If you’re into skincare and have an Instagram account, the likelihood is you’ve come across Caroline Hirons at some point. Her fluff-free, no BS approach to all things skin has earned her a legion of loyal followers who hang onto her every word and treat her product recommendations (from both her successful blog and social media platforms) as gospel. If Hirons likes a product, it sells out. If she doesn't... well, I'll let you figure it out.
The fully qualified aesthetician and skincare brand consultant started out working in retail on the Aveda beauty counter in Harvey Nichols and has gone onto be one of the most influential figures in the UK and U.S. skincare industry, spending her 35-plus year career consulting for brands and sharing advice on her social media platforms.
When Hirons announced she was dropping her debut book, Skincare: The Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide, beauty fans (myself included) couldn’t wait to get their hands on it. With an oversaturated industry of products that promise the earth, the world was waiting for Hirons to cut through the noise to break down what you need — and, more importantly, what you don’t.
With that in mind, here are five products you need to ditch from your skincare routine right now, according to Hirons herself.
1. Sheet Masks
Or as Hirons calls them, “wipes with holes cut out for eyes.’”
Think of the environment, the author implores readers of Skincare. Many of the components in sheet masks are not biodegradable, so they end up in the bin after one use and add to the growing wasteful habits of beauty consumers and brands.
Ditch the sheet masks and instead pick up an aromatherapy mask for a bit of self-care and relaxation next time.
2. Pore Strips
“I don’t care who you see advertising them, no one who works in and on skin and cares deeply about your skin would ever — ever — recommend these. Horrible things,” writes Hirons.
As satisfying as they may be to peel off and inspect up close, they can actually exacerbate skin conditions like rosacea and eczema, worsening your skin rather than improving it as they claim, the author explains. Instead, the safest way to remove blackheads is using chemical exfoliants like AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids). Salicylic acid (a BHA) works best as it dissolves the top layer of skin cells, which unblocks your pores and leads to a glowing, clear complexion.
3. Skincare Fridges
“Fridges do nothing to enhance the efficacy of products,” Skincare tells us. “They are completely unnecessary. All over-the-counter products are tested for stability in extreme hot and cold environments before they are sent to market.”
An Instagram fad that has swept our social feeds, minifridges specifically for skin care products may have felt like a necessity for beauty lovers at one point, but, as Hirons says, they do nothing but keep them cold. “However, if you like the feeling of something cool on your skin, go ahead — knock yourself out,” she says. I agree. When summer arrives, why not put jade roller or gua sha in there for 10 minutes for a cooling sensation?
4. Extortionately Priced Products
“Brands that produce ‘statement skincare’, i.e. products that cost silly money for a 30ml of something with a huge claim attached to it, but no clinical trials to back them up. Nothing costs that much in skincare. Nothing. At least be honest and tell people they’re paying for the packaging and your mark-up,” Hirons reveals to readers.
There you have it. But that’s not to say if you have the budget to splurge on luxury items not to; just remember a higher the price tag doesn’t equal better performing products. It’s what’s inside them that counts.
Hirons goes onto say, “If you can’t afford it, you’re not missing out on anything that you can’t get somewhere else for a fraction of the price. If you want leather upholstery and a better sound system in your car, you pay extra, but it doesn’t make the car go faster.”
5. Coconut Oil
According to Hirons, “Although coconut oil has some antibacterial properties and can be used as a cleanser, any oil will take your makeup off. It’s not the second coming.” It does have its uses melting down makeup, a hydrating mask, especially for natural hair, and when you’re cooking of course, but to have the healthiest skin and hair possible, you will need to expand your shopping list.
It’s also highly comedogenic, meaning it clogs pores, which if you have acne-prone, oily skin, can mean increased breakouts to tackle. That said, if you have dry skin, you may be able to tolerate it better.