A few years ago, my daughter dropped round to see me between university classes.

We met at the door and she helped me carry my groceries in. That's when she sat me down and gave me the chat.

"Mum," she said, "you need to start wearing makeup every day. You can't get away with a bare face - nobody can. You need to have pride in your appearance."

I figured the fact I was dressed in proper clothes rather than my pyjamas put me a step ahead of the other supermarket shoppers but clearly my teenage daughter felt I could be doing better. And she's not the only one.


I was having a drink with friends a generation older than me and I was bemoaning the fact I'd run into a very handsome acquaintance when I was out picking up a takeaway dinner.

It was one of those rainy Saturday stay-at-home nights and I was dressed accordingly - sloppy jumper, trackpants, frizzy hair and no makeup. And that of course is the time you run into handsome acquaintances.

My friends had no sympathy. They live by the mantra Be the Best You Can Be, including appearance.

Don't get me wrong - I love makeup. I do a lot of MC-ing and there is no way I could get up in front of hundreds of people without the full face and hair.

In my 20s, I worked on Fair Go. When the show went out live to the nation, I'd wear jeans and a T-shirt and turn up without any makeup so I could be transformed at show time.

Looking like a different person gave me the confidence to front a live show and that's still how I operate. I turn up for rehearsals for the events I'm presenting looking like a bag lady and I can see the organisers thinking "That's the MC?" After I've been expertly styled they breathe a sigh of relief.

Makeup is your armour. When you slap it on, you don't just look different - you feel different. You can wake up looking like the wreck of the Hesperus but a few minutes in front of the mirror leave you looking and feeling immeasurably better.

There's a reason the sale of lipsticks and nail polishes soar in recessions - women can indulge in small luxuries and get a lift from a little bit of colour.

That's why I support Look Good, Feel Better. When you're going through a tough time, everything you can do to help yourself feel stronger and more empowered is vital. And if the right wig and the perfect lipstick can help, go for it.

Kerre McIvor is on Newstalk ZB weekdays, noon-4pm.