Sandy Linter, 73: Makeup Superstar

A foremost expert in beauty for women of every age, Sandy Linter started at the Bloomingdale’s makeup counter, did the faces of celebrities in the wild and creative days of 1970s fashion, and authored iconic books. She tells us how the beauty industry has changed, the key to feeling beautiful, and offers recommendations on makeup for over-50s.

Sandy, who some may know from her wonderful beauty-based Instagram feed, is an iconic original. Born in Brooklyn, raised in Staten Island, an intrepid young Sandy moved to Manhattan early in her career, had the good fortune to have been spotted early on as a shimmering talent, and has since lived a life surrounded by breathtaking beauty of every sort.

Starting at the Bloomingdale’s makeup counter at the tender age of 21, by 27 the self-taught makeup artist was doing the faces for a who’s who of celebrity and society including Jackie O and Barbara Walters.  It was the time of Studio 54, of the permanence of the glossy magazines, of fabulously creative fashion photography sessions, and she was at the center of it, literally. She was the blond featured in the famous Chris von Wangenheim fence photo with it girl of the moment Gia. She was in the in-crowd, a celebrity in her own right, along with the famous faces she brought to life.

Gina and Sandy by Chris von Wagenheim
In 1979, Linter released Disco Beauty: Nighttime Makeup, her most iconic book to date, which many of her fans know her by. It was a time when she regularly worked with the great photographers of the time: Avedon, Elgort, Penn, and 20 years with Albert Watson.  She did countless covers of Vogue, working on superstar models Brooke Shields, Patti Hansen, Tara Shannon, Rachel Hunter, Rosie  Vela, Gia, Anjelica Huston, and Christie Brinkley. Sandy worked with supermodel Cheryl Tiegs in the entire decade of the 1980s, and has been doing Elizabeth Hurley since 1995, doing all the big campaigns for Estée Lauder. 
Sandy in a Polaroid by Bill King

Expert in Makeup and Beauty at Every Age

Today, she continues to do makeup on a daily basis and has established herself as one of the foremost experts in beauty for women of every age, having published the book The Makeup Wakeup: Revitalizing Your Look at Any Age. At 73, like all of us, she has had some bumps, a recent 1/2 knee replacement being one of them. But the sassy girl from Brooklyn is not done yet. If you want to know about makeup, there is no greater expert on earth. Sandy knows faces, she has spent her entire life dedicated to and surrounded by beauty. She knows skin, in a way that only experience of that level can produce a deep knowledge of the craft.

The world of uber-creative fashion shoots, the result of the combined genius of brilliant stylists, photographers, hairstylists, and makeup artists, have changed. Digital diminished it to a shadow of what it was. Even when there are magazine shoots, fashion wants the latest young talents, and so she works more now directly with her celebrity clients and less on photo shoots. “They were the best, most creative days of my life, but that world doesn’t exist anymore. I can look back and be grateful that I was there for it, but I also find looking forward is so exciting.”

“Beauty is different now; there are so many more body types and ethnicities than in those early days. Today we have a variety of skin color and women are more voluptuous, in an almost 1950s sort of way, than they were then. Back then they had a couple of black models, but there were few, and virtually no Asian faces.”

Naomi Campbell by Albert Watson

“To feel beautiful on the inside you need to feel the respect of other people and to feel a deep sense of self-respect”


“In the ’70s, beauty was all about the outsides, the surface; it was not about health or about what was happening on the inside. This was never spoken about. Today, there is still importance placed on the beauty of the face but, thankfully, feeling beautiful is so much more important now. To feel beautiful on the inside you need to feel the respect of other people and to feel a deep sense of self-respect. If we think about Marilyn Monroe, once thought of as the most beautiful woman in the world, she didn’t feel that way internally — it was very hard for her. We have to realize that these women who are looked at for their beauty have lives that are not easier than our lives. They work hard at it, and they have to manage all the conflicts that come with it.”

“There was hardly any talk about skincare in the 1970s. Today it is a bigger market than cosmetics. Young girls have fabulous skincare routines and we can see great dermatologists. Mine is Dr. Robert Anolik, who is based in NYC. Skincare is the biggest difference in the beauty world today. We rely more on moisturizers and cleansers and masks and serums than we do on makeup. Personally, I’m still a makeup girl but most people have incorporated a stunning array of skincare products into their routines. It’s always been quick and simple for me. I enjoy working with products that deliver.”
“The film Halston is out now — it is a tremendous document of what those days were like. But so many of those people are dead now, and they died so young. We were living a life that was not about health, it was about something else. It was a highly creative energetic time, but there were a lot of drugs, and they did a lot of damage, and then with AIDS, many people didn’t make it. You have to remember that back then before it became better understood, AIDS was unknown to everyone. We just didn’t know what we know today, and now we take much better care of ourselves.”
Bette Midler for More Magazine

Makeup Recommendations

What are your thoughts on lips, now that lips are venturing out from behind our year of Covid masking? Glossy vs matt?
When one is younger, either works well. But as we age, it really depends on the condition of the lip. If you have lines, a creamier look is better. Matt can look severe, and can accentuate aging. Dior Addict makes a lip glow balm, that is not a gloss, and comes in a variety of colors. It is not greasy and not dry. I like it, but you will need to reapply it during the day.
How about blush — any recommendations?

Chanel makes a terrific blush. It is a cream blush on a stick: Les Beiges.  The glow blends easily on the skin. It comes in a range of colors and is a good refreshing look for over 50s.

We are hearing about post-pandemic exuberance about to burst onto the streets. Are you sensing anything, maybe with eyes and color?
Color is definitely back these days, but for those of us over our 50s, we have to be careful. I like the pinks, dark rose, and even orange tones. For the lashes, you want to accentuate them. Chanel mascara is fabulous for thick or thin lashes. For under-eye concealer, I like YSL Touche Eclat concealer. They have a wider color range now. Personally, I wear eye make and false lashes daily. Kiss trio lash ‘looks so natural lashes’ is what I wear.

Sigourney Weaver for More Magazine. Firooz Zahdi photographer
What are your thoughts on general skincare?
Some people tend to be skin addicts and get into using too many products. We need to be careful of what we are using, and don’t overdo it. This is especially true with masks; don’t overdo how often you are using them. Also, you don’t want to use a rich serum and put makeup on top of it. Your products need to be compatible. One of my favorite moisturizers is made by Augustinus Bader. Wonderful product. It might look like a lot but it’s easy, quick and it performs, which is what I like.
I use Chanel LE Blanc to remove makeup, I use a face brush from Anisa to do this. It is better than a washcloth. I actually have a collection of skincare brushes by Anisa- to apply skincare, and also for applying makeup. I use the very economical and trustworthy Andréa eye Q’s eye makeup remover pads. I’ve added at night the SBLA , neck, chin and jawline sculpting wand.
Anything else you could recommend?

For women over fifty; Troy Surratt brow pencil, Tom Ford black liquid liner and black Raven mascara, Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk shadow palette (warm neutral rose), and Edward Bess matte shadow trio Cocoa sublime. I also use Tom Ford’s traceless soft matte foundation. My lips have had filler (dr. Anolik) so I’m good with Stila all-day stay matte liquid lipstick. 
Sandy can be booked at ‘The Salon Project, By Joel Warren, a unique hair salon inside of Saks Fifth  Avenue on the 7th floor.  
Main cover photo by: Leslye Kohl


  1. Love Sandy. She is kind and down to earth a fabulous artist and we have a mutual friend, Paul C.
    Anyone who is friends with Paul C. is a friend of mine. He is true blue as is Sandy.
    Such a wonderful profile, well-deserved, Sandy.

  2. Thanks for this article, David. Great advice from a bona fide beauty expert. As a lipstick addict (the only makeup I wear), I was excited to read about Dior Addict Lip Glow and went right to the Dior site to check it out. What I’m not excited about: If this product is such a “universal balm,” as the site suggests, where are all the over-50 models in the photo slide show and the “Custom Shine” mosaic on this product page? Why does a range of ages seem so obviously excluded from “inclusive” marketing these days? And what are aging role models like Sandy Linter doing about it? Not a complaint, just an observation. Well, okay, it’s a complaint. Hmm, I’m a marketing professional. Maybe I should do something about it. ; )

  3. Great article and interview full of makeup tips from someone who worked with the beauty icons of my youth, such as Brooke Shields and Christie Brinkley. Lots of makeup product suggestions to look into. Thanks for sharing with us, Sandy. Wish I could come see you one day! Angela, Canada

  4. Great article always love Sandy. I don’t like the plug for the SBLA products. I don’t believe it’s sincere, it’s a favor to her friend Brinkley who is invested in the company and the face of the company. If there’s money to be made, Brinkley will endorse it, and she gets her friends to do the same. It’s kind of tiring and it takes advantage of women who presume sincerity from celebrities. There have been many negative reviews of that product, and it’s quite expensive. Otherwise great article

    • I understand your thought here, however I’m using this product on my neck and my baggy under eye area. I didn’t want to Not use it because Christie is involved with it.

      • But I understand why you did it. I just think the bigger picture is more important. Keep being you, we love you

        Thanks for the reply Sandy, and for understanding my point. I still think it’s a plug for a friend. The product is a gimmick, and we all know clinical trials in the skincare industry are not real clinical trials. Irisin does not penetrate the skin. But I understand why you did it. I just think the bigger picture is more important. Keep being you, we love you

  5. I’ve know Christie Brinkley as a friend and as someone who’s opinion I personally, think very highly of, especially anything concerning beauty. I mean her taste in everything is unparalleled. If she recommends something to me, I’ll try it. And I’ll pass the information on when I can.


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David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.


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