Mindy Kaling: ‘If you have melanated skin, you have to be so careful about lasers’

Mindy Kaling recently chatted with Allure about skincare, style and diet. Or rather, not so much about the diet – after telling the world that she lost all of that weight by lifting weights and eating in moderation, she no longer wants to engage in those conversations. Which is fine by me – I don’t want to get mad at her for omitting what she’s really done. Mostly, Mindy chatted with Allure to promote her new skincare investment with Lion Pose, a brand for women with darker or melanated skin. Like, the struggle is real with Indian skin, and Desi women tend to stick with only a handful of brands which “work” with our skin. Some highlights from her interview:

Why Lion Pose, and why now? “I hear what you’re saying. There’s a lot of celebrities with their own lines, but what I think is different about this is that this is a line that existed and I’m an investor in it. I love this product so much I’m investing my own money in it. I’m so impressed by Nisha [Phatak] and Madhu [Punjabi] who are the founders of Lion Pose. They’re these two hyper-educated, young female Indian entrepreneurs who had had all these successful businesses in the past and they did a presentation for me… [When I started using] Unspotted 4X [with a blend of azelaic, glycolic, lactic, tranexamic acids], I loved it. I use it every day. I’ve always struggled with hyperpigmentation and I’m always trying to find products that help with my acne scars and dark spots, but that don’t also change my skin tone. I feel incredibly lucky that I’m someone who’s celebrated for my dark brown skin. And I did not want to change that. And so this is something that just really works for me. So that’s why I came on as an investor, not just as an ambassador or whatever. And I just selfishly wanted in on their success and I was lucky that they found room for me.

Melanated people have to be careful of lasers: “Well, if you have melanated skin, you have to be so careful about lasers. But a lot of times people who have melasma after pregnancy [for example] can do a simple laser and be fine with it. But I can’t do that because I keloid, which is another thing that happens to people who have darker skin. I’ve had to go to doctors and explain my keloiding issues to them because it’s so specific to people with darker skin. I loved that when I talked to Nisha and Madhu, they already knew about all these issues.

She has to remove all of her makeup before bed: “Then I follow that up with an exfoliating powder scrub. So every stitch of makeup is off my skin. I don’t know whether this is some phobia I have, but the idea of going to bed with even a drop of makeup on is gross to me. So I do a double cleanse and then I’ll tone my skin and that’s when I put the [Unspotted 4X] serum on. I’ll wait a couple of minutes, send a couple emails, go do something with my kids, come back and put on a really moisturizing moisturizer, a little eye cream sometimes. I often forget eye cream and then go to bed.”

Beauty tricks from working on camera: “Oh, my god, so many. I did 117 episodes of The Mindy Project. I was there from 6:00 AM as an actor and then would wrap and go into the writer’s room. We would shoot in July, August, and September, which are the hottest months of the year. [So] at lunchtime my makeup artist Cindy Williams would take a toner — an astringent-y, powerful toner for oily skin — and take off all my foundation. She would leave my eye makeup on because that takes a long time [to apply]. But she always let my skin breathe for that hour. And I’m telling you, it really saved my skin. I didn’t do that during The Office and I broke out so much more.

Her response when told that “some people feel like they’ve lost an ally” for body-acceptance: “It’s not super exciting for me to talk about my body and how it’s analyzed. So I think I’m just not going to get into it because it takes over the conversation unfortunately and people take it so personally.

[From Allure]

Since The Mindy Project ended, I’ve sort of lamented the fact that Mindy is just a writer and power-player behind the scenes. Like, I think she’s a deft comedienne and I would have loved to see her act more. But I also get it – she reached a point where she didn’t want to be on camera all the time and constantly worry about her skin and her body and how she was being perceived. I mean, she basically works exclusively behind-the-camera these days – why wear makeup at all? Still, I found the conversation about her skin really interesting. And yes, there’s no way that anyone should sleep in their makeup. That’s so crazy to me.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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24 Responses to “Mindy Kaling: ‘If you have melanated skin, you have to be so careful about lasers’”

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  1. Ameerah M says:

    Anyone who wears makeup should be double-cleansing. It’s a must. This skincare line sounds intriguing. Also, I don’t blame her for not wanting to talk about her body anymore. Ultimately it’s no one’s business and she doesn’t ow anyone an explanation one way or the other.

    • Remy says:

      Even if you don’t wear makeup and only put sunscreen on, you should double cleanse. Since everyone should wear sunscreen daily, everyone should be double cleaning.

    • Moxylady says:

      There are so many pigmentation skincare products actually include ingredients to stop the production or slow the production of melanin. Which for someone super pale like me – that works fine. Deters further pigmentation. For someone with melanated skin – my god it would be a nightmare.

      Some of the BEST skincare products and companies I have found are Asian. Korean and Indian specifically. It’s dang near impossible to get the Indian products here. They don’t ship here etc. I went so far as asking a friend who travels frequently to India for work and family if they could get me a certain item. But it’s apparently not sold in stores and only ships to India and surrounding countries.

      She very kindly offered to have it ship to her family and they could ship it here and I was like dear god. I need to get a grip.

      Bottom line. Asian skincare – as long as you know the ingredients and what they do – is amazing. Way way way better than American skincare. And I would say Korea is decades ahead in terms of their cosmetic procedures.

  2. Robym says:

    I respect this answer to the question about her body. As another user is semaglutide the obvious lying in People magazine was infuriating. She doesn’t have to speak for the truth of obesity (disease not moral failing) but adding to the false narrative was uncool. This is a way better response and completely fair. She has spent a lifetime being forced to justify her body which is gross.

    • Ameerah M says:

      Also being repeatedly called a liar is gross as well. I don’t blame her for just cutting off the convo completely because she can’t win.

  3. Kate says:

    Just here to say I love her comedy and her writing and I support not talking about her body anymore

    • FreedomCrab says:

      She is an utter delight, brilliant and funny and loves clothes and makeup, which I am totally behind. The fact that she has become the target for the Ozempic backlash is sad — and I would be infuriated if I were her. I have my own powerful thoughts on the Ozempic trend and what it means for women, but to project that all on her is equally destructive (and misogynistic).

    • Lisa says:

      I have to say I use to love her comedy and while i do think she is very talented, as I’ve gotten older and experienced more I can’t get past how truly problematic her writing is.

      She has an obsession with whiteness, and specifically emotionally abusive white boys who degrade and demean brilliant women of color. And she writes this as love and that the woc should be grateful and want this. It’s a dangerous and sick message.

      While I was able to over look it in mindy project after really experiencing what an emotionally abusive relationship does I just can’t stomach it in never have I ever and sex lives of college girls. Especially since those shows are targeting young viewers only encouraging abuse among kids.

      But her body and looks don’t need to be discussed… she can do what she wants.

      • Reborn Rich says:

        Mindy’s preoccupation with white men/ whiteness is an excellent text /tool to teach in Subaltern Studies, Post-Colonial Studies, Feminist Theory, American Studies, Black Studies, and more. She creates the art and everyone is free to critique it from their lens. I am glad she creates texts that open dialogue.

      • Lisa says:

        What? You are glad she creates damaging art that pushes abusive relationships and centering on whiteness as the ultimate goal?

      • Moxylady says:

        Agree about her obsession with juvenile pos white men. She’s still bff / obsessed with bj Novak or whoever. And he’s a complete pos.

        She deserves better.

  4. girl_ninja says:

    I don’t blame Mindy for not wanting to talk about her body anymore. The concern about Ozempic and fasting and this and that by the public just comes off as faux conern. When really people want to just snark, criticize and get mad that Mindy or any other celebrity isn’t telling exactly what they are doing.

    It’s her body and she has been really open in the past about her struggle and her insecurities. And a lot of her struggles are because of the public always talking shit about her and other peoples bodies. It’s wack as hell and tired.

  5. Kitten says:

    She doesn’t wanna talk about her body anymore because she knows she can’t win. No matter what she says, she’ll end up upsetting someone. I don’t blame her at all.

  6. elizabeth says:

    What she says about melasma for darker skinned women is so true! I got a laser treatment that a derm told me was great for Asian skin. The first couple went really well. The third rebounded; the melasma came back worse than ever and I’m still dealing with it. Be really careful about lasers!

    • Brenda says:

      I do not for one second believe that she had to explain keloids to any MDs (plural!!!). If she means she had to explain them to someone calling themselves a doctor of astrology, or a doctor of soil science, or someone they nicknamed doc over at GOOP, then ok but that should be specified.
      I specialized far away from derm and have been out for over a decade and I registered keloids the day they covered them in medical school and never forgot them. They are unforgettable.

      • Cali says:

        I think she meant that she had to explain that her skin had an extreme reaction to laser treatment. Keloids are not a common reaction but as Mindy points out darker skin can be trickier. She’s not saying that doctors don’t know what keloids are, she’s just explaining that her skin has a problem with keloids as a result of laser treatment.

      • Myeh says:

        @Brenda every single health care worker I have encountered in the past 2 decades has either disbelieved me, dismissed me or outright ignored and deprived me of equitable access to healthcare. You may remember keloids but truly ask yourself and observe how many health care workers you know who aren’t biased and actually treating poc the same as they treat white people. I only ever go to women of color health care professionals because I’m not privileged and I’m a woc and I’m tired of not being heard, believed and my life and safety being jeopardized by someone else’s racism and sexism. If I’m encountering that and a wealthy woc has to school a professional on keloids then I definitely believe her and you should ask yourself why you don’t.

      • Arpeggi says:

        Until about 3 years ago, you barely only had pictures of white skin in any dermatology textbook, one student got tired of this and finally wrote one. I have no difficulty she’d have to explain this to MDs because 95% (that’s my guestimate) of what is thought about how a human body works is based on 2-50 yo white men

      • Moxylady says:

        @myeh and @arpeggi

        Omg yes. 10000000xs yes.

        The default body is white male.

        Even the rats used to tests pharmaceutical medications? Male.

  7. Genevieve says:

    I’m a person whose weight goes up and down, quite dramatically over the years. Before covid, I had lost a *lot* of weight, and every time I saw someone I hadn’t seen in a while, they’d absolutely gush over how much it was.

    I got so sick of hearing about it, because the subtext always seemed like “You were SO fat before!” Like, I know. And of course, my weight has gone back up. Now I kind of don’t want to see anyone at all. Discussions about weight loss are not helpful.

  8. MsK says:

    I loved Mindy. Her writing, her comedic view of an outsider. I have read all of her books. And The Mindy Project is amazing. My daughter and I have watched all of the seasons multiple times. She’s been, whether she knows it or not (though I suspect she does), a role model for girls (like my daughter) who are funny and smart but not tiny/petite and blonde. Her denial (or whatever word salad she’s employed) around using weight loss drugs is really disappointing because she’s been so vocal in the past about her weight struggles. I’m done with her.

  9. NEENA ZEE says:

    She’s definitely tweaking her face, right? It’s not just weight loss alone… she looks so different now.

  10. Nerdista says:

    I slept in my makeup until my 20s and still do sometimes now in my 40s. I only get hormonal acne sometimes. Double cleansing seems wild to me.

  11. H says:

    Public figures have public impact, and she’s used her new look to sell us a lot of things. It’s not that I think she “owes” us answers, but I do think she’s a fake asshole.