Reconnecting to the Body: Inside Pharrell Williams’ New Skincare Range

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Pharrell for HumanracePhotography Harley Weir

The multi-talented artist talks to AnOther about wellness, the power of hot baths, and his innovative product company, Humanrace

Pharrell Williams is a man whose talents know no bounds. For decades, his pioneering nature has elevated the creative industry through the innovation of music, fashion and art in a way that few can take credit for. Now, he’s turning his attention to the wellbeing of our bodies with the latest launch from his product-based brand, Humanrace

In November 2020, the company released three vegan and genderless facial products designed in collaboration with dermatologist Elena Jones: the rice powder cleanser, Lotus Enzyme Exfoliant, and Humidifying Cream, debuting Pharrell’s pivot into the wellness space. A year later, it has expanded to introduce bodycare, with two unique Body Bars adhering to the clean, sustainable and effective ethos of Humanrace. The Energy Channeling Charcoal Body Bar and Reenergizing Whiteclay Body Bar are created with soap-free formulas prioritising the exfoliation and purifying of the body. The idea is to get people to invest as much time and energy into taking care of their body as they do their face. 

“This is about you connecting to your sense of wellness and being a well being,” Pharrell tells AnOther, as he dials in on Zoom to fill us in on his new venture. “At Humanrace we spent so much time on the face because we have to place a special emphasis on one’s facial care and skin health. We really pressed the importance of that upon people [with the aforementioned facial products] because it’s the thing that people communicate with most. Once we did that and people were getting the message and understanding it, we wanted to put some special emphasis on the body.” 

The soap-free element was a no-brainer for Pharell, who was focused on making his products cleanse and detoxify the skin while keeping the body hydrated. “Soap strips your body of your natural oils and that’s not what we want to do. Our Reenergizing Clay Bar is about purifying. When it’s cleansing your skin, it’s pulling all of the impurities out with this stuff called Kaolin, which is actually white clay,” he explains. “It’s all about line impurification and my thing is, these body bars have to actually do something. That’s the reason we got away from soap – it just doesn’t do much besides a signature scent and a lather.” 

One of the key components in the Energy Channeling Charcoal Body Bar is Lotus, an ingredient loved by the ancient Egyptians for its exfoliating powers. “It’s made to give you vibrancy and new layers of your skin, that’s why we wanted it in this product, and when you’re done with it, you can literally feel the difference,” he says.

For years, Pharrell, now 48, has been admired for his flawless skin. We’ve seen endless memes and internet jokes about his youthful glow, all of which naturally contributed to his decision to develop skincare products of his own. “I think at a certain point I was like, okay, it just makes sense,” he recalls. “It just felt natural, like something we were supposed to do. With Humanrace, there are a lot of different categories that we intend on coming into and leaving them better than how we found them. We don’t go into these tranches empty-handed, we go in there trying to raise the bar as much as we can. That’s just what you do when you’re appreciative of an opportunity.”

The new products are unveiled by beautifully shot campaign imagery – created by Harley Weir – featuring Pharrell naked in a bathtub. “The team came up with the concept and presented it to me and it just worked,” he says. “I love a really, really hot bath, so I had a real moment in there. I’m just excited for people to get the product and have a similar moment of their own.” 

The skincare and wellbeing industry is a new space for Pharrell, whose entrepreneurial projects have led him to thrive in multiple creative spaces. Still, it feels like a seamless integration. “This is different because it’s a different artistic discipline. It takes a team,” he says. “Our sport is about everyone winning and scoring is when you’re able to level up whatever it is you’re doing. We’re not just about products, we’re a movement. We’re about community.” 

Ultimately, Humanrace is a company with unity rooted in its principle and its name. “There’s no space between the two words. It’s one word, one world, one time. It’s about us,” he adds, referring to the broader subject of life and the universe. “What are we going to do? Are we going to fuck this up or are we going to get this right? Or are we going to get right and then get this right as species? That’s what I’m about.”

Humanrace bodycare arrives today on