Skin Deep: Renée Elise Goldsberry Wears Her Face

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Skin Deep

By BEE SHAPIRO

The Tony Award-winning actress Renée Elise Goldsberry, 46, is known for her Broadway performances — she played Angelica Schuyler Church in “Hamilton” and had leading roles in “Rent” and “The Lion King” — but she has also been making quite an impression on the small screen. She stars opposite Oprah Winfrey in “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” (it will have its premiere on HBO on April 22), and in Netflix’s “Altered Carbon,” as a rebel leader. Raised in Houston and Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Ms. Goldsberry now lives in New York. Her beauty know-how has been influenced both by her stage roles and by TV makeup artists.

BEE SHAPIRO

Skin Care

I wash my face with Cetaphil. Then I moisturize. I’m always looking for something that doesn’t feel greasy but really works and lasts. Right now I’m using the Cetaphil moisturizer for my face, and for my body I use Aveeno.

I don’t do lip balm. I believe hydration really comes from the inside out, so I try to drink a lot of water. I have children who are always asking for Vaseline on their lips, but I’m saying we need to drink more water.

Makeup

When I was younger, I heard a woman say, “I have to put my face on.” That kind of disturbed me. I made a decision that I was wearing my face. I didn’t want to create something that wasn’t there. That sounds great when you’re young, but as you get older, you just tend to do more because … well, maybe you need it. Still, I try to err on the side of less.

If I’m meeting someone for breakfast or something, I put on Smashbox Camera-Ready BB cream, which has SPF 15 in it, and Nars blush in Torrid. Once when I was putting on my own makeup for a show at the Apollo, a makeup artist was nearby, and he said, “Please, can I just do this?” He had a Nars blush, and he totally hooked me up. Then he gave it to me as a gift, and I’ve been using it ever since. Maybe I’ll do lip gloss. I like nude colors like MAC Oh Baby.

If I feel like I want to bump it up a little more, like for a work meeting, I add mascara. Typically I use a Revlon one. If I’m upgrading from that, like if I’m doing my own makeup for the evening, I use MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation. I like it because it’s sheer. I might use lighter colors to contour my lids: I’m using a Clinique four-color palette right now. I’m trying to look natural and not painted. I’m typically fighting hair and makeup teams because I’m always saying: “Can I wear less? Can I look natural and fresh?”

Fragrance

I don’t wear fragrance. The most fragrant I smell is probably from a St. Ives Body Wash. It’s not that I don’t like it. I just don’t necessarily feel like I need to add a fragrance to myself.

Hair

I have several different hair products. I’m always looking for ones that moisturize. I have things from Nexxus, and there’s a shampoo and conditioner from L’anza that I found at Ricky’s.

My hair comes to the center of my back. It can get really light in the summer, but I like it to be a rich dark brown. I don’t like it when it just blends into my skin. I go to Terence Mathis — I walked into his salon on 45th Street when I moved to New York for “The Lion King” — and he uses Bigen, which isn’t a permanent color. He does all of my coloring and styling. If I’m doing my own hair, I like a slicked-back ponytail. I use Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel. It gives a firm hold, and it keeps my edges down. Also, because I wash my hair once a week, it’s important that it’s strong enough to work but isn’t flaking off the next day.

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I keep a pedicure but only through the summer. I like to give my nails a rest. With the weather in New York, that works out. I live in Harlem and frequent most of the salons here.

I’ve done acupuncture, and I believe in it. That’s the first place I go if I’m having any particular pain anywhere.

Diet and Fitness

I absolutely pay attention to diet and fitness. When I’m in a show or a musical, I think my fight-or-flight instinct kicks in and my metabolism shoots up. I actually have to eat to keep weight on. I personally think women look better with a little weight.

The reverse is true when I’m not in a show. The first couple of months I’m happy because I’m seeing a little more weight on; a couple more months later, I’m wondering why my jeans aren’t fitting. The first thing I shot after “Hamilton” was “Henrietta Lacks.” I was looking really toned, but Henrietta is a bigger woman than me, so I tried to hide that. Now, in “Altered Carbon,” I’m supposed to be extremely fit and train warriors to save the world. I have a lot of working out to do.

My favorite is to run outside. I love the challenge of making it up a hill. But because I have a short amount of time to get ready, I’m doing circuit training with a husband-wife team, Marianna Biribin and Josh Viel. They are amazing. But the clock is running down!

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