Women Empowered: Lizzy Hall
Lizzy Hall is the founder of The Hygiene Bank, a grassroots charity and social movement aimed at tackling hygiene poverty in the UK. She was inspired to start the organisation after watching the harrowing Ken Loach film ‘I, Daniel Blake’, in which a single mother of two is found shoplifting sanitary towels, razors and deodorant. Lizzy put out a plea for hygiene and personal care products and the donations flooded in - within a few weeks The Hygiene Bank was born. Lizzy currently lives in Sevenoaks in Kent, with her two children aged 14 and 12.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
All sorts of things - but my biggest motivation is my children. My husband died suddenly 8 years ago and it literally was the fact that I had children that got me out of bed each day. It’s really important to me to be able to show them that they really can do anything if they work hard and invest their time in the right places and people.
What gets you through tougher moments in the day?
Acceptance of the moment, telling myself that this too will pass and everything will be all right in the end and if it's not all right, then it's not yet the end. And understanding that ‘happiness’ is not a far-off destination that lives somewhere outside of me but a choice I make. It’s inevitable that we will all trudge through tough times, deal with loss, beat ourselves up about things, make mistakes.
A tool I try to use even when I’m going through a desperate time, is to find one or two things in my day to be thankful for – whether that’s a warm cup of tea or hearing the chatter from my kids. Highlighting these small things helps me gain perspective of what’s really going on around me.
Do you have a motivational mantra? What is it and when do you use it?
I have one that I use in my working life. ‘Fake it till you make it’. I struggle with imposter syndrome but realise from talking with others, that many people are ‘winging it’ too, so rather than see ‘winging it’ as proof of ineptness, I’m trying to view it as a skill. I may not know all the answers but I know I’m smart enough to find them out.
I’m often asked how you keep motivated.. The best way for me is to picture myself when I’m old, sitting in a comfortable chair, asking myself: ‘what have I done in my life?’ I’d like to look back at life with no what-ifs, and be proud of what I’ve achieved. And if I don't go to my grave a bit bruised and battered I’m taking it as a sign that I’ve truly lived!
You’re a busy woman - how do you make sure you find time for self care?
Self care is conventionally portrayed as pampering yourself however,
what it’s really about is meeting human needs. For me these days it is
starting my working day a little later and walking the dogs in fresh
morning air and appreciating the beauty of the changing seasons, in the
countryside I am lucky enough to live in. As important, is dog walking
with friends who feed my soul and keep me connected.
What is your top self-care advice for busy women, like you?
Whatever it is that you do for yourself, don’t just have it on a mental to do list that you’ll never get to or gets superseded by something more pressing. Schedule it the diary - It is just as important as that presentation, conference call or parent teacher meeting.
How does beauty factor in to your self-care?
It’s less about beauty for me than the feeling of being fresh and clean. I have to start everyday with a shower and washed hair. I can’t not and will go to any lengths to at least stick my head under a tap in the morning.
What are your beauty routine non-negotiables?
No matter how late it is, before bed I have to wash my face, take off all traces of make-up and moisturise...
What does your morning skincare routine look like?
Pretty similar to my evening one. I wash my face, tone, serum then moisturise but also add another step of applying a tinted factor 30spf.
How does your make-up routine affect the way you feel?
I’m not someone that wears make-up if I am working from home. I know many people think make-up is used to cover imperfections and hide what you really look like because of insecurities. For me make-up is a conscious choice because it makes me feel good. It allows me to channel my personality and reflect what I’m thinking and feeling. Empowerment comes from this ability to choose to wear make up or not. And for many women in hygiene poverty this choice is taken away as make-up is an out of reach luxury.
Which body-care products do you turn to in order to transform the way you feel?
After I shower each morning I love Beauty Pie’s Deluxe Body Moisture Cream. It is seriously fabulous, smells divine, goes on really easily and feels light but is really moisturising! Since finding this I can’t use anything else it’s - addictive!
Do any particular make up items help to boost your self esteem, make you feel more confident or give you a feeling of being more powerful?
For me it is about the eyes. My only must have make-up is a smudgy eyeliner. My favourite is Clinique Egyptian eyeliner, which is a browny-grey colour. I have heaps of them, all in various sizes that have been sharpened right down. A few years ago I also discovered Mylash – a product that makes your natural eyelashes grow. And this has been transformative. With my now-longer-and-thicker eyelashes and a bit of eyeliner, I feel good to go!
What is your top tip for boosting confidence?
This is very personal and very different for each person. I learnt this through my work with The Hygiene Bank. For me it’s freshly clean hair and brushed teeth. For another it may be deodorant, for someone else it’s red lipstick or perfume and for someone else it is important to have freshly laundered, ironed shirt. And so we say ‘everyone deserves to feel clean’.
How does the way you look affect the way you feel?
Feeling embarrassed or ashamed about the way you look can lead to a crippling lack of confidence and negatively affect good health and mental well-being which it turn can impact early childhood development, learning, employability and social interaction. Ultimately how you feel about the way you look is about dignity, self confidence and mental well being.
What has been your biggest career achievement so far?
Without any hesitation it has been starting The Hygiene Bank. If you had asked me a year ago where I thought The Hygiene Bank would be today I could never have anticipated this: a national charity in the UK and Ireland, with a strong volunteer base. And the stand out moment was winning the Boots sponsored Wellness Warrior at The Woman of The Year awards last October.
Tell us about your work at The Hygiene Bank, and why this is such an important cause?
Many people in poverty or those who find themselves in times of crisis often have to make the distressing decision to eat or stay clean because they can't afford to do both. We know that hygiene poverty is shaming, humiliating and excluding and can result in social isolation.
The Hygiene Bank is a grassroots, people powered charity, grounded in community. Our network of banks exist nationwide and in Ireland to ensure those living in poverty and can't afford to be clean, have access to the basics. This is about dignity, self-confidence and mental wellbeing. Feeling clean should not be a luxury or a privilege in the modern world. Our passion stems from this injustice and so we work to inspire social change.
You can help support The Hygiene Bank by purchasing our THB Mystery Roccabox. This mystery box full of 6-7 products and will be donated directly to the Hygiene Bank - no postage costs, no drop offs, just purchase the box and we’ll do the rest.
Buy it here.