Now you know I’m a lover of natural skin care, I wrote a whole blog post about it here. It just made sense to me that natural products are safer and more effective than man made ‘chemicals’ because its that way within food and nutrition. I also mentioned that I think skin is more about what you put in to your body than on it. But although I’ve been eating the most glorious of healthy foods, drinking lots of water and limiting alcohol and caffeinated drinks, my skin is still dehydrated and a bit, well, claggy. Know what I mean? Sort of bumpy as if its in need of a good scrub. Its also become a big tingly and itchy feeling even with the hydrating masks and good moisturiser I’ve been using. Bit cheeky if you ask me!

Having had my bloods checked I know that I am lacking B12 and although impressive for a Scottish girl in lockdown, my vitamin D could also do with a boost. Those deficiencies will be affecting my skin and hair. I have a vitamin D mouth spray and a prescription of good quality red meat to help tackle that but I can also chivvy my dehydrated skin along with a better skin care routine. 

For that I have been on the search. In that search I came across Caroline Hiron’s book ‘Skin Care’. One of my lovely friends had recommended it to get a good handle on a starting point for skincare and at £10 on Amazon, I thought I’d give it a try. She’s (Caroline) a total skincare guru and one of the most straight talking experienced ladies I’ve come across. She’s in her early 50s and if you’ve watched any of her Instagram lives or Youtube videos, you know exactly what I mean. To be honest I needed her straight talking honesty on what my skincare routine should be looking like at 31.

I’m giving the book an 8/10. I certainly learned a lot about skincare routines for each age group, what ingredients do what, what dry skin is compared with dehydrated skin, specific skin care conditions, what part of the routine to spend my money on, how to read INCI (ingredient) lists etc. She also tackled a lot of myths. It was a really good read. She lost 1 point in how the book looks – luminous yellow and camouflage isn’t really the aesthetic I have in mind for skin care. And the 2nd point is lost because although she makes general suggestions for you to look at, she’s not telling you exactly what to buy. I totally understand the reasons for that; she doesn’t know the individuals skin or budget, the book would become irrelevant depending on those products, she wants to keep relationships with all the brands etc. But for the lazy and confused (me) it makes it much harder! I’ve had to read her book multiple times and write notes on what is missing in my kit. The information in the book is also all on her blog (some paragraphs word for word) at carolinehirons.com but its hard to get to it all in any order and know what’s important so I’m glad I have it in an easy to follow book form.

In tackling the skin care myths out there, she doesn’t hold back about foaming cleansers, wipes, scrubs, facial skin brushes, she has a whole section called ‘get in the sea’ of the stuff she dislikes intensely and what I was most interested in; green/clean skin care. 

I’ve never actually read a point of view that isn’t totally for green/clean skin care so it was insightful and actually a bit of a relief. I don’t need to keep Elizabeth Arden as my guilty secret anymore! In her opinion the Think Dirty app is insulting and that a lot of green/clean skin care is just clever marketing. She thinks that a lot of brands (not all) are scaremongering unnecessarily. All ingredients and products including those containing parabens and sulphates go through rigorous testing before being allowed on to the British skin care market. Parabens are the most tested ingredient out there and have still be deemed safe. She doesn’t suggest that you should seek those that include it and she doesn’t recommend a product with sulphates for dry skin but she disagrees that some brands villainise it. Some brands will list all of the things that their product doesn’t contain but it wouldn’t normally include those things anyway as if they’re doing you a huge favour: 

It is the skincare equivalent of saying there is no carrot in this yoghurt

She also goes in to how some man made ingredients are better for the skin than ‘natural’ ones and are far more tried and tested. All in all, she doesn’t say to stay away from the green and clean brands, only to watch out for their ingredients (which are sometimes bulked out with random things) and to not worry about the man made scientific ingredients in non natural products.

So in light of all that; I remind myself I said in the previous blog that I would go natural if the product works. I still stand by that. If there were 2 products of equal quality, price and function and one was natural, environmentally and animal friendly and the other was 100% manmade; I would go for the more natural one. So if my Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lift and Firm works beautifully for my skin (and a couple of my friends) then I’m not about to turn my back on it. (The link is for Boots but shop around when you’re buying it, I usually pay around £40 for it.) 

The basic things I learned from the book: 
1. The morning and evening skincare routines.
2. Exfoliators have moved on from scrubs to acids.
3. Manmade doesn’t necessarily mean unsafe or bad, its sometimes more helpful and science based than natural
4. Spend the majority of my budget on the sandwich filling; the slices of bread are your cleanser and moisturiser, the filling is your treatments like acid toner, hydrating mists, hyarulonic serums etc
5. Moisturiser or SPF is the barrier to the elements on your skin
6. Experiment until your skin is happy and tweak it as you get older or your body and skin change
7. The best anti aging product for any age is SPF.

So after all my reading and note taking, I went on Cult Beauty and gifted myself the missing pieces of my routine! I went for an acid toner, a hydrating mist, a serum, a facial oil and a night moisturiser to compliment the products I already have that I don’t want to waste. It took me about 3 days and in the end I just paid for what was in my cart, I don’t even think half of it was recommended. Its an absolute minefield deciding which 1 of 40 serums that all contain the ingredients Caroline’s told you to look for. Cult Beauty does help in that way with their filters, you can filter by ingredient, so then all you need to do is check the concentrations of them, balance it against the price and the brand and the reviews and external blogger reviews and how nice the packaging is… you can see why it took me so long…

I got:
Ren Ready Steady Glow Daily Aha Tonic
Caudalie Beauty Elixir (mist)
Ren Flash Hydro-Boost Instant Plumping Emulsion (for my serum)
Ren Omega 3 Optimum Skin Oil
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask
Then you get to pick 2 free samples so I got Four Sigmatic Mushroom cacao mix with reishi (its their chill one) and a Dizziak shampoo and conditioner to try. LOVE a free sample!
It cost me £94 including delivery with a 15% discount I found on the Marie Claire website (YOU15). Not that bad considering the price of skincare although the bottles are fairly small. All of them came in larger sizes but I’d say perfect size for trying them.
I’m not turning my back on Tropic (in case you’re wondering), I still love it and I’m still using the cleanser and tinted SPF; I had some more experimenting to do whether with Tropic or another brand so I thought I’d have some fun with it.

Also, Cult Beauty have a refer a friend link, if you buy via this link, we both get £10 off – woohoo! Then I can follow your link for my next order.

Do you have any skincare that you absolutely swear by? What do you use? Or like me do you like to experiment a bit? 

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