Beauty Around the Clock: Christy Turlington

The model and humanitarian on simplistic skincare, self-care, and why she plans on aging without cosmetic intervention.

christy turlington beauty routine
(Image credit: Future)

Welcome to Beauty Around the Clock, Marie Claire's weekly peek into the daily lives of some of the most game-changing men and women in their industries. Ever wonder how they get it all done in a day? Here's your answer.

Since Christy Turlington started modeling at 14, she’s been the face of beauty brands galore, starred on hundreds of magazine covers, and walked in too many fashion shows to count. Now, at 54, she’s added many more notches to her impressive resumé. She’s a humanitarian, first and foremost: Her foundation Every Mother Counts, which seeks to improve maternal care around the world, is the focus of her energy. Most recently, she’s joined the Noble Panacea team as their Fundamental Changemaker in Residence. There, she stars as the face of the brand’s Elemental Collection, aligning with the brand’s ethos of aging gracefully and empowering women through education

“Beauty is this limitless ideal that you can find everywhere. It’s something that does evolve, but not so much the idea of beauty as much as your understanding and appreciation of beauty,” Turlington exclusively tells Marie Claire. “People look outside themselves to define it, but I’ve learned over time that beauty is a feeling, a sense of wellness, and even acceptance in a way.” 

To see how the model keeps a sound mind, centered soul, and of course, her great skin in check, read on.

Rise & Shine

I'm definitely not a morning person. I need to use an alarm. Sometimes I wake up naturally, and that's such a nice thing. But, I also have two dogs that sleep in my bed. They’re Boston Terriers and they are natural early risers, so it’s hard to sleep through their noise. I actually have been traveling a lot this summer, specifically to Asia. The beauty, in addition to being able to see the world, is to also enjoy early rising in a more natural way. I love to kind of hold on to that jet lag when it works in my favor. Anything from five a.m. on to me is, like, magic hour. 

Fitness Fix 

I've been a yoga practitioner for most of my life, so that's my go-to. I’ve been practicing for almost 30 years. I just try to do something that involves movement as early as possible in the day when the weather is nice. That’s another benefit of early rising—I can get outside before it gets too hot. I love to hike. I also run. I've always been a runner who doesn't use music or bring anything to listen to. I kind of like that disconnectedness. Sometimes I’ll do a Pilates class with a small group of friends, but I think because my life is pretty busy it’s nice to have some solitude.

Morning Maintenance 

I love for my skincare to be really simple. I’m all about texture and ease in that area. I was using Noble Panacea for about a year before we actually started working together, which was a huge part of the attraction. I will wash my face with the cleanser, which is honestly my favorite product from the whole line. Then there’s the exfoliator, which comes in the same package. I follow that with a hydrating essence. I don't really wear makeup, but this is a great primer regardless. My skin tends to be on the drier side—especially as I've gotten older. The vitamin C is great, too. I feel like that just feels like I'm doing something nutritious for my skin. Once I feel like I have all that hydration in my face, I don’t think about skincare again until bedtime. 

Signature Look 

I only wear a very tiny amount of makeup. Right now, I have on a little bit of the RMS concealer. I love the whole line—it all feels very light and clean. I’ll use a little bit of that under my eyes and then I’ll use some kind of a cheek tint, even if I have a little bit of color in my face. I always like some blush on my face. I love Westman Atelier and I also love Jones Road for a light wash. I’ll fill in my eyebrows a bit—I use a very basic Maybelline eyebrow pencil. I have so many because I used to work for them for years. I have a scar on my eyebrow so I always fill that in. I curl my lashes, but I don’t really wear mascara unless I’m going somewhere special. And that’s it! 

Self Care Ritual

If I have the opportunity to be outside in nature when my workday ends, I'll go outside. It's an opportunity to transition into personal time again. I would obviously say yoga because it’s my go-to, and that normally involves a little bit of meditation. I don't meditate for long amounts of time every day, but I do incorporate a few minutes. That’s always a very easy, straightforward, centering activity. It's nice because once you have those tools and you're familiar with them, you know how quickly they can bring you back to yourself and kind of get you back to a place that’s not so stressful. Reconnecting with breath can change my complete attitude about almost anything. 

Signature Scent

If I'm going to consciously wear perfume, it would probably be Eternity. I also sometimes like to use essential oils when I’m just hanging around at home or doing a meditation practice. I like one very simple one note oil, like lavender or a rose. They’re soothing and light. 

Hair Help 

I do nothing with my hair—it’s always in a bun. I might leave in a little bit of extra conditioner and I'm not precious about what it is. It's sort of whatever's in the shower. My hair tends to be drier, so I always use oils. Even when I’m doing my Noble Panacea skincare routine—whatever is left over in my hands goes right into my hair. It’s my lowest maintenance area. 

Cheap But Chic 

I’m always grabbing lip balm. I love Burt’s Bees, but I also love good, old fashioned Chapstick. It lasts the longest. When I run, I want to wear something that's going to last the duration of my long run. Sometimes those fancier products, or the ones that have fragrance in them, just don’t last as long. It’s good, old fashioned Chapstick that does the job. 

Beauty Icon

Women who have stayed away from augmentation of themselves—those are the women I really admire. I love seeing a real face. A face of someone who’s lived life. I would say my beauty icons are people like Jane Birkin. They have the kind of faces I like to see and we don’t get to see as many of those in the world anymore. Jane aged in her way. She was as beautiful at the end of her life as she was early on. I will be one of those faces. I am one of those faces. 

Daily Playlist

I am a big fan of female singer-songwriters, so I love Angel Olson and Sharon Van Ettten. I love this Irish singer-songwriter named Sorcha Richardson. I also love this band of younger guys called Inhaler. They're just super fun and energetic. 

Backup Career

My main job now, and for the last 20 years or so, has really been in advocacy. I was a child when I started modeling, so I wasn't thinking about too many things because it all kind of happened so fast. I always really liked to write, and I still really do enjoy writing. So maybe a writer of some kind. And I do get to write in my work as an advocate and as a founder of a foundation. I'd like to say that I would've found that passion somehow without this modeling career.

My advocacy work doesn't have a lot to do with this career other than the fact that I have goodwill and relationships that I can call upon for support in regards to my work around maternal health. There could be another thing that I'm not aware of yet that I'll still discover. I like to think I would have found my path all the same. 

P.M. Routine 

I repeat a similar routine to my morning routine at night. I’ll do my cleanser and the refiner and then I’ll do a nighttime moisturizer, which gives a bit deeper hydration. There’s also a rejuvenation balm and face mask that I love, so I’ll use those on special occasions for a deeper experience. It feels like I’m doing something special for my skin. Beauty should be simple and it should feel good and it should feel like self-care. At the end of the day, it's hard to incorporate  things that we normally think about as self-care, in terms of a spa appointment or a vacation. Trying to find those moments in between where we can take care of ourselves is something more of us should aspire to do.

Lights Out 

I like the idea of taking a minute at the end of the day to relax and calm down before going to bed. It’s a ritual that I’ve come to appreciate and it sets the tone for my night. 

Beauty Editor

Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and shares the breakdown on the latest and greatest trends in the beauty space. She's studied up on every ingredient you'll find on INCI list and is constantly in search of the world's glowiest makeup products. Prior to joining the team, she worked as Us Weekly’s Beauty and Style Editor, where she stayed on the pulse of pop culture and broke down celebrity beauty routines, hair transformations, and red carpet looks. Her words have also appeared on Popsugar,,,, and Philadelphia Wedding. Samantha also serves as a board member for the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME). She first joined the organization in 2018, when she worked as an editorial intern at Food Network Magazine and Pioneer Woman Magazine. Samantha has a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. While at GWU, she was a founding member of the school’s HerCampus chapter and served as its President for four years. When she’s not deep in the beauty closet or swatching eyeshadows, you can find her obsessing over Real Housewives and all things Bravo. Keep up with her on Instagram @samholender.