“The ‘Ice Trick’: My New Anti-Aging Obsession”

BEFORE her Twitter account went viral or her engagement rumor sparked gossip, Cher was already considered an icon of style, song and the big screen.

I set out to find out if the star’s secret to decades of success and flawless looks might lie in her deceptively simple morning routine.

Cher is a 76-year-old icon of stage and screen who still looks flawless today.Credit: Getty

I am a 28 year old lifestyle writing icon who looks flawless in certain lighting.Credit: Hattie Hayes

At 76, Cher is proudly dating a man 40 years her junior, but it’s hard to spot the age discrepancy with the naked eye.

That’s because Cher is even more beautiful now than she was when she established her pop stardom in the 1960s.

Fortunately, she hasn’t gotten into the surveillance that many stars do, perhaps because she knows Cher-ing is affectionate.

Cher was happy to talk about her beauty practices to Vogue UK, and I was even more happy to try her three-step morning routine.

However, once I found out what it was about, I became skeptical.

According to Cher, she keeps things very simple.

Well! I thought. “Simple” usually means something different to celebrities, but I bet I can do it!

She then described the main components of her routine: drinking water first thing in the morning, icing her face, and working out on her own exercise tapes.

I reread the article, trying to figure out what I was missing. Cher uses an eyelash curler (duh!), Cher loves MAC eyeshadow (double duh).

But… no laborious ten-step hydration routine? No weird protein shakes? Not even witchcraft?


When something seems too good to be true, it usually is, and Cher’s morning routine seemed so much simpler than it had any right to be.

Would it really be that simple to capture Cher's timeless beauty?

Would it really be that simple to capture Cher’s timeless beauty?Credit: Getty

Which meant that maybe it was simple enough for me.

I decided to get down to business and tried to live like Cher for a few days.

That meant waking up in the morning and starting my day not with a giant serving of coffee, but with a large glass of water.

Cher apparently drinks a lot of water first thing in the morning because she’s too busy to drink it all day.

I have no problems with hydration – I live my life as a fat, burrowing, sedentary hamster with a jug of water twice my size at the ready.

But in the morning, I usually don’t drink or eat anything until I’ve been up for a while.

Even then, I reach for coffee first, so I’ll have the strength to carry my 40-ounce Stanley mug back to my desk.

Cher did not specify how much water she drinks in the morning, but I decided to start with a full liter.

After waking up, I drank a liter of water, one glass at a time.

After waking up, I drank a liter of water, one glass at a time.Credit: Hattie Hayes

It was a lot more than I normally drank this early in the day, but it wasn’t enough to make me fear water toxemia.

Did I feel like a shining angel? No (well, no more than usual).

My skin wasn’t unusually clammy or swollen, but I was definitely getting a cardiovascular benefit—this hack got me going to the bathroom early and often.

Moving on to Cher’s second secret, I was itching to try one of her skincare-focused hacks.

Cher told Vogue that she actually took this trick from another icon, Joan Crawford.

On the set of Mommy Dearest, Crawford would douse his face with ice water from a large bowl of ice.

But Cher, like me, is only willing to go so far for the beauty.

“I find it too shocking, so I take a washcloth, dip it, wring it out, and then put it on my face,” she told the outlet.

Once again, the amazing simplicity of this trick left me uneasy. Just water? Not blood or raw milk or concentrated retinol but ice cubes?

Cher’s adaptation of the stunt was cold, but perfectly comfortable.

Engaging in what the media calls 'iconic behaviour' by putting ice on my face

Engaging in what the media calls ‘iconic behaviour’ by putting ice on my faceCredit: Hattie Hayes

After leaving the wipe on my face for about five minutes, I removed it, leaving my nose a bit red and my cheeks flushed.

As the color faded, so did the tightness of my skin, leaving it feeling plump and clean.

However, there did not appear to be a cumulative benefit.

Every morning I woke up with the same tired face as always, no matter how often I applied ice.

Finally, I was able to delve into Cher’s training practices, the other vital part of her routine.

According to the star herself, Cher has some variations in her workouts.

She loves going to the gym with her friends, an idea I quickly dismissed based on my previous experience.

I tried going to the gym or group fitness classes with my friends and I hated it.

Now “we will never, ever work together” is a main clause in all my friendship contracts.

Still, there was a much more interesting detail to this part of Cher’s life.

In a casual, off-the-cuff way, Cher told Vogue that she works out to her own videos. AHA!

My mom taught aerobics for years, so I know the benefits of a good step class or high-BPM jazz combo.

Of course, I was also the type of child who refused to participate in the “Mommy and Me” exercise classes that my own mother taught.

Since so many people consider Cher a mother figure, I thought working out to her 1990s videos was the closest I’d come to remaking my youthful sass.

After a nice Google search and much internal debate, I settled on Cher’s Hot Dance, the 1992 arthouse film masquerading as a mere workout VHS.

Of course, I couldn’t work out in the Aerie leggings and tank top that are my normal fitness gear.

To live like Cher, I wear beaded fishnets, a silver bodysuit, a second strappy black bodysuit, shimmery eyeshadow, blush, lipstick, and lots of hairspray.

I worked out to Cher's 1992 'Hot Dance' workout video, available on YouTube

I worked out to Cher’s 1992 ‘Hot Dance’ workout video, available on YouTubeCredit: CBS/Fox Video

It seemed only right to dress the part with lots of shiny Spandex.

It seemed only right to dress the part with lots of shiny Spandex.Credit: Hattie Hayes

So, I was ready to exercise.

Even for a lazy lout like me (see the hamster analogy several paragraphs above), Cher’s hot dance wasn’t too strenuous.

It’s a perfect fun and fun morning workout, focused more on pleasure and expression than taking complicated steps.

There’s a lot of chanting, too much for me before work, but the moves themselves aren’t overly complicated.

A couple of strange things were taken into account, besides the sheer wardrobes of everyone in the class.

First of all, Cher’s Hot Dance does not include Cher’s music.

Instead, you can expect to rock and sway to classic hits from the ’60s and ’70s, reworked into wonderful, improvised extended play versions.

I found Cher's moves easy, even though I'm a bum who hates exercise.

I found Cher’s moves easy, even though I’m a bum who hates exercise.Credit: Hattie Hayes

This is what peak performance looks like

This is what peak performance looks likeCredit: Hattie Hayes

The “cool down” song seems especially long. Like… really long. and sensual

For the most part, Cher’s Hot Dance didn’t require her to do a lot of work using her core or pelvic floor muscles.

So why are there so many hip movements in the relaxation dance, which lasts a full five minutes and is set to the song Tell Me Something Good?

After a few days of working out together with Cher, I couldn’t answer that question.

But I had enough fun to surprise myself, and I bookmarked a few more Cher workout videos to do on my own time.

Yes, that’s right: Cher’s exercise videos are so enjoyable, I considered working out voluntarily.

After doing Cher’s Hot Dance just once, the other tips made a lot of sense as well.

You need to drink a liter of water every morning if you’re going to dance to Cher’s workout tapes consistently.

And if you start the day with Hot Dance, you better have an ice-cold washcloth handy to freshen up your face before you log into a Google Hangout meeting.

Do I still think Cher is a magical being of some sort, maybe a good-natured, immortal vampire, or a Rhode Island witch?

Yes, of course! None of these tactics could imbue me with Cher’s levels of luminosity, no matter how diligent.

But I’m probably going to stick with these steps anyway, because I thoroughly enjoyed the experiment.

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Even if I can’t go back in time with Cher’s tricks, I can have fun living as her.

Maybe I’ll even break my own rules and invite some friends over for a workout, or see if I can get my mom interested in the “mommy and me” makeup exercise.

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