Friday, December 12, 2008

Roses supposes

By the by, if you are happening by Space NK, or indeed, you could do worse than pick up Jurlique Rose Hand cream. It does come in other fragrances for those of you who prefer not to smell like a granny, but I'm quite fond of it actually. It simply has the best texture and absorbencey of any hand cream I have ever tried. And it's all happy-clappy nature loving sustainable biodynamically farmed blah blah. You know yourself.

Time and Space

I have been meaning for some time know to say a few words about the new Space NK in Harvey Nichols in Dublin. I went to the launch at the end of November and here, dear readers, are my musings.

Nicky Kinnaird likes to talk about how her own brand ranges are free of all the nasties, especially parabens (dangerous? It's debateable.) But what comes up again and again as her favourite product? Eve Lom Cleanser. And let's face it who doesn't heart that in a big way. But for those of you who like to freak out, check out the ingredients. Every type of paraben contained therein. Just so you know. (I have decided to embrace parabens and my Eve Lom Cleanser. And the Kiss Mix lip salve - zingy!)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chirpy chirpy cheap cheap

I'm the biggest beauty snob going. If it's cheap I'm very dubious. Half the joy is pretty packaging after all (hello Guerlain, you big heap of gorgeous). But I have to say, I'm coming to love the lower end mascaras. No guilt at dumping at three months of age or the slightest hint of drying, so you always have fresh and fab lashes. My latest love - Max Factor Falsh Lash Effect. Superb.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Get touched

Speaking of Ole Henriksen...I interviewed him last year. He is ridiculously healthy-looking, wiry and spry. Clearly has a portrait in the attic/pact with the devil/fresh blood injected weekly. And the advice of this fresh-faced beauty mogul: "make love to your skin".

I'm still trying to work that one out but I think gentle touch and massging products in is the key. It's what works for uber-facialists Anastasia Achilleos and Emma Hardie in the UK, and if I may say so, Virginie-Claire in Harold's Cross in Dublin (Tippy tips of fingers like tiny angels wings brushing across your face. I have never been so relaxed in my life as I was when I went for a facial there.).

Muscle tension makes a huge difference to your face. After a week off work recently, I looked like a different person. After half an hour of traffic hell driving in on the first day back the tightness across my forehead and cheekbones was palpable, and tooth grinding was back with a vengeance. And my ten years younger holiday face disappeared.

Softly softly, catchy monkey

First up, I've been a bad bad blogger, with nary a glance this way in two months. But a very busy two months starting a new job as resident fashion be-atch on Irish Tatler. So busy in fact that there is precious little time for looking the part - eep! State of me...

And so, on the bank holiday weekend I decided to gift myself with beautiful body care that I had been hoarding for ages, waiting to use. (I was doing that thing where I say I really must use up the 50 lip glosses I have before I get another one. Ah but minimalism is no friend of the beauty-holic.)

Confession: I don't really bother with body moisturiser. I get plenty of compliments from me handsome fella about having soft skin, so I reckon I must be doin alright. However, there being no clean bedclothes in the fella's house except for a nylon-y, ball-y horrible set, I was soon driven demented by night itches, and decided the way forward was to grease myself up to provide a coating between skin and icky bedclothes.

Enter stage left Clarins Satin Smooth Body Lotion. Verdict: disappointing in the fragrance department. It doesn't have that Clarins smell. You know the one... So enter stage right Ole Henriksen Lavender Body Oil. Nice. Lavender-y. Nearly gave the fella a heart attack that someone would pay 44 euro for something you could make up with some essential oil. Anyway, a trick they use in Clarins salons is to mix body cream and oil for massage. Lovely slidey texture without the greasiness. Verdict: we likey. And so does himself, who did not object to several euros worth of ridiculously expensive massage oil being worked into his post-match muscle aches.

Oh and he said my skin was softer than usual. So perhaps I'll convert to the cult of body moisturisers after all. He'll be telling me cellulite creams work next...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Let there be Lumiere

I just spent the weekend working backstage at our Ultimate Girls' Day Out event and while the ladies of Ireland enjoyed the shopping and pampering in the exhibition hall we were up to 90 backstage making the fashion shows happen. After the fifth fashion show of the day I was ready for a small glass of wine and hoping a nice red would knock me out into a deep sleep. No such luck, and after the head finally hit the pillow at five o'clock in the morning there was only a few winks of sleep had before we were up and at it again the next morning. I was desperate to look lively again before I had to go and spend the day in a room with 12 of Ireland's most beautiful models (who were all bloody super nice, clever and hardworking, therefore making it impossible to hate them!).
I'd kind of reckoned this new Chanel Lift Lumiere Firming and Smoothing Fluid Makeup and Lift Lumiere Smoothing and Rejuvenating Eye Contour Concealer would be for a slightly older skin than my own, but after slapping on a face-load on Sunday morning I am converted. The undereye concealer in particular is radically brilliant stuff, and the colour and texture are great. The foundation is light and radiant yet covered a really stubborn acne scar on my cheek which usually requires a couple of rounds of concealer and powder to tone down.
It's in shops from 15 September, so get your sleeping bags out and get in the queue early!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Eye eye, Cap'n

I knew when I put that darned mascara on this morning that it irritates my eyes. I just couldn't bring myself to throw it out...until now. So here I am sitting in work, eyes-an-itching, and I grab the first thing to hand to wipe that mascara off, and it happens to be a bottle of Decleor Eye Make-up Remover Gel, which had been knocking around under my desk for several months now. Why I waited so long I don't know, but it got that mascara off quickly, cleanly, using only tissue and left my eyes refreshed. Wahoo. I never want to use anything else.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Packing pretty

Ooooh who cares what it does when it looks this good! Well if you really want to know it's the Face Boutique body kit - inky dinky travel-sized pretties, available now from They've just expanded their beauty offering with some great new brands including Face, Cowshed and Becca. Hurrah, more 'pretending to work but really secretly buying lovely things online' all around then.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Turquoise Turnaround

I never thought I'd say this but I think turquoise eyeliner has finally gotten to me. All summer long I've been privately judging people who've been sporting it along their lower lashes. And today, I think the new Bourjois autumn-winter collection might have swung me. It's definitely the divine Brun sompteux eyeshadow they've paired it with that got me interested. But damn it, that eyeliner (in Vert pepite) does bring out the ould peepers. It's just so 1980s bridesmaid though. Dilemma. Maybe just for the beach?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Copy that!

If you're looking for inspiration for a new make-up look, get thee down to and check out the 'Looks' section where you can see make-up artist's guides for the latest fashion looks, along with instructions on how to recreate it exactly - using MAC cosmetics, but of course.

If you don't believe me, I'll save you a trip across the world wide web, by reproducing a look created for Dita von Teese's Viva Glam campaign. Anyone brave enough to try it, take a pic and post it wins a very special prize from my beauty bounty!

Groom brows with Stud Eye Brows and Espresso Eye Shadow. Add a touch of Vanilla Eye Shadow to highlight the browbone. Apply Espresso Eye Shadow with a 213 Brush all over eyelid, sweeping slightly up and outwards. Blend Brun Eye Shadow over Espresso to intensify the shadow. Using a 219 Brush, deepen the crease with Charcoal Brown Eye Shadow. Line the upper lashline with Fluidline in Blacktrack and a 266 Brush. On the outer edge of the lashline, wing upwards and create a slightly thicker line for a cat eye effect. Line the bottom lashline with Fascinating Eye Kohl. Then smudge a touch of Espresso Eye Shadow beneath the Fascinating Eye Kohl with a 219 Brush. The white line will create an eye opening look. Coat lashes in Zoomblack Zoom Lash.
Apply the lightest touch of Mineralize Skinfinish/Natural in Medium along the hollows of the cheeks to create contour against fair skin.
Line lip with Mahogany Lip Pencil and fill in with Brick Lip Pencil. Apply Viva Glam VI Lipstick over lips for this matte look.


I may have a bit of a bee in my bonnet about eyelashes, ever since a nasty girl in college told me mine were particularly freakishly short. Extra coats of mascara just don't do it for me, my tiny dwarf lashes not being able to carry them. So I love this tip from Shiseido make-up guru Dick Page: "If you have thin eyelashes , you can use black or brown mascara and apply a dot of kohl between the eyelashes. This trompe l'oeil effect really fills them out." Just don't go overboard...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Digital Doom

There's been a lot of talk about photo retouching recently. And I do think it is deeply wrong to give cover girls and models in ads perfect pore-free skin and twiglet arms. It is completely unrealistic and makes the rest of us feel inadequate compared to something that is fiction. It's like comparing yourself to a Manga cartoon or a Barbie doll.

However, after years of holding off, I have just purchased my first digital camera and suddenly a bit of retouching seems sensible. Come back Photoshop - all is forgiven. Man I never knew I was such a troll. This baby has pushed my magnifying mirror into the ha'penny place. I can see things when I zoom in on a photo that aren't even visible to the naked eye. The fatal combination of zoom, flash and teeny weeny megapixels picks up details that the eye and brain frankly don't have time for. Seriously, things I can't even see with the magnifying mirror are now on my 'things to fret about and find a treatment for' list. Which, dammit, is already long enough.

Now, if I can just find a nice sheer stocking to stick over the lens, all will be soft focus loveliness...

Monday, July 7, 2008

The London Look

I have the Handsome Man driven demented with my Kate Moss impression every time I put on my mascara. I turn to the mirror, and then, having applied, swing back round waffling in a terrible Mockney accent about how I've just got the London Look, and isn't it amazing how mascara can make you look exactly like her.

Obviously not, but one thing is for sure, for a budget mascara, Rimmel Glam'eyes mascara truly performs. The 'sexy' packaging is totally gick, but if you can get beyond that, it's a winner.

Disaster Aversion

You know when you're in a rush, and you're nearly ready. You sweep on some mascara and somehow it ends up all over your face, you flutter your lashes and it sticks to the top lid. Arrrrgggh. Don't cry pretty baby. Those nice people at Revlon have invented a Make-up Eraser Pen to make it disappear. So no more faffing around pouring teeny tiny drops of foundation onto a Q-Tip. This little magic marker makes it all better.

The Dream Team

If money was no object, and you could have the cosmetics shelf/drawer/suitcase of your dreams, what would it be filled with?
I think I've finally decided that less is more, after working as a beauty journalist and being full of the greed and fickleness for the latest and greatest potions and paints to land on my desk. Too much is definitely a bad thing, but you can't help trying yet another novelty - who knows what might become the next cult classic? Something I disregard could be the next Clarins Beauty Flash Balm or Lancome Juicy Tube. Stress! I've only got one face and I can't try everything, much as I'd like to.
Perfect base
At the moment my Lotto-winner 'dream team' would have to be La Prairie Advanced Marine Biology Cream, the most perfect example of moisturising perfection I have ever come across, and Creme de la Mer SPF 18 Fluid Tint which makes me feel like bursting into a chorus of 'I feel pretty, oh so pretty' the minute I put it on. Drrrroooool.
What? Two isn't a team? Well, I've never been the sporty type, darling. All the sweating in public is terribly un-chic and going red in the face will give you broken veins.
Let's talk some other major players in the league then. The aforementioned Beauty Flash Balm isn't a bad place to start. Put it on before an event to make your make-up sit tight on your face all day or night; put it on the morning after to make you look vaguely human again. Genius.
But the wondrous Flash (ah-ah-aaaaah) must be kept for special superhero emergencies. For an everyday primer I am l.o.v.i.n.g. Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch (or Lisse Minute Base Comblante pour mes amis francophones). It does exactly what it says on the little red pot. Smooth. Perfect. Instant. Oui, oui, oui.
Benefit's Brow-zings is a must for me and my straggly brows and it is a source of great grief to me that meanies at airport security take tweezers away. What do they think I'm gonna do? Threaten the pilot with overplucking? Oh, okay, that is pretty terrifying...
The French Paradox
And finally (because this is a basketball team, football is soooo uncouth) Guerlain's powders are a constant source of wonder to me. Parure Compact Foundation with Crystal Pearls (ahem, yes technically a foudation, but I see nothing wrong with putting it on over a liquid foundation) got me hooked and now I'm in love all over again. The gorgeous one is named Meteorites Poudre de Perles Illuminating Perfecting Pressed Powder. Mmm, snappy name I know. It is a compact of the famous Guerlain Perles. The light of my life is the shade called Beige Lumineux which has light and dark pearls as well as a lilac colour corrector to brighten the skin. The French Paradox - it mattifies, because it is a powder, and yet it gives radiance, because it is AMAZING. Words fail me. I'd ask it to marry me if I wasn't afraid of scaring it off. Play it cool, play it cool.
Now that's the dream team. You may have noted the lack of shadows, blushes, lippies and glosses. That's the fun stuff. You can play around with it. The dream team consists of the serious core products, the ones you should spend money on. After that you can swap substitutes in and out to add a little colour.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Policy Statement

I suppose if I'm going to get you to join my political party (it goes on all night, woo yeah) - then I'd better come clean about past scandals, and set out my current policy and thinking on the issues that count. Let's get the scandals out of the way first. As a child of the eighties, the influence carried through into my teens. So along with those mid-nineties terrible twins of Constance Carroll blemish stick and Rimmel Heather Shimmer lipstick (cult classics of their time), I still thought, for a long time, that when it came to blusher, more is more, and a stripe was the way forward.

Then came the poverty-stricken student years when I took a leaf out of Sophia Loren's book - literally. In her 1984 classic Women & Beauty she details how, when she was just starting out she dyed all her clothes black so that she would always look matchy-matchy elegant. Not that I did a dye-job, I just bought black. And I wore it with a brazen red lipstick and a pasty white puppy fat face. Sure wasn't I only gorgeous.

Baby, I've come a long way. I've learned the most valuable lesson of all - gentle skin care. For years I believed the aggressive approach was the way forward with problem skin. But oh no, it's a case of softly, softly, catchy monkey.

I've also accumulated too much make-up. And I really think more than you can fit in a make-up bag is too much. But I'm doing this for you folks. Too much is a bad thing because you never finish it, it goes off, needs to be binned...and you're just throwing money away.

We all get suckered in by the claims and the pretty packaging. You have to experiment to find what's right for you, and one woman's saviour is another woman's waste of money. However there are some cult products, and a few personal faves, that I'll let you in on next post. For now though, it's late, girl needs her beauty sleep you know.