Last week, Alex and I went for a coffee with Norma Kamali. You may have heard of her, she is known for her bathing suits that give you the body of a goddess. Initially, we planned on doing a Beauty Minute with her. But the conversation continued, and it lasted much longer than a minute! We quickly fell under Norma’s spell — she is bright, energetic, radiant, and most of all, incredibly (and naturally) gorgeous.
Oh, I almost forgot. Norma is 68. Now you want to know even more about her, right?
So here is our beauty “hour” (we condensed it a little bit, of course!) with Norma Kamali. And one day, she’s definitely going to have to tell us the story of her career. That’s a must.
What is your daily routine like?
My routine is very simple. I really pair down products and like things that I can use as a universal cream. I have a liniment that I have found as a result of searching for olive oil through the Olive Belts. It is a liniment made with calcium and olive oil, and it is a very ordinary liniment that is you know, found anywhere – it is not special. But I brought the liniment here, and I use it for everything. I swear to you it is the best thing.
In the morning, I brush my teeth before I take a shower – I brush my teeth with a tooth soap that is made with olive oil and cinnamon. It is just a little dropper and then you brush your teeth with it. It pulls bacteria out of your mouth. There is a thing called oil pulling. You can use this for pulling because it is oil. It is a great practice. [Editor’s Note: We haven’t tried oil pulling yet, have you done it?] Then the next thing I do is take a shower – and I have olive soap which is made with the paste that comes after the olives are pressed the oil goes out. It has no chemicals in it. You can wash with it and it smells like the earth and it really cleans. You feel squeaky clean and there is no residue. I wash in the shower with a loofa and the olive oil soap and then I take the calcium liniment in the shower and while the water is still going, I put the liniment all over my body and I just let the heat help it sink in to my skin, so when I towel dry it is mixed into my skin perfectly.
When I shampoo my hair, whether it is in the morning or at night or whenever I decide to do it, I use this shampoo that doesn’t have any soap in it and it is called Purely Perfect and it’s so amazing. You will see such a difference in your hair with it. We have had it for like 6 months now and I love it. My hair feels so different from it.
Throughout the day I literally have my little bottle of calcium liniment that I just put on my face, especially in the winter or in the summer when your skin gets dry. I will put it on my legs. I use calcium liniment for anything and everyone. At night I put calcium liniment on my feet, and I put my work out socks over them and it makes a difference. I use the liniment to take my makeup off. I don’t really use makeup except for mascara. I am experimenting with one that we just got in from RMS. And then I use our stain lip color that is also made from plants. It is all plant based. And so basically everything I put on my body, you can eat.
So you don’t use foundation?
No, but I do use a tanner that I did last night. The tanner is from The Organic Pharmacy in London, and we just started carrying it here too. It is great because it is organic and it is really great stuff. Anything that is plant based is great. I use that maybe once or twice a week so I don’t need to put any foundation or anything on. The older you get the worse your skin looks with makeup on. And I don’t think people need foundation. I think less is better.
I use a fragrance that I love called Restore and that is also plant based. You can actually drink it with hot water. And the thing about plant based fragrances like that is that they make you feel good and it is not so much about you recording my scent when you see me, but when I put Restore on I feel good. I feel restored. And it makes people feel good around me to because it has a quality, it has a scent that is very relaxing and restorative. And that basically is it. I don’t use nail polish. I need a manicure, but whatever. When it happens it happens, and I am pretty low maintenance as far as that goes.
Do you put a SPF on your skin?
Yeah. And I go in the sun for a while, but I don’t lay in the sun. If I am on the beach walking around I put something on. But most of the time I am not so focused on lying there. I don’t have that personality. I can’t. I am like, ok, I got to go.
Do you ever get facials?
I absolutely do. First of all, I do acupuncture every week because I think that’s really important. I get the micro-current facials. I love love love them. I go to Joanna Vargas. She is terrific. I love going there and I always fall asleep. I fall asleep with acupuncture too. I think I just go places so I can take a nap.
But I really think that it is amazing. It is amazing that it really works. I go every week. The idea of having anesthesia and cutting into your face so scares me that I will go to Joanna everyday if I have to.
What do you do for hair color?
That is the tricky one. The color I use has the least amount of ammonia. If you have hair color like mine with no blonde or highlights – what they do is that they will put just the pure color with something that transfers the hair color to your hair, but it is not as intense as ammonia. And so they will just put that on. But if you have shades and stuff going on. It won’t work. That is the big nemesis because there is nothing yet. And every once in a while I wonder how much grey do I have and what would happen if I just left it and made my ends black. But then you’re looked at too much for being different and I am not wanting that right now. I had red hair for 15 years and that was fine and then I said I didn’t want to do that anymore. I loved it and it was a lot of fun.
What is your diet like?
For a long period of time I did raw. More than 85%. Now I mix. I have fish. Which is probably the only non-vegan thing I do. And then the other thing is that I have steamed vegetables. I go to Souen and get stuff to go. So that is not raw because it is steamed. But it is the food I like best.
Have you always eaten that way?
No. I tried a macrobiotic diet. And being a vegetarian was part of my life for a good part of it. I used to have a smoke and eat a bacon cheeseburger, many, many years ago, probably in the 70’s. I was smoking a cigarette and eating the bacon cheeseburger, just to be clear, incase you didn’t think you heard that right.
In fact, everybody smoked in the company. In the sample room. Around all the fabric. There were ashtrays with cigarettes. All the pattern makers. Everyone. There would be smoke up in the ceiling. It wasn’t anything we thought about. It was a prop. Having a cigarette and a cup of coffee or a cigarette and a glass of wine. That was kind of it.
Do you have a workout routine?
Well I think working out everyday is very important. At 4:45pm everyday I go to the gym. I come in very early so my day is technically over then. I’ll come back if I have a fitting or something to approve then I do that and then I go home. And then on the weekends I can mix it up and do different times. But I like it. I need it because I have this energy thing.
I have done so many different types of exercise. Since 1980 basically every kind of exercise you can think of. Seven years ago – more than 7 years ago – I tore my meniscus.I didn’t want to get an operation so I did physical therapy but I was really out of shape for a whole year of doing nothing really and so I said on New Years Eve, I am ready to go back to exercise. said I am going to find the closest place to this building, I don’t care what it is. The closest building. So I researched and researched and found 25 West 56th street. In it is this exercise called Physique 57 – so I went in and I hadn’t even seen what it was. I said I will do 5 classes and if I commit to 5 classes, I will go. I will figure out how do it. And I go into the class and go what the hell is this? I was really out of shape and I was nervous about my knee. But after the 5th class I was like I love this – this is perfect for me. I do it everyday.