Happy Place

Fearne Cotton and her mum discuss how make-up affects our confidence

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Fearne Cotton
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Fearne Cotton and her mum, Lin, hold contrasting opinions when it comes to wearing make-up. Here, they come together to discuss what wearing make-up means to them, what it does to our confidence and how this can change as we get older…

Mother and I differ hugely on how we view make-up. I see it as an add on, something I put on if I’m in need of a pep-up or going to do something a little out of the ordinary. 

In comparison, Lin Cotton sees it as an essential necessity that can not be ignored, even if it’s just to go and fetch a pint of milk from the shop. 

On many occasions, mum has walked into my house and greeted me with the words, “oh, do put some mascara on, Fearne!”

I, on the other hand, would love to see my mum’s actual face without all of her make-up on. She’s naturally beautiful and has big, blue eyes that I would kill for, but she says she doesn’t ever feel quite ‘her’ without a painted face. She’s become an expert in her own look, and always appears mega-glamorous yet never overdone. 

So, to get to the bottom of it all, I sat down with mum to interview her about her relationship with beauty and make-up. This is what she said…

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I have seen you without make-up, maybe twice in my whole life. How do you feel about your own need for make-up? 

I have worn make-up since the age of 15 and I feel undressed without it. It’s my mask. It’s not a vanity thing, but it makes me feel better, brighter and more ‘me’.

I love not wearing make-up but I know you feel very different to me. How do you feel without it? 

I definitely feel more unattractive, pasty and ‘undressed’.

What would be your must-have make-up items? 

I would say, foundation, blusher, mascara, eyebrow pencil, eye shadow, kohl pencil for eyes, lip liner and lipstick. 

If I had to cut it down to my absolute must-haves, they would be eyeshadow, kohl pencil, mascara and lipstick… but that’s too painful to contemplate!

How does wearing make-up affect your confidence levels? 

The older I get, I feel it makes me more confident, as it covers a multitude of imperfections. When I was younger I could probably get away without it.

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How do you feel when you don’t have a face on?

I actually have never really not worn it. You may have seen me in my night clothes not wearing it, but I never go beyond my bedroom door without a full face of slap.

I can’t answer this one as I have never been out of the house, ever, without make-up on. It’s part of my routine, like cleaning my teeth.

How did your make-up routine differ to how it does now, in your… mystery age group? 

Ha! My mystery age of 64. Well, yes it has. When I was in my 30s I didn’t wear foundation, but when you get older it helps to even skin tone and hides little things, like broken veins. 

Plus, when I was younger I would wear quite garish eyeshadow colours, but now I realise that, for a blue-eyed person, a soft brown actually brings out the blue. Also, I actually had eyebrows when I was younger, but as you age they almost disappear so I ‘invent’ my own. It’s all downhill from here, folks!

Yes, I wish I hadn’t plucked my eyebrows when I was a teen. They’re a little thicker now but I ruined them in the Nineties! So annoying - maybe I’ll blame you for that one! How do you feel about ageing? You look fabulous, but do you feel it? 

It’s not that great getting older, but as they say, ‘getting older is a privilege denied to many’ so I make the best of it. I certainly don’t think I look fabulous but I do the best I can with what I have. Of course, make-up now is so brilliant and the choice is marvelous, unlike years ago.

I’m not into the idea of Botox at all and, while I know you’ve never done anything like this before, how do you feel about it?

Botox is a very personal thing and if it makes you feel better, then go for it. It’s not for me though, I like to think my face tells a story.

Plus, I have moisterised my face since I was 15 years old and it has certainly paid off,  plus the fact that we have pretty good skin genes in our family.

Who are your beauty icons? 

My top beauty icon is Marilyn Monroe because she is beyond beautiful. But there’s also Brigitte Bardot, Halle Berry and Ava Gardner… I could go on and on.

For one day only on Tuesday 27 March, Fearne Cotton has taken over stylist.co.uk and transformed it into her very own Happy Place – a digital sanctuary, focusing entirely on wellness, happiness and good mental health.

For similarly inspiring and uplifting content, check out Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place, available on Apple Podcasts now.

Images: Instagram / Courtesy of Fearne Cotton