Scarlett Johansson secured her superhero status by taking on the Hollywood machine. your next piece of art? A clean skin care line
“I walked into our first meeting and took a deep breath and I was like, Holy shit, I’m about to meet Scarlett Johansson,” says Kate Foster Lengyel, co-founder of The Outset, an industry veteran who met Johansson through mutual friends. She, too, was immediately charmed by Johansson’s intelligence and humor, which translates into a kind of normal girl energy that you just don’t expect from Natasha Romanoff. “She’s Old Hollywood in that way,” affirms her longtime makeup artist, Frankie Boyd.
But being an engaging conversationalist doesn’t necessarily make you a good business partner, admits Foster Lengyel, who balked at working on another celebrity beauty line — until Johansson gave her the hard sell: a skincare brand that’s about her own beauty Built around was rituals and the success she’s had in managing the breakouts, dryness, and common illnesses that come with long hours in the makeup chair and in front of the camera. (“She always says, ‘If I wasn’t an actor, I’d be a dermatologist!'” Boyd reveals.) Johansson had taken her stand for clean, elevated basics at the intersection of drugstore finds, apothecary traditions, and French pharmacy efficacy to the “big ones” ( Shiseido, Estée Lauder, et al.) before deciding that in order to create a product that lived up to her own expectations, she had to make it from scratch.
Johansson had a few introductory talks with Foster Lengyel before they finally sat down for lunch in person – just as New York went into lockdown. “In a way, it accelerated our relationship because now we had this different kind of intimacy,” Johansson says of how the two women built their brand through Zoom and through FedEx while homeschooling their kids and dealing with anxiety and uncertainty that has plagued so many of us for the past two years. This combined experience – and the guidance of a product developer with a chemical background, who educated them on everything from polymers to parabens in accordance with Credo’s exacting standards for clean ingredients – helped complete their product range: The Gentle Micellar Antioxidant Cleanser Washing Away Blemishes without damaging the skin, while the Firming Vegan Collagen Prep Serum boosts hydration and the Nourishing Squalane Daily Moisturizer offers a refreshing drink for dry skin. This three-step regime, as well as the rest of the line, which includes a rich night cream with niacinamide, a soothing vitamin C eye cream, and a lip treatment, all retail for under $55 and contain Hyaluroset, a botanical alternative to hydrating hyaluronic acid, that plumps and smoothes fine lines. The less-is-more approach also extends to a minimalist design aesthetic, instilled in Johansson by her Scandinavian architect father. “I wanted it to feel like something that was always there,” Johansson says of what she insists on not a millennial pink brand; The Outset’s signature color is more of an electric Ceylon blue, rendered in sans serif letters on the face of recyclable glass bottles and bioresin cane tubes.