The 15 Minute Facial

Last year I was lucky enough to do a few photoshoots, some for magazines and a couple for brands. Aside from making me feel like a monumental twat on occasion (Heidi Klum I am not), it’s largely a fun experience, something that’s a little outside of the day to day. How often can you say that you’ve modelled swimsuits for Speedo, eh? It gave me excellent fodder for Tinder if nothing else:

“Hi, have you had a good day?”

“Yeah not too bad. Just been by the pool being shot by a famous Canadian photographer in a swimsuit for a national magazine. No biggie”.


One thing these shoots have had in common are the makeup artists. I bloody LOVE a makeup artist: they know just how to make you look amazing. I always get off a makeup artist’s chair thinking I look like me, but better. They perform all sorts of magic tricks that I can never conquer; if it’s not contouring it’s individual fake lashes. Lovely.

On the last two shoots I’ve been on both makeup artists have inspected my face and said, “ooh, don’t you have lovely skin?”. Once I’d climbed back on the chair I’d fallen off from laughing at this statement I would thank them, and sit dutifully still for the rest of my face painting, waiting for my transformation. Me? Lovely skin? Pull the other one.

But it’s been something I’ve really been thinking about the last six months. I have had one zit in this whole time, in the whole six months: I think those makeup artists might be right. I think my skin might actually be a bit good. Here it is with no makeup, for a bit of fairness (in the summer when I wasn’t channeling pale Snow White as much). Not bad for a 30 year old, eh?  15 minute facial

And one with makeup and with my massive favourite glasses, just because…

15 minute facial

I’ve been working on my beauty regimen since around 2012: before then it was all soap and Nivea. A couple of years later I discovered Caroline Hirons and the power of the flannel and BOOM! I have enjoyed beauty immensely ever since.

And so I thought I’d share with you my current secrets. Nothing in here amounts to rocket science, it’s all a little time and money investment when it comes to caring for your face.

Twice a week I like to take a long bubble bath (I love this Detox Oil from Elemental Herbology or Fenjal for some heavenly smelling vintage vibes) and give myself a facial: below is the order I use these products for the ultimate fifteen minute at-home treat.

Of course, if money and time were no object I’d be off down my local Clarins Spa weekly to give my face a good seeing to, but this is most definitely the next best thing.

Some pointers, before we begin:

– Flannels are king. They really are. I have about twenty of them and use a clean one every morning and evening to remove my face wash. They are absolutely essential to a lovely clean face ready for all the lovely potions you’re about to put on it to keep your skin lovely and radiant. If in doubt, ask Caroline Hirons. I buy mine from IKEA.
– WATER. Drink water. 2 litres a day. Skin looks good from the inside out.
–  Shop around. What suits me won’t necessarily suit you but it’s a good starting point. I like to look at online reviews and obsessively Google “product name + review” before purchasing. I love recommendations from those in the know, Caroline Hirons and A Model Recommends are definite favourites.
– I bought all of these products with my hard-earned dollars. No freebies.

15 minute facial


On a day-to-day basis I usually only cleanse once as I don’t wear heavy makeup or a separate SPF, and this is generally when two cleanses would be required. However, for my fifteen minute facial I go in for the double cleanse with this Decléor Brightening Cleansing Oil, £29, as the first step. It’s an oil that emulsifies with water and is great for that initial facial massage.
15 minute facial

Next up is the Clinique Take The Day Off balm: my old favourite, I’ve used this ever since it came out a couple of years ago. It’s just brilliant – great price point and lasts forever. This is a fantastic staple to use morning and night and comes with a massive stamp of approval for me.

I’m dying to try Clinique’s new Take The Day Off Facial Oil, £22, and will be purchasing as soon as the next Bonus Time rolls around. If it’s good enough for Sali Hughes it’s good enough for me.


15 minute facial


Special mention here to Eve Lom’s Morning Time Cleanser, £40. I don’t use this in my 15 minute facial routine but it wakes my skin up in the morning like nothing else. Lovely.


15 minute facial



I know the mighty Hirons does not advocate physical exfoliators but I like a gentle scrub in my facial. This one is Burts Bees Citrus Scrub, £10.99, and it’s almost a solid: you add water to get the consistency you prefer so it can be as soft as you like it.


15 minute facial



Bit of a curveball brand here. I really love Korres, the Greek beauty brand, and this wild rose mask from them is lovely. I think the excuse to lie back and do nothing for a few minutes while it works its magic is the best part of the facial for me. £7 for a 16ml bottle.


15 minute facial



The ultimate in bi-weekly treat: Liquid Gold, £33.50. This magic potion clears away dead skin to reveal the luminosity underneath – it’s great to rejuvenate and stimulate the production of collagen. If you have skin that’s a little more sensitive I’d err on the careful side with a gentler product such as PIXI glow tonic, £18 (which is also AMAZING!).


15 minute facial



I first discovered Caudalie when I was sent some product to review a year or so ago. I LOVED it and have been purchasing it ever since – I really do credit their serum with how brilliant my skin has been these last six months. I’m currently using the eye cream (£26) and serum (£35) from their Polyphenol range but have their cult Vinoperfect serum (£45) on order, as well as the Caroline Hirons favourite Beauty Elixir, from £11.50.


15 minute facial


The most relaxing end to a facial: I love nothing more than lying back in bed, Netflix on, happily rubbing a lovely night cream into my face. This is the best one I’ve ever tried – Aromessence Neroli from Decleor, £32.50. It goes on like a balm but rubs into an oil and will delight aromatherapy fans as it smells wonderful.

Runner up to this is Sanctuary’s Therapists Secret Oil, £18.98. This stuff is bloody brilliant, the best facial oil I’ve ever tried. This is what I wear to bed on the nights I’m not giving myself a facial (did anyone just childishly laugh out loud at that sentence? Good).


Over to you: I’m always dying to try new skincare products. What do you enjoy?

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  1. Lizzi wrote:

    You know my feelings on this subject! My current faves are –
    Jane Scrivner cleansing balm
    Monu cleansing balm
    P50 lotion
    Pixi Glow tonic
    Bobbi Brown buffing granules
    Jane Scrivner unconditionoil
    Pai Rosehip oil
    Clinique super rescue antioxidant moisturiser
    Balance me mask (can’t remember what it’s called!)
    Jane Scrivner Hungarian wellness mud – as a bath soak or mask
    Bioderma sensibio moisturiser

    And yes, I am poor! ;)

    Posted 1.6.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Ahh I love you for this lift! Brilliant!

      Do you really rate Hydraluron? I used for a while and it made me feel a bit sticky.

      Just seen the Jane Scrivner cleanser i sin the hall of fame so must try that, and the oil too! How’s the Clinique moisturiser? I’ve never rated any of them for some reason!

      Posted 1.6.16 Reply
      • Lizzi wrote:

        I could always send you a sample of Jane (so to speak). She is a skin goddess and sells mini samples on her website, plus will personally email back from any queries and has videos discussing each of her products! A trip to her salon for a facial is top of my 2016 wish list

        Pretty sure I stole Hydraluron from you (the idea not the actual tube) and I couldn’t be without it. I think if you use slightly too much you get the sticky thing…

        The Clinique moisturiser is the most highly rated on Beautipedia (Paula Begoun) and it is bloody marvellous. Very dull (I.e. No scent, no colour etc) but seems to ‘do’ a lot. I switch to the day one during spring/summer for the SPF but prefer the night.

        And if you love Liquid Gold, you have to try P50. Again, I can send you a bit. It is INSANE.

        Posted 1.6.16 Reply
        • alice wrote:

          Ahh she’s in stratford, near where I grew up! We should do a girl’s weekend to include wine and JS facials!!!

          Posted 1.6.16 Reply
  2. laura redburn wrote:

    loved this! i have sensitive and naturally dry skin, so i have to be careful what i put on it.

    partly because of this, my products/method is ridiculously simple: cleanse with (organic, extra virgin) olive oil or coconut oil (doing the whole hot cloth thing), tone with clarins ‘extra comfort’ toner and moisturise with a bit of e45, or sometimes just more coconut oil which i leave to soak in overnight.

    i do drink a lot of water (and green tea) though, and always have so suspect that helps a fair bit!

    Posted 1.6.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Oh I love to hear ‘natural’ skincare regimes. What kind of coconut oil do you use? I’ve been using liquid coconut oil and my favourite aromatherapy oil for body moisturiser and it’s just lovely xx

      Posted 1.6.16 Reply
  3. Alison, Not Another Mummy Blog wrote:

    Oh my skin feels better, just reading this!! I’m a Liz Earle girl (should I be using flannels instead of the muslin cloth?) and love Bliss face masks x

    Posted 1.6.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Ahh I forget about Bliss – they’re brilliant! To be honest I do anything Caroline Hirons tells me to but I do prefer flannels over muslins. My face just feels so fresh and so clean in comparison x

      Posted 1.6.16 Reply
  4. Susan wrote:

    You’ve reminded me how much I used to love the Decleor Night Balm, that aroma!!!! I used it when I worked at the Lygon as Decleor was the range they used in their Spa. I feel a purchase coming on…..

    Posted 1.6.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      The smell is the best!! I have the Neroli one but Clementine is supposed to be excellent, too.

      Posted 1.7.16 Reply
  5. Polly wrote:

    Alice!! My bank balance doesn’t thank you…but I do!! Just fine some shopping ;)

    Posted 1.6.16 Reply
  6. Katie LifeonVistaStreet Haydock wrote:

    Oooh I love seeing into other people’s beauty cabinets and I am totally intrigued by the burt’s bees scrub… solid you say?!
    I have recently discovered a few lovely products from bare minerals but I think I’ll refer back to this when they run out. Love this post :-)
    Katie xXx

    Posted 1.6.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Other people’s beauty cabinets is one of my favourite things, too!

      It is a solid – brilliant for me because I hate a thick exfoliant, you just add water until its the desired consistency. The next time I use it I’m going to try adding liquid coconut oil instead :)

      Posted 1.7.16 Reply
  7. The Other Emma wrote:

    Ha, I was just logging on to do my daily read of The Mighty Hirons blog when I remembered you’d put a post up. Agree with you that I will follow pretty much every (relevant) instruction issued by her but I do love a bit of scrub every once in awhile so I must try out the Burts Bees one

    Posted 1.7.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      I’ve had a scrub in every single facial I’ve been for so it can’t be that bad, right?!

      Posted 1.7.16 Reply
  8. Chloe (Sorry About The Mess) wrote:

    I am addicted to cleansing balms and facial oils. After experimenting with Take The Day Off and Elemis (never really liked that one), Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm is my favourite, it just feels a bit more luxurious. Facial oils, I’m kind of interchangeable between Clarins and Khiel’s midnight recovery. Next up I’d like to try a Sunday Riley oil, as their Good Genes serum was the best thing I’ve ever put on my skin. Also a pixi tonic fan – great stuff.

    Funnily enough, I used all this top-end stuff religiously over the last few years, including flannel face-washing, etc. I happened to be going through a terrible skin phase (hormonal spots that seemed to last all month long), and none of it seemed to make any difference. For the past three months (first trimester lack of motivation), I have been *shock horror* using baby wipes and barely remembering to moisturise. My skin is TONS better. Obviously I have a hormone imbalance and pregnancy temporarily sorts it out, but it just shows that even the BEST products won’t fix your skin – you need to concentrate on making it better from the inside. Healthy lifestyle, diet, and lots of water will always have a more dramatic effect.

    Posted 1.7.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      The Khiel’s midnight recovery is definitely n my ‘to try’ list and Clarins Blue Orchid, too (I love how everything Clarins is plant-based).

      Definitely agree on making your skin better from the inside: sugar and wheat are enemies of my skin as well as my tummy and drinking more water has such a notable affect. I wish that, though I *knew* all this in my teens and early twenties, i actually *followed* the advice of not eating shit and drinking loads of water. It would have saved plenty of spot-related heartbreak!

      Posted 1.18.16 Reply
  9. Becky | Spirited Puddle Jumper wrote:

    Ooh I love reading about skin care regimes, and always on the look out for a new product to try. I use Liz Earle cleanser (with hot flannel, natch), Simple eye make up remover, and I still use my old faithful nivea moisturiser morning and night, as I find that does the job just fine. I have started using a serum at night though, which is a treat on the skin. I also use Biore UV Aqua Rich SPF (Japanese import) under make up in the spring and summer, and it’s the only spf I’ve found that lets make up sit okay on it. I reckon though that diet and what you drink makes a HUGE difference though. After a month of boozing and largely beige food, my skin was looking shocking (dull, dry, but with a few pimples)- fast forward 10 days of no booze and back-to-normal eating and it’s starting to glow again! There’s a great thread on Mumsnet Style and Beauty that I lurk on called ‘Korean Skincare Obsession’ (or something like that!), which is great for picking up some tips/beauty regime ideas.

    Posted 1.7.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      I love that Nivea moisturiser! it was the first one I used when I got ‘grown up’ enough to moisturise and the scent takes me right back.

      Must have a look at that Korean skincare thread – they do some amazing products in the east! x

      Posted 1.18.16 Reply
  10. Kathryn wrote:

    Thanks for so many good tips. I’ve been a bit of a REN girl for the last two years and have fallen for loads of their products (Rose facial wash, flash rinse 1 minute facial, masks etc) but also like Origins and Neals Yard too. Love natural planty, floral stuff. I really want to try out Caudalie and Decleor more. I’m slowly becoming a bit of a beauty/skincare junkie too! x

    Posted 1.7.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      I’ve heard really good things about REN facials – must try! x

      Posted 1.17.16 Reply
  11. Lori wrote:

    Loving this and off to try the liquid gold! I have recently stared using all Clinique especially the eye roll to sooth bags away. I ned to go back to using an organic foundation too, do you think the flannels really help? I might have to try. I recently tried the REN Vitimin C facial and it was A-MA-ZING! x

    Posted 1.7.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Ooh I’ll have to try that eye roll the next bonus time! I really do think flannels make all the difference, it’s amazing. I must try that REN facial, I’ve heard such good things about it x

      Posted 1.17.16 Reply
  12. Darianne wrote:

    I’m not gonna lie, I kinda wanna buy half of this because of the packaging lol. I’m a sucker for skin care packaging. I currently use
    -Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Clarifying Toner
    -Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment
    -Olay Pore Minimizing Cleanser + Scrub
    -Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Daily Facial Lotion

    I can’t use much for my face, because its really sensitive, so everything has to be either natural or for sensitive skin lol.

    Posted 1.8.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      Hahah, I love packaging too – Burts Bees always do it really well!

      Posted 1.17.16 Reply
  13. Lexi wrote:

    I absolutely LOVE the Polyphenol range from Caudalie. I’m trying a different serum at the moment and I know I’m going to go back to theirs!
    I’m a bit older than you, but I also love this works no more wrinkles night serum, and Clarins Blue Lotus face oil is AMAZING.

    Posted 1.15.16 Reply
    • alice wrote:

      It’s so good isn’t it! I’ve never known anything as gorgeous as the C50 creme, so gorgeous and I love the smell.

      Will definitely be adding the This Works night serum to my list, and the Clarins facial oil!

      Posted 1.17.16 Reply