Life (And Beauty) Advice From Trinny Woodall: ‘Remember That 98% Of The World Are Using Filters’

The What Not To Wear star on the best beauty advice she's ever received

Trinny Woodall and Trinny London Stack

by Emma Stoddart |
Updated on

Best known for dishing out style advice on What Not To Wear, Trinny Woodall has gone from TV star to business entrepreneur and has become a social media sensation thanks to her hilarious Instagram videos. Last year, Trinny made her stamp on the beauty world with the launch of ‘TRINNY London’ – a portable, stackable, cream-based makeup collection that was only available online… until now. She’s recently partnered with Selfridges to launch its first in-store concept in London, Manchester and Birmingham, which means fans and fellow beauty enthusiasts can have one-to-one appointments with Trinny herself or attend one of her masterclasses to discover the range and tips on how to apply.

We meet in the luxury private shopping area in Selfridges and Trinny – who is a total lol - decides to play dress up with the new season coats and yes, Topshop’s latest leopard print number ( did make an appearance. ‘What do you think of this?’, she asks me, knowing it looked good in true What Not To Wear style. And in just under 2 minutes of her company, I realise why Trinny has an army of followers seeking her fashion and beauty advice. She is mesmerising. Chatting between regular mouthfuls of truffle chips, Trinny divulges how the stack first began and offers her top beauty advice…

What inspired you to come up with the stack and how did it start?

‘I’ve done it for so long…I used to get these little Muji pots that slot together and dispense my products into them. When anyone asked ‘what is that?’, I’d say ‘my make-up bag’. The only problem was the lids would always break and the product would seep out’.

‘I was then fortunate enough to have a coffee with Leonard Lauder, Chairman Emeritus of The Estée Lauder Companies and I told him what I wanted to do. He said ‘Trinny, one day this will be worth 200,000,000 and I’ll buy it from you’. Three weeks later, the head of beauty at Mintel (global market research firm) asked me when I was going to do something about my idea, because, they said, now is the right time’

What is your favourite beauty product from the collection?

‘I’ve got two – firstly, BFF Cream which is our hero product. It’s a perfectly balanced product; I don’t want something too glowy, I want it to be SPF and I want it to tint, but I definitely don’t want it to look like too much makeup.’

‘My second product would have to be Lyla, because it’s named after my daughter. It’s an orangey lip glow. What I love about it is if I put it on top of a tiny bit of blush, it gives it a slight healthy sheen’.

Do you have any tips and tricks for layering the products?

‘Every single product in the range can be used in more than one place. I’m finding that today in Selfridges because there is such brilliant diversity with so many different skin, hair and eye combinations – what I would normally only use as a lip I am also applying on eyes.’

‘The key is to use a little product – we spent a long time getting the formulas right so there’s a lot of pigment - a little goes a long way.

How should the products be applied?

‘Without a brush; apply with your fingers so you can really blend it in. I spent decades using a bronzer brush and it was the easiest quick fix. I picked it up and it might have been at the bottom of my handbag, and I’ll sweep it all over and feel that I’m done. But if you use a brush you can end up putting too much makeup on’.

‘I rub BFF in – I’m really rough on my skin. When applying blush, I’ll warm it up between my fingers and then dab. For eyes, I learnt this trick from a Japanese makeup artist who would do women’s makeup in about 2 minutes. She yanked up their eyelids, made them close their eyes, then applied the product. It’s like stretching the canvas and gives you the ability to do the perfect eye – even if you think you’re rubbish at eyes’.

What’s the biggest beauty faux pas women often make?

‘The bronzer brush - sweeping bronzer all over, because you don’t get any definition. Whereas if you just apply blusher, your whole face comes to life and you look yourself. You don’t look like everyone else.’

‘I had incredibly bad skin until I was 29, like really bad acne and I did fake fake tan and used bronzer from the ages of 20-30. I look back at those pictures and wonder what I was doing. I did it to cover my spots but I looked like a pizza.’

What is the concept behind Match2Me and how does it work?

‘The point of Match2Me is to be able to buy makeup online that will suit you. You enter your skin, eye and hair colour and you’ll get a return of all the products that are suitable for you. We’re quite specific so we ask if you’re a cool or warm blonde while in skin colour there are 6 categories, each of which have 4 variations.’

‘Before, I saw so many women who didn’t know what makeup suited them. Several shops then started doing looks at counter, e.g. for green eyes wear this, but someone who has green eyes, blonde hair and pale skin is very different to someone who has green eyes, dark skin and black hair. So, we built this algorithm from 1000 different women and the feedback has been great, with customers saying they’ve found their perfect foundation match through the app.’

What’s the best beauty advice you’ve received?

‘The most important thing you can do is to double cleanse. Otherwise, anything you apply e.g. a £100 cream, will just sit on top of the skin and won’t penetrate. I love Dr Julia Hunter’s Maximal Cleanser – she is the only woman I’ve met who doesn’t give a shit about packaging or whether she sells her products. Instead of glycolic acid, this cleanser contains mandelic acid which is a lot less abrasive. I also just tried Dr Sam’s Flawless Skin cleanser which is really nice - it’s not like those jelly cleansers that do nothing, it’s got something in it.’

Recently, there was an online survey last year that reported 61% of young women have low-self-esteem****, why do you think this is?

‘I think there’s more awareness of what everyone is doing, therefore you judge yourself and try to decide where you would put yourself in that hierarchy. I think it’s about editing your Instagram, following people that make you feel better about yourself or friends that post their family, etc. Even though I do a film every day of myself, the people I follow are friends who post sweet family pictures.’

‘Half of the women I’ve seen on Instagram in their twenties and thirties aren’t doing much to make people feel better about themselves. I want to encourage people to feel good, so just stop following people who are all about themselves and aren’t giving anything to you. Also, remember that 98% of the world are using filters.

Do you regret any of the advice you gave on What Not To Wear?

‘I have no regrets at all because I think all of the women on the show took something positive away with them. I remember the media tried to do an expose on the show and contacted all the women to ask if they’d had a bad experience, and not one of them had– which felt good.’

‘I’ve also learnt to never look back and never regret, because the only thing that’s you’re going to damage is yourself. The time you’re spending regretting is time you’re not benefiting yourself or the people around you.'

Trinny Time and makeup masterclasses are available at the following times in each city:

Selfridges London: 4th – 10th October

Selfridges Manchester Trafford Centre: 14th – 20th October

• One-to-one makeup consultations available over the period, book at

• Trinny Time: Saturday 20th October 12:00 – 13:00, Saturday 20th October 15:00 – 16:00

• Masterclasses: Tuesday 16th October 11:00 – 12:00, Tuesday 16th October 19:00 – 20:00

Selfridges Birmingham: 25th – 31st October

• One-to-one makeup consultations available over the period, book at

• Trinny Time: Thursday 25th October 18.30 – 20:00, Friday 26th October 11:00 – 12:30, Saturday 27th October 12:00–13:00, Saturday 27th October 15:00 – 16:0

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