Gabrielle Union never fails to stun on the red carpet—even early into her career, the star always seemed to steal the show with her glamorous ensembles and effortless hair and makeup. One key tip she picked up? Find your signature look, and don’t go overboard with the busy elements. “I’m usually gonna give you a smoky eye and a nude lip. I like the eye to pop, and I’m not a fan of doing too many dramatic things at once, so if I’m giving you a smoky eye, I’m gonna pair it with a nude lip,” she tells InStyle.com. “One of my favorite looks from the last month was at the Think Like a Man premiere in Los Angeles, where I did a red lip, and more of a bare, clean eye (above, left). Either a bold lip or a bold eye is generally my go-to.”

Union also recommends taking extra time to care for your complexion, even if a big event isn’t on the horizon. After all, you never know where the paparazzi will be camped out! “When I first got into the business, red carpets felt like a once-in-a-lifetime thing, but now since everything is covered, your red carpet could be getting off the plane at LAX! I try to treat myself well, and do it often, not just for big openings,” she adds. “One of the secrets I learned is that salicylic acid isn’t just for teens, so I’ve incorporated products that contain it to help keep my skin clear, and drinking a gallon of water every day has been a huge, huge help.”

Her beautiful red-carpet looks are only mirrored by the beautiful philanthropic work she does—the actress has partnered with Neutrogena in their Buy 1 + Donate 1 program, and for every SPF product purchased through the end of July, the brand will donate the same item to a family in need. For Union, the cause hits especially close to home. “Unfortunately for a lot of families, necessities like food and electricity come before things we consider ‘extra,’ with sun protection being one of them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need or deserve to have it,” she tells us.

“I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth—I’m from Omaha, Neb., and a lot of my family was in the lower part of the socioeconomic group growing up,” she says. “Coming from that, I understand what it’s like to make these hard choices when it comes to necessities.” The initiative has been going on since May, and Neutrogena plans to donate up to $10 million in products to the families in need. Head over to neutrogena.com now to get more information, and to find a retail partner near you!

Click through our gallery to see Gabrielle’s best looks ever.