'Never Have I Ever' star, Poorna Jagannathan shares how she gets better with age

“I go to sleep with a smile and wake up with a smile,” the actor tells Bazaar.

Harper's Bazaar India

You may recognise Poorna Jagannathan as one of the stars in Netflix’s Never Have I Ever, but the actor is now stepping into an entirely new role as Ranavat’s first brand ambassador.

“I’ve just been using Ayurvedic and Indian ingredients like saffron and turmeric all my life,” she tells Bazaar. “They’re not only deeply familiar, but I know they’re also deeply efficacious—I’ve known that ever since I was a child. To encounter these products the way I did, and to be asked to be their brand ambassador, just felt like such a great and easy role to step into. I’m so proud of the products.”

After discovering Ranavat during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jagannathan became an instant fan, and has been using the products regularly in her routine ever since, along with a few other beloved rotation staples. For a closer look at how the actor maintains her ethereal glow, we caught up with Jagannathan for a full download on her beauty favourites, old and new.

If you don’t mind sharing, how old are you?
Of course; I’m 50.

What age do you feel you are in your head?
Yeah, I’m 50. I have a belief, especially for Indian names, that you just come into it gradually. You’re given a name, you don’t really understand it—like mine, Poorna. I only know of one other Poorna—it’s a very uncommon name—but it means “complete”, like the idea of being whole. And I feel like every year, I grow closer to understanding its meaning.

Do you have a beloved beauty product that you’ve worn for most of your life?
Throughout my life, I’ve always carried turmeric and sandalwood powder—I always have sandalwood. I do sandalwood face packs—it’s wonderful for acne, it just gives you such a clarity.

What aspects of your physical appearance do you love more now, as you’ve gotten older?
My skin. I think as I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed much more understanding and control of my skin, finally.

A lot of conversations around ageing seem to lead to injectables and plastic surgery. Tell us, what are your thoughts on the topic?
It’s not for me today. That’s my stance. I don’t really notice anymore when people are doing stuff, as opposed to before where it’d be like, “Oh, you really did that thing!” It’s becoming so subtle. And it’s wonderful that it’s out there, but I think I’m going to keep on doing this thing for as long as I can, and then, let’s see. I notice such a huge difference in stuff, but it doesn’t bother me yet, and I just think with so many great anti-ageing products like Ranavat available, I’m starting there.

Nobody can make it through life without a few scars. What’s one of yours that tells a story?
I was a kid growing up in Argentina, and was playing in a pool with one of my friends, and basically her teeth went into my forehead by accident. I don’t really think about it much now—the scar is so big, and kind of difficult to hide. I did get a laser treatment on it once, and it subsided a bit, but now I barely think about the mark.

What keeps you feeling vibrant and youthful?
For me, ageing is making the same mistakes you’ve made your entire life and feeling the same things you’ve felt your entire life—ageing is just knowing that you’ve done and felt these things before. So, you quickly get perspective that things are going to pass, or you know how to remedy something. You’re always carrying the beauty, foolishness, and fickleness of youth, it’s just joined with more perspective as we age.

Please give us a quick breakdown of your current beauty routine.
I start my day by drinking water and sea salt from this company called Spicewell—that’s a very Ayurvedic thing. Then, I use Kat Burki’s pH Enzyme Essence Face Serum, let that settle, and after apply the Brightening Saffron Serum with the Kansa Wand. Lastly, I apply Live Tinted’s SPF 50 sunscreen. I also really like using Tower 28 and Iris&Romeo’s tinted sunscreens as well.

And since I have curly hair, I always use the shampoo and conditioner from CurlyWorld—every time I use it, I say, “Damn, I don't know how she does it.” Lorraine (Massey) is a mentor; I went from not knowing what to do with my hair and hiding it, to just really embracing it. She’s in her 60s and her hair looks amazing. Everything negative you hear about hair and ageing, she completely turns that around—I love seeing that. I also was recently introduced to Ranavat’s hair care essentials and I love them as well. I’m very particular about what I use on my curls.

What’s the best piece of beauty wisdom you’ve ever received from someone older and from someone younger than you?
I was turned on to Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum by someone super young, along with the rest of her products, and I have to say, it’s one of the main skincare essentials I refuse to be without. And a recommendation from someone older? I started taking a probiotic called Seed that a friend told me to get on, and I think that’s one thing I’ve changed since turning 50. Self-care for me has become much more internal than external.

Many people fear growing older. In your opinion, what’s the best part about it?
It’s a very intense shift. You’re very aware that you set out to have some stuff and achieve some stuff, and some of those dreams come true, and you’re very aware of that—it’s a great feeling. I go to sleep with a smile and wake up with a smile.

This piece originally appeared in Harper's Bazaar US.