Dita Von Teese on Body Makeup, CrossFit, and Her Secret to Perfect Brows

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Dita Von Teese. Photo: Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for InStyle

Dita Von Teese, renowned champion of all things glamour, is currently on tour with her burlesque act, The Art of the Teese. This Valentine’s week, the femme fatale has been celebrating by performing sold-out shows at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City. The Cut chatted with Von Teese before one of her performances last week in Detroit (she’s been all over the place this past month), to hear all about her skin-care routine, tricks for eating well, and how she gets those perfect eyebrows.

How I start my mornings: Usually with my green smoothie. I have a nutritionist named Kimberly Snyder, who wrote a really great book called the The Beauty Detox Solution. She has a recipe for the Glowing Green Smoothie, and I pretty much stick to that — I’ve been drinking it for three or four years now. So I make that for myself, along with a hot tea or a hot water with lemon and ginger. Then I go to my workout, which kind of fluctuates.

How I sweat: I was a Pilates student for about 15 years, but I tend to get a bit bored with things, so I started feeling like it had run its course for me — and I was having some issues with my hip. I decided to try some other things, and I was reading about strength training and working with kettlebells and weights. So I went to a CrossFit gym and met a great trainer there, and I’ve been working out with him for a year and a half. It’s really changed my life. I don’t have any of my hip issues anymore, and I have a lot fewer injuries. I work out a lot less, actually, and I get the same effects. I only have to go for 30 minutes a day, and I go maybe three or four times a week, and it’s great.

I also love working out with guys. It’s fun. I used to go to Pilates all the time and pretty much 80 percent of the time, I would come out of the studio and there would be paparazzi waiting for me. Ever since I’ve been going to the gym with guys that don’t call paparazzi, it’s been great!

I just work out with a CrossFit trainer; I don’t do CrossFit. We make jokes, sometimes, when we’re working out one-on-one. He’ll look over and say, Hey, look at what those guys are doing. And we’ll snicker and laugh about how much suffering there is going on over there. Sometimes he’ll say things like, What you just did is almost CrossFit. So it’s similar because you cycle through a workout from one exercise to another, really fast-paced, but my workout is very tailored to me, and the things I want to work on — and my quirks and injuries.

Wellness, to me, is: a little bit of a discipline that I enjoy. I love seeing the cause and effects of the good things that I do for my body.

My skin-care routine: I have really sensitive skin. I get bad allergies a lot, so I have to be careful. I’m really diligent, with all the stage makeup I have for my shows, about taking care of my skin and washing my face. I really love two different products. One is Eminence — it’s all organic and natural ingredients. I also recently was introduced to a line called Retrouvé, which has amazing eye cream.

On taking off stage makeup: After a show, the first thing I do is eat, and then I take a shower. It takes a long time, actually, to scrub all my makeup off because I’m covered in makeup from head to toe, really. I wear full body makeup, so it’s very unreal on stage, which is a nice effect. There are several layers of body makeup and heavy eye makeup. It’s really a big process of washing everything off. I use those scrubby gloves, and I love Dr. Bronner’s soap. I’m a huge Dr. Bronner’s soap fan. I like the rose scent and the almond scent. I’m one of those people that, if I take a shower at night, I’m wide awake. It really takes, like, three hours to unwind after a show.

The best wellness advice I’ve received: Just never let yourself go. I don’t remember who told me that, but just don’t ever let yourself go, and it will never be difficult. Maintain a discipline about eating well and keeping your body moving, and that’s what I’ve always done. I don’t find it very difficult, because as I said before, I really feel the cause and effect of things. I eat good food; I notice my body feels good. I eat bad food; I notice my body feels bad.

I find that recently, everybody around me has been sick. And I mean everybody — from my boyfriend to everyone else. And I’d just pop out of bed and have my green smoothie and go do my workout. I really am a big believer that exercise is the best way to stay healthy and ward off all the cold and flu that’s around. My grandma is 90 and always takes her vitamins, so I always take my vitamins every day. I take a really good probiotic and I take a really good multivitamin, and I take them no matter what.

My best wellness hack: I think I learned this trick from RuPaul — I read RuPaul’s beauty book — and he said that he always eats a little something before he goes out. He actually doesn’t eat at all when he goes out. He never goes to dinners, but I have to go to a lot of dinners and I like to have dinner. So I eat something like a small salad before I go — something that makes it so that I’m not ravenous or desperate to eat. When you’re running around all day and you get to dinner, you just attack the bread basket. I find that avocado chopped up with tomato with a little sea salt on it is delicious and just takes the edge off, so there’s less of a chance that I will eat things I shouldn’t eat, like hors d’oeuvres and stuff that has so many calories in it.

On juice cleanses: I don’t do any of those Master Cleanses. I did a juice cleanse once, and it was one of the worst weeks of my life. I had a headache the whole time, and I just felt awful. It didn’t do anything for me; I didn’t feel any better afterwards, I didn’t feel any different. I realized that just eating clean normally and just taking care of yourself is really the best way. I think those cleanses might be for people that are brutalizing their bodies with food that they shouldn’t be eating. It made me feel terrible, but the only thing I did like about it, I have to say, is that you become more grateful for food. I came out of it like, Wow, I really love crunching and chewing. Isn’t it amazing the process of eating and how you should really enjoy chewing your food? How grateful to be able to eat.

My secret to the perfect eyebrows: There’s a whole chapter about eyebrows in my book, Your Beauty Mark: The Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour. I do my own eyebrows. I’m a very do-it-yourself girl, which is why I wrote my book. I don’t really like going to beauty salons; I don’t like making a fuss. I like learning how to do whatever I can myself. So, with my eyebrows, I remember when I was young, my mom was like, Don’t ever pluck your eyebrows as much as I did — a lot of our moms of the ’60s used to pluck their brows a lot, because that was all the rage. So I always knew not to go crazy with my eyebrows.

I do them myself, and I just don’t go too far — I just take the minimal off. I’ve had moments in my life where I’ve had thinner brows, but I definitely like myself a little more brow. Also, my other secret is — I do dye my own hair (I’m a natural blonde) and I use the hair dye on a thin eyebrow brush and I just paint them on the same way I do my makeup. And if I have times where I’m touching up between hair colorings, I’ll use that Just For Men hair color, because you can mix just a pea-sized amount as a touch-up on your eyebrows.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Dita Von Teese on Body Makeup, CrossFit, and Perfect Brows