Caroline Hirons on the best winter skincare routine and the ingredients that will help dry skin

Caroline Hirons talks to about switching up our winter skincare routine, the best skincare ingredients and the one bath product she keeps reaching for.

When Caroline Hirons first set up her beauty blog, all she wanted to do was help people with their skin. From there, a loyal fan base grew which also led to the beauty expert (who is also a qualified aesthetician) to writing and releasing her own book: Skincare: The Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide, £8.

One major reason behind the success of Hirons’ blog and book comes down to her honest and straight-talking advice. In fact, the decision to write a book came stemmed from demand by readers.

“I would tell them it’s all on the blog but they said didn’t want to have to go into their phone or computer if [they] want to read it – instead they want it on their dressing table,” Hirons tells “So it was really just to help people with their skin. I’m very good at ignoring things, especially things that a corporation or a publisher wants. But if my readers tell me they want something, then I listen.”

So, when we spoke to Hirons, it only made sense to quiz her on all things winter skincare. Here’s what she said…

On the importance of changing your skincare routine in winter

“I always compare it to when you change your coat. If you’re changing your coat, you should be changing your skincare. Not the whole thing. There’s no need to start panic buying and think ‘oh god, I’ve got to change everything’.

“I’m merely suggesting that if you are putting a bigger coat on, or even a raincoat if it’s the other way around and we’re going into spring, look at making a switch. Usually, it’s a case of just switching up your moisturiser, for example.

“In general, most of us tend to get dried out because of the central heating. We’ve got the added complexity of maskne this year, which obviously is hard for people who previously never had a problem with their skin. So it’s generally just a little bit more moisture and hydration.”

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On the best skincare ingredients for winter

“It doesn’t have to be extortionate. Glycerin is one of the best moisturising ingredients that you can find. It’s not that expensive to find a good basic moisturiser with glycerin. There’s also ceramides, which are fatty acids – any kind of ceramide cream is great for this time of year.

“If people are super dry and they want a little bit extra, you can’t go wrong with a facial oil. I do facial oil first and then moisturise on top to seal it in. Whereas a lot of people will say ‘oh no, you have to oil last otherwise nothing else will penetrate’. That’s just not true – oil can also be a carrier. So I’m very much: do what feels best for you. I personally prefer the feel of an oil under a moisturiser.

“I massage my facial oil all over the face but you want grip not slip, so it can’t be oily or greasy. You want to look like you’ve got a glow, but it shouldn’t be completely overpowering or feel really greasy. I use a couple of drops around the face – it’s like wearing a scarf. It’s just a bit of extra warmth, if you like, and then I moisturise on top.”

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On the one product she can’t get enough of

“Mine is the Elemis Aching Muscle Super Soak, £30.75, which is my favourite bath product of all time. It’s in a different league. You just pour – well, they say a capful and I’m like, ‘yeah, maybe we’ll make it three or four capfuls’ – under the hot running tap, and the smell fills the whole house. Though you can’t use it when you’re pregnant – the oils are too strong. Although it’s called Aching Muscle, it’s just an instant relaxation tool to me. And it’s actually funnily enough, the first product that I put in my Hall of Fame on the blog like, nine or 10 years ago.


On using a retinol in winter

“It’s the best time to use a retinol. You’re going to be less prone to sun damage, especially this year because let’s face it, we’re all indoors. Now is the perfect time to do any kind of treatment that you’ve always thought you’d like to try but weren’t too sure about it and thought ‘I don’t want to run the risk of being red or having a couple of spots for a week at work.’ Use your retinol, and your skin will be working for itself before you know it. Then hopefully sooner rather than later, we can all go back to being out and about.”

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On the most common skin concerns fans have during winter and lockdown

“Most people go down one of two paths. One is that if they are wearing a mask more frequently, they have developed spots around the face or around the chin. The other is that they are wildly reacting to central heating in the cold and then they’re dried out, so chapped lips are very common at this time of year.

“But it’s all manageable and it doesn’t have to be overly complicated or overly intense. But it is definitely time to step up your routine and try and get something done while you’re, you know, sitting at home waiting to be allowed back out into the world.

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On how you should invest in your skincare routine

“[When it comes to spending less money on products] it’s literally the two bookends: cleansers and moisturisers. Spend your money in the middle on a more expensive serum. I’m not even saying something extortionate – you’ll never see me endorse a £500 serum. But if you can afford to spend £10-20 more, then you can really up the ante on the sort of the amount of active ingredients that you get.

“It’s kind of simple in that, start with the basics. Get yourself a good cleanser, a good moisturiser, and then when you can afford it expand. It depends on your age as well. If you’re 20 years old, a good cleanser and an SPF might be enough. If you’re my age, you should be throwing everything at the wall and hoping something sticks.”

Tune into Amazon’s Black Friday Live on Thursday 26th for tips and tricks on winter skincare with ELEMIS, Caroline Hirons, author of #1 bestseller ‘Skincare’, and entrepreneur, beauty and skincare creator, Ruth Crilly.

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Main image: Caroline Hirons