Beauty, Betsy Loves

Sali Hughes – the skincare list

When I bought Sali Hughes’ book Pretty Honest last month, I was expecting to be interested and informed, but not obsessed, and yet that, ladies and gents, is precisely what happened.

I already rate Sali for her no-nonsense, no-advertising advice (she only recommends products she actually likes), but I was really impressed by the level of detail she went into in her book. Essentially it’s a series of beauty essays (gosh, doesn’t that sound tedious?!), but they read incredibly easily, and range from Teen Skin to Mature Skin, to Bridal Make Up to Make Up Essentials and Skincare. There aren’t many pictures (which I do think is a shame) but I’m still thinking of gifting copies to friends for Christmas and birthdays.

If you don’t have the time to read through the book, I’ve picked out all of Sali’s top picks (I love making a list…). I’ll give you skincare today, and make-up tomorrow.


First up, she talks about your skincare routine.

For the day, most women should be cleansing (she recommends cream cleansers even if you have oily skin, but more on that later, and swears by using a flannel to give your skin a proper clean), a skin-specific day serum, day cream, suncream (spf15 in winter and spf30 in summer), primer (if you fancy it) and then your make-up (if you wear it).

For the night, you should start with an eye make-up remover if you wear waterproof mascara or liner, then cleanse, then exfoliate (she recommends an AHA or BHA liquid with salicylic or glycolic acid and absolutely hates ones with microbeads or grains – you should always do this at night to protect your skin from sun damage, and 2-3 times a week), then on goes a serum (this might differ from your day one, e.g. anti-ageing instead of mattifying), then a night cream or oil (or both if you’re quite dry), followed by a spot treatment if you need (high concentration salicylic acid just dabbed on the spot itself). You can choose to use a face mask once a week as well.

So there you have it – your day and night routines. Some of you might notice an absence of toner; Sali believes they’re a waste of time and money offering little in the way of results.

What do you think? How do you measure up? I’m ok on the cleansing. I’ve always been a toner kind of gal… And then I pop on a moisturiser. As the years have gone by, I’ve upgraded to a day moisturiser with an spf and a specific night cream. I’ve also got an anti-ageing serum I use at night, and a night oil which I like to massage in (it smells divine!). I also swear by primer to keep make-up on my greasy skin! I’m conspicuously missing an exfoliator, but I’m definitely looking to invest in one.

So now you know what you should be doing, what brands should you look for? Don’t worry; I’ve also got lists of this!

Here goes:

For cream cleansers, look for Clarins, Ren and Elemis

Liquid exfoliant – Clarins, Pixi, Elizabeth Arden, Ren

Serum – Estée Lauder, Clinique, Olay, Nivea, L’Oreal Paris, Vichy, Clarins

Moisturiser – Neutrogena, Estée Lauder, Clarins, Ren, Olay 

Oil – Clarins, Decleor, Neal’s Yard, Trilogy, Balance Me

Suncream – Clinique, La Roche Posay, Estée Lauder (make sure they protect you against UVA and UVB)

Primer – Laura Mercier, Smashbox, Dior, Revlon, Clinique, Estée Lauder

Lip balm – Clinique, Kiehls, Korres, Lanolips

Face masks – Origins, Ren, Estée Lauder, Soap and Glory

Got that? A little extra on moisturisers, Sali suggests looking for a day cream with antioxidants in (while they haven’t been proven to help anti-ageing, she figures they can’t hurt!). Also, those desperate for some moisture should look for creams with hyaluronic acid in, and retinol is what you should be keeping your eyes open for for visible anti-ageing results. Hyaluronic acid in your lip balm will also plump up and moisturise nicely.