Lee Pycroft is a beauty industry giant and has worked as a highly sought after and extremely well regarded make-up artist to the A-list and royalty for over twenty-five years.
She’s the person that Anne Hathaway, Elle Macpherson, Liv Tyler, Jessica Biel and Laura Dern – and other big names – all turn to when they want to look picture perfect at events and just some of Lee’s editorial work has been seen in; Glamour, Tatler and Marie-Claire magazines, whilst her TV work ranges from slots on QVC to heading the make up team for the wildly popular British TV show, Britain’s Next Top Model.
In early 2014, Lee took over the management of a wonderful charity called MY-Makeover, which offers complimentary makeovers to women in need. This helps ladies from a variety of ages and backgrounds and in differing situations who have suffered great loss and hardships to feel valued, and increases their sense of worth. Over the years, MY-Makeover has teamed up with charities including; Maggie’s Cancer Care centre, Solace Women’s Aid, Holy Cross Centre Trust, Band of Sisters and Eaves as well as many other worthy causes. And, this summer, Lee and her team helped survivors of the terrible Grenfell Tower tragedy in London – which caused at least 80 deaths and 70 injuries.
Lee, pictured above, kindly found time in her busy schedule to talk to Lumity Life magazine and let us know more about her work and what drives and inspires her…
You’re at the top of your game and a highly respected make-up artist, did you always want to be in the beauty industry?
“I have worked as a make-up artist in the entertainment and beauty world for over 25 years,” Lee tells Lumity Life. “My clients have included A-list talent, rock stars and the occasional member of royalty. I was inspired by the idea of creating stories and images of perfection through make-up and this is what initially got me into the industry. What I didn’t know at the time was that it would be understanding the impact beauty and make-up can have on a person’s emotional wellbeing that would ignite a greater sense of purpose and meaning within me.”
We love MY-Makeover… How did that idea come about?
Lee explains: “MY-Makeover is an initiative that uses beauty and make-up as a form of self-care in vulnerable sectors of society.
“I organise events with a variety of different charities where their guests get to experience a make-over consisting of make-up, nails, hair and massage. The events started off quite small but at the last one I organised for the Grenfell community, we treated over 40 women!
“What I have found is when people come together where there is commonality between the group it creates a feeling of connection and belonging which is one of our deepest human needs. This combined with the power of touch, attention, validation and a new visual reference point gives a boost to the person’s emotional wellbeing.
“The event’s objective is to create an environment removed from the guests’ usual one, allowing them to embrace an elevated emotional state.
“I remember receiving a message from a woman who attended an event I organised for The Good Grief Trust, a charity that I am the Ambassador of. She had recently lost her husband and wrote, ‘I didn’t experience any sadness during the event, only joy. I had no idea a makeover would have that effect on me’ – that statement alone bears testament to the power of these sessions.
“MY-Makeover was born out of many of my own emotional struggles and also seeing the effect a makeover had on my mother when she was passing on. No matter the stage of life’s journey, every person needs to know they are valuable. This simple gesture of self-care can make a compelling difference at a time when a person may feel their significance is diminished.
“And, last year I was honoured to receive a Hero Award for outstanding contribution which was a total surprise and delight!”
It must be extremely emotional seeing women who have been through so much smile after a day with your team – it’s touching to watch as an outsider – seeing that care and attention and kindness from one human goes a long way to take away the pain of a tragedy.
“The events can be very moving – watching a person’s mood shift as they go through the process is fascinating,” Lee says. “I have trained in a variety of coaching and therapy disciplines so have an understanding of how to meet a person’s human needs and can help guests deal with any anxiety or panic they may be feeling owing to previous trauma. The ripple effect of the emotional impact of this work goes way beyond the makeover.”
You’re so busy, and so many of us are these days, what’s your advice for staying healthy and balanced when life gets stressful?
Lee Pycroft explains: “I’m a big advocate of self-care and taking the time to invest in ourselves in mind, body and spirit. If we don’t take care of ourselves we won’t have the emotional resilience to deal with life’s challenges or be of service to others.
“Ask yourself: ‘What is the emotion that I want to feel? What are the vehicles I can use to create that emotion?’ For me, the antidote to stress is the feeling of freedom and connection with nature, it’s a stillness and a sense of peace. I get this from riding my bike in the early morning around Richmond Park. I can access that feeling at any time throughout the day just by closing my eyes and taking myself back to the park. This is a powerful way of mood shifting and a good use of the imagination.
“My other advice is to check in with yourself through out the day and ask yourself, “What do I need in this moment? Consciously, see, hear and feel your way through your day rather than living in your head as this is where we tend to catastrophise and ruminate. This will draw you back into your body and the present moment.”
What inspires you every single day?
“Nature, people overcoming challenges and acts of kindness.”
What is the best piece of wisdom or life advice that you have been given and by whom?
“I love the Jim Carrey commencement address where he said…’The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.’ And another quote by Opera Winfrey, ‘Being of service is the greatest form of art there is.'”
Is there a beauty product, routine you follow or a tip that’s been a lifesaver for you? Or, what’s the BEST beauty tip you can share with us?
“I have created what I call, A Conscious Beauty Ritual. It consists of mirror work, setting intentions and affirmations. I have written a talk around it as I am passionate about blending beauty and emotional resilience tools into one of the most common rituals women do each day.
“A product I love at the moment is Murad Matte Effect Blotting Perfector as it reduces shine but doesn’t absorb any water in your skin. The result – a healthy, vital looking skin.”
Lee Pycroft also has a series of brilliant videos called Pockets of Wisdom which are designed to help with self-esteem, depression, anxiety, self-care and much more. See them here.
If you would like to contribute to My-Makeover, whether that’s providing products for the goodie bags to give to people to take home with them after they have been at the events, or in another way, then you can contact Lee Pycroft directly through her website.
Lee Pycroft also offers coaching sessions which we highly recommend, you can get in touch with her here.