Alice Hart-Davis is an award-winning beauty journalist and the UK’s leading independent expert on non-surgical procedures, otherwise known as ‘tweakments’.
Along with her books, The Tweakments Guide: Fresher Face and The Tweakments Guide: Start with Skincare, Alice’s website and social media feeds are a wealth of information on how to look and feel like the best version of yourself.
Here Alice opens up about beauty stigmas, running her own business, and the secret to successful skincare.
How would you describe your job?
I run a digital business focused on providing independent information for people about non-surgical cosmetic procedures, which includes everything from elaborate facials to treatments with needles. It’s my mission to open up the conversation about these ‘tweakments’.
Most people regard tweakments with great suspicion because of the lack of regulation in this area. Unfortunately, there are many bad practitioners, and they’re the ones who are accountable for all botched jobs we see.
But what people don’t realise is that that there are also many fantastic practitioners out there. They do good work that is undetectable, so no one ever knows about it.
What inspired you to work in this area?
I’ve been writing about health and beauty for more than 20 years. Over time, the questions people ask me have changed from, ‘What’s the best moisturiser?’ to, ‘Should I get Botox?’—usually in whispered tones. There’s a massive curiosity about all this stuff, even though nobody likes to admit to being interested in it.
Having been a professional guinea pig for these tweakments, I’ve always been completely transparent about what I’ve tried. The world of medical aesthetics has changed massively in 20 years, with new types of fillers and more sophisticated procedures. And yet there’s still a stigma about messing with your face and a fear of looking ‘plastic’.
For me, and for many others, tweakments are on the continuum of beauty care. Is it so much worse to maintain your face than to dye your hair?
I felt the time was right, so I took a leap of faith, wrote my books and launched my website. Together, they provide a mass of information, including a list of great practitioners. The reception has been hugely positive.
What does your typical day look like?
I’d like to say I start in a sensible way with Wim Hof breathing, meditation, exercise of some sort and a cold shower. That sometimes happens but, like many people, I also find myself grabbing my phone first thing to check emails and social media.
This business involves creating masses of content. I’ll sit down in peace and quiet for part of the day to write or edit or talk to camera. I’ll have meetings on Zoom during another part, where I speak to brands I’m working with. Then there are Instagram lives, which often stretch on into the evening. Pre-COVID, I would zip around to launch events and international conferences too.
I work with my husband, and we run the business from home—so it’s been all day, every day, seven days a week since we started. There’s always something to do. Since lockdown, our three grown-up children have been living and working from home too. Luckily, we all get along well!
One of my daughters is into cooking, so she’s been making us fantastic, healthy vegetarian meals. We’ll all have supper together, and then we’ll usually watch something on the telly. We have got through so many boxsets during the past year.
What does health mean to you?
It means being well enough that you don’t have to think about it.
What do you think are the biggest misperceptions about health today?
The biggest problem is all the misinformation: the fake health news that’s so easily spread. Whether it’s skincare or nutrition or something else, not everyone has a grasp of the studies or science—so they don’t know when to believe one thing or another. It’s easy to forget that just because something is repeated on Facebook, it doesn’t mean it’s true.
How do you look after your skin?
With a consistent skincare regime. In the morning, I cleanse and use a vitamin C serum. I may or may not use a moisturiser—depending on how my skin feels—and then I’ll use sunscreen. In the evening, I cleanse and then I use either a retinoid or a glycolic product.
If you could give just one piece of advice concerning skin, what would it be and why?
You’ve got to use skincare like medicine. If a product says to use it once a day, you need to do that consistently—not just when you feel like it.
That doesn’t mean you need to use a lot of different products. I do online consultations with people to talk about tweakments and skincare, and I’ll recommend a select number of products based on their concerns and goals.
People often ask, ‘What else?’
They’re surprised when I say, ‘Trust me, that’s plenty!’
There’s no need to faff around with 12-step routines. Instead, choose targeted products from brands that have proven science behind them—so they actually deliver the kind of results you’re looking for—and use them consistently.
Whom do you look up to, and why?
People who are clever, serial entrepreneurs like Marcia Kilgore, who founded Bliss Spa, Soap & Glory, FitFlop, Soaper Duper and Beauty Pie. Also my friend Tash Courtenay-Smith, who has founded, scaled and sold three businesses—including an online press agency—and now runs an online direct-to-consumer marketing agency. I’ve known them for years, and I’m constantly amazed by their creativity.
I like bright, sparky, engaged and curious people who retain that way of being over the years.
Tell us something about you that people wouldn’t expect.
I’m squeamish! I talk about all these procedures—and I’ll go and get all sorts of stuff done—but I can’t watch surgery. It’s quite an occupational hazard in this profession; I more or less faint watching liposuction.
Aside from good health, family and friends, what do you cherish in your life?
Having fun. It’s been quite hard during the past year in various ways, but I absolutely cherish fun times with family and friends.