'I wasn’t a slow learner when it came to beauty, but I definitely didn’t go from zero to 60. My mom never wore makeup, she just used soap and never wore moisturizer or anything, never got a bikini wax—that just wasn't who she was. Also we didn’t have money, so maybe she had Oil of Olay or something later on, but she really didn’t spend any money on grooming or beauty products. She talked me out of getting my 'ugly mark'—as my sister called it—removed. Apparently if it was on the right side it was a beauty mark, and if it was on the left it was an ugly mark. I would get teased by the other kids in school, so I definitely wanted to get it removed. But my mother always said, 'You know what your mole looks like, you don’t know what the scar is going to look like.' Now it’s so much just a part of my face that I don’t think 'Oh, how’s my mole doing today?' But it’s the thing that made people remember me, and it made a lot of women who also have beauty marks identify with me. They set you apart. Honestly though, if I was designing my face from scratch I don’t know if I would have designed it with the mole. It does look weird when they retouch it or when they flop a photo. Other people don’t notice it but I’m like, 'They flopped it!' My whole face is different. That's one of the things that drives me crazy.
When I started modeling that was a whole new world for me; suddenly I was thrown into this industry where there is a product for everything and it’s all about selling these products. One of my first modeling jobs was in Chicago, and you had to do your own hair and makeup. But I didn’t have any makeup, so I think my mom got a little Mary Kay lipstick and I went out and bought mascara and foundation from a drugstore. The other two models were Iman and Diane deWitt, and they had been flown in. I was pretending like I knew what I was doing, but I was really just watching what they were doing, and that’s kind of how I learned. I never went to modeling school, which is where they would teach you how to do your makeup and things like that, so for me it was just initiation by fire. My generation of models was the last doing our own makeup, at least when we first started out. There were certain things that all the fashion insiders had, like the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream or the MAC Spice Pencil, or the L’Oreal Elnett hairspray in the gold can, which I still use for certain things.
At the same time, though, my generation didn't grow up thinking about modeling. Maybe we thought about being famous as a singer or a football player or something like that, but I never thought about modeling as a career. I think that things have changed certainly because of America’s Next Top Model and Instagrams and selfies. So I wasn’t aware of models really, but there was a local photographer in my town who shot everything from a fire to homecoming, and he would shoot a 'Coed of the Week' for the college’s newspaper. I guess that photographer was the one who opened the window a crack for me. We would do test shoots and at one point he brought on a makeup artist. I think she worked at the telephone company during the day—makeup was definitely not what she did full-time. She recommended that I go to a hair show because they needed models and you made, like, 200 bucks. If they picked you, you had to let them do whatever they wanted to do—you could end up with a shaved head or green hair. So I got picked, and all the hairdressers were saying that I should think about modeling for real. Getting that outside validation—someone who wasn’t my grandma saying that I was cute—was encouraging for me. All I knew was that they were from New York and that meant that they were sophisticated. Because of them I went to my first agency in Chicago—thank God they didn’t cut my hair off.
I'm lucky because I had a more international look, as opposed to the generation of models before me which was all blond hair and blue eyes. In Italy they think I’m Italian, in South America they think I’m Latin, and in Greece they’re like, 'Are you Greek?' There are a lot of places in the world with people with brown hair and brown eyes. And the companies that I affiliated with were more international, like Revlon and Omega watches. And I think that doing stuff like Pepsi and Playboy that appeal to men as well as women kind of got me out there. Now I probably do one or two days a month of editorial. It depends if I feel like doing it and feel like it’s the right thing. Honestly, the reason I do shoots now is because if I don’t do them, every day turns into a Throwback Thursday because I’m only showing up in old pictures. [Laughs] I’m from a generation in which social media and being online is not second nature, so I still have to think about it. Sometimes it's fun, but otherwise it’s like a little pet that's always hungry, like a Tamagotchi. It's good for me to keep relevant in that way, though. It’s good for Meaningful Beauty if I do something that makes people say, 'Wow, she looks great!'
If you’re one of the few people who hasn’t seen the infomercial, the way that my line, Meaningful Beauty, started was that I met a doctor through a makeup artist friend of mine, Jennie Cooper. She kept saying, ‘Oh, you have to go see Dr. Sebagh in Paris.' He was doing this mesotherapy, which is very weird. The tool kind of looks like a gun and it has a tiny needle in it, which sort of works to irrigate your face. It’s not a derma roller, but it’s the same idea. He would use this 'vitamin cocktail,' as he would call it, which has SOD, an antioxidant. Actually, there's this stuff that I use that's good for hangovers, sort of like Emergen-C, called Projoba Pollen Burst which I really like, and it happens to have SOD too—Superoxide Dismutase. It really works. Anyway, I started going to him when I was 28. My skin looked great, especially given that I was working so much and flying all the time, which takes a toll. I was coming back to him every couple of months, whenever I was in Europe, and then I moved to LA and started having kids and just wasn’t able to keep going as much. I would ask him if he could just bottle this stuff and send it to me. Then my Revlon contract was up for renewal and I was thinking about doing something different, so that’s when he and I started Meaningful Beauty. It really did come out of me saying ‘Can you just bottle this stuff?’
Then we ended up going with the infomercial because that gave us 30 minutes to tell what I feel like is a very real story. If you don’t have that, then you're competing with a one-page ad against things like Estée Lauder, and I just felt like we wouldn’t have a chance. And it worked out, we have really good infomercial business. The first time someone orders you actually lose money because to produce a good infomercial it costs money, the product costs money, and it costs money to buy airtime to run it. A lot of people think ‘Oh it’s an infomercial, the product is probably not that good,' but if our product isn’t good and people don’t order a second time then we wouldn't be in business. I think what I’ve learned about business in general is that it all comes down to the product—you could have me, you could have bells and whistles, but if you don’t have a good product it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t have done a cosmetics line because I’m not passionate about makeup. I’m not a makeup artist, but my job is to take care of my skin. Once I sit on the set they can dress me in whatever they want, but my nails should be clean, my hair she be clean and trimmed, and my skin should be nice, so that I could become whatever the vision was.
Give me a brown eyeshadow and I’m very happy—that's my comfort zone. This is the only eyeshadow I’ll ever need in my life— Sonia Kashuk Eye Couture Palette. Really, what other colors do you need? I tend toward taupe-y shades because you can’t mess it up. I love this Armani Smooth Silk Liner in Brown Black. As I’ve gotten older I'm more comfortable using a pencil. I’ll do a little less eyeshadow than I used to and a little pencil right in the lashes, then on the bottom and I kind of smudge it out a bit. This is my favorite mascara, and it’s cheap— Maybelline Lash Stiletto. It’s good because I get separation and it's not too clumpy; I don’t really like to see the mascara. And I love these Nars Concealer sticks if I have a spot that I want to cover; I’ve been using them for years.
If I’m just hanging out in Malibu my makeup is very minimal, but I always do something on my skin. Let’s say I’m just chilling at the house, I'll do the matte Jane Iredale PurePressed mineral powder. It’s amazing because it doesn't have a ton of coverage, so it gives a finish to your face without it looking like you’re wearing makeup. I use By Terry Touch Expert Ultra Radiance Active Concealer under my eyes and around my nose and I draw a line straight down my face, then blend it with a sponge. I learned that from Kevyn Aucoin—that little highlight straight down the middle of your nose instead of contouring. If I need to wear more makeup, I love the Powder Set by Amazing Cosmetics and the Amazing Concealer—they're out of Chicago. The concealer is heavy duty. You really have to work it in with your fingers, but sometimes you need that. Their pressed powder looks white, but it’s not, it’s just a good mattifier. I stick this in my bag if I don’t want to be shiny, but less is more with powder for me. And then I use this Dior Bronze Collagen Activ Smooth Protection Bronzer a lot too, because I feel like it gives depth to any foundation, and it has SPF 15. I dust it on my temples, and if I'm not wearing any other makeup maybe I'll even do my eyelids. I use it a lot on vacation. Then I think about how much cheek I want. For the least amount, I like these Josie Maran Argan Color Stick in Spice , but it tends to evaporate an hour after you use it so you have to put a little powder over it to make it set. Sometimes I'll use a mist—I think it’s especially good if you put too much powder on and need to break it down again. And if you just spray it on and let dry it helps set your makeup. Basically I want to see skin through the makeup I'm wearing, because what’s the point in taking care of it if you don’t get to see it?
On an everyday basis, I use my Meaningful Beauty Antioxidant Day Cream moisturizer which has SPF 20, and that’s fine with a mineral foundation. Normally I get up at six because that way I have around half an hour before the rest of the family wakes up, and I will usually go down and take a jacuzzi bath—that’s how I start my day. I love baths and taking time to soak, but also I love being outside and having the time to set your intention for the day. Then, when I get out of the shower after the jacuzzi, and if I know I'm going to work out, I’ll usually put on the Meaningful Beauty Crème de Sérum because it has antioxidant peptides and hyaluronic acid in it, but it still feels really light. And then I put on my gym clothes, make breakfast and take the kids to school, then I come back and exercise. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are my usual workout days. I have a trainer come in and we do stairs and weights. I’m kind of old-school with the workouts because that's what works for my body. And I use Secret Deodorant. I know that’s really bad and I should be using some type of aluminum-free deodorant, but I don’t want to smell bad!
Monday is my sacred day when I use the infrared sauna down in my gym. When I get out of the sauna and I take a shower I always feel like it's as clean as I'll get. You sweat out all of the toxins and then you do a cold blast in the shower. Then I really feel like I’m ready to go. The infrared heats you from the inside so you don’t have to have the temperature as hot to get the benefit. A normal sauna you would have to set at, like, 180 degrees, but this is around 130 degrees and you still get sweaty. I think it's easier to tolerate. You know how it’s stifling and you can’t breathe in a sauna? This doesn’t have that feel. My husband actually does the stationary bike in there; he’s really crazy. I don’t—I use the bike as my towel rack.
Diet-wise, I don’t eat crap, and I don’t eat a lot of packaged foods. I could easily be vegetarian, but it’s not practical with my family. I try to be 80 percent good 80 percent of the time. Sometimes I’ll do a cleanse for three days, but I don’t do any of those weird things like, 'I eat only lychee nuts!' I drink green tea, but I had to stop drinking as much caffeine as I used to. I had stomach issues, so coffee—especially on an empty stomach—doesn’t really agree with me. Tequila, though, kills all the bugs. My husband enjoys having a cocktail, so I can’t make him drink alone. On a typical weekday I usually have a protein shake for breakfast because it’s fast—I need to get the kids out the door, and then I go right to work out—I find that sometimes if you eat you have to take extra time to let it settle. And then for lunch I'll have salad, sometimes with chicken, sometimes without. For dinner we’ll go for sushi, or if we eat at home I’ll try to make a meal like turkey meatballs with pasta, a salad, and a vegetable. I just don’t have the pasta, and the kids don’t have the vegetables or the salad. [Laughs] I don’t like when my meals are completely different from their meals, but that works. I mostly drink water because there are a lot of hidden calories in drinks.
So there's no one thing I swear by with food, but I am a big fan of dry brushing. It exfoliates—you can see your skin flying off everywhere. It’s great if it’s the winter and you’re drier. They say it’s really good for circulation and lymphatic drainage, too. The bristles on a dry body brush are pretty firm so it takes some time to get used to, but I just love the way it feels. Especially when we go to Cabo a lot, or I’m in the sun here, I feel like it gets off that dead skin. But I don’t sit in the sun anymore. If I go into the sun I usually use, like, SPF 100 and I’ll still use something on top, like makeup, for a physical barrier. I like a little tan, but I’m careful—especially with my chest. If I’m sitting by the pool I usually have my cover-up over my chest because that skin is so thin that it burns really easily. I do the Meaningful Beauty Firming Chest and Neck Crème; the doctor I have my line with is a big proponent for using a cream on your chest because your neck and your chest do age, and there's no facelift for that.
Before I get out of the shower I will use the Neutrogena Sesame Body Oil while I’m still wet. I do that before I dry off because the oil mixes with the water and it moisturizes well that way. I quickly run it on for 10 seconds and then just towel it off. If I’m really dry I will put another moisturizer on. My body lotion is by my friend Sonia [Kashuk]. I love all of her products, her line is at Target. I like the Rodin oil, too. I put it on my elbows, but it’s kind of all-purpose so you can put it on your hair. Your heels and your feet start getting gross as you get older—even if you’re pedicured—so I put Flexitol Heel Balm on at night. It’s just from the drugstore, it’s cheap. My manicurist swears by it. It’s made for people with diabetes, but it’s good for the really cracked skin. And I think it might be for men, but Serge Lutens Vitriol d’Oeillet is my normal perfume.
I’m gray—not 100 percent—but Miles at Bungalow Salon colors my hair. He does my roots, and then instead of doing highlights, he will create highlights by doing lowlights because my hair keeps getting lighter from the sun, so if he kept doing highlights every time I'd be blond. After I get out of the shower I use Fiber Architecte from Kérastase, which I love. It protects your hair from the blow dryer and isn’t heavy at all. If I’m doing it myself and I want a little bit of hairspray, I use the Living Proof Hold Flexible Hairspray. It's amazing because it isn’t sticky at all, I can just brush through it and the hair still feels clean. The Oribe Texturizing Spray is for when you want that fucked-up kind of hair, but then you have to wash the next day. I love my Klorane Dry Shampoo. It's the trick to having your blowout last if you work out and stuff. And the Milbon Straight Liscio Crystal Hair Treatment is a new product for me that I love; a hairstylist in New York just used it on me. It probably has a ton of silicone in it, but I love the way it feels. If you have product in your hair and you want to break it down a little bit—like let’s say I felt like there was too much hairspray in my hair—you put one pump of that on and it takes away the product-y feel. I don’t know what it is, but I love it. Normally I get a very smooth blow-dry, but if I were going to do a blow-dry that had more volume or whatever, I like the Style Memory Lotion from my friend, Stephen Knoll, who has a salon in New York.
I kind of go between two shampoos. If I’m going to a shoot and I know that my hair has to be squeaky clean—because who knows what they’re going to do with it—I will use the more traditional Stephen Knoll Shampoo and Conditioner, but for my normal life I will use Wen. I feel like you do need anti-aging hair stuff because your hair is one of the things that changes, from the coloring to the texture. I don’t wash my hair as much as I used to, only two or three times a week. I have a blow dryer and I will get blowouts, but it can break easier so I learned how to make it last for three days—I pin it up when I sleep or I will pin it up when I work out. The Wen is really good for that because it doesn’t strip your hair. We talk about that with the Meaningful Beauty Skin Softening Cleanser too. You don’t want to take all of the moisture out just to put it back in.
One moisturizer I really like is La Mer The Lip Balm. My kids are like, 'Where’s the La Mer?' We're all addicted to it. I buy probably six at a time—and it tastes great. Also, this Moisture Luxe Tinted Lip Balm in Hint of Pink by Sonia Kashuk is great if I want something sheer, but otherwise I do pencil. I like the Bobbi Brown pencil in Pink Mauve a lot. Because I grew up doing liner, I still do, but I fill it in all the way now. It helps define where you’re going to put the lipstick and makes it stay on longer. I never did the contrasting lipliner—using that one Spice pencil on the outside and another color on the inside that everyone was doing in the '90s. I never thought that looked good, it was mostly what people did in shows.
Now I'm just doing all the hair and makeup for my daughter and her friends. She's also been using pretty much everything from the line—not the décolleté cream, but she is using our little Wrinkle Smoothing Capsules. She doesn’t have wrinkles yet but it makes a nice makeup primer for her. It has a little bit of slip in it so she can get her foundation on. They'll play dress up, and I'll take their photos. I did a shoot with them last weekend and it’s just so funny looking at Kaia's body language. Modeling is just in her DNA or something, it’s crazy. But I think she likes acting more than modeling...who knows? She’s 12. I wanted to be the first woman president at 12 so, you know, things change. I don’t think becoming president is something I could do anymore—I don’t want to take a pay cut.”
—as told to ITG
Cindy Crawford photographed by Emily Weiss in Malibu, CA on February 3, 2014.