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I looked like a drag queen after swapping my make-up look with my 17-year-old daughter

FASHION Director Tracey Lea Sayer has worn the same signature look for 30 years, but as she turns 50 next month, can her daughter Frankie, 17, teach her some new tricks? 

We challenged them to swap looks to find out.

Fashion Director Tracey Lea Sayer and her daughter Frankie after swapping make-up looks


Fashion Director Tracey Lea Sayer and her daughter Frankie after swapping make-up looksCredit: Jonas O’Sullivan


“I am from the ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ school of beauty – foundation, black eyeliner and mascara, a bit of powder and a slick of red lippy and I’m good to go!

“The whole process takes me less than five minutes, I apply it with my fingers, and work from a compact mirror on the kitchen table – all of which horrifies my teenage daughter Frankie. 

Mum Tracey's go-to make-up look, which she is having to rethink


Mum Tracey’s go-to make-up look, which she is having to rethinkCredit: Jonas O’Sullivan

“Despite working on Fabulous and getting to try out lots of new make-up brands, my stash contains about 10 products I’ve bought on repeat for years. Frankie, on the other hand, has a chest of drawers full of make-up and is constantly changing it up. In fact, she never leaves the house without it.

“I have no clue why, as to me she has the skin of an angel. I’ve been quite liberal with Frankie about make-up, but always made a point of telling her she doesn’t need it and looks gorgeous without it. 

“At the grand old age of 49, the thought of doing a make-up swap with my 17 year old left me in a cold sweat. The make-up I see on social media and the skill Frankie has with her brushes and palettes are a million miles from my spotty teenage self trying to work out whether Boots 17 Twilight Teaser Lipstick (a now-frightening frosted lilac shade) would make me look like Susan Ann Sulley from Human League or an extra from Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

“Frankie, meanwhile, uses terms like ‘baking’ and ‘setting’ that belong in a cookery class, not on your face! Could we learn something new by swapping looks? There was only one way to find out!

“The whole process took me totally out of my comfort zone. 

In Tracey’s make-up bag

Tracey’s old faves:

  • Lancôme Artliner in Black, £25 – buy now
  • Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue, £30 – buy now

New find:

  • Benefit Precisely My Brow Pencil, £18 – buy now

“The make-up artist did exactly what Frankie instructed, which meant itchy false eyelashes, contouring like a Kardashian and a mouth full of lipgloss. I normally stay away from lots of make-up as it just gets stuck in my wrinkles, so this made me feel like I should be starring on RuPaul’s Drag Race! When I looked in the mirror I felt like I was caked in product, but in the photographs the softer colours were quite flattering. 

“Unbeknown to me, Frankie showed the photos to my husband, my mum and her mate when she got home… and they all said they preferred me with her go-to look. 

“I was shocked! Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong all these years. Or maybe I need to rethink my look now that my hair is grey and my skin has aged. I have changed my wardrobe to accommodate these changes, so now I need to rethink my make-up.

“I thought I had the best version of me nailed, but maybe Frankie can teach me a thing or two, like the light contour that gives me a set of cheekbones I didn’t know I had. The false eyelashes, though? No thank you!” 


“I definitely wear more make-up than the average person. While most people my age look to YouTube and social media for inspiration, I started with Mum’s make-up bag and watching what she did – like when you try your mum’s heels for the first time.

“I might only be 17, but I’ve been wearing make-up since I was in primary school – on evenings and weekends, as I wasn’t allowed to wear it to actual school – so I’ve had a lot of practice. It’s almost a hobby for me! By 13, I had a bigger make-up collection than my mum (thanks to her bringing goody bags home from work). So rather than me stealing cosmetics from her, it’s the other way around – even my nan steals them from me. 

Daughter Frankie will stick to her contoured look and false eye-lashes


Daughter Frankie will stick to her contoured look and false eye-lashesCredit: Jonas O’Sullivan

“When it comes to my everyday look, I use around 20 products. For my lips alone I use three: a liner, lipstick and gloss. I always use brushes and sponges to apply, fingers are an absolute no-go as they’re nowhere near as precise.

“I can’t go without big lashes and eyeliner, and my base is always full-coverage matte foundation, contour, blush and bronzer. If I’m going out, I spend at least an hour on my face (though Mum says it’s more like three), but usually it’s 30-40 minutes. 

“While my mum does her five-minute face in a tiny mirror, I use a ring light and check my face by taking a selfie before I leave the house. Top tip: don’t forget to take one on flash, too, to check your setting powder hasn’t left you looking like Casper the friendly ghost.

“I love my mum’s normal make-up, but she doesn’t put it on right. She doesn’t use any brushes, setting sprays or primers, and then complains that her concealer doesn’t stick. What does she expect from using her fingers and no prep? Plus, her eyesight isn’t great, so her eyebrows often end up more like sisters than twins. 

In Frankie’s make-up bag

Frankie’s old faves:

  • Too Faced Born This Way Loose Setting Powder, £21.60 – buy now
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit, £42 – buy now

New find:

  • Urban Decay Perversion Mascara, £21 – buy now

“Our make-up swap was better than I expected. Although the dewy skin my mum favours was stickier than I’d go for and didn’t stay in place, I liked the eyeliner and the more blue-toned red lip (my mum’s fiery orange shade does not flatter me!).

“I could also potentially get used to not wearing false lashes all the time, especially with a good mascara, though I do still feel like they complete the look – otherwise it’s like getting dressed and not putting any jewellery on.

“Mum definitely benefited from the swap more than me – the contour looked really great and it was nice to see her a bit more glam. Hopefully she might experiment with a different look now and again instead of sticking to the same old formula.”

Fab beauty panellist Keshia East tries ‘slugging’
  • Make-up: Aimee Adams using Too Faced 
  • Hair: Dino Pereira using Electric 

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