With more than 35 years of industry experience, a regular guest slot on This Morning, a hugely successful blog and YouTube channel, and an army of 427k Instagram followers so loyal they even have a nickname for themselves (‘the freaks’), Caroline Hirons is nothing short of a skincare phenomenon.
The 50-year-old has just launched her hugely hyped book Skincare, billed as ‘the ultimate no-nonsense guide’ – so who better to school us on summer skin now warmer weather is here?
This summer is somewhat different than usual, however, so how has lockdown been affecting people’s complexions, judging by the enquiries Hirons has been getting?
“Everyone I know is getting dry skin and breakouts,” she says. “For me personally, lockdown is doing as much damage as a transatlantic flight. I’m spritzing and moisturising three or four times a day and it just disappears.”
Here, the beauty guru talks us through six changes everyone can make to ensure their summer skincare routine is up to scratch…
“Sometimes the first warm day of spring or summer sneaks up on you and you find your make-up feels heavy, or your creams suddenly feel sticky,” Hirons says.
If that’s the case, try swapping to a cleanser that’s a milk or gel formula.
“Cleansing milks and gels are light and won’t feel heavy in the heat. I use balms all year round, but I know a younger, more combination skin frequently finds them a tad heavy.”
2. Sun protection
“As the days get longer, don’t forget to up the ante on your SPF,” Hirons says – and that doesn’t just mean the sun protection factor itself.
“If you enjoy sitting out in the summer evenings, and you last applied your SPF in the morning, it’s worth carrying a spray or mineral SPF so you can top-up throughout the day.
“Neither are perfect for coverage, so just do your best, and don’t go lower than an SPF30.”
3. Soothe sunburn
“There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ tan,” Hirons warns. Even with the best will in the world, you are still at risk of burning and sun damage if you choose sit out in the sun.
“If you do get sunburned, strip back actives,” she says, meaning active ingredients found in skincare like retinol and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). “Take down the heat and keep the skin cool with regular cold showers and wet cloths.
“Take aspirin or ibuprofen and wear loose clothing that protects the burned areas.”
4. Vitamin C
Not only should you be munching lots of vitamin C-rich fruits and veggies in summer, applying the nutrient topically can work wonders for your skin too.
“Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against free radicals and encourages collagen production,” Hirons explains. “It is of course recommended year-round, but it’s worth another mention for the warmer months.
“You’ll probably be outside more, in sunlight for longer, and who doesn’t like the added glow?”
A serum should be used after cleansing but before moisturising, to deliver the most powerful ingredients in your routine. Hirons recommends choosing a serum that’s either hyaluronic (moisturising) or glycolic acid (exfoliating), depending on your personal needs.
“In all its forms, hyaluronic acid (HA) is great for hot weather, as long as you are using it alongside something else, whether it’s a moisture-loaded mist or a light moisturiser.
“Some hyaluronic serums are actually hybrid moisturisers, if you are using a serum or a very light moisturiser that contains a good dose of HA, you may find it’s enough,” she adds.
“Glycolic acid does make you more sensitive to the sun, however it doesn’t stop me recommending it or using it myself. Just make sure you are using your SPF.”
“Oil-free moisturiser is obviously an option for oilier skins year-round, but it becomes a good option for the rest of us in higher temperatures,” Hirons says.
“Your skin will be able to retain more of its own moisture in humidity, so if your products feel a little heavy, or greasy, switch to a lighter, and perhaps oil-free, moisturiser until the weather cools down.”
Extracted from Skincare by Caroline Hirons, published by HQ, HarperCollins, priced £20. Available now.
Image: Nicky Johnston /PA