Sue Harmsworth's 7 Secrets of Wellbeing


Susan Harmsworth – Sue to the beauty world – is quite simply a legend in her own lifetime. We love seeing her statuesque figure in a room, tossing her glossy mocha mane (she’s a John Frieda devotee, like us); being a septuagenarian has not dimmed Sue’s panache and pizazz one iota, or seemingly affected her boundless energy. And we have always loved ESPA products, a perfect marriage of nature and science laced with unashamed luxury. Sue’s own philosophy has always been about holistic wellbeing, and ESPA works with biochemists, skin experts and aromatherapists to create products that help its millions of fans to have beautiful skin and inner calm. Have a positive mental attitude. Wake up every day and be grateful for what you have, not what you don’t have. If that doesn’t come naturally, it’s something you can teach yourself to do each morning.

Be resilient. I was taught resilience from a young age and have had lots of opportunities that have made me independent. I come from a family of high achievers and entrepreneurs, who challenged me mentally and physically. I walked or cycled to school from the age of seven, and worked in the family business on site with my father climbing ladders and doing the books with my mother from eight. When we sat down to dinner as a family every night my father would get us to think about politics or the world, and would challenge us on words, we never had time to relax! I always say to my team, do the hardest things first.

Have routines and rituals. Scientific research shows that our body and mind like routine in our lives. Regular rituals are grounding and give our minds space to be calm. It could be a first thing in the morning ritual when you drink your hot water and lemon followed by exercising. Or when you’re applying your skincare regime in the evening, take five minutes to inhale the essential oils, which will have an effect on your mood.

Be curious. So many women depend on other people to tell them things. My advice is to be curious about the things around you, and the environment we live in; always ask questions, assume nothing, and learn something new every day. Be curious about yourself too. If you can learn to know yourself as young as possible, you’ll age well. It’s important to be the best you can be individually at every stage of your life; too many people are striving to look like someone else or be something else.

I believe in layering. My daytime regime is really important to me and I focus on layering with oils to strengthen my skin, serums to feed it and moisturisers for hydration. In the evenings, I use the ESPA Night Booster mixed with Overnight Hydration Therapy or the Lifestage Stage Release Moisturiser to improve skin cell repair. Two evenings a week, however, I don’t use any products on my skin. This gives a healthy immune system the chance to work, and heal the skin from the inside out.

I rely on Functional Medicine Testing. I get my blood tested every two years for vitamins, minerals and intolerances. Deficiencies change along with your life; hormonal changes and stress levels can affect you profoundly. I take supplements most mornings which include an Omega-3, vitamin D3, zinc and magnesium.

And just breathe... After my hot water and lemon in the morning, I always do my breath work. I’m lucky to be surrounded by trees at home so I open the doors to my garden and take several deep breaths, inhaling the fresh air. I breathe in through the nose for four seconds and out through the mouth for eight seconds. I usually follow this with a work out and a high protein breakfast such as smashed avocado on sourdough, haddock and poached eggs or scrambled eggs and gravadlax (rather than smoked salmon, as I’m trying to reduce my intake of smoked foods).