Oh no!
It looks like you aren't logged in to the Ethel community. Log in to get the best user experience, save your favorite articles and quotes, and follow our authors.
Don't have an Online Account? Subscribe here

Beauty Tips From Celebrity Octogenarians (and One 90 Year Old)

You're going to love these!

Comment Icon
photo collage of female celebs and beauty products, moisturizer, mascara, sunscreen
Ethel Staff
Comment Icon

Years ago, Police Woman star and Golden Globe winner Angie Dickenson told me that the secret to her great legs was that she never took an elevator or a cab if she could walk somewhere instead. I’ve walked everywhere I could ever since — and I have to say that my calves are as firm as any dancer’s.

What other beauty tips can we glean from celebrities who’ve maintained their good looks throughout the decades? Some have a medicine cabinet full of exotic creams, while others extol the virtues of Ivory soap or baby oil. But the one common denominator in all of their tips: Stop thinking about age. It’s just a number. 

Author, TV personality and all-around lifestyle guru Martha Stewart is no less rigorous about her beauty routine than she is about making a soufflé. The 80-year-old 5 a.m.-riser rinses her face with warm water, and to keep her skin hydrated, she applies Yon-Ka Gommage 303 Exfoliating Clarifying Gel to her face, neck and chest. She’ll also use a CBD or collagen mask, from time to time, that she leaves on for up to an hour.

Stewart’s first meal of the day is a green juice concoction of cucumbers, parsley, mint, ginger, orange, celery and pineapple, which she says is the secret of good skin and healthy hair. She wears sunblock, moisturizers (Crème de la Mer or Clé de Peau Beauté La Crème) and is a fan of simple baby oil to wash her face, especially to remove TV makeup. Though she doesn’t like peels, she does love lasers, as well as “sprinkles” of Botox and the filler Juvéderm twice a year. “Posture is also important,” Stewart has said. “I’m always poking my friends in the back and telling them to stand up straight.” 

“I never cared how I looked until I was 50,” Shirley MacLaine wrote in her 2011 memoir, I’m Over All That: And Other Confessions. “So, I had my face lifted.” The now-87-year-old actress decided that she wasn’t going to go under the knife again, saying “I want to play parts my age.” And indeed, The Terms of Endearment Oscar winner has gone from playing gamine girlfriends to grand dames, notably as Lady Cora Crawley’s mother in Downton Abbey. 

Unlike most of us, MacLaine has her own shaman. Nevertheless, we can all live by her words of wisdom, which is to be “the healthiest version of you.” For MacLaine, that means living in Santa Fe and planting her garden with fresh fruits and vegetables. And, although she began ballet classes at the tender age of 3 and was a dancer most of her life, she’s given herself a break from the strenuous physical workouts she used to put herself through and now trains in moderation. She’s also stopped worrying about the future. “I haven’t planned a damn thing ever in my life. Guess what? It’s worked out.”

Prior to the pandemic, 100-million-record-selling songstress Dionne Warwick toured regularly and she takes looking her best for her fans seriously. Early in her career, none other than Marlene Dietrich introduced Warwick to couture, and ever since, the now-82-year-old star has worn Cardin, St. Laurent and De La Renta, accented with her own personal flair. Her beauty routine, however, is a lot simpler and less costly.  

Warwick grew up using Ivory soap. “Basic cleanliness is truly the answer,” she has said. Warwick never sleeps in makeup and, except when she’s performing, prefers to go barefaced, to let her skin breathe.

Even when Warwick does wear makeup, as soon as she gets home, it all comes off. But the rest of her “beauty routine?” Even the Do You Know the Way to San Jose songstress admits that it’s not a typical antiaging regimen. Fast food (McDonald’s and fried chicken), cigarettes (she’s trying to quit) and no scheduled fitness routine. “I’m too lazy to exercise,” Warwick has said, adding that running through airports and performing have kept her in shape. “You’d be surprised. You’re using a lot of energy.”

When asked during an interview with Access Hollywood to reveal her beauty secrets, Jane Fonda, 84, quipped, “Good genes and a lot of money.” While most actresses deny having had plastic surgery, Fonda fesses up. “I love lived-in faces. I loved Vanessa Redgrave’s face,” she said in her 2018 documentary, Jane Fonda in Five Acts. “I wish I was braver, but I am what I am.” 

Still, she’s sworn off surgery and fillers these days in an effort to be more self-accepting. She did get her breast implants removed, saying they were uncomfortable and that former husband Ted Turner “hated them.”

Due to osteoarthritis, the former aerobics queen who sold 17 million copies of her workout videos in the 1982-1995 series now opts for resistance bands and floor work for strength training. She also slathers on sunscreen, sees a dermatologist every six months for a skin check and follows advice from fellow actor Catherine Deneuve to switch up skin creams from time to time to keep her skin moisturized. She prefers L’Oréal’s Age Perfect Rosy Tint Night Cream, her facialist Mila Moursi’s Triple Actif Anti-Wrinkle Cream and, as a spokesperson for a brand called Uncle Bud’s, is a fan of their CBD Daily Facial Moisturizer. She embraced going gray, though has been quick to add that her hairstylist makes sure her do is “youthful and chic looking.” 

And, even when she’s going out to a protest, you won’t find the Grace and Frankie star barefaced. Fonda highlights her under-eyes, curls and mascaras her lashes, and adds a bright red or pale pink lipstick and lip liner. “That’s my activism face,” she has said.

In 1962, Rita Moreno became the first Latino to win an acting Oscar for her supporting role as Anita in West Side Story. This year, Moreno, now 90, was nominated again for a supporting nod in Steven Spielberg’s remake of the iconic production. Chosen as one of People magazine’s Most Beautiful People in 2017, Moreno shared her don’t-hate-me beauty secrets: “People don’t like to hear what I have to say, but [I do] the bare minimum,” she has revealed.

Her favorite products — Cetaphil skin cleanser, Neutrogena sunscreen and Maybelline mascara can all be purchased at CVS or Walgreens. Even the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 30 she uses isn’t that fancy. 

The EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) winner has also shared an old Hollywood makeup tip. “The lighter your makeup base, the more flattering it will be,” she has said. “It makes you look younger because it reflects light. It doesn’t take away from your [natural] color, but you see less wrinkles. It’s amazing and a very simple solution.” She employs simple mind tricks to keep herself looking and feeling younger. “I write with my left hand, even though I’m right-handed. I walk backwards in a very safe place,” Moreno has said. “Anything that engages your brain.”

Editor's Picks
Find money-making endeavors that are personally satisfying.
, July 18, 2024
Here are the ones that top the list.
, July 18, 2024
It's incredibly welcoming, especially for older women travelers.
, July 18, 2024