How To: Ace your Base

One of my most commonly-encountered makeup queries is how to get your foundation to stay in place all day. This is a particular concern for ladies who will be on the go all day, e.g. attending a wedding, and for those with oily skin. Clients often ask, worriedly, if their makeup will last, and I assure them that it will. This is because we layer products onto the skin, and use longwear foundations which help to keep oil at bay.

Step 1: Prep

Effaclar Mat

After cleansing, apply a small amount of La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Mat moisturiser (€17.25) to the skin. This contains silicone, which will form a barrier on your skin to stop any oil from coming through and ruining your base.

Optional Step: Sunscreen

We don’t use sunscreen on our clients in studio, but if you have oily/combination skin and want use a sunscreen under your makeup on a day-to-day basis, you need to use one that is non-greasy and preferably mattifying. Just to reiterate, as per my previous post, SPFs of 10 and up can cause “flashback” if you are being flash-photographed, so I would not recommend that you wear an SPF under your makeup if you are going to an event.

Vichy Mattifying Face Fluid

However, if you want a non-greasy sunscreen for daily use, Vichy Capital Soleil Mattifying Face Fluid (€14.50) is just the ticket. It’s got an SPF of 50+, so you don’t need to worry about sun damage, and it promises a dry-touch finish to the skin, so it’s perfect for under makeup.

Step 2: Prime

Smashbox Photofinish Primer

After applying your moisturiser, you can use a silicone-based primer. It works to smooth out the canvas of the skin by filling in pores and smoothing fine lines, and again, will form another protective layer on the face to help stop any oil coming up through your makeup. My favourite for oily skin is the Smashbox Photofinish Primer (€31.50). It’s oil-free and glides onto the skin beautifully, thanks to the silicone in the formula. A pea-sized amount is all that is needed – simply smooth it onto the skin using either your fingers or a flat foundation brush, concentrating the primer on the areas in which you are oiliest.

Step 3: Base

Estée Lauder Double Wear Light

If you have oily or combination skin, it’s best to choose a long-wear, mattifying, or oil-free foundation (see my Foundation Guide for more information on this). My personal favourite is Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Light (€36.50) as it gives good coverage without feeling heavy on the skin, and keeps oil at bay for hours. It’s my go-to base when I know I have a long day (or night!) ahead of me, and want to stay looking fresh and shine-free. The first time I wore this I purposely didn’t powder in order to see just how good it was at keeping the skin matte, and I only developed a shine towards the end of the day, roughly 8 hours after it was first applied. That’s damn good going.

Step 4: Powder

Powder is essential for keeping the dreaded shine at bay, so once you have applied foundation and concealer it needs to be set with powder to ensure that your base will stay looking perfect. When applying powder, you can use either a powder puff or a large brush. Whichever you use, make sure to “press” it onto the skin of the T-zone, almost as though you were blotting the skin. It can then be swept more gently over the cheeks and temples. Be careful not to sweep the brush/puff over the skin too vigorously, as this can disturb the makeup underneath, thereby undoing all of your good work. My favourite brush to use is the Sigma Large Powder Brush (€21) as it is so soft. I use this to apply powder to my clients, but a powder puff is the obvious choice if you need to top up during the day.

MAC Blot Powder

MAC’s Blot Powder (€24.50) was specifically designed to mattify the skin and keep shine at bay.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder

A great budget buy is Rimmel’s Stay Matte Powder (€5.99). At less than €6, you really can’t go wrong with this cheap-as-chips gem.

Step 5: Set

I wouldn’t use a setting spray on a daily basis, but they are fantastic for giving some more staying power to your look if you will be on the go all day.

Urban Decay Setting Sprays

Urban Decay do a range of setting sprays, and there is an oil-control spray, a cooling and hydrating spray, and an all-nighter setting spray available. Personally, I would go for the latter (€28, or €10.80 for a handbag-sized spray) to keep your makeup looking fresh for hours. This can be spritzed onto the face once you have finished applying all of your makeup, and it will set everything into place for the day.

I hope this has been helpful, if you have any questions or tips of your own let me know in the comments!

Niamh x

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Life, Love, Lipstick’s Guide to Foundations

Foundations have come a long way since the dreaded orange pansticks of yore, and the sheer range of foundations available nowadays boggles the mind. Between skincare claims and beautifying promises, choosing the perfect product can be an absolute minefield, so I’ve compiled this handy guide to help you choose the right kind for you, depending on your skin type.

Many foundations nowadays come with a built-in SPF, which is great for our skin, but can cause “flashback” or a ghostly white face if you are being flash photographed. This applies to SPFs of 10 and up, so do bear in mind that if you are going to be wearing your foundation at a wedding or any other flash-heavy event.

OILY/COMBINATION SKIN:

Oily-skinned ladies should look out for anything with a longwear claim (15, 18 or 24 hours). If you have oily skin it’s important not to add any more oil to it, so look out for a formula that is oil-free. Products that promise to mattify and control oil are also perfect for your skin, so seek out products that promise an anti-shine or matte finish. Foundations which contain silicone will help to fill in pores and allow your base to glide on more easily, giving a more perfected look. In addition, the silicone will act as a barrier to stop any more oil from coming through the skin and ruining your base.

Some good picks for oily skin are:

Estée Lauder Double Wear

 Estée Lauder Double Wear 

This foundation gives a matte finish, and is VERY long-wearing. We use it in studio on our brides, and flew through bottles of it when we made up a lot of debs girls recently. It is definitely full coverage, so I like to apply it using a duo-fibre or stippling brush to avoid it looking too caked-on. It can feel a little heavy on the skin, and tends to accentuate any dryness, so I would only use it if your skin is oily – my own skin is more combination and I feel that it accentuates any fine lines on my face. That said, if you like full coverage, have oily skin, blemishes, high colouring or any imperfections, Double Wear covers like a dream, so much so that you can often skip concealer afterwards.

This foundation costs €36.50, and is available at Debenhams or chemists nationwide.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Light

Estée Lauder Double Wear Light

Estée Lauder Double Wear Light offers the same mattifying and oil-controlling properties of the original EL Double Wear, but it is lighter in coverage and not as drying. This is a good pick for anyone with combination skin, or someone who has oily skin but doesn’t like the “feel” of foundation on their face. It gives a more natural, semi-matte finish but is still long-wearing so it’s great for all-day wear. This is my go-to foundation for nights out, for a long day at work, or when I want a really perfected base.

Again, this foundation costs €36.50, and is available at Debenhams or chemists nationwide.

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H

Lancome Teint Idole 24H

Another great pick for oily skins, this foundation gives medium coverage but it can be built up to full coverage if you prefer a heavier finish. It provides long-lasting wear and leaves the skin looking incredibly perfected. Again, we love this on our brides and despite the SPF of 15, it photographs beautifully. This is a personal favourite of mine.

This foundation costs €36, and is available at Debenhams or chemists nationwide.

Revlon Colourstay for Combination/Oily Skin

Revlon Colorstay

A good budget (ish) pick is Revlon’s Color Stay. It comes in a good range of shades so any Casper Cailíns out there should be able to find one to suit. Again, it is medium coverage, but buildable, and has an SPF of 6 so flashback shouldn’t be an issue. The finish is semi-matte, it has a longwear claim of 16 hours, and it promises to control oil absorption and shine.

This is available in Boots or local chemists nationwide, and is priced at €19.

DRY/MATURE SKIN:

Dry or mature skin should look out for a foundation that promises to hydrate or moisturise skin. Products that promise to luminise skin, or provide a dewy or glowy finish are perfect for dry skin. In addition, anything that mentions hyraluronic acid, serums or squalene will help to boost your skin’s hydration levels throughout the day, and are especially suitable for mature skin. Full coverage should be avoided as it can accentuate any dry patches and look cakey.

Here are some offerings for those of you with dry or mature skin:

Bobbi Brown Luminous Moisturizing Foundation:

Bobbi Brown Luminous Moisturizing Foundation

I absolutely LOVE this foundation for dry-skinned or mature clients. It is lovely and soothing on the skin, it sinks in beautifully and gives a gorgeous dewy finish. It keeps the skin hydrated as well as naturally firming it. It gives medium to full coverage, and softens fine lines without looking cakey. That said, Bobbi Brown’s liquid foundations smell very strongly of lavender, so if your skin is sensitive you may want to give it a miss. In addition, it does not contain an SPF, so although it is perfect for flash photography you may wish to apply a separate SPF underneath if you are going to be out in the sun.

This costs €39.50 at Brown Thomas or House of Fraser.

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua

Chanel Aqualumiere

This is a light to medium coverage foundation with quite a watery consistency. It consists of a water and silicone formula, so the bottle needs to be shaken up before use to evenly mix the constituents. It comes in a squeezy plastic bottle which is not terribly glamourous, but it makes it easy to dispense the right amount (though as I said it is quite watery, so go easy when pouring some out). It contains hyraluronic acid to intensively moisturise throughout the day, so it should suit dry skin down to the ground.

This costs €38, and is available from Brown Thomas or House of Fraser.

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation

Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation

A good budget choice for dry-skinned gals is Rimmel’s Wake Me Up Foundation. It promises to disguise the look of pores, fine lines, and wrinkles, as well as delivering a natural-looking finish for up to 10 hours. It doesn’t settle into fine lines or accentuate dry/dehydrated patches of skin, making it a dream come true for those with dry or mature skin. It offers medium coverage, with a dewy finish. The shades do tend to run a little dark/yellow, but if blended well you should be fine.

This is priced at €10.95, and is available from Boots and most chemists.

NORMAL SKIN:

You lucky, normal-skinned feckers can wear pretty much anything. As a rule, most foundations work on all skin types, bar very dry and very oily. Because normal skin falls in between these two categories, you have a great choice of foundations available. My top picks for normal skin include:

Bobbi Brown Foundation Sticks

BB Foundation Stick

Forget the horror of the Pan Stick Days of Yore – this offering from cosmetic doyenne Bobbi Brown could not be further from those wands of orange, cement-like doom. It can be used as an all-over base, or just as a concealer where you need it. The texture is dreamy: light, but not greasy. I swatch some of the product on the back of my hand, allow it to warm slightly and then use a “paintbrush” style foundation brush to apply. It gives medium coverage but is completely buildable. It comes in a great range of shades, and I love this on skins that run from slightly dry to slightly combination.

Available from Brown Thomas and House of Fraser, €38 approx.

MAC Face and Body

MAC Face and Body

I couldn’t do a “Foundation Best of” without including this little gem. I have yet to meet a makeup artist who doesn’t have this in their kit. It is fabulous on – again – slightly dry to slightly combination skin. However, you do need to have very good skin to wear this as it is quite sheer. The foundation is quite liquid so be careful when pouring it out. You can apply it with a foundation brush for a light wash of coverage, or work it between your fingers before applying to give a slightly heavier coverage. When worked and warmed, the formula becomes thicker and can be applied with the fingers to give more coverage, but still only up to medium. If you are either into or in need of full coverage look away now, but if you have normal skin and like the “no makeup” makeup look, this is for you.

Available from MAC at Brown Thomas in 120ml (€36) or 50ml (€31) sizes.

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation

Bourjois

My budget pick for normal skin is Bourjois’ Healthy Mix foundation. It smells deliciously fruity and promises medium coverage, with a dewy finish. Oilier girls will need to set this with powder and may need to top up during the day, but it wears very nicely and doesn’t go patchy like some radiance foundations do. It blends beautifully and gives a “my skin but better” glow to the skin. Highly recommended!

Available from Boots and chemists nationwide, priced at €15

Do you have a favourite foundation? Let me know in the comments!

Niamh x

 

 

Review: Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm

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As discussed, I am slightly obsessed with skincare. The pinnacle of my obsession, though, is cleansers. Because you need to use creams and serums continuously in order to see an improvement or difference in your skin, I feel that it’s best to stick with the same moisturisers and treatments, only changing them if your skin requirements change too. However, you’re always going to need to take off makeup and clean your skin, which is why I love having as many different kinds  of cleansers as possible. At the moment I’ve got a cream cleanser (Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish); a clay cleanser (REN’s ClearCalm Clay Cleanser); a gel cleanser (Clarins’ Pure Gel Melt); and a foaming cleanser (La Roche Posay’s Physiological Foaming Water) on the go. I know that sounds slightly OTT, but I do use them all, according to how my skin feels. If it feels congested or dirty (after a workout or using heavy sunscreen, for example), I reach for REN. If it feels a little dry and in need of comfort, I use Liz Earle. When I want something luxurious, Clarins is my go-to, and I tend to use La Roche Posay in the shower each morning.

The only type of  cleanser that I was “missing” was a balm-type cleanser, which is the kind that Caroline Hirons favours. I had avoided purchasing one because, out of the two main cleansing balm contenders, Eve Lom Cleaner is prohibitively expensive (between 40 and 85 POUNDS, depending on the size), and mostly contains mineral oil – I don’t mind mineral oil in a cleanser as you will be washing it off, but I refuse point blank to spend that kind of money on what is essentially Fancy Baby Oil – and the other balm of choice, Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm (there’s a mouthful), although half the price of Eve Lom and thankfully free of mineral oil, is difficult to get hold of.

So there I was, straggling along, balmless and bereft, until I checked Caroline’s blog this morning and she recommended Clinique’s Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm as a fantastic cleansing balm alternative. I’m a massive fan of the accompanying Take The Day Off Lashes, Lids and Lips makeup remover from the same range, as it’s gentle on the eyes yet one of the few products I’ve found which actually removes gel liner.  The Cleansing Balm was €28, making it much cheaper than Emma Hardie’s offering, and better yet, it was available to buy in my local Debenhams. Shur there’s nothing like a bit of instant gratification of a Tuesday…

It wasn’t until I went through my makeup and skincare stash that I realised just how much Clinique I actually use. Their High Impact Lash mascara is one of my favourites, I love their Chubby Sticks (Clinique started the lip crayon craze that every brand from Dior to Revlon, Bourjois to Nars has jumped on), their eye creams and eye serums are gorgeous and, as I said, I’m a massive fan of their Take The Day Off Lashes, Lids and Lips. I think that Clinique is a very underrated brand, but I can understand why. It’s the same price as many high-end skincare and makeup brands, but it feels a lot more, well, clinical. I think most women, given the choice between a fancy, fluffy, fragranced brand and a quiet, assured, does-exactly-what-it-says-on-the-tin brand will choose the former. And who can blame them? This cleansing balm didn’t even come in a box; it was just sitting in its tub on its lonesome alongside the other cleansers. I have to say though, I do admire a brand that doesn’t feel the need to present its offerings in plush boxes, replete with bows and glitter, bells and whistles. To me, plainly-packaged products say, simply and confidently, “I work”.

Mmm, lardy...

Mmm, lardy…

As you can see, the balm itself looks for all the world like a tub of lard. Mmm, appetising. It is quite solid but easy to scoop out with fingers, and gently melts with the warmth of your skin. You rub a small amount of it together on your fingers or in the palm of your hand, and apply it to your face. As you massage it in it continues to melt until it becomes an oil, swiftly removing all traces of makeup, even waterproof mascara. I then wet my fingertips and continue to massage my skin, as the oil emulsifies to a milk. I like to remove this with my usual face cloth, wrung out in hand-hot water, and splash some fresh water on my face afterwards. It left my skin gorgeously soft, without a trace of makeup remaining. I wasn’t wearing very heavy eye makeup on the day I tried it, but it removed all traces of my blacker-than-black mascara easily. I’m not sure how it would fare with a full-on smokey eye but personally I prefer to remove heavy eye makeup separately beforehand as I don’t like tugging at the delicate skin, or rubbing cleansers in or around my eyes, so it’s not an issue.

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I’m looking forward to using this as a pre-cleanse on days where I am wearing particularly heavy makeup, or am just feeling a bit lazy and want a one-step cleanse as opposed to my usual double cleanse. It contains no mineral oil, fragrance or essential oils, so it sounds like a winner for sensitive skin. In addition, it is non-drying, so it’s a good pick for dry skin. I thought that the lack of fragrance would make it feel less luxurious, but the nature of the balm means that it still feels gorgeously luxe on the skin. This is perfect for when you want a no-nonsense cleanser that will just get the job done, and I can see it becoming a staple in my routine.

Have you used a cleansing balm before? Would you be tempted to try one if not? Let me know in the comments!

Niamh

Clarins Haul

Lovely new skincare, mmm...

Lovely new skincare, mmm…

I don’t know why it is exactly, but I am absolutely obsessed with skincare. As in, I should be sectioned for the good of myself and my long-suffering Visa card obsessed. I only have to read/hear about the latest skincare buzz, and I am filled with a raging case of The Want.  Add in the phrases “must-have”, “cult product”, “beauty editor favourite” and all bets are off – that product WILL be mine. Honestly, I’m a marketing executive’s wet dream. Anything French is a particular weakness, and if it’s fancy and French? Fuggedaboudit. Clarins, and Nuxe, Caudalie and Lancome…they call to me. Funnily, I can restrain myself when it comes to makeup; probably because when I’m buying for my kit I think about the products I need and whether I will get value for money from a purchase, whereas skincare is a little luxury, all for me. And how I love a bit of luxury; if I had the money I’d be typing this blog post from my private Caribbean island, a topless Daniel Craig furnishing me with exotic cocktails on a half-hourly basis. Sadly, my budget is more Capri-Sun than Cristal, so instead of living a life of luxury, I settle for injecting a little into my daily life in the form of pampering skincare.

Although it sounds outrageously superficial to lust after skincare like a crazed toddler flipping through the Argos Christmas catalogue, I think it is extremely important, on a deeper level, to look after your skin, and to splurge on good skincare products. The act of treating yourself to a new moisturiser, cleanser or serum, and the resulting enjoyment you gain from using it is beneficial, both in the short and long term. It upsets me when I hear women say, “I don’t have time for a skincare routine”. To me, that says, “I don’t have time for myself, and even if I did I have better things to be doing”. Better things than looking after yourself? Than setting aside time out at the end of a busy day to pamper yourself a little? I truly believe that taking 10 minutes out of your busy schedule to properly cleanse and nourish your skin at the end of a hectic day is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Not only are you looking after your skin, which will pay you back in kind, you are putting yourself first, even if it’s for the briefest of moments. You are telling yourself, “I deserve this. I am worth it.” I’m not saying that you have to go out and blow the budget on expensive, high-end products – Aldi’s skincare range is a great budget buy – but to make time for yourself to use what you buy, whether it’s Lacura or Lancome. Modern life is busier and more stressful than ever. Whether we are high-flying CEOs or never-off-the-clock SAHMs we are all working harder, and for longer hours. As a result, it’s more important than ever to take time out for ourselves at the end of the day. I have a 7-step night-time routine, and it only takes me 10 minutes from start to finish. Obviously, this can be extended and added to as time and opportunity allows: a scrub and a mask here, a home mani-pedi there, perhaps a long bubble bath with a glass of wine. The point is that doing the very minimum takes very little time at all, and both your skin and your sense of self-worth will thank you for it.

I dramatically overhauled my night time routine recently, which I will write about in more detail in the weeks to come, and bought some new products, including these pictured in my lovely Clarins Haul above. I ordered all of these from escentual.com and they were considerably cheaper than buying from my local high street, so even though I was splashing out it didn’t break the bank. The more you buy the more you save, right?!

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Clarins Gentle Exfoliator

This is a toner, which I have recently introduced into my routine, on the advice of Skincare Goddess Caroline Hirons. (Sidenote – if this blog is boring you, start reading with a large bottle of whiskey beside you and take a shot everytime I a): mention Caroline Hirons’ name and b): declare my undying love for Caroline Hirons. Guaranteed you’ll be three sheets by post #2). I use two toners in the evenings: one to hydrate and one to exfoliate, but Caroline specifically recommended this toner, so like a good disciple I promptly ordered it. I use this one in the mornings, as it “has the effect of blowing a trumpet in your ear. Your skin is forced into action”. This doesn’t feel at all harsh or drying on the skin, just leaves it feeling lovely and soft as it sweeps off any dead skin cells. I simply wet a cotton pad with the product, and sweep it over my skin each morning, allowing it to dry before going onto my next step.

This is €23 from escentual.com, or €31 from high-street Clarins’ stockists.

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Clarins Multi-Active Night Cream for Normal/Combination Skin

I had been meaning to try this for ages, as I wasn’t using a specific night cream; just my daytime moisturiser or an oil if my skin felt dry. I fanagled a sample from my local Clarins counter, and really liked it so it made sense to splash out on the full-size version. This feels thick and moisturising and takes a little while to sink in, but it’s not too greasy and has the most gorgeous scent; really fresh and clean. My skin feels lovely and hydrated the next morning, and I hope to see more long-term benefits as the weeks go on. I rub it in very gently with the pads of my fingers, allowing most of it to soak in by itself. I don’t like to agitate my skin too much, and there is no need to rub in creams until they disappear; your skin will drink them up in its own time.

This is approx €40 from escentual.com, or €50 (usually €60) from high-street Clarins’ stockists.

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Clarins Double Serum

Now, I know I said that I do in-depth, CIA-style research when purchasing a new product…well, I lied. In the case of this serum, I read some reviews which proclaimed it to be the Best Thing Since The Last Best Thing, I was swiftly overtaken by The Want, and I just ZOMG HAD TO HAVE IT. It is described as “an essential skin treatment that infuses the complexion with the power of 20 anti-ageing pure plant extracts” which “reactivates the 5 vital functions of skin: hydration, nutrition, protection, oxygenation and regeneration. This works to intensely boost hydration, radiance and collagen production, while fighting the effects of ageing, stress and pollution. Skin is firmer, smoother and more resilient day by day.” So far, so amazing, right?

Now, if I had done my research, I probably wouldn’t have bought this serum, because it contains mineral oil. I’m not sure if I buy into the whole MINERAL OIL IS OMG EVIL notions that are floating around the internets, but there are a couple of reasons why I don’t want to use it in a face cream/treatment/serum.

Firstly, some people can react badly to it and it can clog pores, causing spots and blackheads. I have noticed some congestion on my cheeks since I started using this during the week, but it also coincided with me slapping on a heavy sunblock on a daily basis due to the good weather, so I’m pretty sure that it’s the sunscreen that caused it. I live in hope…

Secondly, mineral oil is a dirt cheap ingredient. Clarins are selling this for a whopping SEVENTY EURO for a mere 30ml of product in Ireland, and it’s basically plant extracts suspended in baby oil and water. Mineral oil is the third ingredient listed, which means that it contains quite a lot of it. Yes, this serum has been in production, technically, for the past 30 years (it first hit the shelves in 1985, and the recently-launched Double Serum which I purchased is the seventh generation of the product), so you could argue that you are paying for three decades withof research. Still though, this smacks of a company taking advantage of its customers, and good skincare is expensive enough as it is.

Finally, mineral oil is occlusive, which means that it forms a barrier on the skin to stop moisture from getting out but also, as I understand it, prevents anything from penetrating the skin. So if you were to slap on an expensive night cream – like the one I just purchased above – after applying a mineral oil-based product you might as well smear it on the wall for all the good it’s doing.

After cleansing and toning I would usually apply serum/Hydraluron/night cream in that order. However, I thought that it might be better to apply Hydraluron and then this  serum, so that the hyraluronic acid in the Hydraluron can extract all the moisture from the serum and deposit it into my skin. This seems to be working so far; the first morning after I tried this new order of layering products my skin looked more plumped up and hydrated than usual. However, this still leaves me with the problem of what to do with the night cream that I just bought and opened, and which needs to be used up in six months. Should I still slap it on, even though it will probably do nothing? Should I just leave it? Gaaah. This is definitely what you would term a “First World Problem”, but I’m annoyed by it. I’m tempted to keep putting it on anyway – I do feel that the night cream nourishes my skin and, as Mae West said, too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

As you can see from the bottle, the serum is in two parts – a lipid (oil) and water, in separate chambers. You dispense 1-2 pumps out onto your hand and mix them together before applying. I gently “sweep” this over my face and neck without rubbing, and allow it to sink in for a couple of minutes. It feels quite greasy on first application but sinks in quite nicely. I think 1.5 pumps is enough for me; any more than that and it takes longer to sink in, leaving my skin feeling slightly oily, though not unbearably so. For this reason, I only use it at night. I have heard that makeup “glides” on over it, but I hate greasy-feeling skin so I’d rather keep it for night-time use. My skin does look more hydrated, and my dry patches have disappeared, but due to the mineral oil content I am disappointed with this product. I feel like there is no point in layering another product over it, and night-time is when you should layer your products as your skin has more time to regenerate and soak up all the nutrients you have lovingly patted on. Part of my annoyance is that I adore Clarins as a brand and expected more from them. Unless this actively gives me the skin of a newborn, I doubt I will be repurchasing.

This cost €50 from escentual.com; a significant saving on the high-street price of €70.

‘Til next time,

Niamh

Natural Skincare Brands and Products

Reader Jennie – hi! *waves* – commented on my last post asking if I knew of any good natural products. My comment in reply turned into a bit of an essay so I said I would do a proper post about it instead. Thankfully it is far easier to find natural products nowadays – no longer are we confined by what is stocked in our local, dusty health food store – as companies realise that consumers don’t want products that are full of chemicals and animal-origin ingredients. It makes sense for brands to offer an alternative, especially as so many people have sensitive skin, or are allergic to certain ingredients. In particular, natural products tend not to contain mineral oil, which some people can react to. I personally don’t like it because it forms a barrier on the skin and doesn’t let anything in or out – it may feel like it is moisturising the skin when really it is just trapping the moisture that is already there, as opposed to adding moisture where it is needed.

REN

The first brand I would recommend is REN.  I have a couple of their masks and a cleanser which I adore. Launched in the UK in 2000, REN use only 100% plant and mineral-derived ingredients and all of their products are free from *takes deep breath* synthetic fragrance, mineral oil, petrolatum, sulfate detergents, synthetic colours, animal ingredients and parabens. They are a little bit spendy (around €20 and up from there) but great quality. You can order online from http://www.renskincare.com/ or Cloud 10 Beauty, and it’s available in some pharmacies (O’Connell’s in Kilkenny stock it, I haven’t found it in Waterford yet).

Origins

US-based Origins is another lovely brand – I’m a fan of their Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask and am dying to try some of their Make A Difference moisturisers. Their Super Spot Remover blemish treatment is a cult product which tops beauty editors’ “best of” lists year after year. Their products contain certified organic ingredients and 100% natural essential oils. In addition, they are free from animal ingredients, parabens, phthalates, petrolatum, propylene glycol, mineral oil, PABA, petrolatum, paraffin, and DEA. If that wasn’t enough, they are very environmentally aware and have instigated several programs to reflect this. Through their “Plant A Tree” campaign, they have planted the equivalent of 2,800 acres of pine forest to date. In North America, they enable customers to return empty cosmetics packaging – any packaging, not just Origins – to their local store to be recycled. They have also donated millions of dollars to local, national and international programs which benefit people, animals and the planet. In addition to skincare, they offer a line of makeup, which I haven’t tried. Again, they are slightly spendy, ranging from €14 – €100. Origins is available at Brown Thomas, selected Debenhams stores, and you can order online at http://www.debenhams.ie/. As far as I know, if you order through Debenhams using one of the self-service order points in-store your products will be delivered free of charge.

Liz Earle

I’m a big fan of Liz Earle‘s Cleanse & Polish which forms an integral part of my skincare routine. I have tried a couple of other Liz Earle products (they send you mini samples when you place an online order) and wasn’t crazy about the moisturisers (I found them too heavy for my combination skin) but I did like the Instant Boost Skin Tonic (toner, to the rest of us) and Caroline Hirons loves the Skin Tonic too, as well as their Deep Cleansing Mask and Intensive Nourishing Treatment. The brand promises high performance, quality and safe ingredients. They don’t use genetically-modified or animal ingredients, nor do they test on animals. They use a lot of plant oils and extracts, and only add preservatives where necessary.

Liz Earle is based on the Isle of Wight and was taken over by Avon in March 2010, and some of their formulations changed. Citing possible reactions among customers who suffer with nut allergies, they removed the almond milk from Cleanse & Polish, for example, and added cocoa butter, which is a cheaper ingredient. Some people may react to cocoa butter, just as some may react to mineral oil. In addition, if you are concerned about animal testing, Liz Earle do not test on animals but Avon do. Only about 0.3% of their products are tested on animals, but if this is something that you would rather not support you may not wish to purchase Liz Earle products. If you do, you can order them direct from the Liz Earle website. It works out cheaper if you pay in sterling.

Neal’s Yard

Neal’s Yard is an organic, apothecary-style UK brand that offers skincare and makeup. Their products are free from SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate, a detergent/surfactant found in cleansers which can irritate the skin), parabens, mineral oils, silicones (anything ending in -icone is a silicone, they are fine in makeup but shouldn’t really be in every day skincare) and synthetic perfumes, and only contain preservatives where necessary. They don’t test on animals, are carbon neutral, and grow many of their botanical ingredients on their own, organic farm. They recently launched their Irish online shop from which you can buy direct, or use to locate a local seller if you prefer to buy from a human with a face. As opposed to those humans with no faces.

This is quite an expensive brand, but it is completely organic so you get what you pay for, and they seem to walk the walk from what I can tell. I have their Bee Lovely hand cream and it’s very luxurious, almost heavy. I keep it on my desk at work and like to use it as a cuticle cream. It smells very strongly of shea butter and I can’t decide if I love or loathe the scent but I find myself reaching for it quite often as it’s so moisturising. Beaut.ie has a couple of posts on the brand if you wish to research some more.

NUXE

I feckin’ LOVE NUXE. French, luxurious, affordable – it ticks all of my boxes. I have two of their facemasks, a micellar water, a lip balm and their legendary body oil and I am in the love with every single one of them. I wrote a review of the NUXE Aroma Perfection Thermo Unclogging Mask on the Eyrebrushed blog here, and Emma is also a fan of their Huile Prodigieuse. Their products are quite reasonable but so luxurious, using them feels like a real treat. Their products contain no mineral oil, or animal substances (apart from honey), and an average of 80% of their ingredients are of natural origin. Their packaging contains recycled materials and their boxes are as small as possible to save on paper – no wasteful bells and whistles here – and they have a small but sweet makeup range.

If you were to only buy one of their products I would usher you towards the Huile Prodigieuse. It can be used on the hair, face and body, is incredibly moisturising, and because it is a dry oil it doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy. I HATE the feeling of unctuous lotions on my skin but I absolutely love this stuff. I slapped it on in desperation one night in an attempt to cure my shin dandruff (lovely imagery for ye all there) and it worked like a charm. I used it after shaving my legs one morning and spent the rest of the day telling friends/family/random strangers in the street to feel how soft my skin was. In short, it will turn you into a total pervert, but it’s worth it.

NUXE is stocked in selected pharmacies nationwide, or you can order it  from my new favourite website http://www.cocooncenter.co.uk/ at about two-thirds of the usual selling price. Warning: if you buy up all the stock I will find you.

Dr. Hauschka

Confession – every time I go to spell “Hauschka” I have to look it up. Every. Single. TIME.

Dr. H-somethingsomething-ka only use natural, high-quality ingredients in their products and are aimed at working with your skin as opposed to fighting against it. The website notes that “All Dr. Hauschka products carry the BDIH seal of ‘Certified Natural Cosmetics’ and are made from natural ingredients. Using sustainable resource management, the ingredients are produced by either biodynamic or certified organic agriculture wherever possible, or are wild-harvested, enabling people in economically underdeveloped countries to determine their own future.” In addition, none of their products or ingredients have ever been tested on animals. Their range includes skincare, haircare, bodycare, after sun care and makeup.

I haven’t tried any of the products myself, although I know that lots of dry-skinned people swear by the Rose Day Cream, and their hand cream is raved about. I really want to try the Neem Nail Oil Pen, mainly because Neem is what “fordinners” say when they’re trying to say my name. The Good Doctor does have a few quare ideas though, like not exfoliating or using night cream, and details his unique “press and roll” cleansing technique in this video. I don’t know about you, but to me this seems like it would only be an effective method of cleansing if you were sitting at home meditating all day and not wearing makeup. Or using sunscreen. Or sweating. The products are expensive, so it’s worth asking for get samples so you can try before you buy. There is a link to Irish stockists here but I don’t know how recent it is. If you can find it in a pharmacy it would be cheaper than buying from a notoriously-overpriced health food shop, or try buying online.

Finally, for those of us on a budget, there is always Lush Cosmetics. Their skincare is gorgeous, their face masks divine, and their bath products are, well, lush. Considering they source the best of ingredients their products are very reasonably priced. I love their Jumping Juniper solid shampoo bar (great for greasy hair), Flying Fox shower gel (the most divinely-scented shower gel ever) and The Comforter bubble bar. I love the whiff of delicious treats that you get when you walk past the shop. They are staunchly against animal testing, environmentally friendly, and supportive of both grassroots charitable organisations and human rights issues. However, their shower gels do contain parabens and SLS, and they still use a lot of plastic in their packaging, so they are not as squeaky clean (sorry!) as you might think.

Lush also offer a new range of makeup called Emotional Brilliance which features bright and cheery lipsticks, eyeshadows and eyeliners. You can buy Lush products at their stores in Dublin and Cork, or online at www.lush.co.uk.

I hope that’s been helpful, if you have any favourite natural skincare or makeup brands let me know in the comments!

Niamh

My Skincare Picks

I’m ashamed to admit this, but I only recently, as in the past month or so, started a “proper” skincare routine. Before starting to train as a makeup artist I wore very little makeup day-to-day, so my night-time cleansing routine consisted of a quick swipe with a damp facecloth, or – worse again – a face wipe. When I started wearing makeup daily I got into the habit of double-cleansing, which involved removing my initial layer of makeup before using a proper cleanser. Again, I would have used a makeup wipe to pre-cleanse. Although this was cleansing my skin, I still wasn’t using the right products or therefore seeing results, so I did some online research and dramatically overhauled my skincare. I invested in a night cream and, after reading Caroline “Skincare Guru” Hiron’s Toner Treatise and praise of Hydraluron, a tube of Hydraluron and two toners. This wasn’t particularly cheap but you only get one face, so I figured I should start treating it properly. After a week or so my skin looked clearer and my complexion brighter. In fact, I hadn’t realised how much better it looked until I forgot to use toner for a couple of days and noticed how dull my skin had become. Once I added it back into my routine, it improved again almost immediately.

I wanted to give an overview of the products I started to use, and why. I am planning a post to detail the ins and outs of The Routine but thought it would be useful to first explain why and how I use the products that I do.

Micellar Waters:

I pre-cleanse with  a micellar water. Micellar waters consist of oil molecules suspended in water, which means that they effectively remove makeup when swiped over the skin on a cotton pad. I have tried a few, but my favourite is Bioderma Crealine H2O. I always have a bottle of this French favourite in my kit as it is great for removing makeup from clients’ skin, as well as cleaning up any mistakes. Very few people are sensitive to it, which takes it a must-have for MUAs. That said, I don’t trust it to remove everything from my skin at night, so I use it as a first step to remove the majority of my makeup. This allows my cream cleanser to properly cleanse my skin and remove every last bit of product. Most skincare brands now make micellar waters, so there is something for every skin type and concern. I personally find Bioderma to be the best – and it won Escentual‘s recently-conducted blind test of micellar waters. The only downside is that it is only – with a few exceptions – available in French pharmacies (luckily for me, my sister au-paired in France for five months so I forced her to be my skincare mule and schlep me back two massive bottles), but you can buy it online. The cheapest supplier that I have found is Cocoon Center (who also conveniently stock lots of other yummy French skincare brands, and shipping is free if you spend €100. S’all I’m sayin’…).

In my opinion, facewipes are the devil and should be used only in cases of absolute emergency or extreme drunkenness. Most wipes contain a lot of alcohol which eventually dries out the skin, and in addition the fabric can be quite rough which easily irritates delicate skin. Swapping facewipes for micellar water on a cotton pad was one of the best things I have done for my face. It is just as quick and easy, and far kinder to your skin.

Cleanser:

At night, I cleanse using a cream cleanser. My product of choice is Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish which is a thick, creamy emollient that is massaged onto the skin and buffed off with the accompanying muslin cloth or just a plain cotton facecloth. This removes every last trace of makeup and leaves my skin feeling soft as opposed to dry and tight.

It is very important to clean your skin in the morning to remove any oils or sweat that accumulate on the skin overnight. A gentle cleanser is best, and I prefer to use a foaming cleanser in the shower each morning. I’m not a fan of most foaming cleansers, especially those aimed at oily or blemish-prone skin as they can strip the natural oils from the skin, leaving it feeling dry and more oily as a result. I use La Roche Posay Physiological Foaming Water which is formulated for sensitive skin, so it leaves my skin feeling comfortable and not at all dry. You can of course use a cream or gel cleanser instead; it is all down to personal preference. If my skin feels particularly grimy in the morning, I use REN’s Clarifying Clay Cleanser.

Toner:

Until a couple of months ago, I would have shuddered at the idea of toner and automatically assumed that anybody who recommended the use of one didn’t know anything about skincare. Then I happened upon Caroline Hiron’s blog, read her Toner Treatise and I was converted. Following her lead, I purchased a trial sized bottle of Clarins Toning Lotion with Iris for Combination Skin to use as an exfoliating toner. Conveniently, I had recently received a bottle of Lancome’s Tonique Douceur as a free gift with purchase, so that was my hydrating toner sorted.

Toners sound like a bit of a throwback to Days of Yore, when women cleansed with heavy cream products, and no water. Cleansing has moved on, but so too have toners. They are no longer astringent, skin-blistering lotions – I think back to my teenaged Clean & Clear days and cringe, my poor skin –  but an essential part of any skincare routine. They can both exfoliate and hydrate, as well as removing any remaining cleanser, meaning that any serums and moisturisers which are applied afterwards will be absorbed properly and nourish the skin as they should. Until recently I was prone to getting patches of dry skin which would “catch” my foundation and not amount of manual exfoliation would helpo, but since I started using toners I haven’t had to manually exfoliate as much, and my dry patches have disappeared. As I said above, when I forgot to use toners for a couple of days, my skin looked dull and unrefined, and when I incorporated them back into my routine, it brightened up considerably. If that’s not an argument for using them, I don’t know what is.

Oils:

I usually only use oils when I feel that my skin is very dehydrated and needs the extra moisture, so usually in the wintertime and only at night. I like Trilogy’s Rosehip Oil, and they also do an Antioxidant Rosehip Oil which contains essential fatty acids along with super antioxidants. Another cult product is Kiehls’ Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I haven’t tried it myself but am very tempted to invest. If using an oil, it should be applied before your serum(s). This is because most serums are silicone-based. Silicone forms a barrier on the skin and doesn’t allow anything to penetrate it. Therefore, if you slap on an oil after a serum, you might as well not apply it all as it will not be able to penetrate the skin and work its magic.

Serums:

I have just started using Clarins’ Double Serum, which I will review in the coming weeks. I only use this at night as I find that it is quite rich and takes a while to absorb. If you are using more than one serum you need to layer them in order of texture, starting with the lightest and finishing with the heaviest. If you are using an eye serum this should be applied at this stage too.

Eye Creams & Serums:

I used to use Clinique’s All About Eyes eye cream, but found that it wasn’t doing much for my eye area after a couple of years. I did a bit of research and am currently using Vichy’s LiftActiv Yeux. The fine lines around my eyes have definitely improved, but I’m not seeing as dramatic an improvement in the deeper wrinkles. That said, I often forget to apply it, so that hardly helps matters. I use Clinique’s All About Eyes Serum in the mornings which I LOVE. The rollerball dispenses just the right amount of product, and it’s so cooling and soothing on the skin. It dramatically improves any undereye puffiness, so it’s great for travelling or on mornings when you haven’t had enough sleep.

When applying eye cream, make sure not to use too much. A grain of rice-sized amount is enough for both eyes. If you use too much you risk making the eye area even puffier. Eye cream should be applied to the orbital bone (the bone of your eye socket) both above and below your eye, using your ring finger. This is the weakest finger on your hand so by using it you are less likely to pull at the delicate skin around the eye. Use your finger to pat and tap the product onto your eye area. You don’t need to apply the product right up into your lashline; it will travel by itself. This link is very helpful at explaining where eye cream should be applied.

Hydraluron:

Technically this is a serum, but it should always be applied right before your moisturiser. Hyraluronic acid is produced naturally in the body and is responsible for maintaining water reserves in the skin. As we age, our ability to produce hyraluronic acid reduces, and our skin becomes more dehydrated. Hydraluron contains the purest form of hyraluronic acid of any product on the market which means that when you slap this on before your moisturiser, it acts like a magnet, drawing out all the moisture from the cream and putting it back into your skin. You will need to use less of your moisturiser and it will work better for you. It is not the cheapest at almost €30 for just 30ml of product but you only need to use a pea-sized amount, plus it’s often on 3-for-2 in Boots.  I apply it morning and evening all over my face, concentrating on the areas where I am most prone to dehydration. I will do an in-depth review of this in the coming weeks, but it achieved How-Have-I-Survived-Without-This status within days, so needless to say it’s a keeper. If you were only to make one change to your skincare routine, I would urge you to start using this. Most of us are dehydrated in some way, and this will make a huge difference to your skin’s hydration levels. It is an absolute wonder product.

Night Cream:

After getting a sample of Clarins’ Multi-Active Night Cream I decided to splash out on a full-sized tub. I find it quite thick and luxurious, and I can definitely feel it on my skin, but it doesn’t leave my skin congested, and it smells absolutely gorgeous. I wasn’t as much of a fan of the day cream from the range, but I’ll definitely keep up my night cream habit.

Muslin Cloths/Cotton Face Cloths: 

I use these to remove cream cleansers from my face, as well as the remains of any face masks when I use them. I usually only use them at night, and wash them after they have been used twice. You can buy cotton facecloths in Penneys, and at only €2 for three of them you have no excuses. They are not the most glamourous beauty paraphenelia in the world, but they work. I think I actually prefer them to muslin cloths as they are less scratchy on the skin. I soak them in hand-hot water, wring them out, and use them to buff the product off my skin. The cloth easily removes any residue and gives a slight exfoliating effect at the same time.

These are the main products that I introduced into my skincare routine and it is looking very good at the moment. To be honest, I gave it such a major overhaul that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what did the trick, but if you were only going to slightly tweak your routine I would start by introducing toners and Hydraluron once you have cleansed properly. You can buy 100ml bottles of Clarins toners for €10 if you are trying to keep costs down. Hydraluron is expensive but as I said it is often on 3 for 2 in Boots, so you could ask if any friends are interested in trying it too and split it between a couple of you.

Disclaimer:

I am not a trained skincare specialist. The advice above is what I have gleaned to be best for me as a result of previous product experience, and from doing my own research online. I’m only two posts into this blog, and I’ve already dropped Caroline Hirons’ name numerous times, but her skincare Cheat Sheet is absolutely invaluable. It is basically amazing pro skincare advice FOR FREE, and it’s what gave me the kick I needed to start a proper skincare routine, for which my skin has thanked me. I would urge you all to read it and learn as I did – I wish I’d known it years ago.

My skin is combination/dehydrated, and the products mentioned above are what work for me. They may not be suitable for everyone so please bear your own skin type, skin concerns and any allergies that you may have in mind when reading or purchasing new products.

What are your skincare favourites? I’d love to know!

Niamh

My Summer Essentials

I don't always match my nail polish to my beach towel, but when I do...

I don’t always match my nail polish to my beach towel, but when I do…

I probably should have titled this “My Hot Weather Essentials”, as summer doesn’t always mean sunshine in Ireland. But I digress, some lovely summery sun has finally arrived in Ireland after a six-year delay. While the weather is absolutely glorious, the soaring temperatures have left us all wilting and close to saying, “It’s nearly TOO hot”. To help you beat the heat, I’ve put together my list of summer essentials to help you stay cool, calm and collected during our heatwave. Long may it last!

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Sunscreen

It’s so important to protect your skin in the sun, especially with our Irish colouring and infrequent sun exposure. I love La Roche Posay’s sun range, and at €20 for a massive 300ml of product, this is excellent value. It’s not greasy and is really moisturising – you can feel it nurturing your skin as it protects. This is Factor 30, but they also do a Factor 50, which is great for children, or those in tropical climates. However, using the right amount of product is just as important as the factor you use. To apply, squeeze a line of sunscreen along your index finger. Your face and neck need one “finger”, and arms need two fingers of product each and legs should be getting two each front and back, so four altogether per leg. This is one case where less is certainly not more, so make sure to slap it on and be sun safe.

Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Fresh Body Lotion

Vaseline Intensive Care Aloe Fresh Body Lotion

I originally bought this a couple of years ago when I was going on holiday as I wanted an after-sun lotion that wasn’t too sticky and greasy in hot weather. I loved it so much that I’ve kept using it ever since, winter and summer. It’s lovely and moisturising, with a gorgeous fresh scent, and the aloe vera is great for soothing skin that’s a little bit too sun-kissed. Store it in the fridge for when your skin needs a cool, refreshing drink.

La Roche Posay Thermal Water Spray

La Roche Posay Thermal Water Spray

This is another one that you can stash in the fridge, and it’s been a lifesaver over the past couple of days. It’s a very fine mist in an aerosol can and it doesn’t sound like much, but it is the business at helping you to stay cool. My office is stifling, and even with the doors and windows open it’s hard to stay cool, so I’ve taken to spritzing myself with this water spray at regular intervals. It’s utterly gorgeous, so refreshing, and especially cooling when sprayed on the face, chest and pulse points (elbows, wrist, behind the knees). I could not be without this in hot weather. I do wish you could buy a more handbag-friendly size – though you often get a small size free with purchase – but that’s the only negative. At €10 it’s not the cheapest but it is invaluable at cooling you down when you feel like you might die from heatstroke. It’s also great for soothing hay-fever-y eyes, sunburn and prickly heat, making it a luxury that I can’t do without.

Water

It is so important to stay hydrated in hot weather. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how quickly you dehydrate in the sun. It’s vital to keep your water levels topped up to avoid heatstroke, so keep a big bottle of water in the fridge and sip a glass continuously throughout the day. If plain water is too boring for you, try sparking water, or add a spash of lime juice and some crushed mint leaves. Yummy!

Dior Sweet Sun Fragrance

Dior Sweet Sun Treatment Fragrance

This is my go-to summer fragrance; you can see from what’s left in the bottle how much I love it, and have loved it over the years. I am an absolute perfume addict – I wear it every day and feel naked without it. Even if I’m slumming around at home I’ll spritz some perfume on; I genuinely don’t feel complete otherwise. My signature scent is Black Orchid by Tom Ford, but it’s quite musky and a little heavy for summer, so in the hot weather I turn to Dior’s Sweet Sun. It was originally the scent used to fragrance their suncare line, and customers loved it so much that it was released as a standalone fragrance. I initially read about this in Vogue, as one of the editors had put it on her list of summer “Can’t Live Withouts”. Curiousity piqued, I had a sneaky sniff of it at the airport when I was heading off on holidays, and instantly fell in love. It’s sweet but not overpoweringly so and features refreshing citrus notes, as well as sweet jasmine and Tiaré flower essence and a heady combination of ginger, vanilla and musk. Apart from smelling utterly amazing, it doesn’t contain alcohol, so it’s safe to use when sunbathing. Go to your nearest Dior counter and douse yourself liberally in it; you won’t be able to stop sniffing yourself all day.

Maybelline Color Tattoo

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24h Eyeshadow

I love, love, LOVE these dupes for MAC Paint Pots. They are fantastic value at €7.49, and are often included in Boots’ 3-for-2 offer, so you can afford to snap up more than one! This shade is On and On Bronze, and it’s one of my favourites. The colour suits all eye colours and skin tones, so it’s a great all-rounder. These little pots pack a powerful pigment punch, so by using them as a base for your powder  eyeshadow you get extra bang for your buck.

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As you can see from the photo, they can be swiped on for a light layer of colour, or layered for a more intense effect. This is a great shade for those of you who have Urban Decay’s NAKED palette as it goes really well with the gold and bronze colours. I usually put some of the Maybelline shade on my lid and blend the crease out with either Naked or Buck, and then add Smog and/or Dark Horse to the outer corner. You can, of course, wear it by itself with a slick of waterproof mascara, making it perfect for hot weather and holidays as the creamy gel formula won’t slide off or smudge. Take that, humidity!

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Barry M Nail Polish

Summer is the one time of year that you can really go crazy with nail polish colours, and personally I think there is nothing better than a fluorescent colour so bright it’d nearly take the eye out of your head. These babies almost did just that when I passed the Barry M stand in my local Boots, so I had to bring them home. I’m currently rocking the yellow on my toes and the pink on my fingers and they are fab. The pink shade is surprisingly matte, but nothing a shiny topcoat can’t fix if matte ain’t your bag. I love bright colours with a tan, so these are perfect for summer. They’re limited edition, so if you fancy snagging your own, make it snappy!

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Garnier BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector for Combination to Oily Skin

Day-to-day, I prefer a sheer to medium coverage base, and in the summer I like even less. BB creams are about all I can stand on my face in in hot weather, but it’s hard to find one that suits my skin as they vary so much between brands. Most BB creams leave my skin looking oily after a few hours – not attractive! – but I’d heard good things about this one from fellow combination-skinned ladies. It’s normally €15 or so, so when I saw it for half price in Sam McCauley’s today – sidenote: I feckin’ LOVE chemists – I couldn’t leave it there. It’s got an SPF of 20, so it’s perfect for the summertime. I haven’t tried it yet but I will do a full review in the coming weeks!

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What to Wear

As for what to wear in this hot weather, obviously bikinis and sunglasses are a must. My eyes are quite sensitive to the sun, and I’m always concious of squinting and causing The Dreaded Crows’ Feet in bright sunlight, so I pop on a pair of shades as soon as the sun peeks out. You can’t go wrong with a classic pair of Ray Ban Wayfarers or Aviators, they go with everything and you can rest assured that your precious peepers will be properly protected from any harsh rays.

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I’m all for a bit of summertime glamour, and because I have fine hair my parting tends to burn quite easily so I need to keep my head covered. Having the sun beating down on your head all day isn’t good anyway, so I like to kill two birds with one stone and tie a silk scarf – one that matches my swimwear, natch – around my head to keep the sun off and my head protected. I picked up both of these beauties from Vintage Trig in Waterford city, but you can also shop online here. Simply tie on, channel your inner Marilyn and you’re good to go!

Enjoy the sun and stay safe!

Niamh