Scarlett Johansson doesn’t have a lot of downtime. When asked to describe her perfect self-care day, she needs a minute to think about it. “My ideal treat myself day is… Oh, my God, when was the last time I had that?” the 39-year-old actor jokes to Elite Daily.
With two kids, an award-winning career in Hollywood, and her own company, Johansson is swamped. In March 2022, the Black Widow star — along with entrepreneur Kate Foster — launched The Outset, a skin care brand that was born from Johansson’s own skin care woes. “I’d been struggling with acne-prone skin since I was 12, and I had a hard time finding products that were gentle enough to use every day,” she says.
Now, after spending five years developing the line and nearly two years selling it, The Outset’s a thriving skin care startup (and a beauty influencer fave). Most recently, the brand introduced its Botanical Barrier Rescue Balm, which TikTokers have been itching to get their hands on since its launch earlier this season. While Johansson finds this kind of success “rewarding,” it also means she really needs a nap. Luckily, the self-professed power nap fan has just the place for it.
“I have a nap couch in my production office,” the Avengers alum admits. “I brought it from my old apartment. It’s very small, to the point you’re wondering, ‘Who could fit on there?’ I told everybody, ‘I know it looks like nothing, but…’ Now, my partner sends me photos of random people napping on it. It’s become a necessity.”
Below, Johansson explains her love of napping, what her perfect treat-yourself day looks like, and the skin care product she and Colin Jost both use.
Elite Daily: What made you decide to enter the skin care space?
Scarlett Johansson: It all started with curiosity. I was introducing myself to people in the beauty industry, trying to see if there was space for a line like The Outset that has gentle, everyday products. I found that a lot of consumers were looking for the same thing.
I never would’ve thought that I would be on this journey for five years. Having a startup is a whirlwind. It’s an entirely different business than the one that I’ve historically been in, but it’s been incredibly rewarding.
ED: What specifically has been the most rewarding part of it for you?
SJ: The most rewarding thing is when people tell me that their skin has never looked better, or when they say that they’re getting compliments after using the products for 10 days and their self-confidence is growing.
ED: The Outset was created to be a simple approach to skin care. How do you apply that same ethos to other forms of self-care?
SJ: When we say that The Outset is the white T-shirt of skin care, we’re really talking about the fact that it plays well with others. We didn’t want to create a line where you needed to use each product to support each step of your routine. Of course, that’s how I use the products, but you can cherry-pick the products that work for you.
When it comes to self-care, I’m not a traditionalist; I like to switch it up. Some nights, I’ll use our boosting oil. Other times, I’ll use our night cream. I’m that way with a lot of things because I like variety in all kinds of self-care. It’s the same way I decide whether I take a bath or a shower, or whether I do Pilates or weight lifting.
ED: With such a busy schedule, what are some wellness practices that you swear by?
SJ: I try to work out at least four days a week. It’s really important for me to have that for grounding. I’ve been loving Pilates for the last five or so years. I don’t function the same when I don’t have that hour of Pilates at the start of my day — even if it’s really early and I’m getting up before everyone else just to make time for it. It’s a really important part of my mental wellness.
I love Pilates because if you’re not thinking about what exercise you’re doing in that very moment, you’re not doing it correctly. For other forms of exercise like weight lifting, or anything where you’re doing repetitions, your mind wanders. The exercise can feel a little bit mindless. But Pilates is very much about that present moment.
ED: I saw you did a tour of the Outset office on TikTok in June. How does your self-care routine on office days compare to non-office days?
SJ: It depends on what we’re doing in the office. Sometimes, we’re doing a full photo shoot here, so I do the clay mask in the morning because I’m going to be wearing a little bit more makeup that day and we’ll be taking photos. But my skin care routine is very simple. I follow the Outset three-step routine, and I’m out the door.
Beyond that, I don’t have that much time for self-care in the morning because I have two kids and they’re extremely needy, as kids are. Usually I’ll only have 10 minutes for a mask in the morning.
ED: What’s your idea of the perfect treat yourself day?
SJ: I’d wake up in the morning and do a Pilates session. I would meet my sister for something fun like a massage and lunch. Then, I’d do some shopping, go into Sephora, take a walk through Central Park, and meet a friend for an after-work drink. I just love that kind of meandering in New York because I have so much going on, so I don’t have the opportunity to do that as much.
At night, I’d go home and eat Thai food. I love pad see ew, papaya salad, Thai iced tea, and sticky rice with mango. That’s my jam. I won’t share it with Colin, either. Then, I’d watch a movie and go to bed early.
ED: You’ve spoken about how much you love the 15-minute power nap. When did that become a hallmark of your self-care routine? Any tips for the perfect mid-day nap?
SJ: I really think napping is the key to longevity. I’ve always napped because when working on film sets, you get up at an unbelievable hour. Your pickup could be like 5:42 a.m. I usually work out in the morning, so my day starts much earlier than everybody else. Then, I’m in a hair and makeup chair for two hours. By that time, I’ve had two coffees, breakfast, worked out for an hour, and had my hair and makeup done, and it’s only 9:30 a.m.
Growing up, my mom always took naps, too. So, I think I just got into the routine of that being part of my day. Now, I can basically nap standing up.
ED: If you had to pick one, what’s your go-to Outset product?
SJ: I’m obsessed with the serum. It’s the one product that gets the most use from me and Colin because we have refills in our house. It’s hilarious because I don’t think Colin ever used a serum before. I’ll use it twice in a morning. If I’m running out the door to take my daughter to school, I wash my face and put it on. After dropping her off, I do a little bit of my morning, shower, use the prep serum again, and follow it up with the moisturizer.
Although I have to say I’m also extremely into the new rescue balm, too.