Peyton List Wants Makeup to Feel Like a Playground

The actress and Pley Beauty founder shares how Cobra Kai fans inspired her new palettes and gets into her favorite skincare rituals.

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the actress Peyton List
Courtesy of Pley Beauty
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While some of us spent the early days of the pandemic baking bread or reading books, Peyton List was hard at work on a sustainable beauty brand. Pley, which is available now, is all about bright colors and bold formulas that are good for both your skin (non-toxic, Leaping Bunny certified) and the planet (nearly all recyclable packaging). “I had the opportunity to develop it over COVID and to adapt to where the world is now and respond,” List says. “Now, clean beauty is the table stakes for any brand coming in.”

The 23-year-old actress, known for her leading roles in Jessie and Cobra Kai, knows a thing or two about products that both look and feel good. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the makeup chair,” she says, noting that it was on set that her love-hate relationship with the beauty industry began. “Makeup was a really intimidating space. Growing up, I didn't feel that confident doing my own.”

The philosophy behind Pley is to reframe makeup as a playground of sorts. Each product in the line, which includes eyeshadow palettes, powder blush, and lipstick, is intentionally designed to be easy to use and multi-purpose.

On the occasion of of Pley’s launch, List spoke with W about her favorite form of self care, the one product she can’t live without, and how she designed a collection with Cobra Kai fans in mind.

We only include products that have been independently selected by W’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

You spend a lot of time in the makeup chair. Have you learned anything from any makeup artists just from being in the chair?

Every single thing I have in my beauty routine is from different makeup artists I’ve worked with. They’ve taught me everything. When I first started acting, I was just a kid experimenting and finding my way. Prepping the skin really well and getting my makeup off as soon as possible is one of the biggest things for me. I love to leave set with my makeup still on because I just love it so much, so they’ve definitely had to ingrain that into me.

I love that the line includes stick-on face gems. I don’t see those a lot. What made you want to include them in the collection?

I mean, I selfishly wanted them for myself. I love going to festivals and concerts. And I feel like they’re the perfect thing, because when the light hits them, they become a conversation piece. You end up making friends in the bathroom because someone likes your face gems, and then all of a sudden, you’ve made a new best friend! That’s really my goal with beauty, to find kindred spirits and to get people talking.

Do you have a favorite product in the line?

Our eyeshadow palettes. There are just so many fun shimmers. Modern Muse is my favorite.

Tell us a little bit about the Cobra Kai collection. What inspired the look and feel of those products?

I’ve tested makeup to the extreme on that show, and I wanted to make products that were able to cross over into that world. When we’re working on the show, we’re doing stunts and the training is intense—we are really sweating all day. My character, Tory, always wears a red tinted lip balm, so that was the one product I knew I wanted to make so that I could wear it on the show. I also wanted to create shades that reflected like the different dojos and lean into the humor of it. We have an Eagle Fang shade to pay homage to the show. I just wanted to make it for the fans, I think they’ll appreciate the jokes we’ve made for them. It’s been so fun to find a way to fuse these worlds together.

If you could only wear one makeup product everyday, what would it be?

Definitely blush. Because then I wouldn’t look so pale and colorless. I feel like even just looking like you just pinched your cheeks or like you’re a little flushed makes you look more alive. I have tried wearing lips with nothing else, and it always looks strange on me!

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

I’ll splash freezing cold water on my face and ice roll each morning. I have an early call time, so I’m usually just trying to tighten my skin and wake myself up!

Do you have a favorite form of self care?

Anything where I’m really sweating. I’m always going on runs. I get really anxious and stressed and the only way to get it out is just for me to run until I’m out of breath. I also love steam rooms and saunas. There’s this place in LA called Shape House where you go and sit and sweat. There’s just something so relaxing to me about sitting in the heat and having to endure it. It’s the only way my mind calms down. I go into this meditative state that without the heat I couldn’t go into.

Do you have a beauty icon?

I draw inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. I don’t have a specific person, but I’m most inspired by creators online. I’m constantly finding inspiration on TikTok, Pinterest and Instagram. I’m always cutting things up and making vision boards—it’s why we have so much collage artwork on the Pley palettes.

If you had to give your own beauty advice to others, what would it be?

I just hope that people are willing to play around with color and have fun, even if it's kind of outside of people's comfort zones. I just want to encourage people to play!

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