Debbie Gibson Is Not Going to Get Stuck in the Past
The pioneering pop singer on her beauty and wellness journey.,
Debbie Gibson, the pop singer who shot to fame in the late 1980s with “Electric Youth,” is still making new music. She has an album out in August, “The Body Remembers,” her first in 20 years, and is performing in Las Vegas (at the Venetian) to boot. “Electric Youth” may have influenced fashion (her signature headwear) and beauty (Electric Youth perfume) for a certain generation, but Ms. Gibson, 50, is living firmly in the moment. “I never stay back in the day because today is today, and that’s how I approach life,” she said. Here, her current take on beauty products and wellness regimens.
She’s a Morning Person
I joke that I if I was not in entertainment, I would be a farmer. I’m down with the sun and up with the sun. I did half the vocals of my new album by 5 a.m. in my nightgown. I do try to linger in bed with my dogs, three boy dachshunds. That snuggle time with puppy kisses for me is everything.
I need breakfast within a half-hour of waking up. I’m a basic eggs, orange juice and coffee person. On a decadent day like today, it’s an almond croissant.
Mad Scientist Skin Care
I’m kind of a mad scientist with my skin regimes. I do what I need on that day. I love micellar water for cleansing. I just got the Soap & Glory Triple Action Jelly Eye Makeup Remover. I also have this Tarte Knockout Tingling Treatment. It’s got glycolic in it. It really wakes my skin up. I also love the Tatcha brand — the deep cleanse and the moisturizer.
Basically I try to use fragrance-free lines now. My life really took a turn 10 years ago when I got Lyme. I started to have chemical sensitivities I never had before. My skin especially reacts to sunscreen. Now I use the Derma-E Sun Defense Mineral Oil-Free baby sunscreen.
I have this Biossance Squalane + Glycolic Renewal Mask, and yesterday I got this Youth to the People Superclay mask at Sephora. I also love oils on my face. I live in Las Vegas, and it is so dry here — my hair won’t even grow past a certain point now. I have several oils that I rotate. I use the Farsali Rose Gold Elixir. I also have the Tarte Maracuja Oil. I used to go for a super-matte look — I was a Broadway girl. It was my pasty New York era. Now I’m a glowy skin and makeup person.
I use multiple bases. Here I’m a mad scientist again. I have a Make Up For Ever stick, and I have the Ultra HD liquid base. I have some discoloration, some melasma on my jawline. I have to go a little heavier there. I love the L’Oreal Miracle Blur for my forehead lines. Obsessed. I don’t like a lot under my eyes — it brings out my lines if I’m tired. Sometimes I’ll use the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter and blend it into my base. I love a highlighter by Melt Cosmetics — it’s a peach color and so pretty.
I used to do a lot of contour under my cheekbones, but not anymore. I like my cheeks to show through my makeup now. Another go-to is my Lime Crime trio of highlighters. There’s a glowy pale peach that I love. I love all my glow!
I use the Urban Decay waterline pencil and the 24/7 pencils. I line the inside top of my eye with a darker color and a lighter color on the top lash line. I like the look of a liner inside my lower lashline, but it irritates my eyes. If it’s a “I’m going to suffer for beauty” kind of day, that’s what I do.
I have the Huda Beauty Rose Gold eye shadow palette. My favorites are the Fling and Rose Gold colors. I love the Stila Glitter & Glow eye glitter in Diamond Dust. I saw this brand Dear Dahlia on Instagram, and now I use their liquid shadow Paradise Shine Eye Sequins in Muse. I also have Fenty Beauty sheer white shimmer that you can put on top of your whole lid. I just love shimmer, shimmer, shimmer.
My brows have gotten so thin. If you’re a young girl out there, and you’re going through a breakup, don’t take it out on your brows. I remember the tweezing session that changed my life. I have a sandy/taupe brow powder.
I’m a lash fanatic. Lashes are the best! I immediately feel like a pop star if I put some lashes on. I use high-end lashes and pharmacy lashes. I have Ardell Wispies and I love Velour, which are at Sephora. If I’m going onstage, I’ll double up lashes. For mascara, I’m into good old Maybelline Great Lash. Then there’s Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara if I want more. That’s a fun one.
I just bought two Pat McGrath lip glosses I’m so excited about. I like to do MAC Spice liner and a gloss on top. MAC also has this nude lip pencil color that’s like a nudish Brigitte Bardot liner that I love, too.
Age doesn’t matter for me in a lot of areas, but at 48 my hair started to change in texture. Now I’m 50. There’s gray in my hair — I have base and highlights. Twice in my life I got bonded extensions, and within 48 hours I had them removed. At the end of the day, I just like to feel natural. There are so many other ways to turn on the glam. I need a great wig in my life.
I love Keranique Scalp Stimulating Shampoo. It has a mint scent. I alternate that with Desert Essence Fragrance-Free Shampoo, which is super gentle. I also have Original Sprout Leave-In Conditioner. And my manager just turned me onto the K18 hair mask. I also use the Philip B. Detangling Toning Mist.
But my favorite thing to do, my kitchen hack, is to use avocado oil cooking spray in my hair. I spray my hands and do a piece-y thing at my ends. It gives it such an amazing texture.
Making Peace With Lines
I had gotten Botox twice in my 30s, and then the third time I did it — I think I was around 40 — I got this horrible reaction. I think it’s because I didn’t know then that Lyme was on board, and my body couldn’t handle it. I’ve accepted the fact that if you’re an expressive person, you’re going to have lines and flaws. I celebrate it all at this point. I’m not going to jeopardize my health just so I can freeze some lines.
For a long time, I was scared of food because of Lyme. I didn’t know much then. I had to do food allergy and sensitivity tests. I was super, super strict, eating organic proteins, veggies and low glycemic fruits. I’m happy to say I know what works for me now. I’ve built my body back up to the point where nothing is going to take me completely down.
I’ve been working with a dietitian since I was 17. I referred her to Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul. She’s amazing — Lisa Giannini. She has so many great tricks, and she’s very into gut health. It’s about learning your own health and diet puzzle.
Learning to Relax
I used to do three-hour workouts before a dance rehearsal! I was like an Olympic athlete. Since Lyme, I do just enough movement to be fit, but I can’t use up all my reserve. I did get a Peloton, and I do love it so so much. I also have an elliptical machine, and I do my own made-up version of a workout with light weights and a Pilates ring. And I do a whole lot of walking with my dogs.
I try to do things that feel flowy. I discovered Kundalini yoga from this woman on YouTube, Sat Dharam Kaur, who does these amazing breathing exercises. I used to be addicted to that super-sore, I-can’t-walk-the-next-day feeling. It did me a lot of damage. I’m a more-is-more kind of person, but my body is, like, “Sorry, you have to learn moderation.”
I think everybody has a journey — we all have edges we’re trying to contain — but I think one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that I’m not people-pleasing anymore. I have no problem saying I need to take a self-care day.