That Trinny Woodall! What a woman! Back in the nineties and noughties I was very excited by Trinny and Susannah’s “What Not to Wear” TV show – I loved their no-nonsense approach and even if I didn’t always agree with their rules, I must confess I didn’t wear black with bright colours until they were safely off air.
If they were evangelists for the importance of making the most of yourself, they were also pioneers. Barely anyone but a borderline shopping compulsive like me will remember their internet shopping site (I think it was called “What to Wear”?). It matched you and your shape to high street outfits you could then go and buy. It was well ahead of its time.
Nowadays, Susannah is a contented country dweller but Trinny is still as style-savvy as ever. Check out her social media channels. You’ll never forgive me for telling you this because soon you’ll be obsessed as I am. But, man, that gal produces fun content! Wonder why I’m not blogging as regularly as I used to? I blame Trinny!
For anyone not familiar with her output, Trinny blogs, does Facebook videos on beauty, fitness and skincare products, regularly trawls the Zara on Kings Road for bargains, shows her wardrobe favourites and sometimes appears on the back of a Vespa or in the back of a cab prepping for her TV appearances – occasionally in a face mask. She is the reason why, to Mr Mutton’s bafflement, I roll tiny Japanese steel needles over my face a couple of times a week and why I spend twice as long in the bathroom.
She comes across as your beautiful, slightly bonkers, BFF, whose wardrobe you want to borrow (and who would definitely let you). Better still, and what I love most about her, is that she’s unapologetically a fellow Mutton.
So when I heard she had launched her Trinny London makeup range, I was keen to try a “stack”, so called because they do actually stack, one on top of the other, like Lego for Ladies – but in a good way, not like those horrid girl’s Dorritos.
Is it a gimmick? Well, a bit. But it’s also a genius idea. The packaging is beautiful and it turns out a stack is a way of carrying around your make up without rummaging through a bag full of bronzer-encrusted old eye make ups. These products are all cream formulations, so no risk of that happening here: they’re spill proof.
I spent January with my Mutton face daubed with new products, I’d more or less chosen at random from the website. But I wasn’t happy. I struggled to get the colours to work. The bottom line is I didn’t look as good as Trinny.
One of the tools on the website is a ‘Match2Me’ tool which suggests the best colours in the collection based on your basic skin, eye and hair tone. I struggled here. I may have over-thought it a little but I felt like this was an exam and once I get that exam-head on, anything can happen: I once spent an hour trying to get a Cosmo quiz to come out right.
There were physical issues too. You will be shocked to hear that these effortlessly ash blonde tresses you see on my Instagram though exactly what I was born with, are not quite what I grew up with. My base colour was once described (by a hair colourist, no less) as “Puddle”. So, decisions, decisions, what really counts – my actual or my natural colour?
I was about to press the ‘Too Hard” button when my 24:7 vigilante approach to all social media channels finally paid off. I noticed that the Trinny London site was offering ‘At Home’ appointments. Basically, you pay a deposit (£45) (offset against any purchases you make) and you get to visit the hub of Trinniness, her house in Chelsea, for a makeover. Readers, I couldn’t get there fast enough. If I was an Elvis impersonator this would be like being invited for a sleepover in Graceland.
To my delight, Trinny was there in person. (She doesn’t do the makeovers: they’re done by professional make up artists: I had the lovely Kate.) But she’s clearly very much involved in the business. I was quickly hustled up the stairs into the bathroom from where she often videos her Instagram an Facebook stories and we settled down to chat about the important things in life: micro needling; crepey knees and thighs; retinol and that annoying thing that happens to the skin on your chin once you hit 50.
Frankly I have never seen a more ordered space. A cosmetic filing system of little acrylic drawers lines the walls, carefully labelled. Trinny is clearly a Marie Kondo nut; a perfectionist or just has great help. “No!” she protested at this suggestion. “This is all me”. With Trinny in the background chatting, videoing and generally being Trinny, Kate revealed I am a pale olive complexion (because I tan) but am wearing the wrong colour foundation. So far, so good. She also showed me how to lose the increasingly wobbly eyeliner – my trademark look for half a century. All you need is the right eye makeup and a great mascara, (Kate used Lancome Hypnose which I found too clumpy and passed onto Ms Lamb who is very fond of it). I left glowing and with one or two extra bits. It’s not often I’ve ever been able to say this, but you should see the size of my stack now!
To give you a feel for this here are some, frankly terrible, photos of me pre-makeover, post makeover (in bright red lipstick because I asked if they could recommend a red that doesn’t make me look like a Pantomime Dame) and then me the next day with self-applied make up (no red lip). To be honest I was in two minds about sharing these photos. You will, I imagine, feel as I do when I’m sitting on the train opposite someone putting on her makeup. I’m fascinated by the process and what she’s using but frankly the improvement is imperceptible. As we all know make up is as much about how it makes us feel as how it makes us look.
PRE-MAKEOVER MRS MUTTON: ON THE WAY TO WORK, NOTE DARK EYE LINER AND PLENTY OF IT!
POST MAKEOVER MRS MUTTON: A LITTLE OVER LIT BUT CHECK OUT THAT GLOW
NEXT DAY MRS MUTTON; SKIN STILL LOOKING DEWY
What I enjoyed about the session was getting fresh eyes on my make up which I haven’t changed in at least fifteen years and in term of basic products probably not since I first stole my Mum’s Rimmel navy eye make up in 1973. All the products are cream based so you can put them on pretty easily and without worrying too much if you put on too much or too little as creams blend so easily. But Kate applied some of my make up with a brush and I’ve started doing the same if I’m not in too much of a hurry, It helps because I’m a bit cack-handed and can get cream eye makeup where my cream blusher should be. But mainly because I use so much less product. Anyway I had such a fun evening. I highly recommend it.
And as for the products? Well, to be honest, I’m too much of a beauty tart to stick religiously to one brand forever, but I do like these products a lot. They seem to be putting down roots in my make up bag and ever-so gently nudging out the Bobby Brown, Nars and Mac colours. Trinny London is a good idea. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
HERE’S MY STACK (don’t worry I didn’t buy it all at once)
CONTOURING Kate (strange looking colour but a very little in the hollows of your cheek creates the illusion of cheekbones. Also good I’ve found brushed lightly onto eyebrows to thicken them up)
FLUSH BLUSH Katrin
GOLDEN GLOW Jensta
LIP GLOW Thea