Stacey Dooley on the merits of coconut oil, French skincare and keeping your hair colour in lockdown

Welcome to Beauty Bytes, a place where we chat to celebrities about all things beauty, from their favourite products to the best advice they’ve ever been given. Read on for the beauty low-down from the nation's sweetheart, Stacey Dooley…

Stacey Dooley portrait

Welcome to Beauty Bytes, a place where we chat to celebrities about all things beauty, from their favourite products to the best advice they’ve ever been given. Read on for the beauty low-down from the nation's sweetheart, Stacey Dooley…

Stacey Dooley is the fiery redhead who is also ratings dynamite - whether she's confronting international drug dealers or waltzing her way to the Glitter Ball Trophy on Strictly Come Dancing. All pretty high octane stuff.

Over Zoom, she reveals a more relaxed, off-duty version of herself as she talks about her new role as the face of Clairol Nice’n Easy...

FIONA: Congratulations on your new role with Nice’n Easy!

STACEY: It’s quite self deprecating as I am probably the most unglamourous person that I know. So it's sort of quite hysterical that I have found myself in this situation, but here we are.

Stacey Dooley

FIONA: Unglamorous? Never. OK, so what does beauty mean to you?

STACEY: I know everytime I say this, it is like a disclaimer as I know it sounds really cheesy and earnest. But I think the older you get, it is less about perfection and symmetry and flawlessness. It is more about how you see yourself, how you treat other people and how you carry yourself. There are so many variations of beauty. I meet so many women and the minute they walk in the room you feel their energy and I think-  she's beautiful. I think beauty changes and the importance of it changes the older you get. 

FIONA: I agree. Beauty is hard to define but I also think it should be. I don't believe in putting people in neat little boxes...

STACEY: I do think that increasingly we are all coming to that conclusion. We are desperate to see different types of beauty, so it's cool that we are moving in the right direction.

FIONA: So the new Clairol Nice’n Easy campaign very much takes away the fear factor about how to dye your own hair at home. What made you decide to take the plunge and dye your own hair?

STACEY: It was definitely born out of necessity, I can’t lie. It was lockdown, like everyone my roots were totally out of control and I can’t physically go to the salon. So I thought I am going to try it, and even if it is a disaster, I don’t have to go anywhere. I can just put it up and they will never notice on Zoom. I was lucky, it worked out and I was really happy with it.

Stacey Dooley

Clairol Nice'n Easy, Boots

Stacey Dooley

Buy it now

FIONA: What do you think are the big myths about at-home colour that you are able to bust now, having done it yourself?

STACEY: I think you always imagine the worst, you are ready for disaster! I was worried the colour was not going to be consistent and it would only take in certain areas and I would end up with stripes. Admittedly, the first time I did it I got it all over the bathroom and my T-shirt but the colour itself was great and that was a real relief.

FIONA: Have you ever cut your own hair?

STACEY: I can’t think of anything worse than trying to cut my own hair. When I was young, me and the other girls on the estate used to cut each other's hair and it was just totally shambolic. You can imagine, we are 15 years-old and we are desperate to give ourselves the layers and feathering that Jennifer Aniston had. You won’t be surprised to hear it did not turn out well.

FIONA: I can imagine! What products do you use to care for your hair now?

STACEY: I use a coconut oil that I get from Holland & Barrett as my hair grows so quick and that hides the split ends. I wash it once a week or so and let it dry naturally. When it comes to styling, I go to bed with it wet as I like it the next day when it’s a bit worn.

Vita Coconut Oil, Holland & Barrett

Stacey Dooley Vita Coconut Oil, £3.49, Holland & Barrett

Buy it now

FIONA: What is the best tip a professional hairdresser has ever given you?

STACEY: I suppose, 'don’t wash it'. I think sometimes there is the temptation to wash your hair every day and it’s not great for it actually. Red hair colour is so hard to keep hold of.

FIONA: You mentioned lockdown. I think everyone's skin is freaking out at the moment as a result of stress and being indoors too much. What are your skin concerns right now?

STACEY: I am really into skincare, not makeup at all. I am very much the sort of 'clean skin, and hair brushed out or in a slick pony' type of girl. To keep my skin healthy I always double cleanse at night. I really love all the stuff from French supermarkets, like Avene and Nuxe’s oil. Their price points are fair and they are quite simple. I also use a coconut oil on my lips and under my eyes. I should be more militant with the SPF, that is what everyone says. So why am I not listening? Tomorrow I will start.

Avene Gentle Milk Cleanser, Lookfantastic

Stacey Dooley, Avene Gentle Milk Cleanser, £11.50, Lookfantastic

Buy it now

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi Usage Dry Oil, Lookfantastic

Stacey Dooley, Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi Usage Dry Oil, £18.50, Lookfantastic

Buy it now

FIONA: What is your favourite ride or die beauty product?

STACEY: Dry shampoo. I like Batiste Original Dry Shampoo or I just tend to put baby talc in my hair.  

FIONA: What make-up do you like using on a special occasion?

STACEY: I have a make-up artist that sorts me out when I work. We always go for dewy, glossy skin and then more of an eye than a lip. Nars eyeshadow and concealer and Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer are my go-tos.

Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, Lookfantastic

Stacey Dooley, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer, £24, Lookfantastic

Buy it now

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, Cult Beauty

Stacey Dooley, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, £35, Cult Beauty

Buy it now

FIONA: What is the best beauty or makeup tip you have been given backstage?

STACEY: I guess the older you get, it’s less is more. So less product in the hair. When you are young you are throwing it on.

FIONA: What is your favourite way to exercise?

STACEY: I love boxing as a stress buster. I love dancing, which is incredible. Even if I go on a night out, which has not been for months, I love dancing until silly o’clock. I hate running, though. I don’t understand and can’t think of anything worse.

FIONA: Do you still do ballroom dancing? It always amazes me the transformation of people's bodies from dancing.

STACEY: You become so fit, I can’t tell you. Physically your entire body changes and you are like a walking muscle. You get out of the bath and you're like, 'wow I look incredible'. Even in three months you can basically change your whole body.

FIONA: Fragrance wise, do you have a signature scent and what does it remind you of?

STACEY: I wear Portrait of a Lady. I like more masculine scents - nothing too girly, floral or sweet. I like to smell like leather or wood.

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady Eau de Perfume, Net-A-Porter

Buy it now

FIONA: Favourite way to relax? And how do you do that when you are so busy on set?

STACEY: I am a real homebody. I am my happiest at home on the sofa, with a cup of tea and the telly on. I love watching Netflix or having music on like Gloria Estefan and Tina Turner. 

FIONA: Favourite meal to have at home?

STACEY: I make a really really good roast dinner. Everytime I go out for a roast, I think this is not as good as mine.

FIONA: What does wellness mean to you?

STACEY: To me it means feeling content, I suppose. Having calmness in your life represents wellness to me.

Stacey Dooley

FIONA: Calmness is a really hard thing to achieve. Any tips?

STACEY: I think calmness is what we are all searching for. We are all desperate to genuinely switch off and have perspective. Which is hard as we all have deadlines and goals and people we don’t want to let down. But actually you are only here for a short period of time. So soak it all up and don't catastrophise - which, I know, is easier said than done. I know we are all on this journey with technology, but I hope that in years to come we all fall out of love with the desire to constantly be online.

FIONA: What is your favorite book and why?

STACEY: I really loved the Elton John biography. I found that really compelling and learnt so much. It was very candid so I enjoyed that. Have you read The Bees? That is a very heavy read and it requires concentration but I gravitate more towards editorials than I do fiction. I love magazines and reading articles online. I love the images and illustrations. Yes, I really love consuming decent magazines.

FIONA: Is there a box set that you have been binge watching?

STACEY: Oh my god POSE. It is the best thing I have seen in a while. I found it really beautiful and it forces you to reflect. It’s about the queer community in New York in the 80’s and the LGBT kids and what they are up against. It’s interesting, you know, as they were losing so many of their kids to Aids and there was judgement there and preconceived ideas. At the time I watched POSE, it was when BLM and Corona were playing out so there were parallels. Billy Porter is magnificent in it. Great art forces you to think about situations that don’t necessarily affect you.  

FIONA: Finally, do you have a mantra that sums up who you are and your attitude to life?

STACEY: 'Life is short right so don't take yourself too seriously'. I also really believe in being kind and decent. As long as you are trying to do the right thing you will get there in the end.

Fiona Embleton

Fiona Embleton has been a beauty editor for over 10 years, writing and editing beauty copy and testing over 10,000 products. She has previously worked for magazines like Marie Claire, Stylist, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health. Beauty journalism allowed her to marry up her first class degree in English Literature and Language (she’s a stickler for grammar and a self-confessed ingredients geek) with a passion for make-up and skincare, photography and catwalk trends.