IT Cosmetics Skincare Guide


Glowing Skin Made Simple

Products featured: @larocheposayuki Toleraine Ultra Fluid and Anthelios SPF50, @itcosmeticsuki CC Cream Illumination and Brow Power, @miildmakeup setting powder, concealer and blush, @drdennisgross Liquid Resurfacing Peel, @maccosmeticsuk Face Palette in Ignite Wonder, @ctilburymakeup Bronze and Glow, @realtechniques brushes, @beccacosmetics Champagne Pop Silk Drops and Lip Gloss. All products press samples and I work with IT Cosmetics on an ongoing basis.


All 3 Different IT Cosmetics CC Creams and How To Shade Match

I created this video to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.

Skip to 9 minutes for detail on how to shade match. Products used are all from IT Cosmetics and I work with IT on an ongoing basis as their brand ambassador. Full list: CC Cream original 0.45, then CC Cream Illumination 3.25 and finally CC Cream oil free matte 7.10. Bye Bye Undereye Illumination used in demo. Bye Bye Pores powder original (black compact) and Illumination (white compact). Miracle Water to remove in between demos.



What I Learned from Katie Jane Hughes: Glossy Skin

I really like her style of make-up: fresh, glowing skin with accents of colour on the eyes and lips. Essentially it’s all about perfecting the skin with as minimal make-up as possible, and keeping the colours playful and fun.

Katie Jane Hughes Elemis

Here’s a look at everything I learned from her.

List of Elemis products: Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Pads, Peptide 4 Adaptive Day Cream, Pro-Collagen Rose Facial Oil, Pro-Collagen Insta-Smooth Primer, Pro-Collagen Rose Hydro-Mist. Everything else: IT Cosmetics CC Illumination in Light, Bye Bye Undereye Illumination in Medium, Bye Bye Pores Illumination Powder, Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil in Viper, Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Fresh Melon, Spectrum Brushes. All press samples and I work with IT Cosmetics on an ongoing basis.



Taking My Make-up Off Before Bed

Here’s a look at some of my current favourite skincare items.

Products used and mentioned: Lancome Bi Facil eye makeup remover, Garnier bi-phase eye make-up remover, La Roche Posay Effaclar H Cleansing Cream, Kate Somerville Goat Milk Cleanser, Caroline Hirons Pixi Beauty Double Cleanse, Pixi Rose Ceramide Cream, IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream, Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel, Decleor Night Balm, Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water, Lanolips 101 ointment in Apple. Products are press samples and I work with IT Cosmetics on an ongoing basis. This is just a selection of products I’ve used for this particular evening – I do use lots of different products aside from these.



AD Decleor Green Mandarin Collection – coming this week to QVC!

Working in beauty and writing about it every day, I’m constantly exposed to new products. There are more brands than ever to keep up with in 2019, and this in mind it takes a lot to truly wow me. I remember leaving a Decleor press day earlier this spring and telling my friends that I had found something truly different for the first time in a long time.

Shop the Decleor Green Mandarin collection on QVC here

If you’re familiar with Decleor, you’ll know they’re a French brand with a rich heritage of working with essential oils. They have lots of different ranges, each designed to do things like calm or hydrate the skin. But this month, their focus is an instant, glowing complexion and to create this they’re launching a trio from the new Green Mandarin collection onto QVC.

Decleor Green Mandarin

This week, you can pick up the new Aromessence, Sun Kissed Cream and Night Balm in the Green Mandarin collection all for £62.98 (a saving of just over £100 if you were to buy each piece on the website individually). Everything in the range has energizing, anti-oxidant properties. In fact, there’s a natural anti-oxidant called beta-carotene that runs through everything in the range, giving it a naturally tinted finish and therefore adding a sheer tint to the skin. This is fundamentally still skincare, not make-up, and will leave a warm, soft sheen on the skin that melts in and adapts to every skin tone.

Let’s take a look at the range, one thing at a time…

Aromessence: this is an oil in serum, and you’re going to press a few drops of this onto freshly cleansed skin every morning. The beta-carotene in here will work to preserve your natural tan, helping to lock that glow in for longer.

Decleor Green Mandarin Aromessence

Sun Kissed Cream: this moisturiser is the thing I was telling you about. I can not believe nobody thought of this before now, a skincare product with a soft, natural flush of warmth. Pure and simple, this is your daily moisturiser and though it works for everyone I’d especially recommend it if your skin is starting to feel a little older. The hyaluronic acid in this will deeply hydrate the skin and feels instantly soothing, but it will also work to prevent and correct those initial signs of ageing. When you apply this buttery brown cream, the beta-carotene leaves a warm tint on the skin, suitable for all skin tones and gently adding a warm glow. This is a really great option for men, too, if they want a warm complexion without any tell-tale tan signs.

Decleor Green Mandarin Sun Kissed Cream

Night Balm: across the Decleor ranges, I think I have the Night Balm in every single one. I started using this a year or so ago when I first met Nichola Joss, the brand ambassador for Decleor. She taught me so many great tips and techniques for how to massage my skin, and the importance of doing so before bed. This night balm is 100% natural, and a tiny scoop will melt into a rich, oily balm that leaves my skin feeling and looking noticeably better by the morning. I leave mine in the living room and massage it in without thinking while I’m watching Netflix. That way, if you’re tired at bed time, you’ve got no excuse to skip it because you already did it!

Decleor Green Mandarin Night Balm

I have a big soft spot for Decleor for many reasons. Last spring, they even invited me to Paris to make my very own Aromessence because they knew I loved them so much! And for me, the Green Mandarin collection is a great summer switch up. If you’re used to a full skincare routine, this collection is something that you can slot in during the summer months to give your skin that instant warmth and keep everything feeling bronze and glowy.

Decleor Green Mandarin Sun Kissed Cream

The Green Mandarin Collection is now the Today’s Special Value at QVC so you can shop the collection here for £62.98, a saving of just over £100 if you were to buy each item individually on the Decleor website.

Shop the collection on QVC

I hope you love it, and please let me know how you get on if you treat yourself. To learn even more about how to use these, check out my IGTV channel for a full video, find @FionaBrackenburySkinExpert on Instagram and @NicholaJoss for the ultimate facial massage techniques.



My Rosacea Prescription and Skincare Routine

In today’s video I’m talking through the full prescription and skincare routine she shared for me.

Please note: this was personal to me based on a thorough medical examination of my skin, and before using anything similar you should consult your own doctor.

This video features press samples.

How to Exfoliate If You Have Redness or Rosacea

Currently, I’m operating with a very simple, fragrance free skincare routine to see if this will minimise my redness. As such, any notion of exfoliation (which is one of my favourite skincare steps) had been abandoned.

You can imagine my delight, therefore, when Dr. Dennis Gross came to the UK this week and allowed me to pick his brains on all things redness and exfoliation.

It can be really overwhelming trying to navigate redness. I’m finding it overwhelming at least, because different people have polar opposite approaches as to what is going to work. But given his credentials, the fact that he is a working dermatologist and chemist who creates products based on the needs of his many clients, and the fact that his products have delivered time and time again when I’ve used them, I wanted to hear his opinion. In addition, I would note that women I hugely respect and trust to tell the truth always support him (name checking Sali Hughes and Newby Hands here), so I was open to trying his approach.

I’m going to talk through it all via the context of his latest launch, a Professional Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel, because the very product he came to share is one that appropriately fits into this whole notion.

Dr Dennis Gross Professional Grade Peel

Starting the journey: the new Professional Grade Two Step Resurfacing Liquid Peel 

Our conversation began as Dr. Gross explained the inspiration for his latest launch. Speaking about his customer, he said, “I wanted to get her closer to the results she would get in a clinic. The consumer is now more sophisticated than ever. In New York, my clients are living healthier lives, wearing less make-up and wanting to cover up less.” This treatment helps to alleviate uneven skin tone and reduce the appearance of pores which means that women in turn are needing much less coverage.”

Is it safe to exfoliate with acids and/or peels when you have redness? 

“I believe in acids”, Dr. Gross explained. “The skin’s PH is naturally acidic, and it likes to be in it’s own environment.” But surely, I wondered, an acid or a peel is going to be abrasive on a sensitive or redness prone skin? “It’s a very different story when you do a two step peel”, something that the brand have always created in a component, and that this new treatment adheres to also. “When you do two steps, the first step exfoliates and the second step neutralises it. This means it can’t be irritating. The second step shuts it down, the peel has done it’s job, and it can’t be irritating. Now you’ve removed a dead layer of skin, and now all of your other products can do their job.”

Fears cast aside, how can exfoliation actually be helpful to redness and rosacea prone skin? 

“Rosacea comes from an issue with oil chemistry, and the quality of oil in the skin. Certain oils are very hospitable to the growth of certain bacteria, and the bacteria use these oils as a source. This creates free fatty acids in the skin, which are highly inflammatory and cause the rosacea.” I’d never had it explained to me like this before, but it made total sense. My redness always seems like more of an inflammation, even more so when considering that some days my skin can seem totally normal and other days it is angry beyond belief and I find myself battling a skincare Armageddon. “Peels sanitise the skin and kill the bad bacteria.”

Dr Dennis Gross Professional Grade Peel

What does our skin need? Is there one wonder product we all need to use? 

“I believe in cocktailing. There is no such thing as one ingredient we all need because we need a few; Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, Peptides, Green Tea Extract. It’s all about the cocktailing. We research exactly how much your skin needs because excess is often what causes the irritation. Then, we formulate based on the maximum quantity of what will work.”

Instant gratification

Completely immersed in the idea of an exfoliant that could actually work to reduce my redness, I stayed for a treatment using the two step Professional Grade peel. First, my therapist used a cotton ball soaked in formula for each step, leaving two minutes each time for each step to work. Then, I followed up with a blast of LED light therapy from one of his infamously expensive gadgets, each designed to stimulate collagen production (which, FYI, reduces the appearance of pores as the outline of a pore is lined with collagen according to Dr. Gross).

Armed with lots of new information, I took Dr. Gross’ advice and opted for my peel twice weekly with the At Home Peel pads on alternative days. So far? My skin is calmer, noticeably more smooth and looks almost a little like I’ve had botox. A friend came to stay this week after a night on the town the night before so I used the peel on him, and even he agreed it gives an almost botox-like finish. The “instant results” that Dr. Gross claims to aim for are definitely there, but I’ll continue to use and share my findings after a few more weeks in terms of how this really gets to the root of the redness problem.

What do you think so far? A redness remedy you can get on board with? I’d love to know your thoughts. Message me on Instagram at @MixedGemsBeauty or join the conversation in the Mixed Gems Beauty Community on Facebook.

Dr. Dennis Gross? I’m sold. You can find his range in Space NK, at Cult Beauty, and here:

Some of the items mentioned above have been gifted to me as press samples, as are most products featured on this blog. 

Pestle and Mortar: The Irish Skincare Sweethearts

Sonia’s story really resonated with me for various reasons. The brand is founded and made in Ireland, which I loved because my family are all Irish too. But in addition to her Irish heritage, Sonia’s family are also of Indian descent and her family has always believed in using natural remedies. The name Pestle and Mortar came from the tools her family would use to grind down ingredients when creating their remedies, and the brand was born. I’m lucky to meet lots of brand founders through writing my blog, and Sonia felt really warm and genuine which made me want to try them all the more.

Sonia is a busy mother of five and her philosophy is all about simplicity and results. Thus, there aren’t a million and one products in the brand line up; if they need it, or they feel no one else has done it in the same way, they’ll create it.

Pure Hyaluronic Serum 

This serum was the very first product in the Pestle and Mortar line up, and garnered such a cult status within the beauty world that it led the way for many more products to follow. I would really just describe this as a drink of water for your face. When you apply it, it instantly quenches any dry areas and completely soothes the skin. The results last well into the day, and I even find that this significantly helps my make-up to stay in place because if my skin is hydrated then it won’t drink up my foundation. Of all of the things I’d recommend to try from Pestle and Mortar, let this be your first. Sonia was inspired to create this when observing the positive impact hyaluronic acid would have on a person’s skin when used by a make-up artist on a model. Her husband is a renowned photographer, and she studied the impact of make-up and skincare on all of his subjects.

pestle and mortar hyaluronic

Hydrate Moisturiser 

A super simple product that does what it says on the tin, the moisturiser is a hit of hydration suitable for all skin types. I find that this works especially well as a partner to the serum, helping to enhance and retain moisture within the skin. One of my favourite things about this is the pot it comes in; you press once and it releases you perfect amount of product. Not only is this seal great for avoiding any contamination of the product, but it also means that you only use as much as you need.

pestle and mortar hydrate

Balance Facial Mist 

If you’ve read my blog for a while you’ll know how much I love mists. Facial mists are one of my favourite ways to layer moisture into my routine, and also one of my favourite ways to alleviate tired feet and legs. Balance mist is a calming, soothing skincare treat that instantly cools redness in my skin and gives my make-up a dewy, luminous finish. It is infused with deep sea Irish magnesium and amino acids among other things to add radiance to the skin.

pestle and mortar balance mist


Again, simplicity is key with the Recover eye cream, a soothing, comforting cream that absorbs quickly. I think that when it comes to fine lines around the eyes, one of the main things you can do to give the illusion of smoother skin is to keep the skin hydrated. This will sit easily under make-up and the fragrance-free formula won’t sting or irritate sensitive skin. In particular, this works well against puffy eyes or dark circles.

pestle and mortar eye cream

There are a few other products I’m easing into with the brand, including a much hyped Retinol Oil and the brand new Exfoliate toner. But for now, I am super sold on the core classics.

You can find Pestle and Mortar online here and in Harvey Nichols among other retailers.

BECO: the brand changing lives

Beco, short for Better Considered, is a soap brand created by a team with disadvantages, disabilities or visual impairments. The business is a social enterprise and creates jobs for those who would otherwise struggle to secure them.


If 5% of UK homes switched their regular hand wash or soap for Beco, coming in at £3 and £4, we would create 2,000 new jobs. It’s in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, the Co-op and now John Lewis, so the reach is endless. I went for a tour of the factory to learn more.

beco factory walthamstow

To begin my day, I met the co-founders of Beco. Diane was full of enthusiasm about everything from the products themselves (organic, hypoallergenic, SLS and Paraben free, biodegradable on the inside, recycleable on the outside) to the stories of the people that work there. Camilla had a very personal connection to the brand which I won’t share, but her dedication to making a change in the landscape for people with disabilities was extraordinary.  I was really taken by both of them, and went on to meet some of the teams themselves.

Michael has visual impairments had progressed to a team leader role recently, having been in in the factory for four and a half years. He was made redundant from his job of 35 years before that, and said that he was in a bad place. “It’s given me my life back”, he said of working in the factory.

Ozzie manages the production of their soaps, and kindly allowed us to make our own soaps!

beco factory walthamstow

Michael spotted us doing our tour and was smiling at us before we even reached him. When we came over to meet him, he wanted to know each of our names and what we did. He was so unbelievably friendly. Michael is responsible for packing orders that come in every day and is known for being really smiley among the team.


Stephen from Manufacturing travels two hours each way to come to work each day. He told us the story of flooding the room in foam when he accidentally used cold water instead of hot water when mixing a batch of soap! Everyone had such a brilliant sense of humour, and there was no such thing as a wrong turn. The whole environment was completely positive.

Jasmine is Ricky’s guide dog, and she relaxes at the factory while he works his shift. She goes for a big walk every day through the Epping Forest to keep herself busy, and barks when she feels the time has come for her walk!

guide dog jasmine

So… what can we do, and how can we help?

It really is as simple as making a conscious effort to replace our everyday soaps and try Beco instead. If we could regularly do this, they will be able to create more and more jobs and support people in this way. Less than 20% of people who are registered blind are employed. Clarity, the charity that Beco sits under, wants to change that.


For £3 and £4, just give them a try. I’ve been using mine for quite some time now and they’re lovely, simple and effective. I even have the bars in the shower.

I really hope you might consider supporting a brand like Beco this Christmas and turning to them for your stocking fillers! EVERYTHING is made or sealed by hand and on each bottle or bar you have the names of the people who made it. You can literally see who you have made a difference to with every purchase.


Be sure to visit their website to learn more and read some more of their amazing team stories.

Shop the range here

All images my own, taken with permission, or used from the @Beco.UK Instagram page.

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