Michelle Kinsella Lee is one of Ireland’s leading freelance makeup artists with over twelve years experience in her field. She lives in Dublin with her husband, two little girls and her pug Coco Pop. Michelle specialises in bridal, editorial, TV and celebrity makeup and travels nationwide and internationally for her work. She tells us how self care has become even more important to her after having children.

What does self-care mean to you? 

Funny, since having my two girls the meaning of self care has changed for me. I used to see it as a bit of an indulgence but now I see it as a necessity to give myself those little moments. Although it doesn’t always mean spa days or nights away anymore. These days it’s a walk in the Phoenix Park on my own, a hot bath in the evening, doing my nails in peace when the girls are in bed, a reformer Pilates class – any of those little things are all filed under self care for me now.

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

Being a Mum of a 4 year old and a 1 year old is all go so if I had 5 minutes I would sit in silence with an oat cappuccino… the dream! 

How do you incorporate self care into your daily routine?

My skincare regime. I’m pretty obsessed with skincare. Skin is always in!! Every morning and every evening I have a skincare regime and it makes me feel amazing after I do it. It’s my little few moments to myself plus my skin benefits so win win! 

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

We just moved into our new home a few months ago in our dream location. It was a massive renovation/extension job – we literally only kept the front wall of the house. So it’s actually my gorgeous new kitchen that adds a bit of luxury to my daily life, I’m obsessed with it! 

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

Book into a really nice hotel with a gorgeous spa and have a night away. With some Champagne if it’s really special! 

What’s your favourite spa treatment?

A full body deep tissue massage. You can give yourself a facial at home with the right products but you can’t give yourself a full body massage!

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

Honestly?? A glass of good red wine haha! Or a hot bath with essential oils and candles – my favs are tea tree and lavender and sometimes I put Epsom salts in there too. I know some people drink their glass of wine in the bath but I’m not into that! I always bring a chilled glass of water into the bath with me. 

*As a thank you to Michelle for taking part we have made a donation to Australian Wildfire Rescue WIRES in her name

Ingrid Hoey is a fashion stylist and fashion presenter. Ingrid lives in Dublin with her husband Neil, two daughters, and a 9-year-old Bischon Frise dog that thinks she’s human. She sat down with us and shared how she practices self-care every day. 

What does self-care mean to you? 

Self care to me, is taking time out of the day to do something that I enjoy . It is doing something for myself.

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

If I have 5 mins I make myself a cuppa and sit in the rocking chair in my kitchen.

How do you incorporate self care into your daily routine?

For me it is through exercise. I workout twice a week and try to run twice a week also.  I go for a long walk everyday with my dog regardless of the weather. I have been known to drag her around (she is TINY!) in torrential rain! 

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

I have a beautiful silk eye mask by KDK , two fabulous Irish sisters, which I got as a gift. That goes on every night at bedtime!

What’s your favourite spa treatment?

A facial followed by a body and head massage.

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

Whatever book I’m currently reading!

*As a thank you to Ingrid for taking part we have made a donation to Pieta House in her name

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.

Fasten your seatbelt and listen up! We’re excited for you that you’re going on holiday and all that BUT we are worried about your skin.

Did you know that the lack of humidity in an aircraft cabin is a whopping 20%-50% lower than what the skin is most comfortable in? You may not have known it, but you probably have noticed it. This decreased humidity is responsible for serious dehydration and  a dulled-down complexion. To add insult to injury, water retention caused by sitting still, munching on salty snacks and drinking alcohol on-board causes puffy under-eye bags.

So for a smooth skin landing, follow the inflight instructions below!


Travel Make-Up Free

A dry aeroplane environment paired with occlusive makeup creates the perfect conditions for break-outs. Coupled with this, a full face of make-up will most likely appear smudgy and sloppy after hours in a cabin. So embrace your natural self, go make-up free and land smoothly!


Spritz on-board

Using a refreshing, hydrating facial spritz on-board will fight dehydration and maintain the skin’s protective barrier. It also feels energising and calming all at once – just the remedy for a stuffy flight!


Top-up with a Skin Serum

Bring a multi-tasking product on-board like a Hyaluronic Serum to plump-up skin and seal moisture into the skin. Perfect for warding-off stressed skin, flakiness and dullness.


Drink Water

We don’t mean ‘drink water and alcohol’. We mean drink water only! Hydrating on-board is essential so drink up the H2O and save the celebratory beverages for when you land with your glowing complexion.

Simple Skincare Solutions


Use an Exfoliating Skin Toner

Winter often leaves us with dry, flaky skin and more skin cells dulling the surface of the complexion. Before travelling, it’s essential that dead skin cells are sloughed away – otherwise, you’ll end up with flakiness, dry patches and an uneven complexion. Start using a mild acid toner such as a glycolic-based exfoliator as soon as your holiday dates are set. Glycolic Acid works wonders for dull skin, minimises pores and has some impressive hydrating properties too


Lighten up your Moisturiser

If you switched to a heavier moisturiser for Winter, now is the time to lighten up. Pestle & Mortar’s Hydrate is formulated with squalane – an ingredient which is not only super-hydrating but also has low comedogenicity. It is unlikely to block pores. Squalane also plays a role in protecting the skin from UV radiation. In addition to containing the super beneficial squalane, Hydrate is lightweight and easily absorbed by the skin. It is the perfect travel-prep moisturising solution , providing essential hydration without clogging pores.


Use a Serum

Lock-in moisture with a hydrating serum. Now is the time to ensure that your skin is getting maximum moisture after prolonged exposure to harsh Winter conditions. If you are serious about prepping your skin for travel, a hyaluronic serum is your best friend. Hyaluronic Acid, contrary to its name, is not harsh – rather, it’s a polymer that attracts water to an amazing extent. Pure Hyaluronic Serum will hold water on to the skin when applied over damp skin and skin will look and feel plumper, more hydrated and smoother.

Simple Skincare Solutions

In skincare, Acids equate to vitality. There are different types of acid, all with various functions and you do need to be aware of what is what, but when used correctly and in the right concentration, an Acid Toner is guaranteed to produce the following results:

1. Acids accelerate cell-turnover

Essentially, they act like a trip to the gym for your skin. An acid toner will stimulate the production of elastin and collagen, contributing to a robust and firm complexion.

2. Restores Radiance

Sometimes, something is just not quite right. You have cleansed and moisturised, but there’s something dull about the face that’s looking back at you in the mirror. Dull skin is a subtle yet damning skin complaint that arises when dead cells build up on the surface of the dermis. An acid toner will slough away dead cells, restoring the skin to glorious radiance.

3. Preps the Skin for other Products

A hidden benefit that is not to be underestimated. Because an Acid Toner exfoliates the surface of the skin, de-congesting pores and sloughing away dead skin cells, it hugely increases the penetration of subsequent products. Serums, spritzes, night oils and masks become more effective leading to skin that is brighter, cleaner and more luminous.

In short, incorporating an Acid Toner into your routine is a no-brainer. A great place to start is with a gentle alpha-hydroxy-acid such as glycolic acid, the holy grail of exfoliating acids which promises a complexion that is smooth, refined and brightened.

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It’s January so let’s assume we’re all bouncing off to the gym with ponytails swinging and lycra clinging after a session of transcendental meditation to start the day, the year, the New You.

I said ‘assume’.

Anyhow, well done – whatever it is you have decided to do or not to do. In the off-chance that it does involve the gym, there follows the Golden Rules of Gym skincare – an area that if neglected can quickly negate the feel-good factor of your work-out. A toned body is a fine thing but doesn’t present as well as it might alongside congested dehydrated skin!

 1. Go bare-faced

Before working-out, cleanse your skin thoroughly and apply a light moisturiser. Make-up mixed with sweat is not a good combination – it will lead to clogged pores, dull skin and break-outs.

 2. Avoid touching or wiping your face with your hands

Use a handcloth to pat sweat from your face – gym equipment carries a host of sweat and bacteria which you don’t want to transfer to your hot and open pores.

 3. Stay hydrated

Your skin’s BFF in the gym is your water bottle. Keep sipping to stay hydrated during exercise and to reap the maximum benefits for your skin from your work-out.

 4. Shower soon & not too hot

Shower as soon as possible post work-out to clear the pores. Avoid a very hot shower as this will strip the skin of its natural oils. Opt for a short, lukewarm shower to rinse off and refresh.

 5. Cleanse gently 

Skin can be sensitive post work-out so ensure that your cleanser is gentle, nourishing and non-foaming. Apply a hydrating serum and light moisturiser after cleansing and stay make-up free for a couple of hours.

Enjoy your work-out, follow the golden rules and look forward to a fit body combined with happy, refreshed and rejuvenated skin!

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Dry, flaky skin and a feeling of tight discomfort are all skin complaints that we hear time and time again. A lot of people find that particularly in Winter time, their skin needs something extra to look supple and feel soft. Cold weather, lack of sunshine, indoor air conditioning and excess partying (!) can be harsh and drying for skin and Winter is dreary enough without the added insult of your skin flaking off and feeling dry and dull. The good news for dry skin is that you can pretty much kiss it goodbye by incorporating the following four skincare products into your routine. A note of advice: It’s best to use all of them together in your routine as a hydrating system. And please be consistent. Consistency will produce the best results!

1. Pure Hyaluronic Serum 

With the ability to hold 1000 times its own weight in water, hyaluronic acid is an essential skin hydrating tool. This serum provides an instant skin-plumping effect and leaves skin feeling supple and looking dewy.

2. Recover Eye Cream 

The skin around the eyes needs extra special attention as it’s much thinner than the skin on the rest of the face. Every line and wrinkle will show if you have dry skin around the eye area. Recover is a soft and lightweight eye cream formulated with the active ingredient palmitoyl tripeptide-5 which serves to diminish fine lines, improve skin texture, reduce puffiness and reduce dark circles around the eye area. 

3. Balance Facial Spritz 

Aaaah. A spritz. Do not underestimate the power and convenience of a good facial spritz. Spritz all day if you need to. Balance facial spritz is a fine-misting magnesium spritz that provides protection to the skin barrier, calms the skin and clarifies the skin. It feels great and it’s a 24-hour skin saviour.

4. Hydrate Moisturiser 

Your choice of daily moisturiser is crucial. Choose one that is absorbent and that contains essential skin hydrating and skin softening ingredients. Hydrate is an ultra-lightweight skin moisturiser formulated with peptides and squalane which soothes and softens skin. It’s perfect for daily use and suitable for everyone.

And the best news is…. 

the Pestle & Mortar All I Want for Christmas set contains all of the above four hydrating heroes beautifully packaged and presented. In the unlikely event that you don’t know anyone with dry skin, get it for yourself!

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Looking for stocking fillers? Do ever wonder how the Christmas stocking tradition came about? Long, long ago, it is said that St. Nicholas, upon hearing the plight of a poor man’s three beautiful daughters, decided to help. He had to help in secret, as the man was too proud to accept charity. After dark, he threw three bags of gold through an open window of the man’s house and one of these landed in a stocking! Hence the tradition of Christmas Stockings was born.

It’s a nice story and a nice tradition, but what to put in it? Well, for the skincare addict in your life, we can certainly make suggestions. Whether you’re looking for stocking fillers or a Secret Santa gift, skincare minis are sure to please. Anyone who is serious about skincare simply adores small sizes – perfect for travelling, trialling and testing.

1. 15ml Pure Hyaluronic Serum

First up is our cute and covetable Pure Hyaluronic Serum. This award-winning hyaluronic serum is the perfect multi-tasker for skin. A velvety, lightweight serum that can be used as an on-the-go hydrator, make-up primer and skin saviour.

2. 30ml Hydrate Moisturiser 

Hydrate is a skin moisturiser that everyone will love. Lightweight and absorbent, it delivers skin hydration to all skin-types. Enriched with squalane and peptides, it’s a true handbag hero.

3. 30ml Balance Facial Spritz 

Third up but secretly one of our favourites! Balance fine-misting magnesium facial spritz is a 24-hour weapon against dehydration, pollution and dullness. Spritz throughout the day for an instant skin pick-me-up. It’s the perfect little treat for the skincare addict in your life!

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