My husband told me I’m wearing myself out and I needed to find a non-screen hobby. So I finished Caroline Hirons’ new book – ‘Skincare: the ultimate no-nonsense guide‘. It’s the first non-Kindle or non-Audible book I’ve read in a while.
I wouldn’t say I religiously follow everything Caroline Hirons posts about or that I follow every video, but I’m a fan and very much respect her. I also love that she regularly advocates for actually blogging and maintaining control vs having focused so much on Instagram or YouTube. This is refreshing to me as I love engaging with a genuine Instagram community, but I’m developing more equity in writing here than obsessively posting or commenting on Instagram.
The Green, Clean and Natural Beauty Debate
Caroline is very outspoken which can be refreshing, but in the past 12 or so months she is one of several voices bashing “clean” beauty and toxicity language (or more so some of her ardent followers attack brands). And I get it. I think most of this is about clean beauty marketing and fear-mongering. But I’m totally lol’ing over the “there is no carrot in this yoghurt” analogy on page 245. Also I giggle all the time in her interviews when she “blames California”. Both the ‘conventional’ beauty gurus and the clean and green are feeling the heat. As someone who started down the clean and green beauty road due to fear and health concerns, I’m relieved to be reformed and now focused on making thoughtful intuitive choices. I’ve traded in INCIdecoder for EWG 🙂 . The fear in my “nontoxic” based approach became too, well, ‘toxic’ and stressful to me (while also dealing with long-standing health issues and infertility). Seeing “toxins” on Instagram makes my skin crawl. I don’t live in that negative space and a bad relationship with my body and mind anymore. (I haven’t read this old post in a while but I wrote about the clean / green / natural beauty spectrum 3 years ago. And I think where I’ve landed is I love to try focus where I can on #plantbasedbeauty in my routine).
I feel so bad when I see others operating from a place of fear about products and their body. But I have empathy and remember that feeling. Or thinking I had to avoid everything. Or eat only organic. The fear was making my life worse. Are there still some ingredients I avoid? Sure. But more so now It’s about preference and finding ingredients I love vs ones I avoid. And in our green beauty enthusiast community on Instagram and YouTube, my pal Marie says it best in Green Beauty Theory as advocacy for “transparent beauty”. For those of us who love green, ‘eco’, very plant-based and “clean” beauty products – we want choices. It feels like “the other side” is against us having more choices? Or a preference to choose something based on an abundance of caution. ? That’s what it feels like but I do think all perspectives have good intentions.
I think really the conventional beauty world or the categorical scientific “side” in beauty (btw I totally follow and sometimes certainly agree with EcoWell and Lab Muffin ) sees almost anything “green” and “clean” as fear-mongering
- Although I love some the points Dr Aegean Chan makes early on in this video
- And Dr Anhali Mahto’s frustration with the polarization that we can get through social media echo chambers in this video
I totally get all sides, and can understand how perceptions can get inflamed on Instagram posts 🙂 But I think the intensity and passion should be directed into meaningful discussions with fear marketing brands vs insulting the intelligence of experienced skincare enthusiasts. And I’m asking us to have empathy and compassion. It’s not just because of marketing or branding that someone starts veering towards clean beauty – something in their life or their body and personal experience has primed them to listen to the messages. I sooooo remember those feelings…but its a journey.
For the record in her book she references her fondness for de Mamiel, May Lindstrom’s the Blue Cocoon, Vintner’s Daughter and some of Tata Harper. So I’m even recognizing her “clean” spectrum 🙂
OK rant over, now onto this awesome book.
#1 This Skincare Guide Book is fantastic for skincare newbies or serial skincare obsessors
I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how handy this new skincare book* is (hi friends this is an affiliate link, I may make a few pennies if you purchase the book through it 🙂 ). I know a lot about skincare – especially about what actually helps melasma and hyperpigmentation. But I’ve focused my energy in the past 2.5 years focusing also on skin health, not just treating one issue. And low and behold that has helped my melasma heal.
This book is a great reference for my skincare journey. Yes, I can read her blog or follow her videos, but it’s so nice to have a handy reference. Between this book, my upcoming visit to a new dermatologist (yay!) and my new amazing aesthetician (and sprinkling in a bit of Biologique Recherche skincare) – 2020 will be my best skincare year ever!
Also after a long day, I regularly question the order of my PM routine. And now I have a non-screen option to help my eyes and my skin find the answer 🙂
I especially love the easy to follow glossary and the brand guide.
#2 Caroline Hiron’s [rightful] obsession with Vitamin D
Her support of Vitamin D is another wake-up call for me! My blood tests have shown very low vitamin D for a while. I keep trying to take my supplements everyday but honestly, it’s just hard to remember to take all my vitamins and also get a toddler ready in the morning and also work etc.
She brings up excellent points though that Vitamin D is technically a hormone. And I have enough hormone issues to know I need to be paying more attention to this. I’ve done some more reading and now I can’t believe I didn’t realize before how much Vitamin D supports skin replenishment.
I would have thought Vitamin C would have been the obvious choice to call out since Vitamin C supports collagen production.
#3 I need to stick to a fish oil routine for at least 3 months
Generally speaking, I’ve got dry (but recovering!) skin and very dry eyes. Like all the time. This parched Southern California climate doesn’t help. So I know I need to be taking fish oil regularly but I haven’t found my “jam” yet. As it turns out, maybe I should be testing for longer than a few weeks (see page 123) to see the benefits for my dry and sometimes dehydrated skin.
#4 The need to treat skin sensitivity and dehydration first
page 145. I wish I had read or understood this 15 years ago! I went from only treating directly and thinking about my hyperpigmentation and melasma to giving up because nothing worked to finally addressing my overall skin health. The best improvements I’ve had in healing and fading my melasma were when I greatly reduced physical exfoliation and started incorporating hydrating mists in the fall of 2018. After repairing my skin’s barrier, focusing more on my sensitive skin needs and dehydration issues I finally started seeing amazing melasma treatment results without hydroquinone.
#5 She hates Foam Face Cleansers and loves Lasers.
Well, at least Caroline Hirons and I both agree on the benefits of arbutin for treating hyperpigmentation 🙂 . And of course we both love Biologique Recherche P50. We don’t agree on lasers. But I’m so curious what my new dermatologist would say. The last ones have cautioned that lasers weren’t the right choice for my prior for both my melasma and vitiligo.
I thought it was interesting that she is so against foaming face wash. I’ve met plenty I didn’t like but one I love lately (more on that later). But good to know with my dry skin I should continue to stick to my milky cleansers.
#6 Collagen Production is Linked Directly to our Ovaries
Whaaaaaa??? Mic drop on age 165. Dang! I don’t think I made this connection before.
From what I can gather this connection is due to estrogen. And as estrogen production decreases (with age), the skin becomes thinner and with more potential for oxidative stress. Another reasons I should continue to work to keep my hormones balanced.
#7 Moisturizing spots (pimples)
First off, I love that she spends enough time in this book breaks down acne versus spots. I’ve very lucky and despite PCOS has never had acne, but only spots. Lately, I’m getting spots regularly once a month :/ . Thankful for a new serum recommend by my aesthetician to help! And I’m looking forward to trying Caroline Hirons moisturizing trick to calm spots or get them more ready to pop and protect the skin around it. I assumed the best thing was to try out the spot area [face palm] and am very thankful to not have scarring.
#8 Focus effort and money on cleansing, acid toners and serums.
Where should you focus your skincare budget? I love her analogy that moisturizers is just the “coat” but acids, cleansing and serums are the “outfit”. It’s also nice to read my budget is in line with the level of quality she expects for price points. But over the past 10 years I’ve worked my way up from least expensive to very effective, mindful, high quality products. I try to call out in my blog posts when there are less expensive alternatives (like Ere Perez – amazing prices for a great sensitive skin foundation and brightening serum). But overall I’ve found you get what you pay for!
Have you read Caroline Hirons new skincare book or watched her videos? What do you think? Do you have strong feelings for or “against” “clean” beauty?