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Caroline Barnes, International Make-Up Artist

With a 20+ year career spanning TV, fashion and film, Caroline has worked with everyone from Nigella Lawson to Lily James. During the COVID 19 pandemic, Caroline launched the NHS Morale Boost Campaign to ‘give back’ to NHS frontline workers, offering free 30 minute, one to one virtual beauty consultations. Caroline is also part of the Look Good Feel Better charity, offering her time and knowledge to help restore confidence and wellbeing to people with cancer. She’s 49 and lives in London with her husband and three sons.

1. The best thing about the menopause is…..

Being menopausal in 2022!  I’ve talked to so many people who I never assumed would be in the same situation as me but absolutely are. ‘So your joints hurt too?’ ‘So you’re not sleeping either?’ Having the conversation and living through this brilliant explosion of menopausal communication and coming together is the best thing about the menopause.

2. The hardest thing about the menopause is…

Acceptance – it took me at least six months to accept that I might be going through it. I have friends who are suffering mentally and physically but they haven’t admitted that maybe they need a bit of help. I’ve even talked to people who are 10 years older than me, who have gone through the menopause, and who are still suffering with the symptoms but who are in denial about their body and brain being affected by a lack of hormones and imbalance. This clearly needs to change.

Another big challenge is accepting that not feeling yourself is reason enough to go and see your GP. We are so robotically programmed to only get help if we’ve got a cough or a cold and not because we’re feeling out of sorts – especially us women.  But not feeling like yourself is enough to seek help. What makes it worse is that symptoms come and go and we women think the feelings will pass. My best advice is to create a diary and if there’s a pattern, go and see your doctor.

3. My lightbulb moment was….

Realising that feeling out of sorts was a symptom of the menopause and something that my doctor could help me with. I really was in quite a pickle. I just thought I’d taken on too much and that it wasn’t something that a doctor could help me with. I started HRT and haven’t looked back. Some of my friends felt instantly better when they started hormone replacement therapy. It was a longer journey for me – testosterone was the missing part of the puzzle. Thankfully I feel like me again.

4. My selfcare superhero is…..

Running keeps me on the straight and narrow. I’ve only recently taken it up –  I never thought it was something that I’d be able to do – I blamed having big boobs, thinking they’d bounce and hurt too much!  Actually, that’s a load of rubbish as nowadays there are great sports bras. I live close to three parks close so am blessed to have easy access to green space. Aside from the benefits of doing the exercise it’s my time to unwind. Often I don’t have my headphones on – no music, no podcast – I just have the birds and the dogs and that is absolutely wonderful. I’ve just had a time when I’ve been a little bit poorly and I haven’t been able to run and I’ve massively  noticed the difference so from now on running will always be part of my life. I just need to add some weights and then I’ll be really proud of myself.

5. I couldn’t live without…

My mum, my sister, my gorgeous boys and my wonderful husband. I’m so lucky to have such a lovely family. I also have lots of brilliant, crazy friends  – they’re all bonkers and I love them for it! I don’t want to be middle-aged and boring, just standing round with a glass of wine –  I want to be dancing on the table forever. I’m nearly 50 and it just doesn’t fit with how I feel inside. I feel young and I intend to stay young and fun for as long as I can.

To find out more about Caroline’s work including her tips for midlife make-up head to @carolinebarnesmakeup


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