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The Interview: Trinny Woodall on gaining confidence in her 60s and inspiring other entrepreneurs
08 March 2024

Trinny Woodall, who rose to fame as one half of presenting duo Trinny and Susannah (Constantine) on the Noughties makeover show, What Not To Wear, and founded beauty empire Trinny London in her 50s, says she’s "more confident" as she enters a new decade – in her skin and herself.

"I think I feel that I really know who I am. The benefit of age is you really discover who you are. And you don’t worry what people think. In my 20s I definitely didn’t have that self belief.

"I found 50 to be quite a freeing decade, and I find this to be an even more freeing decade."

Trinny Woodall

Although she didn’t feel skin confident until the age of 30, after years of suffering from acne, which was "very debilitating – I tried every single thing for my skin", it gave her lifelong passion to figure out what works for her.

Woodall launched her brand, which is targeted at women over 35, with makeup in 2017, followed by skincare in 2022. She also posts routines for her 1.2 million Instagram followers, and has racked up an army of loyal fans. She is now using her Instagram platformto give budding female entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their business in 60 seconds, and she will provide tailored feedback on their ideas.

When it comes to her own burgeoning beauty brands, one of the phrases she is keen is avoid is 'anti-ageing' ("I’ve got eye wrinkles now and they don’t bother me one bit"). Her skincare philosophy is about using what feels right for our skin as we age. But she’s very open about the fact that she does Botox twice a year, alongside a comprehensive skincare routine.

"I’ve actually never gone to bed without taking my makeup off. From my 20s, I’ve always had a routine which is sort of three or four steps," the 60-year-old says, although the active ingredients available now go far beyond the three-step Clinique routine she used in 1979.

"As much as I do Botox, you know, I’ve had CO2 laser for my acne scarring, the consistency of my skin is down to ingredients I continually put on my face every day.

"I have one or two friends in the acting profession and I know they don’t have a good skincare routine and they do Botox and whatever. And on screen they look great, but I look at their skin close-up and I see congested skin. I don’t see a clear, vibrant, energetic skin," she says, while adding that we have to look after it, as "it’s our biggest living organ".

Trinny Woodall

But the sheer amount of different active ingredients on the market these days can feel overwhelming, so what’s key for her?

"Having a very good mixture of exfoliating acids is crucial. I don’t particularly love glycolic acid because I find it’s a very abrasive acid. I love other AHAs [alpha hydroxy acids] like mandelic and malic. Many women come and say, ‘Oh my skin is dry’ and I feel their face and I think, no, you’ve got too many dead skin cells on your skin, there’s a difference."

But don’t believe any claims that topical collagen works, she says. "The biggest con in history is putting collagen on your face, because it’s such a big molecule size, it won’t go in and when you see collagen creams, please don’t get them, because they won’t do anything.

"I’m quite into lymphatic drainage of the body so I do this tapping on my clavicle, on my ear, in my thigh, under my armpit, I rub and I tap 10 times," something she does as part of her morning routine.

After a cleanser, "I put on a layer of skincare, clear my lymph [with tapping], then put on a PHA [polyhydroxy acids], a vitamin C, a peptide, then an SPF" – leaving two to three minutes between each – "I want those ingredients to go in".

In the evenings, Woodall tends to complete her skincare routine over a period of time. "I get home and do the first bits [of a routine] and then I go and do stuff in the house. You want to take the day off, you know. It’s quite a nice, ritualistic thing to switch between work mode, energetic mode, and ‘I’m back home’ mode.

"I’ll do my first acid, then I’ll really let that sink in before I put on a peptide, I’ll brush my teeth, take my supplements, do a couple of emails… I do micro-needling every four nights, very gently."

It’s a long way from the "dirty old sponge" she used to put on her face in the Nineties, "bacteria washing around my face, and I would have a bath and there would be that ring of fake tan around the bath – it was indelible".

One of the key things she’s done for her skin, and health in general, is cut down on sugar. "I just think it’s worse than smoking," Woodall says. "Things do change when you’re 60, you know what’s going to cause inflammation in your body and you need to avoid it because inflammation leads to many things that are not that pleasant. So the more I can keep my body in an alkaline state, the better.

Although, "This weekend I actually relapsed on sugar, I went to the mountains and there was a patisserie and I just went insane."

Trinny Woodall is running an ‘Elevator Pitch’ series on Instagram to give budding female entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their business in 60 seconds, providing tailored feedback in return. Visit @trinnylondon.

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