To be clear, Johansson isn’t a new face in the beauty industry — on the contrary, she’s been “fortunate enough,” as she puts it, to work with quite a few luxury brands as an ambassador over the years. But she wanted something more: “In my late 20s, I was coming into my own as an actor, as an artist, as a woman, and just felt increasingly that my experience of being the face of these other brands was inauthentic to my own experience, to my own story, and what I was looking for as a consumer.”
Still, even Johansson — Black Widow herself — didn’t think that dream could become a reality at first. After stepping away from her ambassador roles, she began exploring parts of the industry behind the scenes that she wasn’t initially familiar with. “[I] met with a lot of the big houses that were building brands for other celebrities, and then just kept coming back to the principle that I really wanted to do my own thing.”
Then she met Kate Foster Lengyel, her now cofounder, and magic started to happen. “I had a pain point and was looking for a solution,” she says of the beginnings of the brand.
Johansson wanted to create products that are simple and effective. “I have had acne-prone skin — struggled with that through my 20s — and I’ve tried every acne peel, mask, and skin resurfacing polish,” she says. “Whenever my skin is breaking out, I have always returned to this three-step process of cleansing, and priming, and moisturizing.”
That’s what inspired the three hero launches: a gentle cleanser, a firming collagen serum, and a daily moisturizer. To round out the line, The Outset first launched with a night cream, an eye cream (her husband Colin Jost’s favorite — more on that later), and a lip treatment (Johansson’s “baby”). Now, the range has expanded to include an exfoliator, face oil, and clay mask. The Outset’s signature ingredient is a plant-based alternative to hyaluronic acid, which is infused in each of the brand’s products.
Ahead, learn more about each of the skin-care products and why Johansson loves them.