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What LeVar Burton Can’t Live Without

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of Toniebox

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked LeVar Burton — who has partnered with tonies on a new toy that reads his children’s book, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm — about the T-shirts, body oil, and hot sauce he can’t live without.

Southern California, where I live, is a desert. The environment wreaks havoc on my skin as a person of color. From the crib, Black people learn how important moisturizing and hydrating and things like lotion and emollients are. Every Black person I know is on a lifelong search to find the right combination of things that work. I know this doesn’t happen only in the Black community, but I’m speaking from my personal experience. This oil — it has magic in it. It’s not greasy or thick, and it absorbs. I went through a bottle in no time and said to my wife, “We have to get more.” Then I found out how much it is and I felt guilty. So I’m being more responsible now.

The Creme de Corps is another part of my hydration game. It has this luscious viscosity — you can tell by the thickness that it’s a superior product. I use it by itself and sometimes in conjunction with the Osea body oil to spread it out. Because both are expensive, I will use the Osea on the top of my body and the Creme de Corps on the bottom.

It’s my EDC — my everyday carrier. I know where everything is because there’s a place for everything. It has two exterior pockets, one main cavern with another interior compartment, and tons of zippers and stuff. I’m on my third — I’ve had the same one for several years now, but I get the latest model every so often. These things are pretty sturdy. Tumi put thought into it: Because of the placement of the pockets, you’re distributing weight more evenly. Matt, my brand manager, has the same backpack.

I lost several of these until I came across somebody who had their name printed on theirs. I knew that was the solution to my problem. Now that I have one with my name on it, I haven’t lost it. I can walk away, and my personalized Yeti will still be there. Ice melts very, very slowly inside. I can load it up at night and I’ll still have ice in the water in the morning.

Editor’s note: Only certain colors of the bottle, like the Harvest Red shown, can be customized.

Mineral water is great, and this is the best mineral water on the planet. I’m not a water sommelier — I know that’s an actual job title because I’ve met one. But in my opinion, this has the right amount of bubbles, which is a lot. It has a lot of bubbles and a high mineral content, and it tastes great. Plus I love the name, Badoit.

I wear a black T-shirt every day. It’s a part of my uniform. These are not cheap, but they have the right amount of stretch and just get better and better when you wash them. The quality is superb. I’m all about spending that extra dollar for something of quality. I was raised by a woman who was a Depression-era baby, so saving a little bit longer to buy the thing that’s a little higher quality, that will last, is important. When I find something I like, I tend to stick with it because it works. I get people who only wear one thing — it’s simple and stress free.

Truff Hot Sauce

I like my food spicy, as does Stephanie, my wife. This is the most elegant hot sauce I’ve ever eaten — it has truffles in it. But it’s also elegant because the flavor it delivers, in conjunction with the heat, has a great balance. Not every brand does that well. A lot of people like hot sauce just for the heat factor. I also like the sensation of heat, but I like to taste the flavor of my food, too.

I have five pairs of sunglasses from Krewe. I got my first pair at the original store in New Orleans. I bought a couple more pairs online, but I’ve purchased most of them at the Nola store. They’re fun and really, really, really well made. The shapes fit my face. I love their round frames — all my Krewe frames are round with the exception of these. I bought them because they reminded me of a visor. A cool visor.

It’s one of the finest pens there is. When I got married, I gave my groomsmen burgundy Montblanc pens as gifts. It has fallen out of fashion, but I grew up in an era when penmanship was important. My attachments to writing instruments, calligraphy, and just writing by hand in general come from growing up when penmanship was important in life. We don’t put pen to paper so much these days — I’m guilty of it too. So this really connects me to that part of words, writing, and literature that I really love. I prefer ballpoint or roller-ball pens. I have a heavy hand, so I get a lot of splotches when I use a fountain pen. It’s not as much fun for me.

These are the most comfortable earbuds I’ve ever put in my ears. There are other earbuds — I won’t name names — that I love for the sound quality but can’t wear for very long. After an hour or so, if I’m watching a movie with those, it’s difficult. Ultimate Ears uses this patented process where, through an app, the buds mold to your ears. You can watch it happen. It’s a psychedelic process — cool and fun. These sound fantastic and are really comfortable to wear.

I believe very much in tonies’s mission and what the company is doing around storytelling without screen time. It provides a solution to a very real conundrum that parents today face: How can we continue to support and foster the enrichment of our children in an age dominated by screens? We’re definitely mission-aligned, so collaborating made a lot of sense. The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm is my first children’s book. I wrote it a few years back, but it’s absolutely timely in as much as it’s a story about loss and recovery and how all of us get through life with the help of others. None of us does this thing called life on our own.

Editor’s note: The LeVar Burton Tonie is sold separately from the Toniebox, which is required to use the toy.

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What LeVar Burton Can’t Live Without