From Pond's Cold Cream to Self-Care: Jackie Kennedy's Beauty Secrets to Mark Her 90th Birthday

"Seventy-five brush strokes a night for her hair. And she never went to bed with her makeup on," Jackie Style author Pamela Keogh says

Jacqueline Kennedy
Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images

Long before wellness was the buzzword of the beauty industry, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who would have turned 90 on July 28, embraced the idea of self-care.

Twenty-five years after her death, her beauty and timeless chic still inspire the fashion world. "Jackie always took care of herself," says Jackie Style author Pamela Keogh. "She played to her strengths."

To mark her 90th birthday, Keogh reveals some of her beauty — and wellness — secrets.

Jackie didn’t follow trends. She inspired them.

"She was aware of trends but she didn't follow them," says Keogh. "She had true American style. She was a great beauty but also natural-looking. Back in the forties and fifties, women wore a lot of makeup and lipstick and eyeliner but Jackie embraced an outdoorsy American look. Not a face mask."

Keogh adds, "Very breezy and sporty. Very upper-class East Coast. She wore powder and lipstick. Jackie was so distinctive looking and she never copied other people. They copied her."

Jackie did yoga. Before it was a thing.

"She did yoga before it was popular," says Keogh.

"Back then you had a private instructor come to your house because there was no 'I'm going to yoga class.' I spoke to her instructor who told me Jackie was very stoic," she says. "There was no air conditioning in her apartment, where Jackie took her lessons, but she never complained. She wore an old leotard. She and her sister Lee Radziwill had learned about yoga when they traveled to India."

Pres. Kennedy (R) w. First Lady Jackie (L) (in fur
First Lady Jackie Kennedy with President John F. Kennedy at his inauguration in 1961. Leonard McCombe/Life Magazine/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Take a night for self-care.

"When Jackie was in college at Vassar, she designated one night a week, Thursday night, to take care of her nails and her hair, her version of self-care," says Keogh. "Seventy-five brush strokes a night for her hair. And she never went to bed with her makeup on. Back then, she used Pond's cold cream. You rub it in for two minutes and then rub the excess off so it didn't end up on the pillow."

Sunglasses: The bigger, the better.

"Back then women didn't wear sunscreen," says Keogh. "It was Bain de Soleil, essentially, they wanted to get tan."

Keogh shares, "In Jackie's Manhattan office desk drawer, she kept a dozen sunglasses. She loved them because they hid her eyes but she could still look at other people and see what was going on."

Jackie Kennedy

Her beauty essentials.

"She used Erno Laszlo skincare products," Keogh says of the former first lady. "Back in those days, there was a real Dr. Erno Laszlo and all the society ladies went to see him for skincare, as well as the starlets of Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe and Kate Hepburn and Greta Garbo. She also used Elizabeth Arden foundation and Joy perfume."

Her weight never changed.

"When she was First Lady, people wrote to the White House wanting to know everything about her, even what she had for breakfast," Keogh says of the mother of two's diet. "Her social secretary Tish Baldridge told me she watched her weight the way a diamond cutter measures diamonds. With exactitude. If she was a pound or two overweight, she'd have fruit the next day, drink tea and water, and even fast."

Change with the times.

"Once she left the White House, her style became looser and sexier," says Keogh. "More herself. As a First Lady, she felt she had to represent the country. There were no missteps. Once she moved to New York, there were no more pillbox hats and white gloves."

After she married Aristotle Onassis, (in 1968) her sunglasses got bigger, according to Keogh. "She went barelegged, got more tan. Her hair was looser. She was more European. It was also more 'I'm going to do whatever the heck I want,' " she says. "Later on, she'd wear Keds and jeans and a little ribbed sweater, walking by herself, almost like a twenty-something. She was youthful. She wasn't dressing like Pat Nixon or Nancy Reagan. You'd never see Nancy Reagan or Melania Trump crossing Central Park by themselves, wearing Keds and jeans."

Related Articles