Christie Brinkley—along with J.Lo, Charlize Theron, and Naomi Campbell—is part of the small and selective group of chosen ones who has undoubtedly found the Fountain of Youth. Proof: It’s been over 40 years since she first started modeling (and subsequently booked three Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue covers in a row), yet her skin still looks positively wrinkle-less; her hair bouncy, blond, and shiny as ever; and her persona as bubbly as champagne. Clearly, she has somehow escaped the aging effects of time unscathed—and we want answers.
With that goal in mind, we hopped on the phone with the iconic supermodel to learn about the secret to her ageless, well, everything, right on the heels of her hair extension collection with Hair2Wear (debuting on HSN today). It turns out that Brinkley isn’t afraid to admit that she gets help when it comes to her inability to age—and was more than happy to share her secrets with us. From extensions to exfoliating, keep scrolling to learn Brinkley’s beauty secrets!
BYRDIE: Congratulations on your Hair2Wear line debuting at HSN! Are extensions something you’ve always worn and known about?
CHRISTIE BRINKLEY: I know some people think that they would never wear extensions because they think they’re so fake. But I’ve been modeling for over 40 years, and I would say for the past maybe 20 years or so, extensions have just been a part of a model’s life. If you have thick, full, gorgeous hair, they’ll want it thicker and more gorgeous. Or extensions will take short hair to long, or just make the hairstyle go with the outfit. It’s just natural to me. I would love to share this convenience with women out there and let them start thinking about it as not necessarily this vague attachment that makes you feel like you’re fooling anybody. When someone tells me my hair looks great, I say, “Thank you. I’m wearing one of my extensions today.”
BYRDIE: Do you think women will get over the stigma about extensions soon?
CB: I think if more women understood that it’s a choice, that it’s an addition to your wardrobe … I draw the comparison like this: Some nights, you feel like chopping all the vegetables and boiling the water and putting together a great meal. Other nights, you feel like throwing something in the microwave and being done with it. I think of extensions as the microwave for the hair. It’s that easy convenience that makes your hair look like you’ve done something to it. To me, it gives me a great sense of comfort. I love knowing that I have that in my bag of tricks.
BYRDIE: Your skin is flawless. What’s your secret?
CB: Here it is: I start every day by exfoliating my face. That’s something I’ve done for the past 40 years. I feel like it’s really contributed to my skin feeling fresh and smooth. Forty years ago, I read an article that said men always look five years younger than women who are their same age. They contributed that to them shaving every day, and the daily exfoliating with shaving making their skin look younger. I was like, I’m not going to let them get away with that! I use the exfoliator from my skincare line because it’s gentle. The whole line was modeled after the skincare ritual I already have.
BYRDIE: What beauty advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
CB: Well, I have daughters who are in their 20s. Both girls have such beautiful skin. Basically what I’ve done for them is I’ve hovered over them as children, running around with sunblock. That’s what I would tell any 20-year-old—it’s the most important thing. Use proper creams to protect your skin. And also to eat well. I really believe your diet affects your skin.
BYRDIE: Beauty from the inside out. Can you talk about your own diet?
CB: I’m practically a lifelong vegetarian—I became one when I was about 13 or 14 years old. My diet is plant based. I’ve raised by kids on what I call the “rainbow diet.” I want as many colors as possible. These are all the ingredients that do wonderful things to your skin. The deep green in the leafy greens, the purples in the skin of the grapes, which produce resveratrol … all the antioxidants and vitamins you get from a colorful, rich diet like that.
BYRDIE: Are there any foods that you avoid?
CB: I would say avoid sugar as much as possible. It causes inflammation and reduces circulation and can cause all kinds of problems, right up to being linked with cancer. I think avoiding artificial sugar, avoiding white breads, and going for deep, rich, plant-based foods is best. And, of course, grains. I love grain bowls with beans and veggies!
BYRDIE: Lastly—what’s the secret to your ever-present tan?
CB: I generally use a cream that builds up your tan gradually. I prefer to get that kind of tan color from fake ways, instead of a real tan like I did in my youth.
You can find out more of Brinkley’s health and beauty secrets in her new book, Timeless Beauty ($19).