From Gwen to Jen and everyone in between - plus how to nail the look now
Q&A: Jemma Kidd talks beauty and health
You've talked about being on a quest for perfect skin - how's that going
Yes, I am. It's a long road. We're getting there but I think I'm understanding skin a lot better now.
Udo's Choice Ultimate Oil Blend - is that one of the ones that you'd recommend, one of the things that helps?
I really highly recommend Udo's Choice. I call it beauty in a bottle. I've been using it myself for many, many years. It was when I realised that make-up wasn't enough, it's actually what you put in your body that's equally important to your skin, to your hair, to your nails, to your mind, everything. When I did lots and lots of research, I found that Udo's Choice was the perfect blend of the essential fatty acids that really help your skin, and just your lifestyle. I've been taking it and I'm living proof that honestly it really does work, it's fantastic.
Is that the key for you? The Omega oils, 3, 6 and 9?
It's also the ratio, because at the moment our diets are too high in Omega 6 so we've got to lift up the Omega 3. And when you've got the right balance then that's when it starts to, you get the real benefits from it. This bottle, the Udo's Choice, has the perfect balance - my children [twins Mae and Arthur, nearly 2 ½] take it, my husband [Arthur Wellesley, Earl of Mornington] takes it, I take it. It really does make a difference.
How do you have it? Just neat from the bottle or do you mix it with a drink or juice
Yeah, it's a very distinctive taste so some people don't like it, some people do like it. If you do like it, I just have it on a salad, use it like a vinaigrette or over steamed vegetables, that sort of thing. My husband, he has it more, he tries to mask the taste, he has it in a smoothie or apple juice is really good. Some people have it on porridge, it all depends. But you can have it on hot food or in drinks or on salads, it's up to you.
Is there anything else, when it comes to skincare, that you think most women don't do or don't think about? Any other key products you can't live without?
I think it's something you put inside and that's water. I know people get so bored and you have to go to the loo endlessly to get enough water, but honestly it really does help the skin. Dehydration is the one thing I'm seeing more and more and more in women, you touch their skin and oh God, it feels like sandpaper. You lose the lustre, the plumpness. So definitely water, maybe with a bit of lemon in it if you're bored of the taste of water. Then there's using products that aren't too harsh on the skin, don't strip the natural oils. I'm a massive fan of Dove beauty bar (from 68p) as a cleanser, I think it's fantastic, it's really really good, I use it myself. You can buy all these expensive cleansers but I tell you what, that little bar of soap is fantastic. Then just get a really good moisturiser, it doesn't have to be expensive. The only thing I'd say to spend money on is serums - you can get antioxidant serums, vitamin C serums, really quite potent serums that you put on before your moisturiser. So invest in that, get the Dove beauty bar, a nice light moisturiser and you're good to go.
Do you have a favourite serum?
I absolutely love SkinCeuticals - they have some really high antioxidant serums with vitamin C, and Sarah Chapman has some amazing serums. She's a really wonderful little boutique brand, I go to her for my facials, and she's got some fantastic overnight serums and an exfoliating serum which you can put if you've got, I've extra blackheads and it's fantastic for that. They're my two favourite, SkinCeuticals and Sarah Chapman.
One of the things people tend to forget about when they think about make-up, is having great skin is your ultimate canvas.
Absolutely. In this day and age, why cover good skin, if you've got good skin? You don't need to be covering it with loads of make-up, which in daylight can look horrific. Some people use so much make-up, and it makes them look worse. Too much foundation, too much powder can age you, make you look older than you are. I believe if you've got good skin, just embrace it and enhance it, you don't have to cover it. If you're taking the right nutrients and taking the right foods and liquids, you will get good skin. Even though I have a make-up brand, I'm all about make-up being there to enhance, it's there to bring out features, it's not there to mask.
You must be the envy of everybody for your make-up range - you have everything to play with, can wake up and think 'I wish I had an eyeshadow in this colour', then you can just go off and invent it.
Yes, I can. It's like Charlie and the chocolate factory, it is a complete joy and it's a huge love of mine, and it's been an incredible few years working with make-up, I love it. I love it.
It must be hard picking out a few but if you had to pick three favourite products, what would they be?
It's like asking which one is your favourite child. I'd like another 40. That's so difficult. I think there's a couple of products I'm really really proud of. The veil (Skin Rescue Bio-Complex Veil, £32) which is my skin rescue. It's basically a BB cream and I created this before the BB cream phase that's going on now. It's basically everything in one, it's got a little bit of tint to it, a little bit of coverage, it's a primer, it's got antioxidants, vitamins, SPF, so it nourishes the skin. So if you have got good skin and you're having a good skin day, this is the perfect baby, it's got everything in it. That's a fantastic product. This product here might make you go "Oh my God, is that Shrek's foundation?", but it's not - this is a colour corrector (Ultimate Colour Corrector, £14), a unique colour to the Jemma Kidd brand. It's Citrus, it has a little bit of yellow and a little bit of green, so it counteracts redness around the face and also blue and purples underneath the eyes. It's a really beautiful consistency because it's quite sheer. You put it on and it just knocks out all the red, and redness is such a big problem with skin, the sun and dehydration, too much alcohol and too many toxins, all that sort of thing. Redness is a real problem. This is a way of taking out red and not having to conceal with powder and foundation, so this is a phenomenal little product, I'm incredibly proud of that, you can see how it got rid of all the red. My eyeliners are amazing, really long-lasting, incredible. They're really creamy and buttery and then they dry and they just don't move, they are waterproof, sweat-proof, you-name-it-proof. That's three, but I could go on.
What about from other ranges, have you got any favourites?
Yes, I just love Chanel, their foundations, Vitalumière (Vitalumière Satin Smoothing Fluid Makeup, £33) is fantastic, really creamy and really light, it's genius. I think there's an incredible mascara from Christian Dior but also Max Factor, they're great mascaras. I think Laura Mercier - I love her skin-brightening powders (Secret Brightening Powder, £18.50). There are lots and lots of different brands, I'm a real fan of different brands because at the school, we don't just use Jemma Kidd, we use lots of different brands. MAC has got some fantastic colours. We use a lot of other brands.
For the summer, what would you pick out if people want something different? Or have you got any key tips, or key products of what to try if the sun ever shines?
I think summer's all about cleaner skin isn't it? It's about wearing less, the soft dewiness of the skin - so tinted moisturisers are really good, you can get away with minimal tinted moisturisers and high SPF. I think those peachy coral colours, colours get lighter, feminine, lots of pinks and peaches, apricots coming out, I'm such a fan of those. So a bit of shimmer on the eyes, if you're going to use a bronzer, I prefer slightly matte bronzers as it just slightly warms the skin up and doesn't make you look like a big glittery ball if they have too much shimmer in them. You want to be able to have SPF - daylight is so scary, it really does show all your flaws, so if you don't put it on properly you look worse. Less is more, just a flash of colours, glosses, gloss sticks, nice neat brows, very key.
Bronzer is one product a lot of women struggle with because it's very easy to get carried away and like you say, you go outside and suddenly it's orange stripes. Have you got any foolproof ways to apply it?
I know. You've got to not have too big a brush. I see these girls coming out with these giant brushes and they sort of swirl them round, don't even look in the mirror. Bronzer doesn't work like that, it's a little bit like contouring, so you've got to have good control, you've got to have good blend. What I do sometimes is put a little bit of translucent powder on the areas I'm going to put the bronzer, and what that does is it gives it a nice soft base, so you can blend it to make it look more real. If you have a moisturised face and you put a dark pigment on it, it goes darker and also it's difficult to blend. When I apply bronzer, I work around, I sort of frame the face and use a brush that is probably no bigger than this (something like Jemma Kidd Pro Blending Brush 05, £18) and you work in a circular movement, and start by the hairline and blend it into the face instead of applying here (on the cheeks) and blending out, so you've got a nice softness on the face. You're just working around the face, really working on your features, bringing your features out, plus you can bring the warmth and a more tanned feel to the face. It's definitely worth practising and not getting that giant brush and just doing this (sweeps across whole face). Just really work on your face, blend it, not too shimmery, a bit more of a matte, a really flattering bronzer.
As well as the make-up, you're designing your own scent.
I am, it's amazing. God, if I knew how difficult it was, I don't know if I would have gone into it in the first place. Because it's so personal. Because make-up that I create, I create for women, it's not about me as such. Whereas this perfume is like an extension of me. When people criticise it, you feel like they're criticising you, so it's been emotionally quite a rollercoaster creating it but I feel so happy with the scent I've come up with. It's a mix, it has this lovely orange blossom lightness to it, and it goes into these heavier tones, a sort of amber-y warmth so it takes you through the day. That's really how I feel, that gives the essence of me. That's all I can do. It's a very difficult one, I just had to make it work for me and people will either like it or they won't. But it's been an incredible journey. It hasn't come out yet, it'll be another few months, we're just designing the bottle. But it's the first product that's really personal, which has been different. [Sounds like a challenge.] Yes it was. Luckily with this scent I haven't had any criticisms.
Was there anything that inspired you, ones you wear now?
I like quite floral-y, and deeper spicy scents. I don't like sweet scents very much, much more floral so the orange blossom... I spent a lot of time in the countryside, I have orange blossom everywhere in my house, it's just a scent that I've always been drawn to. I've been wearing it since I was a little girl, for a very long time. But I like the mystical, spiritual side of the deeper spicier scents, so I have that in candles. It makes me feel homely. It grounds me. It really resonates with me, so I've combined the two.
Your background before you got into make-up was modelling, and working on catwalks after that. Is fashion still something that you really love?
Yeah, when you have a love for fashion it doesn't go away. I just realise the older I'm getting, I'm not so much into fashion trends, I really love well-made clothes and beautiful fabrics, and I know the fabrics that suit me and I know those that don't. It's a different way of looking at fashion. Before it was also about the quantity, now it's about the quality for me.
Different fabrics - what are the ones that speak to you?
I really love structure in the clothes I wear, in the dresses. I love Roland Mouret. They make clothes that really fit women, suit women. The tailoring's amazing. Fabric-wise, I'm not a linen person, it's a bit too floppy for me. I'm not an expert in fabric, but as long as it fits I don't mind. As long as it's a real fabric, I don't like synthetic fabrics.
Designer, or mix with high street, vintage...?
I mix, I'm a massive mixer. I've a huge vintage collection. Then I have the high street for the little things. I think shoes, dresses and handbags, that's a lot more of an investment, and jackets definitely.
What are your high street favourites?
I love American Apparel, and Uniqlo, they have a great collection of tops. I feel like I'm getting a bit old for TopShop now, it's a bit trendy for me. I like Primark, which is great for those little things. They are my favourites.
Most women have one thing, either dresses and that's half their wardrobe or shoes - have you got something that's your key buy?
I love dresses, it's a slight addiction. I do have a lot of dresses. I really love really cool well-made shirts, I'm always looking for good shirts, but I like the soft silk type. What else do I like? Shoes, who doesn't? All girls like shoes. I'm working with this really cool brand at the moment - I'm an ambassador for them - called Belstaff. It's a quintessentially English brand that's been around for years and years and years. It starts with biker jackets and that kind of thing. They're about to have a massive relaunch and their clothes are divine, divine. I wouldn't go with a brand for the sake of it, you've got to really love it. So they're really cool, they're quite classic but with a bit of an edge to it, a bit biker-y, some really cool details. [Bit of a twist?] Yes, a really exciting brand. They're going to relaunch in the Fall. Watch that space.
Going back to health. What's your key to staying healthy - you've talked about juicing?
Yes, I'm a massive juicer, my whole family juice like crazy, organic. I'm a massive believer that if it's fresh, and raw and it's organic, you can't go wrong. I was always into nutrition but since having children, I've really become into nutrition because I only want to give them the best, and I only want to make them the freshest. They juice. They have carrot, apple, celery, cucumber juices every day and they love it. They see me drinking green juices and they think it's normal. They're only two and a half, poor things. I have fresh juices every day, and my body craves it if I don't have one. Mainly green, not fruit, ones. I stay away from sugar, from processed foods, from packet foods. I just eat fresh food. It takes little bit longer, if you're in a rush, it's a bit of a pain but there are ways round it. Get some guacamole or hummus and some carrot sticks - there are ways of doing it. It just makes me feel better.
So you prefer this - the ingredients, fresh food - rather than following a diet?
No, I don't really follow diets. I have done. I've followed all of them. But that's more high-maintenance to me. To me it's about fresh food and cooked well. Just put it all together. It doesn't matter. It keeps my weight off, my skin looks great, I feel good, my digestive system's great. It's not overcomplicated. Sometimes following diets can be quite complicated.
What about treats?
Oh yeah, chocolate, chocolate. But I've got into raw chocolate, it's made of - I actually make it myself, but there's this company in Glastonbury that have it - it's made of the cacao fat and powder and agave syrup as the natural source of [sugar], and you put vanilla extract in, and it's this dark raw chocolate. It's unbelievable. So that's what we have at home. But if I do have chocolate, it's dark, it's organic. And I love a glass of champagne, love a good glass of wine. I just don't drink bottles like I used to. I think it's just growing up.
Everything in moderation?
Yeah. Sometimes you have a blow-out.
Be a bit boring if not!
Yeah, can't be too healthy. Got to have some toxins, that's why we have an immune system.
How about supplements? Do you take anything or is it mainly from your diet?
No, I have an amazing nutritionist I go and see in Chelsea. She's amazing. It's not just me following my girlfriends and what they've read in a magazine, which I did again for years. I get some blood tests done occasionally. I measure, am I lacking this? If I'm going through a really stressful stage, I take more vitamin B and B complexes, but on the whole it's Udo's every day. I take this fresh live probiotic, I do that in chunks, so for three months then I stop for a few months, then I take it for a few months while travelling. Then I use vitamin C, lots of vitamin C.
What about exercise?
I have kids! I don't like gyms, I don't like the smell of them. Ugh. I'm not a germophobe or anything but it's not for me. I'd rather take the dogs for a walk or do Pilates, ride the horses, run around all the time, that's my exercise.
Is it just doing a bit of something every day?
Yeah, I'm quite good. If it's stairs or lift, most of the time, depending on how high my shoes are, I'll take the stairs. As long as you get 20 minutes, half an hour, that's as good as.
And moving onto wellbeing and mood, you mentioned that you try to do something every day that makes you happy. What inspired that?
It's like a message that I've seen quite a lot. I love the spiritual side of things. It was [the advice of one] of those gurus but I'd heard it a lot, and it's true. You can get so mundane, so stuck, doing the same things every day. Life for me is about living, experiencing, if opportunities come, take them. How many times does something come along and you go, "No, I can't do it because..." and you make excuses and what if. I used to say no to everything, I had panic attacks, I used to get really scared. No, I don't want to do it. I turned down so many things. No, do something new every day, different every day, whether it's a different way home, it can just be something small, just do it because it makes you open up. You can get so tunnel vision and blinkered [it doesn't have to be a huge thing?] No. Exactly. Do something, just change something a little bit.
You mentioned your panic attacks, your anxiety. Is that something you've got under control?
I have appropriate panic now, not inappropriate panic. Before I had inappropriate panic. I'd be walking down the street and suddenly anxiety and panic. I couldn't go to supermarkets, cinemas, drive on the motorway, it controlled me. Now I'll get panicky just before I go on a QVC show or before I'm doing something live, or about to talk to lots of people, or flying always make go. But that's normal isn't it, that's appropriate. It doesn't spiral into something bigger, I don't have panic that stops me doing things any more, which I did for years and years.
If there's someone experiencing something similar, what would you advise?
I tried to do it on my own for years and years. Get help. At the end of the day, anxiety disorders are a habit, it's not a mental illness. I thought I had a mental illness for years. It's nothing to be embarrassed about, it's just a habit you've got yourself into. I went to Charles Linden and the Linden Method, amazing. He's a total encyclopaedia on panic and fear and that sort of thing, phobias. He explained it all, and then you're not scared of it any more. That's what I did and it was amazing. It worked for me, it might not work for you. Or there's different ways of treatment, you don't have to take the pills, that's all I'm saying. It's a habit. You just have to change the habit, and understand it and learn about it, then get over it. You can get over it, you're not stuck.
It's like retraining the way you think?
You mentioned distracting yourself by turning up the radio and singing along really loudly.
Absolutely, but that's not the only way to do it. There's a whole programme that you need to follow. That's just one where I used to do that in the car, because I used not to drive on the motorway, I was way too scared. It was debilitating. Then getting better, I used to challenge myself and make sure I can do it, I used to sing really loudly so I couldn't even hear my thoughts. If someone saw me I must have looked completely mad. Talking on the phone if you've got Bluetooth, that sort of thing's great, distracts. It's part of the whole thing but it's a really strong one. That thought doesn't control me, I just controlled it.
Gives you the confidence?
Yes. It's a habit, a really bad one like smoking.
You talked, before going to see Charles Linden, about various things you tried to do to tackle it - you mentioned different alternative treatments like meditation, acupuncture, reiki.
Love all that, love all that and I still do it. I'm a massive believer in all of it, I go and see a shaman. I just love it. It's part of who I am. All different types of things like that. It helps but when you have anxiety, you have to really understand it mentally and the reiki will calm you and make you zen, but you've got to get your mind working right and that's where Charles just flipped it.
Meditation, you still do that now?
It's difficult to meditate when you're not in a good headspace. I like some space and balance to make the right decisions, not rash ones. Everything goes so fast these days, there's no time to think, I really have no time to think, so when those big decisions...
You've got a pretty busy life, twins, husband, make-up range, perfume, all the things you've talked about, flying backwards and forwards across the Atlantic half the time.
I know - I choose it. I love it. You've just got to learn to centre.
Is there anything new you've tried, anything you've come across that you've thought 'Wow, this is amazing', alternative treatments?
Recently, I'm just in a good space. I can't think of anything. Homeopathy. Because I get terrible jetlag, I'm flying here there and everywhere and I have to go straight into meetings, I can't be like a zombie. I wanted to find something to help with my jetlag. Homeopathy is fantastic, sprays and air pollution tablets you can get. And arnica is really good for jetlag. So I tried it out this trip and it's fantastic. I give my children a lot of homeopathy when they've got colds and coughs before the Calpol comes out.
Do you have a motto for living, which sums up what you're about?
Beauty comes from within, in every shape and form, from nutrition to character. Everything.