If there’s one term Isabella Rossellini would like to erase from the beauty lexicon, it’s “anti-aging.” While this may seem like a contrarian attitude for a woman who has served as the face of one of the world’s biggest global beauty brands for over 30 years, the 70-year-old Lancôme spokeswoman insists that her point of view is both completely on brand — and a vital part of her role as ambassador.
“I am very bothered by this word, ‘anti-aging,’” says the actress, model, filmmaker, farmer and author who says she believes it is the “duty” of brands like Lancôme (and spokesmodels like herself) to stop talking about aging as if it is a curse to be avoided at all costs. “I refuse to talk about being young or trying to look younger. It is diminishing and makes women feel bad. Makeup and skin care should be joyful and fun. Not ‘Oh my god! You are looking so bad. You’re puffy! You have wrinkles.’”
Given Rossellini’s packed schedule, it is hardly surprising that the multi-hyphenate star — who spends her down time shearing sheep, raising chickens and working as a beekeeper on her 28-acre farm in Long Island — doesn’t have time for nonsense. When CNN caught up with the “Blue Velvet” star, she had just returned from Europe where she was filming the role of Simca Beck, one of Julia Child’s collaborators, in the HBO Max series “Julia.” In addition to also filming the 2023 sci-fi drama “Spaceman,” the tireless septuagenarian is about to begin performing “Darwin’s Smile,” her one-woman show about animal behavior.
“When I’m not working, I don’t spend hours a day putting makeup on,” says Rossellini, who credits her “less is more” beauty philosophy to her mother, legendary screen star Ingrid Bergman. “When you have a career, makeup needs to be fast. I know what works and I’m very loyal to those products.”
Here, a few of her favorite beauty and fashion picks.
“I helped launch Trésor in 1990,” Rossellini says. “The scent is original, warm and sensual — like an embrace. I remember they were testing two different scents and the CEO asked me which one I liked, and I picked this. Before it launched, I went to the Russian Tea Room in New York to meet the perfumer, Sophia Grojsman. And she said to me, you know, many years ago I saw a film, ‘Casablanca,’ and that inspired the perfume. She didn’t know [my mom was Ingrid Bergman]. Isn’t that amazing? It was a perfume inspired by my mama, and I responded to it unconsciously.”
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“My friend Nazzy is an artist and fashion designer who makes beautiful clothes,” Rossellini says. “There is history behind every material she uses. When my stepmother died a few years ago, I inherited some beautiful saris. They were complicated for me to wear, so I sent them to Nazzy and she made them into these wonderful caftans. And now each time I wear them I think of my stepmother. Another time, I sent her poncho I bought in Peru that I never really wore. She embroidered bees all over it and now I love it. After all, I am a beekeeper!”
“I love bright lipsticks,” Rossellini says. “When I work, I spend hours every day in the makeup chairs, so when I’m on my farm, I just use a little concealer and then — boom — the red! Even on a day when I shear the sheep, maybe I go home and have a drink with somebody. So, it’s nice to always keep lipstick in your pocket!”
“Most people assume Lancôme products are made for women, but this serum transcends genders,” Rossellini says. “Many of my male friends also use it on a regular basis because everything about this product — the scent, the texture, the bottle — is very gender neutral.”
“This is a very dark shade they named after me,” Rossellini says. “It can be applied directly from the tube for a strong [dark purple] look or tapped on for a lighter, more sheer stain. For me, makeup is a toy. It’s not about seducing a man. It’s about expressing yourself.”
“My mother was like me, she didn’t wear very much makeup,” Rossellini says. “Just lipstick, some mascara and perfume. She wore L’Air du Temps by Nina Ricci. My dad also wore cologne. It was called Rose Manchester and is very hard to find nowadays. He used to spray it on his handkerchief. To this day, if I smell either of these scents, it instantly reminds me of my parents.”
“When I’m not working, I use only three products: concealer, red lipstick and this brow pencil,” Rossellini says. “This medium brown shade matches my natural brow color perfectly and helps bring some definition to the eye area. It has a comb on the end so you can brush them up and keep them in order.”
“I travel a lot so my skin can get very dry,” Rossellini says. “I love using the hydrogel mask after a long flight. It melts right into my skin, leaving it soft and hydrated after just a few minutes.”