Technically I do believe we’ve reached spring, meh. In reality, it's still freezing and I’m still a secret Nana on various fronts. I carry hot water bottles around in my handbag and my spare time is generally spent under a warm blanket.Read More
If you’re new to the whole cushion foundation concept, it’s followed on from where the Korean Skincare trend left off and takes the form of a ‘cushion’ soaked in perfecting light BB cream style liquidRead More
On getting wind of Mac's Trousseau Service launching in Ireland I was pretty excited. On getting the opportunity to try out Mac’s Trousseau Service with non-other than the ridiculously talented Lesley Keane, I was more than a little excitedRead More
It's been a long time coming but finally, I have empties! I always think it's the gold seal of approval when you're squeezing a bottle to get every last remaining drop out and especially when it ends up being a repurchase.Read More
Festival season is upon us, and for once we've the summer heat to actually pull of a pair of vintage Levi cut-off's without risking hypothermia - winning! Weather camping, glamping or just day-tripping, most of us have learned the hard way there's a few basics that are worth the extra weight. Baby wipes, vintage hip flask of gin and yet more baby wipes are a given.
Whether you're full on lashes & tan or bare faced chic, taking these little beauty essentials just makes good sense - nobody needs to be dealing with a greasy hair sunburn combo on top of a hangover. My favourite festival beauty basics this year look like this:
Clockise from left:
Clinique Take the Day Off Miceller Cleansing Towlettes, €22.00
Yes 'make-up wipes' are a dirty word, but not as dirty as waking up in a tent with a sore head and panda eyes! Not something I'd be working into my daily skincare routine, but as far as cleansing wipes go these are by far the best I've tried. Enriched with miceller water to really lift makeup and dirt, possibly the only makeup wipe that hasn't left my skin with a burning sensation - which can only be a good thing!
Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo, €24.00
Derived from natural ingredients this is one of the nicest dry shampoo's I've tried, if for no other reason the scent alone. This little gem will absorb any excess oil in 'desperately in need of a wash' hair, with the added bonus of 25 plant extracts - something my colour treated, heat damaged hair needs a lot of. I love this as a backcombing powder to add a little volume to my do too.
Clinique SPF30 Mineral Sunscreen Body Lotion, €28.00
It's a very Irish thing to shun the idea of sunscreen while at home, as evident by lobster tan lines appearing everywhere this week after a bank holiday heatwave. This is the perfect festival sunscreen, it's a body lotion consistency, absorbs quickly and is oil free so wont's mess with any tan you're wearing.
Nimue Sun-C SPF40 Facial Sunscreen & Antioxidants, €22.00
Tiny but powerful, this in one I'll be carrying in my handbag all summer. This ultra-protective sunscreen protects your face from UVA & UVB rays while boosting antioxidants. If there's one single step you take in preventing your skin from ageing then this should be it - sun damage and pigmentation go hand in hand. The non-greasy formula also won't mess with your makeup, so no excuses!
Clinique & Aveda products are available from Debenhams stores nationwide, Nimue skincare is available frompas and salons such as Platinum Therapy, Mount Merrion, Dublin; Buttercups in Malahide and in Dublin 2; Plush Beauty, Co. Limerick; Coco, Ballincollig, Cork; Beauty Republic, Carlow and many more.
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Contouring, it’s a love hate relationship. On one hand who doesn’t want chiseled cheekbones and perfectly carved features, but at the risk of looking full on theatrical chic it’s an area I tend to tread lightly around. I love ‘no-makeup makeup’. Foundations described as ‘my own skin, but better’ and anything that reads ‘healthy glow’ generally has me sold. It’s in this vein that I’ve been on the lookout the perfect daylight friendly ‘no-contour contour’. Something that’s both understated and requires minimal effort - I’m not a morning person and my makeup needs to take five minutes or nothing.
I’ve pared my unreasonably large makeup collection down to two items to achieve an everyday two minute contour. Benefit Dandelion Shy Beam (€27.50, Debenhams) and Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour (€23.00, Debenhams). That’s it. Two items and you’re good. What I love about these products is that neither is powder based, which I always feel sits better for a fresh everyday look. The other major plus point is that fingertip application is not frowned upon here, but encouraged. The heat from your fingertips adds bendability to these products. That said I am a little obsessed with a quick ‘finishing’ blend using my favorite Zoeva buffer brush.
Benefit Dandelion Shy Beam is a new addition to their ever expanding collection and with its soft-matte, nude pink tone, is an absolute winner in my book. In contrast to they’re cult classic High Beam, Shy Beam is its shyer little sister – sans shimmer, while still giving a subtle highlight. So perfect for creating an everyday two minute contour.
Clinique Chubby Stick is one we’ve spoken about before, and it’s still an everyday makeup bag essential for adding a little foolproof natural bronze. Think Crayola for adults. It’s as easy as swipe and blend. Foolproof. Use this to contour under cheekbones, the sides of the nose, beneath jawline and around the hairline by your forehead. Note to selfie; be mindful of taking your cheek contour a little too far down toward your mouth, this tends to drag your features downward a little and can be instantly aging. Not what we’re going for.
Want to vamp it up a little for an evening out? Then you need two more gems to make your no-fuss contour photo ready. Benefit Hoola (€34.50 Debenhams, which I first bought over ten years ago –gulp) and Too Faced Candle light Glow (€30.00, Debenhams) are your best pals here. With a slim contouring brush such as Sephora X, use Hoola to deepen your cheek contour again keeping your shading high and not dragging too far downward toward the mouth. To make your higher points pop a little, add a small dusting of Too Faced Candlelight Glow to upper cheekbones, cupids bow and chin. Just enough so the light bounces off these areas and not so much that you’ve an oil slick situation in photos. This stuff also is beautiful used together with Too Faced Mr. Right Perfect Powder Brush, dusted over collarbones and shoulders.
And there you have it, easy, everyday, two-product contour that can hold its own in daylight! What are your current favourite contouring go-to products?
*All the products mentioned above are available from larger Debenhams stores.
*Some of the above products are press samples but fear not - we speak only the truth when it comes to beauty products!
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Cleansing is something I consider a bit of a chore especially with a face full of makeup. Partially down to cleansers not really fully cleansing the heavy duty stuff. I’m seriously lazy when it comes to multi-step cleansing, but the alternative of destroying fluffy white towels and pillowcases with waterproof mascara remnants is getting old fast. Last week I got to try out a skincare brand that to be honest, hadn’t been on my radar at all. Vivderma Comforting Gelee Cleanser is a little pot of gooey goodness that removes all.
Initially I was a little skeptical about the almost sticky consistency of the gellee cleanser, but only after using did I realise that’s actually where the genius of this cleanser lies. Unlike most cleansers, you massage a small amount onto dry skin and then add water to transform the gel consistency into a cleansing milk and rinse with warm water. The scent is right up my alley, with a combination of Jasmine and Neroli essential oils adding a little spa-like quality (which is where this brand began) and lovely before bed. This is one of the only cleansers I’ve ever used that can completely remove a heavy smoky eye in one felt swoop. Impressively quick when you’ve stayed up watching TV after midnight on a school night and your duvet is calling….
Next we tone. Toning is making a welcome return to skincare, partially thanks to the influence of very thorough Korean inspired skincare routines and partially down to a better understanding of skincare in general. Once upon a time I though toners main purpose was to remove cleanser residue, which there really is little if any of with Vivderma Comforting Gelee Cleanser. In actual fact, toner is a little secret weapon in itself, restoring your skins PH balance, closing pores post-cleanse and even removing chlorine from tap water.
Last year cult apothecary brand Kiehl’s launched their Calendula Herbal Extract Toner, and I'm a big fan since. Alcohol free, so there’s no harsh drying effect on the skin, the Calendula oil extract from the Marigold flower is perfect for oily or sensitive skin. This one’s actually a great all-rounder for most skintypes, with Great Burdock for drier skin types and Allantoin which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent. You can’t really ask much more of a toner!
Finally prep! This may be considered an extra unnecessary step when bed looms, but it’s the best for maximising all the good stuff in whatever serum, moisturizer and eye creams you lather on next. Indeed Labs Hydraluron is a product we talk about a lot, and with good reason. This moisture boosting formula is laced with hyaluronic acid (scarier than it sounds, it’s actually naturally occurring in the body) which can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. This provide below-the-surface hydration while boosting the effect of serums and moisturisers applied afterwards. It also increases your skins elasticity and texture.
Three minutes, three products to squeaky clean and prepped skin. Follow with a slathering of your serum/ moisturizer/facial oil of the minute and you are ready for bed safe in the knowledge that you’ll be awakening to fresh, plumper skin and zero panda-eyes on your pillow case. Squeeky clean sweet dreams!
Vivderma Comforting Gelee Cleanser* is priced €40 and available from their website.
Kiehl’s Calendula Toner* is priced €40.50 and available from Kiehl’s stores.
Indeed Labs Hydraluron is priced €32.99 and available from larger Boots stores.
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I love having a golden glow, but come this time of year everything generally gets a little more pale and interesting. Which is fine is you can carry off pale and interesting; I on the other hand, tend to have concerned parents and co-workers asking if I’m ‘under the weather’ when attempting to go all porcelain chic. I need a little colour. In a perfect world I’d be a permanent beach bum soaking up golden sunshine, but for now my golden glow needs to come from makeup trickery. I have a few winter glow go-to products in my arsenal that fake the most perfect golden base without the hyper-bronzed effect. It is January after all, that mahogany base is fooling nobody…!
Soleil Tan de Chanel universal bronzing base is an old favorite. With a strange solid-mousse type of consistency, I always apply this beneath foundation for a really natural base that sits perfectly, without that extreme bronzer finish. It can also be applied over foundation, but I find this time of year, the most natural glow is achieved by layering foundation over this. Available from Chanel counters nationwide, priced €39.00, this is a bronzer I’ve bought again and again.
Armani Maestro Liquid Summer Bronze is a perfect winter bronzer, with an unusual liquid formulation that I was initially a little hesitant about and now love. I find the liquid consistency applies so much more natural than layering on powder bronzer, and works best applied to the face where the sun naturally hits; so temples, hairline, cheeks and nose. Also a great one to use for contouring, it’s best applied with a light touch that can be built up for more intensity. Complete with a dropper style lid for precision application, this is a great addition to your winter makeup bag (on a side-note it’s also the ultimate in hangover-hiding makeup!).
I’m a big fan of Clinique Chubby Stick sculpting contour. I was on the hunt for something along these lines for a long time and love the no fuss application and creamy bendability. This allows for pretty much fool proof contouring and is still subtle enough to give a gentle glow as opposed to a full on Kimmy K sculpted finish. This is also one of my favorite products for travelling, its compact, quick to use and blendable with fingertips if you don’t have a brush handy, perfect when on the move. Available from Clinique counters nationwide, priced €23.00 (bargain!).
Santa claims responsibility for the newest addition to my winter glow staples, Charlotte Tilbury blusher in Cheek to Chic. This isn't one for everybody but definitely worth popping in to swatch if a pop of pink flush is your thing. This reminds me a lot of an old discontinued Benefit favourite, Bella Bamba (although less on the shimmery finish side) which I loved. There's something gorgeously youthful and glowy about this blush and the two tones allow for a gradual flush to pop effect on the apples of your cheeks. Available from Brown Thomas and BT2 Dundrum, priced €39.00.
Finally we get to my pièce de résistance of winter glow staples; the much talked about limited edition Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Palette! You can read a full review and check out swatches here, but suffice for now to say this cult brand has done it again with the Ambient Lighting Edit. This neat little skin-finisher wardrobe holds six of the most beautiful gentle highlighters, blushes and bronzers; perfect for adding some colour to pasty winter complexions. Available from Space NK, priced at €70.00
These are all great little pick-me-ups to fake an après-ski healthy glow throughout the winter months, and absolutely worthwhile investing in if combining late nights with early mornings is your thing!
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I'm generally alright at sharing with the exception of food and skincare. The food thing is just good sense considering I’ve a ferocious appetite. So if you ask for a chip then yes, I’ll begrudgingly oblige (I’ll also make a mental note not to eat next to you again). The skincare sharing comes from multiple cases of my now husband asking to borrow ‘something for his face’. I’d lovingly and stupidly loan him a great quality intensive moisturiser laden with all sorts of hyaluronic acid and fruit enzymes only to be returned a pot with a massive divot scooped out. With my taste in extortionate skincare, that’s generally a twenty euro blob right there. Not cool. And so I took action in the form of buying him the cheapest moisturizer on offer in the supermarket that week, allowing him to shovel as much out as his heart desired. He could slather it all over his car for all I care.
But as time passed and my skincare collection grew, I’d been feeling as though my skincare-challenged husband might benefit from some decent male grooming. Nothing as fancy as my labour-intensive pre-bedtime routine involving oils, serums and balms of all sorts. Something easy, but with active ingredients that his skin would genuinely benefit from. He can thank me for his Benjamin Button complexion later.
On getting the opportunity to try out Routine for Men face wash and moisturizer, I was optimistic and rightly so. It’s a rarity that a male grooming brand seems to get men so much. Their recommended regime is a simple two-step process involving a face wash and moisturiser. Pretty straightforward even for the manliest of men. I love this simple philosophy combined with their commitment to natural ingredients. Paraben-free and never tested on animals; two major boxes ticked right there.
Their branding reflects the no-fuss products brilliantly, black and white in decent 100ml (Face Wash) and 75ml (moisturiser) free-standing tubes labelled ‘1’ and ‘2’, clever, eh?! No fiddly application or convoluted claims.
Step 1: The Routine Dual-Action Face Wash (€33.13) is a combined cleanser and toner, boasting nourishing coconut oil (I might end up stealing this one) combined with the natural antiseptic properties of tea tree leaf extract and refreshing eucalyptus leaf oil. Massaged onto damp skin this is a beautiful all-round cleanser.
Men generally don’t have a face full of makeup to remove at the end of each day, but there’s still a significant build-up of dead cells and oils that block pores if left to build.
Squeeky clean faces then get some moisture love in the form of Step 2: Routine Revitalising Moisturiser (€33.13). Nourishing and hydrating, the non-greasy formula soaks into skin quickly leaving no greasy residue. The running theme of natural wholesome ingredients continues here with a combination of aloe vera, vitamin C and sunflower seed extract, all the while soothing any irritated shaving rash while firming and hydrating.
Being the skincare geek that I am, I initially thought how great the prospect of an expansion to eye products, after shave balms or even masks would be. But that defeats the purpose. The simplicity is the selling point here and my fresh faced husband will vouch for that! Routine for Men is a great easy skincare option for men. Available here and is a great gifting idea for the dull-skinned man in your life this Christmas!
*Exchange rates correct as of 15.12.2015, Sterling RRP Routine Dual-Action Face Wash £24.17 and Routine Revitalising Moisturiser £24.17.