Dry skin, be gone! Irish beauty experts reveal their hero winter skincare products

IMAGE contributing editor Melanie Morris discussed winter skincare with beauty guru Triona McCarthy, AKA Triona.ie, and blogger Karen Constantine, AKA Lovely Girly Bits. Their animated chat was full of beauty banter, moisturising hacks and product preferences from Ziaja’s new home spa range.

When it comes to skincare, finding the right products can be a process of trial and error, especially during autumn and winter.

The stark drop in temperature and humidity causes our moisture levels to lower too, resulting in dry and flaky skin. 

But there are a few tips and tricks we can use to combat this dryness and keep our skin feeling smooth and supple all year long.


In conversation with IMAGE contributing editor Melanie Morris, in a virtual event on Thursday, beauty guru Triona McCarthy and blogger Karen Constantine, AKA Lovely Girly Bits, revealed their best winter skincare tips and hero products, championing Polish beauty brand Ziaja.

Prioritise self-care

Both Triona and Karen have been prioritising self-care in the last few months. Triona, who frequented spas for her Sunday Independent column, was forced to turn to at-home treatments when lockdown started.

Like most, she experimented with wax kits, homemade facials, gadgets and all kinds of DIY beauty treatments. Karen too learned what products and methods worked best for her, choosing to style her hair and makeup and unplug from social media regularly.

Ziaja’s hero products

Melanie, Triona and Karen gushed about Ziaja’s BALTIC home spa range, a vegan skincare line chalked full of natural, restorative ingredients that work wonders on neglected skin. 

Each chose their three favourite products from the new range:


Triona loves:

  • Mango microscrub - It’s great for dead skin and smells glorious. You can use it in the shower, but my top tip is to use it dry on your hands or feet and wash off with lukewarm water.
  • Anti-cellulite, firming massage oil - This really gets your blood pumping and is a great mood booster. When you apply, make sure to always push upwards to help get rid of toxins and encourage healthy blood flow.
  • Moisturising, anti-cellulite, firming body mousse - This is great for winter, especially for those who are busy with kids. It dries quickly and has caffeine, which is great for drainage and ridding toxins.

Karen loves:

  • Glycerine body scrub with macrogranules - You can apply this damp or dry and it leaves skin feeling soft, plumped and fresh. It’s also great for getting rid of tan on your elbows or knees.
  • Body and hair mist - I keep this multi-functional product on my desk and spray it on my face and in the ends of my hair when they need a spritz of moisture. It smells like real mango.
  • Moisturising, oxygenating face cream - This is like silk, it absorbs easily and I use it as a primer before applying my makeup. It’s made with algae and absorbs UV light too - ideal for people working in front of a computer or phone all day.

Winter beauty questions

IMAGE readers asked the girls about skincare issues they have been struggling with, and in reply, Triona and Karen divulged the beauty hacks they’ve found best to work over the years.


How do I get those bumps off the backs of my upper arms?

“It is keratosis pilaris (chicken skin), a build up of the protein keratin, and so many people suffer from it. Training as a beauty therapist we used to recommend using apple cider vinegar and lemon on it, but nowadays anything with salicylic acid in it is really good. There are loads of products with salicylic acid in it or you can even make your own if you crush up a Disprin. But exfoliating is the most important thing.” - Triona

“Yes, make sure your skin is intensely moisturised as well. If it’s in any way dry or tight or stripped, you’ll feel it more. If you use the Ziaja body mousse it helps lock in moisture too.” - Karen

How often should we exfoliate?

“I will use a chemical exfoliant on my face twice a week. Start out at once a week just to see how your skin reacts to it, then monitor it. If you feel it’s in any way stripped or anything just cut it back a bit. Watch your skin; listen to your skin; feel your skin. That will tell you if that’s too much or not. When it comes to the body, I usually exfoliate about twice a week depending on how scaldy I feel. And if you want to go up to three or four times a week, listen to your body and if you feel like it’s too much, just strip it back a bit.” - Karen

Do you apply body moisturiser on damp skin or dry skin?

“Ideally damp skin, it will just help lock in the moisture that little bit more. And the body mousse absorbs really quickly as well so you’re not left standing around ages, freezing and waiting for it to dry.” - Karen


“And it’s so important to exfoliate because there’s no point in having a really gorgeous body moisturiser if it can’t go in and do its work because there’s a layer of dry skin over. Do you know the way some people get slippy and [lotion] isn’t absorbing into their skin? It’s because you need to use an exfoliant like the microscrub or the glycerine body scrub. Get in and use that before you go near a body moisturiser.” - Triona

Any tips for maskne?

“As much as you might want to go near any blemishes, try not to touch them. Unless they do have a head, then use some tissues on your fingers. Otherwise your passing on bacteria from your fingers on to your skin and you’ll make it worse. As soon as you come in, wash your face, use a clarifying toner to help strip your skin and put on your moisturiser or oil. Try to look after your skin and try not to touch it.” - Karen

“Cotton and silk masks make a huge difference. I wanted to wear the glittery ones, but if you have something that’s breathable, it’s so much easier to wear. You’ve got moisture and heat behind fabric and if it’s not breathable it’s a breeding ground for bacteria. If you can at all, wear the linen, silk or cotton ones, and be sure to wash them too.” - Triona

My tan doesn’t develop on my lower legs, what am I doing wrong?

“There’s a few places where your tan won’t stick and that can be the front of the legs, because the skin is thinner there, and on the cleavage and breastbone area. Don’t use as much moisturiser on the front of your legs there. Also, I would use a tanning primer; there’s a lot of them out there now. And, exfoliate and make sure the skin is ready to accept the tan. An old beauty tip is to use lemon juice on the skin where the tan isn’t taking. It helps with the DHA which is the tanning agent in a tan and it will absorb it and the tan will be darker.” - Triona


If you missed the IMAGE Beauty Zone Ziaja Skin Secrets virtual event, you can watch it on demand here.

Stay tuned to image.ie and IMAGE social channels for announcements on our next virtual event.


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