celebrity shopping

50 Things Debi Mazar Can’t Live Without

Retractable rattail combs, switchblades, a bedsheet spray that helps her dream, and more.

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist, Photos: Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images, Retailers
Photo-Illustration: The Strategist, Photos: Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images, Retailers
Photo-Illustration: The Strategist, Photos: Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images, Retailers

Over the years, we’ve talked to lots of celebrities who are very particular about their stuff. But every so often, we encounter one who is very, very particular. Amy Sedaris, for instance: When we talked to her back in 2019, she spent hours telling us about the pom-poms, straw hats, doll wigs, and 47 other things she can’t live without. Earlier this year, when I called Debi Mazar to ask about the stuff she absolutely swears by, what was scheduled as a 15-minute phone call turned into a two-hour conversation about dozens and dozens of products, from her drawer full of red lipsticks, to the planner she has bought each year for almost three decades, to the hair rollers she has used since the ’80s. In fact, many of the 50 products she shared with us are things she’s been using for a decade or longer. That’s because, when it comes to shopping, the actress and native New Yorker follows an age-old philosophy: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Hair care

I still like Aqua Net. The can sprays a fine mist, and it makes my hair really shiny. I love the shine. People say it’s like lacquer — and I’m sure if you sprayed enough of it on, it would feel hard. But all hair sprays are like aerosol glue, and I don’t have any issues with that.

Tres Flores Brilliantine
$29 for 6
$29 for 6

This keeps my hair slick and I think actually protects it from the Aqua Net. I also love the smell. It reminds me of my father, whom I have very few memories of. My mother divorced him when I was young. He was a greaser and had great hair. I remember smelling Tres Flores whenever I’d give him a hug. It’s a very old-fashioned thing.

I’ve been using Caruso steam rollers since the ’80s. I have the kit, and when the rollers get worn out, I order two extra packages of the medium size — not the small, not the large, just the medium. I prefer steam rollers because they don’t damage my hair like a curling iron can. Plus, the curls will last till the next day, and they look really soft. I leave the rollers in for 15 to 20 minutes, do a light back-comb to push my hair in place, add some product, then I’m done. I don’t look good with any other style. Beachy waves? No thanks. When I go on location, I order a new kit and send it to where I’m staying.

I like to air-dry my hair, but I’ll finish with a blow-dryer to give the ends a little bit of shine and bend. I use this brush when I blow-dry my hair. It’s gentle, doesn’t break the strands, and makes my hair super-shiny.

Cinghiale, or wild boar, is the animal of Tuscany. It’s wonderful to eat — we call it the Italian Viagra. They’re about 600 pounds, travel in packs, and they roam around our property in Italy. I always look at them and think, Oh my God, that’s what I brush my hair with. I’m not sure if this is boar bristle or not — I always kind of doubted it — but I still think about the wild boars on my lawn every day when I brush my hair. My mother used Mason Pearson brushes. Now I use them, and so do my daughters. They distribute the oil from your scalp throughout your hair, which is how your hair is supposed to stay moisturized. There’s nothing like them.

When I’m running around, I need to make sure that my hair stays slicked back because that’s my look. So I keep one of the Lurrose retractable rattail combs in my purse at all times. When I’m not on the go, I use the rattail comb from Y.S. Park. It’s another good one. I first saw combs like this at C.O. Bigelow, which is my favorite pharmacy. I thought, Oh, that’s smart!

Skin care

My second favorite pharmacy is Santa Maria Novella. I buy body creams there. I like the body cream that’s pomegranate scented, which is their signature scent. It comes in a glass jar. It’s really old school. You can mix oils with it if you want to be greasier.

I’ve used this my entire life. My mother used it, and now my whole family does, from my children to my husband. It’s so basic, but it works great.

I use this on my body. It smells fabulous. I feel like I’m at the spa. It opens up my sinuses and feels fresh on the skin, too. My mother started using it in the 1970s. My daughter requested the soap when I took her to college because it reminds her of home, like it does for me.

I only get the regular, not the gentle — there’s a difference. I use it to wash my makeup off. It removes everything except for some waterproof stuff.

$14

I use this to remove more stubborn makeup, like eye makeup. It takes everything off without hurting my eyes or leaving any grease behind. I saw it one day at a drugstore in Europe. For a while, I could find it in Italy, Spain, France — but never the U.S. Then all of a sudden, it arrived in the United States. I was like, Great, now I don’t have to lug it back from Europe when I film.

Photo: Retailer

I read about this brand in the New York Times. The girl who created it is a biochemist. The article was mind-blowing, and her products are kind of revolutionary. They come in these glass jars with droppers — super-old-fashioned packaging — and they’re made from all-natural ingredients. This serum calms redness. My skin loves it.

This used to be something that all the makeup artists and smokers used. Makeup artists liked it because the spray doesn’t dry out your hands as much as a gel, and smokers would use it to freshen up their hands after a cigarette. I like the smell of it.

I wear two perfumes that I mix together. One is Chanel No. 5, which I’ve been wearing for years and years. It’s composed of rose and jasmine and is so pretty. But I wanted a unique signature scent, so I started mixing it with the violet perfume. It’s also called agua de violetta, or water of violet. I love the smell of violets — it reminds me of babies.

Makeup

I plucked my eyebrows for so many years into so many different shapes. I basically have no eyebrows left. A pencil is essential, and this one doesn’t smear. I could be sweating in the summer heat and I’d have to really, really, really scrub for it to budge even a little. It looks just like hair when I use it. You get those nice flecks. That’s key.

My friend who is also a famous makeup artist told me about these bags. I do my own makeup on Younger, so I needed a good bag to bring my stuff in. This is better than carrying everything in a ziplock. There are different pockets so I can organize my Q-tips and lip liners and eyebrow pencils. Everything fits in here, and the lining zips out so it’s easy to clean. Plus, it’s cute.

I’m an eyeliner freak. This is hands down the greatest liner of all time. The brush is really good, but the pigment is also fantastic. It’s not too wet, and it lasts a long time.

I have a drawer full of red lipsticks, but I definitely have favorites. This is the best fucking red you’ll ever see in your life. It’s the red of Ducati and Ferrari. It has a slight hint of orange, as opposed to blue. It’s such a random find from an Estée Lauder collaboration with this designer Duro, but it’s spectacular. I own ten of them.

[Editor’s note: This lipstick is currently sold out, but you can sign up for Saks Off 5th’s waitlist on the product page to be notified when it’s back in stock.]

The color is quite nice. It’s also a more orangey red. I like the shape of the lipstick — it’s flat on both sides. And I like the sort of 1940s packaging.

My friend Linda makes this lipstick. It’s more of a blue-red, and I’ll wear it when I want that color. It’s very pretty and feels good on the lips.

Armani makes exceptional lipstick. They have a wonderful, wonderful formula. I feel glamorous when I wear this.

This is my go-to lipstick when I want to wear a nude. I like a simple lip when I do a big eye look, or sometimes even just when I wear eyeliner. This is nice and has a bit of moisture to it, which is something I like in lipsticks.

My favorite red pencil to wear with red lipsticks. They say that only people over 50 line their lips, but I could give a fuck. Screw them, whoever “they” are. I’ve always liked lip liner because my lips are crooked. One side of my lip comes out more than the other, so if I line them, they look even. I don’t make my lips bigger or more pronounced — I hate when women overdraw their lip lines. I just make them cuter. I think this keeps my lipstick from sliding, and it doesn’t smear, so sometimes I’ll just wear the liner.

Cleaning supplies

This was the only dish soap my grandmother used. She basically raised me because my mother had me at 15. I use Palmolive to wash dishes, as it’s intended, but my grandmother also used it to wash her hair. She had the most fabulous hair — full and thick and wavy like Ava Gardner’s — and said this soap is what made it clean and perfect.

I love to hand-wash things. My grandmother didn’t own a washing machine, so she washed everything by hand, even her sheets. Growing up, I always thought that was ridiculous, but I eventually fell in love with it. I like dark colors — blacks, maroons, emeralds — so this Woolite dark detergent is my favorite. I love the way this smells.

Spontex Bluettes Gloves
$10
$10

You can put your hands into the hottest water wearing these gloves. My grandmother used these, and they really do save your hands. You can’t get them in Italy, so I buy pairs in the U.S. and carry them back because I need to have them.

I spray this on my bed linens. It smells fresh. You just need a little squirt. We spend so much time in bed that it’s nice when the sheets smell beautiful. It doesn’t help me sleep because I have insomnia, so nothing really helps. But if I fall asleep, I think it helps me dream.

Home goods and accessories

I buy a Smythson planner every year. It’s the adult version of a Filofax, which I used for years before I started buying planners from Smythson. I get mine personalized with my name and wherever I am living that year. I like the Fashion Agenda. It has translations of clothing sizes — like if you need to translate a French suit size to British sizing — along with a metro map for every major city and these wonderful grosgrain ribbons to keep your page. I don’t use all the information inside, but I do write everything down in it. I’m supremely anal retentive and organized. I keep track of what I do every day and have since the ’90s. I have piles of these planners in my home in all different colors. I can go back to any given year and tell you exactly what was going on each day — what medication I took, who I met with, where I had lunch.

I have those pens that take ink cartridges, like fountain-pen-type things, but I can never get them to work. Maybe the ink dries up too fast? I don’t know, but I get so frustrated. So now I just use these, which I buy by the box. I’ll choose from black, red, or blue, depending on my mood. There’s nothing remarkable about them, except that they’re nice and smooth. And I love the clicker. I’m a nervous person, so I sit on the phone and just click away.

I have scissors like these in every size. I buy them all over the world, vintage and new. I like them because I’m a bird-watcher. I keep pairs in my bag, all over the house, and in my dressing room. I give them to people, too — because I can’t stop buying them, but I don’t know what to do with all these fucking scissors.

I also keep a measuring tape in my bag at all times. You never know when you’re going to need it.

I have a switchblade collection that I started as a teenager. I used to carry one around New York City back in the ’70s and ’80s, thinking I was a total badass. I don’t carry them around anymore, but they’re still on display around my house. My favorites are from this place called Lorenzi in Milan. Eric Clapton first took me there.

Editor’s note: Lorenzi lists all prices in euros, so the price shown is an approximate conversion in U.S. dollars.

Someone at work told me about these. They form to your face really nicely and don’t leave an imprint. Different strokes for different folks, but I hate that. I like the name AirQueen, too. How fun.

I don’t know where my love for bird-watching came from — I think it’s from sitting in my grandmother’s garden in Queens. As a kid, I saw a lot of nice birds there and always found them magical. Before I moved to Italy, I lived in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn for ten years, right next to Prospect Park. When I come back, I’ve been renting a friend’s house in Brooklyn. The most recent time I arrived there, a box showed up shortly after with my name on it. It was this bird feeder from the Audubon Society. I don’t know how they got the address, but I was so happy. I put it up in the backyard and spend a lot of time gazing out the window at it. It’s been a godsend.

This bird feed has the best bag. It has a cardinal on it. Cardinals always follow me around, so I want to keep them happy. Did you know they mate for life? I love watching them build families and teaching their kids how to fly.

Pantry items

The best coffee. People tell me I look like the lady on the can. As a matter of fact, the company reached out to me when they were rebranding. They asked me to be the woman on the can, and I told them, “Absolutely not. You cannot change that woman.”

$7

I like salt. If you offered me a bag of potato chips or cake, I would take the chips. This smoked Maldon salt doesn’t just taste like salt — it’s more special. It gives the salads I eat every day a certain brightness because it tastes very fresh and clean. I break the flakes up in my hand, so they become smaller, before I sprinkle them on.

I put chile flakes on everything. I buy dried whole Calabrian chile peppers and make my own flakes. I just break them up in my hands. I like it better. It tastes fresher. I tend to buy them in Italy if I can, but I will buy them anywhere. I keep the chile flakes on my kitchen counter. They sit in this beautiful little silver dish that’s meant for caviar.

I’m addicted. It’s just honey infused with chiles, but it’s one of those products you can never have enough of. Every time somebody comes over, I put it out with manchego cheese. We used to make our own, but this is better because it’s stronger.

This is great on sandwiches or veggie burgers. It’s got a nice kick to it. One of my daughters is a vegetarian, so I like having another option besides mayo for sandwiches and whatnot.

There’s a store in Madrid that’s dedicated to violets. It’s the most beautiful shop. They sold the most wonderful violet candies that I would buy and give to friends. I also love the taste of these C. Howard violet candies that were popular in New York City in the 1940s. They’re shaped like little squares. I used to get them at dime stories or any place that sold candy and cigarettes. But now I get them online.

Kitchenware

In the ’70s, my mother opened up a health-food store in Saugerties, New York, near Woodstock. She was a hippie and got me into juicing long ago. I still juice every day. I would always buy the most expensive, fabulous juicers. But they’re a nightmare because there are 20 different parts you have to clean. I discovered this juicer recently, and it’s amazing — it’s the best juicer I’ve ever used. It fits perfectly on my counter, is easy to assemble and clean, and has the best name: slow-masticating juicer. It makes two and a half glasses of the most fabulous juice ever, without all the pulp others can give you. Neither my husband nor my kids like pulp.

I’m very particular about my kitchen tools. I have scissors for cutting certain greens, like the arugula from my vegetable garden. I have knives specifically for gutting fish. But my favorite knife is my Berti eight-inch chef’s knife. I use it to cut basically everything, and I’ve never needed to sharpen it. The brand has been in business since the 1800s. I didn’t know you could even buy these online, but my husband recently told me you can. I got mine from the Berti knife factory, near my home in Italy.

I have Bialetti moka pots in every color and print. This is the one I travel with: It doesn’t need a stove-top, like the regular ones do, because you just plug it in. I can’t drink the crappy coffee in hotels, so I always take this with me wherever I go. It makes the best coffee.

The pot inside is clay instead of aluminum. It’s supposed to be healthier, which I never even thought about. I don’t know what comes off of aluminum, but apparently it’s bad for you. So this is better, I’ve been told. I make everything from rice to oatmeal to farro in it, and whatever it is comes out perfect. It’s so easy.

I have smaller Le Creuset ramekins and whatnot, but I don’t really use them that much because I love the big one. I can make a lot of stuff in here, from stews to sauces.

When I go on location, I have to have this book with me. Some of the recipes I have memorized, of course, but some of them are things that my husband cooks. When he’s with me, I don’t have to make his recipes because he makes them. But when I’m alone, I still need to follow the book a little bit. I love everything in it. And it’s my first cookbook, so I’m very proud of it.

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50 Things Debi Mazar Can’t Live Without