Vitamin A/Retinoids/my make-up/skincare must haves.

Happy New Year!  hope you all had a great Christmas!...

I thought I would do a post about my skincare as I have just started using Tretinoin, as I have been getting quite a few blemishes on my chin, plus I wanted to see for myself what all the hype was about! (I've heard that it's the best product for fighting signs of ageing so thought it was time to give it a whirl!)  I also wanted to stop using foundation and really focus on my skin, now I am in my 50's... "skin is the foundation"!

I first read about Tretinoin via reading skincare guru, *Caroline Hirons Skincare book.  I had heard of it before but didn't really understand what all the rave was about. I kept seeing on skincare forums and such.

Caroline Hirons Skincare book.

Unfortunately, you can't get it on the NHS without a prescription but I think you can obtain it privately or from Skin and Me/Dermatica.

I have used an over the counter Retinol before and this is in the Vitamin A family, but I hadn't really seen any difference or improvement in my skin. I have tried various brands.

Originally discovered as having beneficial side effects when treating acne, Vitamin A is widely considered to be the gold standard of skincare because it is scientifically proven not only to reverse the signs of ageing, but also shown to prevent them.

There can be side effects using it, but with correct usage it is said, "there is nothing on the market that gives the same results on the skin".

How to use -

After cleansing, and make sure your skin is dry before you start.

You can use an acid toner after, (although not if you are using a high-percentage retinoid).

Spritz and leave until touch-dry, then apply the retinoid. (If you are using a prescription strength retinoid, cleanse and then apply it, leave it for 20-30 mins by itself, then follow with a soothing moisturiser or oil).

Use in the evening.

Always use SPF (in your morning routine).

Start with a mild percentage and work your way up.

Use one full cycle, (one tube) to build up enough resistance and move up to the next strength.

Less is more. A pea size amount of the prescription strength.  If you are using an over the counter formula you can use a little more.

Avoid the eyes, nostrils, corners of the mouth and neck.

Avoid foaming products as they will be too drying.

Avoid heavy foundations/powders.

You can use other products but use after the vitamin A.

If you are in your 30's use 3 times a week, 40's 4 times a week, 50's 5 times a week, and so on.

*"Vitamin A is designed to resurface the skin, stimulate collagen production and reverse the signs of ageing. It does not happen overnight".

What to expect when you start -

Redness, dryness and flaky skin...niiiice!!

It is wise to "buffer" the product when you first start using it. This will "weaken" the product by adding in a layer of moisturiser, (Embryolisse Lait creme concentre works really well for this as it has a mineral oil base and it stops your skin from taking the water from your foundation and going flaky and patchy).  I am using The Ordinary 100% plant derived Squalene oil.

Oils are your best friend - Squalene and jojoba oils are very light and won't stop the product from working. You can use throughout the day if needed.

Once your skin acclimatises you can expect smoother, more glowing skin, fewer visible lines, better skin tone and elasticity, plumper skin and a more hydrated skin.

How quickly you will see results will vary. It depends how much there is to repair, but in my case I have only been using it for about 3 weeks so apparently for over 40's it can take about a month or so, (I am 52).

If your skin starts to feel sore, you have used too much. If this happens use a lot of nourishing products while your skin recovers and give it a couple of weeks or longer for your skin to return to normal, then try it again and buffer it and go slowly.

Tret is available as prescription strength products only, (I tried obtaining it from my GP but was sadly refused!)  I have a wonderful friend in Spain and he kindly sends me it over, as they can just get it over the counter apparently, (not fair!!)

There are 3 strengths, 0.025% to 0.05% and 0.1% It is suitable for most skin types. I have started on the lowest strength.

There are different products and forms of Vitamin A, (just to confuse us even more!!) - Tretinoin, (retinoid acid) or "Tret". Retinaldehyde is the next level down from this but it can be irritating. It is clinically proven to work up to 11 times faster than retinol. It is suitable for older skins that want quick results. Retinyl retinoate  is a new addition and has been shown to be more stable and more active than retinol, causing less irritation so suitable for sensitive skins. Hydroxypincolone retinoate is more of a cousin to its stronger relative. It is oil based and therefore more gentle, so suitable for sensitive skin. Retinol is the most widely available vitamin A in over the counter products. It is generally available in 0.3%, 0.5% and 1%. It works in the same way as the stronger ingredients, above, so it just takes you longer to get the results. Suitable for all skin types. Adapalene, (Differin) is available over the counter in the USA and is mainly used for acne but has proven benefits on signs of ageing on the skin. Especially useful for acne or breakouts. Great for sensitive skin too.

Brands to try out - Medik8, SkinCeuticals, Paula's choice, Murad, Beauty Pie and Indeed Labs.

Here is a selection of what I am using at the moment...

A selection of my skincare.


As you can see, I use CeraVe Hydrating cleanser as this is very hydrating and has ceramides in. It also contains hyaluronic acid to strengthen and restore the natural barrier function for long lasting hydration. Suitable for normal to dry skins, free from soap and fragrance. I also love using my Bobbi Brown cleansing balm, (it smells pretty good too!!)

I only use the Pixi clarity tonic every now and again in the morning, as it has AHA and BHA in it, but I don't want to cause any irritation whilst using Tret so I have to use this as and when.

I will apply the Tret at night after applying The Ordinary Squalene oil then a Pixi Rose ceramides moisturiser.  I am also using a Lilash eyelash serum to strengthen and lengthen my lashes.

For morning skincare - I cleanse with the CeraVe cleanser, (I always use a soft flannel), with warm water. Next, I do sometimes use the Pixi clarity tonic, (as a toner) or just splash with cold water instead. Next I will apply a little bit of the Squalene oil then a Bobbi Brown Intensive serum, (I might mix in a bit of my Tan Luxe The Gradual tan if I am a little pale). I then apply a Hado Labo Hyaluronic acid then apply a dollop of La Roche Posay SPF 50.


So...I will keep you updated on my Tret journey! I have just put in my order for the next 2 strengths, so you may see me walking around Tesco looking like Thing from Fantastic 4!!

Here are my current favourite other products that I regularly use on my own face -

Tina Brocklebank.

Lacura Cleansing balm, (from Aldi). A lovely balmy cleanser, which melts away makeup and doesn't strip the skin.

Lacura Cleansing balm.

Bobbi Brown foundation stick in Beige and their Instant full cover concealer.  I have been fan of the foundation stick ever since I worked for Bobbi Brown in the late 90's! in Nottingham.  It is a staple in my pro kit too. It is very economical and easy to use.

Anastasia Beverley Hills Dipbrow pomade in Ash brown for my eyebrows, applied with a Rae Morris slanted brow brush. A very natural pomade that stays put.

NYX brow glue - keeps my (sparse) brow hairs in check.

Max Factor Curl addict, 2000 calorie mascara. I have used this for years! I don't see the point in buying an expensive mascara because they only lasts about 3 months anyway and this one thickens, lengthens and stays on very well.

Charlotte Tilbury Flawless filter - Great as a highlighter or use alone, (if you are having a good skin day), to add a lovely, dewy finish to the skin.

Apricot blush from Bobbi Brown - just the right shade and makes me look more alive!

Lisa Eldridge Velvet Intrique and Velvet fawn lipstick, lip liner in Muse. I sometimes mix the 2 as the Fawn shade can be a bit too brown.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on eye pencil in Demolition, (waterproof). Stays put and easy to work with.

I am expecting a busy year with wedding bookings and makeup lessons.  I am currently working 2 years in advance. I have been really enjoying getting back into my work and meeting people of all ages and helping them with their makeup dilemmas.

Here are a few photos -

Bridal makeup trial.

Makeup lesson.

Bridesmaid makeup.

Bridesmaid makeup.

Mother of the Bride.



If you would like to purchase one of my luxury makeup brush sets, please get in touch, there is limited availability now.

Tina Brocklebank Luxury makeup brush set.

Tina Brocklebank Luxury makeup brush set, (£112).

Tina Brocklebank makeup brushes and bag

My makeup brush set and bag. Wrapped in a luxury box.

I also provide a very handy Re-touch kit, exclusive to my clients, (which also includes tissues, cotton buds and a paper straw!) -

Tina's Re-touch kit. (£155).

With Valentines day approaching I also offer Gift vouchers -

Gift vouchers

Gift vouchers, (for any denomination from £50).

Tina Brocklebank Makeup studio.

Tina Brocklebank Makeup studio.

Review for Tina Brocklebank Make-up artist

Review for Tina Brocklebank Make-up artist.


Thank you for subscribing to my emails.  Please let me know if there is anything in particular you would like me to write about/research for you.

Tina Brocklebank x 








Leave a comment

© Copyright 2023 Tina Brocklebank | All Rights Reserved