societally has been traditionally considered beautiful."
Still, there's nothing wrong with a little makeup from time to time. Lately, Hudgens has been obsessed with Freck Beauty, namely the brand's freckle pen. "I have fallen in love with their products," she says. "The little freckle pen is a great way to cover up pimples; just turn them into beauty marks! That’s just another way to amplify natural skin."
While there's a lot on the horizon for Hudgens, the most recent (and major) life update is that she recently became engaged to professional baseball player Cole Tucker. "It’s overwhelming planning a wedding," Hudgens says. "I never realized how much goes into it until now. For me, the setting is everything, so I’m trying to figure out where it will be so that everything else can just fall into place. I’m not really married to any look or vibe. To me, it’s all about fitting into the environment in a way that seems natural and environment."
When I tell her I love that approach, as it makes things a lot less overwhelming, she smiles. "Exactly! I’m trying to go with the flow here. I’m not trying to fit any square pegs into round holes." If that isn't a metaphor for how Hudgens approaches beauty and life in general, I don't know what is.