Michelle Buteau is a longtime figure on the comedy scene. If you’ve watched Netflix in the past six months, you’ve likely seen — and laughed with — her. She’s also a new mom to twins, Hazel and Otis, whom she and her husband welcomed earlier this year. Here, she shares her best tips for curly hair and an offbeat trick for better sleep…
What’s your relationship to beauty in general?
What a great and loaded question! (I feel like I’m on The Bachelorette.) Not to sound like the back of a cereal box, but it really is from within, I think. Beauty is about how you feel, in any shape, size or season. I wish more people would have told me that when I was growing up, ‘cause a lot of it was like, ‘Summer’s coming, time to work on your bikini body!’ I wish people would have said, ‘Listen, as long as you’re happy, you’re okay.’
Let’s talk about your morning routine.
Haha, well, I had a routine. And it was a good one! Now I have twins and my routine is their routine. They should just put their names on the mortgage, because they own this house. But before, what I loved to do is mix a liquid cleanser with an exfoliator. My favorite combination is Cetaphil with a tiny bit of St. Ives Apricot Scrub. I get it all over my face, behind my ears, down my neck, mmm. It was very ‘Calgon, take me away.’ I used to take very long showers, but now when I shower it’s like, ‘Okay, here we go!’ and I just get the hot spots.
Are you a fan of moisturizer?
YES, I like to moisturize all day long. I feel like if you’re supposed to drink water all day, why wouldn’t you moisturize all day, too? I also like to moisturize the babies throughout the day. And my husband. He’s so cute — he’s white and he’s like, ‘You don’t need all that lotion.’ It’s like YES, you do, you just don’t know you do. He’s bald, and I’m always kissing his salty little head. So, I know he needs the lotion!
What are your favorites?
I’m not a fan of these all-in-one moisturizers, because they leave parts of my skin dry. I like when lotions have a specific responsibility — one for your hands, one for your feet. For my face, I use Burt’s Bees Sensitive Daily Moisturizing Cream, which is nice and light. For feet, L’Occitane Shea Butter Foot Cream is amazing. For hands, I like Rituals Soothing Hand Balm. It’s my life!
What kind of stuff do you use on the babies?
The thing is, all moms have their favorites, so I hit up my local Brooklyn mom group and had them tell me what they use. One product I love is Shea Moisture Chamomile & Argan Oil All-Purpose Diaper Ointment, which is for any diaper rash or skin irritation. For bedtime, I like Shea Moisture Honey & Lavender Nighttime Soothing Lotion. My mother-in-law is Dutch and she sends us a baby baby lotion from Zwitsal, which is what she used on her own kids.
Tell us about your freckles — have you had them your whole life?
I started getting them when I was about 10 years old, and I get more every year. Growing up, I got made fun of for having freckles and curly hair. Now, as an adult, all the stuff I was teased for is the stuff that makes me unique. I’ve always loved my freckles, but not all the things that come with having them. Like, walking down the street, a guy will catcall me like, ‘Can I kiss every one of those freckles?’ No, you cannot, sir. But it’s fun too, because no matter where I travel in the world, if I see another black person with freckles, we look at each other like, ‘Hey, sis!’ We’re automatically family.
Your hair is amazing. How do you care for it?
Oh man. I pray. I get acupuncture. Just kidding, but I’ve gone through so many ups and downs with my hair. When I was a senior in high school I wanted to look like the singer T-Boz from TLC, so I cut it (without asking my mom) and tried to dye it blonde. But I didn’t understand that it was a process to go blonde, so I ended up with dry, orange hair. It was such a disaster that I truly have not had another haircut since I was 18. I’ve been slowly growing it out since then. I like to wash it once a week, but it depends on the week. Since having the twins, it’s been more like once a month.
Do you have any tips for curly hair?
Ooh! I always say using olive oil is best. A tiny bit goes a long way, especially on your edges. I think it’s important to wash your hair well. Get a lighter shampoo — even a kids’ shampoo — and really get in there on your scalp. If you’re putting curly-hair products in your hair all the time, it’s going to sink into your pores and your follicles, so really scrub your roots like you’re mad at them. I love a good, thick conditioner like OGX Coconut Milk Conditioner. I also love me a leave-in conditioner, especially Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil. I’ll even use a teeny tiny bit on my daughter’s hair, which is very curly, and it does the trick.
Do you wear makeup?
No, since the twins were born I only wear it when I’m working. Somehow everyone thinks I’m so much younger when I don’t wear makeup! I’m like, what?! How does that work?
So when you do wear it, what’s your go-to look?
I love a wingtip eye. For years, I’ve tried to achieve the ‘if-Amy-Winehouse-worked-at-a-bank’ look. Just like, a cute bank teller. But lately I’ve been moving away from eyeliner and trying to have a fuller brow, with just a teeny bit of mascara. My favorite makeup brand for brows and lashes is Morphe. I don’t wear lipstick on my lips when I’m with the babies, because I like to kiss them all over.
What does your nighttime routine look like?
I use the same Burt’s Bees moisturizer before bed, but I mix it with Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum, for extra hydration. I love a good serum. I also love to spray our bed with essential oils. A friend of mine is a holistic healer, and she recommended also putting a few drops of eucalyptus or lavender oil on the bottom of my feet before bed. It for SURE works. We sleep so much better.
Cast of the First Wives Club
You’ve been in the comedy world for years, but suddenly you’re in everything (Always Be My Maybe, Tales of the City, The Comedy Lineup, The First Wives Club)! What’s it like being in such a huge spotlight?
I’m not going to lie, it’s amazing. It feels like Christmas. I mean, stand-up is great, but for comedians, we go all around the country and do five shows in three nights, and then we maybe do one late-night TV spot and hope somebody watches it. After doing this for 18 years, for me to be in these really great shows is such a gift.
On the set of Always Be My Maybe
What was it like to film Always Be My Maybe? Was it as fun as it looked?
It was more fun! You can’t imagine. We were on a Canadian schedule, where they believe in things like sleep and manners and health insurance. And then you’re working with amazing talent and an incredible crew. The camaraderie was off the charts. Beyond summer camp. Nahnatchka Khan and Randall Park and Ali Wong would take everyone out to dinner and expose us to different foods and culture. I thought I knew Thai food and Vietnamese food — and I did not! It was really great.
You also have a new podcast called Adulting. So I have to ask, what’s your favorite part about being an adult?
My favorite part is that I don’t have to listen to anybody anymore. I don’t have to straighten my hair. I don’t have to cover my knees. I don’t have to eat my vegetables. I don’t have to do anything unless I want to do it. I mean, I do have to pay taxes, let’s be honest. But yeah, I think the best part about being an adult is making my own rules.
And your least favorite part?
That I have to pay taxes — just kidding. My least favorite part is that everyone thinks you should know everything after a certain age. And it’s like, no, you don’t! You might graduate from school but that doesn’t mean you stop learning. I notice people are often insecure about not knowing stuff. But it’s perfectly okay not to know all the things all the time.