wellness theories

Linda Rodin Shares Her Wellness Secrets

Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com/BFA NYC

This week’s Wellness Theories features 67-year-old stylist and creator of the cult face-oil line Rodin Olio Lusso, Linda Rodin. In the fashion and beauty world, Rodin is known for her signature red lipstick and glasses, as well as her constant companion: her dog Winky. Rodin talks to the Cut about her love for Caribbean-inspired baths, her zero-facelift policy, and the quest to find your “thing” when it comes to wellness.

How I start my mornings: Probably not in the healthiest way — I get up and immediately take my dog for a walk and get a cappuccino or latte around the corner. After that 15-minute ritual, I get ready for the day. I usually eat a yogurt. But if I’m someplace and there are great eggs, I get Eggs Benedict or a bagel.  I normally get up around 9. If I can sleep later, I do. Winky lets me sleep. He comes to me the minute I open my eyes, he’s kind of psychic. Dogs just know. Maybe we breathe differently.

On sleep: Sleep is my secret weapon. I will do anything to sleep and usually get about 8-9 hours. I’ve been this way forever. I just don’t function properly with less than 8 hours. If I could sleep till noon everyday I would do it. Part of the reason why I eat dinner very early is so that I can ritualistically wind down. I have it down to a science. I can’t fall asleep if I’ve gotten home late or eaten or had wine late. I like to do everything at 5-6. I’ve stayed up all night maybe five times in my whole life, between when I was 20 to 30, and I’m sure I was miserable every time.

To me wellness is: Health. I’ve been aware of health for a long time. I don’t know if I’ve always consciously been a healthy eater or just preferred it — I’ve never been a junk-food eater. I’d rather eat broccoli with soy sauce than potato chips. It just tastes better to me. Health is wealth, and I try to be very careful.

I do like to drink wine. I have steak once a month. I’ll eat the cake. I’m not a nut and ask, “Oh, is that organic?” I stay home a lot. I go out once a week. I won’t get wacky. It’s too hard. If you’re too difficult, you have to stay home or eat at Souen! I can’t get nutty about it.

My biggest wellness struggle is: I love salt. I tried to find out why, and I think it’s because I love salmon and fish. The smell of it, it smells so fishy, it smells so good.

How wellness has changed for me: I think it’s knowing your limitations. For me, I know if I get six hours of sleep, I’m going to be miserable. It comes with age. You know what makes you feel good or sick. For me, it’s resting and feeling the best I can. The good news is your body tells you immediately — No, that’s going to make you sick.

How I end my day: I eat early and spend about an hour going through e-mail and paperwork. I take a bath every night, which is very relaxing, with epsom salts and bath oil. Winky sits by the tub looking at me, like When are you getting out? But whenever I wash my hair, I take a shower and bath. My building has really great water pressure and the shower spout is from the 40s; it looks like a big sunflower. It is the most fabulous shower.

For me, in the bath, less is more. I like to have clear, beautiful water with some soap and lie there and feel like I’m in the Caribbean. It looks all pale, turquoise, and clear. The experience is just lying there in hot water or closing my eyes and drifting off. I’ve never lit a candle or read a book. I just zone out. I could stay about 15 minutes or even 3 minutes. If Winky isn’t nudging me, I could stay in there about 30 minutes. Then I watch television, movies and Netflix. I just unwind and be quiet.

On older women in fashion: It’s interesting and well thought out. But I don’t see it going forward really. I don’t think Joan Didion is going to walk the runway. I would never want to walk a runway. A beautiful photograph and the reinforcement of older people in general is great. I don’t think it has to be carried beyond that point. I just don’t see it being on the cover of Vogue or Prada doing it every season. It was a one-off and powerful. It was a punctuation to say, “Hey! Here we are.”

On lipstick: I just put the lipstick on, I’ve never used a brush. But I’m not one of those people who could do it without a mirror — that’s a wishlist thing. I grew up with a mom who would be driving us to school in her nightgown, backing out of the driveway, and putting on lipstick. She said, “One day, you’ll understand.” I’m the same way, I just feel more comfortable in it. I’m working on a lipstick line with four shades, which will be on sale in February.

On aging: When you’re young, you think everyone is old. But you can’t be young forever. I wouldn’t get a facelift, I don’t think that stuff works. You just have to be healthy and embrace the process. It’s not easy! There’s nothing graceful about it. It’s hard to look in the mirror and see a different face every day. I did try filler about five years ago. It was very subtle and at one point, I was thinking, This is looking strange. I would rather be 25 but I’m not. Since you can’t fix it, you live with it and make the best you can.

My wellness advice: Everyone has to find their “thing” that makes them feel well. I swam for a year and a half and I said, “Ugh, I  hate this.” I was watching a program about octogenarians a while back. It showed a 100-year-old man who smoked a cigar at 6 p.m. Another woman had to eat two bags of popcorn at 3 p.m. You never know what your “thing” is going to be, but you get to know what that “thing” is, for better or worse. Like, this is how I want to sleep. If you’re lucky enough, you can do it. There’s many ways one can do it and be allowed to embrace it. 

This interview has been condensed and edited.

Linda Rodin Shares Her Wellness Secrets