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Our exclusive interview with Wellness Queen, Liz Earle

When you think of phenomenal success stories within the beauty world, the name Liz Earle is right up there. From co-founding the eponymous beauty brand, to writing over 35 books on beauty, nutrition and wellbeing, Liz is the go-to respected voice within this growing industry. Combine this with her TV appearances, podcasts and bi-monthly magazine and she really does deserve that wellness crown! We catch up exclusively with Liz, to learn the secrets of the trade so we can all live our very best, healthy and fulfilled lives.

As a child were you interested in beauty?

I was given a Vogue Beauty book by my grandmother when I was 12 and this really sparked my interest. I was fascinated by pictures of stunning models talking about putting cucumber slices on their eyes.

Did school play any role in your future career path?

None at all! My careers advice was to become a nurse or secretary!

Who inspired you the most?

My father was an Admiral in the navy and worked his way up through the ranks by sheer grit and determination. He taught me never to give up and always find a work-around to a tricky problem. He’s an ‘everything is possible’ kind of guy, very inspiring.

How did Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare come about?

It was the idea of one of my closest friends, Kim Buckland, who was working in the beauty industry at the time. She was aware of my research, book writing and TV work and thought that if we came together, we’d make the dream team. She was right. Together, we sold the brand back in 2010.

Which product are you most proud of?

Would have to be Cleanse & Polish – the most highly awarded facial cleanser in the world! I still use it, despite no longer having any connection to the brand.

Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur?

Yes – having founded several brands, from beauty to jewellery, to publishing and wellness. I love the challenge of spotting a gap in the market and aiming to create something that’s better than anyone else! I guess that’s my competitive nature – and I can be quite competitive with myself too.

What advice would you give to the next generation following in similar footsteps?

Take it slow if you want to build it strong. These days, the temptation is to think everything can be a quick win, an overnight viral sensation. But what goes up fast tends to come down even faster. I always say take the long view… crawl, walk, run.

Which of the many books that you’ve written are you most proud?

I loved researching and writing my Good Gut Guide at a time when gut health wasn’t mainstream. I know it continues to help many. Even more so the follow-up to that, the Good Menopause Guide – written at a time when the very word was considered a bit of a taboo. I’m so pleased to have been part of the opening up of the discussion around mid-life women’s health and the damage to our physical and mental health that happens when we lose our hormones.

Any more in the pipeline?

I’m writing e-guides at the moment for my Liz Earle Wellbeing website, which I love because they can be produced more quickly than print and updated with new links and downloadable information along the way. It’s great to be able to write something and include a scan-code to go straight to a specific podcast episode or research paper. My recent ones have been on fitness, the immune system and brain health. I’m now researching sleep as a new topic.

How did Liz Earle Wellbeing materialise?

I started life as a health and beauty journalist, long before the beauty company was created, so I’ve gone back to my roots. I have a passion for passing on evidencebased, genuinely helpful information that is accessible, easy and often inexpensive, to other women. It’s a sisterhood – and I love being able to share the wisdom that comes from many of the world class medics, researchers and academics I’ve developed close contacts with over the decades.

And your magazine?

My first job was as an editorial junior on a monthly magazine called Woman’s Journal, so I have gone back to my first love – writing and researching. To now be Editor-In-Chief of my own, very special magazine with its unique blend of helpful, friendly wellness content for mid-life women – from food to fitness, beauty to travel, health to home – is my absolute dream job now.

Do you feel the printed magazine may have had its day and that the future is online?

We actually started out online five years ago, as that was where everyone thought the industry was going, but interestingly, print sales are soaring. I love the immediacy and clickability of online, but you can’t beat the trusted tangibility of something you can actually hold and keep. Otherwise you end up just being a bit of a so-what blog and there are enough of those!

Who is your favourite podcast interviewee?

I love Dr Louise Newson, aka the Menopause Doctor, and all she and her wide team of medical experts are doing to raise awareness of the usefulness and safety of HRT. She would be top. Also Professor Michael Baum, a world-class breast cancer researcher and surgeon, for de-bunking the myth that HRT causes breast cancer. I was only meant to record one episode with him, but it was so fascinating it ran into three! I also love talking to epigeneticists about the new-found role of nutrients such as saffron and turmeric for brain health and immunity.

Do you see any emerging trends within the beauty and wellness industry?

Nutri-genomics and better understanding of our personal epigenetics is one to watch and will be here to stay.

Do you have a favourite go-to recipe?

I make a lot of fermented foods and drinks – kefir, kimchi, kombucha.

How important is gut health to wellbeing?

It’s critical. We have trillions of beneficial gut bugs and we need to look after them so they can look after us. We’re mostly made of microbes and it’s important the good bugs outnumber the bad. That means limiting processed foods and sugars and focusing on colourful veggies, unprocessed meat, full-fat dairy, eggs and fermented foods.

Any food trends or super foods emerging?

I’m liking the newish trend for making shakes and smoothies using concentrated powders, whether casein protein powder, turmeric or a super-green, such as chlorella.

Do you have any exciting new collaborations we can look forward to?

My podcast, The Liz Earle Wellbeing Show, goes from strength to strength, with over four million downloads and a wide global reach, so I’m excited about being able to grow this with bigger, better guests and more episodes.

How do you juggle work with five kids?

My children are very spread out in age, ranging from 31 down to 11, so that massively helps. The older ones are brilliant at helping out with their younger siblings.

What do you do to relax?

Family movies, box sets (I’ve been bingeing Grace and Frankie and Succession recently), long walks and kicking back with a gang of friends over too much red wine.

Which charities/causes hold your heart?

When the beauty company was sold in 2010, I used some of the proceeds to found the humanitarian charity LiveTwice, to offer opportunity to those in most need – from skills training to welfare in developing countries. I have close ties with East Africa, having lived there for many years, and am a Patron of Ace Africa and an Ambassador for Tearfund, Cure International, Compassion in World Farming, The Royal Osteoporosis Society and the Menopause Charity, to name a few. Giving back is vital – it’s extremely important to have a sense of purpose in life. Something I try and give each of my five children too.

You’ve championed the importance of recognising and treating the menopause. Do you think at long last we’re getting there?

Yes we are – in that menopause is no longer a word uttered in hushed tones, but there is still MUCH to be done, from better education for more GPs to getting access to hormones such as testosterone for women who need it.

Any dreams still to be realised?

I feel very fortunate to have realised so many through my family, my work and travel. I used to have my own TV show, Liz Earle’s Lifestyle, on ITV – it would be good to do that kind of thing again and open up the wellbeing discussions to an even wider audience.

What motto do you live by?

Be a little kinder than necessary. Kindness goes a long way – and always comes back to you.

For more fantastic celebrity interviews with the likes of Phil Vickery, Steve Backshall and Charlie Bigham, as well as tonnes of other fashion, beauty and wellness tips head over to our Spring Noticed magazine!

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