Makeup in lockdown: part two of our interview with Tricia Cusden

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Tricia Cusden helped thousands of women connect through makeup in lockdown.
Thousands of women connected through makeup in lockdown. Photo: Look Fabulous Forever

Tricia Cusden is a makeup expert for older women. In part two of our interview, Trisha tells us what makeup means to her, and the unexpected role makeup played for women around the world in lockdown.

Find part one here.

“Women started to post photos of themselves on our Facebook page wearing makeup, even though they were in lockdown.”

Everyone’s face is unique, so what does that mean for older women choosing makeup?

Well, yes, every face is unique but there are common characteristics and features. The approach that we’ve taken is to make a lot of video content, so we’ve always had a very strong presence on YouTube. We’ve had millions of views on YouTube and what we’re doing is educating our customers, showing them:

  1. each of the products
  2. why each of those products each of those products is good
  3. how to apply each of those products

So we’re doing that on a product level but we’re also doing it on an overall look level. So we’ll say, “here’s how to do a five minute quick makeup look”. “Here’s how to do a glamorous evening look.” “Here’s how to work with hooded eyes.” Or anything and everything!

What do you do if you wear glasses? What do you do if you’ve got a problem of blemishes or age spots or things like that? So we can show you how to overcome those specific issues.

“Makeup is an expression of the person that I am.”

Photo: Look Fabulous Forever

What’s your favourite makeup look for yourself?

I wear makeup every day and I put it on fairly carefully, so I wouldn’t say that I have a sort of “no makeup” makeup look at all! You can always see when you look at my face that I’ve got makeup on. I play around a bit with my eyes. I don’t always do the same eye treatment – sometimes I put less on, sometimes I put more on. But I really enjoy eye makeup; I think eye makeup is really essential for me now. Especially my eyebrows which have more or less disappeared.

And I also love a strong lipstick. So I’d say that my overall makeup look is quite a punchy look if you like. As I said, people know that I’m wearing makeup, but I make no apologies for that. I think that because I trained as a makeup artist when I was about to launch the business, I know how to apply makeup well and I think that my makeup generally looks as though it’s been applied professionally.

“I think it makes me look more sophisticated, more polished and more finished when I’ve got my face on.”

For me, it’s about looking finished. I think it makes me look more sophisticated, more polished and more finished when I’ve got my face on. And I when I get up in the morning, I don’t feel like me until I put my makeup on.

It’s an expression of the person that I am. And it’s a very, very important part of my identity.

The UK went into lockdown for three months in March 2020. How did that affect your business?

And we thought our business would fall off a cliff. We thought it would die. But in fact it didn’t. And it didn’t because I did a lot of social media.

“we thought our business would fall off a cliff. we thought it would die.”

I did a daily video for five days a week for three months. I did 60 videos. We call them “Tea Time at the Ritz with Trisha”, and I talked about anything and everything. Some of the videos were about makeup, some of them were about hair, and all sorts of things. It was quite good fun, and we got huge engagement.

Women started to post photographs of themselves on our Facebook page wearing their makeup, even though they were in lockdown. We did competitions like “show us your favourite lipstick”. And instead of falling off a cliff, our business actually grew during lockdown. We sold more makeup, not less. And I think it was because we were doing so much to help.

“We sold more makeup, not less. I think it was because we were doing so much to help.”

I kept saying if you get up every morning, and you have the same routine as you would have if you’re going out, you’ll feel better. Get up a bit, put something nice on to wear, do your hair, do your makeup. And all day, you’re only going to take the dog out for a walk (you’re only allowed out once in the day), but even so you will feel more normal.

The fact that I was doing all this social content, really kept our customers engaged. We’ve got a special closed Facebook page, which has got six and a half thousand members on it. Every day, they’re posting stuff. They’re doing a whole load of before and after pictures of themselves at the moment and encouraging each other like crazy to see how much better they look with their makeup on.

See part one of our interview here.

In part three, find out why it’s important to keep taking risks – with your style, and with your life.

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