Trinny Woodall: 'women used to worry about how they looked for men, now they do it for themselves'

The beauty mogul on ageing, Botox, and why she’s paying attention to her neck

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Trinny Woodall’s latest Trinny London product is a neck serum
Trinny Woodall

Just before I meet Trinny to discuss her latest skincare launch, The Elevator, which is designed to treat much-ignored neck skin, I scrutinise my own neck. It’s always been an area I’ve skimmed a bit of serum over, maybe moisturised, sometimes spf-d up — but never somewhere I’ve payed an awful lot of attention to.

Things aren’t perilous in that department, I decide as I peer at it, but some wrinkles and laxity have set in. Since then I’ve been slathering it in the serum-moisturiser hybrid that is The Elevator as per Trinny’s instructions. If you too aren’t terribly well acquainted with your neck, now’s the time to take a good look: the area is becoming part of the conversation in beauty quarters, and products catering to it are landing on my desk increasingly often. 

Trinny, 60, whose brand has always been ahead of the curve, started making inroads three years ago. She wanted to create what she describes as a concentrate or “serum on steroids.” The neck is uniquely tricky to treat, she tells me. “I’ve tried so many neck creams that feel good and smell good but wanted to know what it was actually doing — and I didn’t want to make anything unless I felt it could actually do something.” That something includes: restoring the connection between the skin layers to prevent skin sagging courtesy of Isodonis Japonicas Photo Extract, boosting collagen via a peptide blend, and reducing age spots thanks to the antioxidant action of encapsulated Alpha Arbutin. 

Trinny’s latest product launch, The Elevator
Trinny London

Trinny is well aware and keen to hammer home that caring for the neck doesn’t end with applying a product, however diligently you do so, or however effectively formulated that product is. “We need to think about posture — you shouldn’t look down at your phone, for example — I literally want to go on the tube and get that message to everyone. Lift up your neck; it’s so nice to look up and it’s much better for the neck!”

While she isn’t an advocate of ‘anti-ageing’ products on very young skin, she absolutely thinks that the neck is an area we should be caring for in the same way we do our faces. “I’ve been using The Elevator for six months and my neck wasn’t brilliant; this is the first time I’ve noticed a difference. But I didn’t even have a phone until I was in my 40s, so my neck was probably in a better condition than someone who’s now 30 and has used a phone for 20 years.”

She adds that surgery isn’t necessarily the best option if one is really concerned about their neck. “Oddly, a lower neck lift is one of the most challenging things to do surgically.” So, where does Trinnt draw the line between skincare and rather more invasive measures. Her answer is characteristically no nonsense. “It’s really important to know what each one does. I started botox when I was 35 because I was going on TV and I wanted my forehead to stop moving. It was such a relief, because I was so aware of it. But then I know people who’ve had a bit more botox but haven’t had a great skincare routine and that doesn’t look great — the skin has no life, and texture plays a very big role in support and structure. So, yes, if you had fillers it would give you volume where maybe you don’t have it — but you might not think your skin looks good.”

My overriding impression from the many times I’ve interviewed Trinny over the years is her energy — she is a ball of assertiveness and complete conviction. It therefore makes sense that the thing that most bothers her about ageing is looking tired. “It’s about how that reflection feeds back into my emotional state. I went to Dublin recently on a really long press tour and I slept five hours a night for a week and it showed on my face — I looked hollow-eyed. I’m not really worried if I have more lines under my eyes, but I am bothered when I look tired.” 

Trinny Woodall
Trinny London

Part of not looking tired is, for Trinny, now intrinsically related to not feeling bored. Whereas her 40s were devoted to learning to be a mum and her 50s were about growing her career, now, confident in both roles, Trinny has decided her 60s are a little less rigid. “It’s such a relief to know what you don’t want — but anything new to me, I will always try. Over the weekend, that meant sweet bread and eels for dinner.”

This seems to carry through to all her choices, including her appearance. She only thinks about the way she looks from the perspective of whether she — and not a man — is happy with it. “In the past, perhaps women did a little bit more for the sake of men, and now they do it for themselves. I think that a conversation to be had.”

Knowing Trinny, I’ve no doubt she’ll be leading the charge.