Molly Hindhaugh is only 17, but she's already learnt a lot about beauty from her expert mum, Alice Hart-Davis

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Molly says:

I wear make-up pretty much every single day. That’s not to say I can’t function without it, but it’s kind of become a habit – you know, get up, wash face, brush teeth, put on make-up etc. I tend to keep it simple nowadays purely because it’s far too much effort to spend hours in the morning in front of the mirror. When I first got into wearing makeup, I would just wear heaps of black eyeliner every day and go into school pretty much looking like a raccoon (I also hadn’t realised that applying copious amounts to the bottom lash line just makes my eyes look smaller) or, sometimes, get all creative by blending different colours of shimmery eyeshadows across my eyelids, like bright blue to pink.

I’m a lot more low-key now – I adore liquid eyeliner, mascara and concealer, but that’s about it for everyday wear. I love lipstick but don’t wear it much just because I don’t have the patience to reapply every time I want to eat, drink, blow my nose or you know, talk. Or breathe.

My mum is lovely when it comes to make-up - she’ll advise me if I have any questions but won’t stop me from trying out new looks. I went to a party a couple of weeks ago and decided it would be fun to wear a pair of false eyelashes (my favourite things in the world) which turned out to be about three times bigger than I thought they were and I looked a bit like I had a couple of spiders hanging out on my eyelids. Not a good look for meeting a bunch of people for the first time. She tactfully suggested I keep them for another time and just go with my usual make-up, which saved me a lot of embarrassment.

Alice says:

The first time Molly put on make-up for a party – when she was 10 – my heart sank. It was only lipgloss and mascara but it looked all wrong on such a young face, and she loved it so much, I feared for her teens.

Because I write about make-up, my study is awash with the stuff. How could I ban her from wearing any when her school allows it, particularly when we began writing a book together about teens, skincare and.... make-up?

But apart from the phase, at 13 and 14 when Molly would appear at breakfast with lids and lashes laden with eyeshadow, mascara and eyeliner, she has been remarkably restrained with her use of powder and paint. (“That’s a lot of make-up,” I’d say weakly. “It’s that smoky-eye/Cleopatra-liner look we were doing up for the book!” she’d reply. Touché.)  So I sat tight (we’re not a family much given to arguing) and in time, the phase passed.

I tell her that true beauty lies within, not on the surface, despite the fact that my work would appear to indicate the exact opposite. It’s a contradiction that Moll has learned to accommodate – and now uses to tease me. “I know beauty is on the inside,” she will say, “but could you dig me out that set of lashes you mentioned because there’s a party tonight...”

Occasionally I put my foot in it, worrying out loud that she looks tired, only to get the terse reply, “Mum, this is me without concealer.”  But mostly I’m in awe of her easy skill with eyeliner (and, indeed, with those lashes), and with the way she knows what suits her. I don’t see her going through my awkward, late-teen, pancake foundation-and-hard- blusher phase. And I think she knows that if she wants to wind me up, words are often more effective than war paint. Words like, “I’m thinking of piercing my nose”...

Be Beautiful: every girl’s guide to hair, skin and make-up, by Alice Hart-Davis and Molly Hindhaugh (Walker Books, £9.99) is out now. Alice Hart-Davis is the creator of

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