For years Christie Brinkley has credited her exceptionally youthful glow to her robust fitness routine, intense skin-care regimen and strict vegetarian diet—as well as occasionally dabbling in fillers, laser treatments and skin-tightening devices. But recently, she’s decided to opt for a little more (noninvasive and nonsurgical) assistance with her ageless looks in the form of two anti-aging procedures: The injectable Xeomin for her frown lines and the skin-lifting Ultherapy for her neck and décolletage.
“I wondered if people would think I’m phony and fake,” Brinkley, 63, exclusively tells People of using the treatments in a new interview featured in this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday. “But it’s better to be honest and say, ‘Yeah, this is what I do.’”
Her goal was “never to look different,” says the model and author of Timeless Beauty, who has become the spokeswoman for both products, which are owned by the pharmaceutical company Merz North America. “But I’m almost 64. At a certain point, you might need a little something extra. When I look in the mirror, I want to feel like I look as good as I feel. And if you can have something done to feel more confident and better about yourself, then you feel like your face matches your spirit—and my spirit is enthusiastic and energetic.”
So what did she get exactly?
First, she got Xeomin (pronounced ZEOmin), which is an injectable that temporarily improves the look of frown lines between the eyebrows. It works by blocking the transmission of signals from nerves to the muscles, which causes muscles to relax and appear smoother. “It’s similar to other botulinum toxins [like Botox],” says Brinkley’s dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler of Wexler Dermatology in New York City.
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However, it’s a more “purified toxin,” says the dermatologist because it doesn’t use accessory proteins like other products. “Given correctly, you’ll have a very natural look of lift in the area.” A single treatment ranges from $300 to $500 and lasts up to four months.
“I was so afraid to do it,” Brinkley says of trying Xeomin. “But I still feel like myself. I could still move my eyebrows and I feel like I have all my same funny faces. It was like a non-invasive pick-me-up.”
Then, last year, she considered getting Ultherapy, after noticing more creases on her chest. The non-surgical FDA-approved procedure uses ultrasound technology to stimulate collagen and elastin production in order to lift skin on the neck and improve lines and wrinkles on the décolletage.
But it actually took seeing Kathie Lee Gifford demonstrate it on the Today show’s fourth hour to push her to try it. “Kathie Lee did it right there on TV, and I said, ‘This is it? It’s so easy.’ I thought it was so great that she was sharing that with everybody.”
Dr. Wexler notes that Ultherapy is one of her favorite tricks to “reverse the signs of aging without looking like you’ve gotten work done.” She adds: “I think that was the attraction to it for Christie. She wanted to look natural, and this uses your body’s resources to stimulate new collage and elastic tissue.”
And while Ultherapy “used to have a reputation for being very painful, the technology has changed, and now it’s very tolerable,” says the dermatologist. “There are still people who find it uncomfortable, but most people are very relaxed.” Prices average $1,800 per area treated, and it takes between two to three months to see full results. Brinkley plans to get it every 18 months.
If there are naysayers to her latest beauty secret reveal, she’s ignoring them. “There are always going to be the people who build themselves up by pulling you down,” she says. “But then there are the women who are supporting women. And if there are little things that I can do that are going to make me feel great, make me look good for my job and that would be selfish of me not to share it,” she says.
Her two daughters, Sailor Brinkley Cook, 19 (with ex-husband, architect Peter Cook), and Alexa Ray Joel, 31, (with ex-husband Billy Joel), helped encourage her to open up, too. “They said, ‘If you think it will be helpful to others, go for it,” she says.
Adds Brinkley, “Beauty should really be about you feeling like the best you.”