As Madonna’s former makeup artist and muse to many, Debi Mazar has always been into beauty. “It’s safe to say I was well-schooled from an early age,” shares the 57-year-old, who will star in Netflix’s new comedy series The Pentaverate, premiering in May. “It’s so fun and, besides, who can afford to keep up with fashion?”
“My earliest beauty memories come from my grandmother, Evelyn, who was so feminine. She was very beautiful, wore My Sin perfume by Lanvin, stockings with garter belts, slips, heels, and satin bed jackets. I would watch her do her hair and makeup every day, and she was always dressed to the nines.
My uncle kept 1960’s Playboy magazines in the attic, and the photography was incredible—the women were all so beautiful and natural. My mother was also very beautiful and stylish, and came into her own in the ’70s, so they had very different aesthetics of beauty and their routines.”
“I’ve had many looks over the years—I’ve had many hair colors, I’ve been in great shape, I’ve been pregnant, I’ve been skinny, I’ve been not skinny—you name it. I’ve been photographed since I was a teenager, so it’s all out there—I’m talking Bill Cunningham in New York to all the top photographers worldwide.
I don’t have a favorite look, but I like to let people know I’ve never had a stylist—I’ve always created my own looks, and some were better than others. Isabel Toledo loaded me with clothes for decades, and I like shopping vintage, being ‘a collector of cool.’
I played Ava Gardner and that is one of my favorite projects. I had incredible hair and makeup and an incredible wardrobe. Plus, all the press I did, especially Vogue Spain shot by Gorka Postigo…it was all incredible.”
“When we were on the club circuit, getting ready was about whatever we could piece together. We had no money! We would hit up thrift stores, do fun makeup, usually punk-meets-disco. The prep was important—our looks were our identity. Lots of hairspray, lots of sharing of clothes, lots of sharing of accessories. I worked at Fiorucci and Screaming Mimis, so I would often trade my paycheck for my outfits.”
I have used Dr. Hauschka face cream ($45) since the 1970s! I still do, as does my entire family. I’ve always loved Lancôme Définicils Mascara ($29), Duo Lash Glue ($7), YSL Touche Éclat concealer ($38), Nivea greasy body lotion ($75) (the almond-oil based one), Maja hand soap ($18) to wash lingerie, and Dr. Bronner’s eucalyptus liquid soap ($19) for the body.”
“My daughters steal my Surratt Pen liquid eyeliners ($44) and shadows and my rat-tail combs that have a retractable tail like a switchblade. They have always tried all my creams for body and face, and ultimately, they have been educated to take good care of their skin and hair, which includes coming into my bathroom to borrow everything!
What is nice is that their generation has so many options to explore, and, likewise, they turn me on to new things as well. I’m more heavy-handed with my makeup than they are, as I love to play; I love to transform. I’m more old-school and I love the hair pieces and I don’t always care about the general health of my hair. If it gets destroyed, I cut it off and start over. Generally, I use olive oil in my hair and on my body, as I am surrounded by olive trees on my property, and it has been a constant in my diet and hair and skin care.”
“I don’t like the overuse of concealer. I like the face to have planes…the overuse of contour I don’t love, either. I feel that people should try to embrace their natural lines. I hate lip liner that goes over the lip line; I like a more natural lip. I love that color eyeshadow is back! I love seeing everyone have fun with crazy makeup and lashes, liner, wigs—there’s been a return to being more individually creative for both women and men, and the transgender community! I like all brow shapes, but I, sadly, plucked too much and I don’t have much hair left, but that also gives me the ability to play on shapes.”
“I prefer to go to the pros for my hair color and cuts. I love getting lasers to correct my skin issues; I like a ‘touch’ of Botox and any hydration my skin can get via treatments, injectables and face masks. I don’t do fillers, per se, as I’m a little heavier in my face, so I don’t need them right now, but I love any type of modern technology that improves my skin texture and regenerates collagen.”
Year In Review
“I moved to Italy and everything changed! I learned to speak Castilian Spanish, I got an agent in London, and I speak Italian pretty well now. I’ve filmed projects that I’m proud of and I’ve taken a different approach to my beauty regime. I don’t have my people here in Italy—my derm, my anything beauty—so I try to be happy, and I do my makeup accordingly for my aging face.
I accept some limes and celebrate a life well-lived, knowing I have the experience in my soul to deliver great characters, a face that tells a story, and planes that show maturity, but also someone who is taken care of with love and respect of my age and diligence to be healthy and happy. I think that translates in person, in photos and on film—a life well-lived! What more can a woman ask for.
I am also loved by family and friends who have accepted me no matter what I look like in every transition. That is what one needs; self-acceptance is crucial. You can tweak stuff, but at the end of the day, being your best self is what shows in all aspects. So eat, drink and be happy.
We don’t know what is in the cards tomorrow. Live your best life, and forget being like everyone else! I am an original, and I just keep moving forward. Life is precious, be you!”