February is the month of love and at Pestle & Mortar we’re celebrating the most important love of all, self love. Throughout the month we will be sharing conversations with women we admire about what self-care means to them. We’re starting with our own CEO and Co-Founder, Sonia Deasy.

What does self-care mean to you? 

To me, self-care means that you take responsibility for yourself by looking after your body and mind in whatever way works for you – that might be exercise, massage therapy, meditation, or having a ‘social blackout’ period in your day where you switch off all screens.

If you had 5 mins to do something nice for yourself what would you do?

5 minutes is a luxury when you have 5 children and you’re running a business! So when it happens, I literally just sit by myself, relax and clear my thoughts. 

How do you incorporate self care into your daily routine?

My skincare routine is my daily bit of self-care. I can depend on it to happen because it’s an atomic habit for me – something small that I do everyday that makes me feel good.

Do you have anything that adds a touch of luxury to your daily life? 

My bed is my daily luxury. It’s large, super-comfortable and always dressed in pure white Egyptian cotton. For me, there’s nothing more luxurious than a great night’s sleep!

When you feel like treating yourself to something extra special, what do you do?

I go for a long walk on the Curragh with my husband and kids.

What’s your favourite spa treatment?

It’s a pedicure. I absolutely love foot massages.

What is the first thing you reach for when you are winding down?

A mug of cardamom tea and my kindle.

Adding an acid toner to your skincare routine provides multiple benefits, but it can be difficult to know which acid is right for you. Depending on how your skin feels, it’s a good idea to mix acids in your routine. Use our Simple Guide to Acids to figure out what’s right for you.  




Let’s start by explaining skin pH. The skin’s acid mantle is a very fine slightly acidic film which protects the skin. This is the layer that we are constantly trying to keep balanced. pH measures how acidic the skin’s acid mantle is. Healthy skin is on the weakly acidic side of the pH scale (around 4-6). You will know that your skin has a balanced pH if it has a soft texture and no dry spots. Most reputable skincare products are pH-balanced, meaning that they are formulated with a pH that falls in the range of healthy skin. Using an acid toner (e.g. AHA, BHA or PHA) whose pH is in the acidic range is not a problem – the skin will re-adjust its pH within an hour of application and acidic substances stimulate the skin to produce key substances that it needs to look smooth and supple.  

Hyaluronic Acid

What is it?

Hyaluronic Acid is a carbohydrate found naturally in skin that keeps every aspect of the skin structurally stable and constantly renewed.

When should I use it?

Everyone should incorporate Hyaluronic Acid into their routine every day because as we age, the amount of HA present in the body diminishes. Incorporating hyaluronic acid into your skincare regime is therefore crucial to maintaining a youthful complexion.

What does it do?

Hyaluronic Acid has the capacity to attract and hold vast amounts of moisture. One single molecule of HA can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water. In addition to retaining skin moisture, HA also facilitates collagen production, contributing to anti-ageing benefits for the skin. A good hyaluronic serum will instantly plump up the complexion and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.  

Glycolic Acid

What is it?

Glycolic Acid (most-commonly derived from sugar cane) is a member of the alpha-hydroxy (AHA) group of ‘skin-friendly’ acids. It is powerfully penetrative due to having a very small molecular size.

When should I use it?

At the correct concentrations, glycolic acid is good for virtually all skin types with the exception of those with diagnosed skin conditions, like rosacea. Its main function is as an exfoliant. Use glycolic acid when your skin looks dull and your skin tone appears uneven.

What does it do?

It works at the very top layer of the skin, breaking down the glue that holds dead skin cells together. The result is clearer pores, a brighter complexion and fresher-looking skin.  

Lactic Acid

What is it?

Lactic Acid is a naturally occurring carboxylic acid found in many foods. It is present in milk and according to legend, it’s the reason why Cleopatra bathed in this substance to keep her skin soft and beautiful.

When should I use it?

Lactic Acid is a sensitive skin hero, gentle enough for use on all skin types. It improves the skin’s natural moisture factor, or the means by which the skin keeps itself hydrated. Use a lactic acid toner when your skin feels dry and unbalanced.

What does it do?

Lactic Acid exfoliates the skin by sloughing away dead skin cells on the surface and hydrates skin by enhancing its ability to moisturise itself. Hyperpigmentation fades and fine lines and wrinkles diminish. The visible benefits are smoother, softer skin and a radiant complexion.  

Salicylic Acid

What is it?

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) derived from willow bark. It is more oil-soluble than the AHA acids which makes it highly penetrative. It penetrates deep into the pores of the skin to dissolve skin debris that clogs them.

When should I use it?

Use salicylic acid when you are experiencing blackheads, whiteheads and breakouts.

What does it do?

Salicylic Acid dissolves the type of skin debris that clogs pores and causes acne. It loosens and removes dead skin cells deep in the dermis and helps to dissolve blackheads.  

Top Tips!

Spritzing after toning calms, hydrates and rebalances the skin – and feels great. Just remember that in the case of hyaluronic acid only, it’s better to spritz first as hyaluronic acid will lock-in moisture from spritzing. AHAs and BHAs make you burn faster in the sun. Wear sunscreen while you’re using them and for at a least a week afterwards. Many people find that waiting a few minutes for hydroxy acids to sink in before applying other products gives better results.

Well, what a year it’s been so far for us here in Pestle & Mortar and not least due to the fact that our co-founder Sonia Deasy was chosen as one of 24 finalists in the prestigious EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ programme passionately believes in promoting entrepreneurship across the island of Ireland and empowering entrepreneurs to grow their businesses in Ireland, Northern Ireland and around the world. As a skincare brand that is focussed on building global customer trust in Irish skincare, we were certainly empowered as the journey progressed throughout the year.

The theme of this year’s programme was ‘Be Brave, Be Bold’, an inspiring message for entrepreneurs and businesses across all industries. Sonia travelled to Hong Kong in May in the company of EY Alumni and fellow finalists where she experienced the scale of industry in the East. Being in the company of Irish entrepreneurs from a wide range of industries was an education in itself:

“My journey with the EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ programme was simply amazing. I learnt a lot, but I think the lesson that stood out for me was that there isn’t a single (successful) entrepreneur anywhere who doesn’t have to take a deep breath and step out of their comfort zone at times. Success lies outside your comfort zone and not within it. You really do need to be brave and be bold. That’s the lesson that the programme reinforced for me.”

This year’s programme culminated in a glittering televised Awards Ceremony last Thursday night in Dublin where Richard Kennedy of Devenish was crowned 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year. The night was charged with excitement, fun and friendship with the Pestle & Mortar team and their families in attendance to support Sonia.

As a brand that launched just 5 years ago with just one single product, Pestle & Mortar is truly honoured to have been the only Irish Skincare brand taking the stage with finalists from a wide range of tech, retail, industry and agri businesses.

A massive thanks from everyone at Pestle & Mortar to the EOY committee, Alumni and fellow finalists for what was a truly rewarding experience.