When It Comes to Chanel Iman’s Skincare Routine, Way Less Is More

Chanel Iman in a yellow dress and hoop earrings in front of a palm tree
Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Daily Front Row

Chanel Iman has taken the traditional definition of what it means to be a top model and made it her own. While she began her career walking the runways of every major fashion house under the sun including as a Victoria’s Secret Angel, appearing both on the covers of and inside major editorials for Teen and American Vogue, i-D, and L’Officiel, Iman has taken the past few years to refocus her career. She’s delved into acting, appearing in the films Dope and Mad Families, and has prioritized working with philanthropies—most recently, she signed on as the new ambassador of Smile Train, an international charity that supports children with clefts. Alongside raising two daughters with her husband, New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard, Iman has her hands full.

But now, she’s taken on a new partnership, teaming up with Bic for its Bodymark by Bic NFL series. The new product provides temporary tattoo markers and team logo stencils representing all 32 NFL teams. Naturally, Iman opts for the Giants every time.

Below, the renowned model discusses her spare approach to skincare, how she takes advantage of her kids’ nap time, and why taking care of her mind takes precedence over a facial treatment any day.

Do you have a typical getting-ready routine on game day?

I’m very practical with what I wear to the football games—it’s usually jeans, a t-shirt, and my jersey, whether I’m sharing at home or I’m watching it in the stands. I also like to put the Bodymark by Bic NFL temporary tattoos on my arms, my ankles, and my hands.

What is the one beauty product that you can’t live without?

I can’t live without my Anastasia Beverly Hills eyebrow kit and my Cover FX Power Flex Mascara.

Having modeled for so many years all over the world, surely you’ve picked up some great beauty tips on set. What’s the best one you’ve heard?

I was taught early on to always bring my own foundation. It is the worst thing ever to show up on set and work with a makeup artist that doesn’t have your color, being forced to be photographed with bad skin.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning, beauty-wise?

When it comes to products and doing pretty much anything to my skin, I keep things very simple. I cleanse my face with Dove soap and use a little bit of Pond’s moisturizer. I’ll use some sunscreen if it’s hot.

That is very simple. Usually when I do these interviews, people describe 25-step skincare routines and namecheck products from high-end brands.

I use all of those brands, too, but not every day—just once in a while. I always find that for me, the less I do to my skin the better.

Did you ever participate in a cringe-y beauty or style trend that you look back on now and say to yourself, “What was I thinking?”

A lot of the things I wore during my teenage years were horrible. I thought at the time that I was fashionable, and I was stylish. But I wore dresses too short, things that just didn’t go together—and when it came to colors, I always tried to coordinate my outfit, matching my eye shadow to my bag to my belt to my shoes. And those velour suits I used to wear...let’s just say there were a lot of trends that have gone out of style. That’s why, now, I try to keep my style as classic and timeless as possible, so that I no longer have to look at photos from back in the day and ask myself why I did that.

What’s the biggest beauty splurge you’ve ever made and was it worth it?

I don’t spend too much on beauty, so I don’t splurge on crazy products.

What’s your favorite form of self care?

Taking some time for yourself is always necessary. I like to write, so I always write down my thoughts and everything that’s going on in my life in my journal. That really helps me mentally. And talking to someone as well—I always think everybody needs someone to talk to.

Do you journal in the morning or evenings?

The afternoons, because that’s when my kids take their naps. That’s my me time.

What is your nighttime beauty routine?

I usually wash my face while I’m taking a shower using the same Dove soap, and moisturize again with Pond’s.

What products do you keep in your bag while you’re running around during the day?

I only use bags when I’m going for nice dinners or an evening out. After becoming a mother, all I carry now is a baby bag, so it’s usually all about my kids. When I’m running around during the day, I usually take my phone and my wallet and throw it in the baby bag.

Are there any products that you like to use on your kids? Is there a sunscreen you love, or a lotion?

I use Cetaphil Baby, and Baby Bum products—they have a lot of those.

What’s your ideal spa day and where?

Usually, I just go to spas inside nice hotels, like The Mandarin or The Setai. My favorite place to go in L.A. is Face Gym. It’s so good. They actually have them in New York, too. It’s my spot.

Do you take any supplements?

No, I should take more vitamins [laughs]. I’m trying my hardest to drink lots of water this year, and I want to get in better shape and tighten and tone my body. So I’ve cut back on a lot of sugars and juices and I’m just trying to stay focused on my goal.

What’s your goal?

Losing some weight. After having two kids back to back, that’s something I’ve struggled with. During the pandemic, I was working out because that was the only thing I could do to stay sane. I love running, and that also helped me to have a clear mind. It’s not really so much about my weight, it’s more so about tightening my skin. I don’t mind being a little bit bigger, it’s just that I want my skin to be nice and toned.

What does your workout routine look like now?

I work out four times a week, an hour each day. I usually run for 30 minutes and then do 30 minutes of cardio and weight lifting, or I’ll go to my trainer and he helps me tighten and tone my body. I’ve already lost a lot of weight—at this point, I’m just trying to maintain it and get back to my normal body.

Would you ever use a mask that tightens the skin around your belly, butt, and thighs?

A lot of people sent me belly masks when I was pregnant to help with stretch marks and loose skin, but I don’t really use those types of things. Having kids, I don’t really have time for masks—there’s not much I can do in that two-hour window of their afternoon nap. So I have to think about what it is that I really want, and taking care of my mind is more important. Plus, I can get done all the things I can’t do when my kids are awake.