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Glowing skin is in!

When it’s still cold and dark out, it can be really hard to get motivated but after having the worst breakout I’ve had on my skin for months, I got snuggled up in the (soon to be remodelled!) studio and spent hours researching skincare and reading the new must-have Skin Care book by Caroline Hirons (AKA the Skincare Queen) as I decided it was time to up the ante on my current routine.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that crafty makeup products control and, if necessary, hide skin issues (pass the powder and blotting paper.) And to be fair, makeup products these days are pretty far advanced to help with such issues. But - fact - it’s a good skincare routine that makes the difference.

As is the same with makeup however, the market is beyond saturated with brands and products and despite all my research, I still found myself thinking ‘how the heck do I actually choose?’ It would be almost impossible to try them all. But Caroline Hirons has actually tried most of them, so, I referred back to what I now call ‘The Skin Bible’ and I took her step-by-step process literally, learning more about the ingredients, what they do, how they work and so on.

The outcome of that is that I have now completely switched up my routine but I’m actually still using all of the same skincare products I already had! It turned out that I wasn’t using them correctly (and face wipes apparently are a no-no, soz!) With this new knowledge, I’ve also added in a few new little beauties which are turning my skin from dim to glowing from within. It’s also going to help me a lot more when I’m picking the right products to prep my client’s skin when I eventually get to paint faces and nails again!

But before I let you in on what I use, we’re probably all familiar with three basic steps to skincare; Cleanse, Tone and Moisturise. Well, I'm going to switch it up a wee bit to cover:

- Cleanse

- Exfoliate/acid toner

- Hydrate/moisturise

* A wee disclaimer! Everyone’s skin (and budget!) is different so like me, do your research and make sure that the products you invest in are right for your skin. Make sure to test them before using them too to check for reactions/allergies, as I did with the following products that I now know work well for me. I use all of these products but not all at once and also in a very specific order as part of my daily routine.

So, here we go, my skincare faves to get to glowing skin!


Cleansing is the first step to clean skin and it’s just as important in the morning as it is at night. Here is where wipes don’t cut it. You need to get in about the dirt. Use a white flannel for some seriously satisfying makeup removal proof!

The blue liquid in this cleanser is oil-based which melts off waterproof makeup and the need for rubbing. Oil is an essential ingredient for hydration – even if you have oily skin.

This is a brilliant morning cleanser for sensitive skin, giving a very refreshed feeling after use. A budget friendly, happy little skincare item in my opinion.

Avène are specialists in sensitive skin and I use this gorgeously creamy cleansing milk to remove makeup at night, cleaning off my skin with a warm damp flannel.

Exfoliate/acid toner

I genuinely freaked at the thought of acid on my skin! But I’ve been using forms of acid for years and not realised! I’ve personally opted to use Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) – otherwise known in products as Salicylic acid. It’s used for treating breakouts and blocked pores.

This spray toner contains zinc sulfate to soothe oily, spot prone and sensitive skin. It feels lovely and cooling and helps the absorption of other products. Also good for using inside a face mask!

This refreshing exfoliator is what I use twice a week. It’s brilliant if you’re prone to blackheads or breakouts. (I’ve decanted mine into a cute little facewash bottle.)

As well as removing any final traces of dirt and oil, this acidic (salicylic) lotion also exfoliates by increasing the shedding of dead skin cells to help brighten the skin as well as helping to treat blemishes spots.


Here we go! I’ve split this down into three parts as there’s quite a few products in this section but I love bringing my skin back to life with a good injection of hydration, including using eye creams, retinol (Vitamin A) and face oils. Soooooo good!

Eye Cream

I featured this serum on my product of the week video last year and I still love it just as much now! I love how light and fast absorbing it is. It’s great under makeup too.

This is a little but powerful tub of joy! Filled with retinol, I’ve noticed an improved difference in the fine lines and hydration of the skin under my eyes. I use this at night and a little goes a long way.

Serum/Face Oil

Oh, I love this product! This is my retinol/vitamin A choice. Retinol can be quite strong so I started using this three times a week but my skin took to it very quicky and I now use it once a day. The bottle is small but you only need a small amount.

This non greasy, fast absorbing oil gives an incredible boost of hydration and it smells amazing! I love using this morning and night as it has a blend of essential oils which help to soothe and calm your skin as well as your senses.


This Bioderma beauty was also featured on my product of the week video and it’s a personal favourite when my skin is prone to redness. It soothes skin and provides a brilliant, even base for makeup. I also switch between their Sensibio Rich for extra hydration and Sebium Mat Control if I’m wearing a heavier coverage of makeup.

This cream goes on like a dream and is specifically designed to create a flawless base for makeup, as well as making skin look and feel like satin. Good for oily skin that doesn’t like anything too heavy.

If you’re looking to invest in a luxury product, this little beauty is worth every penny! It feels and smells absolutely divine! This also has a built-in primer making it a beautiful base for makeup. I've also taken to using it at night as it has a slightly heavier, creamy texture.

As much as I love the texture of a luxury cream, sometimes my skin isn’t up for it when I'm wearing makeup so this is a great alternative. It’s incredibly light and it smells lovely too. It’s proven to be a good base for makeup when my skin is feeling oily.

Whoo! I know that's a lot of products, but I use them at different times, depending on how my skin is reacting. I hope it helps you find your own dream products, if you haven't already!

Drop me a note if you have any questions or hit me up to share your very own favourites! I'd love to see your personal faves!

Have fun, stay safe and enjoy!

Nicola x

And in case you need it in your life as much as I do, here's a link to Caroline Hirons' website, where you can buy Caroline's Skin Care book and read her no-nonsense blogs. Enjoy!


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