Pamela Anderson’s 2023, so far, can best be summarized as a full-fledged career renaissance. Last month, the Baywatch star returned to the pop culture scene with the release of her candid Netflix documentary, Pamela, A Love Story, and her memoir, Love, Pamela. In the weeks since, she’s quickly reestablished herself as a style icon, influencing a whole new generation with her beauty and fashion choices like it’s 1992 all over again. Look no further than the hashtag #PamCore on TikTok for proof of users emulating her iconic bang updo hairstyle or signature smoldering smoky eyes.
In terms of her recent press, however, there is one significant distinction. After spending the majority of her career being objectified by the media, at 55, Anderson is finally controlling her own narrative—and that includes choosing how she presents herself to the world. In Pamela, A Love Story, she decided to appear completely bare-faced, a liberating move that her makeup artist, Eileen Madrid, said was carefully deliberated.
“Everyone already knows what Pamela looks like glam, which is why she wanted to be raw and show the world her real, authentic face,” says Madrid, who’s based in L.A. and has been doing Anderson’s makeup for two years. “She was like, ‘They’re gonna take it or leave it.’”
More From ELLE
Audiences loved Anderson’s unvarnished, freckled look and couldn’t get over how good her natural skin looked. But since the star has publicly proclaimed that she won’t “do all the crazy shit” to chase a younger appearance, many of us were left wondering: What exactly does she do to keep her Baywatch-worthy glow going strong, 26 years after leaving the beach behind?
“Moisture is the best anti-aging trick,” Anderson exclusively tells ELLE.com. “I use a humidifier in dry climates, and a healthy rose water spray is the perfect toner and pick-me-up. I keep mine in the fridge and use it every time I open the door.” Other than that, Anderson takes a simple approach to her routine. “I don’t exfoliate often; I allow my skin to do its thing,” she says. She credits her no-fuss skincare approach to time-honored practices. “Skincare is nothing new. I love to use common-sense remedies, nothing fancy. I’m a lover of old wives’ tales, history, and the potions and beauty oils of ancient goddesses.”
Anderson, who’s lived a vegan lifestyle since her mid-twenties and established her own foundation for human, animal, and environmental rights, seems to take a holistic approach to many things—beauty included. “Skin care, in my world, is best described as skin nourishment, or skin food,” she says. “You are what you eat, watch, and listen to.” For her, that means thinking carefully about what she puts into—and onto—her body. “I take good care of my natural teeth,” she says. “I use a prebiotic toothpaste, which is also best for gut health. And for my lips, organic lip balms of all kinds are my go-to. Even with a fresh, clean face, I put on natural lip balm.”
She may prefer a more low-lift regimen at home, but for public appearances, Anderson turns to trusted pros like Madrid, as well as her go-to esthetician, Klara Chrzuszcz. “Pamela’s skin routine is simple: clean and consistent,” says Chrzuszcz, the founder of luxe New York City medical spa Klara Beauty Lab. “She does weekly facials for cleansing and toning, and because she favors fresh skin over foundation, we focus on the most important aspects of skin maintenance: hydration, nourishment, and oxygenation to keep her skin plumped and healthy.”
When she stepped out for the premiere of Pamela, A Love Story, Anderson turned up the heat. Making her way down the red carpet in a slinky red Naeem Khan dress that recalled her Baywatch swimsuit, the star’s signature smoky eye, darkly lined lips, and platinum updo made time travel feel real. But her makeup artist says it all starts with a face mask the night before. “We love Knesko’s Rose Quartz Antioxidant Collagen Face Mask and the Amethyst Hydrate Collagen Face Mask [because] they’re charged with Reiki energy. I always begin our glam by setting up my crystals,” says Eileen Madrid. “Pamela loves its jelly texture and how it holds a lot of serum, and it’s also made from hydrogel and is completely biodegradable.” For early-morning start times, she’s also a fan of the brand’s Collagen Eye Masks, which have a cooling effect and help with de-puffing.
To add even more hydration, Madrid applies Knesko Nanogold Repair Serum to Anderson’s T-Zone and Lise Watier Lift & Firm Y-Zone Cream to her face and neck. She blends it all in with Infynit Skyn Anti Wrinkle & Aging Facial Device, which “has LED lights and also gives a little massage that Pamela loves.” As far as makeup goes, Madrid stays away from powder foundations, opting for creamier products like Lancôme’s Teint Idole Long Lasting Foundation Stick to contour, Makeup by Mario’s Soft Pop Blush Stick, and Milk Makeup’s Flex Foundation Stick, which she mixes with 111Skin’s Rose Gold Radiance Booster for extra moisture.
When it comes to Anderson’s dramatic eye—which she prefers to be less perfect, more “smudgy”—Madrid uses Lancôme’s Le Khôl Eyeliner Pencil in black (when taking it off later, she uses Lancôme’s oil-infused makeup remover). She opts for nude or pink lips, using different combinations of lip liners and matte moisturizing lipsticks from Charlotte Tilbury, Elise Watier, Makeup By Mario, and Nude Envie. “We always darken the outer lip liner, and Pamela says it makes her feel like she’s in the ’90s again,” says Madrid. The result: a combination that the pair calls “The Iconic Pam Look.”
Of course, the aesthetic wouldn’t be complete without Anderson’s signature platinum blonde hair. In Pamela, A Love Story, the star hit up her local drugstore to buy a Garnier Nutrisse hair dye kit, confirming that she is, in fact, her own colorist (“It’s true, she always does that,” says Madrid). She also recently revealed one of her more, err, eccentric beauty hacks, demonstrating how she uses a G-string as a scrunchie to achieve her tousled updo in a pinch. Anderson knows what works—and she’s not afraid to take control, explains Madrid. “If someone else is doing her hair, she’ll be like, ‘We’ve got to tease it more,’ and then she grabs the Balmain Hair Couture hairspray and does it herself.”
Ultimately, all that matters to Anderson is how she feels. Right now, she’s embracing a newfound sense of freedom regarding her relationship with fame. “A peaceful, smiling face is always the most attractive,” says the star, who reportedly caused searches for “bleach blonde hair dye” to skyrocket after her doc aired. Now, with so many TikTok “For You” pages inundated with #PamCore tutorials, it’s evident she’s still considered to be a pillar of Gen Z style. “Pamela doesn’t follow the trends; she’s always been a trendsetter,” says Madrid. “That’s why everyone is on TikTok right now trying to recreate her look.”
Samantha Simon is a writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast living in New York City. She previously served as Features Editor at InStyle. If she’s not in the middle of a Law & Order: SVU marathon, she’s probably on a 4-mile walk with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Dexter (named after the fictional vigilante serial killer, naturally), shopping, or searching for the best cacio e pepe that the city has to offer. Her favorite topics include celebrity memoirs, emo bands of the early aughts, and the weekly Sakara Life menu.