These Are the Only Beauty Tips That Matter, According to Our Beauty-Editor DMs

As beauty editors, we know that you have a hard time taking our recommendations seriously. Not because you don’t want to believe us but because of everything you have likely learned of beauty journalism. When I posted a Q&A on Instagram a few months ago, I was totally taken aback by how many people asked me what products I actually like. It would seem as though our content on social media is deemed somewhat more authentic than the online stories we write for our day jobs.

And this got me thinking. In order to truly convince you that we really do believe every ounce of what we preach, I’d let you go where no one has gone before, lifting the curtain on exactly what we beauty editors talk about behind closed doors, from skincare to makeup. After all, what more relevant beauty tips can there possibly be than the ones that we share amongst ourselves?

Luckily, some of the best beauty editors in the business have a WhatsApp group where we not only talk work but also share some of the Instagram DMs we receive asking for advice. It allows us to reach out to one another and give people the most balanced, unbiased advice that we possibly can. So I have spent many hours scrolling through our conversations in a bid to round up the very best beauty-editor tips we have shared. Brace yourselves—we don’t hold back.

1. You Don't Always Need a Separate Day/Night Moisturiser


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This might come as a real shock to most people, but your skin really doesn’t need a separate moisturiser for the day and night. In fact, our skin doesn’t have the ability to know what time of the day it is at all. General beauty-editor consensus is that you only need a separate moisturiser if your skin is asking for one. "Some nights I can put on a balm, and the next morning I have a huge breakout. Other nights my skin looks glowing for it. It’s all about judging what your skin needs,” says Zoe Cripps, deputy beauty editor at OK! magazine.

The caveat to this rule comes down to active ingredients. "Unless there are actives that are advised to use only at night, then your daily cream will work just fine, but people are obsessed with this ‘day’ and ‘night’ language,” muses George Driver, acting beauty director at Elle UK

While you shouldn’t apply moisturisers or products that contain retinol or acids in the morning and SPF or vitamin C at night, providing your moisturiser is clear from such active ingredients, it will be sufficient for both. "I like a night product with actives because my skin is always trying to get spotty. I very much stick to protection and hydration during the day and clarifying at night,” reveals Madeleine Spencer, freelance beauty journalist, makeup artist and podcaster.

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2. Do Your Research on Texture-Release Treatments


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When it comes to all things hair, one UK beauty editor sits high above the rest. Keeks Reid, freelance beauty editor and Who What Wear contributor, knows hair better than virtually anyone I know—even hairstylists. It’s safe to say that if we have a hair question, Keeks is everyone's go-to

Some of her most-asked questions on Instagram, she reveals, are around texture-release treatments. "I always get asked about texture-release treatments," she says. And while she does admit texture release isn't for everyone, she does say it has impressive results: "It’s the least damaging keratin style treatment for Afro/super-thick and curly hair. If you have a ton of heat damage that’s irreversible, a stylist might not do it on your hair because it is still a chemical treatment. But it’s semi-permanent and is great for transitioning from relaxed to natural. It’s good for smoothing your hair if you want a quicker, less heat-heavy washday.”

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3. A Wash-Off Cleanser Is Non-Negotiable


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We’ve said it once (read: one million times), but we’ll say it again: Face wipes are not the same as wash-off cleansers. Face wipes have a time and place (for example, festivals or other situations that mean you don’t have access to running water) because they are better than nothing. However, that is not to say face wipes do the same job as a wash-off cleanser. Across the board, we’re all pretty surprised at the number of people still using face wipes as a way to cleanse. 

"I can’t tell you how many people tell me they still use face wipes. Even people I work with in the office, and they should really know better,” says Tara Ledden, beauty editor at Fabulous

And micellar water, we are sad to say, is also not a wash-off cleanser. "I would say ex–face wipers are now micellar water fans,” says Driver. Sure, micellar water is a truly magnificent way to remove makeup, but it should be paired with a wash-off cleanser to give your skin the cleanse it really requires to stay healthy.

It is best to remove makeup with a micellar water and follow up with a cleanser. However, one beauty editor reveals she has seen great results from breaking the rules: "I’ve started using micellar instead of toner! The water in London is so hard, so I wipe away any residue deposits that the naked eye can’t see, and my skin has improved so much,” she says.

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4. Concealer Is the Single Best Way to "Get Rid of'" Dark Circles


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As someone with extreme dark circles, a lot of the questions that come into my DMs are related to getting rid of them. "Concealer,” says Driver. And I feel inclined to agree. While skincare can certainly help hydrate and brighten the area, it won’t get rid of genetic dark circles.

As far as under-eye concealers go, we’ve got a load of recommendations. "I absolutely love the Trish McEvoy Instant Eye Lift. It is a bit like the old Becca Cosmetics one, but better (and it hasn’t been discontinued, which is handy),” says Spencer.

Jenn George, acting beauty director at Elle UK, on the other hand, raves about Clinique’s Even Better All-Over Concealer and Eraser. But the overwhelming star of the dark circle–erasing show? It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer.

"It’s so good,” says freelance beauty editor Mica Ricketts. "I feel like it lasts forever. My mum is hooked on it too,” she says. Cripps even goes as far as to say she wishes it could be permanent.

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5. SPF and Vitamin C Are the Best Products for Fighting Pigmentation


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Across the board, how to tackle pigmentation and uneven skin tone is one of our most-asked questions on Instagram. "Militant use of vitamin C will help,” says George. "As will retinol in terms of skin turnover. However, laser treatments like IPL and Cool Laser are gold standard,” she adds.

Vitamin C serums that come out on top are SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic (George admits it is the only vitamin C that works for her) and Dermalogica Biolumin-C. "Biolumin-C is the first and only vitamin C serum that has made a noticeable difference to my pigmentation (so far), but I struggle to recommend affordable ones,” says Grace Day, freelance beauty editor and aesthetician.

Ricketts, however, has an answer: "I really rate Vichy LiftActiv. I’m not sure what it will be like on sensitive skin, as I do find it a little bit tingly, but it really makes my skin look bright and has helped to even out the skin tone on my cheeks.”

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6. The Secret to Glowing Skin Isn't One Product; It's Many


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The seemingly never-ending quest for glowing skin is one that we are all on together, it appears. Our Instagram DMs are quite literally filled with people asking for the most effective glow-boosting tips. Sadly, the answer isn’t a straight-forward one.

While makeup artists say that applying a glow-boosting priming moisturiser before your makeup is sure to help, makeup artist and beauty-editor extraordinaire Spencer says it requires a bunch of things. "I am always asked how to add glow, and I agree [that a priming moisturiser will help], but I think a few factors come in,” she says. On her list? A great serum and moisturiser, ensuring you select the right foundation, and not going in too heavy with your glow-boosting products.

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7. Getting Rid of a Spot Is Easier Said Than Done


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Ah, the age-old beauty question of how to get rid of a spot. It’s one we all get asked and one that we’re still not entirely sure of. "I’m most regularly asked about spot treatments that actually work. It’s always a hard one, as I love lots, but none are the magic cure,” admits Ricketts.

The treatments that we all agree are the most effective, however, are both hypochlorous purifier Clinisoothe and spot stickers. "Clinisoothe first, pressed into the spot. Then a clay mask followed by a spot sticker. It’s all about not bothering your spot,” says Spencer. With the majority of us agreeing that spritzing our faces with Clinisoothe twice a day (minimum) is the best way to keep spots at bay, Zitsticka’s Goo Getter Spot Stickers also prove a hit. Ricketts also raves about Malin+Goetz 10% Sulphur Paste for drying particularly juicy zits out.

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8. If You're Really Unhappy With Your Skin, Seek Expert Help


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One thing all beauty editors can agree on is that we are not skin experts. We might be experts in skincare products, but it’s important to remember that the skin is a vital organ. It can often be tough to ensure that, when recommending skincare products, we beauty editors do not fall into the trap of frivolously recommending things that either won’t work or, potentially, will cause more damage.

"Because I have rosacea, I feel like I can recommend affordable skincare options for people with sensitive skin, but I’m cautious of anything more. I’d feel awful recommending anything expensive that might make the issue worse,” says PopSugar UK editor Tori Crowther.

As a rule, if you come to us for skincare advice, and we suspect you might have an inflammatory skin condition or even if your concern is hanging around for longer than it should, chances are we’ll point you in the direction of a dermatologist or medical skin expert. "It comes down to the severity of the condition and how long it’s been present, too,” says Ledden. "I have tried a lot of acne products, and feel like I can make recommendations. However, if you have tried lots of products already, or it sounds like it could be hormonal, go straight to a dermatologist. There are so many unqualified social media experts (mainly faceless people in forums and Facebook groups), and I never want to add to that,” she says.

Next up, trust us—these are the 12 skincare brands you can always rely on.

Freelance Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is a renowned beauty journalist and has contributed to Who What Wear’s beauty content since 2020. As a leading beauty editor, expert and brand consultant, she has over eight years of experience working for some of the industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear (of course), Glamour UK, Stylist, Refinery29 and Fabulous. Having also worked behind the scenes with some of the industry’s biggest brands and retailers, Shannon has a unique insight into what people really want from their beauty routines. Understanding that beauty lovers seek honest, open and responsible advice, she has it made her mission to demystify the intimidating world of beauty, taking a no-frills approach to the most relatable topics. While Shannon is the first to admit she doesn’t hold the answer to every beauty question out there, she is dedicated to sharing her expert insights in a bid to help. As a self-proclaimed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for easy-to-use, foolproof beauty products and has made it her mission to scope out the best of the best. When she’s not working, Shannon is likely soaking in the bath or giving no-holds-barred beauty reviews on Instagram from her bathroom floor.