Alison Young’s Beauty Commandments: Skin


Autumn/winter is the biggest transitional time of the year for your skin. The reason for this is, as your tan fades, you can see the sun damage, dehydration, pigmentation and increased lines appear. All this, combined with the drying effect of going into a colder season with drying, heating and car heaters all further dehydrates and ages the look of the skin.

This transitional time has been, for many, the most difficult time to make your skin look good. Autumn/winter skincare is not the time for quick and easy, it’s the time when your skin needs you to work hard on your routine. But don’t worry, you will reap the rewards, it will make you look younger, not just instantly, but by overcoming this ageing season you are helping to counteract any damage and helping to make your skin look younger in the future.

My five commandments for skin would be:

Super cleansing
What I mean here is use salon therapy cleansing techniques, which are used by celebrities involving long massages and double cleanse techniques. The quick cleanse that you were using during the summer whilst wearing minimal make-up must be stopped and stepped up.

The autumn/winter cleanse should be done with richer products. Your skin will love cleansing balms, oils and creams or, if you wish to stick to your existing cleanser, add a couple of pumps of a skin treatment oil to make it a more indulgent and hydrating texture.

During this season you wear more make-up so get into the habit of doing a first cleanse with a thorough massage to remove make-up and then perform a second cleanse with a longer massage to help stimulate blood and lymph drainage which will result in a brighter, fresher complexion in the morning.

For those of you that love an all-in-one cleanser, try adding a toner or power boost toner afterwards. These toners or power shots are designed these days to add more balancing and anti-ageing ingredients as needed by your skin type rather than just a secondary cleanser of the olden days.

Liz Earle products

Skin refinement
Skin texture is big news although it never used to be considered in years gone by. Everyone can greatly improve the texture, tone and appearance of their skin and the way to do it is through increased exfoliation and if necessary, further advanced treatments like laser.

Firstly, everyone can make an instantaneous difference to their skin by reassessing exfoliation and if you have been using the same product for a while, step it up to a stronger one or increase the frequency of use. As a general guide, for combination/oily skin that still has spots and breakouts you should only be exfoliating two to three times a month. For normal skin you can exfoliate once a week and for dry and ageing skin you need to exfoliate as much as three times a week.

What this exfoliation step does, with modern day products, is not just about the traditional cleansing of the pores. It’s about thinning the surface layers of the skin and therefore refining the depth of the wrinkle and giving a more even look to any discolouration because you are taking the skin down to a smoother surface that reflects the light and has a more even appearance. To the touch, the skin will feel younger, and you will also be able to get more results from your skin treatments as they are absorbed more quickly and deeply.

Skin refinement can be taken to an even deeper level by using things like an anti-ageing laser and the CACI Home Facial. This is where modern technology has brought technical developments previously only available in private clinics, into our own home. By adding an advanced machine into your skincare routine, you can have a more physical effect and a deeper penetration which gives a result in both the dermis where skincare can’t go and the epidermis.

This, over a period of time, can give a transformational look to your skin, and if you are prepared to give it a go, is definitely motivational in the results that you see. However, these machines work best when they do have problems to work on like wrinkles, ageing, slackness etc. so if your skin is still firm and taut and has an even texture then you do not need to go to this next level.

Serum saviours
Serums elixirs, concentrates, essences are at this time of year, the most powerful product to put onto your skin. Why? Because they are not designed to sit on the surface or to offer protection or any type of filling as a make-up base etc. They are targeted, focus products to go as deep into the skin and as quickly as possible to sink to the basal layer where cell renewal takes place and to have therefore, a quicker effect and a more problem solving effect than a moisturiser.

You can choose your serum by analysing your skin, choosing your preferred texture and deciding on the result you would like to achieve. Analysing your skin is best done in several different ways – firstly with no make-up on and under a harsh light scrutinise your skin and combine this knowledge with how your skin works over 24 hours. So – how does your skin work with make-up? Does it go shiny or dry, does it sink in, does it last, is your skin thirsty or greasy when you get home, when you wake up in the morning does your skin feel thirsty or is it oily?

This should give you an all-round awareness of how your skin is reacting to your present routine. You can then choose a serum – because of the results you could require more anti-ageing, more forming, more hydrating or more balancing and between the different brands you can find the texture that you know your skin should respond to, whether they’re gels, lotions or oils.

With this knowledge, the right serum is normally applied underneath the moisturiser onto clean, dry skin so that nothing is blocking its absorption. If needs be, you should be able to take it around the eye area and use as a boost to your eye product as well, and for quick results, unless otherwise directed by the product, and certainly to judge its results, use the serum twice a day.

Skincare products

My fourth commandment for skin is ‘you can never over moisturise but you can under moisturise’. You need to find the perfect moisturiser that works for you. When you find this perfect moisturiser you will often stick with it or come back to it extremely frequently for many years to come. The reason for this is that your moisturiser is designed to work mainly on your surface visible layers to leave the right texture on the skin and the correct feeling of flexibility or bounce andsuppleness that offers the correct balance between hydration and absorption.

So many times I meet clients who are not using enough of their moisturiser. Try even just for five nights putting your moisturiser on at dinner time and re-applying it again at 10pm at night before you go to bed. Under moisturised skin can cause you to spend too much money on expensive and potent serums that will have little or no effect because you are allowing hydration to escape and literally evaporate out of your surface layers because your moisturise is not sealing them in.

If you take the different skin types, an oily skin needs moisturiser but maybe a gel or more lightweight lotion will be preferred to calm the oil gland down and to balance the surface acid mantle to prevent infection. Sensitive skin needs a moisturiser to restore and repair the surface acid mantle to prevent the skin from feeling raw and exposed. Dry skin needs a moisturiser as this skin type no longer produces enough oil, so needs a richer, more oil-based one to balance the lipids. A combination skin needs a moisturiser to even out the combination areas and help give control.

There is not a skin type or condition that does not require a moisturiser, you just need to work out what texture and concentration suits your skin. If your skin is feeling tired or out of condition just do the simple trick of double layering your moisturiser and seeing what a difference it can make. You should think of your moisturiser as a staple food for your skin.

Model with face cream

Focus on facials
There is a reason why a celebrity wishes to look great. It’s not just about booking a make-up artist. Even they have discovered the rested and glowing finish that wipes away the look of years and fatigue that a facial can bring.

For me, there is a traditional facial that you can replicate at home, which involves taking the skincare products that you already own and lining them up on a shelf or a table or in the bathroom with ample supplies of cotton wool discs (it wastes less products than balls) man-size tissues (less scratchy than the thinner, inferior versions) a headband and a towelling robe. Set aside as much time as you have (a minimum of 30 minutes) this can be done around a bath/shower or as a complete separate treatment.

Apply your cleansing product with a first application to remove make-up and a second indulgent application applied to not just the face, but all of the neck and décolletage and massaged, adding a few pumps of a treatment oil to give a better texture if required. Remove, ideally with warm water, flannel or cloths, tone, and then go onto an exfoliation step but also indulgently applying it on the modern day face which includes the neck, décolletage, and backs of hands. Rinse off and then your skin is ready to be treated.

Model with skincare products

Try applying any lightweight or water-based serums first, followed by an oil or an essence that’s an oil base. At his stage you could also, if you have a facial balm, mix a cocktail of these products into the palm of your hand and apply to the skin. For best results you need to be applying about four times more product than you would during your day time routine.
Massage this onto the face, concentrating on sweeping, lifting and drainage movements that are mainly from the centre of the face outwards. Any deeper lines, fatigued eyes or problem areas, require more intense, small circular movements with the pads or fingers or thumbs. Always try to work with two hands symmetrically as this creates rhythm and even pressure.

Once you have done a thorough massage, use facial steam in a shower or bath where the heat on any congested or oily skin, will help to open up the pores even more, and then if any expression is needed of blocked pores or blackheads you can do this after steaming. Make sure that your fingers that are applying pressure to either side of a blocked pore are thoroughly wrapped each time in a piece of clean tissue.

Congested or oily skins would go on to whip up a foam from a facial foaming cleanser. This can be done with a shaving brush and then massaged all over the face to remove any residue of the treatment oils especially if you are intending to follow with a tightening or cleansing mask which is best applied on a toned, dry skin. Upon removal of the mask, apply your balancing or anti-ageing serums which are normally gel-based and a lightweight moisturiser to finish.

For those of you that have drier and ageing skin and do not require expression, leave all of the oils and balms on, do not remove them and apply your moisturising masks on top. You can then either leave on for 15 minutes, remove any excess and apply a lightweight serum and moisturiser to finish or, my favourite trick is to use the flat of the hand with equal pressure from both and press all of these treatments into the skin using your hands as suction pads.

Don’t worry about mixing brands as you will be able to give your skin a wider selection of ingredients which should result in a potentially even greater result. This full, intense facial on a young or oily skin should only be done maximum once a month but on an older/dryer skin can be done every week. Your maintenance programmes between this intense facial, are things like your exfoliation on its own done just quickly before a shower, or a mask applied on top of your night cream before you go to bed to help maintain the results.

Take a look at our wide variety of skincare.

Check out the rest of our Beauty department.


  1. Janet Leathem September 15, 2014 at 11:31 am -  Reply

    I have developed very dry cracked skin under my eyes I use good eye products but they don’t seem to be working. What would you suggest I try. I am 63 but have good skin for my age.

  2. Florrie October 12, 2014 at 1:33 pm -  Reply

    We are constantly advised to wear a sunscreen daily. None of the lovely moisturisers I’ve bought – Liz Earle, Decleor etc have a sunscreen – what do you recommend?

  3. Jean November 26, 2014 at 8:26 pm -  Reply

    Please help. my 16 year keeps having breakouts . She has the t zone greasy skin. What face wash/cleanser can you suggest she uses to clean the foundation off her face please. thankyou

  4. Thelma Phillips December 24, 2014 at 10:48 am -  Reply

    Your foundation always looks great. I wear light. What is your favourite foundation that you use the most?

    • Amelia McKavanagh December 28, 2014 at 8:42 am -  Reply

      Hi Alison love your makeup finish when your on air.Is it possible to list your favourite bases and finishing products .Love Amelia

  5. Sam January 15, 2015 at 2:39 pm -  Reply

    can you recommend a cream for the chest and neck area. have skin damage and lines – have used decleor in the past and pleased with results – do you recommend that i continue with this or would you recommend something else. Thanks. Sam

  6. Caz February 11, 2015 at 10:54 pm -  Reply

    Hi Alison, Can you recommend anything that will help those horrible lines that go from nose to mouth. mine are quite deep, I have tried elemis, decelor and gatineau and i have not noticed any difference. Otherwise my skin isn’t too bad for my age with hardly any wrinkles and fine lines. I have abit of redness but think this is mostly due to the menopause.

  7. jackie February 14, 2015 at 9:57 am -  Reply

    can you recommend a great eye cream for crows feet/wrinkes, i currently use flora mare, i am 46 and have great skin and only have fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes, thank you.

  8. loraine February 21, 2015 at 10:15 am -  Reply

    Hi alison can you recommend a moisturiser for me my skin its ok but has a few lines appearing some redness the skin tone uneven and can be dry in patches I’m 56 I have got sbc collegan but not sure if this is rich enough thank you

  9. Marianela June 2, 2016 at 8:43 am -  Reply

    These are great products =) Thanks for sharing. I personally think that it helps to stay hydrated too and keep a glass water bottle within reach at all times.

  10. Isabelle July 8, 2016 at 2:12 pm -  Reply

    Hello Alison. I have been a customer of QVC for a small 1 year. I am 32 years old, half-cast. The first products I bought were Alpha Triple Action Cleanser and Liquid Gold after realising that I had an oily skin. These products have completely transformed my skin. However, I am still struggling to find the right moisturiser. Could you please advise me? Thank you.

  11. Melissa August 27, 2016 at 8:54 am -  Reply

    Hello Alison. I have now reached my forties and was looking for help as to which products I should be using. I have started noticing fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area and also hooded eyes. I have also pigmentation on the upper cheek area. Is there anything that could help lighten the pigmentation and what is there to prevent it getting worse? Those are my main concerns. Many thanks.

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