When The Rachel Zoe ProjectTM debuted on Bravo® in 2008, millions of viewers went “bananas” for the behind-the-scenes show featuring the fast-paced life of celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe.
While the masses first discovered Zoe on their TV screens, the hard-working New York native had been positioning herself for success long before she went on-air. When Zoe, now 48, was in college at The George Washington University®, she worked as a restaurant hostess. Rodger Berman, whom she later married, was a waiter there and an MBA student. After graduation, Zoe and Berman moved to New York City, and she got a job as a fashion assistant at YMTM, a teen magazine. After she was promoted to a senior fashion editor position, she decided to go freelance.
Having been introduced to major celebrities during her time at the publication, she began styling acts like The Backstreet Boys®, Jessica Simpson, and Britney Spears. From there, she built her roster of clients — and her fashion empire.
In addition to starring in five seasons of reality television, the fashionista has styled a long list of A-list celebrities including Jennifer Garner and Cameron Diaz, written two books, and launched a namesake fashion brand and website — all within two decades. Between spending time with her husband and two sons, Skyler and Kaius, she’s still working as hard as ever. Case in point: Just in time for the holidays, Zoe launched a partnership with LORAC® Cosmetics. The capsule collection includes limited-edition eyeshadow palettes, lip kits, and face and body shimmer — which she’s of course added to her makeup rotation (more on this later).
Before Zoe and her family went jet-setting for the holidays, we sat down with the fashion-forward entrepreneur to talk about skincare, inspiration, makeup, and more. We had to know: Had her life calmed down since she left TV? Her thoughts on “me time” might surprise you.
Spotlyte: What has been your biggest beauty faux pas?
RZ: The ‘80s. My hair was huge. I had half a bottle of hairspray in my hair, and so much makeup that I can't believe my mother ever let me leave the house. I had frosted blue and frosted pink mascara. By the way, people are wearing that now. Everyone's like, “Are you going to do electric blue mascara?” I'm like, “Hell, no. I wore it [in the ‘80s].”
Spotlyte: Speaking of turning back time, what's your stance on anti-aging?
RZ: I believe that you have to do what gives you the most confidence. You have to look in that mirror and decide what you want to do, where you want to go with the aging process. Honestly, it's a very personal thing. I have many incredibly confident, powerful, successful women in my life. At one dinner table, I would have someone who would never touch their face with anything other than moisturizer or soap. And then I have friends that will literally do anything and everything to stop the [aging] process.
Most husbands or boyfriends would tell their wives, “Don't touch your face, don't touch your face, don't touch your face.” I know mine does. And my dad. But, at the end of the day, you have to do what really makes you feel good about you.
Spotlyte: What’s your anti-aging secret?
RZ: I have a brilliant esthetician named Iván Pol. His Instagram® is @TheBeautySandwich. He's literally changed my skin. For me, he's had the biggest impact on my face and my skin — and everyone I send him to. He has such a clientele at this point, and people are pretty addicted to him.
His whole system does all these things that make your face produce more of its own collagen. It's all topical, and it's top secret. When he leaves me, it's like my whole face is lifted a good two weeks, and then I have to see him again. I’ve been seeing him for almost two years.
Spotlyte: Before red carpets, what does your regimen entail?
RZ: The thing about Ivan's process is that you can literally have a full treatment and then go on a red carpet that night. You can still put makeup on.
I use every eye- and face-plumper gel thing possible. I use a lot of [Dr.] Barbara Sturm® products, because they really work. She has a new product out that I have been using for a week called Lifting SerumTM, and I swear to God it lifts. I put it on last night before bed, and when I woke up, my face was so tight. I think her serums are face-changing, and I love her line. I really am religious about my routine.
Spotlyte: What is your morning skincare routine?
RZ: I don't wash when I wake up. The first thing I do is I put a hyaluronic serum on. I use vitamin C serum. I use a lot of Drunk Elephant® products — I love them. Then, I use an oxygenating moisture cream. I used to think that you're supposed to apply serum first, then moisturizer. I found out you're supposed to do moisturizer, then serum to lock it in.
Before I put makeup on, I use a lot of different serums. Sometimes, I'll use a face oil. I have many that I love, and I love to just put a dime-sized [amount] under my makeup and foundation, because I hate dry skin.
Spotlyte: What is your evening skincare routine?
RZ: I cleanse, and I do a little exfoliating, but not every night. I really just pile on the serums and moisturizers and glycolic [acid]. Everything, everything that I can possibly do, I do. It has to all be done in five or 10 minutes.
Spotlyte: Do you have a dermatologist in LA?
RZ: I go to a lot of different people, but I need to be more religious about sun spots and things like that. I'm about to start that process this year.
Spotlyte: Do you get lasers?
RZ: There’s not anything that I would ever touch my face with — any laser, or anything. The thing is, I can't do anything with downtime. I can't do all the things that I would love to experiment with.
As always, talk to your doctor before starting any new treatment.
Spotlyte: What's in your makeup bag?
RZ: Tom Ford® foundations. Since I got my hands on the Rachel Zoe® x LORAC Holiday Collection mini palettes, I haven't stopped using them. They're all over my eyes. I did it on the plane this morning. Why not glitter at 7 a.m.? Sometimes I use my fingertip. I try not to. I am a germaphobe, so before I ever touch my eyes, I'm sanitizing and wiping and making sure my hands are clean.
Spotlyte: What have your kids taught you about beauty?
RZ: It's funny: Your children are very candid with you. Sometimes my oldest son will be like, “Mommy, that's an age spot.” I'm like, “No, honey, it's not an age spot.” He's like, “Is it from the sun?” He's really intuitive.
I lather my kids with SPF 70. I used to sit in the sun a lot. And now I do, but with sunblock, and at 4 p.m. instead of noon.
They love when they feel like I'm a princess. They love watching me dress up. They like me to give them a hundred kisses before I put my lipstick on. Anytime I have glitter or lipstick, they don't love to kiss me. But, they're also happy when I'm in a bathrobe laying with them and in bed.
Spotlyte: What do you and Rodger and the boys like to do for fun when you're not working?
RZ: True story. Honestly. We love to really just sit in bathrobes all day as a family.
Swim (because in LA you can swim all year), hang out in the backyard, order in food, go to the farmer's market. That's a dream day for us. We also love going out as a family and having a fun dinner with everybody, with friends. And holiday time is always the most fun.
Spotlyte: What inspires you most these days?
RZ: My children motivate me every day to do more and do better. I want to give them the life that I dream for them — with happiness, and as stress-free as possible, especially while they're children.
My life goal is to try and help as many women live life in the most glamorous way possible, with ease, without being intimidated by fashion and beauty. Whether it's through beauty, through clothing, through styling, curating my boxes, whatever it is — I want to spend my lifetime helping women look and feel their best, and empower them to just be their most glamorous self all the time.
Spotlyte: How do you squeeze in time for self-care?
RZ: There's no “me time.” “Me time” is while they're asleep, or not home, because I'm either working or I'm Mommy. There isn't really any in between. I shower after they go to sleep. When I have an hour or two, I kind of panic because I'm like, “What am I doing? What do I do?” But, it's the best thing ever.
Allergan® may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this article.