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Beauty Bad-ass: Linda Rodin

January 24, 2012

Being the forever-obstinate rebellious teen-at-heart that I am, I would never admit this to his face, but my dad often times surprises me with his coolness. I can’t believe I’m confessing this, but he was actually the one who introduced me to one of my favorite artists, St. Vincent, has amazing taste in music and films and is always ahead of the game when it comes to the absolute best New York eateries. This is pretty atypical for a dude born in the late 40’s and raised in Texas, specifically on a farm in Abilene. This time his coolness manifests itself by way of sending me this Wall Street Journal article entitled At My Vanity featuring Linda Rodin, founder of RODIN Olio Lusso – one of the most effective and coveted all-natural beauty products on the market. Turns out she, like my dad, is pretty damn awesome for her age.

I unflinchingly aspire to this level of babelihood at age 60.

Check it out:

When stylist-turned-beauty guru Linda Rodin speaks about her best-selling elixir, Olio Lusso, you can’t help but yearn for a drop. “Your skin looks better when it’s dewy and has a little sheen,” said the 63-year-old, whose complexion calls to mind ageless icons like Carmen Dell’Orefice and Lauren Hutton. Unlike so many lab-engineered anti-aging products, Ms. Rodin’s all-natural serum was concocted in her bathroom. “It was just like making spaghetti sauce,” she said. “Only with the best ingredients.”

In 2007, the Manhattan native—who had worked as a stylist with Madonna, Herb Ritts and Richard Avedon—began trekking the globe searching for the best holistic beauty products she could find. The result: A potion for the face containing 11 essential oils including those from jasmine, argan and rose hip seed. Since its release in 2008, the mixture has occupied the medicine cabinets of famous beauties such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Laetitia Casta, Julianne Moore and a spate of Victoria’s Secret models. (One celebrity client routinely pours an entire bottle of face oil on her feet.)

Ms. Rodin, who personally tests and approves each of her products (made locally in small batches), now has five offerings: blended oils for the face, body and hair, as well as a hand-and-body cream and lip balm—carried by luxury retailers including Barneys New York and Colette in Paris.

At the moment, she’s working on the addition of two new items to her coveted stock: a facial cleanser and an “intoxicating and heady” perfume that will debut in May. “It’s heavy-duty jasmine,” Ms. Rodin said. “It’s almost illegal.” We caught up with the makeup-averse Chelsea resident backstage at a Victoria’s Secret shoot.

I haven’t worn makeup since I turned 30, except for lipstick which I never leave the house without. It always brightens your face. I hate glossy lips and only wear matte colors like Guerlain’s Rouge 129. My favorite pencil is Shu Uemura’s 365 lip liner, which was discontinued. Now I use a bright pink one from Makeup For Ever called Aqua Lip 16C.

I’m obsessed with the many different bio [organic] shops in Paris where I always find a natural brown soap called Savon D’Alep. It looks homemade and doesn’t even smell particularly good but I’ve been hooked on it for five years.

For my daily regime, I wet my face with warm water in the morning, pat it dry and put my oil on while the skin is still damp. At night, I wash my face with a cleanser like Cetaphil and repeat. I don’t re-cleanse after sleeping.

Each of the ingredients in my face oil has a certain property. Rose hip seed treats sunspots, primrose treats rashes and calendula oil from the marigold flower is good for healing inflammation and irritation.

I collect beauty products wherever I go. From the airport in St. Barts to a tiny shop in Panama that sells food and soda where I found a delicious-smelling talcum powder called Raquel Body Powder. I was attracted to the color of the box.

My least favorite scent is gardenia. It’s so sweet! I had a friend who wore Fracas and I couldn’t be around her. I love heady, sexy scents like jasmine and neroli.

The most overrated thing is expensive towels for drying your face. Thick towels are too heavy and leave your skin bone dry. A moist face absorbs product better. I buy cheap Indian cotton towels from Dress Shoppe on Second Avenue. They’re 10 bucks and never get fluffy, but they’re good because they’re not absorbent

In the summer I use any sunblock over 20 SPF from Dermalogica. I used to be a Bain de Soleil girl way back, but I ruined my skin. Now I’m neurotic in the hot sun. I cover up in a burqa.

My new healthy habit is drinking green juice made with kale, spinach, ginger, lemon and celery. It’s like having a salad. All the models drink it, which makes their breath stink, but it’s delicious.

I prefer dark nails like Chanel Vamp and Essie Wicked or nothing at all. Jacqueline Padilha is a genius Brazilian manicurist who comes to my house.

My secret weapon is Fran Wilson’s Moodmatcher lipstick. I’ve been using it since I was 16. It’s green and you can put it under everything. It keeps your lips colored even after sleeping.

A common myth is that oil makes your hair greasy. Bob Recine, who created our formula has a motto: just a teeny drop every morning. It has juniper and rosemary and smells divine.

I’ve always maintained a thin figure. I don’t drink water except at night. My liquid is a cappuccino every morning and two glasses of wine at night.

My guilty pleasure is Lindt’s extra creamy milk chocolate. That, and I always have Sea’s Gift seaweed in my bag. They’re better than potato chips.

To relax, I see David McCabe, a private massage therapist. He’s fantastic. You feel like you’re back in the womb.

My biggest beauty indulgence is a monthly Triad Medical facial from Dr. Colbert. It’s so luxurious but it only takes 20 minutes. First they clean your skin with a little suction that I call a mini vacuum cleaner, then they do a treatment that feels like your skin is getting popped and they finish with a minor peel. You walk out literally looking 10 years younger.

I’ve never colored my hair. I’ve been using Clairol Shimmer Highlights shampoo for blondes and white hair for years. I see Leonard Golino for a blowout every week.

The secret to aging gracefully is maintenance. Botox is fine in moderation, but the more you do the older you look. You can’t chase youth. You’ll just look old with a facelift.

—Edited from an interview by Nicole Berrie



I love her slight eccentricities and unwavering committal to her favorite products, be they luxurious or not. I am dying to try some of her products myself, but with the mainstay running at $140 per bottle, it’s unfortunately out of budget. My dad, of course, ordered the face oil and lip balm for himself, so I’ll have to get his account on these high-end goods. He would.

Thanks for reading!



8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2012 6:50 pm

    I love that woman.

  2. May 2, 2012 4:51 pm

    She sounds wonderful. No makeup since she turned 30, that is great!

    I am curious why she uses Ceptaphil for a face wash, since there is nothing beneficial or nourishing about it. All it is preservatives and alcohol (Water, cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearyl alcohol, methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben). Since she says uses so many great oils with her own products I am really surprised she wouldn’t be more in tune with using beneficial ingredients in her face wash.

    Thanks for the post.

    • June 7, 2012 9:33 pm

      I agree, a little strange but she looks great! Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. London permalink
    May 10, 2012 8:09 pm

    Hmmm… I wonder why she decided to create a product that natural like a face oil, when she’s not exactly the greenest woman out there, I mean, Guerlain? Shu Uemura? Makeup For Ever? talcum powder? Dermalogica? Cetaphil? How on earth she was introduced to this of oils? I’m definitely not dying for trying any of her products, it’s a “no, thanks” for me.
    However I love when a women feels so confident enough to not wearing makeup, and she looks fantastic without it, I’m 21 and already stopped using makeup, except for some luminizer and tinted lip balm sometimes and I’m feeling better and more comfortable than ever, makes me feel free lol.

    • June 7, 2012 9:35 pm

      I thought that was kind of odd too…especially talcum powder. I still want to try her products though! I love luxuriating in a make-up free face on my days off, too 🙂 Thank you for reading and commenting!

  4. Sophie permalink
    September 24, 2012 4:14 am

    Your dad sounds AWESOME. I want to hear more of his recommendations hehe 🙂

    • November 20, 2012 6:14 pm

      He’s pretty awesome…I will definitely keep you updated! Thank you for reading Sophie!

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