Our series featuring the daily routines, expert advice, and beauty tips of industry insiders (read: those who’ve got it down to a science). Because we should all have a Protocol.
Since launching his eponymous line in February 2009, Prabal Gurung has established himself as a formidable (and multi-award-winning) force in the fashion world, one who's made us excited about getting dressed in a way few designers do, not to mention one of the most sought-after tickets at New York Fashion Week—which is back with a vengeance this month for the showing of the Spring 2023 collections, thanks in large part to Prabal's infallible injection of runway energy.
Born in Singapore and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal, Prabal launched his career in New Delhi before moving to New York, where he currently resides. Indeed, Prabal is a New York City designer through and through, and his ability to simultaneously evolve and inspire women to evolve their sense of style and self-expression is singular.
Here, the iconic designer delivers top-tier tips on cultivating gratitude, the ultimate product for looking like you just had "great sex," and the beauty in being your own best friend.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
I have a whole routine. I wake up, have apple cider vinegar, a warm glass of water, light an incense stick I got from Nepal, then sit down to meditate for 20-30 minutes. My mediation starts off with expressing gratitude for being alive: I set the intention that way. Then I say, “Good morning, Alexa” and my day starts. Next I head to the gym.
My first text of the morning is to my mother: “Good morning“ and she responds with a good morning, and that is it. It’s a routine we have created for each other just to check in, and I love that.
Describe your morning and evening skincare routines.
In the mornings, I wash my face with just plain water or a very mild cleanser. Then I put on toner, hyaluronic serum, moisturizer, and sunblock. In the evenings, I wash my face very thoroughly with a mild cleanser since my skin is sensitive, toner, retinol cream three times a week. And of course, U Beauty both morning and night.
I love every U Beauty product, and I genuinely mean that. Not only that, but my mom and I fight over them all the time. The Resurfacing Compound has changed the texture of my skin completely. It’s made it tighter; the lines are smoother and skin plumper.
But The BARRIER Bioactive Treatment is my number-one fave, and it is a GAME-CHANGER. It has completely changed the way I look–absolutely. It is supple. It is effective. It delivers results. Nothing better than this out there.
I also use The SCULPT Arm Compound to complement my exercise routine. I work out a lot, and this has not only helped me tone my arms but also made my skin look and feel really smooth and sculpted.
The SUPER Body Hydrator is the sexiest body product out there. As the name suggests, it super-hydrates and then leaves this glow–and your skin glistens just the way it does right after a great sex.
Have you tried any in-office cosmetic procedures (lasers, fillers, microneedling, etc.)?
What's the last thing you do before you go to bed?
Usually read or turn on the Calm app and listen to their bedtime stories or listen to David Attenborough speak. His voice is the most soothing.
What’s the most high-maintenance aspect of your beauty protocol?
Nothing. My beauty routine is one of the most calming self-times I have for myself. I would not trade it with anything.
What’s your 24-hour plan for getting ready for a big event or photoshoot?
Reduce salt. No alcohol. Get a facial from Tracie Martyn (I swear by their facials). Or if I cannot get an appointment there, then definitely go get one from Face Gym for quick pick-me-up, preferably the day before.
I listen to classical music to calm my nerves–if any–then mediate. Then hair and makeup: This is when the music gets fun and turned up. I get ready, have a bite to eat (go heavy on protein, as it sustains you longer for the event).
And once I am ready, I pray for five minutes, especially to express my gratitude. This is really important to me. I never forget how lucky I am to do what I love doing and everything that has come my way because of it.
What do you do when you want to reset, regroup, or detox?
I am mostly disciplined, I would say. I listen to my body and my mind A LOT. When I don’t: That is when I get in trouble. So, I disconnect from people and gadgets, I meditate a lot, listen to calming music, go on bike rides in the city, go to museums, and read a lot.
But one of the most important things I have always done twice a month more: I go to dinner or different places by myself. I still do that. It’s really important for me to be my best friend. No one understands me better than myself and I make it a point to honor that.
Then my best way of resetting is my mother, who is my universe, my guru, and my mentor. I see her almost every day and once a week for a dinner date. Her wisdom, her knowledge keeps me grounded. I think it is important for people to surround themselves with those who truly love you.