Photo by Rebecca Pollak
How to Grow Up to Be Like Linda Rodin
There’s lit-from-within in the “glow” sense, and there’s lit-from-within from the standpoint of visibly, joyfully vibrating with energy. At 68 years old, Linda Rodin is both. She’s one of those beautiful people that manages to wear their beauty almost absurdly lightly—she shrugs it off, sidesteps it, as if the stylist in her took a look, stood back, and declared it all too much.
There’s nothing we love more at goop than a woman who does things her way, and Rodin is a superstar in that department: She started a beauty company at the age of 59 (in the middle of a longtime, wildly successful career as a stylist) with a single, all-natural product that went dead-against the traditional beauty world’s insistence on “oil-free” at every turn. More than a few people told her this sudden career change was flat-out crazy; Rodin ignored even very knowledgeable friends in the beauty industry and singlehandedly created the face-oil trend with her exquisite, now-iconic Olio Lusso face oil. She insisted that her entire luxurious, stylist-secret line be totally nontoxic—because that’s what she wanted.
The Five Essential Lipsticks
Today, as a relatively new member of the the Estee Lauder Companies, she’s come out with five iconic (clean) lipstick shades—and five is all she plans to make, period, because that’s how she likes it. “I’m not going into the lipstick business, I’ve just made the five colors I think are the classic, perfect ones,” she says. “They’re what I like.”
“When you get it right, you get it right!” she continues. “Apple made the iPhone, this amazing product that changed the world—now they keep making new versions of it nobody needs, and it’s tanking. There’s a balance. It’s fun to buy something new and tweak what you’ve got, but you don’t have to change everything up all the time just for the sake of it.”
Her plan from the start included lipstick, she says: “I decided to make it many years ago when I started, I knew it had to have my jasmine and neroli oil, because that’s Rodin, and then I decided to do only colors I would wear, so it’s the five colors. There’s not really a new red under the sun, so for me it was all about texture: I wanted matte but not dry-matte, which looks great on young kids but no one else. It had to be dry enough that it wouldn’t blur—I don’t like glossy lips—I wanted something that that’s great as a stain, something that would stay on forever.”
Instinct drove the color choices: “It’s what looks good on me, what I remember my mother in—she wore lipstick all the time—like Billie on the Bike (a shade that, it should be noted, is particularly popular in the goop offices). And I’ve always loved Hedy Lamarr, how glamorous she was.”
Rodin herself didn’t develop her signature dramatic-lipstick look until later in life. “In high school—it was the 60s—we all wore the frosted lipstick, and the nudes. For a long time I didn’t wear lipstick, and then as my hair got more silver—maybe in my forties—I started to wear it, because I thought it made me look more alive. I just look better with it. I don’t wear face makeup; maybe that’s why it works.“
On Rodin, gray hair is a glamorous signature. “I never dyed my hair. People have been telling me since I was 35 that it’s aging, that I’d look younger if I colored it! It just works for me. I use products for blonde and grey hair, purple-toned things. I have curly hair and I straightened for so long, then I went curly, now I’m sort of in-between, so mostly I just put it into tight ponytails.”
“I love jeans. I like to stick with a basic and if it’s got a flourish, great, I love it. If there’s a perfect turtleneck, I love to get the same style in different colors. When you put five sleeves on the turtleneck, that’s not for me.”
Rodin mixes jeans she’s just bought—“I have some wide, wide ones from Chloé”—with pairs she’s worn for years. “I always go back to my vintage 501s,” she says. “I save them, I patch them, I’m always afraid they’ll fall apart.”
How do we still fit into the jeans we’re wearing now, 30 years later? “I’m lucky,” she says. “I still have the same silhouette, so I can still wear the same shapes.” Luck—really? “It’s genetics, mostly,” she says. “My mother was very vivacious—I do have a lot of energy.”
“I’m moving all the time, I run around New York, I walk the dog… I don’t smoke, I eat well.” By well she means a mostly Mediterranean diet. “I don’t love fruit, but I love vegetables. I eat fish, occasionally poultry, then meat once every six months. I didn’t eat meat for 40 years, and now I’m back—I had vertigo, and the doctor said eat some meat, and it fixed it.”
“Again, I’m lucky that I like healthy food—I just never liked junk food. I try to do my best, but I’m not a maniac. If there’s some delicious french fries, I eat them.”
“Everybody sees these pictures of me retouched. I don’t look like that! People say, you look so great, but I mean, we’re not having lunch together, that’s not how I really look.” (Note: many, including this writer, would heartily disagree with that last statement.) She’s circumspect about aging: “The facelift thing is difficult. I wouldn’t do it, but there’s so much pressure, I can understand why everyone does it. So everyone looks a little morphed. I tried filler and I didn’t like it; I looked morphed. That’s not to say I love my wrinkles—I can’t believe it, there’s a new one every day, it’s the worst!
“If I’d known what we know now, I’d have worn sunscreen,” she says. “I wear it now, but it’s too late. But I had so much fun—I just had the best time sitting in sun, playing the water, lying on the beach with my friends in our polka-dot bikinis and convertibles. It was such an innocent, fun time. I wouldn’t trade it, I’d just have worn sunblock.”
She developed Olio Osso for her own skin, and she puts it on at least twice every day. “In the morning, I dampen my face with warm water, and put on the oil. At night, I cleanse my face with Rodin cleanser and then take a bath. I sit for as long as my doggie allows me to, I get out and dry off and slather myself with my body oil.”