Watch: Beauty Editor gets Pretty Honest in chat about her new book on feminism and beauty

Guardian beauty editor Sali Hughes talks about women and beauty in her book


Beauty guru Sali Hughes is bidding to make fashion and beauty more accessible to all.

The Guardian Beauty Editor made a visit to Newcastle to talk about her book, feminism and beauty.

The journalist, author and single mother spoke about Pretty Honest a part of the Fourth Estate Literary Salon at Tyneside Cinema.

Her book was born in part from her personal experience targeted by views that “women only have room for one thing in their pretty little heads”.

She said: “That idea exists because we live in a sexist world and that’s an incredibly sexist viewpoint.

“So if you like wearing nice dresses or like lipstick you can’t possibly be aware of the problems in Israel or Russia or famine, sickness or anything of any substance.”

Ms Hughes said even if she writes a political or cultural column for the Guardian, a comment will always surface putting her down.

“They say don’t worry yourself with this lipstick woman and will put me down as if I can’t have an informed view because I write a beauty column,” she said.

But in the beauty industry, Ms Hughes felt the climate changing. Women were starting to feel more confident that their love of fashion and beauty could coexist with feminist beliefs.

From this she realised it was time to write Pretty Honest.

Sali Hughes
Sali Hughes

She said: “I was frustrated there was not a beauty book about real life. They were these untouchable coffee table books.

“There were no beauty books for normal women about how to look better if you’re undergoing chemo or what to pack if you’re going on a date and you think you might get lucky - things that real women can relate to.

“I just think beauty should be accessible.”

When asked what she defines as beauty, it is about “feeling your best and worthy of attention”.

Ms Hughes said: “One of the criticisms I hear is that women these days are forced into looking like celebrities. I don’t think that’s true.”

She said women just want to look like themselves on their best day.

“I don’t think women have these grand notions of looking like someone on the red carpet,“ said Ms Hughes. “They just want to look like themselves only beautiful and I think it’s perfectly possible to achieve that.”

And as for women in the north or south being more knowledgeable about beauty - northern girls take the win.

Ms Hughes said: “I love Newcastle anyway because northern girls are more into beauty than southern girls. They really know their stuff.

“Northern girls love beauty, get it and understand it. So it’s a treat for me to come.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer