Gabrielle Union-Wade Is Stunning Without Makeup

Gabrielle Union-Wade is a true beauty. Often lauded for her spirited performances on-screen, the actor is equally revered for her flawless skin. Union loves going makeup-free, showing off her freckles every chance she gets. Her "au-natural" selfies are a breath of fresh air on social media, and she often showcases the reality of life with a toddler on Instagram.

Union has featured her daughter Ka'avia in several campaigns for her beauty brand "Flawless by GU." The mother-daughter duo shows off their natural hair in beautiful styles, achieved using the line's signature curl-care products. However, the "Bring It On" star has been embracing her natural look more recently in her career after shaking free from harmful beauty standards. After nearly thirty years in the industry, the businesswoman has finally given up caring what other people think.

In an interview with People for her "no makeup" shoot, Union looked back on how her perception of beauty has changed. "I feel most like myself without makeup," she said. "It's how my friends and my husband and my loved ones appreciate me most. I think makeup can be a mask ... So I've made peace with this. This is my face, and I'm okay with it ... I'm at an age where I have zero F's to give."

Gabrielle's must-haves for glowing skin

Gabrielle Union-Wade is often referred to as an "ageless" celeb. Currently 50 years old, it's hard to believe that her roles in "10 Things I Hate About You" and "Breaking In" are nearly twenty years apart. It's equally astonishing that Union hasn't had any anti-aging work done on her face. She admitted to The Skincare Edit: "I don't like needles. I'm not going to rule out Botox, but the idea of putting a needle in my face... I'm not there yet."

So, she focuses on skincare remedies instead. Some of her advice includes avoiding smoking, substituting water for sugary drinks, and finding products to combat hormonal acne. And even though she struggles with oilier skin, Union said that doesn't necessarily mean you should avoid face oils. She told Elle, "It's a blessing and a curse to have oily skin, but I'm starting to believe it's like embalming fluid that's sort of keeping me youthful looking."

Union has also raised awareness about the importance of sunscreen for all skin types, as people with darker skin tones often believe they don't need sun protection. "We believe that our melanin is built-in protection, and we are good to go from birth. That's not the case," she explained to Essence. "Our moles can change shape and be cancerous as well. We have to stay on top of our sun protection. We burn as well."

Gabrielle didn't always embrace her natural look

For Black women, sporting a wig, weave, or any other type of hair extension is often the easiest route. From avoiding hair discrimination to taming their curls, the stakes are even higher for Black women in Hollywood. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, fans noticed a shift in Gabrielle Union-Wade's beauty routine: she was embracing her natural hair in quarantine. Union told People that the change came in part due to the values she wanted to teach her daughters, Zaya and Ka'avia.

"When I was younger, I hated everything about [my hair]. I wanted it to be anything but what it was," she said. "I wasted so much of my youth in my twenties, thirties, and certainly my teens wanting to be someone else. I was inundated with images and messages saying, 'You're just not as pretty as so-and-so.'"

The "Perfect Find" star wasn't able to shake free of these harsh beauty standards until she reached her forties. In 2020, Union also re-launched her natural hair care line "Flawless by GU." She told People, "I used to think you had to have a certain hair texture in order to be seen as beautiful or dynamic. I don't have that anymore. I love my own hair. Everything I want to achieve, everything I can dream of, I know I can do it with my own hair."