Just before I turned 50, a woman who was a little older than me said I was about to go into the most freeing decade of my life. She was right.
I did feel more free. I felt — and still feel — more comfortable in who I am.
As you go down the path of life, you learn to stop worrying what anyone thinks.
You realise you have to let go of some relationships because you can’t continue in the same situation.
You refuse to let fear of an unknown future stop you in your tracks.
Given the huge number of products to choose from, Trinny thinks educating yourself on the key active ingredients that go into skincare is absolutely worth your time
Looking back, I’ve spent much of my career trying to help women lose that fear. Over the years I’ve realised that feeling good about yourself is the best way to do it.
Putting on clothes that make you feel great, caring for your skin and wearing make-up that enhances your natural beauty — these are not frivolous extras.
They are outward projections of energy and confidence, which is precisely why we need to ditch the fear and make the most of each new day.
Sometimes we can get bored of our look, or stuck in a rut. We lose our confidence or feel like we don’t know what works for us any more.
Well, look no further. From the early 2000s TV show What Not To Wear to the beauty brand I launched in 2017, Trinny London, I’ve made it my life’s work to offer women new inspiration. To help them elevate their look and try something new.
And it all starts with skin . . .
Choosing the right ingredients to go into your skincare products can have a hugely transformative effect on your skin.
Trends come and go, just like in fashion. The big beauty brands have huge marketing budgets to spend on pushing their products (something that, as a founder of a start-up beauty brand, I know only too well), and there are so many products to choose from.
This is why I think educating yourself on the key active ingredients that go into skincare is absolutely worth your time.
What you need will change as you move from one phase of life to another. When you introduce a new product into your regime, as a rough timeframe it’s likely to take two months before you see real results. Be patient!
In your 40s…
Many of us find we no longer bounce back in the same way we once did from a few late nights, a boozy evening or a period of poor diet, all of which can show on our face in the form of deeper lines, dehydration and puffiness.
This is when we look to up the ante in terms of active ingredients in our skincare.
You might want to introduce some peptides or hyaluronic acid to help boost the skin’s elasticity. If you’re already using a retinoid, it might be time to increase the strength.
Do not forget the SPF.
Most of us will notice our skin becoming thinner and slightly drier. The core routine should now be: vitamin C in the morning to encourage collagen production and retinoid in the evening.
Replenish the skin in the evening with a nourishing moisturiser that contains collagen-boosting ceramides and/or peptides: once you go into menopause, collagen is lost at the rate of 2 per cent per year.
By now you will have lost 50 per cent of your collagen, so you will likely be noticing a reduction in structure and firmness.
Paying attention to lifestyle as well as skincare is important for maintaining our glow.
Dehydrated skin looks more lined, so hydrate inside and out by drinking plenty of water and make your moisturiser work harder by finding one that contains skin-nourishing ceramides, hyaluronic acid and peptides.
Feeling and looking tired are the enemy, so concentrate on the things that make you and your skin look, and feel, energised.
Do not forget the SPF.
…70s and beyond
It’s important to respect and be kind to our skin at every age, but particularly at this stage in our lives.
Use gentle motions when cleansing, massaging or applying creams and serums to the skin, especially around the eye area.
Ceramides, lightweight squalane oil and hyaluronic acid will rehydrate and repair.
Trinny’s make-up essentials include BB cream (short for blemish balm or beauty balm), a brilliant concealer, mascara, blusher, eyebrow gel and eye shade deeper than your skin tone
Isn’t it interesting that when we feel at our most confident, we don’t worry about our hair, but when we feel stuck or unsure who we want to be, we’re very tempted to go for a drastic change?
We need to be kind to our hair and listen to it, just like we do our skin.
Hair, skin and make-up are all very connected — it’s hard to feel really good about one if you’ve been neglecting another.
My (unlikely) haircare heroes
- Product-cleansing shampoo. An undersung step in haircare. I use one every few weeks — great for getting rid of product build-up that can make hair look flaky, dull and flat
- Hand cream. Yes, hand cream. It contains similar ingredients to hair finishing cream. If you are suffering from frizzy ends, moisturising your hands and very lightly stroking the residue over them will help.
- Heat protection spray. Please always use it! We’ve got to acknowledge the long-term damage that heat can do. Learning how to blow-dry your hair or to work with the curl, not against it, might be better options than using straighteners every day.
HOW TO COLOUR
A lot of women colour their hair a shade that doesn’t quite fit with their natural skin and eye tone. I have done this more than once.
I look back at photos of when I was having a red-hair moment and see that it was just too warm for me.
The temptation to experiment with our hair is strong, but whatever you want to do, I’d say: never lose sight of your natural hair colour.
Even if you think it’s boring, it’s yours, and the fact is, no one is born with a hair colour that doesn’t suit their skin and eyes.
If you try to go completely against it, it puts your whole colour code out of kilter and you’ll find it harder to know what make-up and clothes work well for you.
One test is to look at the relationship between your current hair colour and your eye colour. Put a chunk of hair next to your eye.
When they are in harmony, your eyes will pop; if your hair takes away from your eye colour, making things feel murkier, you don’t have it quite right yet.
The other thing to consider is the relationship between your skin and your hair colour — do they sit naturally together or do you feel they may be pulling how you look in different directions?
To go grey or not?
For some, grey hair can be liberating and very beautiful, and for others — me! — going grey is unimaginable.
A lot of women decide to go grey when their colour maintenance becomes too time-consuming or boring, particularly with roots that show quickly.
- The hardest way to make the change is to grow out the colour — it takes perseverance and you might not feel good about your hair for a while. Getting some greylights put in can help and some people choose to go blonde first to ease the transition.
- Think about your wardrobe. Grey is, by nature, a cooler shade, so if most of your clothes are cool — in colours like white, rose pink, lilac, dark blues and, yes, greys — it will be less of an adjustment.
- It’s rare that naturally grey hair won’t need any tending at all. The subtlest blue rinse or a purple shampoo may hold the key to bringing it to life and avoid it looking dull and flat. If your hair is very white, then look into blue shampoos. As always, it is about light and movement.
Make-up means that if I wake up feeling tired, I don’t have to look at a drained face in the mirror all day.
I can take an undereye concealer, blusher and a bright lipstick and in minutes I look — and feel — more awake and ready to face the day.
What are my essentials?
This is something I am asked about a lot. To me, this is the basic kit. If you have these things to hand, you are always good to go.
1. BB cream (short for blemish balm or beauty balm) or tinted moisturiser with SPF. This will wake up tired skin or smooth out an uneven skin tone.
2. A brilliant concealer, or ideally two — one lightweight for dark undereye circles and another denser version to cover redness.
3. Mascara. With a brush to comb it through and get rid of clumps.
4. Blusher. To bring life to your complexion.
5. Eyebrow gel. Tinted to add volume.
6. Eye shade deeper than your skin tone. Frames your eye, creating a shape around your eye socket.
7. Lip shade to enhance your lip colour. An easy-to-wear shade to give you that no make-up make-up look.
8. Tweezers. The older you get, the more you will need these for rogue hairs!
If you are 50 or above, the problem with a hard eyeliner is that it can close up the eye and make it look smaller, when what we want is to open up the eye and look more energised and awake.
This might be the moment you need to let go and experiment with something softer. If you use a kohl eyeliner, how about blending it for a subtler look?
It could be time to challenge ourselves and experiment. I sometimes use a metallic crayon around my inner eye to bring some light.
Whenever I use an eyeliner, I put a touch of concealer under my eyes and sweep it up towards the outer corners of my eyebrows to ensure that nothing is dragging my face or eyes down.
Lip colour dos and don’ts
Heavy lip liner can be ageing. Instead, if you want a precise line, use a narrow lip brush to line your lip.
For a softer look, use your finger to dab the colour into your lips, building up the layers until you have the effect you want.
Pay attention to your lip shape. If you have very thin lips, then push the colour to the front and don’t take it all the way to the corners.
If you have very full lips then you might want to keep the colour just inside the lines.
A bold lip needs a clean, neutral eye so the two don’t fight. If the lip colour is warm, then whatever you put on your eyes should be too.
A bronze or gold colour should be paired with a warm red lip. A cool red lip looks great with a subtle silver eye shade.
You also need to balance out a strong lip with strong brows, or everything will go towards your lips.
When going for a neutral lip, choosing just one shade too light will wash out your whole complexion and make your face look flat and lifeless.
Instead, use a neutral lip tone that is one shade darker than your lips. This will bring life to your whole face.
The key is to present a face that has none of the tiredness you might feel after a day dashing about.
1. Prep is key. Take off your make-up from the day and give your face a massage. You will wake up your skin and make it ready for feeling glamorous.
2. Get the glow. Put highlighter on before your base, to get the subtle glow-from-within look.
3. It’s all about the eyes. This is not about a lip. Start with a lighter shade and add a wash across your eyelid up into the socket and slightly over.
Now use a small, flat brush to line underneath your lower lash with a darker colour, and across your upper lash line from about halfway, meeting in the outer corner of your eye.
I add an extra bit of shimmer on the inside of my top and bottom lashline to give that inner sparkle to my eyes.
4. Lips should be kissable. They are secondary, but they should not be neglected.
Choose a neutral shade, one shade deeper than your lip. Use matte to define the shape, then use a product with a little bit of sheen in the middle of your lip.
Add a touch of the same lipstick to your blusher for extra shimmer.
THE MUST-HAVE INGREDIENTS FOR RADIANT SKIN
CERAMIDES bond our skin cells together like the mortar between bricks. They are an important part of a healthy skin barrier and help lock in moisture.
Ceramides usually come in the form of a serum or moisturiser and can be applied morning and night.
PEPTIDES are short chains of amino acids that encourage the production of proteins like collagen and elastin.
They help block the release of chemicals that cause the muscle contractions of expression lines. They are more important as our skin ages.
Best used after exfoliating in a leave-on product like a serum or moisturiser.
VITAMIN C or ‘ascorbic acid’ is one of the most important and beneficial multitasking skincare ingredients. I’ve used it for 25 years and regard it as an absolute essential.
It protects and shields the skin from free radical damage caused by things like pollution, UV and stress, brightens dullness, helps fade and prevent visible pigmentation, and encourages collagen production.
Use a vitamin C product with at least 10-15 per cent concentration and apply in the morning before your moisturiser.
RETINOIDS, from the vitamin A family that includes retinol, reduce fine lines and wrinkles by jump-starting dwindling production of collagen. Some serums and creams boast high levels of retinoids.
Start with lower concentrations and build up as you find out how much your skin tolerates.
Use each night, after exfoliating, letting it sink in before you put anything over the top (unless you have very sensitive skin).
HYALURONIC ACID is a hydrator that can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture in your skin. Use any time of day, but make sure it’s applied before anything oily so it can penetrate the skin.
Best in a serum, not a moisturiser.
- Adapted from Fearless, by Trinny Woodall (HQ, £26), published on September 14. © Trinny Woodall 2023. To order a copy for £23.40 (offer valid until September 18, 2023; UK P&P free on orders over £25), go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937.