Five Things I Learnt From Sali Hughes

sali hughes the guardian pretty honest beauty review five things I learnt AHAs BHAs skincare tips makeup blogger bblogger bbloggers skin blog kirstie pickering caroline hirons retinol hyaluronic acid

If you’ve already seen last Sunday’s video, you will know that I’m going through phase two of my love-in with Sali Hughes. If you don’t know who Sali Hughes is, it’s quite difficult to sum her up in short – my attempt = beauty maven, Guardian columnist and all round lovely lady.

I’ve recently been binge watching the In the Bathroom series on her YouTube channel (Caroline Hirons, Charlotte Tilbury, hullooo) and her debut book Pretty Honest was released last year. My mum bought it for me for Christmas and I recently picked it up again after the initial binge read almost a year ago. Here are five things I learnt from Sali that I think everyone should know!

1. Defining your skin type 

People sometimes have a shiny forehead so deem their skin oily or get a flaky patch on their chin and label themselves with dry skin. Short episodes of skin behaviour doesn’t define your skin type and Sali breaks down a number of key attributes to each skin type so you can self diagnose. 

For example, I’m most definitely combination: pores are larger around the nose, forehead and chin; cheeks are generally normal but prone to mild or moderate dryness; the T-zone is more oily and spot prone especially during times in the menstrual cycle; it’s hard to find a moisturiser that leaves the entire face matte and comfortable and; makeup becomes patchy throughout the day (damn you under eye concealer…)

2. The true purpose of a toner 

Although a self-confessed skincare junkie, I’ve really never understood the point of a toner. I’ve used one maybe a handful of times in my life and it just seemed like an unnecessary step in my already lengthy routine.

Sali cites a toner as an ‘optional extra’ to be used if you so desire after cleansing, swept across the face on a soaked cotton wool pad. They’re advertised as the step that removes cleanser and closes pores, neither of which are scientifically proven. Just fancy smelly water, really.

3. Basic kit 

What we may think as our our basic makeup kit will differ hugely from others. For me, a high coverage concealer, eyebrow pencil, mascara and a little something on the cheeks are what I deem makeup essentials, while a hydrating moisturiser and a micellar water are skincare musts.

The biggest surprise for me among Sali’s essentials was a liquid exfoliant, something I knew very little about. She recommends to use this every other day after cleansing in the evening. They contain either: 

– AHAs – Alpha Hydroxy Acids that found in fruit and milk that exfoliate the skin, eg glycolic – or –

– BHAs – Beta Hydroxy Acids, a bit more complex but they penetrate and clear out pores, such as salicylic acid, so especially good for oily skin (see point 5)

Different skin types suit different ones, worth a research!

4. Salon etiquette 

I really enjoyed this section. There has been many a time where I have been in a situation where I have no bloody idea how many clothes I should take off… Seriously. Having your foof waxed – yes, knickers off, but what about my socks? Won’t it look weird if I’m wearing just a jumper and my socks while sprawled out?! Sali runs through many different situations and it’s (potentially) changed my life.

5. Skincare science

I got a bit technical back on point 3 but I am by no means an expert. We often know certain ingredients are good for our skin but aren’t really sure why – hyaluronic acid and retinol particularly stand out in my mind. Understanding it all a little more can help you make educated decisions in store, rather than being swayed by the counter assistant or by a blogger who says something is good – it may be good for her but maybe not for you.

Have you read Pretty Honest? What did you learn?



  1. Vanessa Ciliberto
    December 2, 2015 / 12:50 pm

    so interesting!TheVogueWordTheVogueWord

    • Kirstie Pickering
      December 2, 2015 / 3:16 pm

      Thanks Vanessa!

  2. Jamie Hatcher
    December 2, 2015 / 4:29 pm

    I haven't read that yet, but now I definitely want to check it out! Thanks for sharing :)Jamie

    • Kirstie Pickering
      December 2, 2015 / 5:22 pm

      I couldn't recommend it more Jamie! Thank you 🙂 x

  3. Ela BellaWorld
    December 2, 2015 / 6:24 pm

    This is one of the book I really want to read! I am sure I'd learn a lot from this book :)

    • Kirstie Pickering
      December 2, 2015 / 10:18 pm

      Pop it on your Christmas list! x

  4. Rachel Dinh
    December 2, 2015 / 8:11 pm

    This sounds like a great read, I would love to know about salon etiquette. Thanks for sharing.

    • Kirstie Pickering
      December 2, 2015 / 10:19 pm

      It's an eye opener! Thanks Rachel 🙂 x

  5. Trang Do
    December 3, 2015 / 10:11 am

    I want to try this book now! Thanks for sharing!Xoxo,Love from {a lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and food blog}

    • Kirstie Pickering
      December 3, 2015 / 10:20 am

      Definitely one for the Christmas list! 🙂 x

  6. Georgia Hope
    December 10, 2015 / 11:31 am

    This is such an interesting post, especially the part about the purpose of toner! Will have to check this book at some point 🙂 xx Chasing Belle 23

    • Kirstie Pickering
      December 10, 2015 / 4:22 pm

      Pop it on the Christmas list Georgia! x

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