Yazmin Lacey on Feeling Beautiful Without Ruining the Planet

The singer-songwriter has a killer set of staples to take her from day to night without fuss

By Rhea Cartwright

3 March 2021

azmin Lacey’s voice is like a hot chocolate on a cold winter day – smooth, warming and good for the soul. Born and raised in London, now living in Nottingham, the singer-songwriter started her musical career in 2014 after she was coerced into taking the mic with the help of some Dutch courage. She tells The Stack about how she navigates her beauty identity, her glamorous mother and why rollerball lipgloss is a must.

Wearing something that brings me a lot of joy is when I feel most beautiful…

It doesn’t have to be something dressed-up. It could be a really nice coloured tracksuit, something made from good quality material or something silky that feels luxurious. When I’m freshly moisturised after showering, I always feel really good. There’s a real element of self-care when I’m massaging an oil into my skin. Beauty makes me feel nice, but I don’t classify it as purely visual. Some people have an infectious laugh or a unique imperfection that makes them beautiful.

I was in awe of my mum and her sense of glamour…

She worked for a fashion office that made lots of garments for high-street retailers behind Great Portland Street. When she used to take me to work I remember the smell of her Dior Poison perfume, the red lipstick, lots of mascara, pencil suits, gold jewellery. She didn’t own a pair of trainers until I was in secondary school. I didn’t have one particular beauty icon, but I remember my mum had lots of magazines when I was growing up that were packed with pictures of Kate Moss and Naomi Campell, and thinking that Naomi was just the most beautiful thing I’d seen. I was a bit obsessed with her for a while.

Growing up, I felt like an ugly duckling.

My perceptions of beauty were skewed because I only saw one standard of beauty and I didn’t reflect that. I didn’t feel represented, and that changed the way I thought about myself and how beautiful I thought I was. It can have an effect on how you see yourself and where you place yourself in the world. I struggled when I was younger with finding the beauty in myself, but that’s changed over time from having more confidence, experimenting with different looks and finding things about myself that I love that I want to show off.

We’re at the point where people don’t care about the bog-standard idea of beauty any more.

I’m not trying to fit into that mould any more, so that opens up a whole world of space, of creativity. There’s still lots of work to do, and just because there’s a huge amount of representation now, it doesn’t mean we should take our foot off the gas. It’s different now compared with when I was growing up, in that adolescent phase of finding yourself, becoming comfortable with the way you look and feeling beautiful. A lot of people that didn’t feel represented are now empowered to go and create platforms that support and represent them. I can easily find brands that support and represent Black women and plus-sized women – that makes me feel seen.

I want to feel beautiful without ruining the planet and excluding people…

The beauty industry needs to push the parameters of what is considered beautiful. It may seem like a small change but I’d like it to not be so heavily categorised. It feels like we have brands marketed at women and others that may cater for men – why can’t they make a shop that has amazing products where everyone feels welcomed, and then we’ll all go and buy it?

I call the lady that does my braids Auntie Lillian.

I’ve never had neater braids. She did them for my first couple of press shots and I hadn’t really had braids before that. I felt amazing, and having so much length was exciting me so much that the hair flick on stage was gassing me! She’s amazing, and is the only person I know who’s been able to give me braids that sit at the top of my bum in only a couple of hours – it’s unheard of. I don’t get a lot of beauty treatments done professionally, so the thought of sitting somewhere for too long makes me uncomfortable – either I’m just not consistent or I do a lot of stuff DIY. But there is a little nail shop in Nottingham city centre called Unique Nails where I’ll often go if I’ve got a show, because they have the best designs and I can be in and out quickly.

How I dress depends on my mood, so I like to switch up my makeup…

If I’ve got 15 minutes to get ready, I’m slapping on MAC Ruby Woo lipstick, lots of mascara, fluffing up my hair and putting in some gold earrings – most probably hoops. I’ll always normally throw a trenchcoat on top too, because I feel like a long coat protects me from anything. If I was stuck in the same clothes and was going from day to night, I’d pop my contact lenses in and apply some red lipstick. I love red lipstick in the day, but it always feels like the quickest way to switch it up for the evening.

My first beauty purchase would definitely have been something for lips…

It would either have been a humble pot of Vaseline or a high-shine lipgloss rollerball from Upton Park market. It might be a bit controversial but I still use and buy both of them! Never underestimate those two, because you can seriously create a look with some Vaseline by using it as a highlighter or an eyegloss.

R&B hair moisturiser from Lush is my most repurchased beauty item.

I think they’ve changed the name to Revive but for me, it’s still the same. It seriously locks in moisture, is great for doing a twist-out, and whenever I’ve used it people will always say my hair smells nice when I walk past them, which I love.

Lush wasn’t a shop that I associated with having products for my type of hair…

I discovered it by going to get a gift for someone else. I knew they had products that said “Afro” but I didn’t trust them. There was a Black girl working there and she said: “I know what you’re thinking, but trust me, sis, this is the one.” She was right! I like how it’s thick. Whether it’s face or body, I like all of my moisturisers to feel luxurious. I want it to sink in, but I want you to know that I’ve got moisturiser on and that’s the same with my hair products. It lasts a long time so I keep going back for more.

Lead image by: Nina Manadhar

The Short Stack

Sometimes the things you return to throughout your life aren’t the big star products, but classics, whether that’s Vaseline, red lippy, or a high-street hair saviour.

By Rhea Cartwright

More from Beauty