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caroline hirons skincareRewind a year ago and I had a simple skincare routine that mainly consisted of REN, but as my makeup collection grew my interest in skincare deepened, I really wanted to be good at understanding it and take better care of it. Being completely consumed by everything skin related is where Caroline Hirons came in. A skincare blogger who has worked in the industry for over 16 years, think of her blog as skincare without the BS. Long evenings spent reading through years of clinic comments, posts and tweets resulted in a slight obsession.

Which leads me onto skincare week (drool) at Liberty in London and I was hopping along faster than you can say ‘I love Caroline‘. Two talks, one on acne and problem skin and one on anti-aging both of which I was front row, pen and paper at the ready and let me tell you, never have I ever paid consistent attention to something in my life…

Here’s what knowledge she had to impart:

– dedicate time into your routine, keep eye on your diet and lifestyle and invest in products

– the area around your nose breeds and spreads bacteria

– when discussing dairy: humans are the only species that eat and drink milk from other animals. It’s not natural but if you’re going to have dairy keep milk skimmed and organic

– sugar is the worst thing for your system making alcohol bad for you, as it’s full of it. Alcohol also causes dehydration. If you’re going to have alcohol the best wine is the Pinot Noir from California as they are the clearest grapes. Sugar addicts – if you don’t have sugar for 72 hours you’ll stop craving it

– foods like Wotsits that melt on your tongue are designed to be kept eating as your body doesn’t process you’re eating food, therefore you eat more and more

– make sure to have copious amounts of Salmon as it’s excellent for your skin, or supplement with fish oils

– take supplements like fish oil before food. Lamberts do great fish oil capsules and vegetarians can take Luedos or Flax Oil

– make sure to drink copious amounts of water to stay hydrated- opt for fizzy water as it’s addictive and fills you up

– you shouldn’t eat food that doesn’t come from the ground or a mother

– sun is important – get your vitamin D! We are all deficient in vitamin D unless you live in Florida so everyone should supplement with tablets

– two types of SPF – chemical and physical. Chemical is ingredients like zinc oxide and has more of a thicker, whiter, texture. Physical absorbs UV light and has more of a lighter, runny texture and is an ingredient like titanium dioxide. When deciding on an SPF for you – go by your skin type and how you react to the sun

– skincare with SPF included gets in way of active incredients so it’s not recommended – use your SPF separately

– don’t give your body a lack of sleep, it needs time to regenerate

– always cleanse in the mornings

– wipes are for the three F’s – fannys, flights and festivals

– The ingredient mineral oil doesn’t do anything for the skin it apart from coats it. It’s so cheap companies like Shell pay beauty companies to take it off their hands

– oxygen is crucial, which is why it’s terrible to smoke as it decreases the amount of oxygen throughout your body. Do exercise often, even if it’s just a walk to get blood flow going

– thoughts on bickram yoga: no. The body isn’t supposed to go under that extreme heat and is in too much stress to release toxins

– zinc is good for your hair and skin

– cooling sprays like Evian dehydrate the skin as skin doesnt naturally absorb water. The water on the skin evaporates and leaves skin dehydrated

Background facts – anti-ageing and acne

– oil is not the problem in acne prone skin it’s stipping skin of oil that’s problem

– a common myth is acne is caused by dirty skin

– there are two types of acne, hormonal and bacterial. Bacterial can be anything from public transport to a reaction

– creams like Sudocream may work to reduce inflammation but in the long run are just clogging skin and sitting on top of it

– causes of ageing include (the naughty list) getting older, smoking, too much sun exposure, lack of oxygen in the skin

Your Skincare Routine

– don’t use products with alcohol as 1st of 2nd ingredient as they strip the skin. Alcohol also makes skin a breeding ground for bacteria, dry and infectious

– think of toner as cement to your routine

– the skin has a natural 5-6ph so use acids to support it and prevent breakouts. Foaming washes are the worst thing for acne-prone skin as they increase the alkaline in the skin causing a breeding ground for bacteria

– acids increase thickness of dermis. Gycolic, salicylic and lactic acid (decrease in strength in that order) all strengthen skin and keep it acidic. Use a surface exfoliant to keeps skin plump. Acids are also perfect for those under the skin lumps to help unplug them.

– foaming washed alkalise the skin – which is bad as it makes the skin a petri dish for bacteria and can cause more breakouts

– the more acidic your skincare, the healthier it will be

– if you have dry skin on your body, don’t use foaming washes but use shea butter, which is great for hydrating

– layer your skincare like a sandwich – cleanse, tone, exfoliating toner with acid, serum then moisturiser

– carry around tonic mist with you like Ren Tonic Mist, to keep you hydrated

– not a lot you can do about dark circles, either you inherit them or they are caused by dehydration

Facials Caroline loves…

– Fern Skin Clinic in Primrose hill here, Sarah Brown at Fortnum & Mason here, Omorovicza Facials here, Abigail James facials here and Oskia facials here.

caroline hirons skincare productsProducts with a CH approval stamp…

– Alpha H Liquid Gold, £31.50 here

– Biologique Researche Lotion p50 (available at Liberty London) and Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner, £20 here, are both great exfoliating toners

– Superfacialist Una Brennan Pre-Cleanse Oil, £14.99 here, to breakup makeup

– Peptabright, £29.99 here, for reducing pigmentation, if scars are still pink can do something about them

– If you have low energy try b12 Spray by David Kirsch, £17.50 here

– Aveda Intensive Hydrating Mask, £28.50 here, is fantastic for a hydration kick

– Balance Me Skin Hydrating Face Mist, £20 here, and Ren Tonic Lotion, £18 here, are both lovely hydrating spritzes

After a skincare packed afternoon I headed home, up to my arms in shopping lists and ready to eliminate a fair few items in my stash (alcohol-based toners, I’m looking at you). Has this given you as much to think about as it did for me?

For more Caroline head over to her blog here.

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  • Anna

    I’m looking for an alcohol free toner (afordable nonetheless) too, as I have sensitive skin! The one I currently use is from Korres and thankfully isn’t harsh on my skin (though it does contain alcohol).

    • Amelia Liana

      Sounds lovely Anna! x

      • Geeta

        LOVE THE Caroline Hirons feature that lady makes so much sense! I 2nd the mineral oil thing- does nothing just coats and gives textural comfort to the skin period. As with essential oils- they have been used since the millennia and are well known to be medicinal and and therapeutic for many skin ailments. Agree with the balm cleansing and no harsh detergants, ditto about the alcohol, if any thing they should be way lower down in the ingredients listings for preservative purposes if that. I don’t know why may consumers pay so much for chemical ingredients which most of the time to sod all for the condition you are trying to treat. I am just about to launch my own 100% natural line- very soon. Site is almost ready. Geeta

  • Re

    That’s best and truest facts I ever known. Finally someone shared them with those who never knew that and thought that skin is something horrible. Love yourself and you will be happy all the time, with your everything. GREAT.

    • Amelia Liana

      :) x

  • Charlotte

    This is SO helpful, I love Caroline and have learned so much through her blog. These tips are really great :)

    • Amelia Liana

      Me too I love her blog and her personality makes it such a pleasurable read! x

  • Cat Symons

    I love Caroline Hirons and as I suffer from Acne and have noticed the appearance of a few unsightly lines on my forehead, this post was a very welcome read! Brilliant tips but not so brilliant for my bank balance!

    • Amelia Liana

      I love her too!


    THE MOST HIDEOUS PICTURE POSSIBLE. LOL Thanks for this Lady. Talk about condensing! You must have been writing fiendishly. xxxxxx

    • Amelia Liana

      You yelled at me when I took one so had to do it in secret! LOL! I was :) x

  • J-M

    I loved it! Thank you so much!

    • Amelia Liana

      Yay so pleased x

  • Strawbry_Blonde

    Thanks so much for sharing all of this Amelia… great for those of us too far away to attend – I’ll be printing it off & heading to Space NK as soon as! 😉

    Nic xx

    • Amelia Liana

      Ah no worries Nic! Glad you liked it :) Enjoy Space NK! x

  • Michelle

    I love this post! Since finding Caroline’s website, my skin has improved so much!

    • Amelia Liana

      Me too!

  • Anna Blush

    This post is amazing! So much info and super helpful

    • Amelia Liana

      Yay so glad you thought so! x

  • SiobhanBentley

    Loved this post! Have marked it and no doubt will be coming back to it time and time again xx

    • Amelia Liana

      Me too! Haha! x

  • Jo (Pop of Coral)

    fantastic post, loads of great points. Thank you!

    • Amelia Liana

      No worries :)

  • Holly Allison

    Oh wow I absolutely loved this post, read it on the bus to uni this morning and I learned so much! I’m definitely going to make some of these changes and hopefully I’ll see some good results :)

    • Amelia Liana

      Let me know how you get on and happy you liked it Holly!

  • Anna Black

    Excellent advice, thanks so much for sharing!

    • Amelia Liana

      No worries! x

  • m_fvsantos

    Nice post, but you should try Beautypedia instead. Better supported :)

  • ab aduroja

    Nice post! Great skincare tips. I will definitely be adding a toner to my regimine .

    As for acne in Africa, they definitely do have it as well. There is less of it n part to weather, and a more organic diet (most foods ppl eat are straight from the ground, lots of fruit and less processed things).

  • Olivia S

    Such a good read, defiantly off to look at her blog now! xx

  • Danessa Martinez

    i love caroline’s blog! i really wanted to try the clarins exfoliating toner, but they don’t sell that in America. I hate when they sell different products to different countries!

  • Lea

    This is an interesting post (I stick to my own beliefs about skin care), but I would like to add something – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are both minerals used in sunscreens as protectants against the damaging sun rays; they both have white, thick texture. And “synthetic” sunscreen ingredients, such as avobenzone and octocrylene, are the actives that lend a lighter, shinier feel to an SPF product.

    My skin is dry and I don’t use products that contain fragrant ingredients or essential oils; as a result, I have managed to keep it in good shape over the years. I meditate, spend a lot of time outside, drink water (for the health of my body) and I like to indulge in chocolate, red wine and sometimes use butter in my dishes – and indulging in something that makes you happy, how can that be wrong?

    • Jacqueline H

      Agree on SPF, either the lecture was incorrect or something got mixed up in the notes…

      • Justine

        Yep, you are right.

  • Hanna

    This is such an amazing post! So informative though deadly to the wallet. I’m off to sob into my empty purse now.

  • Claudia

    I love Caroline and her blog but she does use products that contain irritating ingredients like
    essential oils or fragrance so be careful with product recommendations! better to always check the ingredients yourself, Clarins for example puts fragrance in everything which sadly ruins otherwise great products like that Exfoliating Toner.

    also mineral oil is always debatable.. I personally don’t think it’s that bad and trust Paula Begoun on that topic, see here:

    • Becky

      Ah thanks for the heads up. I think that the debate with mineral oil is more to do with it being such a cheap ingredient. If you are paying a lot for a product and its main ingredient is mineral oil then you have to question what you are paying for I guess :-)

    • nicolecontrol

      Voice of dissent, here… I have to come clean and say that I am in the anti-Paula Begoun camp. I know she advocates against the use of essential oils or fragrance, but frankly I think that’s just her personal preference and she won’t back off from it.

      Caroline is always open about the fact that certain things are simply her preference, and people have to do what works best for them. With mineral oil, she says she feels like it’s not great in skincare, because it’s basically designed to sit on top of the skin, and is never absorbed. However, it probably makes sense for that same reason to be used in some cosmetic items.

      Hard to argue with that.

      But really, I hate Paula Begoun. No offense.

      • Claudia

        everyone’s allowed to disagree of course :)

        Paula has strong
        opinions, therefore she often seems to be a bit fixated on certain
        points, I agree with you. but essential oils and fragrance are known
        irritants, that’s not just a personal preference. people with sensitive
        skin just react more quickly to these irritations, that doesn’t mean
        that those ingredients aren’t irritating for everyone. irritation isn’t
        always visible to the eye but it can still cause a great deal of damage.

        yes, mineral oil is probably a matter of preference. but one shouldn’t
        forget that there are other ingredients in – for example – a moisturizer
        besides mineral oil so those sink in and mineral oil sits on top,
        locking the ingredients in while shielding the skin from outside damage.
        I think that makes sense as well. also mineral oil is very agreeable
        with sensitive skin, so it can be added to products for sensitive skin.

        that aside I love Caroline AND Paula 😉 they are both intelligent and
        strong women with strong opinions and I like and respect that. plus one
        should never take other people’s opinions for granted anyway.

    • Sethrin

      Jip – Paula knows what she’s talking about. Caroline not so much. Don’t want Paula as my friend I’m saying, but I trust her opinions and she never recommends creams that cost nearly 80 pounds like Caroline did in a vlog. Ridiculous and it comes in a jar!

  • Jacqueline H

    Are you sure with your notes about chemical and physical SPF? That sounds incorrect to me…

  • Lily

    Great post! Just one thing. You reversed the two types of SPF. Physical SPF blocks the sun, and chemical SPF absorbs absorbs the sun rays.

    • murt

      Yes – and titanium dioxide is a physical sunblock, just like zinc oxide.

  • makeupbymerry

    Your post helps me a lot because I think my skin becoming dry by the use of a anti acne products and I was very worried what to do?. So your suggestions help me to over come on the dryness of my skin.

  • kika_alexokoh

    Defs coming back to read this again and again but I’m African, lived in Africa all my life, there is acne in Africa!

  • Becky

    Thanks for taking the time to write this up Amelia, I know that it must have been time consuming. I really admire Carolines blog and often head there for advice and rec’s. The lady knows her stuff, so thanks for collating it all into such an informative post!


  • marta

    The studies have shown that drinking fizzy drinks or water increases the risk of stroke . So I wouldn’t take that piece of advice of Caroline. On the other hand I have to agree with everything else. :)

  • redeemed

    This is not knowledge but ignorance.
    “for example – there’s no acne in Africa where there’s starvation) – ”
    What stupid comment!It doesn’t take brains to work out Africa is a continent and that statement is bigoted and backward.All Caroline needed to say was people who starve don’t have acne.
    Seriously be your OWN expert we are all unique I will not listen to people who are prejudiced and ignorant like that. Song :(

    • murt

      Agree…. and also – do we even know that starving people don’t have acne? Caroline’s statement is just completely ridiculous.

      • Sethrin

        I don’t see why this woman is considered a “guru” – can’t stand her, she’s not even qualified to recommed these ridiculous products. Annoying. Paula Begoun offers much better advice on

  • Wonderlusting

    Lots of great information here however the first comment about Africa and acne I assume was meant as a joke perhaps otherwise it is rather offensive. The main reason there is less acne in Africa (and other places in the world with warm weather) is due to the sunshine. The overall healthier and less processed diet does no harm either. In fact I’ve noticed anorexics in England often have bad skin so pretty sure there is no correlation to starvation. Acne is also hugely hormone related hence why it kicks in mainly at puberty. Cows are feed so much antibiotics and hormones that it ends up in the food chain and milk. Sheep and goat milk are generally easier for the body to deal with as those animals can’t be intensively farmed so less chemicals in their diets.

    Anyway thanks for taking notes – this is overall really informative but as others have commented I’m sure readers know not to everything as gospel, everyone’s skin is different so do your research and stick to what works for you.


  • Liane

    I discovered Caroline after her guest appearance on Body Talk with Sam and Nic and now I’m HOOKED onto her blog…we’re talking daily re-reads here. I do believe that Caroline says to use exfoliating toner first and then spray with a hydrating toner, instead of the other way around. Just fiy :) I love that you’ve summarized everything nicely in this post. Also loving that you’re on YouTube now! xx

  • Francesca

    Are you supposed to wash your face? No blogger ever seems to mention this? Are we supposed to just cleanse tone and moistrise

  • ceteleya

    skin care is most important thing for everyone. you have highlighted so many informative points in your post.

  • skin care products

    Here, Requires trying out a lot of new products and experimenting to find the products that meet all your skin care needs.