Iman Talks Beauty, Health & Marriage

Iman( – For more than 20 years, Iman has graced hundreds of magazine covers, rising to the status of international fashion icon. She is also a successful businesswoman with a new line of handbags and accessories to accompany her Iman skin care and fragrance line, a mother of two daughters, a philanthropist for numerous charities, and the host of Project Runway Canada—no to mention she’s the wife of rock legend David Bowie.

With all of this on her plate, she still manages to look drop-dead gorgeous every time she’s seen. Who says things slow down after 50?

She recently sat down with Huffington Post Canada to talk about her beauty regimen and daily life routine. Here’s what she had to say.

On beauty regimens:

Yes, mine! I’ve been using my cosmetics and skin care, Iman Cosmetics, since I created [the line] in 1994. Religiously. I don’t believe in lots of things to do with your face, but cleanse, moisturize. Young girls aren’t taught that — they just see a lot of cosmetics, which isn’t good. It’s easier for them to put on, since it changes the look, but it doesn’t encourage them to take care of their skin. I tell my little daughter, who’s eight years old, it’s like brushing your teeth. You do it twice a day.

You can get Iman Cosmetics specifically at Sears, and it’s a line for women of color — regardless if you’re Asian, East Indian, African, whatever. Even white people can use it, if they want to look tanned [laughs].

On aging:

I’m African, so it’s all good. We don’t stress about that stuff. We don’t celebrate birthdays. I know I’m 53, but my birthday isn’t something I dread or look forward to. The year starts and it’s downhill from there [laughs]! My younger daughter’s American so we celebrate for her.

On exercise:

Yes, a lot of cardiovascular [exercise]. I try to work out every day. A lot of walking, jogging, treadmill, jump rope. I have one bad knee, which I injured years and years ago, skiing. That’s why I don’t like running very much. And treadmills are so boring. Jump rope, if you do a good 10 minutes, it’s a difficult cardiovascular workout. I started jump rope after I had my baby eight years ago and I could barely do three minutes. And I thought I was fit!

On eating habits:

I don’t eat McDonald’s. I don’t drink soda. I never acquired that taste, and I never had it when I was growing up. Not big on sweets, also. I was in a boarding school, so I was deprived of that. I’ve changed from eating three meals a day to six small meals. I start big on carbs, and then taper the carbs as the day goes on. I rarely touch alcohol, but I have a glass of wine now and then. Champagne gives me headaches — and believe me, that’s all you get when you’re modeling. Nine a.m., they give you champagne when you walk in.

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Is Your Bed Toxic?

african american woman on a mattress( — The average person spends about one-third of her life in bed. The problem: Most conventional mattresses contain brominated flame retardants, also known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs (mostly banned in Europe since 2004, as well as in some states). “We’re just beginning to get worried about PBDEs,” says Philip J. Landrigan, MD, chairman of the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine and professor of pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

PBDEs are structurally similar to the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that were banned in the 1970s in the United States because they were found to be persistent in the environment and the human body, says David O. Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University at Albany, State University of New York. “PBDEs appear to do almost everything PCBs do, including cause cancer and interfere with immune-system function,” he adds.

Medical experts are currently investigating PBDEs and their possible links to cancer, immune and thyroid suppression, and IQ reduction in children. A 2003 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that women in Texas had breast milk with PBDE levels 10 to 100 times higher than those of women in Europe. “PBDEs affect almost every organ in the body, and levels are rising exponentially in blood and breast milk,” Carpenter notes. “You can be pretty sure that if they’re in breast milk, they’re going to be in kids’ bodies.”

Mattresses may also contain formaldehyde (which the U.S. National Toxicology Program calls a probable carcinogen) and benzene (classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as a carcinogen).

Luckily, there are less-toxic alternatives. Consider an organic mattress (a queen can set you back a few thousand bucks); get more info at or For a comparatively cheaper option, choose an organic-cotton or wool futon. Wool, unlike petroleum-based chemicals such as polyurethane foam (found in many mattresses), acts as a natural flame retardant.

If your futon has no wool in it, find out how the manufacturer meets flammability standards; it may use boric acid. If buying conventional, avoid vinyl covers and stain-resistant treatments, as both will release possibly carcinogenic and hormone-disrupting chemicals into your lungs while you slumber. Natural is a must for crib mattresses because babies sleep up to 18 hours a day and have more-vulnerable systems.