Many of us know and adore Stacy London for her work as a style guru and co-host. What not to wear… These days, however, she cares less about looking good than having a good life. And in her new role as CEO of State Of, a line of skin and body products for menopause symptoms, she is thrilled to help others do the same. Here she talks about her gray stripe and the iconic lip color that everyone loves …
How did you first get into beauty?
As a child, I was obsessed with everything shiny, be it clothes or makeup. StageLight cosmetics came from when I was in seventh grade and the coolest thing you could do is get their powdered eyeshadow. It was SO SHINE. I had no idea what I was doing; I just put it all over my eyelid and thought it was great.
What other makeup did you like as a teenager?
Clinique Black Honey lipstick was almost de rigueur for my generation. It remains the main product of Clinique to this day. This is one of those chameleon products that looks great on all skin tones. But my attitude towards makeup changed as I got older.
Well, first of all, I believe that I look older as I get older due to a lot of makeup. Secondly, as much as I love makeup, I have never been able to apply it. When I worked on television, I was lucky that the professionals did it for me. But at this point, I just don’t feel the need for so many gimmicks. I always love trying new things, but I usually go back to the basics.
What are your makeup basics?
The only thing I am currently highlighting is the lips and eyebrows. I use Glossier’s Boy Brow in black, as well as Winky Lux’s taupe brow pencil. Wonder pencil, I don’t understand.
Do you pluck your eyebrows yourself? Because the shape is fantastic.
I don’t pinch them at all! In truth, they were tortured to death in the 90s. I met makeup artist Kevin Aucoin when I was working at fashionand he said, “Girl, I need to put you in a chair and point those eyebrows.” I told him, “I don’t want to live with tweezers next to my toothbrush.” But, of course, he plucked them and, of course, made them very, very thin. They grew a little, but not much, and I tried to keep my shape. Now they just stay that way. This is another benefit of aging: you have less hair!
Do you still enjoy exploring and finding new products?
Oh yes, makeup is still fun – and I don’t have to be a master to be great. I recently wandered through CVS makeup finishing and found incredible things. I have a Maybelline lipstick called Red Revival and I AM VERY NECESSARY. Classic red satin.
Do you always make the color red?
No, I often use Pat McGrath’s other lipstick called Beautiful Creature, which makes for a great everyday pinkie.
What other makeup products at the pharmacy do you like?
I don’t wear mascara very often because I wear glasses and mascara tends to get on the lenses. But on the same trip with CVS, I took a tube of Covergirl Total Tease, which remained where it was. It darkens and thickens, but not too much, so it looks very natural. It is also waterproof. I am in the throes of perimenopause and makeup melts from my face when I have hot flashes. So I never put on anything that could slide down my face.
Okay. Let’s talk about skin care.
I have always been fond of skin care because I got psoriasis as a child. So I applied creams all the time to help the skin heal. All my life I’ve tried to moisturize and care for my skin just because I had to.
What does your morning routine look like?
I wash my face with a very gentle cleanser, Glow Recipe Blueberry Bounce Cleanser. Then I apply Sunday Riley’s Tidal Water Cream, which is a great moisturizer but not heavy at all. I end up with Supergoop sunscreen. I love it because it’s the only tanning cream that doesn’t make me feel like I’m about to sweat to death underneath it.
What about the night?
In the aftermath of the pandemic, the baths have become my upgrade I’ve never taken them before – maybe if I was in a fancy hotel or something. Now I take at least three times a week. My entire self-care routine is aimed at reducing discomfort in my body; I haven’t trained for most of last year, and now I’m back to strength training again. On the days that I know I will be mentally and physically exhausted, I always plan to end up with a bath. I use our State Of Lavender Bath Salt and when I get out of the car I apply CBD body oil on myself for muscle fatigue.
Have you been using these products for a long time?
Yes, for a while I struggled with the symptoms of perimenopause, and it changed the way I felt about my body. Nobody ever talks about it! In fact, I had symptoms for years before I knew it was perimenopause. You have insomnia, mood swings, drier skin, drier vaginas! But I just thought I was crazy. When I finally learned more about it, I felt a bit like a superhero – because I was still experiencing these symptoms, but I was armed with information and could really start managing them.
Do you have a favorite product from the State Of?
Yes, face oil is my favorite. All products are completely absorbed into the skin, so you don’t feel sticky. The face oil is instantly absorbed and my skin is so beautiful, delicious and moist. And if I have a hot flush, it does not mean that my whole face is covered with oil.
So, I have to ask about the famous series. Do people still talk about it all the time?
All the time. People told me to dye my hair because it made me look old, but I’ve had a streak since I was 11! I have never felt uncomfortable about this. I think that puts me in the same category as Cruella de Ville or the X-Men Rogue. It’s pretty iconic! In fact, there are simple ways to hide it – I could part in a certain way, and it would not be visible. But I would never. This is a part of me. By the way, I no longer have this little gray strip. I’m all gray.
Was it an adjustment?
Yes, but I’m trying to learn to look at these changes with amazement and enthusiasm, not anxiety. Because the whole world tells us that aging is bad, and I just don’t believe in it. Change is scary, and yes, it’s strange to look in the mirror and think, “This is not me. I didn’t look like that at 38. ” But I want to welcome these changes. So when I see more gray hair, I tell myself little things in the mirror, like, “I can’t wait to see you more.”
You spoke quite frankly about the term anti-aging. Can you talk about this?
I know it’s so corny when they say, “Anti-aging marketing is bad!” But I hate it. To be anti-aging is to be against what is inevitable for all of us – if we are lucky. So, I can’t figure out how someone could write this on a product or in an ad campaign. I hope we start to lower our beauty expectations. And I do not mean that we should think less of ourselves or that we are not good enough. I mean, I hope we start to realize that we are good enough and that we are good enough.
You’ve talked a lot about the aging process, especially since you turned 50 in 2019. How did you feel after reaching this milestone?
Sometimes I want to get on this stage so much that I want to shout about it from the rooftops. I have nothing to prove to anyone! Other days I wake up and feel disgusting. Overall, it was a difficult year. My father fell ill and then recently passed away. Middle age is another matter: it was time for me to lose my father. This loss made me feel like a child again. I suddenly felt like I was six years old and lost in the supermarket. But it really changed my thoughts about aging. It made me think less about my appearance and more about keeping my body physically strong and healthy. I’ve always taken great care of my skin, but now I take better care of my bones and muscles. Every day, no matter how I feel by the time I am fifty, I try to remind myself that I am lucky to be here.
Thank you so much Stacy!
PS More and more women are sharing their beautiful uniforms, including a polar explorer and a yoga teacher.
(Photos courtesy of Stacy London.)