In all my years as a beauty journalist, I’ve interviewed probably hundreds of chemists about molecules and the general function of skin, but I can count the celebrities on one hand. So when my editor asked if I wanted to interview Madonna, tied to the U.S. début of her MDNA skin-care line, it was a no-brainer. Not surprisingly, the seven-product collection, created with Japanese beauty company MTG, is made of the chicest ingredients, including mineral waters and volcanic-ash clay from Montecatini Terme, Italy, as well as hyaluronic acids. Over the course of our conversation, she shared a few other must-haves.
JL: Why did you want to create a skin-care line?
Madonna: I wanted to create something that just works for me so I didn’t have to grab one product from one line, one from another, then find out something got discontinued. But my desire evolved from being a performer onstage, traveling all the time, being under hot lights, sweating, and feeling exhausted. I wanted a line that constantly rehydrates and also preps my skin to take on all those challenges.
JL: Did you like working on the formulations?
M: The whole process has been really enjoyable. MTG is a great partner, they have high expectations, and their knowledge of technology is amazing. So, for me, it’s a beautiful marriage.
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JL: This is an unfair question, but do you have favorites?
M: I use the Eye Mask every morning. I take it out of the freezer and let it thaw on my eyes. It’s got the eye serum in it. Then there’s the Chrome Clay Mask. Masks are tricky because when you wash them off, you’re kind of mushing them back into your pores and you’re left with debris on your face. The magnetic wand literally pulls the mask off your skin; its other side has a microcurrent capacity that infuses the serum into skin. But the Face Serum and Rose Mist are permanent fixtures in my bag. I use them liberally. I spray other people when they say annoying things. Or not.
JL: Is rose your favorite fragrance?
M: Yes, I love the smell. I wear Fracas [by Robert Piguet], which has tuberose in it. It’s really hard to create a rose fragrance, as you know, because it’s really, really rare and expensive to replicate on a mass level, and those synthetic smells just don’t cut it.
JL: I know, they’re terrible. They give rose a bad name.
M: Yeah. But Fracas is my favorite fragrance. I’ve worn it pretty much all my life. My mother wore it.
JL: That’s sweet. OK, other than skin care, what else can’t you live without?
M: I live with a humidifier, and I put a little bit of eucalyptus oil [in it], so that’s everywhere. I sleep with it. I use it backstage before shows, and in my gym. Hydration is a big part of my life. I’m kind of addicted to the smell of eucalyptus in humidifiers. I also have these red glasses, which I call “sunset glasses.” I have a hard time sleeping. These help me relax and experience that joy you feel when you’re watching a sunset.
JL: Where do you get them?
M: I go to the ophthalmologist and have them made. I put them on at night and watch movies. Yes, it does make the movies a little bit rosier, but ... I just use them all the time. My days are really busy and I’m always overstimulated. Dopamine is being fired into my brain way past the time that it should be, so these glasses help me relax.
JL: Any clothing items you always have with you?
M: I have this long cashmere Rick Owens sweater that I travel with. It’s superthin, so you can roll it up and put it in a Ziploc bag if you want to. I sleep with it when I’m cold, I take it on planes. It’s like my blankie. It’s kind of pathetic.
JL: I’m not judging. I think that sounds perfect. And Rick Owens’s stuff is so darn comfortable.
M: Oh my god, yeah. It’s beautiful. So darned expensive.
JL: Yeah, but worth it. So you seem like an incredibly healthy person. Is there a food constant?
M: I eat avocados all the time. Avocado toast for breakfast, avocados on my salad. I’m obsessed with them.
JL: How do you care for your hair?
M: I use Rose Mist on it, and a lot of conditioner. Soap isn’t the best thing for colored hair, so I use a lot of oils, like Rodin Olio Lusso.
JL: Do you use that on your body as well?
M: I used to, until I made my own skin-care line! Now I use my serum everywhere.
JL: Has Lourdes used it?
M: Oh, yeah! All my kids do. Strangely, my sons are kind of into them. It’s nice to hear your son say, “Mama, I’ve run out of MDNA. Can I have some more serum?”