Ask the experts

Cult Concierge address your burning beauty questions

We asked our {Cult Concierge} team about why you’ve been picking their brilliant brains and they willingly shared your recurring concerns — along with their expert advice…

{Cult Beauty Customer} I’m looking for some inspiration… what are the essentials for an at-home self-care session?

{Cult Concierge – Nneka} “For me, an at-home self-care session is nothing without a relaxing candle and a face mask… (plus snacks and a series, of course). I love to light my ‘Onsen’ candle by the British-born brand {Earl of East}. Like so many of us, I’ve been balancing working from home with home-schooling my five-year old, so I do whatever I can to set the tone for mental stillness of an evening; this candle smells fresh yet warm, and has an incredible ability to immediately create a sense of calm and peace – especially when skin is lightly smothered with BY TERRY’s beautiful {Baume de Rose Hydrating Sheet Mask}, which works to quickly nourish and renew.”

{CBC} I need to de-fuzz. What are your top tips for easy (ouchless!) DIY hair removal?

{CC – Ella} “Prep, prep, prep!. Always make sure that you exfoliate the day before – this removes any dead cells and makes for much smoother removal (while helping to ward against ingrowers. If you’re waxing, keep that skin stretched – holding skin taut makes the process less painful – and if you’re shaving, Kopari’s {Organic Coconut Melt} makes the perfect shaving cream, leaving your limbs silky soft and hydrated.”

{CC – Jimena} “My top tip for any kind of hair removal is to sweep your {BHA toner} over any areas you’ve depilated to minimise bumps and prevent ingrown hairs. The key is not to do it straight away (it can be a bit much for your freshly bare skin), but if you do it the day before and the day after removal, it makes a huge difference.”

{CBC} Tips for rediscovering my make up mojo after lockdown? I want to emerge with a bang.

{CC – Connor} “Something old and something new. Revisit your favourite — dust off your prized shadow palette and try to remember the thrill of applying your {make up} ahead of a night on the town. Then why not treat yourself to something new? A shadow, blush or highlighter you’ve seen all over social — something you’ve saved, or a brand that you’ve always been longing to try but have never got round to will offer the perfect incentive to brush up your skills.”

{CC – Kimi} “To make anything really enjoyable, firstly, you have to feel good about doing it. ‘Going out’ music is perfect for setting the mood and evoking those ‘dressing up’ vibes we’ve been missing. Trying to ease yourself into the swing? Try a multi-purpose ‘hack’, like swishing some {bronzer} all over your eyelids as shadow, which not only makes you look polished but makes the whole process much quicker.”

{CBC} What are your favourite wallet-friendly products?

{CC – Grace} “I absolutely love THE INKEY LIST and Versed — they are such a great price point and have a wide variety of products that can be enjoyed by everyone. Honest Beauty is also a great brand to check out — their {Gentle Gel Cleanser} in particular is fantastic for all skin types and removes make up too!”

{CBC} Do I need to start using a retinol? And which one is right for me?

{CC – Paris} “Retinol is a powerhouse ingredient and I prefer {retinal} over retinol as it’s nearer to the end product (retinoic acid) that our cells convert it into, which makes it less irritating. It depends, because someone with severe acne may benefit from a retinol at 18 (isoretinoin is the strongest form of vitamin A, and a common acne remedy) but, if your skin is reasonably clear, I would wait to start using a retinol ’til your mid-20s.”

{CC – Ryan} “Retinol is really amazing for everybody, from around 23ish and up to maintain the skin’s plump, youthful look. The two key benefits are that it stimulates increased collagen levels (which on average, drop 1% every year between 20-25 and start to free-fall around your mid-20s (sorry!)), as well as to trigger cell turnover, which naturally slows over time. Think of it as your ‘skinsurance’ policy.”

{CBC} How can I prevent, and treat, maskne?

{CC – Syhem} “Prevention is always the best cure and we know that wearing a mask can lead to irritation and an environment prone to the proliferation of pimple-causing bacteria, so try switching to a silk covering which can go a long way towards tackling maskne.

“If a breakout has already staked its claim, gentle exfoliation, hydration and double-cleansing are certain to speed its demise. Look for cleansers with salicylic acid to clarify, and moisturisers or serums with niacinamide to strengthen the skin barrier.”

{CC – Sofia} “I would recommend a combination of AHA and BHAs in your routine if you’re suffering with maskne – this is because an AHA is water soluble and works on the surface of the skin, and a BHA is oil-soluble and can penetrate the pores – working at a deeper level. The {Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel Pads} are perfect as they contain both.”


Verity Douglas

Verity Douglas

Content Editor

Verity is our Content Editor and a Cult Beauty veteran. Currently on maternity leave, raising Cult Beauty’s honorary ‘word nerd’, Tabitha, she speaks fluent ‘beauty’ and loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm (and cleanser and candles… ad infinitum). Nothing can stop her from quoting Nancy Mitford, treating herself to yet another Bella Freud candle for her desk or buying that pilgrim-esque collared or heavily fringed outfit she’s been eyeing. You can trust her to debunk widespread beauty myths and dispense invaluable advice with ease…