Beauty Around the Clock: Melissa Barrera

The 'In the Heights' and 'Scream' actress on her beauty routine, cuddling with her dogs, and sleeping like a vampire.

Melissa Barrera for Clinique
(Image credit: Clinique)

Welcome to Beauty Around the Clock, Marie Claire's weekly peek into the daily lives of some of the most game-changing women in their industries. Ever wonder how they get it all done in a day? Here's your answer.

Fresh from starring as Vanessa in the movie adaptation of In the Heights, and as Sam Carpenter in Scream, Melissa Barrera is on a roll. This year, she adds two new movies to her résumé: Carmen, directed by Benjamin Millepied, and Bed Rest, a supernatural thriller, which she’s producing, as well. “I also have a limited series for Netflix coming out [summer 2022] called Keep Breathing, which was one of the hardest projects I’ve ever worked on,” she says. 

No matter the role, Barrera is a total beauty icon. So it comes as no surprise she also recently landed a role as a Clinique brand ambassador. Here, she tells us how she manages to look and feel her best as her star continues to rise.

Rise and Shine

I love sleep, so I try to get as much as I can. If I have time off from work, I sleep in. When I’m working, I have to get up super early, like 4:30 a.m. Life is about balance.

Mindful Moment

I give thanks for another day and then I cuddle my dogs for a bit.

Morning Maintenance

I start by washing my face. I then follow up with Clinique’s Moisture Surge™ 100H Auto-Replenishing Hydrator, which I love because it has aloe vera in it—something I grew up using at home. We used it on everything: cuts, scrapes, burns, breakouts, or as a mask. 

I apply sunblock and then, depending on the day and if I’ll have my makeup done for work, I will either curl my lashes or go for a little Even Better™ All-Over Concealer + Eraser to even out my skin tone, and use a chubby stick to add color to my cheeks and lips.

Power Start

If I’m doing something physical in the morning, I have a banana, almonds, or a protein shake. If I’m on set, I’ll sometimes cave for a breakfast burrito.

Signature Look

When I am doing my makeup myself, my signature look is very natural with a hint of sun-kissed. I have learned how to do my makeup over the years from people doing it on me, but with that said, I am better at doing a simple face versus something like elaborate eye shadow.

I keep it very straightforward with a little foundation (Clinique Even Better Clinical™ Serum Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 25), mascara (Clinique High Impact™ Mascara in Black), some lip tint (Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey) and a touch of blush (Clinique Cheek Pop™ Pearl in Ruby Pop). For my foundation, I love Clinique’s Even Better Clinical™ Serum Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 25.

Shop Melissa's Favorite Beauty Products

My go-to beauty, hair and wellness products include: sunblock, moisturizer like Moisture Surge™ 100H, which literally saved me last year while filming in Whistler, and Even Better™ Clinical Serum Foundation. Olaplex does wonders for my hair, as does a daily dose of Wellness Formula to keep my vitamins and minerals in check.

Daily Playlist

Oldies. A little Britney, S Club 7, Backstreet Boys, Celine Dion, Evanescence, Dido, show tunes of course, and my family: I love listening to my sisters and my husband [musician Paco Zazueta] sing.

Fitness Fix

I love any and all outdoor activities, but on a daily basis, if nothing else I will get on the StairMaster for an episode of a show I’m currently binging, or on the treadmill at full incline until I’m soaked.

Self-Care Ritual

My go-to self-care ritual is to light incense or palo santo in my home—it helps me relax. I also like to do hydrating masks when I can.

Hair Help

I care for my hair by applying a hydrating mask once a week, and oil after I wash it.

Signature Scent

DKNY Be Delicious, for over 10 years.

Beauty Icons

Maria Felix and Salma Hayek.

P.M. Routine

I start by washing my face. I apply Clinique Smart Night™ Clinical Retinol on my forehead, around my eyes and laugh lines. Then, I apply Moisture Surge 100H in the morning on my face and neck, and finish with a lip mask.

Evening Wind-Down

I like to wind down at the end of the day by calling people I love on FaceTime to say goodnight, read a few chapters of a good book, and cuddle my dogs.

Lights Out

I usually stay up late. I’ve always been a vampire and get energy and creative surges at night.

This story appears in the May 2022 issue of Marie Claire.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.