‘Steam your face like a boss!’
When it comes to brains and beauty, Nigerian born actor and playwright Arinzé Kene has it covered. We couldn’t be more thrilled that he took time out from his busy schedule to drop by at grooming towers to talk diets, dreadlocks and why nothing beats a long bath…with a good book, of course!
Arinzé can be seen in One Night in Miami… which will run at the Donmar Warehouse from 06 October until 3 December 2016, Crazyhead which launches on E4 later this autumn and The Pass which will be released in cinemas later this year.
How often do you cut your hair, who cuts it and what products work for you?
What hair? Ha! My hair now does a strange thing… it no longer grows! When I did have hair, I had long dreadlocks that came down to my shoulders. Two of my beautiful sisters have dreadlocks though, so I now get to live my hair-life vicariously through them.
Which other guys real or fictional impress you in terms of their style and personal grooming?
Jidenna. He’s a real guy and I identify with his movement and with his message. His style is so impeccable that he seems like something out of a storybook – and he pulls it off with such grace. (He’s Nigerian and of Igbo decent like me but there’s no bias here bruh 😉 ). If you don’t know Jidenna, please check him out – sometimes it’s more than just fashion – he’s a game changer.
Do you have a signature scent or are you more promiscuous with fragrance?
I go through phases, but right now, I smell like Bleu de Chanel.
What is your favourite fragrance on others?
Fresh cigarette smoke.
Smell is a powerful sense, what is your earliest memory?
I was three years old, in Lagos, Nigeria, being chased by a dog. I’ve been running ever since.
Have you ever grown out your hair?
I miss my dreadlocks! Dreadlocks date back thousands of years. Mummified Egyptians with dreadlocks have been recovered from archeological sites. Sounds weird but, it was a constant reminder of my ancestors. Anyway, my scalp had different plans. I woke up one morning to a dreadlock on my pillow. If they hadn’t started falling out, I’d probably still have locks today.
Do you think we have reached ‘peak beard?’ and were you ever tempted to join the beard gang?
So, in case you don’t know, The Beard Gang is actually a real gang. I live in Dalston and I’ve been a part of it. If you’re part of The Beard Gang you get first dibs on all creative opportunities, you get served first at the bar, and people assume you live in a warehouse. See, there are perks to being a member of The Beard Gang so I don’t think we’ll see its decline any time soon!
So which do you prefer stubble or clean shaven?
I prefer the clean shaven look because mama says I look more handsome clean shaven, and Mama’s always right.
Can you recommend any products for ingrown hairs, or unruly stubble?
This is the bane of my life. The ways I prevent it are as follows: 1) Shave hair in the direction of growth. 2) Use Bio-Oil on shaved area overnight, as often as you can be bothered – this reduces the chance of getting ingrown hairs but you still might get some. 3) Use tweezers to get the ingrown hairs out. 4) Never shave ever again.
Have you ever had any grooming disasters?
YES. I had a topless scene to do for E4’s CrazyHead. And I’d forgot to get the hair removal products. So I shaved my body in the morning using clippers. That’s when I found out why clippers are called clippers. That sh*t clipped my skin in more ways than you can imagine. I showed up on set with a trillion little scratches all over my torso. Thanks to the lovely make-up girls, we were able to cover it up!
You’re a busy guy balancing acting and writing…how do you relax?
‘Relax’? What does this word mean? It’s not in my vocabulary. Ha! I think when you’re busy it’s even more important to find time to relax. I read some Langston Hughes. I visit family and friends. I read some Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I watch a movie. Then read a history book. This relaxes me. Oh and I LOVE long baths with a good book.
Do you take any supplements?
No need to. I eat pretty well.
Feeling good and looking great are linked, do you have an exercise routine and do you work out?
I do work out often because I’m an endorphins junkie – it puts me in a good mood. I think it’s important to work out regularly although I’m also aware that it’s counter-productive if it becomes too much about aesthetics… but health is wealth yo!
What does London mean to you?
My second home.
Late nights and early morning take their toll, do you have any tips for looking fresh under pressure?
Steam your face like a boss. Use tea tree oil or peppermint oil. Towel over your head. Do it for like five – ten minutes. Make sure you don’t burn your face. Then dunk your face into a cold sink. Then shower and thank me later.
Have you ever had a facial treatment or massage?
Never. The closest I’ve gotten to a face massage was in primary school when Leonie slapped me across the face.
Which products work for your skin and why?
Clinique and Dermalogica. They’re both gentle on my skin. I’m a gentle dude. I have to be handled with care.
What’s in your wash bag?
Toothbrush and paste. Mouthwash. Facewash and exfoliator. Dental floss. Moisturisers. Coconut oil (which I use as a body moisturiser). Tweezers.
Who would you most like to act alongside?
The best actress in the world. Viola Davis.
Where and when are you happiest?
I’m happiest when I’m in the theatre, standing in the wings, and the house-lights go down, and the audience make themselves quiet, and I’m just about to step on to stage. That moment.
1. Tweezermen 'Slant Tweezers' from all good pharmacies
2. Bio Oil £19.95 for 200ml at Asda
3. Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from all good book sellers
4. Viola Davis
5. Egyptian pharaoh with dreadlocks
7. Cigarette Smoke
8. Clinique For Men Essentials Kit - Normal To Dry Skin £30.00 at John Lewis
9. Arinzé Kene
10. Vita Coco Coconut Oil £5.50 for 250ml
11. Blue De Chanel £65.00 for 100ml at Boots