Why Martha Stewart Looks So Good at 81, According to Her Facialist

Martha Stewart is our forever goals. Why? Firstly, because she always looks as though she’s living her best life, whether she’s sipping on a cocktail poolside or grazing on caviar from a fabulous tablescape. Secondly, just look at that face. Velvety smooth and bouncy in texture, these days, it’s the face that regularly launches a thousand likes. And, what’s more, Martha knows it. It was only the other day that the grand dame of lifestyle culture took to Instagram to post not one but four thirst traps while getting her hair done at her local salon, writing: “Lying in the shampoo area of @FredericFekkai the light was perfect for a new selfie!!” But let’s be honest, this isn’t just good lighting. This is good skin care. At 81, Stewart maintains she’s never had a facelift and doesn’t edit her photos. She does, however, take very good care of her skin. And that’s in no small part down to her facialist at Mario Badescu.

The brand’s namesake, the late Romanian chemist and pharmacist, was renowned for his attention to detail, always submitting the skin to rigorous analysis before tailoring each treatment to suit his client’s individual skin needs. Blending the finest plant-based ingredients, his facial treatments and formulas were designed to nourish and replenish the skin for an all-around flawless complexion. Fifty years on, his legacy endures with his eponymous New York salon and expansive skincare range boasting a wealth of celebrity clientele, including one Martha Stewart. 

Here, Vogue sits down with one of the salon’s leading facialists (and Martha’s go-to), Carmela Barabas, to discuss her routine.  

How would you describe the Mario Badescu philosophy to skin care?

In 1967 Mario Badescu had a singular vision: he wanted to introduce New York to his European-style facials with classic techniques—mastered back in his native Romania. He felt that beauty and skin care were unequivocally intertwined. He understood the uniqueness of skin types, which led him to design a full line of products to suit the needs of every individual. He believed in correcting the problem instead of covering it up with makeup. Makeup should enhance the beauty of an individual. Simple, effective, and accessible skin care has always been Mario Badescu’s philosophy: good skin is forever.

What are your skincare rules to live by?

  1. Wear a daily sunscreen. 
  2. Use a customized skin care regimen to keep skin clean, clear, and balanced. 
  3. Get a facial every four to six weeks to maintain healthy, glowing skin. 
  4. Update your skin-care regimen to reflect seasonal changes as needed.
  5. Don’t ignore the neck, décolletage, or lip area.
  6. Avoid picking and squeezing blemishes.
  7. Don’t layer topical prescription creams with over-the-counter acne products.
  8. Always remove your makeup before bedtime, using appropriate makeup removers for face and eyes.

How does Martha Stewart get her glow?

We do a range of treatments for Martha. There’s the European Facial, which includes a detoxifying steam, extractions, a light face and neck massage followed by a combination of customized masks, and is designed to improve the appearance of your skin. We also do the Pearl Treatment, which is infused with protein- and mineral-rich pearl powder and works to promote soft, glowing skin; the Vitamin C Treatment, which uses powerful antioxidants to target skin texture and tone, and the Q10 Eye Treatment, a concentrated treatment that wakes up tired eyes for an all-round brighter complexion.  

Why is it important to balance at-home skincare products with clinic treatments?

It’s extremely beneficial to use a customized skin-care routine at home in tandem with deep cleansing facials. Both work together towards achieving a well-balanced, radiant complexion

With that in mind, what are some of Martha’s favorite products? 

There’s the Super Collagen Mask, which restores skin texture and skin elasticity. The Herbal Hydrating Serum, which uses ginkgo and ginseng extract to deliver moisture to the skin. Our Hyaluronic Dew Cream, an oil-free, lightweight, botanical-infused moisturizer formulated with sodium hyaluronate. The Revitalin Night Cream which uses collagen and vitamin A oil to nourish the skin overnight. And our cult Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs, and Rosewater Spray, which revives dehydrated skin. 

What are your top skin-care tips for women over 60?

First and foremost, protect your skin from sun exposure by using a daily sunscreen to avoid premature signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration. Use a custom skin-care regimen that includes anti-aging serums to help target and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. We also suggest using products that retain moisture and gently exfoliate weekly to remove dull skin build-up.

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