The Holy Grail Skincare Products For Skin Like Marcia Brady

Check out why I swear by these holy grail skincare products..

I used to think the secret to beauty was found in applying truckloads of makeup to conceal the face, not realising that no matter how long you spend applying your makeup, it looks, well, crap if your skincare routine is also terrible (or non-existent). It now seems like the most obvious fact, but I guess we’re bombarded with so many images of glamorous women with pristine painted faces that it’s so easy to just incorrectly assume the glow comes from the makeup – rather than underneath – and the more you pile on the better you will look.

I understand it’s also a confidence thing for girls. I have only recently embraced skincare in equal parts to my love of makeup, and feeling comfortable enough to not wear makeup around my boyfriend has had a massive role to play in that. I was the kind of person who would sleep in their makeup around a boy, getting up earlier in the morning to fix it again, or running off straight after ‘the ride’ to reconstruct a flushed face. I used to find that scene in Bridesmaids where Annie gets up to fix her makeup before Ted wakes up so hilarious because that was the reality of what I would do, too. I couldn’t bare the thought of anyone seeing me without a perfectly made up face because I believed it was the source of all of my powers and they would literally run for the hills if they saw me fresh faced. (It obviously stands to reason now that any guy that would do that is a dick, and hopefully none of you have found yourself in that position) I was so embarrassed at the thought of being laid bare and even worse, I felt like a total fake. For me it was always a case of confidence = makeup and I didn’t think I’d ever change.

Flash back to 6 months ago and my skin is the worst it has ever been, I have breakouts galore and rubbing foundation over the numerous little bumps makes me wince. At wits end I book myself in for a facial. The esthetician gives it a thorough cleanse and exfoliation, and then steams it to soften the pores so she can performs several ‘extractions’ (Fancy name for removing whiteheads, aka spots). The extractions are so much more painful then I thought they would be, and after she has finished my poor skin looks like a slice of pizza you would buy after a heavy night out and then regret eating.

Seeing the damage caused from my own insecurities that could have been prevented, I swore I would stick to a decent skincare regime from then on.

Now fast forward to present day where I am seeing amazing results, preaching the word of proper skincare and finally feeling confident in in my own skin.

Here are my holy grail skincare products & current routine:


I still use makeup wipes to remove my makeup, but I know now that you need to use a proper cleanser on the skin after too, as the wipes will leave a residue on your skin. I usually use these M.A.C wipes. They’re nice and moist and enable me to easily remove the surface makeup. An absolute pet hate of mine are makeup wipes that are too dry and sting your skin after you have rubbed them on your mush, so these are perfect for avoiding that feeling.

If I have residue from eyelash glue (usually Duo Glue!) mixed in with mascara or eyeliner on my lashes that won’t budge, then rather than rubbing my eyes viciously with the makeup wipe until it comes off, I use a little bit of this Bobbi Brown soothing cleansing oil to gently break up and remove the sticky black residue without damaging my eyelashes. This one is a little travel sized bottle I got for $22 (around 15 euro) so it’s the perfect size for something I only bring out every once in a while to deal with the dire eye makeup removal situations.

Next up to cleanse my skin I use Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip cleanser. It is nothing short of amazing and a must have in the quest for a poreclain doll-like complexion! You apply it to a wet face and it gently foams, lifting grime, absorbing impurities, tightening pores and gently exfoliating with fancy ingredients like french green clay, giving you a ceramic smooth finish and leaving your skin super prepped for your serum and moisturiser.


At night-time I always apply a serum underneath my moisturiser. Facial serums are important because they get added nutrients into deeper layers of your skin that a regular moisturiser is not able to reach. Sticking with the same brand again (who don’t test on animals and steer clear from nasty ingredients – FYI) Sunday Riley ‘Good Genes’ is my all time favourite serum. It compliments their ceramic slip cleanser and has an immediate brightening effect on your skin when you apply it. It also smells like kola kubes (which is obviously another valid reason why one might purchase it) the lactic acid in the formula gently exfoliates the surface of your skin to reveal brighter looking skin underneath. It’s also awesome for reducing skin scarring and hyperpigmentation, so a worthwhile investment – despite it’s higher end price tag – because you will see visible results.

Once the serum has been absorbed then it’s on to the moisturiser! I’m currently using the New York City dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross’ Hyaluronic Moisture Cushion – which is an oil free moisturiser that hydrates the skin throughout the day and night. I really like that it’s suitable for both AM and PM use and it gives my skin a nice dewy look before I apply my makeup. It literally feels like I’m giving my skin a nice glass of water when I apply it. It’s also vegan and cruelty free which is always a plus with any cosmetics brand.


And that’s all there is to it! Following a routine of cleansing my skin twice a day and applying a moisturiser and serum has been so simple yet so effective for me when it comes to maintaining clear skin and, as a result, I feel like once your skin is in good health you are also less inclined to wear a lot of heavy foundation during the day. I used to be guilty of wearing good ol’ M.A.C Studio Fix Fluid (with it’s delicious sun cream/paint smell) all day everyday – the more full coverage the better! Now I feel confident enough to just tan my face when I’m doing my weekly San Tropez self tan application, and wear a little bit of concealer too. My skin is clear enough to not need foundation or bb cream and the tan just gives it a healthy glow – so I can save the heavy foundation for nights out and feel really glam when I get properly dolled up, rather than going all out every single day.

I think entering into my mid-twenties has definitely had a positive effect on my beauty standards, I would much rather aspire to an every day Marcia Brady-esque glowing complexion achieved through a good skincare routine, than an impossible-to-keep-up-everyday-full-coverage-make-my-self-look-nothing-like-myself-while-drowning-in-stuido-fix-fluid routine. I can hear the 19 year old me screaming: ‘WHAT THE HELL, AISLING’, but hitting my mid twenties has given me a little self confidence breakthrough and made me realise that a global beauty care industry valued at $275 BILLION is obviously going to try to tell me I need a plethora of different things to make myself look beautiful – when really it’s better to work with what I already have and invest in the products that will take good care of my skin first and foremost.

Don’t get me wrong, I love makeup, but I’ve come to realise that it’s really not the sole key to feeling and looking beautiful. Remember your beauty is what you were born with, any makeup you put on only enhances it, it doesn’t create it. You are beautiful by default.



– Aisling Abbey




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