Giving makeup a meaningful makeover

Giving makeup a makeover

Makeup is being used as a hook by an inspiring social enterprise to help teenage girls to build their confidence and give them a brighter future.

As a trained youth worker with a passion for helping teenagers and a background in professional makeup artistry, Teresa Reynolds was well placed to see the potential for using makeup as a hook to engage young women and girls in exploring much deeper issues.

One of the major challenges in working with teenagers who face difficulties is to make them feel confident and comfortable enough to explore their hopes and fears. Using makeup as a starting point and a metaphor, Teresa has found an engaging and reassuring way to help teenage girls open up and start to discuss their own desires for the future in a positive way.

In 2012 Teresa founded Incredible Brilliant Youth to offer her unique workshops to young people, mostly girls from 13–19 years of age, to help them develop greater self-esteem, confidence, and the skills to gain employment. Part of Teresa’s motivation for starting this venture was her own experience being bullied as a teenager, she said, 'The aim is to get the girls to be more confident in what they are doing and how they are going about things in life. I teach them age-appropriate makeup and get to understand their needs, their wants, how they feel, and why they wear makeup. I want to show them that makeup doesn’t have to be a mask – it’s a tool. You can wear it and show you who are. You don’t need to cover up your personality.'

Over 270 young people have now participated in their workshops. They've worked in several London boroughs with a variety of young people, those engaged in education, members of newly arrived communities, those who are not in education, employment or training and young people with special educational needs. And over time they would like to train young people in how to deliver workshops to their peers and involve many more young people in the running of their organisation.

Teresa said, 'I always say to the girls know you are the same beautiful person without makeup. I focus on self-esteem, beauty, body image, education and employment. It’s a programme designed for inner and outer beauty. It’s about giving them the chance to grow and have the opportunity to move forward and realise their dreams.'

Teresa gained early support from The Prince’s Trust. She was selected to participate in their enterprise programme designed to give start-up funds, mentoring and ongoing support to young people wanting to start their own businesses. The spa brand Elemis has also extended their support by donating their FreshSkin range for use in Incredible Brilliant Youth’s beauty-based workshops.

And Teresa has gained great support from the members of Pimp My Cause. Jermaine Ranger helped Teresa develop her marketing plan and provided her with extensive research to support her business plan and Claire Hope has given her advice on how to run successful events. The Incredible Brilliant Youth workshops have had great feedback from their participants. One participant aged 16 said, 'Today's session was very informative, it made me feel better about myself and that I am perfect just the way I was created. I have more confidence in myself and I can wake up every day with a smile on my face.'


Incredible Brilliant Youth is now looking for strategic marketing and communications support to help them reach youth clubs, councils, schools and potential sponsors who would be interested in participating in their programmes. They would greatly appreciate hearing from any marketer who would like to support their work. And if you would like to work directly with the young people they support, Incredible Brilliant Youth would be very pleased to invite you to speak at one of their events to share your experience and give advice on education and employment to young people who are in need of inspiration and encouragement.

Please email Anna Mullenneaux ([email protected]), chief match maker at Pimp My Cause, if you are interested in supporting them with your marketing expertise.

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