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Linda Rodin On Aging

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It was November 2010 when ITG last chatted with Linda Rodin. At that time, Rodin Olio Lusso was still a passion project turned nascent beauty business accruing a rapid cult following. Cut to four years later, Rodin the business and Rodin the woman have their widespread icon status confirmed (Estée Lauder just acquired Rodin Olio Lusso, so a hearty “Congrats!” are in order). There are the clients, including Karlie Kloss and Cindy Crawford; the admirers, like the Olsen twins who enlisted Rodin for a The Row campaign; and the fans, who covet Rodin’s glossy gray hair. Seemed like we were due for another chat—about her business, growing up, and going gray.

ITG : When did you start going gray?

LR : I had a few white hairs here and there by the time I was 35. At that time, I was also hennaing my hair and the white ones looked pink! After a while, I just started letting it go that way. It came in very gradually but evenly. I was lucky. And I never associated it with being old.

ITG : Did your style change once your hair started changing?

LR : No, not at all because it never occurred to me to be like 'Oh now my hair is grey, I had better adapt to that.'

ITG : What about the rest of your beauty routine?

LR : I use Clairol Shimmer Lights, which I didn’t start using probably until about 10 years ago. The lighter it got, the more I wanted it to stay silvery. I just wash my hair with it once a week and it keeps things bright. But my routine was always very simple. I always took the shortest path to getting my face clean and hydrating it a bit. I’m sure now there are a lot of really great scientific things that can help if you start using them at 20, but I started really taking care of my skin many, many years after that.

ITG : So do you have stacks pictures of you in the '70s or '80s with any regrettable makeup?

LR : I don’t know if I regretted it. I think I looked pretty good. In the '80s I didn’t wear any makeup and in the '70s I was just wearing '70s clothes, which are back now—fringe, bell-bottoms...We wanted to look like Cher so that meant long straight hair and little makeup for me. She was my idol. There was this one red lacquer eye shadow I had in my 20s—it was very glossy. But that was it.

ITG : You talked about getting filler once. How long ago was that?

LR : I tried it three or four years ago. I figured, why not? I think one can try to smooth it all out but to me, it didn’t look right. And I couldn’t keep it up. I felt like I was morphing into someone else.

ITG : It’s nice that you’re so open about it.

LR : Oh absolutely! It was very well done and very subtle. I don’t think anyone would have ever noticed. I was very conservative about it and had a good doctor, but one day I just said 'I don’t think I want to do this anymore.' It starts to end up looking a little spackled together.

ITG : Did you ever expect to launch a business like Rodin?

LR: I never thought I would start a business at all! It was really a one-day-at-a-time-process, a very selfish endeavor. I just wanted to make something I liked and the interesting and exciting thing was that so many people embraced my products and loved them too. What I realized after the second product was people really liked my products and I wasn’t working in a vacuum. But I never would have said 'I want to do this thing, in five years I want to grow here, make a larger line...' that never occurred to me. I wouldn’t have even known where to start. I just worked slowly creating products I needed.

ITG : What’s the best thing now that you’re older that you don’t have to worry about?

LR : I think one does feel more liberated and independent when one gets older. More honest and open with yourself and others. But you still have insecurities—they're different, but they don't totally go away. But you reach a point and say 'That’s OK.' In the end, nobody’s perfect, and we’re all doing the best we can.

Photographed by Tom Newton.