Interview: Liz Earle On The Beauty Industry, Charity Work & Leaving London

Liz co-founded the award-winning Liz Earle Beauty Co (acquired by Avon in 2010) where she remains a brand ambassador, and is the bestselling author of over 30 books on beauty, natural health and nutrition.

Liz’s latest venture Liz Earle Wellbeing, draws on all her research and trusted expertise, and aims to provide information on how to feel good, look good and do a little good along the way. She also launched her own charity, LiveTwice, last year. Liz is a long-term supporter of organic food, and lives in the West Country on a thriving organic, pasture-fed farm with her husband Patrick, five children and three dogs, together with a brood of Marans hens, three flocks of rare-breed sheep and a herd of pedigree Hereford cattle.

What inspired you to go into the beauty industry?

A combination of many things. I grew up with a passion for plants, inherited from my father who is a keen plantsman. I also have super-sensitive skin and had bad eczema when younger, so I used plants such as evening primrose to help. My first magazine job for Woman’s Journal encouraged me to write and research, which led to writing books and making TV programmes, which eventually led to founding a botanical beauty brand.

You moved to the beautiful rural West Country from London – what are the major benefits of country living for the family, and do you miss city life?

I love the balance of having both. I am based on a West Country farm but spend a night or two in London most weeks. We moved to the countryside initially for the children – to buy a few more years of freedom and childhood. Climbing trees, collecting freshly laid eggs, gathering snowdrops – all simple pleasures that keep them grounded and aware of the changing seasons. I find it easier to do things together as a family – farm walks, village market shopping, collecting conkers, picnics – and there is more opportunity to spend time out in the fresh air. That said, I do love the buzz of being in town and being able to find speciality children’s shops and activities.

You are a patron for The Prince’s Trust and you recently got involved with their Tomorrow campaign.  Tell us a bit about this important charity and what it means to you.

I think mentoring the younger generation is one of the most valuable things any of us can do. They are our future and we can help them avoid so many pitfalls in work and life generally simply by sharing our knowledge and experience. I’m a huge admirer of The Prince’s Trust and have met many of their success stories. I discovered recently that top international make-up artist Kerry September, who I’m sometimes fortunate enough to work with, was given her first break by The Prince’s Trust. Giving others a hand-up and not just a hand-out is the way ahead for the world and was the guiding principle for me when founding my own charity www.livetwice.org

What’s the one baby product you couldn’t have lived without?

When I was pregnant with my fifth (and final!) baby I discovered the versatile joy of using pure, medical grade lanolin as a multi-purpose sensitive skin salve. Since then, I’ve kept a tiny tube in my bag at all times. I travel a lot, most recently to the arid, dusty environs of East Africa, and this was a marvel at keeping my lips chap-free in super-extreme environmental conditions. I also use it on my children when their lips get especially chapped and sore in the winter months.

 

You have children aged 3, 11, 13, 20 and 23. What’s family life like having children of different ages?

A real blessing as the older ones look after the younger ones, and the younger ones are inspired by the older ones. Not planned – but I highly recommend it!

What’s your favourite family recipe?

I invented a recipe for a simple tuna and courgette lasagne last summer when I needed to find a family lunch dish fast and all we had in the pantry was a jar of tuna, some lasagne sheets and a handful of courgettes in the veg garden. Since then, this has become an absolute family favourite – and was actually the first recipe I posted on my Wellbeing website!

What would we find in your makeup bag and what is your favourite beauty product?

Boringly it is all Liz Earle Beauty Co. makeup! with the exception of a tiny tube of Medela lanolin for treating sore lips. I start with Sheer Skin Tint in 02 Beige, which I especially like for its mineral SPF15 skin protection. I always use a cream blusher on top, which suits my dry skin. I find Rose, a real English rose shade, works well for me and makes me look naturally healthy, not overly made up. I use neutral shades on my eyes, Nude all over my eyelids, topped with a little Taupe for definition, then lashings of black mascara and that’s about it. For my hair I also love the classic Batiste dry shampoo (a life-saver when travelling and time is tight, as well as the classic unscented Elnett hairspray – hard to find but worth seeking out).

What beauty regime would you recommend for a busy mama?

There’s no question that cleansing is the cornerstone of great skin and my absolute all-time favourite beauty must-have is the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. It’s been incredibly fulfilling to create such a well-loved skincare classic, that’s now going global! I’ve lost count of how many awards and accolades this one skincare product has won – around 100 or more. The brilliant thing is that it works for all skin types and the muslin cloth makes it all so fast and easy, just leaving skin smooth, clean and exceptionally clear. I found it a real skincare asset too during pregnancy when my skin sometimes went a bit hormone-haywire.

What’s in the pipeline for you next?

I recently launched my Wellbeing website as a home for all my books, recipes and films on living well. It’s also where you’ll find information on many important food issues, such as my Keep On the Grass milk projects, which highlights the importance of giving pasture-fed milk to the under-fives. A simple switch, but one that can make a significant difference to toddler brain development. I’m also working on a small range of Liz Earle Fine Jewellery, using Fair Trade gold and ethically sourced stones. This is proving to be a fascinating project and another really important area to shine a spotlight on.

How would you sum yourself up in one sentence?

Someone who walks the talk.

Liz Earle MBE

Liz Earle MBE

READ MORE: Emma Bunton On Creativity, Having Children And Co-Founding Kit & Kin

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