Gaining success and longevity in the entertainment industry as a Black woman can be quite the challenge, but Nicole Ari Parker makes it look easy! For more than 20 years, the veteran actress has wowed on films and TV shows, including her current role as “Giselle” on the FOX primetime hit Empire.
Not only is Nicole a true hair chameleon — flaunting everything from her natural twists and curls to
Most recently, the beauty returned to her modeling roots for the American Heart Association’s annual Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection presentation.
We caught up with her backstage to chat it about her hair slay, skincare routines, go-to hair products and more.
Hype Hair: First, let’s talk about you walking in this show! Why was it so important for you?
Nicole Ari Parker: It’s my way of supporting the American Heart Association and all the work they do for women’s issues and women’s health. Being a woman and a mom, it’s really important to me and heart disease affects about 50,000 African American women a year and I like to get the word out. I like to encourage us all to go to the doctor and have our hearts be one of those things we take care of. Even if it means changing our diet or googling what foods are good for our heart, specifically fruits and vegetables and start adding those into the diet — especially for young women like you. Take an early start with self-care so you’re not chasing yourself later in your ’40s and ’50s like, “OMG how did that happen?” Now is the time.
HH: What are some ways to keep that conversation going throughout the year?
NAP: I think everyone going back into their lives and encouraging their mothers, sisters, aunts
HH: At Hype Hair, we’re all about celebrating beauty. How would you define beauty?
NAP: Beauty is definitely an inside job. When your spirit is right, you strengthen your heart and you’re able to love and receive love. I think that you glow. When you move through the world and you’re able to give, that’s the real thing. I think beauty is generous. The more you give the more beautiful you are.
HH: The is event is all about the power of red. What are some of your favorite red lippies?
NAP: There’s an amazing red lipstick from Wet N’ Wild. It’s at the drugstore. It dries down matte. Isn’t that the bomb?
NAP: I also love Lady Danger by MAC Cosmetics. Right now, those are my top two! Also, NARS makes an amazing red called Cruella. Oh my God, it’s life.
HH: We adore your hair game? Can you tell us some of your favorite looks?
NAP: I had a burgundy bob getting off the plane. I get my wigs from Kiyah Wright. She has worked on Ciara and everyone… She makes the best wigs!
HH: When did you fall in love with your hair?
NAP: I’ve always loved my hair. I have always had good hair self-esteem and I gave it to my daughter — [she] loves her natural hair. But, I love wigs too. I’ve done the big chop multiple times, most recently in 2012.
HH: How do you care for your hair under the wigs?
NAP: I was in New York on Broadway and I was going to Hair Rules Salon by Anthony Dickie and he was really taking care of my hair. That’s one of the great spots here in town. Yes! Hair Rules over on Ninth Ave.
HH: Any must-have products?
NAP: There are so many great products out there. From Mielle Organics, the Mane Choice, Camille Rose Naturals, and there’s an oil called the Holy Grail. That oil is life! It’s from an indie brand called Ella + Co.
HH: Your skin is everything! What moisturizer do you use?
NAP: Girl, I use so many! The key to good skin, especially if you’re in this business, is to wash your face. You have to break your makeup down with oil. You can use coconut oil, olive oil and you can buy one from CVS. They have Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Skin Oil and you rub it, break down your makeup and take off your lashes.
Then, you apply your cleanser. Next, you follow up with micellar water and do another wipe down to get rid of the dirt and debris gently. Once that’s complete, I moisturize. I love to use serums. However, I’m really into my nighttime regimen. It has saved my life. On set, I wear makeup 14 hours a day, so it’s important to me.