Hunter McGrady on How Her Beauty Routine Has Changed Since She Became a Mom


(Image credit: Courtesy of Hunter McGrady)

Hunter McGrady always keeps it real. Whether she’s talking about photoshopping her Instagram pics on Model Citizen, the podcast she co-hosts with her sister Michaela, or pointing out the lack of representation for people who are plus-size and pregnant, you can always count on McGrady to be refreshingly honest, right down to her beauty and self-care routines. The model, designer, and activist rose to fame after being featured in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue as its "curviest model ever” in 2017 and has been breaking down barriers ever since, including through her continued partnership with Olay.


(Image credit: @huntermcgrady)

To celebrate the beauty brand’s fun Cyber Monday special (which includes a free Juicy Couture tracksuit with purchase!), McGrady chatted with us about her first beauty memories, how her skincare routine has changed since she became a mom, therapy as the ultimate form of self-care, the joys of Y2K fashion, and more. Keep scrolling!


(Image credit: @huntermcgrady)

What was your first beauty memory?

Funny enough, as you know, I work with Olay, and my first intro to beauty was when my grandmother used to use it, which was when it was called Oil of Olay, and she would have it on her counter. I vividly remember going into her bathroom where she sat me down, and she told me the importance of using a moisturizer. I just remember looking at it, and my grandma’s skin was amazing. So it’s kind of funny that I'm working with them now. After that, I started asking my grandma about more things, like, What about makeup? Where do I put blush? And what do I do with this? She actually taught me how to do liquid eyeliner when I was 9 years old. I have those very vivid memories of my grandma being that introduction into this beauty world for me. She was a model too, so it made sense that she was really passionate about it.

That’s so funny because I feel like we have the same first beauty memory. It was my first moisturizer, that pink bottle with the black Oil of Olay label! What’s your skincare routine like these days?

I’m a new mom, so I’ve had to strip away steps as far as my skincare routine goes. I just want something that’s manageable, fast, and packs a punch. I typically start off every single morning with a gentle cleanser. I have really sensitive skin, so that’s my number one, and I hate to be this person, but my morning and my night routines are very, very similar except for the use of one product. I love to use a nice, thick moisturizer. I have used Olay’s Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream ($26) in the past, but they just launched the Regenerist Vitamin C + Peptide 24 Face Moisturizer ($39) version, so I started using it about a month or two ago, which has been absolutely amazing. I get a lot of redness, and the temperature literally dropped from 80ºF to 30ºF here, so my skin has just been chaotic. So I’ve been lathering on moisturizer, and then I’ll do a little under-eye cream, and I’m out the door. I don’t have an extensive routine right now, but it’s enough where I feel good. It’s taken me a long time to find something that works for me.

How else has motherhood changed your beauty routine?

It’s all about minimizing my steps but maintaining the same outcome, and I think that’s possible if you have the right products. Also, just taking more time for myself. Like, my showers—my showers have gotten a little bit longer ’cause I’m like, you know what? I’m going to enjoy this. I’m going to soak. I do a great body scrub. You know that whole shower thing we do as girls, where it’s like everything is shaved, everything is exfoliated, everything is moisturized, you got a hair mask in—it’s from head to toe. That’s how I take my showers. So it’s funny because my day-to-day routine has been cut down, but I’ve really been extending my showers. My husband’s like, "You’re really taking your time in there.” And I'm like, "Heck yeah. This is my mama ‘me’ time.”


(Image credit: @huntermcgrady)

You said you have redness. Do you have dry or sensitive skin?

I have dry skin. I have sensitive skin. I have rosacea. I have acne-prone skin. I have the whole gamut. Really any kind of issue you can have. 

And SPF is also obviously important. 

Yes, the Olay moisturizer that I use has SPF in it, and I also use their retinol at nighttime. You have to be consistent with SPF if you’re using retinol. SPF has been my game changer. When I was younger, my grandma always said, "Wear SPF,” and I was like, "Oh, Grandma. You’re just saying that because everyone always says that.” I remember she would say, "Christie Brinkley always has to wear SPF,” and I was like, okay… But now that I’m older, I get it. I have such sensitive skin that I will literally wear SPF inside my house because we have a ton of windows. 

What do you do to de-stress?

To be completely honest with you, therapy. It’s not like I can just sit with a candle and be fine. For me, therapy is really something that helps me de-stress because I can lay everything out on the table and pick it apart and then be like, Okay, cool. I feel good about that. I got that off my chest. I can read a little bit deeper. And that’s, again, my "me” time. It’s been very important for me, especially being a new mom and navigating this new me. I used to hate therapy. I used to be like, I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to do all this. And now I want to. I want to get it all out, you know? 

I’m right there with you. I just started therapy for the first time in years. And I was like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe I went without it for this long.

Right? It’s so important. As a culture, we talk about exercise, and we say make sure you get your body right, and, well, first and foremost, it’s like, make sure we get our minds right and our mental health right, and everything else will follow. We have to make sure our mind is healthy.

What about makeup? Are you pretty minimal these days?

I love the products from Saie. Laney [Crowell], who created it, is a girlfriend of mine. But they are kind of minimal and dewy and beautiful. I’ve also been loving the Rare Beauty Perfect Strokes Universal Volumizing Mascara ($20). I think that that’s really nice—something that’s, again, easy and quick. My days now look a lot different than they did four months ago, pre-baby. I’m home a lot of the time and working from home, and I don’t really need a full face. So I’ve really been leaning into my skincare more than anything, but when I do want that little oomph or when I have Zoom meeting, I do go all out. I also love the brand Merit. Their Flush Balm ($28) blush is so yummy and creamy and fabulous. They also have something called The Minimalist ($38), which is a multitasking complexion stick that’s really lovely. And their Shade Slick Tinted Lip Oil ($24). Anything that I can throw in a bag and go, I’m stoked about. But don’t get me wrong—I will say that if I have the time for it, I’ll do a full face.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Olay)

I heard that you were a major Juicy Couture fan like me, so I have to ask about that, especially with Olay’s Cyber Monday deal. 

Yes! So Olay has a Cyber Monday deal where you spend $150 on, and you get a Juicy Couture velour tracksuit. When I got this—you don't understand—if you ask anyone who went to high school with me, they’ll say I wore a different color Juicy Couture suit every day. I think I had seven, and I would just cycle through them for the week. It was my jam, and I wore butterfly clips. I keep wearing the tracksuit and just feeling myself, and my husband’s like, "You really thrive in Juicy Couture.” I’m like, let me shine. This is my moment. I’ve been waiting for them to come back. I knew they would come back. I don’t fit in my high school ones anymore. For lord’s sake, I definitely don’t. But I was so excited when I asked Olay what size they go up to and they said a 4X, so I was like, heck yes. I can live my Y2K dreams again.

Same here. I used to have a Juicy Couture Queen of the Universe shirt I wish I still had. Isn’t it so funny how all of that is back?

I am actually so happy, but I wish I kept them because I feel like I would have a killer wardrobe right now!

Shop McGrady’s Entire Beauty Routine

Marie Lodi
Freelance Beauty and Fashion Writer/Editor

Marie has covered beauty, fashion, and lifestyle for almost 15 years. She contributes to the beauty section here at Who What Wear. Previously, she was the Looks Editor for Bust Magazine, built the beauty vertical at HelloGiggles as its beauty editor, and was a founding staff writer at Rookie mag, giving fashion advice to teens. Her bylines have appeared in The Cut, Allure, Glamour, The Hollywood Reporter, and more. She was born and raised in Southern California and is based in L.A. Marie is a self-proclaimed costume design nerd and a co-host of Makeover Montage, a podcast about fashion in film and costume design. You'll see her writing about her beauty obsessions: red lipstick, winged eyeliner, pink hair, nail art, and skincare for people over 40. When she's not working, she's playing with her dog, Gnocchi, and writing her style newsletter, Overdressed.