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Instagram Live with Madeleine Spencer

Instagram Live with Madeleine Spencer


I first got to speak to Maddie on her Beauty Full Lives Podcast in November last year. We discussed the role of beauty and its emotional impact on my life, my move from Nigeria to London, my career from working at my mum’s restaurant to being a global makeup artist creating looks for Vogue, Elle and Marie Claire before being presented with an MBE for my services to the British cosmetics industry. 

It feels like a lifetime has passed since then!

During this lockdown I am rapidly learning how to embrace technology so that I can still talk to friends in the industry – self isolation doesn’t have to mean being isolated!

Today we talked beauty routines, ageing and menopause, diet and supplements, lighting for online dating as well as makeup application tips.

My Beauty Routine
It always shocks people when I tell them I am 58 years old.. the first question that usually follows is what is my beauty regime? It is very simple firstly, I have good genes and I keep hydrated. I then follow a regime of cleansing, hydrating and protecting.

Right now I am not wearing a lot of makeup and as I’m not venturing outside my skin is relatively clean so I am using a light cleanser such as Cerave. You still need to make sure that you are sloughing off the dead skin cells to keep your skin looking radiant.

I like Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and try to get regular facials. I love any facial that really gets the blood flowing whether it is by Nichola Joss, Anastacia Achilleos, Alexandra Soveral or my lovely local facialsit Yvonne Martin. If you can’t get to a facialist try a jade roller or facial massager and massage your face upwards and outwards.

I am not doing anything particularly extra whilst having to stay indoors though I am taking more time enjoying smelling the oils and serums taking them in before applying.

Skin care is like a multiple choice test… you need to go through a list and tick all the results you want and compare to the issues you have to be able to work out which ones most suit you.

I forgot to mention SPF but I always protect my skin and love Le Roche Posay Anthelios 50+

Diet (and supplements)
I have never eaten really badly, I used to get cravings at that time of the month and eat chocolate but I don’t crave that now. I love salad and brown rice, though there is nothing like the comfort of fresh basmati rice with dhal. My husband is of Italian decent so we eat a lot of mozzarella with balsamic and olive oil. I eat fish and meat and am mindful of eating good fats for my skin and not too much red meat as my family has a history of heart disease.

Though I eat a good diet I take supplements but always as a supplement not a substitute. At the moment I am taking Altrient Vitamin C, Magnesium, B Complex as well as Omegas 3,6, and 9. I worry about my hair thinning so I also take Viviscal though you need to take for at least 3-6 months to see the benefits.

Makeup Application Tips Q&As
Q. Do you have foundation application tips for women in their 40s and over?

A. First you need to make sure you find the right shade and texture, this can take a lot of trial and error to find exactly what you are looking for. Though we can’t test in store currently I always recommend asking for a small sample pot and testing on your face. Get the three closest colours and once home try them on, wear them for at least an hour so they have time to sit on the skin. Once you have found your shade and preferred level of coverage and finish (matt, tint, powdery, dewy) repeat the mantra ‘less is more’. I don’t always wear foundation tending to conceal where I need it rather than cover the whole of my skin. For foundation you should only apply where needed starting from the centre of the face and working outwards. I used to use my fingers a lot but am now using brushes to pat formulas in. To get the most flawless coverage apply thin layers rather than one thick gloopy layer.

 If you want to conceal a skin issue start with skincare, this underpins the foundation.

Q. What should you do around the eye area?
A. No matter how old you are add in eye care to your routine. When I was younger everyone would laugh when I got my eye gel out of the fridge but I have always done it. There are so many wonderful creams and serums that you can use which can then be supplemented with cosmetics to cover blemishes / dark circles. I use Sisley, Willowberry, Skinceuticals, ,Trish McAvoy.. just don’t use anything too heavy too close to the eyes as it will have the opposite effect.

Q. How do you sort your everyday makeup?
A. Having this extra time at home has allowed me to really go through my makeup organising everything. I like to group items into colour families so that I can easily find items that will work together.

Q. What advice do you have on growing eyebrows?
A. This lockdown is a blessing or eyebrows! Use this time to leave them to grow, use products such as Rapidbrow or even just plain castor oil. If you need to pluck make sure to avoid the frame, just take the outliers. Use a clear gel or Soap Brow to train them upwards.

Makeup for Video Dating / Online Meetings:
Make sure you choose the right area so that you can set up your phone / camera and then you need to get your lighting correct. Take a few selfies to test how the lighting is working for you. Overhead lighting can be very harsh casting dark circles under your eyes, it is better to have lighting from different angles

Keep your features sharp by brushing up your brows, use eye drops to brighten the eyes, a hint of blush and lip balm. Finally before going live make sure to check your teeth, 

I describe myself as an optimistic realist and I like to face things head on to overcome adversity, because I know that even when I am facing a struggle I will get through it. Whatever the crisis, I take a deep breath, that breath gives you 5 seconds to calm. After that I call on my faith, my mentors and loved ones.. all of the people that support me. If you deal with things truthfully and forgive yourself you find inner calm.

I mediate and pray and repeat as I find I need to and if I am fearful I write what is on my mind down in black and white before screwing it up and setting it alight -  We have to address our fears. I also turn to others for support, when you need help there are bucketloads of loving people out there.

What are my three go to make up products?

  1. Blusher – for a youthful flush of healthy colour
  2. Mascara- to brighten and widen the eyes
  3. My Magnetic Brush Set – it allows me to do everything I want on a daily basis without going through my kit

My parting piece of advice “Don’t compare yourself to anyone – that is a huge battle to win!”