'What am I, an A-Z of what is in the kitchen cupboards?'
Welcome to Beauty Bytes: a place where I chat to celebrities about all things beauty – from their favourite products, to their biggest beauty disasters. Plus I grill them on everything from their social media habits to their all-time favourite meals. You know, all the important and essential things that we need to know about.
At the risk of throwing an over-used term around, Stacey Solomon really is one of the nation's sweethearts. Tons of fun and seriously warm, chatting with her feels just like catching up with an old (hilarious) friend. Ahead of the launch of her second Primark collection, we caught up with the smiley mum-of-three for a good old chat about beauty – and everything else.
LA: How do you practice a bit of self-care when you're feeling a bit rubbish? What do you do to look after yourself?
SS: I try and eat better, because generally if I'm feeling really low I'll eat really badly. So I have to make a conscious effort to drink loads of water, try and eat well, feel good. Most of the time I just speak to people, because I personally think the best thing for my own mental health is to have that conversation and say, ‘Oh my god, I feel terrible, help me!’ Learning that other people feel like that as well is really comforting. It gives you hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
LA: What does 'wellness' mean to you?
SS: For me personally, it's another thing that I don’t want to feel under pressure to do. There is so much we have to consider; be a great mum, be good at your job, enjoy working and being a parent, doing me time and wellness and all of this. It's quite like, 'Sugar, am I doing it all, am I getting it done?' But wellness to me is trying to bat away all of the pressures and relax a little bit, not take everything too literally. I personally have to really remind myself that it's all ok, everything is going to be fine, and just wind down and be a bit more in the present – rather than trying to do 72,000 things at once.
LA: Now, especially with phones, you are always contactable and you feel like you can't stop. Of course you can put your phone in another room, but it's difficult isn't it?
SS: You know, I got rid of mine for a week recently. I went to the woods with the boys and Joe, left my phone in a cupboard and only checked it at night in case there was an emergency. I took a polaroid camera; the only thing I missed was my camera, being able to go ‘snap, snap, snap, video, video, video’ of all the memories. Having a polaroid that costs £2 every time you take a picture, you're like, ‘errr...'
LA: ‘Oh this is cool!’ until you realise you've spent £500.
SS: Yeah, £20 later! But I did really enjoy it, you forget how reliant you are on your phone and like you said, people expect you to be at their beck and call straight away. Sometimes it's ok to say ‘no, that can come a bit later'.
LA: I'm always like, 'deal with it later'.
SS: Don’t you get anxiety though, when you see 92 new messages?
LA: Sometimes I turn the notifications off. My boyfriend will ring me from Tesco asking about dinner and I’m like, 'really sorry, phone was on silent…'
SS: I love the things they ask you, though. You sometimes think to yourself, 'what?’ The other day Joe was standing in the kitchen, I was sitting on the sofa, and he says, ‘Have we got any bread?!’ I was like, ‘You are in the kitchen? Open the bread bin and have a look?’ What am I, an A-Z of what is in the kitchen cupboards? 'We’ve got 5 slices of bread…’
LA: Let me just get my little inventory up.
SS: Yeah! Let me just go into the larder that is my brain.
LA: It’s always when the other person is doing the food shop they'll ring and say, ‘Right, can you look and see if we’ve got this, this and this?’ Never gets looked at before the shop.
LA: I think everyone does it. So, I love that with your new collection that you have a no re-touch policy…
SS: Yeah! We did it last year too, for the last few years I have tried really hard with that. I said to my agent, ‘I just don't want to be retouched at all and I want it in my contract’. It's alright if there's a mark on the wall and they want to get rid that, but my god, don’t touch me! I like my nose, I like my love handles, I like my body, please leave it alone, let it be.
LA: That sets such a nice precedent. Going back to social media and with lots of people seeing your image, especially teenagers, it send such a good message. Can you tell me a bit more about the campaign?
SS: We started working on it as soon as we finished the first collection. I got to make mood boards and get really involved, meet with the buyers, and it was so much fun!
LA: Did you love it?
SS: I loved it, I really loved it. With the first collection I felt 'this could be the only chance I get to do this', so I wanted to add a bit of everything – 'I need glitter, colour, this, that’, we just threw everything in there. Whereas this time it was a bit more directional, I got to go into trends and think, 'Oh, I’m gonna do a bit of that and carry it through the whole collection’. So it is really different to the last collection, but I am very excited.
LA: And it's out on the 10th of October, so great timing for Christmas. Can you talk me through your morning and evening skincare routines?
SS: I cleanse, tone and moisturise and at the moment I'm using Your Good Skin, which is from Boots and is super cheap.
LA: Love their stuff.
SS: It's so good isn’t it?
LA: Similar to No7, but a bit less expensive.
SS: It is! It is! Because you're using it every day you go through it like water, so yes I could spend £100 on a face cream, but that would be every month if I'm putting it on twice a day. Their stuff is good on my skin, I have to really work hard on my skin because it is not naturally flawless. It used to be and I would get like a period spot once a month, and then in my twenties I got really bad acne across my cheeks and chin.
LA: People often think its a teenage thing, but you can get it randomly at say, 28.
SS: Yeah, what the hell! I was not expecting it, it was when I was 25/26. I also realise that when I was younger I didn’t have to look after my skin as much, didn’t have to drink as much water, didn’t have to clean it as well…
LA: I often slept in my make-up when I was at school. Grim.
SS: Yes same! Go to bed, wake up and be like ‘Oh fantastic I look the same!’ I can get up and go with this. Get rid of the mascara that's fallen under my eyes and go! Whereas now I really do have to look after my face properly, not just at night after make-up, but in the morning, so I cleanse, tone and moisturise every day.
LA: What would you say your favourite skincare product is? Is there one thing you really like using?
SS: You know, that brand has got a night paste and you basically whack it on and leave it.
LA: I know the one, you wake up in the morning looking like a new woman.
SS: It's so good isn't it? It soaks into your face, then you wake up and your face is really smooth in the morning. I haven’t been able to do it since I had Rex because obviously he wakes up in the middle of the night; I can’t have a tan or anything because I'd get it all over him. I can’t wait for him to be sleeping through the night so I can put my sleep paste on and have a tan!
LA: What are your favourite three beauty brands?
SS: I'm gonna sound a bit of a 10 year old, but I really like Barry M.
LA: Very nostalgic.
SS: Again it's cheap, it's not tested on animals. Who else do I love? YourGoodSkin and probably Smashbox. I do like a bit of Smashbox.
LA: Good for the camera.
SS: Exactly, real glam.
LA: What's the worst beauty trend you've ever attempted?
SS: I used to glue my hair to my head. I don’t know who I thought I was, but I used to get hair gel and stick it down and oh my goodness, I looked like Gomez from The Addams Family. I look back at my photos and think, ‘what was I thinking?!'
LA: Was this hair down or scraped up?
SS: Both! It could be down or scraped back, I would either put it behind my ears or do a really big high bun. I don't know how I didn’t get a migraine. Honestly, it looks so sore.
LA: Like a facelift?
SS: Yeah, so tight!
LA: Incredible. What's the best beauty advice you've ever been given?
SS: Eat well and drink loads of water. It really does make a massive difference. Skincare is great and it does help, but fundamentally what you put in shows on the outside I guess. As depressing as that is – it would be great to have a magic cream – it's looking after my body.
LA: What is in your make-up bag at the minute?
SS: I've got a Smashbox bronzer palette that has a light, a medium and a dark shade. I use Tarte Shape Tape Concealer, and I've got the BECCA iridescent powder. My mascara is always Rimmel, the ones with the fat brushes, or the green and pink tube – old school, really classic. Maybelline, that's it. I often use bronzers as my eyeshadow because I like those colours, then most of my lips are Barry M. I have a couple by Jordana Cosmetics, she does these matte lipsticks, and a couple of NARS or whatever, but most of them are Barry M or Jordana.
LA: How do you look after your hair? Obviously not slicking it down.
SS: Not anymore! I stopped bleaching it about a year ago and that's the best thing I ever did for my hair. I loved being blonde so much but it ruined my hair. It's got so long now because I haven’t bleached it in ages; I don't need extensions anymore and it's super thick and shiny.
LA: How often do you work out? Do you have a favourite way to exercise? I mean, I’m sure you’re a bit busy right now as a new mum.
SS: Never! I do have a gym pass, I got a family one because the boys swim there and use the facilities a lot. Most of the time I go and eat in the café – I don’t know if that constitutes as a work out? I can wear my gym leggings there, eat in the caf' and let the boys go and play, then I come home and people say, ‘Oh where have you been today?’ ‘I've been to the gym obvs, I was there all day love.'
LA: If you’ve checked in, you're still there.
LA: What is your beauty secret?
SS: My mentality. If I think I’m beautiful and amazing, then I am. No magic wand, nothing is going to change that, as long as I feel good.
LA: Do you have a signature fragrance? Or a few different go-tos?
SS: There are fragrances that I love but they're nostalgic. Do you remember So…? Kiss Me? Oh my god, I sound like such a loser, but I love it because it reminds of me of school. I love Gucci Rush because when I was a teenager that was the smell that everyone wore. I love Dior Fahrenheit because my dad used to wear it all the time and it's super spicy. If Joe ever wears it I think ‘Get that off, that's my Dad’s smell!’ He makes it attractive and then it's weird, you know what I mean? I can’t let him wear the same aftershave as my Dad. So weird!
LA: Does your beauty routine change at all when you're on holiday? Do you take the same things?
SS: I don't really, I don't wear foundation whenever I'm in the sun because I sweat and I could get really spotty. I just glue a pair of eyelashes on and brush my eyebrows. Maybe put a lipstick on, but that's about as far as I go with make-up on holiday. It's so hot isn't it?
LA: I know, I’m just an SPF and go. Do you know what I really want? One of those spray tan machines, but it had SPF in.
SS: No way! The sun cream I used this year was Soltan, which was really good, but because I have a really sensitive face I use Neal's Yard, the organic one, and that was really nice. I wore that most days as my moisturiser. Soltan on the rest of my body, the kids and Rex.
LA: Aww, has he been to the beach?
SS: He has been to the beach, he loved it. But he’s got his daddy’s skin so we have to be careful!
LA: What are your three most used emojis?
SS: The purple love heart, and the really happy one that's like a square smile, do you know the one I mean?
LA: Yes, lots of people use that for 'awkward', but I use it for happy or excited too.
SS: I thought it was really happy! Oh god, I've been getting this wrong – I have literally said, ‘Congratulations on the birth of your child 😬’! What else do I use a lot? The crying emoji, the weeping one, because most of the time I am real-life crying. This is my life.
LA: What is your favourite book?
SS: I recently listened to the audiobook of A Brief History of Mankind by Yuval Noah Harari, I really enjoyed that. You have to listen to it a few times – well, I had to listen it a few times to actually get it. I kept having to go back to chapters and listening again, but it was so interesting, there are so many theories around how we have evolved. If you love that kind of thing you’ll really enjoy it. I also want to read Humble Pi, its all about funny maths equations and is a really fun way of looking at when they go wrong and when they go right. My kids love maths so I’m gonna try and get them to listen to it too.
LA: Oh, impressive!
SS: No, if you watched them hand-write... But you know, everyone's good at something, right?
LA: Maths is a good one to be good at.
SS: Yeah they enjoy it, which is all I care about.
LA: What would your last meal be?
SS: I hate the morbid questions, it scares the shit out of me! I think, ‘What do you know that I don’t?’ – am I gonna die?!
LA: Just your ultimate meal!
SS: I love a curry. My grandad is from Burma and my dad always cooked with spices and stuff. I just love the flavour and spices, so my ultimate meal would probably be some type of traditional Indian curry with rice, crackers and bread.
LA: All the side bits.
SS: Yeah, it's all about the poppadoms at the beginning really isn't it?
LA: I have about 20 onion bhajis. What's the weirdest pick-up line you’ve ever heard?
SS: I don’t really get chatted up. I’m an, ‘alright Stace!’ I’m not the ‘hell-oooooo’ kind of girl. I don’t think I have even ever heard one. When people describe it as, ‘Oh he walked up to me in the bar and he was like, "come here often?"’ – that has never happened to me.
LA: Someone else said, ‘You are so much prettier in real life', which is a weird one.
SS: Why would you say that?! I do get that a lot but it's better – people say, ‘ You look so much smaller in real life’. But that's fine, people don't mean it. I think they get so nervous to say something, I feel really bad most of the time because I can see them trying to work out what the right thing to say is. They might say it like that, but they don’t mean it like that. It's funny.
LA: Favourite TV show to binge-watch? Are you a Netflix-er?
SS: Oh yeah I do love Netflix. I was saying earlier I got through Stranger Things, Peaky Blinders, all of them in about four days, every series.
LA: Once you start though, I am so impatient. Do you know things that are on once a week? With Peaky Blinders I am almost like I don’t know if I’m gonna start it this weekend because I will get too annoyed that I can’t watch another one.
SS: That's like all of those series, Bodyguard and stuff I always wait to the end and I think I will watch it all together.
LA: Yeah, same with Killing Eve.
SS: Yeah, that's why Netflix is great, because it just goes, ‘Hi, here’s another Stranger Things. 10 episodes.’
LA: You can get in a real hole with niche documentaries.
SS: Yeah! Suddenly you're like, ‘I'd better become vegan.’
LA: I haven’t watched Cowspiracy yet.
SS: Oh don’t, Cowspiracy and What the Health, they put me off life! I was like, I don’t know if I can cope anymore, there is no answer to this.
LA: It can get a bit overwhelming if you watch too many ‘ the planet is gonna melt’ programmes.
SS: Yeah I mean it really is, and even though you sit there and think, 'I have got to make a conscious effort to change', and you do, it still doesn’t feel like enough. It all feels overwhelming.
LA: What is your favourite movie? Or movies, it is hard to pick just one…
SS: How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days. Oh my god, I love it, I don’t know what it is, maybe it's Matthew, but I just bloody love it. Again I think it's probably a nostalgia thing, I probably watched it as a teenager and got real comfort from it, and now if I just want to take my mind off something I will put that movie on.
LA: Kind of like the classics, I watched Notting Hill the other day…
SS: Oh yeah, Love Actually, classic.
LA: Do you have any favourite Instagram accounts that you like to stalk? Any funny ones?
SS: I stalk Chessie King, I stalk Caroline Hirons, I stalk Sali Hughes. I stalk loads of people. There are loads of people I absolutely love following, but off the top of my head... Who else do I stalk? I stalk Nadia Sawalha because she makes me happy. And Lewis Capaldi, I just love him.
LA: I could talk about him all day. Just when you think he's not going to get funnier, he does. I hope he's reading this. When he had his advert on the tube you’d see his little face through the window looking at you.
SS: Isn’t he the best? So funny!
LA: What was the first thing you bought with your first big pay cheque?
SS: A house.
LA: Oh, SO sensible.
SS: Immediately I thought, I have got to get on the property ladder otherwise I never will. I never imagined I would ever get on it because it is just not accessible is it. So when I was finally able to buy my own home, my dad and mum helped me and made sure I put all my money into my house.
LA: Who were you most star-struck meeting? Those moments where you've been like, wow.
SS: Oh I met Whoopi Goldberg, Drew Barrymore. On X Factor back in the day when they used to do masterclasses, I got to do a masterclass with Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, people I never imagined I would be within a mile radius of. I get star-struck all the bloody time.
LA: That’s nice that you aren't used to it, though.
SS: No! I saw the Inbetweeners not long ago and I was like, 'Oh my god, my life is complete!'
Stacey's second Primark collection launches in-stores on Thursday 10th October
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Lucy is a freelance beauty editor and contributor at Marie Claire, and has written for titles including Glamour, Refinery29, Popsugar, woman&home and more. She was previously Marie Claire’s junior beauty editor. During her career, she’s covered everything from backstage beauty at fashion week to interviews with famous faces like Drag Race royalty and Little Mix. As for her beauty ethos, she’s a big advocate for not having to spend a fortune on beauty products to get good results, and when she’s not got beauty on the brain you’ll find her reading or hanging out with dogs.
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