Trinny Woodall has the best tips for looking better
I am laughing hysterically over Zoom. Not because anything particularly funny has just happened, but because Trinny Woodall has instructed me to do so. “We’re going to do the one-minute laughter. The last 20 seconds will be a very painful thing, but you just can’t stop—you’ve got to push it out again.”
We both give it our all, slapping our thighs and pumping out the hahahas until the clock runs out. “What part of your body doesn’t feel alive now?” she asks when it’s over. The whole thing feels trademark Woodall. If, like me, you remember the British style maven making over women on What Not to Wear (the original BBC version), you know she is famous for her colourful, tell-it-like-it-is advice. (In preparation for our interview, I dug up old clips of the show on Youtube and wrote down some quotable gems. On dressing for your shape: “Don’t despair, even if your bum is down to your ankles like me.” On a participant’s brightly hued top: “You’re really good in colour… But the shape is sh*t.”)
Woodall continues to dispense such pearls of wisdom on her social media channels, hosting Instagram Lives where she invites followers to confide their style dilemmas. She also routinely shares her makeup tricks, showcasing products from her eponymous and hugely successful line, Trinny London (now shipping to Canada!).
The brand bears the markings of Woodall’s keen understanding of what women want. Think: flattering colours, finger-friendly formulas and toss-it-in-your-purse packaging. “Whenever I made over women around the world, what they noticed first was their makeup,” she says. “When you want to change a woman’s confidence level, you start with the outside in. You start with what’s easy for them to digest and then you delve deeper.”
Making women feel confident has been Woodall’s life’s mission for decades now. Here, she dishes her top tips for getting there, including the five things she tells everyone to buy.
You’ve done so many makeovers over the years. What have you found are the quickest, easiest things people can do to look and feel better?
“If you’re a woman who’s going down the path of life, one thing that can happen is we can do the same thing for too long. And then we get bored and we look at ourselves and feel tired with ourselves. So it’s about ‘How do I get that energy back into my life?’ For me, it’s about looking at your makeup, for example. Have you done the same thing for years? Is the makeup now wearing you? Maybe you grew up in the early ’90s when powdering and mattifying was everything, but now you don’t look healthy in it. When you start making those changes, people go ‘God, you’re looking well!’ And then with clothing, as we change in our life, we might suit different colours. It might be you were a cool blonde and now you’re brunette, or you were brunette and now you’re going grey. The colours you used to wear might not work for you.”
For a gorgeous glow on the go, dab some of Woodall’s Sheer Shimmer, a lip and cheek enhancer that imparts a subtle hint of dewy colour. Trinny London Sheer Shimmer in Bunny, $37, trinnylondon.com SHOP HERE
You’re all about ageless dressing. What are your tips for achieving that?
“You’ve got to refresh your eyesight and look at what takes away from putting you in a specific era, and what can also give you that je ne sais quoi. Somebody could be defined by a fabulous lipstick colour or a big ring or a mad streak of hair—it becomes your signature. And we need that as women because we don’t want to be invisible. There are many things that make us feel invisible as we go down the path of life. I want to feel that I am literally hammering on people’s doors until I’m 95 and they never ignore me. And that might be how I dress, how I speak, what I put on my face, how vibrant and alive I look, that makes it so that I’m considered in the conversation.”
What are five things you always tell people to buy?
Phomemo Label Maker Machine, $46, amazon.ca SHOP HERE
A label maker: “I would say buy a label machine. I’m obsessed—I’ve labeled everything. I have these little drawers from Muji and I store things, so I then see where everything is. I hate to open a drawer and there’s a whole load of s—t chucked in. I like compartmentalization. I think it makes for an ordered mind, so I love that.
NuFace Mini Facial Toning Device, $250, sephora.ca SHOP HERE
Skin care tools: “I never travel without some machine or tool for my skin. It could be an LED mask or a micro-current for your face [Woodall is a fan of the NuFace facial toning device]. But never, ever, ever consider investing in these unless you will use them at least every other day, because otherwise it is money wasted. But if you use them consistently, you can halt the passage of time and keep that joy in your cheekbones.”
Trinny London Be Your Best Enzyme Balm Cleanser, $55, trinnylondon.com SHOP HERE
Good cleansers: Woodall recently debuted two refillable cleansers, marking Trinny London’s first foray into skincare. One cleanser is a divinely creamy enzyme balm—perfect for lifting off makeup—while the other is AHA/PHA gel, which deep cleans pores while smoothing out skin’s texture. They make for a wonderful double cleansing routine, something Woodall is a huge proponent of, but you can also use just one depending on your skin’s needs. “I knew that I wanted to start with cleansing because I think the mistakes start with cleansing. People over-strip their skin and destroy their microbiome or they don’t clean their skin properly and have too much left on, so nothing goes in. You might as well throw away the exfoliant and the retinol—it’s like, forget it!”
Sam Edelman sneakers, $100, nordstrom.ca SHOP HERE