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Skin Deep

Skin Deep: Here's how to keep your skin looking fresh to death during the colder months

The only routine you need.


Welcome to Skin Deep with Louise McSharry, my opportunity to put years of obsessing over beauty products and techniques to good use. I won’t tell you something is good if it’s not. I won’t recommend products I haven’t actually tried. As the magical sitar in Moulin Rouge said, I only speak the truth.


After weeks of me moaning about the unseasonably warm temperature, it would seem that Autumn is well and truly here. Twitter names have been Halloween-ified, the leaves are rustling on the trees, and Penneys scarves are being purchased up the wazoo (but which one will be the one this year? WHO KNOWS? Only time will tell).

Along with the changing temperature, comes a change in skin routine, or at least that’s what should happen. Aside from the lower humidity in the air, office heating and dramatic changes in temperature from outside to inside can wreak havoc on our skin, leaving us prone to sensitivity and dehydration. Our needs in warm weather are different to our needs in cold weather, so if you want to avoid developing a scaly face (just me?), here are some handy tips.


First, let’s talk about cleanser. While a foaming cleanser is great for leaving you fresh and clean in the summer, a creamy cleanser will feel kinder in the winter. Our skin’s natural protective barrier can be compromised in the winter, and a creamy face wash will be gentler on it than something light and foamy. If you’ve been considering trying Liz Earle’s famous Cleanse and Polish, now might be the time to try, as it fits the bill and Boots’ Christmas range offers an opportunity to try out the range for a great price. Alternatively, Penney’s new Hot Cloth Cleanser is a decent option and will only set you back six euro.

Once your skin is clean, it’s best practice to apply your other products in order of consistency from heavy to light. Lighter products have an easier time permeating the skin, whereas heavier products can act as a barrier, so there’s no point in applying your serum after your moisturising cream, it’s probably not going to get in there. On that basis, let’s talk about serum next.

If you’re thinking, ‘SERUM ME ARSE’, allow me to convince you that winter is exactly the time to introduce one into your routine. As I said before, this season essentially sucks all the moisture out of your skin, so it needs extra help. A layer of serum will help keep your skin hydrated, and therefore keep fine lines at bay. Nobody wants fine lines, do they? Heaven forbid we, as women, show any visible signs of age. Seriously, though, nobody wants them. So use a serum and choose one with Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic Acid occurs naturally in our skin and attracts and holds moisture, making us look younger and healthier. Unfortunately, as we get older we have less and less of it. So lash it on to your damp skin after you’ve washed it, babeses. Clarins’ Double Serum is a classic and contains a low molecular weight Hyaluronic Acid, which means it penatrates the skin more easily. It’s also recently been updated to include Turmeric, which is a current buzz ingredient in skincare, and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. If that’s too rich for your blood (it is pricey at €70), Aldi’s Lé Mara Hyaluronic Gel Serum is a fair alternative, and only €4.99.


When it comes to your daily moisturiser, you may want to change to something a little heavier for winter, depending on what you usually use. Again, it’s all about protecting your skin when it’s compromised in this weather, so it’s not a bad idea to move to one which combats the effects of pollution. Anti-pollution #product is like, so hot right now, so there are lots available. The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth range (has there ever been a better name for a skincare range? I think not) is worth a go if you want to combat pollution. If you just want a richer moisturiser, you could do a lot worse than Eucerin’s Hyaluron Filler Day Cream which is also SPF 15.  Don’t think that you don’t need an SPF because it’s winter. UV rays care not for seasons, they’ll get you all year round. If it’s not in your chosen moisturiser, make sure you get it elsewhere.

If you fancy it, add a few drops of facial oil in to your day cream, or, if you have time for an extra step, smooth it all over your face and neck at the end of your skin routine. I adore a facial oil. It feels super luxe and leaves your skin feeling healthy and hydrated. Everyone can benefit from them, even people who suffer with oily skin. Superfacialist’s Rose Miracle Facial Oil is lovely, and Penneys’ new one is good too, at only €6.


Throughout the day, a spritz of hydrating facial spray can be useful too. I’ll be honest, up til recently I thought they were a total swizz, but I’ve done a bit of research and people swear by them for hydration and calming. Also, they feel nice and fancy, and can freshen up a face of makeup which is in danger of going stale. Keep it on your desk at work or in your handbag/car if you’re too morto to spritz yourself in front of your colleagues. Try Clinique’s Moisture Surge Face Spray or Garnier’s Moisture Bomb Mist which has the bonus element of SPF 30.

At night, winter is a great time to exfoliate, but that doesn’t mean scrubbing. These days, skin experts are telling us to avoid the old school method of scrubbing the hell out of your face to get rid of dry skin. Aside from the fact that many scrubs include microbeads which are terrible for the environment, they’re also too harsh on our skin. Instead, acids are the way to go.  They’ll gently slough off the dead skin without making dry skin drier and stimulating oil glands in oily skin. Night time is the perfect time to do this because you’re not immediately bringing your new pink skin into the sun. Pixi’s Glow Tonic is a great way to start experimenting with acid exfoliation.


Afterwards, you may want to add an extra serum into your routine. Yes, that’s right, you can use more than one serum at a time. My mind basically exploded recently when skin expert Jennifer Rock (The Skin Nerd) explained this to me. She suggested that we think of our skin as a dinner plate, which needs lots of different elements. So, you may want to use your hydrating serum and something anti-wrinkle (if you’re crazy, you could even add a third!). Just have a look at the ingredients to ensure you’re giving your skin something different with each one, and give your skin a minute to soak each one up before you apply the next.

If you’re not already using a hardcore night cream, it’s definitely a good idea to use one at night. Beauty expert Sali Hughes once said that if you don’t still feel it on your skin in the morning when you wake up, then you need something heavier. I like Janssen Cosmetics Night Replenisher or The Body Shop’s classic Vitamin E Night Cream. If that’s not enough for you, throw in some facial oil too! My absolute favourite for night time is Irish company Pestle and Mortar’s Superstar Retinol Oil (retinol is a form of vitamin A which is brilliant for your skin), but Pure Super Hydrate Overnight Oil is also nice, and more affordable.


Finally, and to be honest, I do this as much to feel like a fancy lady than anything else, treat yourself to a moisturising mask once a week. If you’re a fan of sheet masks Garnier’s Moisture Bomb Tissue masks are decent and inexpensive (and often on special in Boots, so keep your eyes peeled and buy in bulk). Otherwise, Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask is fantastic, especially if you consider yourself to have ‘problem skin’ as it’s calming as well as hydrating (actually, if you have ‘problem skin’, check out Paula’s whole range).

So, there you have it, an excuse to go and buy a whole load of new #product. Seriously though, even if you only make one or two small changes you should be looking fresh to death all winter.

New Product


Charlotte Tilbury is adding to her arsenal with a new palette of eyeshadow called the Instant Eye Palette. In classic Tilbury form, she’s breaking it down into easy to decode ‘looks’. The twelve shadows are divided into three categories Day Eye, Desk Eye, Date Eye and Disco Eye. I’m sure you can figure out what she means there. The mix of matte and shimmering eyeshadows will set you back a hefty €75, but ooh does it look nice.

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