If you’ve only seen one episode of Abbott Elementary, that’s all you need to witness the comedic genius and charm of Quinta Brunson. The 32-year-old, comedian, actor, and TV writer first hit the scene in 2014 when a comedy skit of hers went viral. Shortly after that Brunson went on to star in, write, and produce several Buzzfeed videos and series. Now, as the creator and lead of ABC’s Abbott Elementary and a 2022 Time 100 honoree, she is well on her way to becoming a household name — and not just in entertainment. Brunson’s latest endeavor may seem a bit out of her lane, but just one conversation with her (including her skin care routine, career, and more) reveals why the star’s new partnership with Olay makes perfect sense.
“When I was younger I just used whatever my mom used, and she always had the Olay moisturizer and the body wash in the bathroom,” Brunson tells TZR. “It’s just been a staple in my life.”
Much like everyone else, Brunson developed her now beloved beauty routine through a series of trial and error. “I had that period where I went out and went to all the beauty stores and started trying all these different things,” she recalls. But after trying a slew of products she found herself reaching for what she calls the basics, which for her included an Olay moisturizer.
After a brief experimental phase, Brunson’s beauty routine has definitely become stable and there are even some products in her regime that have crossed the line of consistent over into non-negotiable. “I wash my face every morning and every night without fail. I will not go outside unless I’ve washed my face and I won’t go to sleep unless I’ve washed my face,” she tells TZR. Though she says her nighttime skin care routine now leaves her skin feeling so fresh in the morning it feels like she could leave the house without washing it, the thought of doing so is “crazy.”
Brunson recently introduced serums to her routine and has been impressed with the results on her skin, including the brand’s signature Retinol24 night serum, “I had really been seeking my nighttime thing; how to go to sleep feeling like my skin would be recharged, taken care of, and moisturized — but I didn’t want to use a bunch of different products,” she explains.
Being on camera frequently now Brunson finds that she wears a lot more makeup than before and soon after noticed her skin changing. “Especially because I’m in LA with this harsh climate, I just wanted to make sure my skin stays supple and happy,” she tells TZR. Her dermatologist recommended a retinol (although, in addition to it, the derm also suggested additional steps to mitigate the irritation that can accompany using retinol regularly). “I couldn’t keep up with it — the steps were like use it one time this week, two times next week, but not three, and the next week use it four time but only here... and I was like I can’t do this. I have enough steps to worry about in my life.” Now, she’s learned that a simplified and streamlined routine with quality products and ingredients is exactly what her complexion needed.
Brunson’s intentionality in beauty choices also flows over into her show Abbott Elementary. Brunson is purposeful about the stylistic beauty choices of her main character, Jeanine. “I wanted her to represent that girl who is just at the beginning of finding herself,” Brunson explains. In the first season the character comes out of a relationship she’s been in for 10 years so Brunson wanted her hair, makeup, and clothing to reflect a woman who has been slightly stuck in one place for a long time. “Her clothing and hair didn’t really have to change much [throughout the season] because she was with someone who loved her regardless,” says Brunson.
She adds that fans can expect to see subtle changes in Jeanine’s hair come Season 2, since “over the summer, going through a breakup she [Jeanine] tried watching Youtube tutorials and tried doing different things with her hair,” Brunson explains. She goes on to note that she wants Jeanine’s relationship with beauty as portrayed on screen to reflect the role that beauty plays in most people’s lives. “As our lives change and experiences change, we make different decisions about our hair, skin, and makeup and they often signify who we are and where we are at that time,” she says.
As for Brunson, her approach to beauty and much of life these days is rooted in simplicity — with her career taking off, and a new accolade each month (like her recent Emmy nominations), “I just try to keep things simple,” she says. And with a beauty partnership under her belt, it’s safe to say Brunson’s journey, however simple, will be nothing short of exciting and accomplished.