When it comes to trendsetters, Madonna reigns supreme. Though trendsetter doesn’t seem like quite the right word—it implies the individual acknowledges trends, but Madonna never has. Rather, she’s always marched ferociously to the beat of her own drum, paving the way for women to own and be empowered by their sexuality and fierceness long before it became “acceptable.” So is it any surprise that her skincare line acknowledges boundaries, then blatantly pushes past them?
Launched last year, MDNA Skin utilizes the latest cutting-edge technology from Japan to create products that deliver results—and when Madonna is the ultimate judge, you can imagine the lofty standards. Today, the brand launches a facial device called the Beauty Roller, the first-ever device of its kind to utilize infrared technology to lift and tone the skin. Madonna worked with famed NYC dermatologist Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, to develop the tool, a sleek-looking device with two spheres on the end that you roll over the contours of your face to sculpt and tone. And unlike other devices on the market, you don’t need to plug it in to charge in order to utilize its benefits.
But what exactly is infrared energy and how does it help the skin? For all intents and purposes, the roller appears to just be a fancy-looking device with two black spheres on the end. How can a device like this help the skin without utilizing visible light? Frank explains that infrared energy has actually been used therapeutically and for medicinal purposes for several years, from infrared saunas to reiki healing. “Infrared energy is just another wavelength along the spectrum, like microwaves or LED,” he explains. “The type of pure carbon spheres that we developed for this home device happens to emit an extraordinary amount of infrared energy compared to other objects.”
For example, though they may just look like black spheres in person, they’ll actually melt ice cubes if you place them near them. In the same vein, if you were to wear night-vision goggles, the spheres would glow bright green. So even though the energy emitted by the device isn’t visible to the naked eye (like its buzzy cousin, LED light), it can still be incredibly powerful. “The immediate advantage of rolling these spheres along the skin is that they can improve circulation and provide tightening and lifting of tissue,” he explains. Used long-term, he promises you’ll see things like overall improved skin elasticity, circulation, and firmness.
But who better to speak about this groundbreaking product than the creator Madonna herself? I spoke with the icon to hear her take as well as discuss everything from her morning routine (it involves taking probiotics) to her advice to anyone struggling with confidence (it’s easier than you’d think). Keep scrolling for all of Madonna’s beauty and wellness secrets.
What inspired you to create the MDNA Skin Beauty Roller, and how is it different from other rollers on the market?
I had tried other beauty rollers that were made of metal or jade, and they were made of singular spheres. I didn’t feel that they were very effective, and they were cold to the touch. I wanted to make something that was more results-oriented. I worked with a Japanese team called MTG that are really advanced in technology. We decided to create this beauty roller that was made with infrared carbon and emitted infrared heat. It uses two spheres rather than one so that it’s soft to the touch and really grabs the muscle on both sides to give the muscle underneath the skin a workout. It’s much more effective, it feels better to the touch, and the infrared heat—not only does it increase cellular repair, but it also helps penetrate whatever products you’re using. You get so many benefits at the same time.
How do you personally like to use the Beauty Roller?
My go-to spots are my jawline and my cheekbones. I do it a few times a week. I also use it on the side of my neck—if you grab the muscle on the side of your neck and go up and down, it’s good for lymphatic drainage and good for tension release. I use it on the back of my legs because unfortunately I have cellulite, and I want to get rid of it!
Eighties makeup it making a comeback on the runways. What’s one ’80s makeup trend you hope doesn’t come back and one you hope does?
I like all of them! There’s nothing I don’t like about the ’80s thing. I look at pictures of me in the ’80s and I’m like, Wow, I wore so much makeup. You’ve got the whole look going. I love all the colored eye shadows, the defined eyebrows, the dark lips. I remember when I was first starting out and Debi Mazar was my makeup artist, she would paint with this really thin paintbrush a rainbow of eyeliner on my eyelids that would look strange up-close and in person, but really amazing onstage. There were just some really cool things that happened back then that I don’t see people doing. I hope they come back. I could never do it myself, though. I stop at lipstick, that’s it. I can do mascara and lip liner.
What’s the most important beauty lesson you’ve learned?
Less is more. At least for me.
What's are some wellness practices you swear by?
I drink lemon water first thing in the morning. I take lactobacillus every morning—it’s the live culture that’s in yogurt. It keeps your intestinal flora healthy. So, probiotics, and I take turmeric as an anti-inflammatory and oregano oil. Those three items are something I take every day, and they’re good for your stomach, skin, and overall wellness. And drinking a lot of water, obviously. That’s such a cliché no-brainer, but it’s important. I also breathe warm salt water through my nose. It’s an old yogi practice that I picked up years and years ago. These are my rituals that I do every morning. It clears your head out of any mucus, or if you wake up feeling congested. You just feel cleansed. Like when you go in the ocean and you get salt water in your nose and you come out… It’s the same thing.
What are some lessons about beauty and self-confidence you wish you could teach to the current younger female generation, like your daughters?
You can have all the beauty treatments in the world you want and you can be a gorgeous, stunningly beautiful creature, [but] if you don’t feel good on the inside and you don’t feel confident and happy about who you are, none of that really matters. For me, confidence and loving yourself and feeling good about yourself are the first secrets to beauty. I tell that to my daughters every day.
What would your advice be to anyone struggling with self-confidence and finding their identity?
At the end of the day, you have to find out what you were put on this earth to do. That’s step number one. Finding your place in the world. Everyone’s been given gifts. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and our job as human beings is to find out what we were put on this earth to do and go for it. Find something that you're passionate about and go all the way. Commit yourself to it, and then you get a feeling of accomplishment and that leads to confidence and that leads to inner beauty and that leads to feeling good about yourself.
You’re a Leo. What’s the most Leo thing about you and least Leo thing about you?
The most Leo thing about me is I love to give. I love to give presents, give good parties—I love to create amazing shows, which is another form of giving. I love to throw the most amazing party, show, whatever. That’s the most Leo thing about me. The most un-Leo thing about me is I can be shy. If I don’t know people or don’t feel comfortable, I just don’t say anything.
Have your daughters taught you anything about beauty and self-image, and vice versa?
My younger daughters are just fun and try everything. They teach me to stop taking myself so seriously. They’re fun and they’re silly and they put makeup all over the place where they’re not supposed to and try different hairdos. They’re all about breaking the rules, so that’s good.
My older daughter has actually shown me how confusing and complicated it is to be a young adult, especially a female, in this new world with social media. There’s a certain pressure to look a certain way. All these young girls having plastic surgery and everyone comparing themselves to everyone else… I wanna look like this, or Why don’t I look like that? I always say to my daughter, "She doesn’t even look like that!" Stop comparing yourself to other people. I think right now, it’s me trying to guide her and her making me see and understand it’s a very confusing, challenging time for young women.
Shop the MDNA Beauty Roller below, and watch the two videos Madonna filmed with Steven Klein.
Click here to see my review of the signature MDNA facial.