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The Perfect Cleanse Workshop with Caroline Hirons

A few weeks ago I headed over to Liberty's to attend a beauty workshop hosted by skincare expert and blogger, Caroline Hirons. I've been reading her blog for considerable time now, but for those that are less familiar, Caroline is known for her extensive beauty industry knowledge and no-nonsense attitude to skincare, and I for one could not wait to hear what she had to say on cleansing.
We all wash our faces (I'm hoping anyway!), so what more is there to learn you might ask? Even though I am pretty familiar with Caroline's take on cleansing, I came away with a lot of notes and a sense of enlightenment. Here's what Caroline imparted on us:
Double cleansing
Sometimes regarded as unnecessary, Caroline couldn't disagree more. This is essential in the evening if you've been wearing makeup or SPF. Don't skip on this, your skin will thank you.
First cleanse
Use a cleansing balm to take the bulk of your makeup off. These have become really popular over the last couple of years with entrants to the market like Emma Hardie and Clinique. This should be a fairly cheap cleanser. Caroline recommends the Clinique Take The Day Off Balm for this step. Read my rambling about this cleanser here.
Types of cleanser
Morning: Cleansing milk
Evening: Use balms or oils as a first cleanse and a more expensive cleanser for the second cleanse. This could be cleansing milk or cream cleanser.
Micellar waters: Fine for a first cleanse, or for helping remove eye makeup but this should ever replace a proper cleanse.
Its also vital to get the technique right, otherwise what's the point? Caroline demonstrated how she cleanses right in front of us - that's one brave lady! Here are some pointers: 
  • Use a clean flannel every day
  • Always use clean, hand- hot running water
  • Don't wet your face first, regardless of the product directions
  • Rub your cleanser onto the inside of your fingers before applying - not into your palms
  • Push upwards and off your face. Never pull the skin on your face down
  • Don't forget your neck. Pull your cleanser down the neck to help drain lymph
  • Skin should be a little pink after cleansing (not hot or burning though!)
Second cleanse
With the bulk of your makeup and grime (nice) now removed, this step allows for a more expensive and luxurious cleanser to ensure every last trace of makeup is removed and to really deep clean your skin.
Acid toner
You either tone or you don't. Personally, I'm a big fan and couldn't imagine missing out this step. Caroline is also an advocate and encourages double toning with acid toner. Scary as this may sound, acid toners are really beneficial to the skin and gently exfoliate. If you have sensitive skin or skin concerns that you are looking to fix, this is an important step. They do sting slightly when applied to the skin which is a good thing and nothing to worry about. Obviously if your skin feels like its on fire this is not a good sign!
I use the Cane & Austin Acne Treatment Pads for this step, which contain a mix of salicylic and glycolic acids to unclog pores and keep blemishes at bay.
CH approved toners include P50, Pixi Glow Tonic, Perricone Thermal Acid Toner, Malin & Goetz and Peter Thomas Roth.
After this you can use another toner to help balance and hydrate your skin. Toners help prepare the skin for the coming skincare and help the skin to retain them, thus making your products more effective. Gone are the days that they were to remove the final bits of cleanser and dirt. Skincare has moved on a fair bit since then.
Facial massage
According to Caroline, this is a very important step and just a couple of minutes a day can make a big difference to your skin. It helps stimulate blood flow and can be very effective at draining lymph from the skin, as well as clearing colds and spots. This step can either be carried out as part of your second cleanse or with a facial oil post-cleanse. I'm not going to try and explain the technique as it will probably make no sense, but Caroline has a great blog post on this with photos that you can read here.
I've been trying to incorporate this into my routine and I think I'm now slowly getting the hang of it. What's important to remember is that you need to use a fair amount of pressure - it should hurt a bit to begin with and leave your skin nice and pink.
Serums and oils
So once you're all cleansed and toned, now is a good time to apply serums and oils. Make sure you apply them correctly so that your skin absorbs them rather than your hands. Just apply to the inside of your finger tips. Pat on serums and massage in oils.
Yup, you guessed it. Now is the time to apply your moisturiser. Most people tend to splurge unhealthy amounts of money on a moisturiser and neglect the rest of their routine. Think of your moisturiser as an overcoat. You don't plan your outfit around your coat now do you? It's the least important component of your skincare wardrobe.
Without wanting to make this the longest post in history, below are a few points that Caroline mentioned that are worth taking note of:
  • Face wipes are for the three 'F's only - festivals, flights and, er, fannies.
  • Always wash your face in the morning. That 'dewy glow' is sweat. Yuck.
  • Say no to foaming cleansers, they dry your skin out.
  • Combat puffy eyes by only using gel eye treatments and serums. Also, use an extra pillow at night.
  • Cleanse as soon as you get home in the evening to take all your makeup off.
  • Avoid products with mineral oil in (paraffin).
  • Do not Bioderma and go! You need to use a cleanser. A swipe of Bioderma and Creme de la Mer is not a skincare routine..
So now I'm definitely following this advice and never skipping a step. What I've found most beneficial is taking my makeup off the second I get home of an evening. Why keep it on for an extra few hours?
I hope you find this helpful and that you're able to incorporate it into your routine. To read more of Caroline's skincare tips visit her blog.


  1. Absolutely love this post, so helpful! Must dash to the shops and get a few more skin care bits!





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