August 05, 2010 06:00 PM

Newspix/Rex USA

Supermodel Elle Macpherson spends plenty of time on the beach, so how does she keep the saltwater, sun and sand from ravaging her looks? The answer, according to the Aussie icon, is easy: She uses the elements to her advantage. “I don’t really touch my hair. It tends to form dreadlocks quite easily in the summer, but I leave them,” she says. “And I leave in the salt water, which is a great evening styling aid. In fact, Bumble and Bumble offers salt-water-infused Surf Spray. Anything that I do emphasizes the natural way my hair is.” And that woven cowboy hat that’s become her summer signature? It’s more about function than fashion. “A lot of people think I wear a cowboy hat because it’s part of my look,” she says, “but it actually is to protect my hair. I collect them along my travels, so I might find one in a thrift shop in Costa Rica. It’s that simple. Or that exotic.” The final key to Macpherson’s low-maintenance beauty routine? Bronze skin–in a compact. “I don’t put my face in the sun and I use Neutrogena and Invisible Zinc sunscreen,” says the mother of two. “But the thing that complements the hair most is the skin. My hair looks more golden because the color of my skin is quite golden. I use Revlon bronzers. The tawny skin with the tawny hair–that’s the whole look.” Read more from Elle in this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.–Suzanne Zuckerman

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