Norma Kamali has run her fashion business for over fifty years, and she will go down in history as a designer who is a true innovator, responsible for creating an entirely unique niche within fashion. The Norma Kamali collection is timeless, yet always modern and of-the-moment. Its pieces can be found today on retail websites like ShopBop and Revolve, just as they were on dancing bodies gracing the floors of Studio 54.
Always a pioneer, Norma was living the “wellness” way long before the explosion we’ve seen recently. For the last twenty five years, Norma has vigorously pursued a healthy lifestyle, eventually leading her to share her life’s philosophy with the masses. Having developed a proprietary brand of extra virgin olive oil that served as the foundation for her Wellness Café introduced in 2001 after September 11th, Kamali has long believed in natural ingredients for optimizing health and beauty.
Designer, innovator, and wellness expert Norma Kamali
Skinline is the first of the launches in her new "Normalife" concept, which is based on three pillars of a healthy lifestyle: sleep, diet, and exercise. One of the things we love most besides the products’ intoxicating smell (a euphoric blend of eucalyptus, camphor, and patchouli) and all-natural formulas, is the promise to “simplify the choices for a healthy lifestyle”. In a world where people are more educated than ever about the ingredients in their personal care products, Kamali has taken her commitment to clean a step further by drilling down her skincare system to four all-you-need items. Each works for both men and women, and comes in sleek packaging that Kamali is known for, that you can proudly display in your shower or on your bathroom counter. The products also make great gifts as they work for everyone, and who wouldn’t want the gift of a simple, all-natural skincare regimen complete with the added bonus of an aromatherapy pick-me-up?
Clean is “an alternative to soap for face and body”. It contains antibacterial charcoal and healing aloe, and is activated by being massaged into dry skin. Smooth is an exfoliant for face, body, and hands. It too contains charcoal and aloe, but also finely ground olive pits. A must-have for cold, dry, winter months, we were astounded by how soft our hands felt after giving Smooth a try. And we love that this minimalist line boasts an all-natural color enhancing product! Described as giving the skin a “healthy, post workout-style glow”, it is for all skin colors. Apply Glow in a thin layer on dry face and body, and the color builds over hours. The fourth product in the line is a moisturizer aptly named “Soft” that does triple duty by serving as a makeup remover and formula to calm rashes and burns.
I went in depth with Norma about what makes the line as special as it is, and the lifestyle practices that keep her ageless from the inside out. -Tamara Rappa
How long did it take you to develop the line? And where did you begin? The Skinline under the Normalife brand concept, based on the principles of a healthy lifestyle, started in development in 1993 because I was going to turn fifty in 1995, and I didn’t want to wear makeup on my face anymore. The formulas have evolved since that time, but the concept is the same.
What is it about the products that allows them to work on both body and face, and still be effective? What I’ve learned since I started my studies of healthy lifestyle practices in the 80’s is that simple, timeless ingredients work, and they can be democratic and inclusive. Our skin changes from day to day and day to evening. The sun, the cold, the heat, our diet, sleep, and exercise can change skin throughout a typical day. Some of our skin has more exposure, and some has layers of makeup applied to it every day. Hormones have an impact on skin, as does aging. My belief is that first and foremost, skin that sweats and has blood flow from a good workout, skin that is nourished by good fats, a plant-based diet, and consistent, restorative sleep needs only a simple regimen. Cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing, and color are as simple as you can get. They work, and they work on all parts of the body.
Why exactly did you choose the key ingredients in the line? Timeless ingredients like charcoal and aloe with finely ground olive pits work on all skin types, ages, and colors. It’s an exfoliant that not only works, but is kind to the skin. Jumping from the newest to the next newest skincare ingredients is not only stressful, but most likely not as reliable as sticking to timeless ingredients. All the products in the line follow this theory.
Why do you think there aren't more skincare products out there that are suited for both body and face? There is so much about packaging that convinces women that the more products they need, the better they will look!
Why aloe? I haven’t seen many products lately that focus on aloe as a key ingredient. I’m intrigued! Do you drink aloe? Add it to smoothies? Aloe is a timeless pant-based ingredient that I have used for fifty years as both a health additive and as topical for skin and hair. Again, the timeless ingredients are evidence of something that works. I love it on my skin and in my hair, and yes, I add it to smoothies. Ingredients that work both on the inside and topically get four stars from me!!
What are the top three foods you eat for health and wellness? Blueberries are great for health; I add in walnuts which are good for breast health. I make plant-based smoothies using a full bin of greens with avocado and nutritional powders for bone health. And I combine olive oil, sea salt from Utah (because it’s the purest), lemon, and turmeric as a dressing for raw vegetables.
Describe your nightly or morning skincare routine, including the products you use. It’s simple. In the AM, I shower with my Clean product. I brush my teeth with toothpaste and rinse my mouth with Swish Healing Mouth Rinse for alkalinity. I use Soft on my face and body. In the PM, I brush my teeth with toothpaste and rinse my mouth with Swish once again. I use a soft, damp cloth to remove my mascara. I use mascara on my lashes and also on my brows. I use Smooth on my face and hands to exfoliate. I shower with Clean, and after my shower I apply Glow so it develops overnight.
What other products are you looking at, and what’s on deck? SPF as a separate item, not mixed in with other product. And a scent to promote restoration, calm, and sleep.
*Shop the entire 4 product Normalife Skinline here.
From left to right: Soft moisturizer, Clean soap-free cleanser, Glow color enhancer, Smooth exfoliating cleanser.