From modelling to golf’s world stage, trendsetter Jan Stephenson shares the best beauty products and tips she’s learned along the way.
An Australian golfer and model from Sydney’s Balmain with an out-and-out passion for golf, Jan Stephenson moved to the US and started on the LPGA Tour in the early 1970s before becoming the face of the LPGA, a golf superstar and a household name. She won the US Women’s Open 40 years ago and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2019. She eventually settled in Florida.
Australian Golf Digest Women caught up with the 71-year-old to learn about her beauty routines. And from her time modelling, she knows a lot!
“My whole career was focused on how I looked almost more so than how I performed on the golf course,” Stephenson says, “and I was lucky to have had some early guidance on health, fitness and beauty regimens.”
June Dally-Watkins, who started Australia’s first modelling agency and modelling school in 1951, awarded Stephenson a two-year modelling contract and finishing scholarship after she completed high school. “After, I joined her modelling school and was on her portfolio of talent. That scholarship was so valuable for my career. I was taught how to act in public – how to sit, stand, speak and pose. A huge amount of the course also focused on beauty applications,” she says.
“I have also been fortunate to have represented Olay for the past 20 years, so I still use some of their products. They are affordable yet good quality, and they have products that specialise in mature skin. In fact, my mother always used the same brand product called Oil of Ulan, which at the time was the Aussie equivalent of Oil of Olay, until its name was changed to Olay.”
These days on the LPGA Legends Tour, Stephenson says she receives a lot of sample beauty products: “I experiment with them and have even adopted some into my normal beauty routine.”
From her time modelling, Stephenson has had the importance of facial cleansing ingrained into her. “I have very dry skin, so I look for products that have Vitamin C in them and have become a big fan of hyaluronic acid. Neutrogena Hydro Boost hyaluronic acid cleanser is excellent and ideal for travel.
“I will use a light facial scrub every morning in the shower as well. My favourite is Olay Regenerist Detoxifying Pore Scrub. I like to use it with a little facial scrubby. I also use CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser. This is my stock item in the shower, as it conveniently comes in a pump container. Of course, it contains hyaluronic acid!”
Stephenson also changes her body wash with whatever specials Olay is offering that month. Every few days she uses Jane Seymour Crepe Erase products on her upper arms and legs for crepey skin. She loves it!
“I have the same cleansing routine for morning and evening, except if I have been out at night and have more make-up on than usual. If I’m tired, I will just use Olay Fresh Effects make-up removal wet wipes. They take off my waterproof mascara better than washing with a cleanser. I like the ones that combine a cleanser and toner in one,” Stephenson says.
Once a month she has a ‘hydrafacial’: “This type of hydradermabrasion facial gently exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells and impurities while infusing it with vitamins. It really cleans out my pores and allows nutritional products to absorb better. My skin always glows after one.”
When travelling, Stephenson can’t do without a cleansing bar or Olay’s Daily Gentle travel wipes that you wet. “They are lighter to travel with and I can throw enough in a little Ziploc bag for the number of days I’m away,” she says.
“I never used to apply serums as it was a lot to travel with. Now that I only play six or seven events a year, I can have a regular routine at home that allows me to add extra benefits to my skincare. One of my favourites is L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Hyaluronic Acid Serum – a little goes a long way.
I just use a few drops AM and PM after cleansing.
“It doesn’t matter which serum you use, as long as it is paraben and fragrance-free. There is a noticeable difference to my skin as it looks plump and moist without being sticky, and using a serum seems to diminish my wrinkles: probably the hyaluronic acid.
“I think my skincare works, because I get a lot of compliments on its condition. There are plenty of wrinkles, but I do have healthy skin.”
With moisturisers, Stephenson insists on anything that is paraben, fragrance and sulfate-free. In particular, she likes RoC Multi Correxion Revive+ Glow Moisturiser with Vitamin C: “It’s lightweight and I like the non-greasy feel. I also love Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide moisturiser. After about a month my skin seems brighter.”
In her experience, Stephenson says we have some fantastic medical-grade beauty products in Australia, adding, “Whenever I have a facial in Australia, beauty spas seem to have high-quality, albeit expensive, products. The medical-grade products I’ve talked about seem to have great results at a small percentage of the cost and are available everywhere.
“As for eye creams, I shop around and only use them in the evening as I don’t want any getting on my contact lenses. I am using one now by Perlier called Black Rice Flash Effect Eye Contour Serum from Italy, although it may not be as good as Lancome’s eye creams, which leave my skin feeling lovely and moist.”
“Sunblock is so important and wish I had known more about the value of it for skin when I was a teenager. Being on the ocean or playing golf, I never knew that the sun was so damaging to your skin, and I never used sunblock,” she admits.
Today, living in the humidity of Florida, Stephenson needs waterproof sun protection products. Having received a lot of sunscreens to try, she says: “I personally like one called La Roche-Posay Anthelios face serum with SPF50 and Vitamins C and E. Another is Aloe Up sunscreen and I use the face SPF 50. I also use Obagi Vitamin C body sunscreen SPF 30, which isn’t greasy and seems to stay on in the heat of summer golf. Aveeno Protect & Hydrate Sunscreen was one that I loved for my face. I keep travel sizes in my golf bag and purse, which work great on the road. I’ve tried the Eurcerin Sun oil-control sunscreen SPF 50 with good results too.”
Unless she’s at home, Stephenson can’t go without foundation, using it when she is playing or even going to work out. “I like to use some kind of foundation to even out my skin tone. Olay has a Total Effects Correcting CC Cream with SPF 15. I use this every day just for light coverage while still hydrating and nourishing my skin,” she says.
Finding a foundation that stays on while out playing golf has proven difficult. “I am trying a few but they still come off on my sleeves, so brands need to work harder to succeed at that. My new favourite is Perbelle CC Cream with SPF 43. It colour corrects so I’m not constantly throwing away foundations that are not the right shade. To set my make-up I use Jerome Alexander Magic Minerals Professional Powder, with one quick pass of the brush.”
Her eye make-up depends on the occasion. Daily at the golf course, Stephenson sweeps a light brown tone on her upper lid with a darker brown on the upper line along the lid and a little on the crease. She then adds a volumising waterproof mascara, an eyebrow pencil to define the brows and a lip stain then gloss on top for a lipstick.
“I’ve tried long-wear lipsticks, but they come off on my sleeves when I play, so I have better results keeping a little colour with a stain and clear gloss,” she says. “That way the colour stays ’till I take it off with a cleanser and I reapply my lips with a SPF 15 lip balm.”
At functions and in the evening? “I will add more eye make-up, including an eyeliner, and ditch the sunscreen. I lotion up my body with Jane Seymour Crepe Erase lotion.”
And, of course, when she does photo shoots or interviews, she likes to observe what the latest trends are, asking the make-up artists all kinds of questions relating to why they do certain tricks: “It’s always fun to have professionals do your hair and make-up. They make it look so easy and I learn so much!”
Up until her chemotherapy for breast cancer earlier this year, Stephenson had loved her healthy, strong, thick hair – which she thanks her mum for – and had highlights done every six weeks or so. Now she has lost a lot of it, she has it cut short, but complains, “As it is growing back it is growing in very white. My hairdresser calls it platinum but, let’s face it, it’s grey!
“We have decided to put lowlights in it, so I am not totally platinum. She tried to talk me into pink, but I haven’t done it yet. When I head out for my next Legends event, I have a feeling I won’t go out there as a grey lady!”
Prior to her breast cancer, she found it easy to just go out, put her hair in a ponytail to work out or play golf, wearing a hat or visor. “This new haircut is proving to be a challenge after golf, when the head gear comes off. At night or more formal functions, it would take time to dry and fix my hair. I’m not sure now. Seems like I only need a little gel and five minutes to dry instead of 20 minutes,” she explains.
These days, Stephenson has become more diligent about her haircare regime, eliminating chemicals from the products much like she does with her skincare. She now uses organic haircare products and hopes her hair becomes healthy and strong again soon.
She says conditioning with natural hair masks to bring back the shine is helping, explaining, “I mix my own, using a tip from a make-up artist: honey with organic cold-pressed olive oil. You mix two parts honey with one part olive oil, microwave for 15 seconds, then work into damp hair. It’s really bringing shine to my hair. I travel with conditioning masks. I love Moroccan Argan Oil sachets and have two sets of everything. One set remains packed, ready to go, and I keep the other in the bathroom.”
Stephenson is also taking some strong supplements to promote hair and nail health: “With Beverly Hills MD Dermal Repair Complex supplements, my nails are growing fast! I have a dip every two weeks to protect my nails and my nail technician has noticed how strong my nails are becoming.”
“My approach to beauty is to age naturally and look the best you can. I have used everything from the most expensive medical-grade products all the way to discount products and feel I’m in a happy medium now. So long as the products are free of parabens, fragrance and sulphates, I think you can achieve good results without ‘breaking the bank’,” Stephenson explains.
“I have been lucky to have picked up so much advice over the years, and only regret not knowing the impact of sun damage. I never go out without sunglasses now. I play golf with them, drive with them and have different kinds all over the place. Sunglasses, hats and sunblock are the three most important things that I can pass on to readers for self-care.”