Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The Clever Girl's Guide to Good Skin

It's a sad day here on SO FAR, SO CHIC, for these are the last of Caroline Hirons' insider skincare secrets. But have no fear, for like any good beauty blogger/megalomaniac, I have saved the best for last!

What elements are essential to any skincare routine?
The most important thing to remember about the skin is that it’s the body’s largest organ. Let’s face it, the liver is a paltry second! You must cleanse every night. Use an oil-based cleanser on dry skin and massage deeply – all around the jaw – the lower half of your face is where you store toxins. If you come out of a facial and aren't pink all over, don’t pay. It must be a non-mineral oil cleanser; Eve Lom I am talking to you! Remove all traces with a face flannel. Don’t buy into the hype of needing a muslin cloth. Yes, muslin absorbs oil quicker – but it is also flimsier and can prevent you from getting the residue off properly. A normal white cotton face flannel is fine.

Do not use wipes. The only time this is acceptable is on an airplane, and even then you can get water-based 2-in-1 cleanser/toners from brands like Clarins or Payot in small sizes. Wipes belong to Dettol and should be used to great effect on your toilet, not your face.

The demise of toner is one of the sad facts of modern skincare (with the exception of Liz Earle, where their Instant Boost Skin Tonic continues to storm home). I love toner. Don’t get me wrong, avoid alcohol at all costs, but a lovely rosewater/herbal water/P50(!) toner before your moisturiser makes the world a better place. Think of using cleanser and moisturiser without toner as a sandwich without butter or mayo; it still works but it’s so much better with it.

Moisturise every single day. Mix it up: use an anti-aging product one day and an organic feels-lovely-but-with-slightly-less-benefit moisturiser the next. Begin as soon as you start your periods. Yes really. Our collagen is inextricably linked to our ovaries. Cleanse. Tone. Moisturise. I get compliments every day with people saying ‘must be good genes!’ Yes, but it’s also heeding good advice!

Use an eye cream. The skin around the eye is 60 per cent thinner than the rest of the face. It’s different; treat it as such. DO NOT USE MINERAL OIL IN YOUR EYE CREAM. Don’t just take my word for it; check out some eye surgery on YouTube. Vile.

Do any products really fade age spots and pigmentation?
Vitamin A is one of only two ingredients in skincare that you can legally claim to be anti-aging; the other is SPF. Vitamin A changes the structure of your skin. There's a family tree of retinoids: Retinol is simply Vitamin A in an alcohol base. The most effective source of retin is Retinyl Palmitate; an oil based vitamin A. It's easily absorbed by the skin and not as irritant as alcohol. Check out Environ, or if you prefer natural products (which will be much less effective) Elemental Herbology. Stay away from AHA’s and glycolic acid.

Which less well-known ranges do you recommend?
Biologique Recherche – obviously – and Anne Semonin. Nobody does skincare like the French.

Any final words of wisdom?
The three S’s that kill the skin: sun, smoking, sugar. Avoid all three and you’ll do fine.

Thanks to Caroline for her help. You can find her on twitter @CarolineHirons and at


  1. when i worked in an office I had a label on my computer screen that said Sugar Is Satan. I really do try to live by that. It's just so hard when there are so many cupcakes in the world that require my attention!!!

  2. Surely if you avoid the first two, the third one's not so bad? GAH!

  3. How I wish you were here taking care of my skin for me. I'm a tomboy in the arena, I don't do didly squat. HORRORS OF HORRORS


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