The Beauty Memo

Norma Kamali’s AM/PM routine

Iconic fashion designer, founder of beauty brand Normakamalife and poster woman for the benefits of healthy living, NORMA KAMALI shares her passion for dancing, raw food and acupuncture facelifts – and her secret to still looking glowing at the end of the day



I have a daily morning ritual

It’s a wake-up rhythmic exercise that’s a cross between gyrokinesis [a slow, fluid exercise practice that opens energy pathways], yoga and Pilates. I do it 100 times and it gets the blood and energy flowing. Then I do a Child’s Pose stretch and meditation. I really love starting the day this way – feeling like you’re in your body rather than getting up in a stupor.

My skin regimen is straightforward

I hate to admit it, but if I fall asleep with my mascara on, I remove it using my Soft Everyday Moisturizer on a washcloth. I take a shower but do all my skin stuff beforehand. I exfoliate my face with the Smooth Exfoliating Cleanser, using it on dry skin. I do it every second or third day, and when you rinse it off your skin feels amazing. Then I put on my Glow Color Enhancer, which I like to use instead of a foundation. I put it all over my face and use a bit more to contour my cheeks. It’s a moisturizer that also acts as a self-tanner, so if you put it on around 7am, by noon it’s developed to this lovely color – and it continues throughout the day. It’s like having a lovely soft matt finish on the skin. If I want my skin to have more of a shine, I just add my moisturizer on top.

I use toothsoap, not toothpaste

Toothsoap is like oil pulling [an ancient Ayurvedic technique where you swish a tablespoon of oil in your mouth to ‘pull’ toxins out of your system], only you are brushing your teeth with it. You’re meant to do it for as long as you can, but I can’t spend too much time on it. I like the toothsoap as a lot of toothpaste has sugar in it, and we have enough sugar in our diet already. I also use a mouthwash that alkalizes the body, as you can never be too alkaline.

I use very little makeup

A brow gel and brow color, plus mascara. I’m not very loyal [to brands] and always like to find something new. I use an eye pencil every once in a while. Hurraw! is a great plant-based lip color that I use, which can be applied to cheeks as well.

I do intermittent fasting

If I have a framework with food, then I’m good; if I don’t, it’s a free-for-all. I’ve found that I do better if I eat early. I can eat a huge amount at 8am and then I fast for the day and have something light at night. I’m pretty much a raw-food person, but I do eat fish – cooked as well as raw. I can make a salad out of anything, and I like creating interesting, healthy dressings. One of my favorite snacks is cauliflower broken into small florets, dressed with olive oil, lots of fresh lemon juice and turmeric sprinkled on top. It doesn’t sound so great, but it tastes so good. I make this when I’m sketching and want to munch on something – this is as crunchy-munchy as you can get. Of course, now all my sketches have yellow fingerprints on them from the turmeric!

I love downloading workouts…

…especially during this past year, as you can join any new flavor-of-the-month trainer. For a really good workout, I love to dance – I am addicted to it. If there is a dance party, I want to be invited – and I will be the last one to leave. I’ll turn on some music (especially during a Zoom break) and just dance around, as sitting on your butt all day is not good. I can dance to anything: I like hip-hop, old-school Prince, anything! Although I do keep going back to Lil Nas X. I just like to dance.

I deal with jet lag…

…by jumping straight into the new time zone. That sort of helps me. It’s a mind game too, so I tell myself, “This is when you eat, this is when you go to bed.” If you get through the first day or two, then you’re good.

The best advice I was given…

…was from my sixth-grade teacher, who wrote “know thyself” in my graduation book. I wasn’t sure what she meant back then, but it stuck with me – and it has been my guide for how to live my life and run my career. To understand your authentic self is really important – it was a generous gift that she gave me.


I installed a Japanese soaking tub

It’s modern and looks quite space-agey, but I have a very minimalist apartment, so it’s perfect. I’m not a bath person, as I don’t like to sit in the water unless I have a shower first. So, on Sundays, I take a shower and then sit in my soaking tub, surrounded by scents, and meditate. I add magnesium salts and scented oils – I love fragrances like camphor, which is very ‘opening’. I usually have flowers that might be getting a bit tired by the end of the week, so I cut the tops off and let them float around in the tub. I’m not high-maintenance, but time is my luxury, so I spend a long time listening to podcasts and soaking in my tub with my beautiful view of the Statue of Liberty.

My trick after a long day…

…is to use my Glow Color Enhancer if I have to go out. Because the color develops over dinner, when everyone else is fading towards the end of the evening, I’m actually looking better. A friend once asked me, at the end of a late dinner, “Why do you look so good when we all look so tired?”

My look is pretty consistent

I look better when I wear my usual makeup, but I may add more eyeliner or darken my eyes a bit for the evening. My scent is one that I have created and have been wearing for two or three years now. I’m launching it soon, but I first wanted to make sure it was timeless.

I’m a superfan of acupuncture facelifts

If you find a good acupuncturist and regularly have acupuncture from head to toe, including a face treatment, it is life-changing. I’ve been seeing Dr. Jingduan Yang, who is a doctor of eastern and western medicine, once a week for 15 years – and I’m 75 years old. It’s a two-hour drive to him in Philadelphia and, when I first went, he wouldn’t give me the acupuncture facelift as he said I needed to understand the dignity of the treatment first. I still went every week for acupuncture, driving two hours there and back, and, eventually, he gave me the acupuncture facelift as well! The next day I was in the office and someone said, “You look really good today.” Dr. Yang and I ended up doing a book together, which is called Facing East.

Sleep, diet and exercise…

…are key to aging well – and aging with power. On my 18th birthday, my mother said, “Happy birthday, Norma, it’s all downhill from here.” I was crying, but it’s an important concept to have in your head, as I didn’t want to be old; and aging starts when we’re really young, so you need to start a healthy lifestyle – and not just pump stuff into your face. Sleep, diet and exercise are important, as are vitamins, skincare and beauty products – and in that order. Start young and you’re ahead of the game.

If I can’t sleep…

…I meditate. If you’re feeling stressed at any time during the day, run to the bathroom, put down the seat, turn off the light and sit and meditate. I also love the Relax & Let Go tea from Hackney Herbals, which I buy in London.

On my bedside table I have…

…nothing. I’m a minimalist.

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